Posts in Category: Training & Behavior
We don’t call dogs our best friends for nothing. They enjoy our company and are hardwired to protect us, work for us, and be our companions. In a perfect world we’d spend all day with our dogs, but for most of us this just isn’t a possibility.
Leaving your dog home alone doesn’t mean you’re a bad pet owner. Fortunately there are some great ways to enrich your dog’s life (and keep your house intact) while you’re away from home.Continue…
It’s that time of year again! Davenport’s beloved Street Fest 2018 is officially underway July 27-28th, and we couldn’t be more excited. Whether you partake in the food, music, gorgeous arts and crafts booths, or come down to celebrate the final day of RAGBRAI (which concludes right here in Davenport this year), it’s sure to be a fun event.
Bringing dogs to Street Fest is a tradition for many pet owners, but the crowds, noise, heat, and other factors can quickly turn a fun event into a disaster if you aren’t prepared. If you are considering bringing a four-legged companion to Street Fest this year, we offer you the following tips and tricks for keeping dogs safe in crowds… Continue…
If you are like most adults, you probably punch the clock in one form or another. Working can be a pain, but it brings us a source of income, a feeling of fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. Believe it or not, many of our canine friends are no different. Keep reading to learn more about working dogs and what type of jobs they have beyond being loyal friends.
Working Dogs Who Help the Public
Public service is a place where our working dogs excel. They are a natural at many of the jobs asked of them. Dogs who work in the public sector may work with the military or law enforcement and often specialize in particular areas such as: Continue…
Dog parks can present several benefits for our canine companions. From opportunities to socialize to essential mental and physical engagement, our dogs thoroughly enjoy those daily or weekly dog park excursions. But, there is a caveat: dog parks can also be sources of dog fights and irresponsibility on the part of pet owners.
Whether you’re new to the dog park routine or are simply looking for some tips to make your dog’s social experiences more enjoyable, we will cover some dog park basics that are often overlooked or ignored. Continue…
When it comes to puppy training consistency is the key.
Always use the same door to take your puppy outside to eliminate.
Take him or her to the same area. Hopefully once that area smells like urine and stool their sense of smell will help stimulate them to eliminate.
Go out with them, so you can praise while they are going and give a treat right afterwards. Don’t give them their treat once they are in the house. If you do, you praised them for is coming back in, not going potty outdoors.
Always use the same word for elimination, Start talking as soon as you take them out of the kennel and continue until you get to the designated place outside. Choose a word. It can be “go potty”, “do your business” or any other phrase that works for both you and your puppy.
If your puppy starts going to the door on his or her own, ask them to let you know it’s time to go out. An easy way to do this is to hang a bell by your door. You can teach the pup to touch the bell or simply reward them when they do it inadvertently.
If your puppy goes outside and doesn’t get down to business (within 5 minutes or so) bring them back indoors and put them in their kennel (yes I do recommend crates or kennels). Wait about 15-20 minutes and try again. Make a big deal about it when they go outside (“YEH!!! GOOD PUPPY, GOOD JOB….LOOK HOW SMART YOU ARE!!!!!”) Go ahead and give a treat as well. (Remember, give the treat while they are outside.)
Anytime your puppy has been playing for more the 30 minutes go outside again…… Puppies can’t engage in more than 30-50 minutes of active play without needing to eliminate!
Puppy stays in the kennel when you can’t give them 100 % of your attention!!!! That way they can’t sneak off into another room. Use it like a play pen or crib for babies . As they get better, try using the kennel less and less.
If your puppy makes a mistake in the house, clean it up thoroughly and be more vigilant. The fewer mistakes your puppy makes indoors the faster he or she will learn. No corrections unless you catch them in the act. If you see your pup going potty in the house, startle and redirect. Yell, shake a penny can or throw a toy towards them and then quickly take them to their designated area outdoors. Spankings just scare and confuse the puppy.
Repeat as needed for good house breaking…. If you put all of your work in at the beginning you and Rover WILL SUCCEED!
House breaking is easier in the winter. I find that you and your dog spend very little time outside, so the puppy really learns what you want. Whereas in the summer, when both people and pets want to spend a lot of time outside, puppy can potty any time and may have a much harder time understanding the actual mission. Still if you are consistent you will get the job done.
AAHA Pets’ Matter is a great source of information on pet health. This week we’d like to share their tips for keeping your dog healthy and active in the winter months. Just click on the link below.
Have a wonderful and safe New Year!
We have all seen owners and/or trainers who have taught their dog, bird, horse or cat to do amazing things. Birds with huge vocabularies, bike riding dogs and dancing horses. So how hard should it really be to teach our dog to tolerate a visit to the vet?? If you’re willing to invest a little time, you can train your dog to be a happier patient.
