This seems like an obvious one but every day I’m at the dog park there are “doggy land-mines” strewn about. This is not only bad for your shoes but also for dogs who are “poo eaters”. If everyone just picked up after their dogs it would be a much cleaner place. If you are picking up after your own dog and you see some doggy-doo next to it, why not pick it up to! Its not just going to magically disappear on its own. Even if someone else left there dog mess behind, be the bigger person and pick up whatever you see around you!
2) No small children
If you have your little ones with you and don’t have anyone to take care of them while you take your pooch to the dog park then don’t go to the dog park! There is no way you can trust every strange dog in the dog park with your child especially if they are little and still don’t understand how to be “gentle”. Even if every dog there is fun loving and friendly (which they usually are). More than likely your kid is going to get bowled over while the dogs run around. Dog parks are parks for DOGS not CHILDREN.
3) If you can’t control your dog, keep it on a long leash
Before letting your dog off leash you should always work on their recall thoroughly. Realistically, some dogs are more independent or are just easily distracted which makes recall difficult. If this is the case you can purchase 20-40ft leashes from most pet stores. Use that at the dog park so if Fido is running off with someone elses ball and won’t come back at least you have the leash to grab and reign him in!
4) Don’t bring your dogs “favorite” toy
If you’re bringing your dogs favorite toy to the dog park you’re basically asking him to get into a fight. Even if your dog doesn’t have toy aggression, its just a risk best not to take. If your dog does have toy aggression, put a muzzle on them. Its not cruel its just common sense. In my opinion tennis balls should be the only toys aloud at the dog park. Why? because they’re cheap and usually the park is already full of them so most dogs don’t really care if another dog catches the ball before they do. The only time you should bring your dogs favorite toy is for recall incentive. Otherwise leave that squeaky goose toy at home.
Quite often I see a dog owner “mother henning” their dog. Following it around, yelling at it and freaking out whenever their dog starts to play with another dog because it looks like “fighting”. Take a deep breath and now that dogs can understand each other far better than humans and being anxious at the dog park is only going to make your dog nervous and perhaps act out aggressively. If you can’t read or understand dogs warning signs or calming signals and the park is too stressful, go elsewhere or wait for a less busy time. Your dog will be much happier with a calm and happy owner!
As the holiday season approaches, here are some safety tips.
Secure the tree: the tree should be safely secured so your dog can’t pull it down. Dogs may wan’t to chew on the ornaments which can be a real safety hazard for them.
Don’t use tinsel on your tree: This sparkly eye catching decoration can be enticing to dogs and can cause severe digestive problems if eaten.
Safe Toys: We enjoy giving our dogs a present for the holidays, make sure you are chosing a safe toy. Ones without loose pieces and cannot be easily torn apart and swallowed. You can shop on the web for veterinarian approved toys.
Poisonous Plants: Mistletoe, Holly, Pointsettias and some Lilies are poisonous to dogs. Keep plants up high where they can’t get them or chose artificial.
Holiday Treats: with all the tasty treats around make sure they are out of reach for your pet. Avoid fatty foods, chocolate, spicy and harmful human foods.
Many people have told me that they think that using a crate for their puppy is cruel. For the first number of months of your puppies life it is necesary and not cruel at all. The crate is used to house train your dog as well as to provide a safe environment from your dog chewing and swallowing items when you cannot be home. It also provides a safe haven for a puppy who is young and insecure when you have to leave. Put a blanket over the cage you will make them feel more secure. When your puppy cries when you put him in the crate it is not because you put him in the crate but rather because you left. When you put them in the crate you can reward them with a treat like… a kong stuffed with peanut butter. You can freeze them so it will take longer to lick out. Or a kong with treats in it. Be careful what you leave in the cage with them because many toys with stuffing or eyes can become caught in the puppies throat. Also, rawhide is never a good choice as dogs can swallow large pieces which also get caught in the throat. When you put your puppy in their crate don’t make a big fuss and instead just create a routine around their being crated so they can anticipate what will happen next. What will happen if I just leave my dog in a designated area in the house instead of the cage – you may ask? The answer is that you may never become house trained which means your dog may spoil the house for the rest of it’s life. If a dog has more space then just his sleeping area he/she will go potty in one area and go back to the sleeping area. If in a cage however which fits mostly just him and his bed then he will not want to spoil his area and will wait untill you let him out. Of course, you must be fair and be there to let your puppy out as often as need be depending on his age. I have spoken to many people who are very frustrated with their older dog who is still soiling the house. No one wants to be in this position as it is very difficult to turn this behaviour around. By crate training your dog at an early age you will train them to go outside for life. Read my previous article called “house training your puppy” for details. In addition, crate training while your puppy is in that chewing phase saves your shoes and potential danger of them swallowing something dangerous. How do you know when your dog doesn’t need the crate anymore? You may try to leave him out for a short time and see what he does. Does he chew things or go potty in the house? If so, then use the crate for another month and try again after that time. Remember to make sure your puppy gets lots of exercise and potty time and then being in the crate is mostly sleep time. A well trained dog makes for a happy family!
Crate your puppy when you’re out and at night. The overall premise to potty training is.. the more often your puppy goes outside rather than inside the quicker they will learn so take your puppy out many times a day so they can succeed. Take your dog to the same spot each time and use a phrase like “get busy”. Give them a pat and say “good boy/girl” after they do their business. How many times will your puppy need to go out? Between 6 to 14 weeks they will need to go outside 8 to 10 times a day. Between 14 to 20 weeks they will need to go out 4 to 6 times. Over 30 weeks they will need to go out 3 to 4 times. In these early stages it’s not advisable to reprimand when accidents happen, it will only scare and confuse the puppy. They will learn to potty outside through persistence and consistency and yes quite a lot of work on your part. Watch for signs that they need to go potty such as, sniffing around. They will usually need to go pee around 20 minutes after drinking. After eating they can be trained to go poop right after they have eaten if you always take them out after they eat. Once again, use your phrase… “get busy”. How long will it take to fully train your dog to go outside? This depends on the individual dog and their abililty to learn and most importantly the consistency and frequency you take them out to potty. This process takes time but once they are trained they will be trained for life. Have fun training your puppy. You are there to guide them and know that they want to learn to do the right thing!
Healthcare: You’ll want to introduce nail clipping, ear cleaning and teeth brushing to your puppy. Doing so early will mean they will accept you doing these as they become an adult dog. Nail Clipping; When they are a puppy just hold their paws and touch their nails. As they get a little older you can show them the nail clipper while staying relaxed and positive. Eventually, when they do need their nails to be clipped you will need to read up on how to do this properly. Ear Cleaning: as they get older they will need to be comfortable with you checking and possibly cleaning their ears especially if they have an ear infection. You can start out by just touching your puppies ears and looking in them. Later you can clean them gently with a cotton ball. Teeth Brushing: this is a very important because they will eventually develop plaque, gingivitis and will need dental cleaning and possibly surgery. You can avoid these problems if you brush your dogs teeth at least once a week. Start when they are a puppy by examining their teeth. As they become a little older have them lay down on their side and allow you to examine their teeth for longer. You can use some paper towel to wipe their teeth. As they get a little older you can brush them with a soft toothbrush and always dog toothpaste. They love the taste. Your dog won’t have smelly breath. That’s a bonus and they won’t need surgery when they get older.