Caring for a Senior Dog

older dog

A 10 year old Mastiff

 Senior dogs are very special.  They’ve seen a lot in  their time and know a lot too.  I don’t know why, but it makes a human sad when they see the first gray hairs on their dog’s muzzle.  It shows the signs of  aging.  But to us dogs, it means nothing.  We are still the loving dogs that like to dig in the dirt, visit our best doggy friends, and take nice walks around the neighborhood.  Dogs don’t notice when they can’t chase a ball nonstop or catch a Frisbee as good as they could a few years ago.  But hey, I’m eleven years old, and I feel just great!  I still love to run in the yard and do my little doggy dance  for my treats.  I like to preform my various tricks, and romp in the snow.  I  adore it when my human stuffs my Kong with peanut butter and dog kibble.  I am filled with energy and enjoy it thoroughly when my human and I head outside to learn some new tricks.  Although I do admit that things have slowed down for me this past year, I am still the loving puppy-dog that my humans picked up from the breeders eleven years ago.

Dogs are usually senior dogs when they turn about 7.  Most of the time, when dogs hit that old age block, they get a little slower and like to sleep more than before.  But remember, even if you’re sad your dog is getting on in age, don’t let him know it.  Dogs are smart and we can tell when our human is sad, mad, or happy.  If you get upset about your dog being older, he will sense it and wonder what he did to make you so sad.

Dogs are forever at their human’s side.  Through the good and bad times, your dog is there with a wagging tail and that silly grin on his face.  When dogs get older, it’s their human’s turn to stand by their dog’s side as he ages.  This doesn’t mean mourning over your dog because he’s gotten old.  It means that you will need to spend some more time with your dog and give him lots of extra love and care.

Beds

When dogs get older, they need soft, warm beds to sleep on.  Senior dogs like beds they can cuddle up and be warm in.  If your older dog suffers from being cold, you may need to consider placing a heater by his bed. (But please don’t ever go to sleep with a space heater running.  It is a big fire hazard for both you and your pet.) You might even need to get a sweater for your dog if he gets too cold.

Note: Older dogs get more tired than younger dogs.  When your senior dog is sleeping, please never disturb him unless it is absolutely necessary.  Always remember that your dog needs his sleep.

old dog on bed

Exercise

Even if your dog is twelve or even older, exercise if very important.  It is bad for dogs to lay around all day, no matter what the age.  But this doesn’t mean your senior dog could handle a long hiking trip.  Older dogs have to take things a bit slower, and that makes them easier to care for.  They will be perfectly happy with a short walk around the neighborhood and a brief game of fetch.

Teeth

As your dog gets older, his gums become more sensitive.  So he need toys of softer material to chew on.  Check out this Kong for senior dogs at KongCompany.com.  To prevent discomfort and rotting teeth, give your dog some dental bones and brush his teeth with special dog toothpaste.  Please always supervise your dog with bones!

Cloe, 16 yr old poodle

Cloe, a 16 year old Poodle

You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

There has never been anything further from the truth!  The “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” saying is just ridiculous!  Any dog can learn a new trick, no matter how old.  Sure, your senior dog may not be able to learn to roll over twenty times in a row or do a doggy handstand, but they can learn some awesome tricks that are easier on their back and good for their age.  Check out Basic Training to see the basics of dog training.  There’s nothing more fun for dogs than learning something new.  It gives us something to think about, and we won’t be bored.  So grab your dog’s leash and a handful of dog treats and start training!

Older Dogs Are Fun!

Hey, just because your older dog isn’t a little, bouncy puppy doesn’t mean that he’s not any fun.  It’s quite the opposite.  Senior dogs are easy going, need little exercise, and don’t mind snuggling up on the couch while their human watches TV.

People love puppies so much that they sometimes forget that older dogs are special.  While puppies are great, I think that there’s nothing like an older dog who has been loved.   Here’s a little secret: your dog’s senior years are the best.

Have a great time with your older dog, and enjoy just being together!

