Category Archives: Pet Training Tips

Tips for Managing Two Dogs in a House-A Great Guest Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So your favorite pooch looks lonely, or you love them so much that you want to get them a friend, or you come across a stray at a shelter and have got to give them a forever home. Any one of these scenarios, and many more, may make your household go from a one dog home to a two dog home.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, and no one will ever complain about a shelter dog finding a place to call home, but there are some things to consider. Firstly, you may think that as pack animals, dogs would just naturally get along. After all, you are just bringing home a member of the pack, so all should be good, right? Secondly, even in packs out in the wild, there are rules and regulations that apply to all of the dogs that are banded together, and if these rules are not tolerated by single members of the pack, they will be expelled. So, keeping all of this in mind, here are some tips to make sure that you’ll have an easy time managing two dogs in the house.

You are the Alpha of the Pack

Every dog pack or clan has an alpha female or male that lays the groundwork and the rules. In your home clan, you are the alpha dog and what you say goes. You should not play favorites and treat each dog as equals. A stern “NO” will keep either of the two dogs in place, and fighting between dogs is absolutely not allowed. (Of course, play fighting doesn’t count.)

You rule, and you enforce the rules, and if you have to when one misbehaves, send them to the crate or their bed for a few minutes to teach them that what they did is not acceptable.

Feeding Time

A lot of fights and bad manners happen around feeding time, so keeping them separate during feeding is a very wise choice. Always feed the calmest member of the two first, and make sure you keep the other dog’s attention away from the first dogs food.

Fair is Fair

Make sure you divide your time equally between the two dogs, Fair is fair and neither one should feel neglected by you for the other. If one begs for more attention, make sure you reciprocate in kind to the other dog so they both see there are no favorites.

My Space, Your Space, Everyone’s Space

Unless there are dedicated bedding spaces for each dog, or dedicated crates, then all the space around the house should be shared equally. If one dog lays on the bed the other should be allowed that luxury too. If one likes to sleep on the couch, then let the other one sleep there as well. Obviously, if they have

their own beds that’s something else, but then just make sure they each have their own bed. If you can make them feel equal, you won’t have to worry about one or the other trying to take control.

Play Time

Playful dog fighting is common, and biting necks, tails, jumping and mouthing each other is all a part of the game. But make sure to watch them for the first several times they play together. If one tries to assert dominance and turn a play into genuine rough housing, you have got to be able to nip that behavior in the bud. If you don’t, you’ll have all kinds of trouble down the road.

Treats

Dogs love treats and you probably love to give them treats as much as they like getting them. But never tease one or the other and never ever show a preference for one getting a treat while the other just watches and gets nothing. If one gets a treat they both get a treat, and that way there will never be any animosity towards each other

Twice as Nice

If you use the tips above, both of your dogs will become great friends, they will respect you as a leader, and they will both do their best to please you any which way they can. That’s twice as nice for everyone.

About Author

A special thanks to Mary Nielsen who is a passionate dog lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She started MySweetPuppy  to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.  Here is the link to Mary’s website website:  http://mysweetpuppy.net

Pet First Aid and Disaster Preparedness-A guest blog from Dog Guy Josh

We are very pleased to have our guest blogger, Dog Guy Josh, share this wonderful article on how best to be prepared should an emergency or disaster strike.  Thank you, Dog Guy Josh!

Pet First Aid and Disaster Preparedness
By Dog Guy Josh

Pet First Aid – A Quick Primer
Pet First Aid: When the unexpected happens and your four-legged friend find himself on the injured list, knowing what to do can help him hurry up and heal so that you can heel!

petfirstaid

 

Define “Normal”
When dealing with injuries and potential illness, you won’t know what’s abnormal if you don’t know what’s normal for your dog to begin with. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your dog’s daily input and output (eating, urinating and defecating) habits, as well as how he moves and breathes and how his body feels under your hands as you pet him. Paying close attention to these details can help you quickly recognize when something might be wrong.

