Dog Info 4 All

Thursday, July 19, 2007

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy Your First Puppy

Your kids want a puppy. All your neighbors have dogs. It’s the great American Dream (for children, anyway) to have a dog like Lassie. However, if this is your first puppy, there are some things you need to know before you commit to buying a dog.

#1 - Dogs Take Time. Puppies Take More Time.

Having a puppy is like having a 2-year-old. Until they are trained (see #2), they require pretty much constant supervision. After they are trained, they still require supervision until they are older. Much older. If you can't entertain them all day, you may want to consider two dogs, or a cat. Or puppy day care!

#2 - Puppies Need Training. And so do your children.

When I was growing up, we had a dog - for a while. It didn't work out because my parents didn't realize that puppies need training. We were a cat family - and you can pretty much ignore cats. Not so with dogs.

You will need several puppy classes and possibly more classes when your puppy is grown. Dogs are not independent, and you need to teach them proper behavior.

If you have children, they need to take the classes with their puppies so they can learn how to interact with your new pet.

#3: Puppies Cost Money. Lots of Money.

Ok - this isn't unreasonable, but you need to be prepared to add your puppy into your budget. You will have many expenses, especially when you first get your new puppy. They need toys, bones, shots, registrations with the state, and don't forget the food, dog houses, collars, clothes (no really - it’s a big business - you'll be tempted!) vet bills, and training (see #2).

Dogs are one of the most expensive pets around. Most puppies are part of the family - and will cost you like part of the family. Don't go into this venture thinking they're cheap.

#4 - Puppies Grow Into Dogs.

I know that's obvious - but you need to be sure you know how big your dog will be. If you have young children, your puppy may outweigh them within a year. Do the research so you know how big your cute little puppy will be when he's a dog.

If your pet is a mixed breed dog, look at the paws. Usually, a puppy will grow into their paws.

#5 - Dogs Need Exercise.

And people need exercise - so this can actually be an advantage if handled properly. Puppies need room to run and play. They need people to play with, and they need toys to play with. If you lead a very sedentary lifestyle, be sure you pick a dog breed that is low activity.

The larger the dog, the more room and exercise they need. You will probably need to walk your dog several times a week. Be sure and plan that into your schedule now - or you may find your puppy running around the house all day without you.

Owning a dog can be a very rewarding experience - even if this is your first puppy. Your dog will become one of the family and be a faithful companion for life. Be prepared for your new puppy, and it will be a great adventure for both of you.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Top Ten Foods You Should NEVER Feed to a Dog

1. Chocolate
To dogs, chocolate acts as a stimulant, making your dog's heartbeat accelerate or beat irregularly, leading to seizures and even cardiac arrest. To compound things further, it also acts as a severe diuretic, causing frequent urination, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you even suspect your dog has consumed chocolate, take him to an animal hospital immediately.

2. Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins create havoc with your dog's kidneys and digestive system. What's worse is that the amount of grapes needed to cause problems can vary greatly among individual dogs. Symptoms include frequent urination, vomiting, and diarrhea.

3. Onions
Onions cause the breakdown of a dog's red blood cells, which deprives his cells of much-needed oxygen. If you're in the habit of feeding your dog table scraps, make sure the dish was not prepared with onions, as the effects can be cumulative over a period of time. Symptoms can vary greatly, ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to loss of appetite, fever, or exhaustion.

4. Macadamia Nuts
While the exact chemical compound is still unknown, even a small amount of macadamia nuts can cause fever, irregular heartbeat, seizures, or mild paralysis.

5. Alcoholic Beverages
Dogs' physiologies are not equipped to handle alcohol consumption. They are extremely susceptible to alcohol poisoning, and even small amounts can lead to digestive problems or even death.

6. Bread Dough
Because it is soft, dogs will often swallow the dough without chewing it. When the dough hits your dog's stomach, his body heat will cause the dough to rise inside his stomach. This rising action can cause bloating or vomiting. To compound things further, the rising action creates alcohol as a by-product, and your dog may experience the symptoms listed in the previous paragraph.

7. Caffeinated Beverages
Similar to the effects of chocolate, caffeine is a stimulant and can negatively impact your dog's heart rate, causing seizures or heart attacks.

8. Avocadoes
Avocadoes are toxic to many animals. The offensive chemical damages heart, lung, and other essential tissues. Be aware since guacamole's main ingredient is avocado, that you keep any such dips well out of your dog's reach.

