Just as soon as it began, spring is almost over, quickly growing warmer with the longer days and hotter afternoons relegated to summer. While this means perfect outdoor weather for you and your pooch, summer isn’t as wonderful as it may seem. Complete with insane temperatures, bugs and poisonous plants, better to prepare now than to be sorry later.

 

Stay Cool

Even if your pup is begging to go out during the middle of the day, keep them restrained. Dogs with short snouts are especially prone to overheating along with dogs that have thick coats. Even if you go out later in the day, they could still fall prone to heat exhaustion, panting heavily, exhibiting bright rid gums and drooling a very thick mucus. To offset this, move them to a cooler place immediately. Set them on a damp towel and let them rest until they return to normal.

Also, remember to never, ever leave your dog in the car in the summer months. Winter can be passable in certain areas of the country, but even with the windows cracked, summer temperatures inside the car can rise an astounding 19 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as seven minutes.

 

Beat Bugs

Along with summer comes the explosion of insects we hate. Including mosquitoes, ticks and parasitic worms, these warm months prompt a breeding frenzy that leads to a burst in bug population, increasing the chance your dog will pick up something nasty. Plan ahead with a regular dose of parasite protection medicine for your pup. As for the fliers or hitchhikers, look for an insect repellent that staves away the most potentially harmful critters.

To top this all off, make sure your dog is up to date with their shots and be regular with the vet visits. There is always the chance that something won’t work as intended, so the healthier your dog is before falling prey to a nasty critter, the easier it will be to clean them out.

 

Fear the Fertilizer

Summer is the most exciting time for gardeners across the country. With blooms planted in winter finally opening and potential harvests starting to ripen, there are fertilizers and pesticides everywhere. Though you might think your dog is smarter than the average pooch, never underestimate just how much trouble your bud can get into.

For plants, avoid azaleas and lilies. Though pretty, both are extremely toxic and can even lead to death if ingested. For pesticides, try to find a natural brand that works. While your dog won’t feel good if they happen to eat any, the lack of harmful chemicals make these options far less dangerous. With fertilizer, keep any open bags up and out of reach. After a day in the yard, give your dog a quick wash off to clear away any of the garden soil that carries those chemicals.

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Before you teach them fetch, before you teach them shake and before you teach them sit, you teach them how to eliminate outside. No matter the age and no matter the breed, all healthy dogs are capable of being trained to go potty outside. Unfortunately, such a task isn’t always easy as dog temperaments vary from breed to breed, resulting in a widely skewed teaching time. Even so, there is always one aspect of puppy potty training that remains uniform no matter the dog – patience.

 

Try, Try Again

Just like you will rarely be able to do something new correctly the first time, so, too, will your dog need a number of attempts before they understand exactly what you’re asking of them. Impatience is a negative emotion that fosters frustration and anger that is typically then turned toward the dog. Instead of helping your dog learn faster, these emotional outbursts teach them anxiety and shame, leading to even worse habits that are much harder to break. Now, instead of a young pup that would have taken only three months to housebreak, you have a young pup that is a year old and eliminates in the house when you’re not looking.

 

Consistency is Key

Unlike teaching a dog commands, potty training is one of the easiest lessons since dogs innately know to not go potty in their den. Ideally, you’ll want to take them outside on a set schedule whether they have to go or not. Typically, a young pup will need to go anywhere from five to 30 minutes following their meal. When you go outside, take them to the same place you take them every day. The scent of their older eliminations will trigger them to go again.

 

No Negativity

Remember that if your puppy has an accident, they didn’t do so on purpose. Puppies do not wake up in the morning with the desire to ruin your rug as vengeance for feeding them the kibble they don’t like. It’s a very bad idea to associate any form of negativity with a natural bodily function. Staying calm also means your dog won’t learn what your trigger is – something they could potentially use against you in future scenarios. Instead, remain neutral and bring them to their outdoor potty spot even if there is nothing left for them to let loose.

As a final note, be sure to clean up the accident area with a cleaning agent that will remove the smell of feces and urine. Dogs in the wild do not live anywhere near areas that smell like feces. Should this smell remain in the house, it will condition them to believe that indoors is a potty area.

 

So long as you remain patient with your puppy, potty training is a very simple task because it is what the dog wants to naturally do. Stay positive, and they’ll be outdoor champs in no time.

