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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tips for Traveling by air with your dog

If your animal is small enough, most airlines will let you bring the dog in the cabin with you.  The dog must be in an appropriate dog travel bag that is soft and small enough to be put under the seat in front of you.  The airlines to charge a hefty fee, but you get to have your pet by your side!

Make sure your pet has clear identification on the collar, even if they are micro chipped and they must be up to date on shots! 

You want your pet to be relaxed, so plan ahead.  Have a bag of goodies like a kong stuffed with fat free turkey dogs and cheese.  A couple of small dental bones and a few normal treats.  These treats can be spaced out though out traveling to make your pet more comfortable. 

Do not give your pet too much water.  You don’t want them to have a bad accident.  When I travel with my dog she got a few slurps that morning and that was it.  On the flight I gave her ice chips from my flight drink and she was fine.  Sometimes she doesn’t even want them because she’s not moving around to get hot.  However, when she was a puppy she was a little anxious and that made her pant a little.  I gave her little sips here and there.  Then towards the end of the flight I took her to the bathroom to see if she’d go on a wee wee pad.  Of course she didn’t, but I wanted to give her the option.  When we landed I didn’t let her out till we could be outside because I knew she had to go, and sure enough she did with some encouragement.  So just use common sense with your dog and think ahead!

There are also many calming herbal remedies that are safe for dogs to take to help them calm down.  I never suggest tranquilizing a dog.  It can be dangerous and I don’t like to use any chemical drugs, but talk to your vet and always get a second opinion.

Cargo travel can be scary.  You don’t know what is happening with your dog, but sometimes we just have to fly them.  Cargo temperatures are not regulated.  Those dogs are just with the rest of the baggage.  The ASPCA even says do not fly your dog cargo.  If you must take every precaution you can with these steps.

First try to travel with a well known line that works with pets like Pet Airways or Animal Transporters-in my opinion, it’s the only safe way to fly a big dog.
  • Make sure you do your research because if it’s too hot, stuffy or cold in the cabin, your dog could get very sick, stressed and even die.
  • See the vet within 2 weeks of flying your dog cargo so that the dog is physically cleared. 
  • On the dogs collar have your information as well as the destination of the dog because dogs have gotten loose before.
  • Book a direct flight!
  • Get a crate that is approved by the USDA and must be large enough for the animal to lay down, stand and turn.  Shipping crates can be purchased from stores and air airlines.
  • Write “live animal” on the top and sides of the crate at least a couple inches tall.
  • On the top of the crate it is a good idea to have a picture of the dog, the dog’s name, your information, destination and who is picking up the dog.
  • Have arrows pointing UP to show the right side up on the crate.
  • Make sure the door is secure but not locked incase of an emergency.
  • If there is a layover bring food.
  • Give the dog treats and something to feel comfortable with like a t-shirt with your sent along with his/her bedding.
  • Tell every airline employee you talk with you are traveling with a pet cargo to help relations incase something is needed.
  • If there is a delay you can have airline personnel check on the dog and possibly remove him from the cargo hold.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dog Signs of Heat Exhaustion and What to do about it!