Sissy on chair

Sissy at age ten

Brrrr! It’s Cold!

labIt’s time to say goodbye to colorful fall and say hello to cold winter.  You’re probably planning on wearing a heavy coat, lighting the fireplace, and drinking lots of hot chocolate.  But what about your dog?  Special attention and care must be given to him so he can have a wonderful and warm winter too.

My, It’s Cold Outside!

It’s very cold outside, and, if you own an outdoor dog, this can be a big problem.  A doghouse is warm, but not enough to keep your dog from freezing.  Consider buying an outdoor heater to put in the doghouse, or bring your dog inside.

dog outside

Special care must be given to an outdoor dog during winter

No Ice, Please

With the cold weather, it’s easy for your dog’s water to turn into a block of ice.  Your dog cannot drink ice, and without water he will die of thirst.  However, you can fix the “icy” problem by buying a special heated dog dish that will keep your dog’s water from freezing outside.  Remember, your dog cannot drink ice.

No Hair Cuts!

With the cold weather here, don’t have your dog’s hair cut.  It is meant to keep him nice and warm, like a big coat.  I grow out my hair for the winter, and I look like a big teddy bear.  My humans have to spend a lot of time brushing my long, curly hair to keep it from matting.

Let it Snow!

Swirling snowflakes, mounds of snow, and icicles hanging from the trees.  Snow is wonderfully fun, dog in snoweven for your four-legged friend! However, you must take precautions with your dog.  Here are a few:

  • Buy some little booties for your dog’s feet. Some dogs’ paws bleed from the cold snow.
  • After your dog runs in the snow, thoroughly dry him with a towel.  This will keep him warm.
  •  Never let your dog out of your sight when he is out of a fenced yard.  If he wanders off, even for a little way, he could easily become lost.  The snow ruins finding a scent for dogs, so they cannot smell their way home.
  • If your dog gets cold, buy him a little sweater to keep him warm.

Fireplaces

A dog curled up beside a roaring fire – it’s picture perfect, isn’t it?  However, it is very dangerous.  Among many other dangers, your dog could become curious of the pretty, colorful flames and try to touch it or a spark could fly from the fire and set his beautiful coat on fire.  Continue to enjoy your fire, but put a little fence around it to keep your precious pets out.

Take special care of your dog and enjoy winter!

I Want a Puppy For Christmas

jack russell pup

Christmas is not a good time to get a new puppy

Children often ask for a puppy on Christmas.  They insist that it is the only thing they will be happy with.  When he receives the puppy, the child will be delighted, showering kisses on him and giving the little fur ball a big hug.  But it is quite the opposite for the little puppy.  He is away from his litter mates and mother for the first time, scared of the new surroundings and noise, and won’t receive the proper attention he would get if it wasn’t a holiday. All the holiday bustle can be very disturbing for a new puppy.

puppyThere are also many other things to consider.  Will you be away from home, even for a short time?  Where will your puppy be?  In his crate, alone?  This will cause the little puppy to suffer from loneliness, which will greatly affect his behavior later on.  He will probably bark, whine, and chew things because he misses his mother and litter mates.

Puppies learn the most from their very first experiences with their new human family.  It is very important to give your puppy a good “first impression”, and holiday stress and loneliness are definitely not good impressions.  These bad experiences will trigger unwanted behaviors that will be very hard to fix later on.

Christmas is a very busy holiday.  A puppy can easily be forgotten during the bustle.  During Christmas, you cannot give your puppy the special care and attention he needs.  So don’t get a dog for Christmas.  If your kids want a pup, give them a book about dog care and a collar.  Tell them that the puppy can’t come yet because he hasn’t been born yet but will be with them soon.  Trust me, you’re doing your dog-to-be a favor by sparing him all of the holiday stress.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a time of joy, for our Savior came on this special day.  And it’s almost here!  Are you excited?  You are probably doing some last-minute shopping and gift wrapping.  But what about your dog?  Holidays can be very stressful for animals, and special care must be given to your pet so he can have a safe and happy Christmas.

