Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Have Dog Will Travel

Lets talk about "Traveling with your Dog" today.

My dogs love to travel as much as I do, so I can’t bear to put them in a kennel when I go away.

Setting up a comfortable space in the car for your dog is key.
Even if your dog is usually a welcome lap companion, after a few hours neither of you will be very comfortable.

I have a flannel dog bed that I set up in the back or on the floor, as well as a few blankets from home. Familiar smells seem to make the dogs more at ease.
I usually bring a few stuffed toys along for the same reason, although they have yet to play with them.

Neither of my dogs will eat their kibble while traveling. Don’t worry if they don’t have much of an appetite.

For extra long trips:
· I usually bring soft treats, such as artificial bacon or sausage. These are too delicious to resist, even on a nervous stomach.

· Be sure to have water and a bowl available; dogs can get very thirsty in the car, especially during the summer.

· There are several fabric collapsible bowls on the market that pack easily. I occasionally forget to bring a bowl; in that case, a Styrofoam cup from the gas station will do.

Since they don’t eat or drink much on the road, my dogs don’t need many potty breaks. Taking them out when I have to use the bathroom seems to suit them just fine. Many rest stops have a special area reserved for dogs. They need to be on a leash in these situations. Gas stations don’t normally provide such an area, but they usually have a grassy spot a good distance from the pumps. Carrying plastic bags and cleaning up after your dog is good etiquette.

Never, ever leave your dog in a hot car with the windows up. Even a few minutes in this situation can lead to brain damage.
If it’s necessary to leave them for a while, be sure to park in the shade, leave the windows cracked, and return quickly. Leaving dogs in the car is not only dangerous; it is punishable by law in some states.

You surely don't want your lovely dog turn into "Hotdog".

We shall talk more about Precautions and Planning for Traveling With your Dog tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2006

My Experience In Socializing My Dog

When I was working to socialize my first dog, my Maltiese, Tymmie, I learned that there were some things to do and some things not to do in the socialization process.

One of the first things I learned is that it is very important to introduce your friends and family to your puppy. Include all people; men, women, children, older people, people of all ethnic backgrounds. Also, introduce your dog to other friendly, well-adjusted, healthy dogs, and even to healthy, dog friendly cats. If possible, take your dog to other environments to make the introductions.

Furthermore, it is important to take your dogs to all kinds of different places, like shopping centers and town parks, so that they can get accustomed to being around crowds of people.
Also, take your dog on frequent short car rides and let him or her get used to seeing the world go by through the window.

Introduce your puppy to all sorts of regular household appliances, like the vacuum cleaner, the television, and the blender. Also, introduce them to things like umbrellas, bags and boxes.

Make sure to get your dog accustomed to the unusual.
For example, you can lay a table on its side, create unique items, and make unusual noises to get your dog habituated to all sorts of bazaar environment.

To avoid problems as your puppy grows older, make sure he or she is accustomed to taking baths and being brushed so that cleaning and grooming will not create nervousness.

It is important, also, to avoid certain behaviors when you are trying to socialize your dog. Do not encourage your dog to be afraid. You may think you are making your dog feel better when you soothe and hold him or her, but you are merely reinforcing their negative behavior.

Do not try to force your dog to socialize; make an effort not to rush things. Frequent, short periods of socialization are better than long, intense, spread out efforts to socialize.

Socializing your puppy from a young age will make him well rounded and easy going and will give you a great pet and companion for years to come.

Happy Dog, Happy You!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Hey, Your Dog Needs Social Life Too!

Remember? Dogs are pack animals, they need social life too. :o)

Start young!

Puppy socialization is very important if you want a well adjusted, friendly dog. In fact, socializing your dog is perhaps the most important form of training that you can give your dog in his or her early, formative months and years.

A well socialized dog is a dog that will not bite out of fear, which will get along with people, children, other dogs, and all other animals, and will react well in most situations. Well socialized dogs will not be frightened or overly aggressive in almost any every day situations.