It’s all about practice, practice, practice.
- The first place your new puppy should visit is the veterinary office. The very first visit should just be to say hello and get some treats. Use the second visit to make sure they are healthy…
- Get your puppy used to having his/her feet handled at home. Start by holding a paw then move on to grasping a toenail. Even if you never plan on clipping nails at home, get your pup accustomed to the clipper around their feet. Remember to use lots of treats and praise!
- Teach your puppy how to take pills before they actually need to. Have your puppy sit sideways next to you or on your lap if they are small. Place one hand around the top jaw with your thumb and middle finger behind the canines. Use your other thumb and forefinger to gently open the lower jaw. Now just place a small treat or piece of cheese in the mouth on the tongue. Do this a few times and you shouldn’t have any trouble when the time to actually medicate comes along. Today there are even specially made products to hide pills in that most dogs love!
- Handle your puppy’s ears, clean the area around their eyes, lift their tail and run your hands along their abdomen. Desensitizing your pup to handling is one of the kindest things you can do for them.
- Teach your dog to stand quietly. Much of a veterinary exam is done with the pet standing. If your dog is accustomed to standing calmly beforehand the stress level will go way down. Again, use treats and gentle praise to let your dog know they are doing the correct thing.
- Teach your dog to walk on a leash. If your dog is out of control in the waiting area things will only go downhill in the exam room.
- Once your pet is protected by vaccines, schedule a puppy class and/or doggie daycare. A well socialized dog is a stable dog.
- It’s OK to bring something from home. A toy or blanket work fine. The familiar odor of home is calming.
- If you‘re nervous your dog will be too. Whatever you feel telegraphs directly to your pet. Some people can’t actually be in the room with their dog. That’s OK. Just don’t let your limitations make things more difficult for your pet.
- If your dog acts up on the exam table please don’t stroke them and tell them everything will be OK. Even though it seems reasonable to you it is actually rewarding negative behavior. Remember your dog has no idea what you are saying he just knows he’s getting good feedback so his bad behavior must be fine with you.
- When you’re done with your visit take your dog for a short walk around the outside of the clinic before you get in the car. This will allow them to relax at the clinic not in the car as they are leaving.
- Finally, don’t let going to the vet be the only time your dog gets in the car. Make sure to take lots of fun rides as well where you can both relax and enjoy yourselves.
According to the ASPCA, “approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Shelter intakes are about evenly divided between those animals relinquished by owners and those picked up by animal control. These are national estimates; the percentage of euthanasia may vary from state to state.”
That is a really sad statistic. We work closely with many of our local shelters at Animal Family and are always surprised at the quality of the pets we see. These animals are neither worthless nor dangerous. In fact, often the opposite is true. Many are pure bred and almost all are loving, healthy animals who through no fault of their own end up homeless.
The 10 most common reasons owners give when surrendering a pet at the Humane Society of Scott County are:
- The owner is moving and is not able to take their pet with them
- The pet is too active for the owner to handle.
- The owner does not have enough time to devote to pet care
- The owner has encountered problems with housebreaking
- The animal is too expensive to care for.
- The animal is too young, too old or has developed health issues.
- The owner or a family member is allergic to the pet.
- The pet does not get along with another animal in the household.
- The pet belonged to a child who no longer lives in the home.
- The pet has become pregnant
Do you see a common thread among many of the reasons for pet relinquishment listed above? How many of these problems could be avoided by a little research and planning before acquiring a pet. For all the information on specific breeds that is available, it seems that people still jump into pet ownership on impulse.
So, please, before you bring a pet into your life, do your research. Think about your lifestyle, future plans, and overall health. How busy are you? Can you even afford a pet at this time? Do you have the time or interest for training, walks and general health and coat care. Don’t pick your pet based on looks. Don’t assume you have to have a puppy and never, ever give a pet as a gift without a thorough discussion with the prospective new owner first.
Next week, we will go over what you need to think about before you add a new pet to your family.
All dogs can bite. We like to think that we can avoid any difficulties with our pets by simply choosing the “right” breed; not so. Although you may not actually cause behavior problems in your pet, you can unknowingly reward them. Since we know that it is always easier to prevent rather than change an established behavior: developing ways to make your pet a good family member and citizen should be an important part of pet ownership.
Biting is not the only thing we complain about. Barking, jumping up, digging, house soiling, chewing on inappropriate items, food aggression and fear of strangers are just some of the things we don’t like. Can these behaviors be prevented? Of course they can. Sometimes it is simply a matter of management. Others require an active effort on your part to train and socialize your pet. Here are some ideas for keeping making your pet a good citizen.