Safety First

You may not realize it, but your dog’s health and safety are at risk during Christmas.

cookies

Don’t feed your dog any cookies or candy this Christmas

First of all, don’t feed your dog any Christmas cookies, candy, or leftover food.  It will encourage begging, and anything other than your dog’s normal diet will result in stomach pains and maybe even vomiting.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your pet.  So resist, and if you have company over, kindly explain to them that your dog cannot have any human food.  But be sure to set out a jar of your dog’s biscuits so your guests can feed him those!  Keep the presents around the tree, but away from your dog.  Dogs are curious, and we love to play the game “find what’s inside the box”.  You can either put a small gate around the tree and presents or put all presents up on a table beside the tree.  Please be extra cautious of foil wrappers with food presents.  When swallowed, foil acts like a knife, tearing sharply on the inside.

Caution!  Never feed your dog any meat bones!  If you are having a turkey or some meat this Christmas, you will probably be tempted to give your dog one of those juicy bones.  But resist!  That juicy bone could result in an emergency trip to the vet or even death.  Bones from turkeys and any other meat easily break into small pieces.  These can become quickly lodged in your dog’s throat, causing him to choke.  Please never put your dog at such a risk!  Feed him a safe dog biscuit instead.

begging puppy

Decorate your home with your dog’s safety in mind

I’m sure you’ve decorated your house for this holiday.  Christmas trees, lights, wreaths, and many other pretty decorations make your house look very festive.  However, your dog’s health will be at risk with all of these pretty decorations.  Always put them somewhere high so your dog can’t reach them.  Also, if your dog loves to sniff and poke his nose everywhere, put a little gate around your Christmas tree.  This way, he won’t damage or upset it, causing it to fall on him!  Always make sure that all wires are out of your dog’s reach.  Dogs love to chew!

Make sure you never bring toxic plants into the house.  Mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are poison for dogs.  Call your vet immediately if your dog your dog tangles with any of these.

Last of all, just in case, know your veterinarian’s emergency phone number.  Write it down and tape to your cabinet or fridge, so you can have easy access to it at all times.

How to Avoid Stress

Any major holiday can be very stressing for your pet.  To help avoid stress, try to keep on his normal schedule, so your dog won’t become confused or upset.  Give him his food, walks, and playtime at the same time as always.

sad dog

Christmas can be very stressing for dogs

Dogs can become moody on Christmas, so make sure to give your dog personal space.  If your guests include small children, ask them not to crowd your dog and, if this happens, put your dog in his cage or a room with some toys.  If small children irritate him he might bite them.

Traveling?

Many people go long distances to see their families on this very special holiday.  And if you can’t bring your dog, you need to do some thinking.

Your dog will need to stay somewhere while you’re gone.  It can either be with a friend or at a doggy day care.  If you choose to leave your dog at a day care, make sure your dog will get plenty of exercise and there is a clean, safe environment.  If your dog has any health issues or doesn’t like other dogs, alert the staff so they can take the best care of your dog.

Even if you’re only going to be away from your dog for a few hours, it can be very stressing for your dog, especially if he’s a puppy or a senior dog.  If your dog can’t handle being alone even for a few hours, leave him with a friend.  Never leave your dog alone for too long!

Make Some Christmas Dog Biscuits!

Now that you’re all set to help your dog have the very best holiday, check out my Dog Biscuit Recipe.  You can use a cookie cutter to make these into all sorts of holiday shapes and it makes great Christmas presents for your dog and his friends!

Have a fun and safe Christmas with your dog!

happy dog

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is almost here.  Are you thinking of all the family you will have over and the food you will eat?  Yes, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family to get together and share a meal, but what about your dog?  Dogs don’t understand holidays, and it can be very stressing.  Also, your pet’s health is at risk during this fun holiday.

For some dogs, especially senior dogs, having many people over can be very upsetting and confusing.  If your dog shows signs of becoming stressed, leave him alone in a nice quiet room or in his cage so he can rest.  Give him a toy to keep him company.

bad bone

Never feed your dog any bones! They are very dangerous!

Caution!  You will be greatly tempted to feed your dog one of those juicy turkey bones this Thanksgiving.  But 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.

