Her name was Sarah and she was a German shepherd mix rescued from the pound. Sarah, my significant other, and I all lived in a rather crowded walkup that was simply unequal to the task of keeping Sarah exercised despite the long hardwood hallway, the length of which was perfect for tossing her ball down. Sarah, and our downstairs neighbor, was thrilled at the prospect of finding the perfect doggy playground for her to stretch her legs. Finding the perfect dog park however, is as much about trial and error as any other factor. These three tips should help you narrow down your search considerable in the hunt for an outdoor play space.
Know Your Dog…
Dog parks, like people parks, have their hours of peak attendance, and if your dog stresses out easily, or shows aggressive characteristics, you should consider bringing them to the park when few other dogs are there. Unfortunately, on our first sojourn to the local dog park, our previously mild-mannered pup identified the largest dog in the bunch before making a beeline towards him and started attacking him. My wife and I dragged Sarah off him, and hauled her back to the car along the path of shame, before vowing to find deserted times for her to get exercise.
Know Your Neighbors…
When we talk of neighbors, we are speaking of our human neighbors at the dog park, not the disgruntled ones living below. Engaged owners who are playing with their furry family members and not merely leaving them to their own devices, so you should be able to identify which pooch goes with which parent. We accept that dogs will be dogs, and that is why we love them, but when an animal’s owners abrogate responsibility for their pet’s behavior, it ruins the fun for everyone.
Know Your Facilities…
When assessing the merits of a park’s amenities, look more for what will benefit the dog than the owner. Rather that scouting for picnic tables and benches, you should make sure that there are adequate water sources, secured fencing, clean, and separate play areas so the little guys can have just as much fun as the big dogs whether they choose to stay on or off the metaphorical porch.
Taking Fido to the beach can seal your status as the best pet parent ever in their eyes. The shear array of exotic scents and sounds can send them into a sensory overload of canine joy. To make sure that the experience is as safe for them as it is exhilarating, pet parents need to be cogent of a few basic safety facts and learn to recognize warning signs overheating and exhaustion.
Sun and Heat…
The message is getting out concerning the dangers of leaving a dog inside a locked car in hot weather, and many of the same dangers of that environment exist for your dog at the beach as well. Ensuring a fun, safe day requires that pet parents are aware of all aspects of their furry friend’s beach activity. Light colored dogs, short-coated breeds, and those with pink noses or hairless are particularly susceptible to sunburn just as humans are. Prior to your summer outing, you should check with your vet about getting some doggy safety approved sunscreen. Additionally, you will want to have copious quantities of fresh water for your pup and a shady place for them to rest in between bouts of frenzied activity.
Warning Signs of Overheating…
As your pet frolics in the surf or burrows down to the nether regions of Middle Earth, keep your eyes open for signs of overheating of heat exhaustion in your animal. Specifically, take note of the following symptoms of overheating:
- Coordination issues
- Excessive panting
The moment your canine companion hits the beach, he will be on sensory overload, so it is up to you to make sure that is body can keep up with that excitement and remain safe.
When he HAS to come to you EVERYTIME…
As mentioned, the smells, sights, sounds, and distractions will play havoc on your dog’s ability to stay focused on your commands, and for his safety, that is the worst possible time for her to be forgetting her basic obedience skills. Since it will be far too late to work on those recall commands as your dog hurls himself towards the edge of the cliff, it’s imperative that you practice your recall commands, so that regardless of what’s going on around him, your dog will come to you when called 100% of the time.
If man’s best friend is becoming a nuisance at dinner time, the are some things that you can do to better
Fido’s table manners. From distraction to restraining, there are some easy ways to keep your dog from begging for table scraps.
One easy trick to try is simple distraction. If you begin to train your dog that each time you have dinner, he gets a treat, it will be easier to keep him from begging.
A great way to do this is with a toy from a company like Kong. They make interactive chew toys that can be filled with peanut butter or treats. This keeps your dog busy the entire time you are eating, and not only that, he will come to know that each time you get ready to sit down for dinner, he is getting his Kong.
If you have crate trained your dog, it is easy to direct him to his crate during meal times. Simply give him a treat so that going into the crate is not a punishment, but more of a reward for his good behavior during meal times.
No People Food
Another, somewhat simple, way to keep your dog from begging during meal times is never to get him started on people food in the first place. If you begin by feeding your dog during your dinner time, and never share your food with him, he will not get a taste for human food at all. If you both eat at the same time, begging won’t be a problem.
This also means that you must keep your guests from sneaking your dog scraps from the table, too. We all know a family member or friend who just cannot help it, and hates to say no to a dog. Just let them know that you have trained your dog not to beg, and ask them please not to share their food with your pup.
There are several ways to perfect your dog’s table manners, and starting with these from an early age are key. Good luck!