- Teach your dog to sit. This should be the first thing a puppy learns. Any pup old enough to go to a new home is capable of learning to sit. It’s OK to teach the command by using a treat. The ASPCA has a great site that will show you how to teach a sit. The importance of this command in your relationship with your pet is that sitting quietly is a prerequisite before any kind of interaction with you. That means that you don’t unthinkingly pet your dog should they bump or rub against your hand. Believe it or not if you are consistent about requiring a quiet sit first and socializing second, it will set a solid base from which to build your relationship with your new dog.
- Better yet, try an obedience class. There are very few dogs that won’t benefit from obedience training. It doesn’t have to be a competitive obedience class and it doesn’t have to involve harsh methods. Look for something that will help you with basic commands and routine maintenance such as nail trimming, tooth brushing and socialization with other pets and people. The key is to establish good communication with your pet from the beginning.
- Get your pet out in the world. You can’t expect your dog to comfortable in the world if they never get beyond your backyard. Once your pet is properly immunized, wormed and protected from fleas, get them out to parks, for car rides and long walks. If your schedule is extra busy, consider putting them in doggie daycare but please don’t just lock them in the backyard.
- Spay or neuter your pet. This can’t be said often enough. The reasons for keeping a dog intact are very few indeed. Hormones will always get in the way of training. Worse, they can cause dog to dog aggression and lead to health problems later in life.
- Children and dogs should always be supervised. Obviously this is not only important for the safety of the child but for the pet as well. Children can’t read animal body language. They are often at eye level with a pet and may be seen as lower in social ranking than adults. Children need to be taught to how handle their pet gently yet assertively. Even when pet and child are both trained, they never be left alone together.
- Take your pet to the vet for something other than vaccines. If you happen to be driving by the vet’s office, stop in. Bring the dog inside for some treats. Let the staff pet them and then go home. You will be surprised how much more relaxed your pet will be if you do this a few times.
- If you run into a problem you can’t handle, call a professional. There is nothing wrong with asking someone more experienced to help you with your pet. The key is to go for help before a problem gets out of hand.
This is only meant to get you started thinking in the right direction. Talk to your veterinarian about trainers in your area if you’re unsure where to go. Just remember to have fun and always keep your pet social.
The decrease in feline veterinary visits has us worried. We love our cats but do not provide them with the same level of care that we do our dogs. It’s true that cats are great at masking illness. However, by putting off a veterinary visit until your cat is seriously ill, we only make for greater expense for us and stress for our pet. We all need to learn how to better recognise the signs of illness in cats, so this week we have decided to reprint a great article from Pet Docs on Call covering just this subject.
By Dr. Jen Mathis, Certified Veterinary Journalist and member of the Veterinary News Network received veterinary care in the past year.hadn’t”There are 82 million pet cats in the U.S., compared with 72 million dogs, making cats the most popular pet. Yet studies show the number of feline veterinary visits is declining steadily each year. A 2007 industry survey revealed that compared with dogs, almost three times as many cats
Though there are many myths about cat health, the truth is, cats need regular veterinary care, including annual exams and vaccinations, just like dogs do. More importantly, because they are naturally adept at hiding signs of illness, annual exams can result in early diagnosis of health problems. Early diagnosis often results in longer quality life at less cost.
Boehringer Ingelheim is trying to help cat health by teaching about the 10 subtle signs of sickness in cats:
1. INAPPROPRIATE URINATION – At least 80% of the time this is a medical problem often associated with conditions ranging from kidney disease to arthritis. Behavior is the least likely cause.
3. CHANGES IN ACTIVITY – Medical conditions such as arthritis can produce a decrease in activity while an increase can signal a condition such as hyperthyroidism.
4. CHANGES IN SLEEPING HABITS – While cats sleep 16 to 18 hours a day, they usually should be quick to respond to someone walking into a room. Difficulty lying or rising is also a problem.
5. CHANGES IN FOOD AND WATER CONSUMPTION – Eating or drinking more or less can be signs of a range of underlying medical conditions.
7. CHANGES IN GROOMING – A poor hair coat is a common sign of many medical conditions in cats.
8. SIGNS OF STRESS – Sudden lifestyle changes can cause stress in cats, resulting in symptoms such as decreased grooming to eating more frequently. These are also signs of illness, so sickness should be ruled out before stress issues are addressed.
9. CHANGES IN VOCALIZATION – An increase in crying or howling is common with older cats and can be caused by high blood pressure (leading cause of blindness), kidney problems, thyroid issues, stress or pain.
10. BAD BREATH– 70 percent of cats have gum disease as early as age 3. Pets are not supposed to have bad breath as it usually means infection. Since 2/3 of the tooth is under the gum-line, many cats have problems that can’t be seen without x rays. Dental problems cause kidney problems.
“Have we seen your cat lately?” If not, an exam may be just what your cat needs to help live a longer quality life! For more information, please check with your veterinarian!”