It is very easy to forget your dog during a fun holiday like Thanksgiving.  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.

puppy on sofaSome 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.  Here’s a tip: always use the command “off” when you want your dog off the couch, off a person, etc.  Use the command “down” when you want your dog to lay 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 lay 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 crate.

begging puppy

Feeding your dog table scraps encourages bad behavior and damages his health

I know all of the Thanksgiving food is delicious, but don’t feed your dog any table scraps.  Dogs cannot handle the food humans eat, and our tummies hurt and we can even throw up.  Also, your dog could develop life-threatening pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis inflames the pancreas and causes terrible pain and nausea for your dog.  Your guests will probably be tempted to feed your dog some scraps – just look at those pleading eyes!  But tell your guests that your dog cannot have any scraps, and set out a bowl of your dog’s normal dog biscuits, so everyone can give those to your dog.

Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving with your dog!

 

Happy Halloween!

dog in costume 2Halloween is a fun time for kids.  They get to dress up, eat lots of candy, and have loads of fun. But it can be a very scary time for dogs.  The costumes, ringing doorbells, and the noise of trick-or-treaters around the neighborhood can be very frightening.  Your dog doesn’t know it’s Halloween, and he doesn’t understand why everyone is wearing scary masks and ringing the doorbell.

candy

Candy can be very dangerous for dogs

Halloween is a very dangerous time for dogs.  We become scared and try to escape the scary costumes and loud noises.  Dogs will try to dig under the fence or shoot out of the door when it’s opened.  Precautions must be taken for your dog to have a happy and safe Halloween.

It is definitely not a good idea to take your dog trick-or-treating with you.  He can easily become scared of the decorations at the different houses and, since it is dark, it will be very easy to loose him.

If you are planning on handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, have your dog stay in another room with the door closed. This way, he won’t be able to escape out of the door when you open it.  Also, it is a good idea to keep your dog inside.  People like to play pranks on Halloween, and you don’t want someone to play one on your dog.  He could also try to get away from all of the loud noises by jumping or digging under the fence.

It’s fun for people to dress up, and sometimes even for your furry friend.  But you must always be very carefully and consider your dog if you decide to dress him up.  Always make sure that the outfit is comfortable, and never have anything tight that could choke or hurt him.  Never force your dog to wear a costume.

Candy does taste good, but it’s not for your dog.  Your four-legged friend could become very sick from it.  Watch out for chocolate.  It is toxic for dogs, and too much can kill.  Pick up wrappers that you see lying on the ground so your dog won’t eat those too.

Have a fun and safe Halloween with your dog!

dog in leaves

 

Meet Lacy!

A little while ago, my best doggy friend, Gretchen, died.  I miss her very much.  Even though she has passed on, her memory will live forever.

Gretchen’s parents got a new puppy, a little Jack Russell Terrier and Lhasa Apso mix.  She is white with brown spots, with little black circles around her eyes, and hair that looks like fuzz all over her mouth.  Her full name is Lacy Mae, but everyone calls her Lacy.  She loves to jump and run and act silly.  She is three months old now and very small.  But Lacy grows a little every day as all puppies do!

Lacy 1 Lacy loves to chase balls in the back yard.  She runs after them as fast as her little legs will carry her and then pounces on them with all her might!  She is showing the Jack Russell Terrier side of her.  Jack Russells usually love to chase balls and toys because they were first bred to hunt small animals.  They were trained to dig the animals out of their dens and chase them!  Lacy has already made a little hole in the backyard.

I met Lacy at a birthday party at my house.  Lacy is very active, and loves to play.  But I like to sit on peoples’ laps and get petted.  I’m getting older now and I like to rest a lot, even though I still enjoy running occasionally and playing tug with my rope.  Lacy wanted to play with me, but I didn’t feel like it.  Lacy didn’t mean to be rude, but she chased me wildly around the house.  I took refuge on somebody’s lap and watched her from there.  I tried to be very polite and show my best manners by treating Lacy gently.  I’m not as active as I used to be, and playing with a puppy can be hard.  I like Lacy a lot, but I didn’t want to run and jump with her all the time.  So I  rested in my cage at the beginning of the party and came out towards the end to see Lacy.

