Enjoy this entertaining and informative series inspired by Dawn's love of animals and her own experiences as a pet-parent to her beloved dog, Shasta.  Don't forget to check out the selection of unique puppy items designed to celebrate the life of your special pet, such as The Puppy Baby Book, Adoption Announcements, The Puppy Adoption Kit, The Puppy Obedience Certificate and more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puppy Mill: The New Horror Story
 

When you have decided to adopt a puppy, or any dog, it is imperative to research where that pup was born and how it was raised. Unless you live outside of any form of media, you are most likely aware of puppy mills.

There are way too many dogs tossed out on the street or dumped into shelters for anyone to even consider seeking and adopting a pure-bred dog with papers.

Don’t adopt from a pet store unless they are having an adoption day sponsored by a rescue group, the SPCA or similar organization. Many pet stores buy from puppy mills. You never know what horrors that pup lived through until you adopted him. And, those horrors come with a price, such as training or social issues.

Puppy mill dogs are not socialized with humans. They live in deplorable conditions and rarely receive their shots. Living with trauma brings behavioral issues you may not be aware of. These dogs don’t know about living with kindness and you may have to take extra time to bring them into the fold of the family. They’ve never experienced being brushed. They don’t know what dog toys are, or a dog bed.

Laws have recently changed to protect animals from cruelty. These laws are not perfect, but pets are far better protected than just five years ago.

From Wikipedia: Currently, 46 of the 50 states have enacted felony penalties for certain forms of animal abuse. However, in most jurisdictions, animal cruelty is most commonly charged as a misdemeanor offense.

Here’s a link to check your state regarding these animal cruelty laws:


http://www.straypetadvocacy.org/PDF/AnimalCrueltyLaws.pdf

While you’re at it, please check out The Puppy Mill Project. I’ve included their list of things you can do to help strengthen these laws.


https://www.thepuppymillproject.org/relevant-laws/

How can you make an impact and strengthen laws governing puppy mills? Here are several ways:
 

  • Follow any local legislative efforts. If you aren’t sure if there are any legislative efforts going on in your area, feel free to contact us and we can let you know.

  • Sign up for The Puppy Mill Project’s mailing list, as well as the mailing lists for other local and national animal welfare organizations. They will often send out email alerts when there is animal-related legislation pending.

  • Contact all of your representatives, including your local alderman, city council member or county commissioner, as well as your state representative and senator, your United States Representative and Senator, and even the President of the United States. Politicians care about issues that are important to their constituents. Most legislative bodies provide a way to look up your representative and find his or her contact information.

  • Educate yourself on any pending animal welfare legislation, and let your representatives know that animal welfare legislation and puppy mills are an extremely important issue to you and tell them why.

  • If you are interested in learning about where candidates stand on animal-related issues, The Humane Society of the United States publishes its Humane Scorecard that shows federal legislators’ records on animal issues.

Consider using The Shelter Pet Project to find a shelter or rescue group to adopt your puppy.

Make sure you have researched wisely. Once you adopt a puppy, you are the parent. You want to have the best experience possible with your new puppy. And you want to make sure he is healthy and happy.

Be sure to document your puppy’s adoption in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, take a look at our beautiful, frame-worthy adoption certificate.

Keep Your Pets Safe for Halloween!

It’s October and fall is in the air. The leaves are turning from their spring and summer green to red, gold, brown and orange, making a beautiful palette for country drives.

October is also the month where many people celebrate Halloween. Be sure to keep your pets safe. Not only is there a danger of your doggies getting into the candy basket and making themselves sick, but pranksters present a problem, especially for black cats.

Beware of Cruel Pranksters!

Keep your dog’s indoors on party nights, or when children go from house to house trick or treating. If you have a black cat, do not let it outside at those times. There have been many instances throughout the years of cruel people torturing dogs and black cats. Make sure your fur babies are protected and safe.


Remember to keep your Puppy Baby Book up-to-date! If you don’t have one, get one now!

Are You Thinking About Adopting a Puppy?

Adopting a puppy is a big step and a huge responsibility. Puppies are like infants and you will be the parent. Think about what that would entail: feeding, comforting a puppy who misses his canine mother and siblings, or who gets scared during a storm or is afraid of loud noises, training, grooming, taking the puppy outside to go potty several times a day (and maybe into the night), doctoring when the puppy gets sick, and of course playing with him.

The financial responsibilities should always be the first consideration. There are adoption fees, veterinarian fees for puppy shots, checkups and emergencies, gear for the puppy (collar, leash, maybe a halter), dog bed, water bowl, food bowl, puppy food and treats, toys, sweaters for cold weather, and perhaps a travel crate. If your puppy has long hair, there will be grooming fees if you take him to a groomer. If you travel for work, go on a vacation, have an out of town/state emergency, there will be boarding fees if you have no one to watch the puppy in your absence.

The next thing to think about is your household. If you live in an apartment, townhouse or condo, you will need to find out if there are restrictions about the size, or breed of dogs that are allowed on the property. Will you have to pay an additional pet deposit? What about pet rent? Many places are charging pet rent in addition to your monthly rental payment.

Some neighborhoods have strict rules about potty pickup. Do you have potty bags to pick up after your puppy when you walk him? If you live in a house, do you have a fenced yard or patio where the puppy can go outside and play? Will the yard or patio be big enough for when the puppy is grown?

Do you live alone, or do you live with a husband, wife, roommate(s), children, or other pets? If you live alone, the responsibilities all fall on you. If you have a family, do they want a new puppy? If so, great. Everyone can step in to take care of the new puppy. If not, there may be hard feelings and the puppy may not understand hostilities toward him. This could be psychologically damaging to a young puppy’s emotions and cause all sorts of problems.

Do you have other pets? They may not be thrilled to see your new addition to the family. Cats may scratch the playful puppy. Bigger dogs may roughhouse or bite the puppy. You will have to be the hall monitor to make sure the puppy doesn’t get hurt during the first few days or weeks until all of your furry family members have adjusted to the new member of the household.

 

Monthly necessities that don’t go away are flea treatments, and heartworm preventative treatments. Also, if you are squeamish and can’t trim your puppy’s toenails, or clean his ears, or are afraid to give him a bath, you have to pay a groomer.

 

Don’t forget to document your puppy’s progress in your The Puppy Baby Book!

 
 

Should you Adopt from a Shelter, Rescue or Breeder?

There are a lot of choices when it comes time to adopt a puppy. Are you thinking about a specific breed? Are you going to contact a breed-specific rescue group? What about the local animal shelter? Does your area have adoption days at a local pet store in conjunction with an animal shelter or rescue group? Consider using The Shelter Pet Project to find a shelter or rescue group to adopt your puppy.

Many “puppies for sale” advertisements are back yard breeders or puppy mills. The large majority of puppy mills have deplorable living conditions for their dogs and many people who adopt from those sources later discover that their puppy has either a medical or psychological problem. Try to learn as much as you can about where your puppy was born, veterinary records, and the conditions of the birth. Avoid anyone who claims they don’t have that information.

The following links provide information about puppy mills and how to determine if the pup you are interested in is from a legitimate source, or a deplorable puppy mill.

http://iheartdogs.com/10-signs-that-puppy-is-from-a-puppy-mill/
http://www.petful.com/animal-welfare/puppy-mill-red-flags/
http://www.petguide.com/health/dog/10-signs-your-dog-is-from-a-puppy-mill/

 

Take a look at the statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) so you can better understand pet population to make a wise choice with your adoption process.

  • Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats.

  • Each year, approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).

  • Approximately 2.7 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.4 million dogs and 1.3 million cats).

  • About 649,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 542,000 are dogs and only 100,000 are cats.

  • Of the dogs entering shelters, approximately 35% are adopted, 31% are euthanized and 26% of dogs who came in as strays are returned to their owner.

  • About twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.

 

You never know when your circumstances may change. Plan ahead for unforeseen situations so you are not faced with making life changing decisions, such as having to give your beloved pet up for adoption. The American Humane Association statistics show the most common reasons why people give up or give away their dog is because their new place of residence does not allow pets (29%), they do not have enough time to take care of the pet (10%), an unforeseen divorce/death in the family (10%), and behavior issues (10%). The following charts are provided by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Where Do People Acquire Pets?

2012 AVMA source  Book

84.7%

10.1%

15%

 4.2%

 19.1%

2015-16 APPA Survey

37% (up from 35% from 2012/13)

46% (up from 43% from 2012/13)

6%

27%

20%

28%

4% (down from 5% in 2012/13)

2%

34% (up from 32% in 2012/13)

3%

Facts

 

Dogs Adopted from a shelter or rescue

Cats adopted from a shelter or rescue

Dogs taken in as strays

Cats taken in as strays

Dogs acquied from friends or relative
 

Cats acquied from friends or relative

Dogs Purchase from pet Store

Cats Purchase from pet Store

Dogs Purchase from pet breeder

Cats Purchase from pet breeder

Dogs

Facts

Household that owns at least one dog

Estimated number of pet dogs per household

Dogs-owning household with small dogs

Dogs-owning household with medium dogs

Dogs-owning household with large dogs

Percentage of dog owners who considers their dogs to be family members

Percentage of dog owners who considers their dogs to be pets or companions

Percentage of dog owners who considers their dogs to be property

  Average amount spent on veterinary care per year,per dog

  Percentage of owned dogs who are spayed or neutred

2012 AVMA Source  Book

Nearly 43.3 million (36.5%)

70 million

1.6

 39.3%

27.3%


 66%

 
32%


 0.7%


 $227

2015-16 APPA Survey

 

54.4 million(44%)

 

77.8 million

 

1.43

 

50%

 

37%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$1436

 

 

86%

Make sure you have researched wisely. Once you adopt a puppy, you are the parent. You want to have the best experience possible with your new puppy. And you want to make sure he is healthy and happy. Be sure to document your puppy’s adoption in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, take a look at our beautiful, frame-worthy adoption certificate, the Puppy Adoption Kit or the Puppy Adoption Announcement Cards.

When to Adopt a Puppy

You’ve made the decision. Everyone is on board. You know what breed. You’ve decided on a boy or a girl – maybe even siblings! Now you’re off to adopt the little pup. Hopefully, you have done the research and are going to adopt from a reliable source, and not a puppy mill.

 

Puppies should not be separated from their mother or siblings before they are two months old—later if at all possible. When they are separated too early, they miss out on important developmental stages that only occur only while living with their littermates. When they are separated from their canine family too soon, behavior problems could arise down the road.

The Puppy Life Cycle

 

Puppies are born blind, deaf, without teeth, and cannot regulate their body temperature. They don’t have the ability to relieve themselves. The mother licks the puppies all over to not only keep them clean, but the licking stimulates them to urinate and defecate.They depend on their mother and the litter to keep warm. A puppy that gets separated from the warmth of the litter can quickly die from low body temperature.

Puppies sleep nearly 90 percent of the time for the first two weeks. The rest of the time is spent nursing. Newborn puppies only have the ability to crawl, using their front legs to pull them along. All that crawling helps develop their muscles, and eventually coordination. Their ears open around two weeks old and their eyes open between 10-16 days. Their voices change from grunting and mewling to yelping, whining and barking. They can stand up in 15 days and they start walking by the time they are 21 days old. Before they could see, hear or stand, puppies were totally dependent on their mother. Things start changing quickly at three weeks old – they know what their mother and siblings look like, they can see their environment, and they begin to play with their littermates.

Critical Socialization Period (Four to 12 Weeks old)

 

Puppies begin socializing at the end of their third week, and this goes on until 10 weeks old. During this time there is a high level of interaction with littermates and others, and they can form attachments they will remember the rest of their life. Their mother begins weaning them around four weeks, and the puppies begin sampling solid food and water. The weaning process is gradual and is usually finished by the eighth week. You can bet mom is relieved! Between six to eight weeks (the most critical period of your puppy’s life), puppies acknowledge others as members of their family.

 

Week Eight-to-Twelve

Puppies sometimes get scared when meeting new people, or when introduced to new things. Anything that scares them at this point in their early life could very well have a lasting impact. If your puppy’s curiosity turns into fear, be sure to comfort him and reassure him the new person or object will not harm him. Introducing the puppy to new things or people should always be done very carefully so they don’t get scared.

 
 

Bringing the New Puppy Home

Oh, yay! Today’s the day! The breeder, shelter or rescue has approved your application! You have a travel crate, a harness or collar, a leash, maybe even a small toy for your new puppy.

The house is prepared. You have puppy-proofed your place to the best of your ability. You have made sure that all cabinets or doors where you have household cleaners and chemicals are secured, and those products are out of reach. Your house plants are non-poisonous, or high up so the puppy can’t chew on them. Electrical cords are taped to baseboards or the floor, shoes are in the closet where they belong, and that expensive Oriental rug is temporarily rolled up until you know for sure accidents are not likely.

It is a good idea to get a puppy’s eye view of your place—get down on the floor and take a look at what you see. If there is anything that you have overlooked, now is the time to take away any and all temptations before those sharp little puppy teeth start gnawing away.

Make sure you have the kitchen ready for when puppy comes through the door. A heavy water bowl filled with fresh water, a food dish with a little food so he will know where his meals will be served, maybe a baby gate to keep him in the kitchen when you want him sequestered away from everyone and everything else, and a comfy bed if that is where he will sleep.

Depending on how old your puppy will be when you adopt him, he may be teething. Puppies have 28 baby teeth and they are just like little children who are teething. They will need something to chew on, other than your household items! There are a lot of choices out there, and there are even some that you can put in the freezer and they will stay cold for a long time. It soothes their gums and makes the puppy less frantic. So make sure you have plenty of chewy things on hand until this phase is complete and his 42 permanent teeth are in place. This phase can take anywhere from four to six months, until the puppy is approximately eight months old.

Make sure you have the kitchen ready for when puppy comes through the door. A heavy water bowl filled with fresh water, a food dish with a little food so he will know where his meals will be served, maybe a baby gate to keep him in the kitchen when you want him sequestered away from everyone and everything else, and a comfy bed if that is where he will sleep.

Depending on how old your puppy will be when you adopt him, he may be teething. Puppies have 28 baby teeth and they are just like little children who are teething. They will need something to chew on, other than your household items! There are a lot of choices out there, and there are even some that you can put in the freezer and they will stay cold for a long time. It soothes their gums and makes the puppy less frantic. So make sure you have plenty of chewy things on hand until this phase is complete and his 42 permanent teeth are in place. This phase can take anywhere from four to six months, until the puppy is approximately eight months old.

