Grooming Sissy

In between professional grooming appointments, my human will brush me and give me a trim to keep me comfortable and good looking.  A few weeks ago, I was looking a little scruffy, and I was beginning to grow a goat beard!  So embarrassing!  My human put a towel down on the washing machine and put me on it.  Then, she put a leash on me so I would keep still.  With the aid of a pin brush, comb, and sharp pair of scissors, she started the grooming session. The above picture is me before she started.This picture is of afterwards.  Look at all that hair!  I felt so much better after saying goodbye to all that fur.  Since this, I have had a pro grooming appointment in which I got a complete shave, but these at-home clippings keep me looking and feeling my best in between.

The Scratch Reflex

My humans reach down to rub my belly, and suddenly my leg starts thumping.  All dogs will do this when you scratch certain parts of their bodies.  Their legs starts “running” in the air, and the faster you scratch, the faster their legs will thump. Why do dogs do this?

This leg thumping is called the scratch reflex.  When you scratch certain areas of your dog, such as her belly, sides, or spine, nerves make her leg move.  It’s like when doctors hit humans on the knee and their legs go up.  The nerves travel through your dog’s spinal cord and tell her brain that she needs to scratch to get rid of an itch.  Your dog doesn’t choose to move her leg, just like you wouldn’t choose to move when a doctor checks your reflexes.  While this silly dog reflex might sound useless, veterinarians can actually use it to check for issues such as nerve damage.

Since this behavior is simply a reflex, do dogs enjoy it?  You need to pay attention to your dog’s body language in order to determine that.  If she is relaxed and seeming to enjoy your attention, she probably doesn’t mind it.  If your dog stiffens or tries to avoid it, however, you need to leave her reflexes alone.  Even if your dog doesn’t seem to mind this leg thumping, never do it for a long time.  It can get tiring and irritating, causing your dog to dread your attention.  Remember to always keep belly rubs comfortable and fun for your dog.

Should I Use the Leash as a Punishment Tool?

   Recently, my human read some of a book written in the 1960’s about dog training.  It had some very good ideas for puppy training, such as keeping in mind the pup’s short attention span and making training a game.  However, it had a section on discipline which methods seemed unfair and cruel to a dog of any age.  It suggested that, when your dog is bad, you should fold the leash and whip your dog with it until he cries.  There are several reasons why this method is a cruel punishment for dogs.

  1. First and foremost, your dog is a companion, a loving animal, and should consider you as the most wonderful person ever.  Dogs naturally want to please their owners and do not misbehave out of spite.  They do so either because they are confused and untrained or think they can get something they want by doing the misbehavior.  For instance, most would agree that your dog jumping up on visitors is rude.  Your dog doesn’t think of this as impolite, however.  To him, it is a friendly greeting and a way to get attention.  Also, if you beat your dog in the above described manner, he is going to consider you to be a frightening person.  A scary master does not instill trust in his dogs.  The only reason his dog obeys him is because the dogs fears his master.  The dog will obey a loving dog owner, however, because he loves and trusts the owner and wishes to please him.
  2.  A leash is something that your dog should view as a fun training tool.  It gives him pleasant walks and is used for fun training sessions.  In short, it should make your dog happy.  Using it to punish your dog in the form of whipping your dog or snapping it while clipped to your dog’s leash will teach your dog to fear it.  Leashes are training and safety tools, not a means of corporal punishment.

I don’t suggest you physically punish your dog.  It is often unnecessary and can frighten him.  If you need to reprimand your dog, do so with a stern word.  Or, you can deny your dog of your attention.  When your dog misbehaves, ignore him and leave the room.  This will teach your dog that all fun is denied to him if he is bad.  Come back into the room five minutes later and act as if nothing happened.  Your dog will have forgotten about his misbehavior at this time.

   Your dog believes that you are the most wonderful person in the world.  He loves you unconditionally and would even lay down his life for you.  If you keep this in mind, you will find it easier to keep your temper when it comes time to reprimand your dog.

Happy Birthday, Sissy!

Since my website was having technical issues, I wasn’t able to post anything about my birthday in August.  Even though it’s nearing the end of September, I’ll post my birthday pictures now.  I turned 15 this year and am doing great.  I did have a scary seizure this summer during which my humans thought I was dead, but I thankfully recovered.  At my age you have to expect arthritis and potty accidents at night, but I am doing very well for being fifteen years old.  I can still do my jumping dance for treats, celebrate after a bath by running around the house, and keep the squirrels at bay.

Happy Birthday, Sissy!  We love you!

We’re Back!

Hi, everyone!  Sissy here.  I apologize for not posting in so long.  We had technical difficulties which prevented access to my website’s dashboard, but we are fully back in control now!  You can now expect more regular posting and the newest e-magazines.  We will soon be publishing our June/July issue, and we are currently working on the August/September one.  I’m tail-wagging excited to get back to my website!  So long for now, and may you always find many bones and treats along your yard of life.

Woof,
Sissy

Are you considering adding a second dog to your family?  While owning more than one dog can add to the furry fun, it can sometimes be too much for you or your first dog to handle.

Consider Your First Dog

If your current dog cannot stand other canines, bringing another pup into your home might not be a good idea.  You can, however, consult a professional trainer to help you accustom your dog to other canines so you can add another pup.