In general, the normal heart rate of a healthy dog is:

100-160 BPM for small, miniature or toy breed dogs (30 lbs or less).
60-100 BPM for medium-to-large breed dogs (30+ lbs).
120-160 BPM for puppies under one-year-old.
The heartbeat of a dog can be felt at the point where the left elbow reaches the chest, along the inner thigh, just below the wrist or just below the hock. Practice under calm conditions to determine which method is most comfortable for you and your pet, as well as to monitor his normal heart rate.

Other “Important Norms” to Know:
The normal breathing rate for a dog is 10-30 breaths per minute or up to 200 pants per minute.
The normal body temperature for a dog is approximately 100.2-102.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures not within this range should be addressed by a veterinarian.
Capillary refill time (the time it takes the gums or inner lips to return to their normal pink color after you press them) should be between 1-2 seconds.
When pulled upward, the skin at the back of a dog’s neck should spring back to position within 1-2 seconds. A longer return time can indicate dehydration. Dry, sticky gums may also signal dehydration. It’s extremely important that dehydrated animals be taken to a veterinarian for proper care. When in doubt, consult your vet!
The most important information to have on hand during a medical emergency is the name and phone number of the nearest veterinarian and 24-hour veterinary facility. Keep this information on-hand and consider taking a test drive to the local 24-hour facility BEFORE disaster strikes.
Learn Your ABCs!
Whether you’re dealing with pets or people, knowing how to properly administer CPR can mean the difference between life and death! Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the method used to treat an animal who is not breathing or has no heartbeat. It utilizes rescue breathing and chest compressions and is based on three basic principles which MUST be followed in order:

Airway
Breathing
Circulation
Learning how to properly perform CPR is a wonderful investment in your pet’s future. All pet owners should be proficient in this potentially life-saving, pet first aid skill. Several organizations, including the American Red Cross, offer classes on animal first aid and CPR.

Learn to Recognize a First Aid Emergency
The following medical situations can quickly turn from bad to worse and should be addressed as quickly as possible by a veterinarian:

Shock – The body’s response to a change in blood flow and oxygen to the internal organs. Shock often occurs following sudden blood loss, traumatic injury, severe allergic reaction or infection circulating through the body.
Bloat and Torsion – A condition in which the stomach fills up with air or food, which can cause the stomach to turn around itself, often misplacing the spleen. As this happens, blood supply to the stomach and spleen is lost, damaging the organs and resulting in shock. Bloat and torsion are life-threatening emergencies.
Other emergencies include:

Choking
Bleeding
Allergic Reactions
Luxated (out of joint) or Broken Bones
Breathing Problems
Sudden Trauma
Eye Injuries
Prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures
Training Tips
When preparing for an emergency, it’s as important to train your pet as it is to train yourself! Several easy-to train behaviors can help keep your pet calm and easily accessible during a medical emergency:

Handling and Restraint – Make a habit of handling and gently restraining your pet on a regular basis, rewarding him generously for calm behavior.
Muzzling – Don’t wait until disaster strikes! The best time to introduce your pet to a muzzle is NOT when he’s scared and hurting. Teach him to accept being muzzled by practicing often under calm conditions.
Elizabethan Collar – Like muzzling, teach your pet to calmly tolerate life in an E-Collar under normal conditions.
Confinement – Injured animals often must be confined in order to promote calm behavior necessary for healing. Even if you don’t use a crate on a regular basis, it’s wise to teach your dog to accept spending limited time in a crate or similar confined area.
Disaster Preparedness
Whether your geographic area is prone to earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes or other natural disasters, it’s important to have a well thought out household evacuation plan. When planning ahead, consider the following:

Room at the Inn?
If you need to evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind; they are not likely to survive on their own. For public health reasons, most emergency shelters do not accept pets. Research area hotels/motels that are pet-friendly and identify a few friends and family members who are willing to shelter your pets in an emergency.
May I See Your ID?
Make absolutely certain that your pets wear collars with identification tags at all times. Keep contact information up-to-date. Consider adding a cell phone number or an out-of-area friend or relative to maximize the opportunities for an appropriate caretaker to be contacted regarding your pet. Have your pets microchipped to provide them with a permanent source of identification.
Take Fido “To Go!”
Keep an appropriately sized crate or pet carrier on hand. In the event of a natural disaster, confining your pets in a crate may help prevent injuries from debris. If you do not regularly use a crate, consider occasionally feeding them in their crate to maintain a positive association with confinement.
Packing for Pets
Create a pet survival kit that’s kept in an easily accessible place and contains necessities like 2 weeks worth of pet food, bottled water, food/water bowls, can opener, medications, pet first aid kit and one or more sturdy leashes. Include current medical relevant information about your pet, contact information for your veterinarian as well as for any persons authorized to care for your pet in your absence. It may also be helpful to include a brief medical history and current photo.
Home Away from Home?
Make a list of area boarding facilities, veterinarian offices and shelters. In the event that you are unable to return home right away and need long-term care for your pets, these facilities can assist you in finding appropriate care.
Home Alone?
Not all emergencies take place when you’re home. Designate a nearby friend or family member to check on your pets if necessary. Add a Pet Rescue Sticker to your front door or window to alert rescue personnel of the type and number of animals inside. Stickers can be purchased at most pet stores and are available free of charge at www.aspca.org.

Check out more from Dog Guy Josh

Dog Trainer, Pet Blogger & Business Consultant  www.dogguyjosh.com

Resources:

ASPCA at www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (800) 426-4435 or www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control
Humane Society of the United States at www.humanesociety.org/about/departments/disaster_preparedness.html
American Red Cross at www.redcross.org
Pettech First Aid & CPR Training at www.pettech.net
Pet First Aid Kits:
www.cpr-savers.com
www.jjdog.com
www.outdoorsafety.net
HSUS Pet First Aid Kit List at www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html
A Quick Primer on Pet First Aid and Disaster Preparedness
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This was first published by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, www.apdt.com, 1-800-PET-DOGS.

Can You Help Your Cat Become More Affectionate?

 

When we think of cats, we imagine soft fur, cuddly rubs and gentle purring sounds. However many cats do not seek out this affection and remain aloof. Some of this is personality, upbringing or breed. In order to optimize the possibility of obtaining that loving interaction from our feline pets, there are several things cat owners can do.

First be sure your cat can depend on you to be her provider of nutritious food, fresh water, a clean litter box and fun toys to engage her. A happy cat will be more open to your attention and affection.

Next you need to spend quality time with your cat. Giving her attention, such as talking to her in a loving way and stroking her fur may lead to her coming to you more often for it. If you do this while you are preparing her food, she will associate this with the positive experience of being fed and cared for. Also, when sharing affection at other times, give your pet a treat. Again this will help your cat associate affectionate behavior with a rewarding experience.

Play with your cat often. Cats prefer to chase than be chased. Dangle a string behind you as you walk so your cat will follow you. Play laser tag with a pointer, but be sure not to shine it in your pet’s eyes. Bat a catnip filled ball back and forth. A little catnip can often help a reluctant cat become more engaged and affectionate towards you.

You can purchase a cat bed or have a special cushion or blanket for your cat. “Mark” the area with your scent by rubbing the bedding on yourself. Your pet will pair your scent with the comfy feeling she gets when she cozies up in her special resting area.

Cats enjoy gentle petting around their cheeks, under their chin, in front of and behind their ears and on their backs. You can often tell if this is giving your cat pleasure when she curls the end of her tail. A straight tail or ears back usually means the cat is not enjoying what you are doing to her. Always put yourself at the cat’s level. Bring your hand in from the side of your cat and work your way up so as not to startle her.

Although your cat may still spend much of her day off to herself, you will be rewarded with more affection and purrs if you keep these simple strategies in mind.