 

Caring For Your New Puppy

 

Your cutie pie is home and everyone is in love with him. If you haven’t had a family meeting prior to the puppy’s arrival, now is a good time to gather everyone to discuss the caring of the furry baby before he is let loose to explore. If you have young children, make sure they don’t fight over who gets to hold and play with the puppy first. And make sure they don’t roughhouse with the puppy—that will send a negative message to the puppy that playing rough is okay. One of your kids may get hurt and the puppy will be confused when you scold him.

 

Everyone needs to use the same language for commands, otherwise you may end up with one confused pup. It may be a good idea for someone to type up a list of agreed upon language and tape it to the refrigerator so everyone can reference the list. The puppy is just a baby and he has a lot to learn when he enters your household. Plus, he will be in sensory overloaded with his new home and everything it contains.

Some of the most common language he should learn, if he doesn’t know these words already are as follows:
 

  • His new name and nicknames

  • Come

  • Sit

  • Stay

  • Down (to lie down)
     


 

When I brought my dog home, the shelter had named her Brundie, and I wanted to call her Shasta. For several days I called her a dual name and this seemed to work quite well. She was Brundie-Shasta every day, multiple times a day, then after a week or so I transitioned her to Shasta and she knew that was her name.

Dogs pick up language pretty quickly. My dog understood the word wait when we were out for a walk—I used this when we came to an intersection. She would stop when I said wait, and we would resume walking when I said okay. She also learned that off meant for her to get off the sofa or whatever she had climbed onto. When someone in your family comes up with a new command, it should be added to the list and verbally shared with everyone so the puppy’s language learning is enforced. They are pretty smart critters and you can grow their vocabulary as they grow. All family members have to be responsible for making this puppy’s learning experiences the best they can be. Consider having a rotating shift for taking him to the yard to go potty, or if you are using paper or pads on the floor, bring him to that area often until he understands that is where he is to relieve himself.

When the adoption place released the puppy to your care, they may have provided a little sack of the food he had been eating. If not, get the brand name immediately. It is important to slowly introduce new food so the puppy does not have problems digesting. For three or four days provide a mixed blend of the old food with a small portion of the new food. The rule of thumb is one part of the new blend with three parts of the old blend. After a week you should be able to switch to the new food without any problems.

Like infants, puppies require small meals three or four times a day. Do not feed a puppy adult dog food. They will require puppy food for the specific nutrients while they grow. You also do not want to feed your puppy the minute you get home. This may encourage separation anxiety which will be difficult to overcome. When you first arrive home, either play with him, or brush him, or take him for a walk, or let him run in the back yard if it is fenced. He will then associate you coming home with fun experiences, not food. Great snacks for puppies include small bites of carrot or pieces of apple. My dog would stalk me when I ate a banana, which I shared with her.

The American Kennel Club has wonderful content for feeding a puppy at different stages and different breed sizes, along with discussions about different types of foods that meet the puppy’s nutritional requirements.

 

To read or save the article, click here: http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/puppy-feeding-fundamentals/ Be sure to keep his water bowl full at all times, and to wash it daily to avoid nasty bacteria. If you are going to be gone for a long time, consider multiple water bowls. The heavier the bowl, the better. Those clumsy paws have a tendency to stumble and bungle and there may be more water on the floor than in his bowl if it isn’t heavy enough.

Don’t forget to document your puppy’s progress in your The Puppy Baby Book!

Praise Your Puppy!

 

When it comes to measuring your puppy’s attention span think of it as the size of a fruit fly. Tiny, tiny, tiny. Everything distracts him and pulls him off
course from any lessons. So when your little puppy does something he is supposed to, sing high praises. He will be so excited you’re happy he will associate what he did with that praise. And we all love it when our little doggies get all wiggly, waggie, and smiley.

 

For great training sessions:

  • Always be gentle with your puppy during any training sessions.

  • Never, ever yell at your puppy during training.

  • Consider using a harness.

  • Never yank the leash so hard it will hurt your puppy’s trachea (wind pipe).

  • Use short commands.

  • Keep the sessions short.

If you act angry, you will instill fear in your puppy. That is the worst thing you could do because he will be afraid whenever he hears that particular command. You want your puppy to be happy around you, not fearful. Not only do puppies have short attention spans, they will shut down emotionally if they are afraid. If you need help with the training, consider searching for puppy training videos on YouTube, iTunes, and Google. There is a huge virtual library of puppy training videos out there. All you have to do is search for them. A great way to socialize your puppy after a few training sessions with the leash is to take him to a pet supply store that allows dogs on leashes.

Understand that this will be full sensory overload when he comes into contact with other dogs, when he smells food, treats, and other animals. And there will be people all over the place, so it may be a good idea to use a harness so he doesn’t choke himself and damage his trachea.

If the store experience is overwhelming for him and he goes bonkers and won’t follow commands, it would be best to leave the store. If he somewhat obeys, make sure you praise him. And, make sure he doesn’t grab something (toy, treat) and won’t give it up at the cash register. You don’t want your little guy to be a shoplifter! That is another lesson – make sure he relinquishes his object of affection when you tell him to drop it (come up with a word or short phrase and add it to your list of commands). This is important for when/if he ever grabs something that would be dangerous, or poisonous, or an electronic device, or something he should not have in his mouth. Period. Your shoes, the TV remote, and your cellphone are not toys.

Remember, all those dogs that you see in movies, TV shows, even advertisements, have gone through rigorous training. They weren’t born knowing all the rules. It took time for someone to train them. Be sure to document your puppy training in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, you might want a beautiful, frame-worthy Obedience Training certificate for when your puppy graduates!

 
 

Puppy Potty Training 101

 

Raising and training a puppy is not so different than raising one of your own children. Of course, if you have never had a child, never babysat for nieces and nephews, neighbors or your best friends baby, you don’t have that experience. What it boils down to is being consistent, using the same language (commands), and not bullying the puppy when mistakes happen.

Referring back to an infant, when you go through potty training with a baby, it can be a long process over many months, or even years until that child gets to wear his big boy underpants. Some kids take to the potty with a snap of the fingers. Others, not so much. Some of that may be due to the parents training skills. I lucked out with my two boys. Son #1 did not like wet, dirty diapers. He self-trained himself when he was approximately nine months old. I’m not kidding. Son #2 not so soon, but he was still under 18 months old when he was potty trained.

Puppy enters your home for the first time

As soon as your puppy enters your home for the first time, repeatedly show him where he is supposed to relieve himself. Whether this is on newspaper, potty pads, out in the yard—just show him over and over—and often. Dogs will not relieve themselves where they eat or sleep, so make sure you do not lay papers or pads in those areas. Never, ever rub your puppy’s nose in his mess if he makes a mistake. That does not teach him anything positive and falls into the bullying category. When he makes a mistake, show him his mistake then bring him to where he is supposed to relieve himself. There is a caveat here that must be considered. If you were away from home for long hours and no one else was available to take the puppy outside, or you don’t use newspaper or pads on the floor, you can only be angry with yourself.

