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There are plenty of examples of 8 week old pets being trained, especially in recent years since GentleSteps training was introduced. The basic premise of GentleSteps training is to break the process into smaller, easier to teach steps. This allows Pet Stop owners to teach with very low correction levels until the pet shows some light avoidance, followed by a gradual increase in both distraction/temptation and correction levels.
The net effect is that if your 8 week old puppy is happy, hearty and healthy, you are only a week or two of training away from a contained pet.
If you have any concerns that your pet may be easily stressed or does not bounce back quickly from stressful events, then waiting a few more weeks is a better strategy.
The emphasis on treats (meat type reinforcers, not kibble!) also helps all dogs and puppies enjoy the process more.
Especially with young pups, keep the training brief and the play session long. One of the most important elements of dog fence training is significant portion of the time spent playing in the yard, particularly near the flag line.
Chances are that if your dog has fur he has had fleas at some point. Actually, even if your dog doesn’t have fur they can still get fleas; they just hide better in fur. At some point you’re going to need to do something about them if you haven’t already. So let’s get down to it.
There are plenty of medicinal options out for there you to choose from – Frontline, Advantage, etc. – and there are plenty of versions – pills, topical, injections. Is any one going to be better than the other? Absolutely, but with a few clauses.
Quick tip: giving your dog a bath regularly will help in the fight against flea prevention. Be sure to use the right kind of shampoo and begin at your dog’s head and neck, working your way down.
First off, every dog is going to react differently to various medications just as a human would. For example, one dog may do very well with a pill form of flea prevention and do very badly with the exact same brands’ topical version. It is also important to take into consideration your dogs’ weight as getting the best application is based on this. There are also medications that are made specifically for certain breeds and weights. This is why it’s important to speak with your veterinarian about the best choice for your dog.
Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what has the best track record for what breed, age and environment your dog lives in. So remember that if your first choice didn’t work there are several explanations. One possible reason is your dog has sensitive skin. There are some breeds that react badly to topical ointments and other dogs that simply may just be allergic to that type of flea treatment.
Remember that after applying your chosen medication, fleas will continue to hatch and appear on your dog for several days. In fact, it can take up to a month for the medication to take full effect. The strength of each medicine will vary, but know that your veterinarian can prescribe stronger flea medication than you could buy in a store on your own.
Quick tip: if your dog has fleas, use a flea comb regularly to remove them. Keep a bowl of soapy water nearby and dip the comb in after each pass.
After giving your dog the medication there are also monthly applications available. This is a great preventive measure to use on an ongoing basis, especially if you dog is primarily outdoors. It’s also possible to treat your house or yard for fleas by using water-proof chemicals. This may speed up the process of getting rid of them.
Multi-preventive medications are injections or monthly pills for your dog that guard against fleas, ticks, or other parasites. Injections are not only becoming more popular because of their effectiveness at killing fleas, but also their longevity – a typical flea prevention injection will last up to 6 months!
With knowledge on new products, success rates, and breed specific options, your vet will be able to recommend the best option for you and your dog.
Providing structure and a routine of exercise for your dog goes a long way. One thing to note is that dogs do not often entertain themselves. For example, your dog barking can simply be out of boredom. If you have a dog that is misbehaving, one reason can be due to an over abundance of energy and not enough outlets for that energy.
This is all the more reason to take your dog on routine daily walks. This will provide them with an activity they love, a time to bond with your dog, and a great way for them to release all that built up energy.
Your dog knows when it’s time to go on a walk. Most likely they’re all over you when they see you grab their leash. So it’s important to understand just how important a walk is to them. It’s a great time for them to get out and explore and expend some of that curious energy, but make sure they know the rules.
Before you go out consider having a routine with your dog. You can relay various commands to them as you and your dog get ready, such as having your dog “stay” while you calmly put their leash on. Providing a calm environment before you go on the walk will help reinforce good behavior on the walk. Make sure to also reward your dog for good behavior so they know they’re doing something right.
Who’s Walking Who?