The second time I saw Lacy, things went better.  Outside, I sniffed the puppy and wagged my tail.  Lacy was very humble and showed respect for her elder.  She rolled over to show that I was boss, and crouched down low.  I appreciated that.  Inside  the house she wanted to play, but I was too tired from our meeting outside.  Whenever she came close, I turned my head to  show  that I didn’t want to play.  When she started nipping me too hard, I showed her that it hurt by pushing her.  I never hurt her because I know she is a baby and doesn’t mean any harm.  I rested in my cage a bit while she visited, to get a little peace.  Lacy is very active!

Lacy is teething now (a very painful business) and loves to chew, chew, and chew!  She loves Nylabones and her dog toys.  Even though she has a lot of toys, she still likes to chew on inappropriate things, like hands and feet.  But she is doing so much better at that and rarely bites feet now, although she is still mouthing hands every once in a while.  Lacy loves to ride the mop when her mommy cleans the floor, and it seems as if her nose is constantly on the ground!  She is a regular vacuum!

Lacy is very cute and growing up fast.  I hope that we can be good friends once she matures and learns not to nip at me.  But she’s just a puppy, and all she wants to do is have fun.  I think Lacy deserves a loud bow-wow.  Bow-wow!

Lacy 2

 

Beat the Heat

dog panting

It’s a hot time of the year, a great time for swimming and playing at the park.  But what about your dog?  It’s hot outside, and special care needs to be given to him to keep him cool and comfortable.

dog drinking Lots of Water!

Dogs couldn’t live very long without water.  We need nice, cold water to drink.  If your dog stays outside or is outside a lot, provide clean,  cold water at all times.  Change the water every day and make sure your dog doesn’t spill it.  If he spills it, your dog doesn’t have any water  to drink.  Consider buying your dog a heavy duty water bowl.

 Lots of Shade!

It’s very hot outside, and dogs need a shaded area.  A doghouse is nice, but it gets hot inside that little space.  Try a beach umbrella or a  small canopy.  You don’t want your dog to get overheated!

 Your Dog’s Coat

It does get warm under our fur, but don’t have your dog shaved down to the skin.  Always consult your veterinarian before cutting your  dog’s hair to keep him cool.  A dog’s fur wasn’t only given to keep us warm.  It helps us not get sun burnt too.

The Swimming Pool

Swimming pools are great for humans to cool off, and sometimes for dogs too.  But never ever 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!

dog swimming

Hurtful Sidewalk

The sun beats down on the sidewalk, and makes it very hot.  A dog’s paws are tough, but not as tough as a human’s shoes.  Before you take your dog for walks, feel the sidewalk with your hand.  Is it too hot?  If so, walk your dog when it’s cooler outside, like in the early mornings and late evenings.  You don’t want your dog to have sore or burning paws!

Have lots of fun during this nice time of the year with your dog.  Make sure your dog doesn’t get overheated and stays cool!

 

Your New Puppy

Dobermann_cropping_01If you are planning on bringing a puppy into your home, I hope that you have thought of the future.  Your little fuzzball isn’t going to be a small puppy for long.  In no time at all, your little pup will be an adult dog!  You must consider how big the dog will become, how much exercise he will need, and how much he will cost.  All these things are very important.  Choosing a dog is a big decision, so it’s worth the time you spend studying about the different dog breeds and dog behavior.  You need to calculate the costs of a dog.  Dog food and vet appointments add up.

The Commitment

When you take a new puppy into your home, you make a commitment to him.  You are promising to take care of your new dog forever.  That is why you need to think hard about the breed you are getting.  Your dog could live to be 10 years old or maybe even older.  I hope that you will love your new dog to the end of his life.  If you love your dog, he will love you right back.  Your dog will look up to you and think you’re the most incredible person in the whole world.  You are his pack leader, his master, his very best friend.  Your dog will love you to the very last beat of his heart, so you should love him to the very end too.

Which Puppy?