Expecting a young puppy to hold his bladder, or not poop on the floor for long hours is just not feasible. As an adult, think about how long you can hold your bladder before you think you will burst, and then think about how long an infant or young child can hold his. Then associate that with your puppy. Don’t rant like a lunatic while cleaning up his mistake.

One thing you do not want is for your puppy to fear you.

When the puppy goes potty where he is directed to go, praise him with smiles, kind words and pats on the head and scratches under the chin or behind his ears. He will get all wiggly, waggy-tailed and smiley. That is positive behavior and your reaction to it is what he will look forward to. He wants to make you happy to get that wonderful reinforcement.

 

Is Your Puppy Biting?

If your puppy has been separated from his mother and littermates too soon, he will not have learned some important basics, so it is up to you to help him through these trials.

The ideal time to adopt a puppy is when they are over two months old. Three months is better and four months is best. The litter teaches them when they are too rough in their play time, and it is best that the littermates complain about and take action when those sharp puppy teeth bite too hard. You may think it is real cute when he is a little puppy gnawing on your fingers, but when your dog is eight months old, or bigger, it won’t be so sweet then. Try to find puppy teething toys. There are even some that you put in the freezer that will make the puppy’s gums feel better.

 

It’s natural for puppies to bite and use their mouths, but you want to make sure you catch him and exchange your hand, fingers, or foot with a proper chew toy. Company will not appreciate those sharp little teeth gnawing on them, and you don’t want anyone to even suggest your puppy hurt them, or drew blood from being too rough. Do you hear law suit?

You can take the place of his littermate. Don’t scoff. Keep an open mind. When he’s playing with his littermate and he bites too hard, his playmate will yelp, which will make him release his mouth. So when he is playing with you, and he bites your hand too hard, let your hand relax and make a yelping sound, or say OW real loud. He should release you. For at least 20 seconds, ignore him. He’ll get the message. Then you can start playing again.

Whatever you do, do not pull your hand away when he has bitten you too hard. If you don’t let your hand relax, he could interpret this to mean that you want him to chase you. Don’t let him think it is fun to chase and bite. And if he continues with this behavior for more than three times within a 15-minute period, he needs a time out.

If your puppy belongs to the group of herding dogs, you may experience him nipping at your feet or ankles when you are walking together. Make sure you bring a toy along for your walks. If he nips or bites your foot or ankle, STOP walking. Offer him the toy. When he grabs the toy, praise him. He will soon understand that nipping your feet is a no-no, but chewing on the toy is the way to go.

It’s okay for him to mouth you without using his teeth, but you want to avoid biting which could become a very bad habit that may require a professional trainer to help him “unlearn” that lesson. You might want to teach your puppy a new command, such as “let go”. Use it often when you are playing games like tug-of-war so he understands when to let go, and not to be over-aggressive.

It would be very beneficial to take your puppy to a dog park so he can interact with other puppies, dogs and people. Socializing with other puppies and dogs will help him understand when he is being too rough. Those other puppies and dogs will put him in his place.

Remember, to make a positive impression on your puppy:

  • Be calm, gentle.

  • Never yell at your puppy during any type of a training session.

  • Praise him and give him a treat when he does the right thing, even if he gets it half right.

  • Show him over and over again.

  • Keep lessons short.

  • Use short commands.

 

Don’t forget to document your puppy’s progress in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, if you need additional pages for your puppy book, check out the Blank Template Package.

 

Who's in Charge?

 

When that little puppy is new to your family, regardless whether it’s just you, or a family of four humans, and/or other dogs and cats, that new little puppy is cute no matter what he does. However, it needs to be established who is in charge—you, or that furry ball of energy, from the onset of the relationship so he knows who is the boss.

When that little puppy is five or 15 pounds, all that romping through the house, along with cute little growls and barks may be entertaining, but when he’s a big boy or girl and 30-100 pounds, some things are no longer cute or funny. If you have not set boundaries or made that little guy know who is in charge, you may inadvertently have created a monster that will be difficult to get under control.

Dogs are pack animals. In the wild every pack has an alpha—that is the leader who makes all the decisions for the entire pack. Typically, there is an alpha male and an alpha female. All other dogs in the pack submit to the alpha’s.

Just because you are a human doesn’t necessarily mean you are the pack leader. Unless you establish this early on, you could easily be usurped by a dominant dog and your safety, or your family members’ safety may become an issue when your dog is having “a moment” (in toddler talk that is a called temper tantrum).

To set things straight, being the pack leader doesn’t mean you have to be mean and aggressive. It does not include beating, yelling and screaming. You do not want to become the monster and have your puppy cowed down and scared of you. Leadership and subordination is all about respect and communication between the members of the pack.

When you establish boundaries for your puppy, and he respects the word NO, you are on the right track. If your dog ignores your commands, there is work to be done. And, like little toddlers, if you let your children or dogs run wild and they are never disciplined, and ignore the word NO, you are in for a rough time because you definitely are not in charge.

 

To establish yourself as the pack leader, there are a few exercises you can do with the puppy. These two exercises are broken down to the age of the puppy. You must treat the puppy gently as if he were a human infant.

Puppies up to three-months old
 

1. Sit on the floor. Pick up the puppy with both hands behind his front legs. Make sure he is facing you.


• Hold him at arms-length.
• Look directly into his eyes.
• Growl if he struggles, using a deep voice.
• Hold him until he relaxes.
• Keep him in this position 15 to 45 seconds.

 

2. Sit on the floor. Cradle the puppy by placing one hand under his head and the other supporting his back so he is upside down on his back with his feet up in the air*.


• Hold the puppy for 15 to 45 seconds.
• Growl if he struggles, using a deep voice.
• Hold him until he relaxes.
*If this is a large puppy, follow the steps in the six-month old directions.

 

 

Puppies up to six-months old
 

1. Stand over your puppy, with him between your legs (you should both be facing the same direction).


• Lock your fingers together under his chest, just behind the front legs.
• Lift his front legs off the ground for 15 to 45 seconds.
• If he struggles, growl at him till he is quiet.

 

2. Have your puppy lie down on the floor with all four legs pointing away from you.


• Hold him firmly by the neck with one hand, and press down on his midsection with the other hand.
• Talk to him softly—it might take two or three minutes to get him to relax.  The goal is to have him expose his belly in submission. Praise him when he relaxes.
• Do not allow him to struggle, get up, or nip at you.
• Hold each of his paws 15-45 seconds.
• Open his mouth and look inside so he can get used to tolerating your handling him gently.
• Repeat this exercise multiple times a day.
• When he accepts your handling in this manner, taper off to once a day and then a couple of times a week.

 

Be sure to document your puppy training in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, you might want a beautiful, frame-worthy Obedience Training certificate for when your puppy graduates!

You Are the Alpha in Your Pack
 

Do not take this subject lightly. Puppies grow up into dogs. Dogs need leadership and guidance so they understand when their behavior is no longer appropriate. Any dog in your household that does not accept you as the Pack Leader, or Alpha, is going to be difficult to handle somewhere down the line.

A 10-pound puppy is one thing, but when Max grows into a 45, 50, or 100-pound dog, you will be happy that he knows YOU are the boss.