Non-socialized dogs can not easily adapt to new situations, places and people. Instead, they react with fear or aggression.

The first twelve weeks or first three months, of a puppy's life are the most important weeks in terms of socialization, but it is vital to continue the socialization process even after the twelve week benchmark.

In the process of socializing your dog, it is important to make sure that the environment is friendly and non-threatening. A scary, painful, or bad first impression can occasionally last a lifetime with a dog.

Therefore, it is good to go slow and to make sure that the puppy is comfortable and confident.
Do not rush the socialization process of your puppy under any circumstances.

Hm....... I shall share what I have learnt about socializing my dogs at my next post.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Ideas on Making Your Own Dog Toys

Okie, lets make some toys for your dogs today.

My Miniature Schnauzer Cocoa loves his treat ball, which is a hard plastic misshapen ball with a hole on one end.
I drop treats in the hole and Cocoa spends hours spinning and flipping the ball to get the treats out. He has a great system worked out where he holds the toy with his nose and spins it, hole side down, until a treat comes out.

A homemade alternative to this toy can be made with a two-liter soda bottle or a smaller plastic water bottle. Buy small treats or break apart biscuits and drop them into the mouth of the bottle.

For dogs that love to tug, save old tube socks or t-shirts and tie a knot in the middle.
Tube socks with a tennis ball in the end make a great fetch-and-tug toy.

For flying disc-loving dogs, check yard sales and thrift stores for old Frisbees. Your dog couldn’t care less where the toy came from; he only cares that he’s playing with his owner.

My friend one day bought Cocoa a nice new toy. He was so excited to give it to him and Cocoa took it, gave him a kiss, put it down, and ran for an old, ratty, deflated basketball!

Dogs have their own favorite toys, and sometimes, all the toys from the pet store in the world does not make them happy but that old, ratty stuffed animal which is falling apart does.

Lets' save some money and make some DIY toys for your dogs. Be creative!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

How About Making Your Own Dog Toys

Let's talk about D.I.Y. Dog Toys today.

Some people consider buying toys for their dog a frivolous and unnecessary expense, but I have found them to be essential to the health and well being of my dogs as well as my shoes, furniture, and ball point pens.

Dogs love to chew, and if you don’t provide them with an approved toy to gnaw on, they could develop the nasty habit of chewing on your things.
Buying dog toys can become on obsession, particularly if your dogs are aggressive chewers.
A well-made stuffed toy will last for more than a few days and even these may be reduced to a pile of strewn stuffing in a week or two.
Hard plastic toys last longer, but many dogs have allergies to the plastic and rubber material. Luckily, there are several cheap and easy alternatives to store bought toys that will get you through in a pinch.

Many dogs love stuffed toys, but buying them can be frustrating, since they love to rip out the stuffing as soon as possible and attack the squeaker!
Thrift stores and yard sales usually have a plethora of stuffed animals for sale.
You may even find whole trash bags full of them for next to nothing.
The joy that your dog will get from tearing it limb from limb is well worth it.

Be sure to remove any hard plastic pieces, such as eyes or noses, before giving it to your dog, as they could be a choking hazard.

Oops, gonna go now, let's talk about some DIY Dog Toys ideas tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Basic Training for Dogs Part II

Okie, the next command that should be learned is the “come” command.

· The dog should learn to recognize its name as soon as possible, not only for your sake but for the sake of the dog.

· If you see the dog is in trouble, simply calling his name should bring him right back to you.

· This is true for the “come” command also, but it is important to note that although this command is one the dog must understand, it should not be associated with fear.

· When training your dog with the “come” command and his name, try to make the teaching as enjoyable as possible. When he responds correctly, you should commend him with a treat and a petting.

Example: A good way to teach the “come” command is to say it as the dog is on his way to you, or as you are walking away from him.

“Sit” and “stay” are two commands that may take a considerable amount of time to learn.

The “sit” command should be given immediately before you push down on the dog’s backside. When he does sit, pet him and give him a treat. This lets him know that when you give this command, this is what he should do every time. To enforce this command, continue holding down his backside while repeating the command. If the dog tries to get up or walk away you should reinforce the “sit” command until he understands.