I took my dogs out for a walk later then usual today and noticed something significant-the heat!  Summer is here for S. California and many other places are experiencing it as well.  Without notice the weather decided to be very dry and 90 degrees.  After fifteen minutes I quickly noticed my pooches-mostly the little ones-were feeling the heat!  The small ones went back inside after another ten minutes and I walked the big ones another 20.  We usually do some running, jumping and playing, but not today!
In my line of work it is important to know when a dog has had enough.  Especially because dogs tend to push themselves more then they should.  With summer deciding to come and stay a while, it’s important to know the signs of heat exhaustion so you don’t have to deal with heat stroke!  And what to do if it happens!
Know your dog and his/her limits. Some dogs are more tolerant to the sun then others.  For instance, one of my toy mixes can jog several miles with me with an overcast outside.  As soon as the sun comes out there is no jogging and only a small amount because she tires so fast.
Know your breed-many breeds are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion so knowing your breeds tolerance level is important.  Dogs with respiratory problems and cardiovascular conditions are at more risk.  Does your dog have a short nose?  A bulldog, chow chow and pekingese are just a few of these breeds that are at greater risk due to their cute flat nose.
Dogs don’t sweat it out like we do.  Dogs only have glands on the pads of there feet and their nose, so they can’t effectively cool themselves down like we can.  They pant to cool off, but the more humidity there is, the harder it is for them to cool off.
What to look for:
  • Excessive drooling with very heavy panting
  • A flattened out, puffy tongue that hangs all the way out of his/her mouth
  • Dark red gums
  • Red or bluish tongue
  • Swaying while walking like he/she’s dizzy
  • Dog seems restless and weak
  • Dog lays down and won’t/can’t get up
  • Dog is vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Shows signs of delirium
  • Temperature of 104 degrees F
What to do!
  • Get the dog out of the sun-pick him/her up if you have to
  • See if the dog will drink water
  • Soak the dog with a hose or in the tub with cool water-IMPORTANT-do not use cold water
  • Place in front of a fan or have AC on in the car on the way to the vet
  • Place ice packs under the belly and head/neck
  • Get to a vet asap!
It is possible to get the dog too cold and too fast-so feel his skin/pay attention to his breathing.  If he starts to pant lightly and is breathing normally again, remove the ice packs immediately and still take him/her to the vet.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

How to Adopt a New Puppy-What to Look For

When getting a new dog you can be overwhelmed thinking of everything that comes with it!  It’s important to do your research before getting a pup! Don't let this happen to you (photo)!!!

Things to think about:
  • Size-what size range are you looking for.  Decide what best suits your lifestyle.
  • Exercise Capabilities-a dog’s size does not always determine how much exercise he needs.  For instance, a toy poodle is highly intelligent and not only needs a lot of exercise, but a lot of stimulus so he isn’t using his brilliant mind to take apart your house.  A Bernese Mountain Dog is a large dog, but doesn’t need near as much exercise as other breeds his size.  Do your homework and find out what breed suits your needs.  If you are looking for a dog that just needs to walk a few times a day and some basic obedience training, then look for a dog like a Pug that is happy with that kind of life, not a Golden Retriever. 
  • Energy Level-You should always get a dog that has a slightly lower level of energy than you do-otherwise your energy will easily escalate your dogs into an unwanted state of behavior.  If you are a high energy person who hikes twice a week, roller blades, and exercises, then you are up for a higher energy dog that needs to be challenged.  If you barely leave your home or apartment, then you need to look for a very laid back breed that requires less stimulus.  It sounds easy to find, but it actually isn’t.  You always want to go for the dog that is relaxed around you and calm.  Don’t go for the pup that is jumping all over you and is over-excited or the one that is scared of you.
  • Grooming-Some dogs require extensive grooming.  Make sure you do your research to find what type of hair requires what type of care.

Many people think that exercise needs and energy is the same thing.  This isn’t true.  You always want a dog that has a calm, submissive personality, no matter the breed.  This doesn’t mean that this dog will require less stimulation and exercise.  It means that this dog will have less behavioral issues as he gets older.  For instance a Schnauzer makes a great lap dog, but is extremely agile and needs to be exercised.  They tend to have dominance issues if you do not well establish yourself as pack leader.  This comes with the territory when you get an intelligent dog that has the capabilities to work for hours hunting small animals.  So again, do your homework.

There are 3 ways people get dogs-Shelter/Rescue Group/Breeder

Introduce yourself by facing sideways and squatting down.  No eye contact yet so they can just get your scent and respond to your energy. 
You are looking for 3 qualities in a dog in a shelter or any facility:
  • Quietness
  • Friendliness(not over-excitement)
  • Curiousness
  • Calmness-translating into happy and comfortable with people

You must understand that a dog can act as different as night and day outside of a kennel.  That is why it is extremely important to see how Fido acts outside of the kennel.    Have the people get out more than one dog you are looking at to see how they interact.  You are looking for good social skills-calm curiosity!  Not over-excitement, anxiety, fear, or signs of dominance.
Again, look for a dog that has a lower level of energy than you. 

