Thanksgiving With Your Dog

Thanksgiving is almost here.  Are you thinking of all the family you will have over and the food you will eat?  Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families to get together and share a special meal, but what about your dog?  Dogs don’t understand holidays, and Thanksgiving can be very stressful and even dangerous for them.

For some dogs, having many people over can be upsetting and confusing.  If your dog shows signs of becoming stressed, leave him alone in a nice quiet room or his cage so he can rest.thanksgiving-meal

It is very easy to forget your dog during a fun holiday like Thanksgiving, and we easily become underfoot and get stepped on.  Ouch!  Make sure your dog gets all of the attention he needs, and, if he is underfoot, he might be better off in his cage.

th-jumpSome dogs get very excited when company arrives. They wait eagerly by the window or run outside to greet the guests.  Dogs love people so much that we want to give them kisses.  However, dogs are a lot shorter than humans, so we have to jump.  And with our jumps, we scratch people, tear clothes, and scare small children. We don’t mean to be bad; we are just so happy to see you!  Teach your dog the command “off” to help him keep all four paws on the ground.  When your dog jumps up on anyone, even you, tell him, “Off,” and help him put all paws on the floor.  Don’t ever push or hit your dog.  You could easily hurt him, even if he is a big dog.  Always help him gently.  When your dog is on the ground, tell him how good he is.  Another way to fix your problem is to tell your dog to sit or to put his leash on when company arrives.  If your dog has a solid sit, there should be no jumping problems.  And, on a leash, your dog will know that you want him to stick by you and not jump.  Tip: In order not to confuse your dog, use the command “off” when you want him off of the couch, a person, etc.  Use the command “down” when you want your dog to lie down.

 

Try to take your dog for a long walk before the company arrives.  This way, he will be tired when the guests arrive and willing to lie down and sleep.  Also, if you have anyone over who doesn’t like dogs and is uncomfortable around them, respect his or her feelings by putting your dog in his cage or a separate room.

th-beggingWhen there is so much good food on the table, many people want to give their dogs a taste.  However, you need to be aware that many human foods can hurt your dog.  Our tummies cannot handle food full of butter, grease, salt, and sugar.  These can make us nauseous and even cause us to vomit.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your dog.  If you want to give your dog a special treat this Thanksgiving, set aside a small bowl with a bit of unsalted peas and carrots.  Your dog will enjoy these immensely, and they are very healthy.  Feed your dog this treat after you have finished eating.  This will discourage table begging.

For most dogs, a small piece of plain turkey won’t hurt them.  Just make sure that there is no seasoning (onions and garlic are toxic to dogs) or bones.  Take the skin off of the meat to avoid excess grease.  If your dog is a senior, has tummy problems, or has a health problem, don’t feed him any turkey as it could effect his health.  Also, as mentioned in the paragraph above, don’t feed your dog any other people foods!  The only reason dogs can have turkey is because it is often in their dog food, so their stomachs are accustomed to it.

Turkey bones are very dangerous for dogs

Caution!  You will be greatly tempted to feed your dog one of those juicy turkey bones this Thanksgiving, but please resist!  Feeding your dog one of those bones could endanger his life. Bones from turkeys or any other kind of meat easily break into small pieces.  These can quickly become lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke.  This could lead to an emergency trip to the vet or even death.  Never put your dog at such a risk!  Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead, and make sure that the bones are not thrown away in a trash can that your dog can get to.

th-dog-sitter

A doggy daycare

Are you traveling this Thanksgiving?  If so, you will need someone to watch your dog.  Leaving your dog alone in the yard for days is never a good idea, as such boredom will cause your dog to bark, be destructive, and climb, jump over, or dig under the fence.  You can leave your dog with a willing friend, hire someone to come play with, walk, and feed your dog at your house every day, leave your dog at a doggy day care, or leave your dog at a dog sitter’s home.  Choose which kind based on your dog’s needs and personality.  If your dog is antisocial with other canines, don’t leave him at a doggy daycare where he will have to deal with a lot of other dogs.  And, if he is a homebody, have someone come to your house two or three times a day to care for his needs.

Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving with your dog!

A Fall Update

I haven’t posted much lately because I have been very busy.  I seems I need to post this pupdate…er, update.

The squirrels are starting to take over my property, stuffing their cheeks with nuts which rightfully belong to me!  Not that I’m going to eat them…yuck!  Anyway, I have been on red alert for tree rats and further instructing Rosie in the arts of squirrel patrol.  In my spare time, I have been patrolling the house for scraps (I believe in the saying “waste not, want not”) and taking long naps.

The little human in my house, knowing how fond I am of food, served me breakfast in bed…

and gave me reading material and a stylish hat.

Rosie likes to wear the hat too. Or, realistically, she will tolerate wearing it for a short amount of time.  This is a vast improvement from only a short time ago, when anything on her head had to be eaten.  Actually, everything in sight had to be eaten.  Like staples… 

Here is Rosie exercising charity by sharing a sock with Kitty.  Rosie loves socks!

