Potty Training Tips for Chocolate Labradors

29 Nov 2015 | Filed in Dog Training

Once called the “lesser” or “St. John’s” Newfoundland, the dog we know today as the Labrador retriever was originally bred for water retrieving. It still excels at this task today, but it has also soared in popularity as a family dog. According to the American Kennel Club, it is the most commonly owned dog in America. The AKC recognizes three different colors for Labradors; black, yellow and chocolate. These intelligent, friendly, easygoing and energetic dogs have come to be known as “labs.”

Use a Crate

Using a crate is not cruel. Your chocolate lab can come to enjoy a nap or some time away from young children inside its crate. Labs dislike going potty and sleeping in the same place, so a crate can help you potty train your lab by eliminating messes while you aren’t home. To save money, purchase a crate that will be large enough for your adult Labrador (which can weigh up to 80 pounds) to stand up and turn around. If your lab is still a puppy, purchase a divider to shrink the space down so that your puppy won’t have room to use a corner as a bathroom area. Tuck treats into your dog’s bedding inside the crate to encourage it to explore the crate on its own. Give it time to get used to the crate before locking it inside.

Frequent Potty Trips

Your chocolate lab should be able to hold its bladder about one hour for every month of age. This means that a four-month-old lab can reasonably be expected to hold it for four hours, but you should give your lab opportunities to relieve itself more frequently than that. Walk it outside on a leash every two to three hours. Go to the same spot every time. Encourage your chocolate lab to go potty. When it does, reward it with treats and praise. Your affectionate lab will love the attention it is getting from you. You can also play a quick game of fetch as a reward. This type of positive attention will teach your lab that it is going potty in an appropriate place.

Correcting Mistakes

Unless a health problem is causing your lab to make messes in the house, it probably doesn’t know where it is allowed to go and where it isn’t. Your job is to teach it. Using positive reinforcement when your dog potties in the yard will help. In addition, teaching it not to go inside the house is simpler than you might think. Interrupt your lab with a noise whenever you catch it making a mess in the house. Take it outside, encourage it to potty and reward it when it does. Labs are affectionate dogs and don’t respond well to punishment or negative reinforcement. These methods can create fear and further complicate house training.

Teach Your Lab to Ask

As your lab learns where it is supposed to potty, you can start to teach it to ask when it needs to go out. Tie a bell to your doorknob. Show it to your chocolate lab and encourage it to “touch” the bell with its nose. Reward it with praise and a treat when it does this. After your dog learns to touch the bell, start requiring it to touch the bell before taking it outside. Don’t open the door until it does ring the bell. When it does, let it out immediately. After your lab goes potty, praise it and reward it with treats. Eventually you can start withholding the treats, but your chocolate lab should always be rewarded with a trip outside when it rings the bell.

Rescue Dog Behavior Problems

26 Nov 2015 | Filed in Dog Problems

Bringing home a rescue dog changes that pup’s entire life in a profound way, but that also means a few changes in your life. Because of the horrible past experiences many rescue dogs go through, they sometimes bring along a few problematic behaviors and tendencies with them. But with enough time and training, you can correct even the worst behaviors.

Trust and Anxiety Issues

There are some cases where rescue dogs immediately warm up to their new owners, giving lots of kisses and love. But many pups who are rescued have moderate to severe trust and anxiety issues, and it’s no wonder. Some of these dogs have been tossed out in the cold, others dealt with long-term abuse and some lived in horrible conditions, surrounded by their own waste. They’ve been dealt a pretty bad hand in life, and they haven’t had a good reason to trust anyone or anything. They’re worried about how their new owners will treat them and what they will encounter. How they act depends largely on their past experiences. If a pup suffered abuse at the hand of a man, she may be more trusting of women and flee to her secure spot if a guy comes within five feet of her. And sometimes the dog may not trust anyone, shying away from all interaction.

Irrational Fears

A lot of times, rescue dogs haven’t experienced anything aside from neglect. The first time you brighten one’s life and bring her home, she’s seeing and hearing things that can be really scary at first. You would think every dog loves squeakers, or at least tolerates them, but dogs who’ve never had toys before may freak out when they hear that first squeak. On the flip side, there are certain stimuli that a rescue dog may have associated with negative experiences. A classic example is a newspaper. It’s harmless in your hand, but your new furry friend may have been smacked with newspapers before, so when you lift one up, she cowers.