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Easter is just on the horizon and with it are all the festivities and treats that we enjoy. But, you must also consider the safety of your dog. While children are good at finding eggs and treats during the annual hunt, dogs are even better. Hiding eggs around the home and out in the yard will undoubtedly leads to a few that aren’t found at the end of the day. Even you may not be sure that every single one was found. Because of this, there are a few precautions you should take before you start the hunt, or your dog may enjoy a few treats they shouldn’t.

Chocolate bunnies and treats

While a tasty favorite amongst kids and adults, chocolate can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Since it would be unfair to deprive your children of some enjoyment, you can take a few precautions instead. Avoid hiding chocolate in hidden eggs during the hunt. Instead, control the delivery and disposal of chocolate based items. Candy bars, bunnies, and other sweets can be offered in their own basket- away from your dogs. Be sure that any wrappers are picked up and disposed of properly. Be aware: one of the most inconspicuous treat that is hidden is the tiny chocolate eggs that are wrapped in shiny foil. These can be easily overlooked or forgotten in the grass or house. Avoid using these treats at all, and instead stick to treats that can be contained in larger eggs or that aren’t chocolate-based.

Paper or plastic?

Something commonly overlooked is the decorative contents of an Easter basket. Grass helps to soften and enrich the experience, and is a main ingredient for Easter baskets. Most artificial grass is plastic, which can be harmful if ingested by a dog. Instead, use paper or even natural grass as a substitute for your basket. Not only is it better for the environment, but is also much safer in case your dog manages to get a mouthful. This should be taken only as a precaution, since dogs shouldn’t be allowed to indulge themselves on your basket’s contents in the first place.

A new chew toy

This also brings up another concern. Plastic is a very inedible substance, but many Easter eggs are now commonly composed of this product. They’re cheap, convenient, and can contain any range of goodies. When eaten, however, they can also splinter and turn into dangerously sharp objects if your dog discovers them first. The egg is a classic of Easter, so needless to say, hardboiled or confetti filled shells are also on the venue for the hunt. These should be kept out of your dog’s reach at all times, especially since they smell good enough to eat. One of the best precautions you can take prior to the hunt is to count the eggs you place around the home and yard. (After all, a hardboiled egg will eventually become a stinky issue within a few days.) Once the hunt is over, take the time to count what was found, and keep an eye out for any strays before they find their way into a hungry mouth.

During the hunt

Many dogs enjoy running around with their family members, but the Easter egg hunt may not be the right time to let them interact. Dog’s may jump up on children or try to take goodies away from them. For everyone’s safety, it may be best to put them in a secure location with food and water while the hunt is on. You can let them out afterward, but keep an eye on them and be quick to take any lost eggs away before they become a dangerous snack.

Because it is Easter, why not treat your pup to their own hunt. Take a few of their healthy treats and hide them around a certain room. You may even want to toss in a toy or two. Be sure that you use a fluff-less toy so they won’t be inclined to fill their belly with stuffing. Then set them loose and let them have their own Easter fun hunting treats that are good for them. One thing to consider is that you shouldn’t involve multiple dogs in the same hunt. They may become aggressive with each other, especially if you are hosting a friend’s or neighbor’s dog as well.

Any dog lover wants their best friend to participate in all aspects of their life. But, sometimes we have to take into consideration the safety of our companion. Though they can be extremely smart and clever, a dog’s belly doesn’t always know the difference between safe and dangerous. Make your Easter hunt something that everyone can enjoy, even if they can’t do it at the same time.

 

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Housebreaking your beloved canine companion means deciding when and where you want your dog to eliminate. Once you have determined the type of routine you want your pet to follow, the next step is to select the specific spot where you want your dog to do his business. Having a designated potty area will help make the toilet training process a whole lot easier!

 

Whenever your dog goes potty, chemicals within his waste are released. These chemicals are called pheromones and are what tell him to poop again when he goes back to his potty area. These chemicals are also what let other canines know that this particular spot has already been taken and so they will have to find another one.

 

Establishing a potty area is crucial to housebreaking your dog. Now what if he is having difficulty understanding where his potty area is and is constantly eliminating inside the house or in places where he isn’t supposed to go? What you can do is try feeding him where he is having these accidents. Generally, dogs are clean animals and will not dirty the place where they eat or sleep, so by feeding your pet in the accident areas, you can reduce the chances of your dog peeing or pooping again in those spots.

