Which Breed Fits Your Lifestyle?

800px-Gizmo_the_Jack_RussellHave you been thinking about getting a new dog?  That’s wonderful!  However, you should take some time to think about what kind of dog you want.  The possibilities are endless!

What Dog Do You Want?

Or, more specifically, what do you want in a dog?  If you like the Golden Retriever’s looks but don’t like to exercise, you need to get a different breed.  That’s why it’s a good idea to write a list of all of the qualities you want in your new dog.  Look at the example list below:

I want my new dog to be…

  • Friendly with kids
  • Low shedding
  • Small
  • Active
  • Social

Hmm…interesting list.  A couple of breeds that would fit these wants would be a Toy/Miniature Poodle and a Bichon Frise.

LISIANow that you’ve done your list, start researching the different breeds.  If you want a dog who will retrieve and hunt with you, you will probably want a dog from the hound of sporting group.  A few dogs from these categories are the Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Gordon Setter, and Basset Hound.  Don’t get one of these dogs if you don’t like to exercise.  Most of these dogs need a lot of it because of their original breeding.

Maltese_dog_(6225570341)Do you want a small dog?  Check out the terrier and toy groups.  Here are just a few: the Papillon, Toy Poodle, Pug, Bull Terrier, and Jack Russell Terrier.  Just because these dogs are small doesn’t mean they don’t need much exercise!  Jack Russells are especially hyper.  Also, these might not be the best if you have small children who like to squeeze doggies.  Smaller dogs need more gentle handling.

rottie prettyWant a dog who has protective instincts as well as working ability?  Check out the working group!  Here are a few dogs in it: Boxer, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Samoyed, and Rottweiler.  If you are a first time dog owner, some of these breeds who are very strong willed are not for you.  They need a strong pack leader to keep them in their place.  Also, never get one of these dogs to be solely a guard dog.  They need your attention and love, so please don’t chain them outside expecting them to become an awesome guard dog.  They will most likely bite your children and become aggressive.

800px-Border_Collie_sheepdog_trialWant a dog who will herd sheep, chickens, and even your kids?  Check out the herding group!  These dogs are greatly renowned for their intelligence.  Here are a few that you will probably recognize: Australian Shepherd, Border CollieWelsh Corgi, Shetland Sheepdog, and Belgian Sheepdog.  Please don’t get one of these dogs if you can’t stand excessive nipping from your dog as he learns to curb his herding drive.  Also, if you don’t think much of exercise or obedience training for your dog, mark the herding group off of your list.  These dogs MUST be trained and exercised a lot in order to help them not go crazy with energy!

800px-DalmataThe non-sporting group is a lot like a collage, full of different personalities and hairstyles.  Here are a few dogs from it: the Bulldog, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Lhasa Apso, and Poodle.  I can’t give you any tips for this group as they are all very different, so please do your research!

I’ve Narrowed it Down; Now What?

Now that you have a few breeds that are your favorites, start researching them as much as you can.  You will have to live with this dog for 10-15 years, and you want to be happy with your final decision.  Read books, magazines, go to their breed website, find owners of the breed you can talk to.  If they love their dog, they’ll probably be more than happy to answer your questions.

Get a Mix!

mutt 2Can’t decide which breed to get?  Get a mixed breed!  These dogs are uniquely colored and have varying personalities.  I encourage you to go to your local dog shelter and look at the dogs there.  They’re just as good as purebred dogs, and all they want is to be loved.

Giving Your Dog Pills

sissy-dogThis week, my humans have to give me various medicines.  Ear drops for earwax buildup in my ears, pills for itching, and liquid medicine in syringes for any parasites.  I have been having trouble “holding it” while in my cage at night as well as having a bad smell from my ears and terrible itching.  Then, the vet said I couldn’t eat anything but regular dog food!  Isn’t that awful?  No more treats…  Anyway, my humans were wondering just how to get me to swallow a pill without stuffing it in a slice of hot dog.  Hmmm…  The decision was made to pry open my mouth and put it in there.  That didn’t go over well.  That pill is gross!  And the syringes…well, those were even worse!  Finally, however, everything got down.

Have you ever had to give medicine to your dog?  It’s very difficult!  My humans are having to learn some techniques to make it easier for both them and me.  I decided to write a post about giving pills and liquid medicines to your dog, and I hope these tips and ideas help when you’re trying to give your dog medicine!