A common problem many dog owners experience is their dog actually walking them and not the other way around. Your dog will naturally be excited by the big wide world, but that doesn’t mean they should have the freedom to pull you around your neighborhood. When you walk your dog make sure they are either beside you or behind you; this helps to reinforce your relationship and establishing you in the clear role of leader.
While your dog will enjoy their walk it should not be looked at as a time for overexcitement and play. Your dog should understand that a walk is a calm activity. You can help to reaffirm this environment for your dog in various ways.
If you find your dog is running ahead of you or becoming over excited, stop your walk, calm your dog down and wait patiently until they’re ready to continue. When you start walking again make it a casual movement so as not to pull your dog out of their calm state.
When and Why to Walk
If you work during the day and your dog is left home by themselves, you should walk your dog before leaving for work. This will put your dog in a “rest” state and help to curb destructive behaviors while you are gone. You should also walk your dog when you get home as they’ll be ready to go again by this time.
Dogs of all breeds can benefit from daily walks with their owners. By positioning yourself in the leadership role and giving your dog a daily exercise like walking, your dog will be less likely to be destructive, have separation anxiety, and have other behavior issues.
Daily walking will help ensure both you and your dog are healthy and happy.
Your dog may greatly enjoy the occasional car ride, but it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions whenever you travel with your best friend. We’ve identified a few of the most important safety tips to be aware of whenever you travel with your dog.
Safe and Secure
The best place for your dog in a car is safely secured in a well-ventilated pet carrier. There are wire-mesh and hard plastic sided carriers available for most sizes, but the carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. For large breed dogs you can also utilize a dog harness that attaches to a car seat belt.
If your pet is new to traveling in a carrier, help them get used to the new environment by letting them explore it a bit for a couple weeks before your trip. This will help them remain calm in the carrier and not feel like they are being punished or trapped.
Although you may be tempted to let your dog roam free, this can be very dangerous if you are in an accident or have to stop suddenly.
Watch the Weather
It is never okay to leave your dog alone in a parked car. Even on a slightly sunny day your car can heat up drastically in a very short amount of time, dehydrating your dog and increasing the risk of heatstroke. Conversely, in the winter your car will trap in the cold temperatures making your dog susceptible to hypothermia.
Food and Water
If you’re planning a particularly long drive, you should feed your pet a light meal before you leave to keep them satisfied during the drive. For water, consider bringing bottled water or your own in plastic jugs. Your dog is used to the water they drink and a different type could upset their stomach.
It’s also recommended you stop to feed and water your pet. While this is good for their own digestion and stomach, it also ensures they won’t spill everything and make a mess in your car!
If you’re traveling across state lines, you may be required to show proof of your dog’s vaccination records. While this is not required in every state, it’s a good idea to pack a copy just in case.
By having your dog micro-chipped
Having your dog micro-chipped is also a good safety practice. In the event your dog is lost, the microchip allows for tracking and identification. You should also make sure your dogs’ collar includes information on your travel destination including the address and phone number of where you’re staying.
Pack a Bag for your Dog
In addition to the above tips, remember to pack the necessary items for your dogs’ trip. A helpful checklist of items includes:
Food and water
A waste scoop and plastic bags
Any required medication
Favorite toys and treats
Following these helpful tips will ensure your pet has a safe and enjoyable trip.
When the weather outside isn’t the best for outdoor activities with your dog, you’re going to need an outlet for all that energy that’s normally expended in running and playing outside. The following ideas are great for keeping your dog happy, entertained and expending energy in a healthy way.
Hide and Seek
A simple game that can provide lots of entertainment for both you and your dog. Start by leading your dog to their bed or another room and make sure they stay there for a few moments. You can either leave a treat or favorite toy to distract them if need be.
Then find your hiding space and when you’re ready, call your dog’s name to signal them to come find you. Their natural curiosity will ensure your dog uses their natural abilities to sniff you out as they dash around the house looking for you. When they do find you make sure you react surprised and happy, providing a “reward” for them finding you. By reacting this way you teach your dog the rules of the game and give incentive for playing again. Consider having treats on hand if you want them to really enjoy the game!
Ready, Set, Practice!