9. Pitted Fruits (Peaches, Pears, Cherries, and Apricots)
The pits of these fruits contain small doses of cyanide, which can be fatal to smaller dogs. Also, if the pit is swallowed whole, it may become lodged in the intestinal tract, where the blockage will have to be surgically removed.

10. Raw Fish
Raw fish, especially salmon, can contain parasites, usually fluke larvae. The dog consumes the fish, and the larvae hatch in your dog's digestive tract, attaching themselves to his intestinal walls. Symptoms can take up to a week to exhibit and usually mimic other canine diseases, such as distemper or parvovirus. The hazard here is misdiagnosis by the veterinarian, leading to an improper or ineffective treatment. If you choose to feed your dog fish, be sure to cook it thoroughly to kill any bad critters that could be hiding inside.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Rewards Of Training Your Dog

A well trained dog is a joy to be around. Beyond being well socialized, trained dogs are less likely to jump up on people, and are less at risk of biting someone. They also tend to stay calm in distracting environments.

Also, well trained dogs are more likely to stay with the same owner, as opposed to being abandoned to the pound. One research report from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that 96% of shelter dogs had never had any training.

Training your dog helps to teach them boundaries, thus making them more comfortable around humans. There are many different dog training programs and many professional dog trainers. However, just because someone has a business card doesn't mean they are a qualified trainer.

To find a good trainer, ask your friends and family if they know a good trainer. Also, while walking your dog at the dog park, ask other dog owners who they recommend. Once you have found a trainer, ask them what method of training they teach. There have been dozens of different training methods for dogs that have been in and out of fashion over the years. Ask the trainer what method they use, why they use it, and what the benefits of it are. Also ask for references.

Whether you train your dog yourself or find a professional, teaching your dog commands and socializing it is important. Areas to cover in training include:

1. Socializing to strangers: This is easy to accomplish while out walking your dog around the neighborhood and introducing them to people.

2. Socializing with other dogs: You can do this at dog parks, or even better in a dog training class.

3. Leash walking at a steady pace: You can start this training as soon as you get your new dog.

4. Crate training: This is important, especially to build up a tolerance to stay in a kennel environment for several hours.

5. The sit command: This is usually the first command new owners teach their dog.

6. The down/stand command: These commands help develop boundaries for the dog.

7. The stay command: This command is important for your dog to master, especially in an environment with a lot of distractions.

There are many benefits to having a well trained dog. But it doesn't necessarily mean the dog will not develop behavioral problems down the road, like separation anxiety. Simply put a well trained dog is a joy to be around and strengthens the human-animal bond.

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Chillin' Out: Keeping Your Dog Cool in Hot Weather

Sunny summer days seem to incite all sorts of fun activities with your dog: from playing fetch in the park to frisbee on the beach. Unfortunately, as temperatures soar, the hot weather also brings with it some very specific hazards such as sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Good news, these threats to your pooch are preventable.

Protecting Your Dog from Sunburn

Just like humans, dogs can be burned by the sun, especially the nose, tips of the ears and around the lip area. Commonsense dictates that you keep your dog in the shade during the hours when the sun's rays are most intense - usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. However, if you need to be outside during these times, it's okay to apply sun-block to your dog's nose and the exposed skin on the ears. It's a little risky to apply sun-block around the lips so instead just keep a close watch and make sure that the area doesn't get too pink. If you notice that any portion of your dog's skin is reddened or blistered, contact your veterinarian right away.

Protecting Your Dog from Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke

Leaving a dog in a parked car during summer weather is the leading cause of heat stroke. Dogs can also suffer heat exhaustion or heat stroke if they exercise too heavily on a hot, humid day or, if they live outdoors and don't have shelter from the sun. Dogs are also susceptible if they are overweight or suffer from lung or heart ailments. Older dogs are less tolerant of heat and may succumb to heat strokes more readily than younger dogs.

A few simple actions on your part can help protect your dog from heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Don't take your dog with you on errands if you need to leave her in the car. However, if you're traveling with your dog and must make a stop, even for the shortest period of time, consider leaving the air conditioner on.

If you're accustomed to taking your dog with you when power-walking, jogging or cycling, don't push her on exceptionally hot days. If she falls behind, let her take a break.

For dogs who live outside, make sure to provide "all-day shade" such as a ventilated doghouse, large beach umbrella or overhang that will remain shaded even when the sun shifts throughout the day.