After the sit command is mastered, you should move on to the “stay” command. Tell the dog to “sit.” Once he does so, you should back up about two steps and when the dog tries to come forward, you should command “Sit, stay!”

With a little practice, motivation, and much patience training your dog will not take as long as you think.

Remember to be consistent and your dog will learn much faster.

Okie, that's all for today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Basic Training for Dogs

Lets talk about the basic training for dogs today.

Basic obedience training is an important part of caring for your dog.
After your dog learns basic commands, life with him will be a breeze.
Until then, it is essential that you work with your dog on a daily basis to learn simple yet helpful commands.

Once your dog masters these commands and learns to come, sit, and stay on command, you will feel confident about taking your dog out in public places without the worry that you will not be able to control him.

Simple basic training should start as soon as you bring the dog home. It is important to remember that puppies have very short attention spans so patience is a virtue.

The most important and usually first command a dog should learn is the “no” command. For this command to be powerful and meaningful, never use the word unless you are willing to put it into effect.

· Never use the command just to use it, where this may lead to confusion. Using the “no!” command properly is the only way to ensure the puppy learns and understands the meaning of the command. Once it’s understood getting the puppy to listen will be much easier.

Example: As the puppy is approaching a piece of furniture to begin to chew, place your hand between the furniture and the puppy and say in a deep voice, “No chew.” Then give the puppy one of their toys to show teething should be done only on its toys and not your furniture.

Okie, that's all for today, we shall continue with the command "come" tomorrow.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Second Dog For You?

Having two dogs isn’t twice as hard as having one dog; in fact, it is easier.

Remember? dogs are pack animals,

I would have taken my first dog, Tymmie everywhere, but it just wasn’t feasible. We had to leave him alone every day to go to work. Tymmie would look at us as if we betrayed him; the sad eyes as large as quarters as he watched us go. The guilt was almost unbearable. We stopped going out in the evening, and our friends couldn’t understand why we had to stay home to be with the dog. Three months later, we decided to go for the second dog, mainly so that Tymmie wouldn’t be as lonely when we left the house.

We found a reputable breeder and took Tymmie along to help select his new pack mate. He normally romped energetically with other dogs, but he was totally disinterested in the litter of adorable Miniature Schnauzer puppies we had to choose from. We picked out the weirdest, spunkiest one, named him Cocoa, and introduced Tymmie to him. A few days later we brought Cocoa home, where Tymmie continued to ignore him. He didn’t seem upset or jealous, simply disinterested. We were sure to lavish attention on both equally. Cocoa was much easier to train; he had a role model, and Tymmie provided an excellent example.

As time went by, Tymmie warmed up to Cocoa. He established himself as the boss, although Cocoa outweighed Tymmie by the time he was a year old. Tymmie took to pinning Cocoa down and gnawing on him, growling with a ferocity I had never seen. We thought Tymmie hated Cocoa, until we caught Tymmie holding Cocoa and licking his jowels, and realized that they made out like this every day on the couch.

They are a perfect pair. Neither of them likes when we leave the house, but knowing they are together makes it much easier. Although there is a little less room on the couch, I’ll always have more than one dog. It makes for a much more solid pack and gives each other company and companionship which dogs crave.

So, here are my experience of ways to introduce the first dog to the second dog:
  • Bring the first dog when making the decision of a new pup
  • Give both the new puppy and dog attention
  • Get the first dog involved with all training aspects and let them know they are still loved

Okie, that's all for today sharing. have fun with you dogs.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Buy or Adopt A Dog?

You have figured out that you have plenty of attention, time, and space for you and your new dog. So now, you have decided you are ready t get a puppy.

Before heading out on the search for a companion, consider the costs involved. Unless someone has given you a dog, or you decided to take in a neighborhood stray, there will be a fee involved, even if you adopt from an animal shelter. There are also a myriad of other costs to consider.