When you can’t go outside and play with your dog, take the opportunity to teach them a new trick. A good start is to run through the tricks your dog already knows how to do first. This lets your dog know the routine so when they see something new, they understand there’s a reward for successfully completing the new trick.
After you have built up a nice repertoire of tricks with your dog, try running through all of them in quick succession. This can be a fun and fast paced game as you mix the order of the tricks each time. Going through them quickly and rewarding your dog will keep them happy and will reinforce the commands and knowledge of their tricks.
Some of the most common and easy tricks to teach are sit, stay, down, come, speak, shake, and roll over. Once you master the basics you can get into the advance stuff like playing dead and waving.
Your dog is great at sniffing stuff out, especially their toys and treats. Take this opportunity to make a game out of a natural talent. If your dog has a favorite toy you can be sure they know exactly what it smells like and how to find it when they want it. For a little bit of fun, take their favorite toy and make sure your dog sees you take it. Then go hide it somewhere in your house and excitedly tell them to go find their toy. Your hiding spot doesn’t have to be hard; under the couch or on your bed will be about right.
Another way to enjoy the game is to hide their favorite treats inside simple puzzles for them. Consider putting a treat under an overturned cup or wrapping up a blanket with a treat inside. As they know a delicious treat is waiting for them, your dog will love to dig and find their reward.
As you know your dog the best, feel free to make up your own game to turn your rainy day into a dog day!
Living in a city can have its challenges for dog owners. Parks are not always conveniently located and backyards are usually hard to come by, but there are still many options to help you and your dog get in some daily exercise.
Below are a few easy ways to stay healthy and active with your pet in a concrete world.
Walk, Bike and Park
Although real estate is pricy in an urban area, many cities have green space dedicated for dog and community parks. This is a great way for you and your dog to both get in some exercise just by walking, playing, running, or cycling. If your dog is able to run along with you, there are unique leash hooks that can connect to a bicycle to ensure the leash does not become tangled in the wheels.
While most every dog park has a “clean up after your own pet” rule, some require your dog to have up-to-date vaccinations and a basic training and understanding of how to behave around other dogs. It’s important to know the rules beforehand so your pooch doesn’t get kicked out by accident.
Doggie Day Care
Taking your dog to day care is very similar to a human day care – your dog learns valuable social skills and benefits from daily exercise and play. The fees for day cares will vary depending on the type and level of service you require. If you’re pressed for time in the morning, many day centers can arrange to pick up your pet in the morning and drop them off later in the day.
Additional services include grooming, administering medications, basic dog training, and various types of exercise suited for indoors when bad weather doesn’t permit outdoor activities. Just as you would a human day care, feel free to visit before you decide on a specific one; you will be deciding on your dog’s care and well-being.
Dog Walking Professionals
If you live in an urban area, chances are you’ve seen a dog walker or two already. Many pet owners opt for this route because they work during the day and don’t have anyone else that can take their pet for a walk during those hours. Dog walkers take groups of three or more at a time so it’s vital your dog has been trained in proper social behavior with other dogs and most professional walkers will require this before they agree to walk your pet.
Many walkers also offer additional services like play time, training or taking your dog to the park. As this person would be spending daily time with your pet, be sure to let your dog meet them first and ask any necessary questions. Be sure to ask any questions you have on credentials or special requirements such as administering medications.
Finding the Best Option for you and your Dog
To find the best solution for you and your pet, consider asking your veterinarian or research your area online for options. Many pet owners have online community based groups that can offer you tips and recommendations for what has worked with them.
Just as scheduling regular veterinary checkups is important, so too is being able to understand the signs of a healthy and unhealthy dog. Learning how to recognize these signs will help you keep your dog healthy and happy.
Cold Nose = Healthy Dog? Maybe.
Curious by nature, your dog’s first impulse when interested in anything is to sniff around a bit. However, don’t be alarmed if your dogs’ nose is warm; a dogs’ nose will fluctuate between warm and cold throughout the day. If your dog’s nose is warm for a prolonged period of time or shows signs of cracking, you should take your dog to the vet.
Likewise, if you notice your dog’s nose is always cold, this could be the sign of a cold. Just as you would expect your nose to be running if you were sick, your dog’s will too.