There are a lot of things you can do to establish your role as the Alpha, or Pack Leader. First of all, this leadership role commands respect and establishes trust between you and your puppy. You will not be respected if you are cruel or aggressive, or if you yell and scream at your pup. Being the leader means you have to be firm with your puppy. When you say NO, that’s it. There should never be wiggle room around the command NO. That sends a confusing message to the puppy and if there is one thing you do not want to be unclear about is what you mean when you say NO.

When your puppy (or any dog) trusts you explicitly, life will be a lot easier for everyone in your household. He will know that you would never do anything to harm him intentionally and it will make everything much easier, such as grooming, clipping his nails, cleaning his ears, giving him medicine, and following commands.

 

You are the Alpha, Part II

 

Make no mistake about it, that cute ball of fur will challenge you on many occasions. It will be imperative that you assert that you are the boss and what you say goes.

Wild dogs and wolf packs are great examples of how order should be established in your household. There is only one Alpha and he is the boss. There are young upstarts that challenge him on a daily basis, but those challenges are dealt with as they come, otherwise the Alpha may lose his position.

One of the ways the Alpha maintains control is to initiate the stare. There is no mistaking his message as he will have an expression of authority when making eye contact with one of his pack. You can do this in your household with your puppy, or any of your dogs. The stare is accomplished by looking directly into the eyes of the puppy/dog. You want the puppy to maintain this eye contact for several seconds and this requires a bit of training on your part.

To start the procedure, train him with a term or phrase such as: look, watch me, eyes. Something that is easy to understand. Tap the side of your eyes, or use a finger to go from the direction of your eyes to his eyes. While doing this, say the term or phrase when he looks at you so he understands what you want. This initial training should a be non-threatening relaxed exercise.

When your puppy does make eye contact, praise him. Tell him what a good boy he is, or good girl. Do this exercise repeatedly through the week until it becomes natural. When it comes time to be serious with the stare, do not waver. Do not blink. Maintain firm eye contact. Remember, he who blinks first loses.

Another great exercise to show your puppy who is the boss is to teach him to sit. When you require him to sit before you feed him, initiate playtime, or let him go outside, he will understand that to get the food, or to get you to play with him, or to go outside, he has to do what is required of him (sit) before any of the good, fun things happen.

If your puppy growls or snaps at you, this is a serious offense and you, the Alpha, need to take action immediately with no qualms whatsoever. This is accomplished by grabbing him by the scruff on the back of his neck with one or both hands, shaking him, and forcing him to make eye contact—stare him into submission then ignore him for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

The ignoring part of this exercise is important. When he realizes that he did something wrong, there are all sorts of conniving tricks to try to get back into your good graces—rubbing or bumping your leg or hand, pawing you for attention, rolling over and getting wiggly and cute. Don’t give in and coo at him, or pat him. If you do, your Alpha status is in deep jeopardy and he will never forget that he won round one.

When the puppy is in his adolescence (nine to 12 months old) he may test your Alpha status. When you put him in his place the  very first time he challenges you, there is a good chance it will not happen again. Don’t ever overlook a challenge to your Alpha status. If you are afraid to do this, act immediately by contacting a dog trainer. If you do not take action on this behavior your dog could ignore your commands and he may eventually bite you or someone else.

 

Be sure to document your puppy’s training in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, take a look at our beautiful, frame-worthy obedience certificate.

 

Older Adopted Puppy's Bad Habits

If you have adopted an older puppy (4-10 months old) from a shelter or rescue, he may have lived with someone who did not know what was involved in raising a puppy. A lot of people do not understand that it takes time and patience to train a puppy. Therefore, they are responsible for their puppy’s bad habits. If they were too busy to raise this new puppy correctly, with good manners, you end up with their brat. Don’t despair. Everyone can learn new skills, even puppies. When I was very young I pronounced pork chop as pork chock. I had no idea I was saying it wrong which made my classmates laugh at me. Then someone corrected me and I started saying it properly so I was no longer picked on at school.

 

With your puppy, no matter what he is doing wrong, he can learn the right way, or the right behavior with a little encouragement and praise when he does the right thing. When you take the time to correct his actions and repeat the training he will come to understand this is the right way he is supposed to do this. When he does something wrong, tell him bad boy (or bad girl). Make him lie down, or go to his bed. If he has been chewing on something he wasn’t supposed to, give him a chew toy. He will come to understand this is what he is supposed to chew on, not your shoes, the door, your sofa, etc.

The same goes for all bad behavior. Scold (don’t scream), send him to his bed, then correct the behavior with a lesson to show him the right way of doing things. Always praise him when he does the correct behavior.

Remember, to make a positive impression on your puppy:

  • Be calm, gentle.

  • Never yell at your puppy during training.

  • Praise him and give him a treat when he does the right thing, even if he gets it half right.

  • Show him over and over again.

  • Keep lessons short.

  • Use short commands.


When you make a training session a fun experience, your puppy will want to learn. He will look at you expectantly, waiting to find out what’s next. If you turn into a maniac and get all yelly and screamy, your puppy’s tail will drop between his legs and he may cower in fear. You won’t accomplish anything positive, that’s for sure. He will associate you and training as a scary thing and he will shut down. Like an infant, he needs love and positive experiences to learn what you want him to know, and to correct his misguided behavior. Eager is good. Cowering in fear is bad. And remember, if this is your puppy’s second time around, with the first family

giving him up for adoption, he may be confused and lacking confidence. It is up to you to make him feel loved so both of your experiences are a happy match.

 

Don’t forget to document your puppy’s progress in The Puppy Baby Book. And, you might want a beautiful, frame-worthy Obedience Training certificate for when your puppy graduates!

 

Three Life Saving Commands

Your puppy is your pride and joy. He’s a bundle of kisses and a waggly fur ball and you love him. You are his human parent and he relies on you to provide all of his survival necessities: food, water, shelter and training to keep him safe from life’s hazards. Puppies are like toddlers. They unaware of the simple dangers around them in their everyday existence so you need to step up and take command so your bundle of joy is protected. This can be accomplished with three commands that could save his life one day: down stay, drop it, and come.

Training a puppy requires patience. Always praise him when he does the correct behavior. Remember, to make a positive impression on your puppy:

• Be calm, gentle.
• Never yell at your puppy during training.
• Praise him and give him a treat when he does the right thing, even if he gets it half right.
• Show him over and over again.
• Keep lessons short.
• Use short commands.

 

I have included links to petexpertise for tips and training for these commands. This is a great training website as they have tips and training ideas on all manner of commands to make your puppy socially agreeable. Let’s face it, a wild puppy may be cute at 10 pounds, but when he is 45 pounds or more and out of control he is no longer cute.