Breeders will know the background of a dog.  Some breeders specifically breed for high/low energy dogs, so look for that.  They will be able to give you advice for city verses country suited dogs.  Make sure you research a breeder, ask for references and follow up on those references.  Make sure they socialize their pups from an early age with people and dogs. 
NEVER get a dog earlier then 8 weeks.  8-12 is ideal.  Any earlier and they haven’t had time to socialize with there mom and siblings yet.  This can lead to many behavioral issues like biting, dominance, and not understanding corrections as well.

Make sure when you are getting a family dog that the whole family will be involved with the training, walking, feeding, etc.  It is necessary in order for the dog to be balanced.  That is why it is important to know the breeds you are looking for and know what you and your family can commit to. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Norah Jones-Man of the Hour

This song is truly special and shows great wisdom from Norah Jones.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

How To Use a Dog Harness

White Huskies
I often am asked “why does my dog pull on the leash”.   I can easily say fifty percent of the time that person is using a harness.  Harness’s have been designed for big dogs, little dogs, power breeds, you name it.  You can get working harness’s and bedazzled harness’s.  What they don’t realize is the history behind a harness.

The dog harness was developed for one reason and one reason pull.  Think about it.  Have you ever seen sled dogs on tv?  Have you ever seen a group of hounds hunting on tv?  The next time you see it, pay attention to what they are wearing.  Nine times out of ten, it’s a harness. 
Fuzzy Harness

Harness’s were developed for dogs to pull in sports and tracking. 

If you've ever seen blood hounds on tv, they look like they are about to explode once they've got the scent.  You'll notice the owner doesn't let them go until they are going nuts.  The harness increases the motivation to hunt that fox down!  By having a device hold you back when you want to take off, it increases that stamina and need to track down.  That is why the harness was developed for tracking.

Some of those sports include sledding, skijoring, bikejoring, carting, roller-blading and weight pulling.  Pulling is great for the right breed of dog because it develops muscle that normally wouldn’t be strong resulting in excellent condition.  It is very effective in reducing the risks of hip dysplasia, which is very common among many breeds.

These sports are great bonding opportunities for you and your dog.  It provides essential exercise that will keep your agile dog healthy and tired, in a good way.
Just remember, if your dog is pulling you on the walk, get something to go around Fido’s neck like a slip lead.  That way you can better control your dog on the walk.

Below are some amazing informational links to history, how to get started, and more.


Off season Skijor Training with your Bicycle

Getting started in Bikejoring or Scootering


Canicross - where your dog takes you for a run



Questions Most Frequently Asked Of A Dog Musher

Sled Dog History and Overview


Skijoring: XC Skiing with a Privileged Dog

Skijor Now

Dog Scootering

Dog Scootering

Paw Trekker

Weight Pull

International Weight Pull Association


Intro to CARTING

Carting With Your Dog


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stop your dog from digging!

Dogs dig for many reasons so you should really try to figure out why.  If your dog is digging in a shaded area or near a water source then he is probably just hot!  Just like pigs cool off in the mud, dogs will cool off in the dirt.  You need to make him a dog house in an area that is always shaded.  If Fido is digging in only one or two spots consistently, then you might want to thank your dog because it looks like you have small animals under your lawn like a mole.  He must be digging after them when they come out of there hole.  If the digging is in multiple spots with no consistency then your dog is digging for fun and/or is bored!  This means that there is no way for you to be able to tell where Fido is going to dig. 

Start out by going to Costco and by a giant tub of cayenne pepper.  Liberally apply it in all of his favorite digging spots as well as mixing it a little in the loose dirt areas.  If he likes to dig under the fence line, make sure you put it all the way around.  If this doesn’t do it, make a combined effort with the pepper and add moth balls just under the surface of normal digging spots, around plants, etc.

If that still doesn’t do it you are going to have to collect Fido’s feces for a few days and mix it in with the soil filling where he likes to dig most and has made soft holes.  They don’t like the smell of there own poo so this should work, but it is a short term solution unless you want to bury poo forever.