Pills

Bull_Terrier_Chico_05Normally, you can just put the pill in a slice of hot dog or a “pill pocket” treat you buy at a pet store and feed that to your dog.  Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to.  Here is the best way my humans have found to give me a pill:

First of all, have someone else hold your dog (an adult would be best, in case your dog decides to nip).  If you absolutely don’t have anyone, put your dog’s leash on him and, sitting down, put it under your knees.  This will make sure that your dog doesn’t bolt off as you try to pry his mouth open.  Now, open your dog’s mouth.  Reassure your dog as you do so and pop that pill as far back on his tongue as safely possible.  Keep your dog’s mouth shut with your hand and gently massage his throat.  Don’t let go of his mouth too soon, as he will probably spit the pill out.  My humans had to learn that the hard way!

Congratulations!  Your dog has taken his pill!

Liquid Medicine

When medicine is in a syringe, it can be very hard to get it into your dog’s mouth!  It took three people to get me to swallow my medicine!  I wiggle so much that nobody can hold me!

Have someone hold your dog.  If your dog is super wiggly, have two people hold him.  Now, at the side of your dog’s mouth, there is a little slot where you can stick the syringe in.  Get it in there and squirt that nasty medicine in before your dog can stop you.  For me, it took two squirts to get it into my mouth.  Yuck!

Hooray!  Your dog took his liquid medicine!  

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine puppy

Be my Valentine?

Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday for both you and your dog. On this special day, people will give candy, stuffed animals, and flowers to the ones they love. Even though your dog doesn’t know it’s Valentine’s Day, you can still make his day the best by playing an extra game of fetch or giving your dog a belly rub.

valentine's cupcakeOn Valentine’s Day, many people eat chocolate.  Even though this candy tastes wonderful to humans, do not ever feed any to your four-legged friend.  It is toxic for us and can kill dogs if we eat too much.  Even if you just feed your dog a little (don’t give into those puppy-dog eyes!), he will still have a terrible stomach ache and might even vomit.  So keep all candy, especially chocolate, out of reach from your four-legged friend.  Also, always pick up and throw away all candy wrappers.  Your dog may try to eat them.  This is very hazardous for your dog, as he could choke on them.  Take extra care with foil candy wrappers.  If swallowed, foil becomes as sharp as a knife.  If you even think your dog has eaten wrappers or chocolate, call your veterinarian right away.

Sometimes, on this special day, people will have parties. Your dog can be involved in the party, too, and have loads of fun, but you need to take some precautions:

  • If any presents are unwrapped, throw away all trash as soon as possible.valentine party
  • Place all purses and bags out of reach of your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy.
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot, so he doesn’t get stepped on.
  • If your dog seems stressed out from all the holiday activity, let him nap in a quiet room or his cage with a few toys to keep him company.
  • If your dog is known to get very excited when company arrives, play a game of fetch or take a walk before the guests come.  This way, your dog will be tuckered out and able to sleep quietly on his bed while the party goes on.

Some dogs like to jump up on people when they arrive at their house.  This is their way of saying hello.  Even though it may be cute, someone could get hurt.  Dogs have sharp claws!  Don’t punish your dog for doing this; he doesn’t mean to hurt anyone.  He’s just trying to give everyone Valentine’s Day kisses.  But this doesn’t mean you should let your dog get away with it.  Whenever I jump up on someone, my humans help me off and says, “Off, Sissy.”  This way, while I am practicing my good manners, I am learning a new command.

valentine puppies

Puppy love!

It’s loads of fun to give presents on this day, and, if you want to, you can get your dog a present. This present could simply be a homemade doggy biscuit or a new toy. A toy Kong would make a great present for a dog. Kongs can be stuffed with peanut butter or dog kibble and provide dogs with hours of fun.  They bounce funny and come in all sorts of chewing styles.  There are Kongs for a good price at Amazon.com.

Have a tail-wagging Valentine’s Day!

Help, My Puppy Bites Me!

800px-PachoncitaAre those sharp little puppy teeth always gnawing on you?  Does your puppy bite you when you try to play with him?  If you think that you got the wrong dog for your lifestyle, think again.  What you’re experiencing is normal!

Bangladeshi_Puppies_behavior_(01)There are several reasons why puppies bite.  Your baby could just be playing with you by snapping the air and mouthing your hands.  This, however, can become irksome, especially if your puppy enjoys doing this to children he could frighten or hurt.  Another possibility is fear.  When your puppy thinks he is in danger, he will bite to try to protect himself.  Your dog could also be a bit aggressive (trying to be top dog).  This could easily become dangerous as your dog gets bigger and continues to challenge your authority.  You need to find some solutions to this biting before it gets out of hand!