Kitty, however, is not a fan.

Rosie and I recently had a sleepover at our grandparents’ house while the humans were traveling.  Lacy was cordial but kept her distance. I had a wonderful time as I got wet dog food!  Yum!  Rosie had fun too.  She even got to play fetch with the neighbor.  Fetch is her favorite game!

The Importance of ID Tags

This morning, my humans noticed two strange dogs in the yard. Since we live in the country, this is not uncommon as many owners let their dogs run loose (which is not a good thing to do!).  However, my humans knew these dogs were different. One was a St. Bernard mix and the other a white German Shepherd. These shepherds are not cheap or easy to come by, so it was obvious these doggies were run aways.  One human went outside and called to the St. Bernard mix. He came lalloping over eagerly, but his shepherd friend was out of sight. Unfortunately, the mutt did not have ID tags and the humans were unable to call his owners. They let the mutt go to join his friend. Two dogs running loose have a better chance of finding their way home than one.

This story shows the importance of giving your dog ID tags. A runaway pet can happen to even the most diligent of owners, and an ID tag increases the chance of his return.

Many owners nowadays microchip their pets. This is when a teeny weeny chip is inserted into their skin. When scanned with a special device, the owner’s imformation pops up. However, these chips are not as good as tags. Many people who see a dog without ID tags will keep the animal. They assume he has been either abandoned or too lost to be found. It is true thay many shelters will scan for microchips. However, your dog may not end up at a shelter. Especially if he is friendly or pretty, he could be kept by another person as a pet. Don’t rely on microchips to bring your dog home.

Keep your dog safe; keep your dog tagged.

Guest Post: Kitty the Cat

Greetings, fans!  It is I, Kitty the Cat.  I am taking over Doggy Times today as it is International Cat Day.  Ugh, it smells like wet dog on this blog!  Anyway, I will be offering tips on how to help your cat and dog get along.

Give Them Space

This is very important for cats.  We are small and easily feel threatened.  If your cat is skittish around your dog, keep the latter leashed.  Do not let your canine chase the feline.  That will teach the cat that your dog is an enemy.

I want to discuss the relationship between Sissy and me.  When I first showed up at my humans’ doorstep, Sissy was furious.  She barked at the door and wanted to chase me away.  However, over time Sissy got used to me.  Now, she doesn’t pay me any attention unless I bat her with a paw.  Then, she barks and chases me, which is only fair.

Rosie and I are a different matter.  She loves to play, and I do too.  However, sometimes I get tired of her constant energy and need an escape.  I either climb a tree or go in the basement.  These are my safe spaces.  Always make sure that your cat has a safe space to retreat to when in the presence of your dog.

If your cat and dog do not get along, don’t force friendship on them.  Train your dog to leave your cat alone using the Leave It command.

Hand Out Treats

When your cat and dog are together, give them both treats.  This will calm them down and teach them that this interaction is rewarding and fun.  Personally, I love little pieces of bread (not the crust, though.  That’s nasty!).  Rosie loves meat-flavored treats and Sissy enjoys…well, pretty much anything.

Spend Time With Pets Separately

It’s important to still spend time separately with your pets.  Cats and dogs can feel jealous of each other.  Chill with your cat alone.  Make sure to pet and take your dog on private walks.

Tip:

If you have a puppy or young dog, expose him/her to cats.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan on owning a cat; do it anyway.  One day, your dog will meet up with a feline.  If he has been exposed to cats, he will not freak out.  You can take your dog to a store like Petsmart to look at shelter kitties behind a glass.  Or, if you have a friend with a dog-friendly feline, ask if they can meet.

Besides, you never know when a stray cat will show up at your doorstep demanding entrance.  Then, you just might be the lucky owner of a cat and able to celebrate International Cat Day.

A Summer Update

Hello, fur-iends!  I haven’t posted that much this summer, but I have been incredibly busy.  My humans went out of state, so Rosie and I had a sleepover with our best fur-iend, Lacy.  My humans also had a family over, and Rosie and I loved the extra attention (and food!).  Rosie demonstrated her down/stay command while playing fetch with their children.  I decided that I wanted to go home with them and followed them to their car.

While out of state, my humans visited with a relative’s dog.  Here is Duke, the ferocious pit bull, in his terrifying natural habitat.

He is very laid back

and a big fan of tea parties.

My humans also had some young adults over, but this large crowd of people turned out too much for me.  I had a seizure and, once recovered, had to spend the rest of their stay in my cage.  I was so disappointed as Rosie was allowed to stay!  No fair!

We had Lacy over for a birthday party of one of our humans.  Rosie behaved well and only had to be caged when it was time for presents and cake.  I, of course, was a shining star of good behavior.