This idea is best when used at the beginning of a weekend where you can devote the weekend to training your pooch, two weekends are best.  With the combined efforts above, buy some balloons and blow them up enough to where they will be loud when popped.  When Fido starts to dig (and you must be outside keeping an eye on him during training) pop the balloon.  Timing is everything so it needs to be right when he starts to paw the ground.  It is then very important that you look very stern as if you were scolding a child that way you look like you don’t approve of his digging along with the balloon.  The reason for this is so he can’t sense any kind of positive energy from you.  It needs to be a calm, authoritative energy.  Try not to let him see the balloon by keeping it behind your back.  Dogs have amazing hearing so popping it behind your back will be fine, just remember timing is key!  It needs to be right when he starts to paw the ground.  Make sure the dog thinks it came from no-where specific.  You can’t associate it with you.  He needs to think it magically happens when he is digging.  When you don’t have a balloon, mimic the sound by clapping your hands only once.  It is important that the sound isn’t repeated and that you don’t make any noise either.  Just the stern stance and the abrupt sound. 

What to do after you make the sound with hands or balloon-you then calmly walk over to were he was digging, standing over it facing him.  In a way you are claiming that spot as your own.  Puppies pick up on this but they will still try to get to the spot because they test and test.  That is what they do, so if he tries to paw under your feet you block him.  Try not to lean over and instead use your leg/foot to block.  This may take many tries. When he goes to a different spot or waits till you move you just repeat the entire process over and over.   

Another great idea is the idea of a designated dig box.  This is very necessary if the breed your dealing with is a terrier breed.  They are designed to be Earth-bound dogs and dig.  There are many terrier breeds that dig no matter what because it is the nature of there breed so your best bet is to teach them where they can dig.  The best version is a wooden box that blends in nicely with the yard.  Fill it with mostly sand and soil if you like.  Bury some of his bones, treats, toys in it to encourage him to dig there.  When you catch him digging in another spot you do as stated earlier, claiming the area he was digging and when he finally gives up, lays down, or just goes somewhere else you encourage him over to his own box every time. 

The important thing is to do ALL of these things consistently every time in order. 
Pepper/moth balls/feces
Popping Balloon/Hand Clap from behind/side without him seeing
Standing over the spot he was digging and wait for him to be completely submissive or disinterested in that particular spot
Have him go to the sand box with love and encouragement

The hardest part of all of this will be to be patient and consistent.  Also, you can’t let the dog outside unsupervised.  I know this could be the most difficult part, but if you do and he starts digging where he wants you are undoing the work you have previously done.  To accomplish this task it could take months and if you give him too much freedom too soon he will revert back to it and you will have taken a few steps backward in training.  It happens though, so be prepared.  For every step you take backward, you can take two forward.  It just takes a little more work.  You can also put chicken wire under ground around your garden as well as the fence row if that is where he predominantly digs.  Just make sure the wire is facing outward so it doesn't cut Fido's pause.

If you get frustrated, aggravated, tense, etc., while working with him just take him back inside for a break.  I suggest taking a book outside, work materials, etc.  along with your balloons :)  and spending as much time outside with him as possible over the course of a weekend.  If you can’t do that, spend 15 to 20 minute intervals, 3-5 of them on Sat. and Sun. going outside and watching for him to dig.  During the week, try to work on it 15 minutes a day.  Even if he picks up quickly, don’t slack off.  The first couple of weeks will be the most important.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Prevent Pet Obesity

According to APOP, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.  That's approximately 93 million US dogs and cats that need to get moving!

Simply put, this makes me sad.  We live in a world where nutrition and exercise is taking a back seat.  Obesity in adults, kids and pets is rising rapidly.  I’m not going to lecture on eating right and exercising, but it is definitely relevant.  The trend seems to have happened like this.  First, our health slowly took a back seat, then our children pick up our bad habits and now the pets in the home are getting overweight.

I know it’s difficult to find the time to run with our dogs, but it is our responsibility.  Most breeds need quite a bit of exercise and stimulation.  They need to run, not just walk, and they need challenges to overcome to tire them out physically and mentally in order to be healthy.  Cats can even be encouraged to exercise more with toys and games.  The one key ingredient these animals are missing is you.  You can always hire a dog runner, not just a walker, but someone who can do short bursts of running with your pet to actually drain his energy.  Also, it needs to be someone who knows about breeds and pet first aid to make sure your dog is in good hands.  The benefits of exercise are endless and practically the same for dogs and cats as humans.   The most important being the fact that it helps prevent extra weight.  Extra fat puts your loved ones at greater risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, joint and skeletal disorders, and early death.  Regular activity tones muscles, builds strong bones, improves circulation, and lifts spirits by increasing ‘feel good’ chemical levels in the body.  Dogs are not okay being in a yard all day because he doesn’t run laps as you might think.  He waits for you to get home for stimulation.  Fit dogs, just like fit humans, feel better and sleep better. This makes happier people and pets with fewer medical expenses.