Children, drinks, and even grocery bags, have secure places to ride within a vehicle, but what about Dog-Kids? Gone are the days of only taking Fido on car rides for yearly vet visits. As more humans live in urban areas, we like to bring our pets on hikes, to playgrounds made just for them to play with other pets and even to stores that cater to their needs. Pets commonly ride in vehicles, and now some manufacturers are making vehicles with these pets in mind.
Safety and comfort are the two top priorities when it comes to transporting your pup.
The Jeep Liberty Offers tons of extras made just for pet owners to fit perfectly into the model. It also has back seats that fold down, and allow your pet and his buddies room for the ride that is comparable to the back of a pick up but safer.
Dodge Journey SE
The Dodge Journey offers something that not many vehicles have, it has a cooler in the dash to keep water so you and your pet can stay hydrated after a hike in the woods. This SUV is rated high on safety and off road capabilities as well.
This vehicle can go off road, so taking your pet off the beaten path is safe and easy. Side Curtain Airbags, will protect the four legged passengers in the passenger, or back seat. While they ride in comfort on the leather upholstery.
Remember to keep your pet safe while on the road by keeping lose items secure in the vehicle and not allowing them to hang their head out the window unless you are going really slow down a back road.
Sometimes pet kids can become overwhelming when they develop discipline problems. It can be frustrating to find the furniture, or shoes ruined, or to have the neighbors complain about the noise. Most pet behavior problems can be addressed if the owner is willing to put in the time and show both discipline and patience.
Common Dog Discipline Issues
- Chewing. Puppies are going to chew, and should have plenty of safe toys to ease their gums on. However, when the chewing returns after teething and it ruins your things there is likely an issue that needs to be addressed.
- Barking. Many people get a dog because of the security of having a dog bark at intruders, however some dogs take this to an extreme that interrupts the sleep of the entire neighborhood.
- Defecating or urinating inside after potty training has been accomplished. If a pet starts eliminating inside the house after he/she has already been trained, there is likely an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Do not be too harsh, because the issue may be medical.
- Jumping. Dogs just love company, and greeting their family when everyone comes home. However jumping can hurt, and ruin clothing there are ways to deter jumping without hurting the dogs excited, loving feelings.
- Chasing. Dogs have had jobs in the past, and they get bored. Chasing is a way for a dog to work, but it can be very dangerous to the dogs life and must be addressed by offering the dog a different “job” to pass the time. Something like finding a hidden toy, and leading on long walks.
- Begging. This bad habit is likely a direct result of the dog being given treats during human meal time. It may be cute, but it is also likely a hindrance when attempting to have a family meal.
- Growling or biting. This may be the worst habit of a dog because it endangers other people. Even a small breed can cause the need for stitches. Addressing this behavior is of up most importance.
All of these discipline problems can make pets hard to handle, but treating most problems is a matter of putting in time and addressing each issue individually. After making sure that the bad habit is not caused by a health problem, training techniques such as distraction, rewards, set schedules, and addressing issued early on before they become habits can make life much more peaceful for Fido.
Some dogs, especially smaller, more anxious breeds, tend to have issues with thunder and other loud noises. In most cases, those dogs that are afraid of thunder tend to exhibit a set of behaviors that are difficult for owners to treat without taking the time to truly consider what is happening. The first symptom that owners may notice that points to a phobia of thunder is hunkering down or crouching when thunder is heard.
This may mean that dogs are more aggressive when there is thunder and they are hunkered down in this defensive pose. It is important that owners understand that these dogs are not capable of understanding that there is no reason to be scared and should therefore be treated with care. Another behavior you may notice is wetting, this means wetting themselves or their beds when they hear thunder. Again, this is not the fault of the dog and which should be considered when this behavior is discovered. Some other behaviors may be barking, whimpering, hiding, and even running around when thunder is being experienced.
The best way to treat this type of phobia is to first take the time to show your pet that there is nothing to fear. This may mean taking them up in your lap when there is thunder, talk to them in a soothing voice, associate thunder with a positive reinforcement like treats or snuggles. Another way to help treat this is to allow your pet to find a safe place where they feel as if the thunder will not hurt them. This could be a crate, a bed, a special blanket, and more. The most important thing to remember is that your pet needs you and being patient is the best way to help them get over their phobias.
The idea of a cuddly, loving dog anxiously awaiting your arrival at the front door is something that is appealing to almost everyone. Who wouldn’t want to come home to someone who is constantly happy to see them? But when it comes down to it, a lot of people aren’t cut out for the commitment of being a dog owner. A dog is an addition to the family that needs the same love and care as a small child would. Before jumping into responsibilities that your family cannot handle, you should ask yourself the following questions.
Do I have the time needed to dedicate to a dog? The dog will require extra attention, especially in the beginning when everything is still new. Unlike humans, who can handle activities by themselves such as using the bathroom at any time with ease or grabbing food and water from the fridge, a dog depends on you for these things.