Down stay can save your puppy from getting hit by a car, walking through broken glass which would tear up his feet, or any other dangerous situation where he may be running around to avoid you. http://www.petexpertise.com/dog-training-article-sit-down-and-stay-articles.html

Drop it can save your puppy from swallowing something poisonous, like a pill that slipped out of your hand onto the floor,  choking hazard like a sharp bone meant for the trashcan, or a small object that could get caught in his throat. http://www.petexpertise.com/teaching-your-dog-to-drop-it-and-leave-it.html

Come is a command that all puppies and dogs need to know. Telling your puppy Come and getting him by your side may save his life from a dangerous situation. A lot of dogs love the water. They will romp right in, scoop water in their mouths, and chase sticks that are thrown into the water. Not all water is safe. Pond water, or any water that has a green tinge to it may contain microorganisms and bacteria that can make your dog sick, and if enough is swallowed, could kill your dog. When your dog knows

and responds properly to the command come, you can save his life by getting him away from the water to safety. Even lake, river or ocean water can be dangerous. Chemicals dumped into the water can harm your dog. Make sure you get him out of, or away from water hazards.

http://www.petexpertise.com/dog-training-article-training-your-dog-to-come-to-you.html

 

When you make a training session a fun experience, your puppy will want to learn. He will look at you expectantly, waiting to find out what’s next. If you turn into a maniac and get all yelly and screamy, your puppy’s tail will drop between his legs and he may cower in fear. You won’t accomplish anything positive, that’s for sure. He will associate you and training as a scary thing and he will shut down. Like a toddler, he needs love and positive experiences to learn what you want him to know, and to correct his misguided behavior. Eager is good. Cowering in fear is bad.

Be sure to document your puppy’s training in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, take a look at our beautiful, frame-worthy obedience certificate for your new graduate!

 

 

The 10 most common choking hazards are as follows:

 

  • Rubber or plastic balls

  • Any ball that your dog can stuff in his mouth past his front teeth is too small. This is a very high choking risk.

  • Cooked Bones

  • Once a bone is cooked it will splinter into small pieces that may get lodged in the throat.

  • Gristle

    • Gristle is difficult to chew. It is also one of the most common things dogs choke on. Instead of gristle, give your dog cooked meat or veggies.

  • Sticks

    • Everyone loves to play fetch with their dog, but sticks are not safe. Your dog will clench down on a stick in his mouth which may break down into small pieces and get lodged in his throat.

  • Chew Toys:

    • There are a large number of chew toys on the market. It is important to buy the correct size and type for your pup. Make sure the chew toy will withstand heavy chewing without breaking down into tiny slivers. Examine the chew toy after every use to make sure it is still safe.

  • Kids Toys:

    • Kids toys are all over the place and a great temptation for your puppy. Make sure your kids pick up their toys so the puppy can’t chew on them. If he chews on something small, like a Lego piece, that toy is going to break into multiple shards of plastic that could get lodged in his throat and choke him to death.

  • Rocks

  • Plastic Wrap

    • Oh, when something smells good in the trash your sneaky dog may grab it and take off running to a good hiding place, or if you aren’t around, why run? He can chow down right at the trash can! A major problem is plastic wrap. Everything seems to be covered with it these days. One bite of that stinky garbage wrapped in plastic wrap is all it takes to cut off your dog’s breathing.Do you remember when all forms of plastic bags and wraps were labeled with “keep out of reach of children”? The same applies to puppies and dogs. All plastic is a danger to dogs, but especially plastic wrap.

  • Bread

    • You are probably reading this wide-eyed thinking, bread? If you think about it, it makes sense. Dogs can be quite piggy. A lot of times they don’t chew their food, but swallow it whole. With bread, it expands and clumps together making it difficult to get down the throat without a good drink of water to wash it down.

  • Hard Candy

    • Like people, dogs can choke on hard candy. It gets all slippery and gooey in our mouths and before you know it you’ve swallowed it whole and then the coughing begins because it is lodged in the throat. So, keep all hard candies away from your pup!

 

Read my article on Three Life Saving Commands to learn how to further protect your puppy by having him drop it, or let go, of a choking hazard.

 

 

Be sure to document your puppy’s training in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, take a look at our beautiful, frame-worthy obedience certificate for your new graduate!

Choking Hazards

 

For some people, their dog is their only companion or family member. A cherished pal to share moments of joy, sadness, or adventure with. Sometimes we get complacent when thinking of the risks to our beloved pets. It only takes one accident to change everything, especially when it could have been avoided.


It is difficult to think that so many everyday items can end up being a hazard for your doggy. Like infants, choking hazards are a dog’s worst nightmare. A puppy will chew on anything when you aren’t looking, especially when they are teething. Even with older dogs (adolescents and adults), choking still happens. Sometimes from being silly, sometimes from stuffing their mouths too full with their toys.

 

Protecting Your Puppy from Poisons

 

Every year thousands of pets get sick or die from common household products that are highly poisonous. You have to be very cautious because what may be safe for you could kill your puppy. Medication, certain foods, plants, insecticides, and household cleaners are dangerous, even lethal for your puppy.

Some substances can cause gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress,coma, and even death if inhaled or eaten. It is important to be ever vigilant to keep these products out of the reach of an inquisitive puppy.

Every year thousands of pets get sick or die from common household products that are highly poisonous. You have to be very cautious because what may be safe for you could kill your puppy. Medication, certain foods, plants, insecticides, and household cleaners are dangerous, even lethal for your puppy.

Some substances can cause gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress,coma, and even death if inhaled or eaten. It is important to be ever vigilant to keep these products out of the reach of an inquisitive puppy.


Prescriptions and Over the Counter medications
Make sure when you are taking any medications, vitamins, or herbal remedies that your puppy does not snatch one up if it falls to the floor. Anti-inflammatory and pain medications can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure.

Antidepressants can cause vomiting and seizures, and blood pressure medications, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen, naproxen (Advil & Aleve), nutraceutical products such as fish oil and joint supplements, and many herbal remedies, are also dangerous.

Flea and tick products
Every year thousands of dogs are poisoned by these products. Use only the amount for the size and weight of your puppy. Follow directions explicitly.

 

Pet medications
Even veterinarians who have subscribed medications are not infallible. Pets have been poisoned by painkillers and de-worming medications. Talk to your veterinarian prior to dosing your puppy, and follow directions explicitly.

Household products
Everyday household cleaners, bleach, fire logs, antifreeze, paint thinner, and pool chemicals are highly poisonous. Symptoms may include upset stomach, depression, chemical burns, renal failure and death. Keep all mouse, rat and insect poisons away from your puppy as well.

People food
Yes, it may be yummy for you, but it could be fatal for your puppy. Some foods to avoid are chocolate, onions and garlic. Note: chocolate is #7 on the most highly toxic poison for pets.


For a list of the most dangerous/toxic people food to never give your puppy click here:
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/foods_poisonous_to_pets.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Plants
Not all indoor/outdoor plants are dangerous for our pets, but azaleas and rhododendrons, tulips and daffodils, while pretty, contain a toxin that can make your puppy very sick, or worse. And the seeds of sago palms are poisonous.

Lawn and garden chemicals
If you are going to apply fertilizer or weed killer, do not let your puppy outside until the grass is completely dry. If he licks his feet when the grass is still wet with those products, he is ingesting those chemicals that may kill him or do great bodily harm to his organs.


If you suspect your puppy has been poisoned it is important to try to stay calm and rational.


1. Call your veterinarian.


a. Save any of the poison that is available.
b. Collect a sample of the vomit, if any. Your veterinarian may need to see it.

 

2. Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435, or


a. Experts at the APCC are available to answer questions and provide guidance 24 hours a day for a $60 consultation fee.
 

3. Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661


a. They charge $49 per incident.
b. Emergency instructions are on their website.


 

For a complete list of poisons click here: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons

 

How Old is My Doggy?

 

Growing up I was always told that if I wanted to know how old my dog was in people years, just take their age and X 7. My dog Shasta died four days before her 17th birthday. That would have made her just shy of 119 years old. A doggie centenarian!