When you pick out your new puppy, take your time.  This is a very important decision which will Erste_Welpenstunde_H-Wurf_Lightning_Dreams_(10577019724) take some thinking.  You want to choose a puppy that comes to you, lets you pet him, isn’t scared or mean, and seems to like you.  Don’t choose the cute little puppy that hides behind his mother or shakes when you pet him.  That puppy might not be ready to leave his mother or will end up being a frightened adult dog that shakes every time someone strokes him on the back.  Also, don’t choose a mean dog.  A puppy who bites you, snarls at you, or even gives you a low growl will most likely end up as a problem dog in the future.  So play it safe and don’t risk it!  You don’t want to be driving to the shelter a year from the day you pick up your puppy saying you couldn’t handle the biting.  Choose the puppy who is friendly, doesn’t mind you picking him up, likes it when you give him attention, and doesn’t growl or hide from you.

Shopping

Before you go and pick up your bundle of joy from the shelter or breeder, you need to do some shopping!  Your new dog will be needing:697px-Large_Dog_food_bowl

  • A collar and ID tag
  • Two bowls (one for food and one for water)
  • A leash
  • Toys
  • A brush
  • A dog bed
  • Some puppy food

That’s just the basics of what your puppy will need.  You can pick up some dog training books, dog treats (your new pup will love you for that!), or anything else that you may want you little pooch to have. Also, another thing you will want to consider buying for your dog is a dog crate.  These are really nice because your dog can sleep in them at night and also be safely in his cage while you’re not at home.  Just make sure to buy a crate that’s big enough to fit your puppy in when he’s grown up.

The Name Game

It’s so much fun to name your dog.  Have your whole family involved with naming your puppy.  This will be you dog’s very own name and everyone should like it.  You can always name your puppy what he looks or acts like.  If your puppy is very bouncy, you could call him Bounce.  If your puppy has lots of spots on his back, you could call him Freckles or Dot.  Be creative and have fun naming your dog!580px-Puzzel4b

Once you have decided on a name for your puppy, you will need to use it as often as you can.  Avoid calling your puppy multiple names (although, I confess, I am also called Baby and Posh Puppy while my real name is Sissy, but, in my own defense, you should hear all the funny names my humans call the cat!), because he could become confused and not know what his real name is.

Chewing

You will need to get your puppy some things to chew on.  Your pup is teething now and he feels as if he just has to get his teeth into something!  As his new teeth grow in, the puppy will want to chew everything that comes in his path.  If you provide your new pup with many toys to chew, he will not end up chewing the leg of the table or those important papers you just laid on the chair.  Be extra cautious of bones!  Your puppy could choke on little pieces of bone and could actually die from it.  Always buy very large and puppy-safe bones and supervise your dog while he chews.

Rules

Make a list of rules for your new puppy to go by, and stick to them.  If someone alters those 617px-Hazel_beim_Spielrules, your puppy will become confused and not know right from wrong.  If you don’t want the pup on the bed, write that down on a paper along with your other rules and stick them on the fridge.  Rules on the list could include: The puppy is not allowed to play roughly with anyone or the puppy cannot eat scraps from the table.  These are both very good rules that you will want to consider putting on your list.  Remember, don’t bend the rules! You must keep strict rules about the puppy biting anyone, even at play.  This is strictly forbidden.  If your little fuzzball gets away with biting now, he will think it’s OK to bite someone when all his adult teeth comes in.  Now that’s going to smart!  Don’t let even a playful nip go unpunished.  This isn’t cruel; it’s for the puppy’s own good.  No one wants to live with a dog who bites you every day!  When your puppy bites you, don’t start screaming, “No! No! Bad dog!” at him.  He doesn’t know that biting is bad, and he’s just a baby.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to let him get away with biting.  No sir!  When your puppy bites you, say, “Ouch!” loudly and walk away from your puppy.  Totally ignore him for a while.  This will teach your puppy that when he bites you, it really does hurt you and he doesn’t get to have fun when he bites someone.  When you say ouch, it will give your puppy a shock.  And when you walk away, the pup will learn that if he bites, he doesn’t get to have fun with you.