Is everyone in my household comfortable around dogs? Some people simply are not fans of animals, and allergies can be problematic. You wouldn’t want to get an animal that your family falls in love with only to find out that you need to get rid of it because of little Sally’s unexpected, yet serious allergies.
Am I financially prepared to support a dog throughout its entire life? The dog will need you to provide food and toys, and you will need to pay for veterinarian expenses, etc. If you’re away from home for longer than your average workday, you will have to think about hiring a dog walker or making plans for a neighbor or friend to feed and walk your dog.
If these are things you cannot handle, you are probably not ready for a family dog.
If you’re a dog owner that loves to take your pet along for the ride, you and your dog have probably dealt with motion sickness at some point. What causes motion sickness, and more importantly, what can you do about it?
Motion Sickness Causes
In puppies, motion sickness is common because the inner ear is not fully developed. Among adult dogs, motion sickness is often triggered by stress. They can associate car rides with past bouts of vomiting or unpleasant trips to the vet. However, if your dog normally enjoys car rides, there could be an underlying medical reason for his motion sickness. Ask your vet about side effects from medication, ear infections and other ear conditions.
Overcoming Motion Sickness
If your dog is not used to traveling in the car, the best thing you can do is start slow. On the first day of training, sit with your dog in a running vehicle for a few minutes. The next day, you can add a step by backing out of the driveway and pulling back in. After several days of baby steps, your dog should be able to handle 20 to 30 minute excursions. Don’t let your dog become overly anxious – if he becomes nervous, stop for the day so that he doesn’t start to form negative associations.
If you and your dog are experiencing difficulty overcoming motion sickness, there are a few things you can try to make him feel more relaxed. Keep the interior of the car at a comfortable temperature, and roll the windows down an inch or two so that there is a constant supply of fresh air. Bring something from home – like your dog’s favorite blanket – to help him feel cozy. You can also make car rides extra fun by giving him special toys and treats that are reserved only for traveling.
The first step to socializing your puppy is to get started right away. You do want to introduce them to new animals and people gradually, but if you’re not introducing them to new friends within the first few weeks, it only gets more and more difficult to get them started.
For most puppies, the window of opportunity shuts at around 12-16 weeks, so four to five months in, if you haven’t begun socializing your pooch, they may become antisocial and reclusive, not to mention aggressive, inflexible and stubborn.
The most important thing is to accustom your pet to a social lifestyle. When at the vet, let them visit with other animals. Introduce them gradually to family and friends. Take them out in public and let them meet with people from all sorts of backgrounds. As funny as it sounds, some dogs grow up to be distrusting of older people simply because they’ve never met an elderly person. They may be distrusting of children just because all the people in their lives are twice that tall and half that energetic. Without neglecting safety, ensure that your puppy is exposed to a wide range of people and animals.
If you have a shy pup, that’s okay, animals are like people, some are extroverts, some are introverts. Just make sure that you encourage them to do as much socializing as they’re comfortable with. Be there for them, pet them and talk to them as they meet new friends, make it easier for them to get to know other people, dogs, cats and other animals, and they’ll regard socializing as something fun, rather than something stressful.
So, you’ve decided to adopt a furry new baby into your family. That’s wonderful. Whichever cat or dog you choose will be grateful that your heart was open to bringing them into your home and surrounding them with the love they’ve longed to receive. They have so much love to give in return, after all. Adopting a new four-legged friend will enrich both of your lives in many wonderful ways. All you have to do is choose the animal you know was meant for you.
There are many ways to go about this, but the best by far is to adopt from an animal shelter. There you will find dozens of sweet dogs and cats who have ended up there through no fault of their own, and who would love to go home with you. If you’ve decided the animal shelter is how you want to find your new family member, here are the basics of shelter adoption.
1. Look online. There are a lot of websites out there that show you animals all over the country that are available for adoption from the nation’s shelters. The Shelter Pet Project is one. Pets.com is another. There are many more. You will often find photos and case histories of the animals on the websites. You may just find the perfect match for your family on your computer screen.
2. Visit your local shelters. If you don’t see an animal that seems perfect for you online, go look in person. Shelters receive new animals every day, and you never know when just looking into the eyes of a dog or cat in person will make you certain you’ve found “the one.” If you don’t see the perfect pet for you right away, keep looking online and visiting local shelters until you do. The pet that is meant for you will show up in no time.
3. Contact the shelter if you’ve found your pet online to make sure the animal is still available. If it is, make an appointment to go there and complete the adoption. If you’ve found your pet in person, start the adoption right there.
4. Fill out the appropriate paperwork each shelter requires to make sure you’re a good match for the pet. It works both ways, you know.
5. If the shelter determines you and your new furry bundle of joy are right for each other (and chances are they will), pay the shelter’s adoption fee and take your newest family member home. You’ll never regret it….and neither will your pet.