 

But now, the calculations are much more scientific, being based not only on years, but size and weight. Shasta’s age would now be calculated to 92 years old – still pretty darn old.
 

The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests the following general guideline:


•15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
•Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
•Each year thereafter would be approximately five years for a dog.Since dogs have shorter life spans than humans, they age much more rapidly.

Typically, a small dog reaches middle age at approximately seven years old. A large dog, like a German Shepherd, Great Dane or Rottweiler reaches old age at five years old. Many large breeds have short life spans of 7-10 years.

Recognizing the Signs of Aging

When you see your doggy start to slow down, you know that age is taking its toll on him. If it is difficult for him to get up when he is lying down, or if he can no longer leap into the car for a drive, or if it takes time for him to climb the stairs, he may need some help.

Like humans, dogs are susceptible to arthritis, diabetes, heart ailments, liver or kidney conditions and cancer. They also could develop hearing and vision problems along with behavior problems such as confusion, separation anxiety and excessive barking.

One sure sign of aging is when his face starts to turn gray. And like humans, geriatric dogs may also suffer from incontinence. They cannot help accidents in the house any more than a feeble senior citizen can help wetting the bed. Never, ever scold your senior dog for making an accident in the house.

A dog’s aging brain is known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS. The most recognizable symptoms are:

  • Increased total amount of sleep during a 24-hour period

  • Decreased attention to surroundings, disinterest, apathy

  • Decreased purposeful activity

  • Loss of formerly acquired knowledge, which includes housebreaking

  • Intermittent anxiety expressed through apprehension, panting, moaning, shivering

 

Watch this video to see how you could be the very best doggy parent possible: http://content.jwplatform.com/previews/QK2gujpv-F8rrYT0c

 

Visit my website for books, certificates, toys and the Puppy Adoption Kit.

 

Is My Puppy Deaf?

Your little snuggly bundle of joy is learning his way around the house, and understanding your ways, and what is expected of him. Not only can puppies be goofy, they can test you. Sometimes, when they want something, or want to do something right then and there, and you are not cooperating, they take matters into their own paws.


Turning a deaf ear is a ploy that my dog Shasta pulled every once in a while. It took me a few times to figure out what was going on, but I finally had her number. The problem is, you have to make sure your puppy is trying to pull a fast one, and not, in fact, going deaf.

 

When Shasta was mad at me, she would actually sit with her back to me and ignore me, even if I said “cookie” (that’s what I called treats). I’m not kidding when I tell you that she would actually lift her nose in the air and sniff, as if she was a socialite that had been insulted into next week.
Real deafness is a problem and needs to be diagnosed after you are certain that there is an issue, and not an attitude that requires an adjustment. Puppies can be born deaf (congenital), or they can experience temporary deafness due to wax build-up in their ears. Ear infections, antibiotics and other medications can cause a dog to go deaf.


There are also certain breeds that are known to have hearing problems. The most recognized breeds are as follows:


• Australian shepherd
• Boston terrier
• Cocker spaniel
• Dalmatian
• German shepherd
• Jack Russell terrier
• Maltese
• Toy poodle
• Miniature poodle
• West Highland white terrier

Perform a few tests to be certain your puppy has a hearing problem. Try to be as sneaky as possible so you get good results. When your pup is taking a nap, make a loud noise – clang pan covers together, or drop a pan on the floor and see if he responds. Another thing to try is to go outside and pound on the door. See if he barks, or jumps up with his ears in alert mode.

If he doesn’t respond to noises he has never heard before, or even sounds he is familiar with, such as his favorite squeaky toy, there could be a problem. Have you noticed him shaking his head? Or, do his ears smell stinky? If so, he could have an ear infection. Keep in mind, if he is deaf, he won’t hear himself bark, so if he goes on a barking spree, he won’t be aware that he is annoying everyone because he can’t hear the racket!
 

Other things to look for are if he sleeps through loud noises, or if you pat him and he jumps up, snaps at you, or even bites you because he didn’t hear you approach. How many times has someone pulled that on you – tapping your shoulder and you didn’t see them coming at you, and you practically jumped out of your skin?

 

Whatever you do, don’t punish him for something he has no control over. If, however, he’s pulling one over on you, then it’s leash time!

 

Could There be Bugs and Mold in Your Puppy Kibble?

 

It’s all about the storage of kibble. Who knew that if you kept that kibble in the bag it came home in, you would be contributing to mite and mold problems?

Some of the problem is the bag itself. Those paper-type kibble bags do nothing to protect the food from humidity, heat, bug or rodent infestations. That’s where mold and mites come into play. The bags can’t be properly sealed once they are opened. Even using a big clip or a clothespin doesn’t keep out the bugs. Mites are microscopic. They can get into a rolled-down, clipped bag.

Here’s Mr. Ugly Mite. Once he is in the food, he’s going to be eaten by your puppy. Mites are invisible unless you happen to have a microscope on hand to check the food and see if he is waving up at you.

To combat mites and mold, store the food in a glass, metal or plastic container with a secure lid. Throw the bag away. Do not stock up on food and store the bags in the garage, or anywhere the bags will be exposed to heat and humidity. That is an open invitation to the bug and rodent community. They want to be invited to that party! Free food for the asking.

And you already know how dangerous mold can be. When mold is in food and eaten, it can cause gastrointestinal problems which can Cause liver damage and other problems.

The following information is from an article I found on http://www.pvs-ec.com/.

 

Although it is virtually impossible to totally eliminate storage mites from the environment, steps can be taken to inhibit their multiplication and thereby minimize exposure to storage mite allergens.

  • Store pet foods in airtight containers. Avoid storage of pet food in garages, sheds or basements.

  • Do not use old or outdated pet food. Check food for dust, mold or odors and remove questionable food from the house and discard immediately.

  • Wash food containers frequently in detergent and HOT (130 F) water. Dry completely before refilling with food.

  • Dispose of pet food bags immediately outside of the house.

  • Do not stockpile foods. Purchase only what is needed for 30 days at a time.

  • Avoid keeping fruit and other foods that can mold on the counter.

  • Check food bags for tears or holes prior to purchase.

  • Low quality pet foods with a high quantity of particulate debris at the bottom of the bag should be avoided.

 

Get an autographed copy of The Puppy Baby Book for your little bundle of joy!

 

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD)
Lakes are fabulous vacation spots, but there are hidden dangers and silent killers often killing multiple family members. Lake docks and boats pose the biggest dangers of ESD with 120-volt AC (alternating current) leakage.


Never swim within 100 yards of a boat dock or a marina that uses electrical power! You should test your boat every year to make sure it is not leaking electricity. Read this entire article to keep your doggies and human family safe: http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/magazine/2013/july/electric-shock-drowningexplained.asp

 

Fish Hooks
Oh, our crazy, playful doggies! They just want to have fun and they don’t think of the consequences of their actions. So, we, the pup-parents, have to be ever vigilant to keep them safe.


Shiny lures and stinky bait pose a big problem to doggies that go fishing with the family. And you know how these furry kids are. They are quick to snatch things before you can remove the threats out of their reach.


Dogs have been known grab fish hooks which will get embedded in their mouths, or they may swallow a fish hook which may require minor surgery and pain medication.