Benefits of Pet Doors

Pets like the freedom to come and go as they need to. Walking your dog or letting out the cat is not always possible. Many of us work outside of the home for 8 hours or more. There are companies that for a fee will come to your house to walk the dog or let the cat out. But if that is not in your budget, pet doors make a wonderful solution. Pet doors also put an end to late night trips to the door and allow you to get a good night’s sleep.

There are many types of pet doors on the market.  The power pet doors are fully automatic with motor driven panels. A sensing device, which can be ultrasonic, is mounted on the collar and the pet activates the door. The signal works when the pet is on a direct approach to the door, not just wandering near it. Doors with magnetic or infrared collars do not work this way and may cause false openings of the panel. Many are made with a bullet-proof polymer which is more reliable than those made of metal. The high end power doors come with a wall panel that allows you to open the door manually. They have sensor controls that allow you to turn on or off the inside and outside sensors. That way you can set the door to “in and out access”, “in only”, “out only” and “closed and locked”. The panel also allows you to adjust the exact distance at which the door will open from the inside or outside.  Once the pet has moved completely through the opening, the panel closes.  They are safe for children as the panel is lightweight and will automatically retract if it encounters an obstruction during closing. Costs depend upon the size of the dog and can range from $300.00 to $1,000.00 or more.

Flap doors require the pet to push the door-flap open that is mounted on the door panel. They can be used in a sliding glass door, wall or window. Some work with magnets on the flap which cause it to reconnect with the flap frame after the pet goes out.  They are usually weatherproof, chew proof and easy to install. Your pet can be easily trained to use the door with you standing on one side and offering a treat. Some doors have flaps that can be replaced when they no longer close properly. They also come with a sliding panel that can be inserted to prevent the pet from going out or coming in; as well as keeping out unwanted critters. The costs of these devices ranges from $10.00 to $200.00, depending upon the size of the dog opening.

So get that extra night of uninterrupted sleep and know that your pet has the ability to come and go as he likes. It is worth the investment!

 

Teaching Your Dog In A Positive Way

As puppy and dog owners, we know there will be times when your favorite shoe or new leather pocketbook is mangled by a bored or just chew-crazy canine friend. Our first instinct is to wave the item in the dog’s face and yell at him that he is a bad dog. You should never hit, yell or frighten the dog into behaving in a certain way. It does not accomplish anything and only teaches him to be scared of you the next time you get angry. It may even provoke an unwanted aggressive reaction. After all, your dog is instinctively going to try to protect himself.

Consistent teaching and rewards for good behavior is important, more so than yelling and telling him what not to do. Dogs learn best from being caught in the act and gently disciplined but it is even better to catch them right before they grab your favorite shoe with a command such as “Leave it!” This command is useful for many situations where your dog might get into trouble.  It helps to stop his thought midstream before he acts upon it. You can train “Leave it!” by putting a treat in your closed hand.  Let your dog smell it, then close your hand again and say “leave it”. If he backs away from you, give him the treat and much praise. If he doesn’t back away, do not give him the treat. Once he realizes he isn’t going to get it and starts to walk away, give him the treat with lots of positive praise. Do this repeatedly until he backs away at the command every time. You can also give him an “okay” when he has complied so he knows the treat is coming.

The “leave it” command can be used for such things as begging at the table or when he attempts to grab something he shouldn’t. Another good reward for compliance is to give him a favorite chew toy. That way your shoes are preserved and your dog is happy and content to chew on the right thing. Positive teaching will result in a happy friend. After all, pleasing you is what matters the most to him.

Selecting Your Dog’s Leash

There are many different styles, colors, lengths and materials to choose from. It is important that they be made of durable materials, have a length that allows for good control and keeps your dogs safe.

