Canine Security Training

29 Aug 2015 | Filed in Dog Training

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Dogs are excellent companions and can be a dependable source of protection when properly trained. Canine security training is a worthwhile endeavor for dog owners who wish to give their dogs proper behavioral formation. Although the beginning stages of security training can be started by dog owners, professional help is recommended for those who desire advanced canine security training.

Benefits

Security dog training will allow for greater home security. Protection dogs are trained to perform various security tasks. For example, the Global K9 Group Training Program teaches dogs to investigate suspicious noises and check on children, protect property including vehicles, and still be friendly to strangers and guests. Security dog training also encourages bonding between dogs and their owners.

Features

Many types of training programs are available for security dogs, including K9 programs for police and personal use, the Koehler method and Schutzhund training. All types of security canine training utilize the dog’s “prey drive,” which is a dog’s drive to chase, grab and shake objects. This drive comes in very handy for security purposes, but owners must be very comfortable with this behavior and recognize that their dog is simply “playing a rough game of tug.”

Time Frame

Most training programs last for two to three months, or eight to 12 weeks. Many training programs have a designated age for dogs, usually between six months and one year. All dogs should be obedience trained before they begin a canine security training program.

Breeds

Certain dog breeds are better inclined to security dog positions than other dogs. These breeds include the Doberman pinscher, American bulldog, mastiff and bullmastiff, boxer, German shepherd, Great Dane, rottweiler and malinois.

Misconceptions

Security training will not make your dog aggressive; rather, it will teach the dog to channel its natural instincts for the protection of your family. Dogs who complete security training successfully are quite sociable and attached to their owners. Negative behaviors, such as extreme aggression and disobedience ,are normally only found in security dogs who lack affection and companionship from their owners.

Dogs Who Have Trouble Getting Up After Lying Down

26 Aug 2015 | Filed in Dog Problems

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Dogs are very good at coping with pain and mobility problems. This is why it’s often hard to detect problems until they become severe. They shift their weight or alter their gait to make walking less painful, and of course they can’t tell us they’re in pain. So difficulty getting up after a period of stillness is often the first sign that your dog has a problem. By figuring out the cause and putting together a treatment plan, you can help your dog cope with whatever problem is causing him to struggle.

Common Medical Causes

Lameness caused by injury or disease, hip dysplasia and arthritis are common causes of mobility issues in dogs, and if present would likely cause difficulty in getting up. Old age is another cause. A combination of joint wear and muscle weakness can make standing after prolonged immobility painful or difficult.

Other Medical Causes

Lyme disease, which is caused by a tick bite, can cause limb lameness. Obesity, especially in older dogs, can make it difficult to get up after lying down too. Panosteitis (bone inflammation), bone cancer and nerve inflammation can also make getting up difficult.

Other Causes

Injury to the paw, paw pads or legs can cause your dog to struggle when getting up. If your dog’s symptoms are sudden, it is probable that he has an injury rather than a joint or age-related mobility problem. Broken nails, lacerations to the paw pads and ligament injuries will make it difficult for your dog to get up.

Determining the Cause

Look at other symptoms and changes in behavior. For example, an elderly dog who is reluctant to play, less active in general, has gained weight and struggles to get up after lying down is likely to have arthritis. An otherwise active dog who suddenly has difficulty getting up after lying down may have an injury. Examine the paws and legs. If your dog has been urinating more than normal, Lyme disease may be the cause. It’s helpful to give your veterinarian as much information as possible, so be vigilant if you notice your dog struggling to get up.

Ways You Can Help

Gentle massage can help relieve joint pain in dogs. Always consult a professional for advice before giving a massage. For dogs with arthritis, carrying too much weight compounds the problem. Prevent your dog from gaining weight and help him shed some fat if he’s already overweight by monitoring his portion size and reducing it if necessary. Your vet will be able to advise further on weight management. Certain foods also help with mobility problems. Cod liver oil contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids for joint relief. You can also help reduce joint stiffness and pain by making sure your dog’s sleeping area is warm and dry. Keep a close eye on your dog and physically support him when he tries to get up after lying down.

Treatment

A young, otherwise healthy dog with hip dysplasia may be a suitable candidate for a hip replacement. Your vet will determine his suitability by examining his hips with X-rays. For arthritic dogs, an anti-inflammatory drug treatment plan can help.

First Three Months of a Puppy’s Life

21 Aug 2015 | Filed in Dog Life Style

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All puppies go through the same stages of development in their first 3 months. Some individuals develop slightly slower or faster than others of a same breed or even of a same litter. As a general rule, smaller breeds are quicker to develop than larger breeds. By the time a puppy is 3 months old, he should be well socialized.

Early Weeks

For the first week of their lives, puppies sleep about 90 percent of the time and suckle the remaining 10 percent. Newborn pups are dependent on their mothers for warmth. Puppies are born blind and deaf. They have touch reflexes in their heads, along with scent and heat sensors in their noses, so they can locate their mothers and crawl to them. Their mothers will stimulate urination and defecation by licking the pups’ genitals, and then ingest the waste, until the puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old. At three weeks of age the puppies milk teeth start coming through, and she’ll begin to wean them.