It’s not uncommon to bring your little rescue girl home and hear a deep growl when you walk past her food bowl, struggle to keep her from lunging and sinking her teeth into another dog or otherwise witness aggression. Something usually triggers the aggressive episodes. If she grew up in a hoarding situation, she may have had to compete for food, which would explain possession aggression. If she was neglected, she may act aggressively out of fear. Even though you removed her from her awful situation, her aggressive tendencies still remain. She doesn’t know that another dog won’t steal her food or that she doesn’t need to fight for her life upon encountering another canine.

Bad Habits

Some rescue dogs may not have any trust issues, few irrational fears and not an ounce of aggression, but you can almost guarantee they’ll all have bad habits. The first few weeks, months or even years with your new rescue will probably result in you trying to break some of those nasty habits. She may jump on people, rip up the couch, destroy things when you leave, relieve herself on your floor and may act like she’s deaf when you try to stop her.

Fixing All the Issues

Remember that no matter what problems your rescue comes with, she can be trained and counterconditioned so that all those bad habits, aggressive tendencies, fears and trust issues will go by the wayside. Showing her lots of love and teaching her basic obedience with positive reinforcement will help her warm up to you and mold her into a better behaved canine. As for deep-seated fears, aggression and severe behavior problems, talk to a certified dog trainer, especially if she’s aggressive.

The Average Life Span of an Irish Wolfhound

21 Nov 2015 | Filed in Dog Life Style

The Irish wolfhound is a breed of massive and stately canine that has an extensive history of hunting, mostly of Irish elk and wolves. In the modern age, Irish wolfhounds are beloved companion pets, with mild, soft and friendly overall dispositions. In keeping with their names, Irish wolfhounds’ origins indeed lie in the Emerald Isles.

Average Life Span of Irish Wolfhounds

Irish wolfhounds have brief life expectancies when compared with many other breeds in the canine world. These hounds’ life spans usually last for anywhere between 8 and 10 years, indicates the website DogChannel.com.

Bigger Dogs

As far as size goes, Irish wolfhounds are immense canines, with heights, beginning at their shoulders, of between 30 and 34 inches. They possess the distinction of being the tallest of all doggie breeds, notes the American Kennel Club. Their considerable stature, however, is part of the reason their life expectancies are on the short side. Bigger dogs do not usually live as long as tinier ones — think Lhasa apsos, Pomeranians and Yorkshire terriers. The vital organs of big pooches undergo more pressure and stress than those of the little guys, hence the shorter lives.

Common Health Conditions Within the Breed

The presence of health conditions often affects the length of an Irish wolfhound’s life. As a breed, these dogs are occasionally susceptible to ailments including bone cancer, von Willebrand’s disease, gastric torsion, heart disease, progressive retinal atrophy, lymphoma and hyperthyroidism, among others. Cardiac failure specifically leads to many fatalities in dogs of this breed, reports the Irish Wolfhound Club of America.

Veterinary Attention and Exercise

Although you can never predict how long an Irish wolfhound — or a dog of any breed — might live specifically, you can put in your strongest efforts to encourage his glowing longevity. This includes a combination of proper diet, physical fitness, peaceful home environment and routine veterinary care. Make sure that your Irish wolfhound goes to the veterinarian a minimum of once per year. If he’s on the elderly side, up his vet visits to once in each 6 months. If anything ever seems wrong, health-wise, get the cutie to the veterinarian’s office immediately. Daily physical fitness is a must for Irish wolfhounds. Extended outdoor strolls work well for these purposes. Since Irish wolfhounds are such large animals, confined and tight living environments aren’t suitable for them.

Health Problems Caused by Coprophagia in Dogs

18 Nov 2015 | Filed in Dog Health

As unappetizing as it may sound, coprophagia, the act of consuming feces, is common with dogs. In most cases, this act is behavioral, though medical conditions, such as malnutrition can contribute. In addition to being a highly undesirable behavior, your dog’s coprophagia can increase his risk of exposure to various parasites and infections. While some dogs choose to eat their own feces, the greatest risk occurs when eating feces from other dogs or other animals.