The next step is the food they eat.  Every animal is different just like people.  For example, some dogs benefit from being fed scrambled eggs and others can’t handle it because there stomach is too sensitive.  Think about this when choosing your dog and cat food.  Is your pet getting enough nutrients?  Is your pet food too high in fat?   Does your pet need a supplement?   All these questions can be answered by a vet.  I also suggest cutting out people food for a while and looking into organic and/or low fat treats.  Get treats that are very soft and squishy so you can break them up into tiny pieces.  Trust me, your pet doesn't care how big the treat is, just that he gets one.  This way your pet doesn't feel deprived and you can still fulfill your urge to give it to him because he deserves it on cuteness alone.  I understand how it is.  Sometimes when I'm cooking, all it takes is a cute little turn of the head and before even thinking about it I'm feeding my dogs part of my dinner.  But it is a bad habit.  Even if it's their favorite food.  Everything is there favorite!  I once knew a woman who gave her cat chocolate milk everyday even though it made the cat ill.  She said she couldn't help it because it was Fluffy's favorite.  Please don't be that person.  Next time you feel the urge to feed Fido from the table, grab a squeaky toy or yarn ball and toss it for them to play with.  You should feel better thinking about the fact that they will live longer and happier lives, bringing you more companionship by being a healthy weight.

It seems there are always things happening to keep us from going outside to run our dogs.  That shouldn't stop you from other activities that can stimulate your pet.  Cats are easy, cut back on their food and extra treats then swing something fuzzy around till they are bored.  There are even tricks you can teach your cat, just google it to learn how.

Dogs are more involved.  They still need their exercise as you do, so take turns on the treadmill when the weather is bad outside.  Do intervals with your pet.  For example, start with a warm up and to two minutes running hard or at an incline with one minute of rest.  Hop off and put the pooch on for a bit while you do twenty crunches, twenty jumping jacks, push ups, squats, etc.  Then hop back on the treadmill for two or three more intervals.  You hop off and repeat the floor routine while Fido is jogging.  Repeat as many times as you like and this is just to give you an idea to think outside of the box.  If you want to watch a television show then put the treadmill next to the couch and watch it while Fido works out.  Make sure he is always supervised.  Some dogs quickly take to it and others need encouragement and guidance.  There are many dog games you can play in the house to drain energy like the 'find it' game.  You can also work on obedience in the house.  Teaching something new or refining skills in the house where its a controlled environment is perfect.  This way your pet will have less distractions and can't run while practicing off leash techniques.  Always be looking for ways to exercise your pet in your area.  There are always hikes, marathons with dogs, agility classes and more to look for.

After reading this article I can trust that you have been influenced and will spend more time exercising your pet.  Take care of you, your family and your canine kids.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Safely Exercise Your Dog in the Rain

Walking your dog is necessary every day for a healthy pet, but what do you do when the rain is relentless?
Many people treat their house dogs as delicate, easily damaged objects. But even the most pampered dog shares a genetic inheritance with the wolf.  Dogs large and small are sturdy enough to walk in the rain.

Working, sporting, and herding dogs are made to handle the water.  They are all purpose outdoor dogs and many love water and could care less about the rain.

Dogs that dislike the rain just don’t understand that it can be fun.  Jog with your dog and encourage him to jump around and give him treats so the rain is associated with fun.

Cold temperatures can be a bigger issue with some short-haired breeds like Dobermans, older or weaker dogs.  If this is the case, put a sweater on the dog with a rain coat over it.  This will be sufficient enough for a brisk walk or jog outside to drain some energy.

If it is really pouring outside, it is necessary to put a rain coat on the dog, especially if you are going to be outside a long time, or don’t have time to blow dry your dog.  Rain coats for dogs can range from 10 dollars to 60 dollars.  See which one is right for you. 