Be Prepared

Aid2Before you bring your puppy home, you will need to prepare.  Look around your house and think as if you were a little puppy who was curious about everything and had just come into the world a while ago.  Puppies will want to chew on wires, shoes, books, and anything else in their reach.  Put everything off the floor and out of reach.  Don’t give your puppy a chance to be bad.  And remember, he’s just a baby.  He doesn’t know that chewing on shoes is wrong or that he shouldn’t gnaw on wires for his own safety.  Your puppy hasn’t been taught that yet.  But don’t worry, he will soon learn.  You just need to prepare your house fully before you bring home your new puppy.  That way, he will be able to be a good dog and begin to enjoy family life with you.  Give your puppy many chances to be good, and reward him for doing the right thing.  That way, he will want to do what’s right.

Barriers

You may want to use barriers to keep your dog out of certain places.  This is a very good thing for a puppy as he will be less overwhelmed over his new home and will get into less trouble.  Baby gates work great to keep your little puppy out of your bedroom, the children’s rooms or play areas, and other places where your puppy could easily chew and destroy things.

Bringing Your Puppy Home in the Car

You have just picked up your new puppy and are getting ready to drive off.  You check to see if 800px-2008-07-26_Dog_in_a_van_at_the_Durham_Farmers_Marketthe puppy is securely seated in someone’s lap or in a cage and drive off…it sounds all too easy!  But, realistically, it’s not that easy all the time.  Puppies can become carsick and throw up in the car.  That’s no fun for anyone!  This is why you need to prepare for these accidents.  If the puppy is to sit on someone’s lap during the ride home, cover the person’s lap with an old towel.  You might also need to put a towel or blanket on the puppy to keep him warm.  Consider putting on some soothing music in your car as you drive home with your new puppy.  This will help him to stay calm. Don’t pass the puppy from lap to lap in the car.  I know that everyone in the family will be wanting to have the puppy on their lap, but that’s just too much for the little pup.  Remember that he’s new to your family and has probably never ridden in a car before.  He needs to feel secure, and being jostled from hand to hand in the car is not security. Safety tips: Never leave your puppy alone in the car because he could burn or freeze to death if the weather is even a little hot or cold.  Also, don’t ever let your puppy (or adult dog) hang his head out of the window.  Trash and dirt could get into his eyes and hurt him.  Do not ever put your puppy or dog in the back of the truck.  He could jump out and run away or get seriously hurt.  Again, trash could get into his eyes and hurt him.

Puppy’s First Day Home

When you first bring your puppy home, don’t tote the pup around.  This can be very tempting as800px-JRT_Pixel_2010-08-26 puppies are so cute and you want to hold them up to your face and cuddle them.  Your puppy is not a toy; he’s a dog and should be treated like one.  Leave your puppy on the floor and let him sniff around.  This is to be his new home and he needs a chance to find out about his surroundings.  So don’t pick up your puppy unless it is absolutely necessary. Take your puppy outside to go to the bathroom once you come home.  After that car ride, he will probably need to go.  Also, you don’t want any “accidents” happening in the house. Don’t take your puppy anywhere on his first day at your home.  I know you want to socialize your new puppy, but that doesn’t mean on his first day.  Wait until he has had all his shots to protect him from illnesses, and then you can introduce your puppy to other friendly dogs and bring him out to the park and have loads of fun on these outings.  Also, don’t begin training your puppy for a while.  Your puppy just needs some time to settle down and get to know his humans.

 Food, Water, and Where to go Potty

Give your puppy some water a little while after arriving at your house.  He may not want to drinkSaschaDruschel it because he is so excited, but don’t worry.  Your puppy will drink when he feels thirsty.  Choose a nice, clean corner where your puppy’s water bowl can be.  You will need to keep the bowl in a spot where it won’t be easily spilled.  Show your puppy where the bowl is, point to the bowl and say softly, “Look, (dog’s name), water!”  Feed your puppy when he is settled.  Always remember to bring your dog outside to go to the bathroom after he drinks or eats.  Don’t punish your new puppy for going to the bathroom on the floor.  Remember that he hasn’t been potty trained yet, and he’s just a baby.  He doesn’t know any better.  If your puppy goes to the bathroom on the floor, you may need to be taking him outside more often.  Clean up your puppy’s messes quickly so he won’t try to go potty again on the same spot.  You might also want to take an old newspaper and sop up some of your dog’s mess on it.  Take the newspaper outside and place it where you want your dog to go potty.  This way, your puppy will want to go potty outside where the newspaper is.  This will be the first step when potty training your dog.