 

As much as you want your pet to be accident-free from day one, you have to understand that all dogs have accidents, so expect one every now and then at first. Housebreaking your canine friend is a process, not an instant solution. It’s more like running a marathon than running around your block once.

 

Keep in mind that positive reinforcement will always give you better results than any other training method. Punishment does not work because your dog will be unable to make the connection between his mess and the reason for your anger. In fact, getting mad at him will only lead him to become afraid of you.

 

I highly encourage you to practice patience and be positive. Your dog will pick up on your positive energy and this will keep him from resisting your training or getting frustrated.

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Q:  Recently, my good friend Ricky, who is a professional dog trainer, asked me if I would like to adopt his five-year-old Belgian Malinois, Beaumont. Beaumont is a trained protection dog and is capable of guarding his master, biting on command, releasing the bite on command, and others. He has placed third in level 1 protection in a protection dog competition. I currently have two dogs – both are Labradors, females, obedience trained, and not spayed. One is nine months old while the other is one year old.

I would like to adopt Beaumont, and I know that I will be able to take care of him. I’m concerned about one thing, though. Will he accept me after being with my friend for five years? Ricky assured me that he can transfer Beaumont’s loyalty to me. He is a fierce dog when competing but is a very quiet one otherwise. In fact, Ricky brings Beaumont with him all the time, and on many occasions he is off his leash. Ricky is offering Beaumont for adoption because he wants to get a younger dog.

Should I adopt Beaumont?

A: I’ve got good news for you. Yes, the dog will transfer his loyalty to you.

But. But! There are two main issues you should consider before adopting Beaumont:

  1. Plenty of work is required on your part to learn how to handle a Belgian Malinois, especially one that has been trained for protection. You’re going to need a lot of one-on-one training to successfully integrate Beaumont into your life. Think of it as driving a race car. The vehicle already runs great, but if you don’t learn how to drive it properly, you’ll only end up crashing the car. Or worse.
  2. The Belgian Malinois is a very high drive breed. Beaumont will need tons and tons of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Tons. Please take the time to recognize that adopting him will be a huge responsibility.

If you decide to take your friend up on his offer and are successful with Beaumont, then you’ll have an excellent companion by your side. The Belgian Malinois is a healthy breed and is a first-rate working dog.

To be honest, I’ve always wanted a Belgian Malinois myself. But I know that my current lifestyle will not be a good fit for the dog. Training requirements and dedication to exercise are some things that I do not have time for right now.

One last thing – make sure that Beaumont isn’t aggressive towards other dogs before you adopt him.

Good luck!

 

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Dogs are great companions. They’re amazing pets. They’re best friends.

And while they’re all of the above, one thing they are not is a good surprise.

Even so, that doesn’t stop families from buying or rescuing a dog with the intention of surprising someone with a new pet. Without a doubt, this is one of the worst gift ideas to ever come about. As we inch closer to the holiday season, here’s why a stuffed puppy is far better for someone else than an actual pup.

 

Toys aren’t expensive.

Even if the dog has already had their shots and is spayed or neutered, there’s still the fact that they’ll need toys, dishes and food at the bare minimum. This doesn’t even take into account a kennel or heartworm pills or a monthly anti-flea scrub. Small dogs are just as bad. There’s a good reason your friend hasn’t gotten a dog yet even though they might have mentioned owning one in the future.

 

Toys don’t need you to invest time into them.

Dogs need to go outside no matter their age. They need to play regularly, preferably at a dog park with other dogs so that they can socialize properly. They need love and attention on a regular basis. Dogs require hours of attention each day to keep happy. Many people just don’t have the time, and while they do adore canines, they love what they’re doing now more and understand any dog they would own would be much happier with a family that can provide sufficient attention.

 

Toys aren’t destructive.

Puppies are destructive because they’re still learning the boundaries of the world, much like human children. Dogs are destructive for any number of reasons. Though you might think it’s funny when Bo chews up the couch or that it’s not a big deal if Chloe got back into the computer cords, not everyone wants their stuff ruined just because they forgot to lock up the dog or didn’t have time to play with them that day.

 

Toys don’t ignite allergies.

Do you know if this friend or acquaintance has any allergies? Some people’s lives are put in danger when they’re introduced to pet dander. Unless you know full well they don’t have any allergies or that they’re family is entirely healthy around dogs, rescuing a pup could mean a quick return to the rescue center.