Adopting from an animal shelter, such as the SPCA, is a great way to get a dog. Many, many pets end up in shelters every day for a number of reasons. Perhaps their owner passed away, moved, or overestimated their ability to handle owning a dog. Adopting from a shelter is an affordable way to get a dog, but it is not free. Shelters generally charge an adoption fee for a dog or puppy. The fee usually covers necessary vaccinations and spaying and neutering.

Anyone looking for a special breed may choose to buy a puppy from a breeder.
· Cost for a full bred dog or desirable mixed breed vary widely.

· Puppies purchased from breeders have usually been given their initial vaccinations and may or may not have been wormed.

· Be sure that the breeder is reputable; ask to see the parents of the puppies and the area where they have been kept to be sure.

· Get a record of what shots have been administered, check with references, and ask to see the parents registered papers.

Advantages to adopting a puppy:

  • Young
  • To help the unwanted dog population

Disadvantages to adopting a puppy:

  • Sometimes you do not know their past history – abuse, abandonment, illnesses

Advantages to buying a puppy:

  • Meeting the parents if you go through a breeder
  • Getting the dog as a puppy

Disadvantages to buying a puppy:

  • Some breeders are dishonest

There are advantages and disadvantages for both buying a puppy and adopting.

Both adopting a dog or purchasing a puppy will surely add spices and make a difference in your life.

So You Want To Get A Dog?

To the Chinese, this year is the Year of the Dog, but please Don't get a Dog just because this is the Year of the Dog.

A Dog is not a toy, it has life.

There are quite a few things to consider before jumping in and getting a puppy.

The first step in the journey towards dog ownership has nothing to do with a dog; it has to do with you.

It requires a long, in depth look at your life, your needs, and your plans for the next fifteen years or so of your life.

· The first question to ask is whether you have time for a dog. Dogs are pack animals, and once they join your pack, they will want to be with you all the time.

· Those who travel often, work long hours every day, or go dancing every night should opt for a less dependent pet.

· Even the most steel-hearted dog owner will regret leaving their dog alone; a lot of bad behavior including anxious chewing, excessive barking, and potty accidents are the result of jilted dogs who don’t get the attention they deserve.

Another consideration is cost. Caring for a dog, even a small, healthy one, is expensive.
In addition to food, biscuits, and toys, (which I can’t resist buying even when I’m broke), there are annual trips to the vet. You need to pay for a check-up with every visit, annual rabies and distemper shots, and medicine to ward off heartworm and fleas. If you plan to board your dog while you travel, kennels require dogs to have a kennel cough or Bordatella, vaccination, which means additional cost at the vet.

One of the most important things to think about is whether your living situation allows for a noisy member of the family. All dogs bark, with the exception of the African Bisenji. They bark when they are happy, distressed, playful, angry, or lonely.
After a few months with your dog, you probably won’t mind a bit—but your neighbors may. Be sure that your neighbors and family members can tolerate your new friend’s communication style, especially if you live in an apartment.

After all is said and done, adding a puppy is a wonderful experience. I joke that it was a choice between having a baby and bringing a puppy home and I chose the second.
In reality, puppies take the same amount of energy to train as raising a child. If you plan to have children, try and get a puppy that gets along well with children. Tymmie and Cocoa LOVE children and will play and protect for hours!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Lets continue to exercise with your Dog

Here are some helpful tips to remember when exercising with your dog outside.

· Not all people are animal lovers so remember to be respectful by keeping your dog on a leash when walking.

· A leash will not restrict your dog from being able to run or jog, especially if you decide to do so also.

· Be mindful of young children when exercising outdoors with your dog. Perhaps include them in the fun if they enjoy playing with dogs. Children can be one of the best forms of exercise for them.

· Never let your dog overwork itself. If the dog looks fatigued, immediately supply it with water.

· While puppies are more active than adults, both should exercise daily with the exception that exercise must be adjusted as the dog gets older. Even the aging dog can have fun and exercise, as long as you take proper precautions and are aware of any health conditions the dog may have.