At about 10 to 14 days the puppies’ eyelids open but their sight is poor. By 12 to 14 days the external ear canals open and puppies hear for the first time. The puppies’ vision, hearing and balance are fully developed by about 4 weeks. At 2 weeks, puppies can sit up as touch reflexes develop in their front legs; a week later they can stand as touch reflexes develop in the hind legs. It takes a few more days for the mind to coordinate all four legs into walking. Newborn puppies can feel pain, but it takes several seconds for it to register in the brain. Around 3 weeks, pups’ brains and nerves register pain as quickly as adults’.

Five to 12 Weeks

Puppies’ facial muscles develop at about 5 weeks, when facial expressions, important in canine communication, can be seen. Reflexes, coordination and balance all continue to develop, along with the puppies’ confidence as they explore their environments more and play with their littermates. Mother dogs will spend less time with the puppies, having started weaning. They’ll continue to occasionally nurse until about 8 weeks.

Socialization

Between ages 3 weeks to 12 weeks, puppies usually easily accept new experiences. Up to about 7 weeks, it’s usually the breeders’ responsibility to provide plenty of appropriate experiences, exposing puppies to a variety of sounds, floor surfaces, objects and people. Puppies start going to their new homes generally no sooner than age 8 weeks. That’s when house-training can begin. From this point on, it’s important they continue to be introduced to lots of people and animals, places and situations they are likely to encounter as adult dogs.

3 Months to Adulthood

Puppies’ adult teeth start coming through at 4 to 6 months; they will need plenty of appropriate things to chew on. This age is when they start to become more independent and test out what is allowed. Between 6 and 12 months, puppies reach the adolescent phase and reach sexual maturity. Females can have their first estrus, and males will experience changes in their hormones and exhibit behavior such as cocking a leg to urinate, marking territory, interest in females and squabbling with other males. By a year to 18 months, puppies reach physical maturity, but it will be up to 3 years before some dogs are socially mature and their characters fully developed.

What Are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds for Dogs?

18 Aug 2015 | Filed in Dog Health

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As pet parents begin to adjust their dogs’ diets to be healthier, they consider features like nutritional value, shelf life, quality and taste of food. One superfood, chia seeds, checks all the boxes. Chia seeds have a shelf life of four to five years. Preparing meals for your dog is as simple as sprinkling the flavorless seeds onto his food. Perhaps the leading feature of chia seeds is their abundant health benefits.

Health Benefits

Chia seeds were once used by the Aztecs and Mayans as a staple food. The seeds contain B vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, protein and fiber. The nutrients in chia seeds support your dog’s skin, joints, vision, immune system, brain development, blood sugar levels, healthy digestion and weight maintenance.

Using Chia Seeds

Since chia seeds are very absorbent, a little goes a long way. Lots of water should be available to your dog to help the seeds go down more easily. Sprinkle a dash of dry chia seeds, or chia seeds soaked in tap water, into his food bowl with each meal; one quarter of a teaspoon is sufficient for every 10 pounds your dog weighs.

Grooming Standards for Golden Retrievers

16 Aug 2015 | Filed in Dog Gooming

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While the beautiful double coat of the golden retriever serves as protection from weather and outdoor elements, it also makes grooming necessary—and time-consuming. Creating a weekly routine for grooming your golden helps promote a healthy coat and gives you additional bonding time.

Brushing

The golden retriever’s double coat requires brushing at least once a week to keep shedding at bay and distribute natural oils that create a shiny, sleek coat. Using a good-quality bristle brush and undercoat rake, as recommended by the Absolutely Golden website, helps remove dead hair and dander. Brush his coat with a bristle brush first and remove any mats with a metal comb. Follow up with an undercoat rake that removes loose hair from the second coat. Finally, go back over his coat with the bristle brush and notice how easily it moves through the coat.

Bathing

After removing any mats and tangles, giving the golden a good bath helps keep her skin healthy by removing harmful bacteria. A quality dog shampoo formulated for long hair works well. When washing a golden, wet her entire coat and add a line of shampoo down her back. Next, massage the shampoo into her coat and skin. Rinse the shampoo out completely until the water runs clear, and follow up with a light conditioner for long-haired dogs. Allow the conditioner to set for about two minutes, and then rinse it out. Use a clean towel and dry the retriever. Finish up with a hair dryer on a low setting, or allow her to dry naturally.

Show Standards

The American Kennel Club show standards for grooming the golden retriever call for a natural, untrimmed coat. The coat should lie in a natural line, with the head, front legs and paws trimmed slightly shorter than the body hair. The feathering of the legs, neck, back and underside of the tail are desirable traits of the golden retriever.