Healthy Eyes and Ears
While some dogs have eyes that tear up naturally, under normal circumstances your dog should have free and clear eyes. If you notice your dogs’ eyes consistently discharging or appear to be red or irritated, consult your veterinarian.
You should think of cleaning your dogs’ ears just as you would your own. If you notice your dog is scratching their ears more, this could be an indication of an infection. Dogs with more hair in their ears may need more frequent cleaning as well.
Show Your Smile
Take care to ensure your dog has healthy and clean teeth that are free of plaque and tartar build up. While you can brush your dog’s teeth just as you would your own, an easy way to help your dog have healthy teeth and gums is to give them treats that are specifically designed to help keep their teeth clean. As an added benefit, they can also help keep your dog from having “dog breath”.
Manage Your Dog’s Weight
Most dogs aren’t going to turn down a bowl full of food when you put it in front of them; all the more reason to regulate how much food your dog eats. Dogs that are overweight have increased risk of other health problems including heart and respiratory issues.
As different breeds benefit from different portions and formulas of food, you should consult your vet on the best choice for your dog. At an ideal weight, you should be clearly see their waist and be able to gently feel your dog’s ribs on the sides. An indication of an overweight dog could be struggling during times of exercise or playing.
Paws and Pads
Having four feet means there’s twice as many feet to worry about than you’re used to. While your dog’s pads are designed to be tough and resilient, they still need proper care. Routinely trimming their nails is one way to ensure their feet stay healthy. While trimming their nails, you can also check for any redness, swelling or foreign objects.
Your dog may not be able to tell you what they need, but understanding these signs and indicators will ensure your dog remains happy and healthy.
Exercising with your dog is a great way to keep you and your best friend healthy. If part of your exercise routine includes walking or running, consider taking your dog along with you. This will help keep your dog healthy and can be considered a time to bond and build your relationship. Remember to bring along water both for yourself and your dog though; they get tired and thirsty just like you.
If you have access to a pool or lake, swimming can be great exercise for your dog and will help keep them cool on those hot days. While most dogs can swim, you should be slow to introduce your dog to the water to first make sure they are comfortable with this activity. Although you may find they’ll leap right in without a second thought!
The Dog Park
If you have a dog park nearby, this can be a great way to spend time with your dog and provide them with lots of space for running and playing. Giving your dog the opportunity to interact with other dogs can also help your dog to get used to seeing other animals.
In terms of training, dogs can benefit greatly by watching and learning how other dogs behave and interact with their owners and one another. Wide open spaces like the park also serve as excellent places for games of fetch.
Teach Your Dog an Old Trick
While playing fetch may be an old trick, this can be a great activity for you and your pet to enjoy. This activity works better with larger breeds as they are more likely to chase after things than smaller dogs, but you should still use an object that is relative to your dogs’ size.
While traditionally you may think to just throw a stick, you can also use a ball or Frisbee. You can also throw many objects at once. When first playing fetch with your dog, it will help them to learn if you actively engage and chase after them or run with them after the object for the first few times.
Your Dog Likes to Win
Playing a game like tug-of-war with your dog is a great way to get your dog moving, but there are a couple things to note. You should use an ideally sized rope for your dog; using a rope too large will prevent your dog from being able to get a good grip and they’ll become frustrated rather than enjoy the fun.
If you get the distinct impression your dog is using all their strength to get the rope from you, you’re probably right. Your dog will treat tug-of-war as a game they want to win so don’t be afraid to lose the match. Especially since using all your strength could be dangerous for your dog as you may accidentally injure their jaw, teeth, or their pride!
There are still many things you can do with your dog to stay healthy including dancing, hiking, agility training, yoga, soccer, or cycling. Experiment to learn which activities suit you and your dog the best.
Dogs don’t have the option of shedding their thick winter coats in the summer time. And as your dog naturally pants year round, you may not notice when they’re doing it as a sign of being overheated. During the summer months, the risk for heatstroke increases and it’s important to be aware of the warning signs.