My 16th birthday is fast approaching, and I simply cannot wait.  Since I’m turning sweet sixteen, I’ve asked my humans for a car.  That way, I can go wherever I want.  I also want a credit card so I can buy whatever I want.  I’d drive over to Petsmart and come home with a trunk loaded with treats and stylish dresses for every occasion!

So long for now!

Woof,
Sissy

4th of July Safety

The 4th of July is a fun day for Americans to celebrate their freedom, but it is dangerous for dogs. More dogs go missing on Independence Day than any other. It can also be traumatizing for us with the loud explosions and flashes of light. This holiday requires safety precautions for your dog to make it past the 4th with as little stress as possible.

If you are going to go see fireworks, please DO NOT take your dog with you! My humans went to an early 4th of July celebration held by the city. They saw someone leading a young dog and later saw another dog. I’m sure there were more there. They could hear one dog barking in distress as the loud booms occured. Dogs have much better hearing than humans, enabling them to hear sounds that humans are unable to detect. Imagine the pain that poor dog was experiencing during those powerful explosions. To him, the fireworks weren’t enjoyment; they were torture. Please, when you go to see a firework show, leave your dog at home in a secure room or cage. Do not leave him outside. Even the distant sound of firecrackers can cause dogs to freak out and dig under or jump over the fence. Keep your dog safe; keep your dog inside.

If your dog shows distress this 4th of July, give her a few comforting words, but don’t overdo it. Too much comfort can cause dogs to think you are insecure.  Put on some classical music to help drown out the noise; give your dog a favorite treat or bone; and put your pet in the room with the thickest walls.

Have a safe 4th of July!

Internet Troubles

Woof, everbody! It’s Sissy. Lately, my house has had very slow internet, so I haven’t been able to post any articles or work on the magazine. Grrr!  It’s been very irritating. However, the internet-fixer-man is supposed to come tomorrow, so hopefully he will fix it.  I’m actually typing this post on my human’s phone, which has internet. The keyboard is so small that my claws can barely use it!

I apologize for the lack of action on the blog and hope to post soon.

Woof,

Sissy

Work on Stay With Your Dog

Rosie’s goals in life are to convince people to throw her ball or sit on someone’s feet (or lap if it’s available).  Her most favorite toy ever is her orange Chuckit! ball.  It’s one of the few toys which have survived her powerful teeth.  If Rosie had her way, she’d be playing fetch all day every day.

Rosie is toy motivated.  I’m pretty sure she’d jump off the Grand Canyon after her ball.  This makes her fetch sessions wonderful opportunities for training.  Rosie has been working on down and stay.  She has gotten very good at downing on command.  However, she will sometimes break her stays.  She gets so excited for the chase that she can barely stay still!  Stay is a highly useful command and teaches your dog self control.  For instance, it comes in handy when Rosie is outside off leash and sees the mailman approaching.  The human tells her to stay and goes to hold her collar just in case.  This way, Rosie doesn’t bolt to the mailman’s car to give him some unappreciated slobbers.

Want to improve your dog’s stay command?  Here are some tips!

  • Put your dog in stay either sitting, lying down, or standing.  Remember, “stay” means that you don’t want your dog to move from the spot you put him.  Now, walk a large circle around your dog.  If your dog becomes confused and breaks his stay, say “Oops!” but don’t give him a treat.  Instead, ask for an easy command and reward him for that.  This way, you aren’t giving praise for him moving but can keep the session positive.  Put your dog in stay and try it again.
  • Put your dog in a down stay and walk over him.  Rosie was at first baffled when my human did this and broke her stay.  However, now she is more comfortable with it.
  • Put your dog in stay, take a few steps back, and do some jumping jacks.  If your dog breaks his stay while you’re doing this, try again, this time only moving your hands.  The next, do one jumping jack, gradually increasing how many you do.
  • Put your dog in stay and walk behind a tree.  Go quickly so you don’t alarm your dog.  We hate to not see you!  Up the difficulty by staying hidden longer.
  • Have a friend create distractions for your dog.  Put your dog in stay and have your friend

    Can your dog keep his stay with distractions?

    drop an object near your dog.  If your dog can keep his stay during that, up the difficulty.  Have your friend bounce a ball, talk loudly, or run around.  If your dog breaks his stay, do not let the friend give him any attention.  Instead, as suggested above, say, “Oops!” and ask for an easier trick, rewarding that.  Then, start all over again.

  • Practice putting your dog in stay in different locations.  Go to the park, a quiet neighborhood street, a friend’s house, etc.  Please keep your dog on leash in all unfenced areas!
  • Choose a release word to cue your dog when he is allowed to break his stay.  “Okay” is a good choice as it is distinguishable from common commands.

(“Stay” is a lifesaver when trying to get good photos of your dog!  Position your dog, tell him to stay, and viola!  You have a lovely picture of a still dog!)