Animal feces, regardless of species, host a variety of different parasites. Roundworms, hookworms and whipworms spread through exposure to fecal matter, as do giardia and coccidian. If you also have a feline companion, the litter box may offer a buffet for your dog. Unfortunately, cat feces can carry the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis. Symptoms vary based on the parasite involved but can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and weight loss. If left untreated, parasitic infestation can be fatal.


Canine hepatitis, caused by adenovirus type 1, is a highly contagious viral disease. While commonly transmitted through contact with contaminate urine, hepatitis can spread through the ingestion of infected feces. Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, pain while eating, yellowing of the eyes and gums, seizures and increased thirst and urination. Because vaccines are available for canine hepatitis, those at greatest risk include puppies and unvaccinated dogs.


Canine parvovirus, or CPV, is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads through direct and indirect contact with an infected dog. Parvovirus sheds in the feces of infected animals and can survive in the stool and surrounding soil for up to a year. Ingesting the feces will spread the virus, though simply sniffing infected feces is enough to cause infection. Symptoms of parvovirus include severe and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia, lethargy and fever. Because vaccinations against parvovirus are available, puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at the greatest risk.


While coprophagia is typically a behavioral issue, it is best to rule out any underlying causes of the behavior, such as poor nutrition. Talk with your veterinarian to ensure you are feeding your dog an appropriate diet and he is getting the necessary nutrients. Adding enzyme supplements may be necessary to improve digestion or absorption, but don’t do it without a vet consultation. Clean your dog’s living area of all feces on a regular basis. If your yard is open to other dogs, check the yard for feces and dispose of it before allowing your dog to go outside. When taking your dog to local parks or a walk around the neighborhood, keep him away from other animal feces. Keep your cats’ litter boxes out of his reach.

Natural Dog Food for Underweight Dogs

13 Nov 2015 | Filed in Dog Food

Grains! No grains! Lots of protein! Too much protein! With all the hype about dog food, it can be very difficult to know where to even start considering what to feed your pooch. In order to gain weight safely, your need to pick a food that’s not likely to be recalled, full of bacteria or that’s going to cause him to lose more weight. In order to accomplish that feat, stick to natural foods from companies that carefully screen their sources.

The Honest Kitchen

When feeding an underweight dog, correcting nutritional imbalances while helping your four-legged friend gain weight is vital. The Honest Kitchen is an all-natural, organic, dehydrated raw pet food company based out of California. Their foods are high calorie and contain easily digestible ingredients. All ingredients in The Honest Kitchen line of foods are certified free of bacteria, mold, yeast and pesticides.

There are seven foods formulated to be 100 percent balanced, with three of them (Thrive, Embark and Love) suitable for puppies. One of the foods, Preference, is not a balanced diet and must have meat added in order to make it complete. One of the best things about The Honest Kitchen foods, though, is the way it’s prepared. Because it is a dehydrated raw food, it requires water to re-hydrate it so it can be eaten. Not only does this significantly boost your dog’s water intake, it easily allows you to mix-in weight-boosting supplements and add-ins, such as additional raw meat, raw eggs, Greek yogurt, and oils.

When mixing add-ins and raw, uncooked supplements to your dog’s food, it’s important to either mix it with a raw diet or to feed them entirely separate of your dog’s kibble. Kibble digestion requires significantly different enzymes and follows a different process than the digestion of raw foods. When raw foods and kibble are fed together, the results can often be disastrous!

The Honest Kitchen formula with the highest calorie content is Love, a grain-free, beef based diet. Coming in a close second is Embark, a grain-free turkey diet. For dogs who need a bit higher carbohydrate content to make their food stick to their ribs, Thrive contains quinoa, an extremely high-quality, amino acid-rich grain most dogs tolerate very well.