Trimming

Only a few areas of the golden need regular trimming. The toenails should be inspected and trimmed as often as necessary. Also, the hair around the ears, feet and tail grows faster than the body hair and requires a quick trim about once a month. Ear care is important in the golden retriever, as in any breed. Inspecting and cleaning the ears with an over-the-counter solution helps remove bacteria that may cause a foul odor.

Affordable Homemade Dog Food Ideas

10 Aug 2015 | Filed in Dog Food

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With the recent rash of dog food recalls, many pet owners are starting to make their dog’s food. For the home cook, it’s important to maintain the proper balance of protein, fat and nutrients. While this can be an expensive endeavor, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these tips for affordable homemade dog food ideas.

Meat

Start with the protein component of your dog’s food. Unless your dog has specific dietary restrictions, nearly any kind of meat will serve as the base for your homemade food. To maintain affordability, choose meat that’s on sale. Good, inexpensive options include ground meats like chuck or turkey. Skip fatty meat, especially if your dog has a weight problem. Prepare the meat in the same manner that you would for human consumption.

Fruits

Adding fruit to your homemade dog food is an easy, affordable way to increase the nutritional value. Good choices include cantaloupe, apples, pears and mixed berries like strawberries and blueberries. Incorporate fewer fruits than vegetables because most fruit contains more sugar than you want your dog to have at each meal. To make this an even more affordable addition to your homemade dog food, purchase frozen fruit to use instead of fresh.

Vegetables

Load up your homemade dog food with inexpensive veggies. The general rule, with a few notable exceptions, is that if a veggie is good for you, it’s good for your dog, too. Fresh or frozen make great options. To aid in digestion, it helps to steam or lightly saute vegetables like broccoli and carrots. Toss in greens like spinach or kale. Add green beans or celery to round out the veggie content.

What to Avoid

For the most part, it’s safe to feed your dog a range of meat, fruit and vegetables. However, there are some foods that your dog should never eat. Skip onions, chives, grapes and raisins. Avoid milk, chocolate and macadamia nuts. There is some debate about the safety of avocados and garlic; to play it safe, avoid them in your homemade food. You can eliminate these dangerous foods and still achieve a nutritionally balanced, affordable homemade food for your dog.

Are Dog Brain Sizes Different Among Breeds?

9 Aug 2015 | Filed in Dog Breeds

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Considering all breeds evolved from a single subspecies, the gray wolf, dogs certainly are a varied lot. Differences in dog breeds range from body size and shape to facial features. Some are better at hunting and others are better at agility, while some cunning little canines seem to be masters at manipulation. With all these obvious differences between breeds, you might wonder about differences you can’t see, such as brain size.

Some Size Variation

There is some variation in brain size among different dog breeds, but that is mostly due to variation in body size. W. Tecumseh Fitch’s 2010 book “The Evolution of Language” explains that, in general, larger animals have larger brains — you couldn’t very well encase a humpback whale’s 10-pound brain in your skull. But if you’re comparing brain size relative to body size, as the breed’s body size gets smaller, dog brain size doesn’t necessarily shrink in exact proportion. Smaller dogs tend to have brains that seem huge in proportion to their bodies when compared to the brain/body ratio of larger dogs.

Brain Size and Intelligence

You might be tempted to jump to the conclusion that your Yorkie’s relatively large brain makes him a genius. While his individual intelligence may be high, as a rule large brains don’t necessarily equal high intellect. In the article “Bigger Not Necessarily Better, When it Comes to Brains” for Science Daily, Professor Lars Chittka says that many times a bigger brain can be like a computer with a bigger hard drive, but not better processors. W. Tecumseh Fitch reinforces “bigger not always better” by pointing out that there is no evidence that smaller breed dogs with their comparatively larger brains are smarter than larger dogs with relatively smaller brains.

Selective Breeding Effects

The selective breeding of dogs has undoubtedly affected the sizes of dogs’ brains, and it’s now thought to have even affected the structure of certain breeds’ brains. The Scientific American article “Changing Minds: Has Selective Breeding Restructured Some Dog Brains?” reveals that dog breeds with shorter skulls and snouts such as pit bulls, shih tzus and pugs have their olfactory lobes located toward the back, near the base of the skull. This differs greatly from long-snouted dogs whose olfactory lobes are at the front of their brains. Even though the position of the olfactory lobes is different, lobe size is still the same.

Brainy Breeds

If there’s a difference in the size of brains among dog breeds, but bigger doesn’t mean smarter, you might wonder which breeds are considered the smartest. The first thing to note is that individual dogs of any breed might show a higher intelligence than any other dog. Also, a dog who has a natural talent for agility isn’t necessarily smarter than another breed of dog who can scent-track or hunt. But if you’re looking for an official list of the top smartest dogs, it’s satisfying to see that WebMD includes large, small and mid-sized dogs in their top 10: border collies, poodles, German shepherds, golden and Labrador retrievers, Doberman pinschers, Shetland sheepdogs, Papillons, rottweilers and Australian cattle dogs.