Keep older dogs and those with lung or heart conditions inside your home on hot days. If you don't have air conditioning, keep a fan running.

Avoid any situations that force your dog to stand on sun-baked surfaces such as cement sidewalks, a truck bed or beach sand. The extreme heat can cause blisters on her pads. If you simply must walk your dog in the heat of the day, tread on grassy areas as much as possible.

Water, Water, Water!

And last but not you, your dog needs to hydrate frequently so be sure to provide unlimited access to cool, clean refreshing drinking water.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Essential Puppy Training

"Stay" needs considerable practice when training your puppy. You can teach him to stay either seated or lying down. By repeated practice, say "Stay," walking away, and acting shocked if he rises and follows. Take him back and go through it again. Always, of course, return to praise him mightily when he has "stayed" for even a few brief seconds. Gradually lengthen the time. You can perfect this obedience command while moving about at housework or in a cellar workshop; it needn't take too much time after the idea has been implanted.

Your dog should also learn to walk on a leash without pulling; the command "Heel" is often used here. As with "Stay," practice makes perfect. He should also be taught some signal to use when he wants to go out. The appropriate bark for speak means he will let you know, if you do not see him at the door, that he needs to go out. He should learn not to jump on people, and having him "Sit" as a new friend approaches will control his enthusiasm. He also should not bark and dash forward at anyone, even a suspected interloper, until given a command. He should not be allowed on furniture, unless you permit him on one special chair; he also should not beg for food at the table, although here it is often the family that must be trained, not the dog!

You should see that he is not allowed to wander the neighborhood, making a nuisance of himself, and that he never runs loose in the street. The dog should not go off your premises without being on a leash. Everything you teach him to do or not to do will help at some time, If the leash breaks or he gets outdoors without a collar, obeying your call may save his life. An owner of obedience-trained spaniels once failed to close her house door when she went to cross the street to her car.

Looking back, she saw to her horror two eager little fellows loping down the front steps - and an automobile coming down the street. She called "Down!" raising her arm in the obedience-taught gesture. Instantly, the little things dropped flat, and the car whizzed past between them and their mistress. Not till she called "Come!" did they rise and trot happily to her. Obedience training won't "make a robot" of your dog. It certainly will make a better citizen of him - and who knows? - of you. That's all we could ask, isn't it?

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bringing Home Your New Puppy

The fun of bringing a new puppy home and introducing him to his new family is a very special experience. He will, of course, become a well-mannered dog, staying quietly at our side, eager to follow our every command. Well, it is a long road from the cuddly puppy to the mature dog, but with some effort and understanding it can be traveled successfully. It all begins with day one in the new home.

The first few days a puppy is in his new home can be trying for both the puppy and the new owner because both are trying to adjust to a new situation. After all, the puppy finds he has been suddenly taken from his den and litter mates and is expected to immediately accept a new, foreign way of life. However, with patience and a sense of humor on the part of the new owner, the first few days can be accomplished with good feelings on both sides.

Breeders and behaviorists generally agree that seven weeks of age (forty-nine days) is the ideal age for a puppy to go to his new home, with six to eight weeks being the most desirable age range. The six- to eight-week old puppy still needs a lot of rest and will take morning and afternoon naps. For the first day or two, however, he might be very excited and spend much of the day in motion, checking out his new home. As long as he is not hurting himself or anything else in the environment, let him investigate wherever and whatever takes his fancy.

If the puppy is eight weeks old when he first comes home, be very patient with him. This is the fear period and sharp noises or harsh treatment will leave him with fear which may take months to overcome. Let him take his time getting acquainted with everything and do not take him to places where he will be subjected to loud and frightening sounds or activities. If possible, trips to the veterinarian should be arranged either before or after the eighth week.

If the puppy is ten to twelve weeks old when you first bring him home, he will be more rambunctious, especially if he is one of the larger breeds, and he will sleep considerably less during the day. However, he is at an age where you can get his attention quite easily and where he will want to please you and stay close to you.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

A Well Trained Dog

Dog Quote: Dogs are our link to paradise.
They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring .... It was peace.
....Milan Kundera

Is certainly a lot more fun for you to have an obedient and trained dog. Not only that, but trained dogs, are happier dogs.

They are less likely to get into fights with other dogs and will tend to socialize better with dogs that they meet in public.

It is particularly important to have a well-trained dog if you have young members of the family or children in the neighborhood.

Just like having well-behaved children, a well-trained dog makes for a happier household.