Leash materials can be made of nylon, chain or leather. Leather is often chosen over nylon because it softens and becomes more flexible with age. It is easy to grip and quite durable. However, some dogs find chewing on it to be more fun than a nylon leash.  Nylon is more elastic but not as soft and the collar can cause chafing. Chain leashes are the least desirable because they can injure your dog and aren’t good for training.

Dog leashes that are retractable give control but allow the dog to walk farther away from its owner.  Too much leash can be dangerous in terms of other animals, people and cars if it can’t be reeled in fast enough. For puppies, a closer leash is preferable to keep him in control and to protect him.

Whether or not to use a collar attached leash, head halter and leash or a harness and leash depends upon you and your dog’s needs. Head halters look like muzzles but are not. One strap goes around the back of the dog’s head and a separate strap goes around his snout. The leash snaps on below the chin. When the dog walks, this head halter arrangement will pull the dog’s head either down or to the side and keeps the dog from pulling you.

Harnesses go around the dog’s neck in front of the shoulders and behind the front legs. They do not put pressure on the throat like a typical collar and leash. The harness allows you to walk the dog safely without pressure to the trachea.  Harnesses must be fitted to your dog.  There are those that the dog steps into, ones that go over his head and ones that look like a figure 8. Most are adjustable.  The important thing to fit it to is the dog’s girth. Once on, it should look symmetrical. Be sure it doesn’t rub too hard on a puppie’s arms. Check the fit as your puppy grows.

For small breeds like chihuahuas, who have fragile windpipes, it is best to stay away from the collar and leash.  Additionally, dogs that pull too much or have any respiratory problems, the harness or head halter is preferable. The most important thing to remember is have your dog fitted well with a harness or head halter. This way he will stay safe, comfortable and secure. Enjoy your walks!

Can Tweety and Sylvester Co-habitate?

When we think of cats and birds living together, what comes to mind is Tweety bird being stalked by Sylvester.  Cats are instinctively natural predators.  In the wild, quick birds can just fly away from them.  In your home, the bird does not have this advantage and can run out of steam trying to flee the cat. Here are some ideas for keeping both cats and birds as pets.

-Let your cat know that the bird is not going to steal your affection. Jealousy can cause a cat to become aloof from you or stalk that cute feathered friend behind the bars. Give your cat lots of attention to let your cat know this new pet is just one more member of the family.

-Do not place the bird cage in an area that your cat can knock over and free the frightened bird. A cage that stands on the floor can work if it is sturdy and not placed where it can be bumped. Be sure the cage bars are close together and that the door is completely locking. Some bird owners have their bird’s wings clipped to tame them and keep them from flying away. That can put Tweety in a precarious situation if the cage is not secure.

-If your cat insists on stalking or jumping at the cage, use a squirt bottle of water to let it know this behavior is unacceptable. Unlike Tweety who can give the taunting right back, your bird can become over-stressed with the constant taunting.  This can even lead to death, so it is important to inhibit this behavior with your cat.

-Always supervise when letting your bird out to play.  Larger birds, such as exotic parrots may intimidate your cat. However, it is better to be safe than sorry. Having a room that belongs to your bird for his flying adventures is a way to keep him away from the cat.

-If a cat were to scratch or bite at a bird, they can transfer a bacteria to the bird that causes osteoarthritis.  There is an 8 to 12 hour window before this damage occurs. Your vet will need to treat your bird with a tetracycline derivative.

-The best type of birds to have co-habitate with your cat do not need a lot of out of cage interaction. Birds bought in pairs and using a large sturdy cage will help to discourage your cat from toying with them.

Once your cat realizes that your bird is just one more member of the family, they will likely leave it alone. (unlike Tweety and Sylvester!) Enjoy the purrs and chirps!

New Babies and Your Pets

A new baby is on the way and your pets will need to adjust. After all, they were the new babies first. It is a lot like preparing a sibling for a new family member. Pets, like children, may feel resentful that they are no longer the center of your attention. Work on this by gradually pulling back on the amount of time you spend with your pet before the new baby arrives. Have another family member become closer and more engaged with your pet, especially if he is very attached to you. Invite friends over with their babies so your pet can get used to the sights and sounds of a little one. You can even play recordings of baby’s crying and let them hear the sounds of the baby swing or crib toys.

