Monthly Archives: August 2012

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Going back to school time can be tough on your dogs.  After spending months with your kids every day they have to now adjust to spending their days alone.  Here are some steps to help you cope with your dog’s separation anxiety.

 1. Ignore the Dog

Do not pay attention to your dog when he follows you or your family around the house. Many attention seeking behaviors, including separation anxiety, can simply be corrected by ignoring them.

2. Play it Cool

Hide all departure cues from your dog so that he or she can’t begin to associate them with your departure or the departure of your kids.

3. Avoid the Meltdowns

Keep your dog from having a full-blown emotional response. This means that he should not be following you to the door when you go to leave. Instead put him in his crate with something really fun to do, well before you or your family are getting ready to leave.

4. Use the Dog Crate

Confine your dog in his crate for 10 to 15 minutes once a day when your family is home. Crate time should be fun, not punishment. This way, time in the crate will not be paired with your family’s departure.

5. Make it Fun

Associate your family’s departure with something wonderful, like a rare treat that he only gets at that time of day. Also, always ask your pup to sit before you interact with him. This sets up a predictable, structured relationship between you and your pup and helps him to understand how to get attention from you.

Pet Profile: Great Dane

Sometimes referred to as the “Apollo of Dogs,” the Great Dane was developed in Germany for its graceful appearance, large size, and hunting ability — all important attributes to the landed gentry. These same characteristics have made the breed popular today in America, even appearing in popular culture, such as the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Scooby-Doo, the newspaper comic character Marmaduke, and Astro in the TV show The Jetsons.

Physical Characteristics

The Great Dane is highly regarded for its majestic appearance and carriage. Along with exuding elegance, its large, square frame gives the dog a powerful gait with easy, long strides. The Great Dane’s coat is glossy, short and dense, and comes in various color patterns, including brindle, fawn, blue, black, harlequin, and mantle.

Personality and Temperament

The Great Dane’s massive size and spirited demeanor make it a bit difficult to control, especially for very small children. However, proper training and supervision can reform the Great Dane into a well-mannered family companion. It is also friendly towards other pets and household dogs.

Care

Coat care for this breed is minimal. It does, however, need regular exercise, which can be accomplished with a lengthy walk or a fast-paced game. And although the Great Dane looks sturdy, the dog cannot live outdoors. Instead, it is more suited to an equal schedule of indoor and outdoor activities. While indoors, it should be given plenty of space and a soft bed for sleeping.

History and Background

The Great Dane is believed to be a cross between the Greyhound and Molossus, an ancient Greco-Roman war dog breed. It may have first appeared in Germany during the 1300s and used by the residents to capture wild boar and other prey.

How the breed got its current name Great Dane is quite mysterious, as the breed is not Danish. In Germany, the breed was and is still popularly referred to today as Deutsche Dogge. Meanwhile, the British who came upon the breed named it the German Boarhound, based on its function.

As it became popular in the United States, the Great Dane Club of America formed in 1889 in Chicago. And in 1891, the Great Dane Club of Germany adopted a standard, or official description of the breed. Today the Great Dane continues to be praised in the U.S. for its power and beauty.

How to Prevent Canine Licking

Canine licking occurs for many reasons, including stress, health problems and obsessive compulsive disorder. Recognizing the underlying cause of the licking is the most important part of treating it. Before beginning any behavior modification plan, consult your veterinarian to eliminate a medical cause.

1. Calm Your Dog

Many dogs lick excessively because they are anxious or fearful. Try to determine when your dog licks. If it seems to be always in conjunction with a certain event, like getting in the car, this is probably anxiety-related. To fix it, you must relieve his anxiety.

For example, if he is afraid of thunderstorms, help your dog become more comfortable. This involves exposing him to the stimulus at low levels, such as buying a thunderstorm sound CD and playing it at a very low level, where your dog’s ears perk but he doesn’t seem stressed. Gradually, make the CD louder and louder until it mimics a thunderstorm. Give your dog treats throughout this process. If he ever gets stressed, you’re moving too fast.

2. Change His Diet

Canine licking can be brought about by allergies, and a common source of allergens is diet. Many dogs are allergic to corn, wheat or other preservatives used in commercial diets. Some dogs are allergic to certain protein sources, such as chicken.

Try putting your dog on a raw or homecooked diet that consists of no preservatives and only one protein. Some commercial diets also meet this requirement. Try one protein for two weeks and then switch to another. See if he does better on one particular diet.

3. Relieve the Itching

If your dog has environmental allergies, a dietary change won’t help. The best thing to do is help ease the itching in his skin.

At least once a week, bathe him with an oatmeal shampoo or medicinal shampoo from your vet. Wipe him off with a wet rag when he comes in from outside to remove pollens on his skin. There are many types of soothing sprays available that go directly on the hot spots as well. Many of them are holistic, such as yucca spray.

4. Train a Stop Command

Teach your dog a “leave it” command by holding a handful of treats.

  • Give him one and say, “Take it.”
  • Repeat.
  • Now say, “Leave it,” and close your fist.
  • Hold your fist right by his nose and wait for him to look away from it.
  • Once he looks at you, say, “Good.” Let him take a treat.
  • Repeat until he can look away from a treat in your flat palm.