The time that you spend training your puppy initially will impact on the pleasure you can get from your dog for the many years of its life.

Taking the time to train your dog will strengthen the bond you have together and this will ensure a long and happy friendship where both you and your dog benefit.

Considering the amount of time that you will be with your dog the time involved in training is minimal and well worthwhile.

More Information:

Dog Training

There are a few basic commands that need to be mastered and they are all relatively simple.

These commands are...

Down: this is where you teach your dog to lay down on command, and is one of the main aspects of any successful training program.

Heel: this is where you teach your dog walk beside you at the same pace without pulling on the lead.

Learning the 'No' word: this is a particularly important word for your dog to know and can save you a lot of trouble. In fact it is probably one of the most important aspects of training, if you can get your dog to understand and respond to the word no. It can certainly save you a lot of trouble in the future.

Sit: sit is one of the most basic of all dog training commands and is one that you'll want to teach from the outset to maintain control of your dog's behavior.

Stay: and finally 'stay' - this is important to ensure that no matter where you are, you'll know that your dog will stay precisely where you want it.

If there is nothing else that you train your dog to do beyond these basic commands, it will certainly improve the relationship you have with your dog and the enjoyment and happiness that you and your dog will have together.

It is well worth the time while still a puppy, as it will improve the quality of life for many years to come.

Training will also let your dog know that you're the boss and in doing so eliminate many behavior problems.

Dogs that are untrained can often get depressed, despondent, and unhappy and display symptoms of anxiety and confusion.

You are actually giving your dog a purpose in life, where they will get pleasure out of the fact that they are pleasing you.

More Information:

Dog Training

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dog training – the basic commands

There are of course many reasons for owners to want a calm, obedient and faithful dog. For one thing, obedient and trained dogs are happier dogs, less likely to get into tussles with people or with other dogs. Another reason is that many communities require that the dogs living in their neighborhoods be well trained. This is especially true for many breeds thought to have aggression and behavior problems – dog breeds like pit bulls and rottweilers for instance.

And of course, training your dog well will also make he or she a much better family companion, especially in households where there are young children. Many studies have shown that proper dog training makes a big impact when it comes to cutting down the number of dog bits and other behavior problems encountered by dog owning households.

When considering training your own dog, or having someone else help you train it, there are certain basic commands that must be mastered in order for a dog to be considered truly trained. These basic commands include:

Ø Heel – it is important that any dog learn to walk beside its owner on a loose lead, neither pulling ahead nor lagging behind
Ø Respond to the word No – the word no is one word that all dogs must learn. Training your dog to respond to this important word can save you a ton of trouble.
Ø Sit – Training your dog to sit on command is a vital part of any dog training program.
Ø Stay – A well trained dog should remain where his or her owner commands, so stay is a very important command in dog training.
Ø Down – Lying down on command is more than just a cute trick; it is a key component of any successful dog training program.

Dog training does much more than just create an obedient, willing companion. Training your dog properly actually strengthens the bond that already exists between dog and handler. Dogs are pack animals, and they look to their pack leader to tell them what to do. The key to successful dog training is to set yourself up as that pack leader.

Establishing yourself as pack leader is a very important concept for any potential dog trainer to understand. There is only one leader in every pack of dogs, and the owner must establish him or herself as the dominant animal. Failure to do so leads to all manner of behavior problems.

A properly trained dog will respond properly to all the owner’s commands, and will not display anxiety, displeasure or confusion. A good dog training program will focus on allowing the dog to learn just what is expected of it, and will use positive reinforcement to reward desired behaviors.

In addition to making the dog a good member of the community, obedience training is a great way to fulfill some of the dog’s own needs, including the need for exercise, the security that comes with knowing what is expected of it, a feeling of accomplishment and a good working relationship with its handler. Dog training gives the dog an important job to do, and an important goal to reach.

Giving the dog a job is more important than you may think. Dogs were originally bred by humans to do important work, such as herding sheep, guarding property and protecting people. Many dogs today have no important job to do, and this can often lead to boredom and neurotic behavior.

Basic obedience training, and ongoing training sessions, provide the dog with an important job to do. This is especially important for high energy breeds like German shepherds and border collies. Training sessions are a great way for these high energy dogs to use up their extra energy and simply to enjoy themselves.

Incorporating playtime into your dog training sessions is a great way to prevent both yourself and your dog from becoming bored. Playing with your dog helps to strengthen the all important bond between you – the pack leader – and your dog.