Some dogs, especially the young or elderly, need to be the only dog you have.  They require more attention from their owners and can be unintentionally neglected when another furry member arrives.  New dogs – whether they be puppies or adults – require a lot of attention.  You will have to train, bond with, and possibly house train this new dog, which could make your current dog feel as if he is no longer loved.

Other dogs, however, are perfectly fine with a new doggy addition.  Another canine means a furiend to play with!  Also, it can help your current dog from getting lonely or bored when you’re gone.

Two Dogs = Twice the Expense

Owning a pet can be expensive, and adding a second dog will only double it.  Shots, flea and tick medicine, leashes, beds, toys, grooming, and food will quickly add up.  Before you add another pup into your life, make sure you can afford it.

Do You Have Extra Time?

Dogs need a lot of your time.  They must be fed, walked, trained, and given attention in order to be happy, healthy pets.  Also, a new dog needs even more attention.  You will need to train and bond with him while still taking care of your current dog.  And, if you’re getting a puppy, you will need even more time to house train him.

Helping Your Current Dog Adjust

Even for a dog who loves the new canine addition, the transition from being an only dog to having to share can be hard.  Help your dog adjust to the new situation by keeping his schedule the same as before.  Also, spend extra time with your first dog.  It won’t hurt to put your new dog in a cage to spend some quality time with the old.  And, despite what people might say, dogs do get jealous!  I sometimes experience that feeling towards Rosie.  If my humans are petting her, I will look very pathetic and get them to pet me too.  Also, if Rosie gets a treat, I must get one too.  Remember to always make your first dog feel loved and included!

Beat the Heat!

Summer is here and swimming, camping, and spending time outdoors with family and friends is on many people’s minds.  What about your dog, though?  It’s hot outside, and special care and attention needs to be given to him to keep him cool and comfortable.

Water is a Mustheat dogs drinking

You need to give your canine lots of water this summer to assure that he stays hydrated and cool.  Keep a dish of cool water in a corner of your home for your dog constantly to have or, if your dog lives or often is outside, make sure you fill his bowl up about a couple of times a day.  Also, place your doggy’s bowl in the shade.  It will keep the water cooler and encourage your dog to stay in the shade, too.  If you notice your dog spilling his water dish, buy a heavy-duty water bowl.  Without water, your dog could quickly die.

Provide Lots of Shade

It can get very hot for your dog outside, so make sure that he has constant shade.  Remember, if part of your yard is shaded at a certain time of the day, it might not be a few hours later when the sun moves.  This can be especially dangerous for dogs who live outdoors.  Sure, dog houses are shady, but it can get super hot in such a small space.  Put up a beach umbrella or small canopy for your dog to lounge under.  You certainly don’t want your dog to get overheated!

Your Dog’s Coat

Wow! you think. My dog must be really hot wearing his fur coat!  Yes, it can get hot under there, but there are other reasons that we dogs were given such magnificent fur.  It actually helps us not get sunburned!  So, with that in mind, always consult your veterinarian before having your dog’s fur shaved.  Dogs such as Poodles, however, will always need a nice summer cut to keep them cool, as they have real hair that continually grows.

The Swimming Pool

heat poolSwimming is fun and a great way to cool off for your dog, but remember to never let your dog swim alone.  The edges of the pool are slippery, and your dog might not be able to get out.  Make sure your dog doesn’t drink the pool water either.  Also, if your pool is by a high surface, make sure your dog can’t jump in.  Once, when my humans’ pool was by the porch and I was very young, I jumped in.  Thankfully, one of my humans saw me and helped me out.  That was very scary!

Hot Feet, Hot Feet!

Before you bring your dog on a walk, feel the asphalt.  Does it burn your hand?  Imagine walking on that in your bare feet with little to no protection.  Ouch!  This can be the way your dog’s feet feel.  The steamy asphalt can seriously burn his paw pads, so always check to see if you would like to walk on it.  Another option is walking your dog in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside or on the grass.

Another tip: When walking your dog, take frequent breaks to give your dog some time to cool down.  Carry some water with you and offer it to your dog.

Please Don’t Leave Me in the Car!!

Please, please don’t ever leave your dog in the car without any air conditioning!  Don’t even do it when the weather is in the 70s or with the windows rolled all of the way down.  The car, you see, acts like a refrigerator, only it traps in the heat.  It is a horribly cruel way for a dog to die, so please leave your dog behind when you have errands to run and he can’t come with you.

Keep Puppies and Seniors Inside

Very young puppies and older dogs cannot take the heat as well as young adult dogs, so don’t leave them outside for very long  Also, dogs with flat noses (i.e. Bulldogs, Boxers, etc.) have a harder time breathing and should never be in the heat for long periods.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool 

  • A kiddie swimming pool, sprinkler, water hose, lake, or the ocean are great ways for your dog to splash around in the water and cool off.  If your dog is a little leery of entering the water, throw a few dog biscuits in for him to go after.
  • “Pupsicles” are basically popsicles made for dogs.  Your dog might like licking ice anyway but add a little flavoring (like chicken or vegetable broth), and you have a real treat!  Here’s a tip, though: have your dog devour this treat on your porch or lawn.  It can get really messy once it starts to melt!