· Remember to do simple things with your dog daily such as walking around the block, or to a nearby park, allowing your dog to play unrestricted, running free in the backyard, playing fetch with a ball or frisbee and encouraging a healthy, well balanced life for your dog.

By taking the time each day to play and exercise with your canine companion, your dog and yourself will form a bond which will never be broken.

SO, what are you waiting for? Lets exercise with your dog............

Exercise with your Dog

Exercising with your dog can be both beneficial to you and the dog.

A happy healthy well trained dog is always willing to obey your commands and please.
The trick to this is daily exercise with your companion.
If you have children or at least another dog in the house, it is almost guaranteed that the dog is getting more than enough exercise. :o)

Many dogs, especially small breeds, love to run around the house, jump, and encourage anyone nearby to join in on the fun. Sometimes this act may seem bothersome, but in actuality your dog is enjoying a beneficial workout.

Join in on the fun. Sometimes dogs like a good game of tag around the house.
This keeps your dog happy and you in good condition.
You will find that fun games like hide and go seek will keep the both of you lean and fit. Nonetheless, a daily walk is always a superior alternative to running in circles with your dog.

Most dogs enjoy nice long walks with their owners. It allows them to get out of the house and enjoy nature, and also spend time with their owner. Some dogs are willing to walk just as far if not further than their owners on a nice day. The park is a great place to exercise with your dog and strengthen its endurance.

A few simple props such as balls, bones, and frisbees can lead to hours of fun exercises.

So go exercise with your dog and have fun. :o)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This is why Crate Training is not The BEST method for Dog House Training

A popular theory about the best way to train a new puppy is that they should be crate trained. This means that the dog should spend most of their time in a crate which is large enough to comfortably move around.

The puppy should sleep in the crate and be in the crate whenever no one is interacting with them. It should contain blankets and toys, as well as food and water. Keeping the puppy in the crate is supposed to make it understand that when it needs to go to the bathroom, they must go outside of its home for potty breaks.

Dogs are clean animals, and do not like to soil their home, which is their crate. As they get older and larger, the dog will understand that the entire house is their home, and they will not want to soil it.

By this time, they should have learned when they need to go outside when duty calls.
Some believe feel it is cruel to keep a puppy in a crate or cage for most of the day, but crate training advocates claim that the dog will grow to see the crate as their special place or cave, and be quite comfortable in it. It sounded like a reasonable idea to me, and since I had never had a puppy, I felt I should listen to the experts. I bought a crate that was approximately six feet long, four feet wide, and three feet high, stuffed it with blankets, placed my dog inside, and waited.

My dog, a Maltese, Tymmie. He did not regard it as his own special place. In fact,
he hated it! He cried all night, peed and pooped in the crate, and was generally miserable any time he had to go inside. I knew that it would take time, so I continued keeping him in the crate overnight and while I was at work for several weeks.

The situation never improved, and my heart broke every night that I had to listen to his cry. I abandoned the crate, opting instead to keep him kenneled in the kitchen while I went to work, placing newspaper by the door. Happy to no longer be confined to the crate, he caught on right away and soon graduated from the kitchen to the downstairs and eventually the whole house.

By the time I got my second dog, I had learned my lesson. I set up a “special place” for him in case the first crate training experience was just a fluke, but he was more interested and agreeable in the crate than Tymmie was. We kept Cocoa crated in the family room for a few weeks, but by the time Cocoa was eight months old, he had graduated to the entire family room when left alone. Cocoa learned proper behavior from Tynnie, and caught on quickly to potty training with the assistance of positive reinforcement treats, and has been well behaved ever since. I have come to regard crate training as it is dependent upon the puppy.

Some puppies like their crate and regard it as a cave or a safe place, while others feel trapped and will never get over it being locked in a cage like box. Tymmie needs his freedom while Cocoa doesn’t mind the crate. Maybe it has something to do with the difference of size of breed both dogs are, hhmmmm?

Crate Training does not work all the time

Though the experts claim that Crate Training is The method, but I disagree ........