Now, use that command when he licks himself. When he looks up at you, reward him. If you have fixed the underlying problem, he will stop licking on command.

5. Medication

If your dog has a medical condition that causes excessive grooming or sucking, you may have to put him on some medication, such as an SSRI that will help with his obsessive compulsive disorder. This must be done with veterinarian supervision.

There are many reasons why canine licking occurs, and the best way to reduce it is to reduce your dog’s discomfort. Determine the cause of the licking and proceed to the solution.

Finding the Right Dog for You

Dogs for Fitness Buffs

If you love the great outdoors, you probably want a canine companion that shares your joy. Just about every dog loves to get out and about, but breeds that adore long daily walks or vigorous exercise tend to be medium-large breeds, including Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, Irish and English setters, Weimaraners, Border collies, most pointers, German shepherds, and Dalmatians.

Dogs That Love Kids

Just about every kind of dog can turn out to be a great companion for a child, but there are some breeds that are particularly known for their love of children. Beagles and boxers are good for little kids who love to romp and play, dachshunds are great for gentle, older kids, while Labrador retrievers and Saint Bernards adore having children of all ages to play with and protect.

Independent Dogs for Busy Bees

You’re a busy one, always on the go. While dogs are pack animals and need companionship, some dogs are more independent than others and may fit your busier life, including Alaskan malamutes, borzoi (Russian wolfhounds), and Chinese shar-peis. You can also help your pup cope with your absence by having two dogs, and they needn’t be a matching set. A Lab can find great companionship with a papillon, for example.

Attention Hogs and Homebodies

You’ve got a lot of love and affection to give. If you want a pup that thrives on human companionship, think Pomeranian, Chinese crested, French bulldog, or toy poodle. For a dog that loves your attention and is a good watchdog too, one who’ll bark when strangers are near, your ideal canine mate may be a beagle, bloodhound, Old English sheepdog, or American cocker spaniel.

Pups for Apartment Dwellers

If you live in an apartment, you’re probably looking for a dog that doesn’t tend to bark without reason, and who also needs only the moderate exercise a short walk around town gives. In that case think English toy spaniels, Bedlington terriers, or Cavalier King Charles spaniels. A short walk or a good bout of indoor play is all a Havanese, affenpinscher, or Chihuahua needs too, though these dogs may tend to be more vocal.

Dogs for Allergy Sufferers

Because all dogs have a protein in their saliva and dander (flakes of dead skin) to which some people may be allergic, there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Yet some dogs do produce less dander, while others shed less and so don’t drop as much dander-laden fur around the house. A few dogs that allergy sufferers may consider include schnauzers, poodles, bichon frises, and Portuguese water dogs.

Go, Go, Globe-Trotters

Do you travel a lot for work or play? You may want a pet that’ll enjoy the journey with you. This probably means a small, easily-transportable dog, one that enjoys travel, can fit in a suitable carry-on, and remains calm and generally quiet as you two jet from coast to coast. That’s a lot to ask of a little one, but a Yorkshire terrier or a Maltese pup may be just the ticket.

Soothing Stress and Depression

Whether it’s the playfulness of a pug, the self-confidence of a Shiba Inu, or the warmth of a great Pyrenees, having the right dog (or dogs) in your life can help banish stress, ease depression, and simply make you happier. Add the grace note of your pup’s “smile” when they see you, their unabashed joy in life, and their devotion, and it’s no wonder that people and their pooches have loved each other’s company for so many years!

Training an Adult Dog

Thinking of training your dog? Here are some tips on how to effectively train your dog to ensure both of you have a great experience with positive outcomes.

  1. Praise, praise, praise – Use treats, verbal praise and petting to praise a dog that exhibits correct behavior. When a dog has followed a command and is calm and relaxed, offer some sort of treat or positive encouragement to reinforce good habits with rewards. Only offer rewards immediately after good behavior or the dog will not understand why he is getting a treat.
  2. Never hit a dog – Using physical violence is never the answer to a dog that is misbehaving. Not only is this painful to the animal but can trigger aggression and make bad habits even worse.
  3. Start with basic commands like you would with a puppy such as sit, stay, come and down.
  4. Be consistent – Continue obedience training each day and stay with your chosen method rather than switching around so you don’t confuse the dog. Also, be consistent with the commands you use but never repeat command words. If you’re dog doesn’t listen to ‘sit’ the first time, don’t repeat the word. Instead, try again later until he learns the command and offer a treat when he performs correctly.
  5. Stay calm – A calm but firm owner will reduce anxiety and fear in many dogs and also communicate clearly and efficiently.
  6. Keep family members committed: Dedication is essential when it comes to teaching an older dog obedience training. If you are committed to the right behavior but your family members are letting the dog run wild, all of your time and energy may be wasted. Guests should also be aware of any rules for your dog, like a ban on table scraps or jumping on couches, to prevent any bad habits from continuing.
  7. Make time – Dedicate at least 15 minutes every day to dog training. An adult dog has a longer attention span than a new puppy and will enjoy dog training periods for lengthier stretches of time.
  8. Stay active – Exercise is a great outlet for an energetic dog and may prevent him from becoming distracted if he’s had a chance to run around and play before training.
  9. Walking – This is one great way to keep a dog active and stimulated. Stay in control by using a short leash and starting out with small walks until the dog is behaved and comfortable on the leash.
  10. Classes – Consider signing up for a dog obedience class. These are usually offered for all types and ages of dogs and are a great way to socialize your dog while also training him.