Before you come home with the new baby, have a family member bring home a blanket with the baby’s scent for your pet to become accustomed to. Give your pet lots of exercise on the day the newborn will arrive so he is relaxed and tired out. When you arrive, have another family member take the baby so you can calmly give your pet a warm welcome. You can help your pet associate the baby with something positive by giving a treat for good behavior as you sit by him with the new baby. Always supervise the pet and baby interactions and never force them on your pet. Maintain your regular routines as much as possible and spend quality time with your pet each day.

Your calm demeanor and positive rewards will go a long way in helping your pet know this new family member is one more person to love!

(Photo courtesy of William Beil)

New puppies and older dogs need to meet gradually

Bringing home a new puppy to be a companion to your older dog is often a challenge. Your older dog has established territory from your home to the yard and even routes used for walking. They need a lot of attention and reassurance from you that this new comer is not going to usurp their time with you.

To introduce the new puppy, pick a neutral area.  You might try someone else’s yard or have a friend meet you walking down the street with the new puppy. The two dogs should always be on leashes and under control. You can also have a friend hold the puppy in their arms and let the older dog sniff it. Another technique for that first introduction is to put the puppy in it’s crate and allow the older dog to sniff it through the gate. If the older dog growls, you should give it a strong verbal correction. You are the “pack leader” and need to show the dog that you won’t tolerate aggression toward the new “pack” member.

Once you feel the dogs are ready to try being together, having given them lots of praise for accepting kinds of behaviors, you can take them to a mutual play area. Remember to remove all toys from the play area to prevent altercations over the toys. Limit the first play times to a 5 minute session and gradually build up from there. It can take a month or more of supervised playtime to get the puppy and older dog to coexist. If there are any signs of aggression, take a break and try again later. Young puppies may not recognize signs of an older dog’s aggressive moves or postures. So watch for signs that your older dog is tiring or attempting to avoid the new puppy.

Your first walks together should be away from home and take a new route. Older dogs may consider the old route their personal territory which can trigger aggression.  Mutual walks on leashes are a good way to give positive reinforcement to the dogs that being together can be fun. It takes time but the two of them will be much more likely to accept each other when you follow these tips.

 

 

 

When NOT to crate train a puppy

Crate training has always been the preferred way to housebreak a puppy. Plus, they enjoy the den-like enclosure of a crate. A crate is a good housebreaking tool because it takes advantage of a dog’s natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place. It also helps prevent destructive behaviors and keeps the pup away from potentially dangerous household items.

However, puppies under 4 months of age have little bladder or sphincter control.  Very young puppies under 9 weeks should not be crated as they need to eliminate as much as 8-12 times per day. Puppies purchased in pet stores, who were kept solely in small cages when young (between 7-16 weeks of age), may be considerably harder to housebreak using a crate. This is due to having been forced to eliminate in their sleeping area during this formative stage of development.  This is the age at which most puppies are learning to eliminate outside their sleeping area.

So, what to do when your puppy is too young for crate training. The best method is to confine the puppy in a small to medium sized room space with a non-porous floor. Set up the crate on one end, with the door propped open and soft bedding inside, the food and water a few feet away, and some newspapers (approx. 2’x3′ to 3’x3′) using a 3-4 layer thickness several feet away. It is best to use  child gate versus a solid door to help your puppy feel less isolated. Take your puppy out frequently during the day to get him used to eliminating outdoors. Introduce the crate as confinement very carefully. As a rule of thumb, a puppy between 9 and 16 weeks should be crated from 30 minutes for the younger dog to 4 hours max.  Except for overnight, a puppy or dog should not be crated for more than 5 to 6 hours.

Enjoy your new puppy and  give  all the love you can.  It will be paid back to you in volumes!