Cuddle Buddy

Your puppy may need something to cuddle with…a sort of “cuddle buddy”.  Yes, his human is great to cuddle, but he doesn’t know you very well yet.  And also, you won’t be able to cuddle nonstop with him.  Some puppies like to cuddle with a big, fluffy stuffed animal.  That sort of reminds them of their mommy and litter mates.  It is a very good idea to get your dog his own “cuddle buddy” so he won’t have to use a child’s doll or teddy bear.  Your puppy will enjoy roughhousing with the stuffed animal, sleeping with it, or climbing all over it.

Nap Time For Puppy

Your puppy will need a nice place to sleep after all that excitement.  Choose a spot for your dog’s bed or crate and let your puppy rest there.  I heartily recommend a crate as your dog’s little nappy-time bed (and also as a bed for when he goes “night, night”).  These crates make perfect “dens” for puppies to crawl into and rest, away from all noise and activity.  You need to choose a quite spot for your dog to rest, so he can sleep peacefully.800px-Golden_Retriever_7_Aug_2005When your puppy is sleeping, don’t ever disturb him.  He needs his rest because he is just a baby.

When Will my Puppy be an Adult Dog?

When you’re a puppy parent, you’re going to have some of those days when you wonder when your puppy will ever grow up.  Your puppy went to the bathroom on the floor, chewed up your favorite shoes, and knocked down your favorite glass vase.  Your puppy won’t be an adult dog until he’s about 2 years old.  Growing takes time.

Have Fun!

I hope you have some tail-wagging fun with your new puppy!  Do some cuddling, go to the park, and just have fun watching your little puppy learn new things every day.

800px-Mason_snow11-18-2008

Happy 4th of July!

two dogs

The 4th of July is a great holiday, full of dazzling fireworks and waving flags.  But this holiday can be very frightening to dogs.

scared dog

Fireworks can frighten dogs

Fireworks create big “booms”.  Your dog can hear much better than you, so the “booms” are very loud to him.  This is  frightening to dogs and can make us cry.  Help your dog by putting him in the room where it is hardest to hear the fireworks.  Give him a very yummy bone to get his mind off of the loud fireworks.  Also, give him very special treat and praise him for ignoring the fireworks while he eats it.  Fireworks are scary to dogs, but if you distract your dog and tell him it’s alright, he’ll soon forget about his fears.

Flags are great to have in your yard on the 4th of July, but make sure they don’t scare your dog.  If your dog has never seen a flag flapping in the yard, he might become alarmed and bark at it.  If your dog shows fear or aggression towards the flag, take it into your house and show it to your dog.  Give him a treat, telling him he’s a good dog, while he observes the flag.  This way, he will see that the flag is nothing to worry about.

If you have a party on this holiday, make sure not to forget your dog.  Parties can be confusing to dogs, and we tend to get underfoot.  Put your dog in his cage or a room where it is quiet, and give him some toys and a bone to keep him company.  Also, make sure to follow these party safety rules:

  • Put all purses and bags on top of the counter, away from your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy.
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot, so he doesn’t get stepped on.  Ouch!
  • If your dog gets very excited when company arrives, put on his leash so he won’t jump on anyone.
  • Before company arrives, take your dog for a long walk or play a game of fetch.  This way, your dog will be tired during the party and won’t be jumping all over everybody.  He will be very happy to lay on his bed and chew on his bone.

Following these safety rules, your dog can enjoy the party happily and safely.

4th of July can be scary to many dogs, but if you distract your dog from the fireworks and take a little time to give him some extra attention his stress can be greatly reduced.

sissy

Happy 4th of July from Sissy!