 

Pet Profile: Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is a small terrier that is commonly confused with the Parson Russell Terrier. The Parson Russell Terrier is shorter-bodied and longer-legged, while the Jack Russell Terrier is longer-bodied and shorter-legged. It is not yet an officially recognized breed by the AKC. The UKC recognized both the Jack and Parson under the breed Russell Terriers until 2009, and the NKC recognizes the Jack but not the Parson.

    

Physical Characteristics

The Jack Russell is a small, agile, hunting terrier. Its body is slightly longer than its height. It stands at approximately 10 to 15 inches, with a compact body and short tail. The chest is the Jack Russell’s most important feature. It must be shallow and narrow, with the front legs not too far apart, giving it an athletic rather than a heavy chested look. Jack Russells were bred to hunt the red fox; accordingly, their stature had to be equipped to enter and work in the small burrows that foxes escaped into.

The Jack Russell’s coat can be wiry or smooth, but is always a dense double coat. Its coloring is generally white, or white with tan, brown or black markings. Jack Russells weigh in at approximately 14 to 18 pounds. The head is broad and flat, with a powerful jaw containing a scissor bite, and straight, slightly large teeth. Jack Russells move with a jaunty, confident gait that portrays the character of the breed.

Personality and Temperament

Jack Russell Terriers are characteristically high energy and very driven. Even though they are small in size, Jack Russells are not recommended for apartment dwellers due to their need for exercise and stimulation. They can get restless and destructive if not given enough stimulation. Overall though, they are a merry, devoted breed.

They are also very intelligent, athletic, fearless, and vocal dogs. Obedience training is highly advised as they have a tendency to be stubborn and aggressive at times. This, combined with their loud and energetic nature, makes them great guard dogs, however.

Care

The biggest care concern with Jack Russells is making sure they get enough exercise. Outside of that, caring for them is relatively simple. Jack Russells only need to be bathed when necessary due to their short coat. Regular combing and brushing is recommended with a firm bristle brush.

To get a Jack Russell Terrier show-worthy, its coat must be stripped rather than clipped. This creates a shorter and smoother coat that is water and bramble resistant, unlike clipped coats.

Why You Should Get Your Pet Groomed!

1. Healthy Grooming

Professional pet groomers know exactly how to make your dog handsome without causing any injuries. If you try grooming your dog at home you might end up hurting your dog with cuts, scratches or skin irritations.

The pet groomers will thoroughly inspect your dog’s paws for cuts, thorns or punctures. When detecting these they will apply antiseptic solutions to avoid an infection.

If your pet has a skin condition, a groomer will be able to apply the most suitable products to protect your dog’s skin. If you try grooming your pet at home and he has a skin condition, you might only cause irritations.

2. Trouble-Free Nail Trimming

Dogs need a nail trim once a month. Nail trimming is a dreaded task for most pet owners. Dogs don’t like the process and you can end up cutting the nail too short. A dog groomer knows exactly how to make your dog cooperative and cut the nails to the appropriate size.

3. Professional Hair Cuts

There are certain dog breeds such as Poodles with continuously growing hair. These dogs will need a haircut and a professional groomer knows how to give your dog the perfect style.

4. Appropriate Grooming Supplies

Just like humans, pets have different needs: long haired dogs need different grooming supplies than short haired breeds. The professional groomers are aware of this and use the most appropriate grooming supplies for top results and to avoid any irritations. A groomer will know what type of hair brush to use and will give a hair cut when needed.

5. Enjoyable Massage

Massaging your dog can be difficult when you don’t know your pet’s muscle groups. A groomer will be able to give your dog a healthy and pleasurable massage that will relax your pet. A proper massage has numerous health benefits: de-stresses the pet and stimulates the dog’s circulatory system.

6. Detection of Early Warning Signs

Professional groomers are familiar with dog anatomy and if they notice abnormalities such as lumps, skin discoloration, rashes, skin lesions, bald patches, gum discoloration or bleeding, they might be able to detect early warning signs of illnesses.

7. Detection of Parasites

A well-trained professional groomer will be able to tell you immediately if your dog has parasites. He will check your pet’s coat for fleas, the ears for ear mites and other parasites that may not be visible for you.

8. Valuable Tips

A professional groomer can observe if your pet’s skin is too dry or too oily and will be able to make suitable dietary recommendations for your dog’s well-being. The skin of your dog will reflect his diet. If this is imbalanced, your dog will have unhealthy skin. An unhealthy skin means dull fur and hair loss, so it’s better to detect the problem from its root and start healing the skin to a get shiny, good-looking coat for your pet.