They could also step on fish hooks which can be very painful, if not crippling.If any of these things happen, do not try to remove the fish hook by yourself. Get your pup to the vet, or an emergency vet clinic immediately.

Food Poisoning
Dogs can be garbage-guts, the absolute pigs of the household. Everything smells wonderful to them, no matter how stinky and rotten. Things that would make you hurl, are ambrosia to your pup.


Ever see a dog roll all over a dead carcass outside? Better they roll in the stinky, rotten critter than scarfing it down! In the house, it is imperative to keep the garbage can dog-proof. Moldy food, nuts or grains can be big trouble. Botulism is as much danger to our pets as our human family members. If you think your pet has been poisoned contact your veterinarian, or one of these Animal Poison Hotlines:

 

  • ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center

  • 1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435). $65.00 per case, billed to caller’s credit card. Follow-up calls can be made for no additional charge by dialing 888-299-2973.

 

Now that you are aware of all of these hazards you can have a great vacation with your pup. Don’t forget to document your great time in your The Puppy Baby Book!

Vacation Dangers

 

Your puppy is your furry child and there is no way you would ever knowingly endanger your precious bundle of joy. But hazards are out there that you have never even thought of. So, pay attention when you take a weekend vacation, or any getaway with your family.

Ponds, Lakes, Rivers, Swimming Pools
Most dogs love water and they plow through puddles, into ponds, lakes and the ocean. While we love to see our pups have a good time, there are lurking dangers not visible to the naked eye.


Never allow your dog to drink from a pond, lake or river! There could be dangerous bacteria, parasites, like giardia, pesticide runoff, or blue-green algae in the water.


Giardia and blue-green algae have similar symptoms. Giardia symptoms can show up as diarrhea, stomachache, vomiting, exhaustion, and bloody stools. Blue-Green Algae can also be life-threatening to you and your human family!


Look for these symptoms: confusion, fainting, difficulty breathing, stumbling, nausea and vomiting, loose stools or diarrhea, and unquenchable thirst.

 

There are people out there that don’t connect with animals the way many of us do. I admit that I tend not to socialize very much with non-pet people.

 

There’s just something about someone who doesn’t like dogs or cats and can’t relate to our animated anecdotes about our furry children.They may not have the capacity to understand our grief when we lose a furry child.


We are lucky to be living in an era where we can find bereavement support groups online to help adjust to daily life without our best friend. The three groups listed here can provide help on many levels:

When They Leave Us

 

One of the most heart-wrenching experiences is when something happens to our beloved companion animal. Whether they get lost, stolen, or they pass away from old age, disease, or an accident—it makes no difference the cause—the grief we experience can be so deep it can be incapacitating.

Shasta Annie Ireland, my doggie-daughter, passed away four days before her 17th birthday. I raised her for 16+ years and I was so devastated that I stayed home from work for three days sobbing inconsolably. When I finally returned to work and my typical social outings, I could not even say her name for months afterwards without tearing up or breaking down. She was always there. We had fun together every day, and she always had a bright and shiny smile on her face.

 

In the summer, try to walk your dog before the sun has heated sidewalks, roads, and driveways, if that is where you are walking or jogging. Remember, if it is too hot for your feet, or testing with your hand, your dogs’ feet may burn and blister.


Never use people products on your dogs’ pads (hand lotion, or other people moisturizes), or any product from the pet store that is for external animal use only. That means the product contains chemicals that could be toxic to your dog. When her pads are rough and cracked, grab some coconut oil, which is a natural antibacterial, and massage on the pads and in between the toes. You can also use coconut oil on your dogs’ coat to relieve dry, itchy patches of skin.


If you don’t have coconut oil on hand, you can also use extra-virgin olive oil. Whichever one you use, slip some old socks on her feet and secure at the ankles with either tape or ribbon. You want to keep the socks on until the oil has a chance to be absorbed into the pads.
Winter brings other hazards. Rock salt, road, driveway and stair chemicals to melt ice all contain toxic ingredients. Beware of antifreeze puddles and other chemicals your dog may walk through.


Remember, dogs are lickers by nature. If they lick their feet after walking through any of those hazards, they are ingesting poison. Dip your dogs’ feet in warm water to remove any hazards, or run an inch or two of warm water in the bathtub and have your dog stand in the water for a minute.
Dry her feet with a towel. If you notice her pads are rough, grab the coconut oil and rub into her pads. Don’t forget the socks!


Remember to keep your Puppy Baby Book up-to-date! If you don’t have one, get one now! 

Paw: Pad Care

Our furry babies romp and walk over all types of terrain when they are outdoors. When they are in the yard, there’s grass, dirt, plant and tree debris which can be pointy and sharp, and perhaps pebbles and rocks.The rule of thumb is if you would not walk barefoot on it, keep your dog off it. The pads on the bottom of their feet protect their bones and cushion the joints. They also safeguard your dogs’ feet as they walk over rough surfaces, and provide insulation during extreme weather.

Also check if her toenails are too long and are clicking across the floor, or getting snagged in the carpet. Get out the nail clippers, or make an appointment with the vet or groomer to get them trimmed.

 

Your dog’s memory – you are so screwed!

 

Have I got a treat for you, doggy parents! Ever wondered what’s going on in that little noggin of you pups? More than what you think. There have been numerous studies about memory, remorse, revenge – all sorts of things. This is too interesting to ignore.

 

I remember when Shasta was about three years old. She got mad at me for something, looked deeply into my eyes with this look on her face that clearly showed she was either pissed off at me, or in the very least, irritated at me – something, but it was very, very clear that she was processing something.

She walked away from me and went into the spare bedroom. I found here there, sitting in the middle of the empty room, staring at a blank wall. She would not respond to me when I talked to her. After a few moments, she turned her head toward me with this look that, I swear, said, were you talking to me?

Every dog parent I know has experienced moments with their dogs. While we may be fantasizing about them as being human, we clearly experience emotions coming forth from our little buddies that express exactly what they are feeling in that moment – joy, anger, regret, the big oops. Dogs live in the moment.

People who can’t see these expressions of emotions are either not as in-tuned with their furry childrenas the rest of us, or they just don’t consider their dog their child.

While some studies state that dogs have very short term memory, they do have a sense of time, and it appears that they have what is called episodic memory. There’s a very interesting article by George Dvorsky  that was published 11/23/16 about how your dog remembers your bad behavior toward them.

Yup, you are so screwed. He remembers that time you whacked him for stealing the bologna, so you’d better learn how to communicate with him and learn the best way to dish out punishment. And unless you actually catch him in the act of doing something he shouldn’t be doing, he won’t understand exactly what you’re getting at.

If you come home and discover foam rubber or feathers all over the place from him having a blast while you were gone, he won’t associate any punishment for his actions. He’ll think that it’s bad for that stuff to be on the floor, or all over the place, but not that he had anything to do with it. So, don’t waste your time yelling at him. He doesn’t understand or remember what caused you to be upset.

It’s also important for you to not say his name when you are punishing him. You want him to associate his name with only positive behaviors, otherwise you may end up with a belligerent, or non-responsive doggie.

Be sure to document your doggie’s behavior under the Good Dog or Bad Dog pages in your Puppy Baby Book.

 

dg iRELAND

713-256-5412

Copyright © 2020 · Artistic Origins and Dawn Greenfield Ireland