“I’m just kidding!”

If your dog enjoys snapping/biting you during playtime, he is only trying to have fun and joke around.  As innocent as it seems, however, you have to teach your dog that this is unacceptable behavior.  Those sharp teeth hurt!800px-Chewy_Puppy

 

If you want your dog to stop play biting, don’t hit or yell at him.  This will only lead to fear or aggression biting and will break his trust in you.  If you’re mean to your puppy, he won’t want to play with you!  You still, however, have to show him that he shouldn’t nip, even at play.

Start playing with your dog.  Fetch would be a good game, as tug-of-war encourages small Dogies_Day_Out_01861puppies to growl, snap, and bark.  Play this game with your puppy when he is a little older.  If your dog “play bites” you as you’re playing, stop the game immediately.  Totally ignore your dog and walk away.  If your dog approaches you calmly and doesn’t nip, praise him and continue the game.  Don’t do this if your dog bites you again.  Eventually, your puppy will catch on that, if he wants to have fun, he has to keep his teeth to himself.

“I’m scared!  Don’t touch me!”

800px-Lisbon_By_Alyson_Two_-_10_(3467115750)Does your puppy put down his ears and tail before he bites you?  If so, he is frightened and feels insecure.  When your puppy bites you, have you been holding an object that could frighten him?  Even something as simple as a hairdryer could look like a monster to a puppy.  If you think your dog is frightened of an object, put it on the ground (as long as it is not dangerous), and let your dog explore it.  If he continues to cower and yip at it, put a high-value treat nearby.  Don’t do it too close at first.  Once your dog has gobbled it up, put another one even nearer to the scary object.  Eventually you can work your way right up to it and help your dog overcome his fear.

Child_with_umbrella,_1968Does your puppy only snap in a scared manner at certain people?  A person wearing a hat, holding an umbrella, or with facial hair are good examples of things that can spook your dog.  Have the person present some high-value treats to your dog when he greets him.  Also, if your puppy does not object, have the “scary” person pet his favorite spot while saying, “Good dog, Trusty.”  If your dog continues to fear certain people, however, consult a professional dog trainer.  While your puppy’s bites do little damage now, he could bite out of fear as an adult and do some real harm.

“I’m top dog!  Back off!”

If your puppy growls, barks angrily, or bars his teeth before biting you, he is being aggressive.  This is very dangerous.  Don’t let this puppy around small children or pets such as hamsters and birds.  He cannot be trusted.  Consult a professional dog trainer right away!450px-Hathor_des_doyens_bordelais

 

Even though your puppy might bite out of fear of playfulness, he isn’t a bad dog.  He doesn’t know any better.  Please keep this in mind as you teach him patiently and kindly to keep his sharp puppy teeth off of skin.

How to Keep Your Dog Fit and Occupied This Winter

When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to stop exercising your dog.  As the cold in increases, the nice neighborhood walks and outdoor games of fetch slowly come to an end.  Even if it’s cold, however, you shouldn’t stop exercising your dog.  And the good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot of cold outside time to do it!  Below are a few ideas of what you could do with your dog to keep him fit both physically and mentally.

Do Indoor Fetch!

File:Pomeranian at play.JPG

Fetch isn’t only for outside!

Fetch isn’t only for outside.  You can play this with your dog while sitting on the couch!  If your dog doesn’t know how to fetch (or just likes to catch, not retrieve), follow the three steps below to teach him.

  1. Start playing with your dog with his favorite toy.  Fling it around playfully, encouraging your dog to take it in his mouth.  Then, throw it a little distance away.  When your dog chomps down on it, praise him and give him a treat.  Continue this until your dog immediately goes and takes the toy when you throw it.
  2. Now that your dog is reliably running to mouth the toy when you throw it, start encouraging him to bring it back to you.  When your dog brings you the toy, praise your dog and give him a treat.  If your dog finds this difficult, don’t throw the toy so far.
  3. As your dog gets better at fetching, start giving your dog a treat one time and another time scratching him in his favorite place.  Don’t rush this; you don’t want your dog to stop fetching because the treats have stopped.  Soon, your dog will be fetching for just a scratch!

Play Hide and Seek!

dog hiding

“Found you!”