If you have a small short haired dog, a sweater with rain coat are necessary for long walks.

If the dog is small with long hair, you must have the rain coat and be prepared to blow dry him most of the way dry because most small breeds will get sick if they are soaked to the skin for a long period of time because they get cold easy.

Make sure you have an umbrella.  This will minimize the dampness.  There are even little umbrellas attached to leashes if you really love to spoil your pooch.

Stay under trees, and buildings as much as possible to block some of the wind and rain.

Storms are not safe for you or your dog.  Stay inside till the lightening passes.

If it is icy cold rain or snow, consider trying water proof boots for your pet.  They are not completely necessary for brief trips outside, but if you have a small dog, short haired dog, or a dog that is going to be outside for an extended period of time, you might consider them for your pooch.

Now don’t forget about yourself.  You should have water proof shoes and jacket at the very least.  Have something for your ears for the cool air and wind.  When you have an umbrella the pop-up button ones are the easiest to use when having to handle your dog(s) at the same time.

Just be smart about it.  Your pooch can probably handle more than you think, but always check his behavior when he has dried off.  Also, check his feet to make sure the dampness doesn’t dry out his pads and makes them crack.  It doesn’t happen often, but can, so if you are concerned always check them.

Last resort...purchase a treadmill and play inside games with him.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dog walking tips/How to walk your dog

How to Walk Your Dog | Dog Walking Tips

Taking your dog for a walk is a piece of cake right?  In a perfect world he calmly walks by your side or slightly behind you barely paying attention to other animals and people.  Unfortunately, this is usually far from the truth.  No matter where we walk our dogs we need to teach them manners and respect.  That way the walks are pleasant instead of stressful.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when walking your dog(s).

  • When you reach for the leashes your dog(s) must remain calm.  The leash is a treat meaning you get to go outside.  In this way it is a reward.  Your dog shouldn’t get the reward until it is calm.  Even if Fido starts to wiggle around as you go to clip the leash on, you stand back up straight till they can keep calm the entire time.
  • You are the alpha dog-pack leader.  This means you leave out the door first.  Your dog(s) must sit in front of the door, with it open, not moving.  When you go through the door and say okay, that is when Fido is allowed to follow you.  This starts the walk on a nice calm note!  If you let an excited dog exit your house into the even more exciting outdoors you will not have control of your dog.
  •  Fido must walk beside or behind you.  There is no pulling on the leash.  If he pulls you give pops of the leash to control him.  Pulling will only increase his need to pull back.  That is why there must be strong, quick corrections.  If Fido is too wound up, or if you have a puppy that is really testing you, stop and make them sit.  When they are calm and the focus is back on you, go again.  This may need to be repeated many times.
  •  Fido is not allowed to jump on anyone or anything.  When meeting another animal, child, etc. Fido can sniff and hesitate.  If there is any more interest then that have him sit and wait for the dog/child/bike/etc. to pass by or come say hi. 
  • Many dogs love to chase things that are really moving like runners, skateboarders and such.  Sometimes it is simply for fun and stimulation and it is their instinct to chase moving objects.  That is where the leash is handy.  You have control of your dog.  You can speed up your pace to help avoidance, use a treat for a distraction, or simply make Fido sit and wait till he is calm again to move on.  Above all stay calm and don’t get frustrated because that will make him anxious.
  • When there is another animal on the street lose you must unleash your inner pack leader and claim your space.  Block your dog with your body and hold your hand out at the oncoming dog.  The body language is this is my dog and my space so scram!
  • When your dog is afraid of something like a loud truck or someone hammering a roof, have your dog stand in one spot and wait till he sits on his own or till his ears and tail are relaxed.  There instinct is to run and go the opposite direction or bark at what is scaring them.  You don’t want your dog to be afraid of everything so you must force him to face his fear.  This could take time so be patient.
  • When entering the home it should be the same as leaving.  Enter calmly and the leash comes off calmly.
The most important thing you can do is stay patient and consistent.  If you give an inch a dog will take a foot.  That is because they are extremely smart and it is their nature to find out where they belong in your family pack.
One of the best leads to use when walking your dog