 

Toys don’t require commitments.

With a lifespan of just over a decade, dogs are a partial lifetime commitment. Once you get one, you can’t just leave for vacation unless there’s proper boarding. You can’t have people over unless they know you have a dog and aren’t allergic. You can’t walk out the front door unless Fido is locked up properly. You need to take them to regular vet visits, and you need to feed them.

 

The best gift dogs are those that have had extensive consideration. Never force someone into that kind of commitment unless you’ve agreed on it together.

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When you’re ready to grow your family, it’s time to set out on a search for the perfect addition. Small, medium, large, high energy, low energy—adoption dogs come in all shapes and sizes. The only thing they ask for is a loving place to call their forever home.

 

Decide on the Dog

Dogs have been bred for generations to have specific qualities based on breed. Because of this, you’ll want to do research to find out the temperament that will best match your home. For instance, if you live in an apartment, a small-to-medium sized calm dog would be ideal. If you have acres of land, why not go for a larger, energetic companion?

 

Start Saving

While shelters wish they could give away their adoptees for free, the vet bills and maintenance means they do require adoption fees. Usually around $100-$150, these fees cover the vaccinations, health exams and microchipping the pup has gotten while being held at the shelter. On top of this, you’ll need to invest in a good leash, food, bowls and anything else your dog will need to be happy in its new home.

 

Get to Searching!

Though it may take a few months for you to find the perfect pooch, never give up hope. Check the internet weekly for dog adoptions. Visit your local humane society to get to know potential pets. Once you’ve found the one, all you’ll need to do is sign some paperwork and bring them home.

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Though your dog is its own being and not just one of your many possessions, they still need all the safeguards you would give a child. After all, the world isn’t as wonderful as we’d like it to be, forcing us to be well aware that an excited dog can get lost as easily as a purebred can be stolen. Make sure you keep your best friend secure with these tips.

  • Don’t assume you know where your dog is. Unless you can see exactly where they are, you have no idea what they’re up to. Much like Schrodinger’s cat, your dog is both there and not there until you call them in for dinner.
  • Always keep your dog on a leash unless you are in an enclosed doggie park. Squirrels, strange odors and mailmen are often times too tempting to resist, and you want to make sure you can stop them from bolting into traffic.
  • Get your pooch a well-fitting collar complete with your telephone number and other bits of contact information. If they do happen to chew their way out of their leash, the collar becomes the only way a stranger will be able to return them to you.
  • If they aren’t already, get your good boy microchipped. It is a painless little chip that serves as back up should the collar come off. With one scan, a pound can easily find your information and set up a heartfelt, tear filled reunion.
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Be it for cheaper rent, a new location or just because you like to move, downsizing your home is a great option when you’re sick of having to take care of so much extra space. However, when you have a dog around, going small isn’t exactly easy, especially when extra space is all they’ve known. When you’re ready to go small but have dog, make sure you consider these things before falling in love with a new location.

 

Nearby Parks

If the yard is getting smaller as well, make sure there’s a huge open space friendly to pets where you can let your friend run around untethered. Chances are they’ll have a lot more pent up energy so you want to make sure they still get as much activity as they did in the bigger space.

 

Puzzle Toys

A sudden change in space size can also cause your dog to go a little stir crazy when you aren’t around. To keep them from taking out their frustration on your pillows, fill the house with tricky treat Kongs or other toys that can be stuffed with treats.

 

Comfy Crates

Sometimes, though, it’s simply easier and less worrisome to keep them locked away all day until you can get home and play. For this, invest in a crate large enough for them to stand up in and move around. This will make sure you can get through your work day without stressing about one more thing.

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Most new puppy owners face a difficult decision when it comes to potty training their pups. Should praise or punishment be the technique of choice for reinforcing positive behavior?

According to a study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, researchers confirmed that praise works for new puppies learning potty training, while aversive training does not. Veterinary behaviorists surveyed 140 dog owners about their different training methods and their effectiveness as part of the study.

Of those who rubbed their dogs’ noses in the house-soiled areas, not one person reported that the technique was beneficial. In fact, 89% stated that it had no effect, and 11% said it actually made matters worse. With these type of findings, any pet owner can see that praise is clearly the more successful route to go in.

Start to incorporate positive reinforcement into your house training program, and talk with your dog trainer or veterinarian about other reward-based techniques to successfully train your dog to do his business out of doors.

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