This game isn’t only for children.  Your dog can play it too!  You can hide yourself and softly call your dog to find you.  Or, if your dog loves toys, hide them around the house and give your dog the command, “Seek!”  At first, seek them out with your dog, pointing and showing him where the toys are hidden.  Soon, your dog will rush off to find them himself.  Always remember to say the command! 

Being an older dog, I am not really crazy about toys.  I do have my special little stuffed dog Blue, but I don’t chew on him.  If your dog is more food motivated like me, hide small treats instead of toys.  The stronger the treats smell, the better your dog will be able to sniff them out!

Set Up a Mini Agility Course!

winter post dog agility

Dog agility is basically an obstacle course for dogs where they weave through poles, jump through hoops, and zoom through tunnels.  You can set up your own miniature agility course in a larger room in your house.  Here are a few obstacles you can set up for your dog:

Weave Poles
But forget the poles!  Set up water bottles, and help your dog snake through them with a treat.

Jumps
Put two books on the floor and lay a broom across them, making a makeshift jump.  However, never stack the books high.  For indoor agility, keep them only as high as one book for small dogs and two for larger ones.  Never ask your dog to jump higher than his knees, even if you think he could.  Also, if your dog has arthritis, don’t ask him to jump at all.

Tunnel
Put two chairs near each other and drape a blanket over them.  There you have it: a tunnel!

Always remember that safety comes first in this indoor agility course.  Choose a nice open space in your house for this course, and never ask your dog to jump high or weave too much.  You probably shouldn’t do the jumps or weave poles if your dog is a young puppy or a senior.  Also, if you have a larger dog, you might not want to play this game with him.  He will have a hard time not knocking things down.

Do Indoor Exercising!

winter post dog in stairs

Put on your dog’s leash and run up and down the stairs with him.  If you don’t have stairs, jog around the house with your dog.  While this should not replace a vigorous outdoor walk, it can help keep your dog fit and happy when it’s bitterly cold outside.

Safety tip: When going down the stairs, walk slower.  You don’t want your dog to skip a few steps by jumping and hurt himself.

Learn Some Tricks

Teaching your dog tricks will give his mind something to think about and help ward off boredom issues such as unneeded barking, pacing, and digging.  Read the Tricks Page to start your training adventure on the right foot – and paw!

Go for a Joy Ride

Even your dog can get cabin fever.  Take your dog for a ride in the car.  You don’t have to have a destination; just go around the neighborhood!

winter post dogs in car

Keep your dog’s safety in mind!  Never, never, never leave your dog alone in the car!  Even if it’s just chilly, the car will act like a refrigerator, trapping all of the cold air inside.  Also, don’t let your dog poke his head out of an open window.  Trash could get into his eyes or he could jump out, even through a small hole.  Dogs are award-winning squeezers!  Keep in mind that your dog should never travel in the back of a truck.  He could jump out and break something and, again, trash could get into his eyes.

Have a paw-some winter!

 

 

 

The Christmas Puppy Problem

It seems that Christmas and puppies would go hand in hand.  The children open a box with delighted squeals as a squirming puppy pops out, licking their faces and wagging its tail.  However, this is not a good idea.  It is quite exciting for the children, but what about 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 of the Christmas bustle can be very disturbing for a new puppy.

puppy 1

Holidays can be very stressful for puppies

There 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.  Also, a new puppy won’t be potty trained.  Are you willing to clean up his many accidents in the house on Christmas?  And don’t forget, because puppies lack bladder control, he will need to go out very often, possibly every thirty minutes.

During Christmas, there are many dangers for a curious little puppy.  Bobbling ornaments, wrapping paper and strings, toys littered on the floor, and wires are just a few.  These pose threats to a new puppy, who will be eager to chew and play with them.

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 dog in portriats of dogs

Puppies do not make good gifts

Many people buy puppies for friends and family for Christmas on a whim.  Hey, that pup in the pet shop is cute.  Wouldn’t my sister just love it?  Take my advice and don’t buy a surprise puppy for anyone.  Buying a dog is a personal decision.  Even if your friend or family member is always talking about getting a dog, leave the joy of choosing one to him/her.

Christmas is a very busy holiday, and a tiny 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 one 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 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.

puppy 3

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 very busy 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.  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.

christmas bulb

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!

christmas tree

Make sure you never bring toxic plants into the house.  Mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly are poison for dogs.  Call your veterinarian 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 keep it on the fridge, just in case.

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 holiday-themed cookie cutter to make these, and it makes great Christmas presents for your dog and his friends!

Have a fun and safe Christmas with your dog!

happy dog