Signs of heat stroke include:
Body temperatures of 104-110 Fahrenheit
Sticky or dry tongue and gums
Dark or bright red tongue and gums
Heatstroke can be deadly in a very short amount of time. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke, take immediate action. Make sure you move your dog out of direct sunlight and into shade, provide cool water (not ice water) for them to drink, and place wet cloths on their feet and around their head.
Even if your dog appears fine, their internal organs are also affected by an overall temperature elevation. If you suspect your dog is suffering from heatstroke you should follow the steps above to reduce their body temperature and contact your veterinarian immediately.
It’s important to be aware that some breeds of dog are more susceptible to heatstroke. Short-nosed breeds such as bulldogs or pugs, dogs with thick or heavy coats, and dogs with heart or respiratory problems are at a greater risk for heatstroke.
When you take your dog for walks or runs during the summer make sure you bring water for your pet (they get thirsty after exercising just like you!). If possible, try to avoid walking on pavement or tar; your dog’s paw pads may appear tough, but they’re also sensitive and can be burned by the hot ground. If your dog is walking on pavement, make sure there isn’t any redness or pain.
Some helpful tips to keep your dog safe and cool in the summer heat include:
Being aware if your dog is in full sun all day; are they outside on a tether with no access to shade?
If your dog is kept inside the house during the day, is there air conditioning to help keep them cool? Having access to a basement can be an alternative to provide them with a cool environment during the day.
If your dog is left outside for long periods during the day (ie, while at work), do they have access to fresh water, shelter and shade? Consider having a kiddie pool nearby or a sprinkler with an automatic timer to help keep your dog cool and safe during the day.
Is your dog’s water dish able to be knocked over and spilled? Consider an elevated or heavier water bowl to help reduce the chance of your dog spilling their water.
Never leave your dog in a locked car, even if you think it will only be for a moment. This can turn dangerous for your dog very quickly!
Following these important tips will help keep your pet healthy and safe in the summer sun!
Do you have anymore tips to protect your dog during the summer?
Reflective Collars One easy solution to help your protect your dog is to buy a reflective collar. These collars strongly reflect light and are similar to the material on running jackets and shoes. By having your dog wear a reflective collar you help increase visibility for drivers at night and during winter when day light is shorter.
Drivers have little time to react if a dog suddenly runs out into the street; a reflective collar will help a driver be more aware of the dog’s presence and adjust their driving speeds.
The Dog Wanderer
Do you have a dog that likes to roam the neighborhood? While dogs often have a good sense of direction and can find their way back home, there are many dangers waiting for them outside of your yard. These include possibly being hit by a car, getting picked up by animal services, eating things they shouldn’t that may injure or poison them, or getting into fights with other dogs or animals.
If you find that your dog is trying to escape your yard, you can take additional measures to keep them secured. However, as many dogs try to escape out of boredom, there are other things you can do to keep them occupied, safe and secure.
Adding a kiddie pool to let them play and splash in helps to keep your dog entertained
Taking your dog on routine walks lets them see and smell the outside world, helping to curb their desire to explore on their own
Making sure your dog has plenty of toys to play with also helps to keep them having fun
Dog Proof Your Home
Dogs are curious by nature, but you can take precautions around your home to ensure it doesn’t get the better of them. If you have a particularly nosy dog, they may get into your trash and eat something that could make them sick. Consider having a lid on your kitchen trash can or keeping it in a pantry closet.
Also take care to avoid leaving small object such as hair ties or socks lying on the floor. Many dogs can be injured or die from eating foreign objects they find.
Many baby proofing products, such as doorway gates, work very well for dogs as well.
Dog Toys and Treats
While all dogs have toys they love, it’s important to pick the right toys for your dog. Even though your pet might really be eyeing the bone that’s as big as them, it’s important to pick toys and treats relative to your dog’s size. For example, a toy that isn’t very sturdy may be easily broken by a larger dog allowing them to eat part of it they shouldn’t. Likewise, a smaller dog should have chew toys that are made for their size so they don’t injure their teeth.
Many toys and treats come with recommended sizes and breeds, so just choose what’s best for your dog.
Following these safety tips will help keep your dog safe.