Orijen, a Canadian-based company, utilizes all natural, organic, locally sourced ingredients for their “biologically appropriate” kibble. Orijen kibble is cooked with a special focus on preserving the enzymes and nutrition found in the raw ingredients while creating an easy-to-feed, convenient, non-messy food.

Orijen is 80 percent meat, 20 percent fruits and veggies and has no grain products whatsoever. The high meat content keeps even the pickiest eater eating and allows skinny critters to extract the most nutrition possible out of the kibble. Waste becomes minimal, meaning there’s less to pick up, and the extremely high calorie content means your pup will gain weight without difficulty.


Acana is produced by the same company as Orijen. It possesses the same high-quality ingredients and quality control, but has a higher carbohydrate content. For somes dogs, the additional carbs can help them gain and keep weight a little easier. Some of the Acana formulas are grain-free, and some contain a single grain source. All of the Acana formulas contain 420-430 calories per cup.


Timberwolf Organics is a Florida-based company specializing in kibble diets that mimic the diet of wolves in the wild. All of their formulas are balanced nutritionally and have at least 500 calories per cup, while the highest calorie formula, the grain free Wild and Natural, has 564 calories per cup. Each of the formulas are geared for optimal digestion and contain a number of herbs and supplements to ensure your pup grows at the proper rate, doesn’t suffer digestive upsets and remains healthy throughout the weight-gain process.

Which Canine Breeds Are Brindle?

7 Nov 2015 | Filed in Dog Breeds

Brindled dogs often have a natural tiger-stripe camouflage.

Brindled dogs are those whose coats have a tricolor tiger-stripe or patchy pattern, often in the brown, gold or earth tones range. Many breeds can be brindled, but only one is bred to be brindled across the board. Brindle patterns usually are reserved for dogs with very short coats, though brindled dogs come in various sizes.

Treeing Tennessee Brindle

The treeing Tennessee brindle is the only dog expected to always have a brindled coat. As his name implies, he’s a hunting dog who sniffs out game and sends it up a tree until the hunter arrives. Also as the name implies, the treeing Tennessee brindle hails from the Ozark Mountains and is a descendant of the brindle cur. His brindled coat is so prized, the Treeing Tennessee Brindle Breeders Association was formed just to preserve it. Treeing Tennessee brindles are intelligent, courageous and easy-going companions.

Pit Bull

Pit bull terriers come in a wide array of colors, from solid white to brindled — and even their brindle patterns come in a wide palette. Pit bulls are naturally good-natured around people and are extremely loyal companions. Their much-discussed aggressive tendencies usually are aimed at other dogs, but if properly trained, pit bulls usually are benevolent creatures.

Cardigan Welsh Corgi

The Cardigan Welsh corgi is the corgi with the tail and is the older of the two corgi breeds — the Pembroke Welsh corgi being the other breed. Cardigans are low-riders with squat bodies who can adapt as easily to country life as they can to a city apartment. They are loyal, affectionate and even-tempered and tend to love the family. Cardigans’ coats come in red, sable, black, blue merle and brindle, though white markings are common.

Plott Hound

Plott hounds are named for the German brothers who brought curs and hounds to the United States in the 1750s. Though mainly hunting dogs, Plotts are loyal, intelligent companions who quickly learn new things. They are exceedingly courageous and even have been known to take on bears while hunting. Their coats are short and shiny and may be any shade of brindle, solid black, black and brindle trimmed or buckskin.

Boston Terrier

The dapper Boston terrier often sports a tuxedo-like black-and-white coat. But “the American gentleman” of dog breeds also may sport a seal coat with white markings or a brindle coat. The Boston terrier is gentle, loyal and easy to train. He also requires only a moderate amount of exercise and minimal grooming.


Like middleweight fighters, boxer terriers are toned, well-muscled and athletic. While boxers typically are white with faun coloring, they can sport brindle coats over their white bellies. Intelligent and deeply affectionate, boxers make excellent guard dogs and top-notch protectors of children. They require little grooming, but need daily exercise, just as any boxer would.


Dachshunds are playful, spirited and fearless companions who were bred to ferret out badgers — their name actually translates to “badger hound” in German. Dachshunds may sport long, short or wiry fur, but they come in an array of colors, from chocolate brown to brindle.