May 25 2018

The Right Size Dog For You

Size can be important

Different size dogs fit different lifestyles—but there are gray areas in these guidelines. If you live in an apartment, for example, you would suppose a smaller dog fits better into your small space. But, certain small breeds such as terriers are so full of energy they might be less adaptable to your lifestyle than one of the large breeds that has a reputation for mellowing as it gets older.

If you want to enjoy the great outdoors with your doggie companion, then one of the medium to large sized “sporting” breeds could be appropriate. But if your lifestyle is more sedentary, these dogs can get bored from lack of activity sometimes resulting in destructive behavior. Small breeds are easier to transport or pick up, so for elderly people, these can be ideal. On the other hand, small dogs can be injured by exuberant children who handle them roughly, or from a child falling on them.

Some dogs are more graceful. Some are more rollicking like clumsy adolescents and are not good in houses filled with fine antiques that can be destroyed with one inadvertent swish of a powerful tail.

The size of the dog has an effect on the training required. It may be cute when a tiny Yorkshire Terrier tries to jump in your lap, but not so cute when your Labrador Retriever jumps up on guests when they walk in the door and inadvertently claw them in an effort to say hello. Larger dogs can get into more mischief such as stealing food from the kitchen counters. Dogs can learn how to open kitchen drawers or cabinets as well.

If you plan on traveling with your dog, bear in mind that although more and more lodging establishments are “dog-friendly,” many have strict rules regarding the size of dog they will accept, and sometimes do not allow certain breeds that have a reputation for aggressiveness.

You should always know the height and weight your puppy will reach when he grows into an adult. Large dogs consume more food (greater expense), produce more waste, and in general need more space to roam.

However, the really giant breeds are often more docile and require less exercise than smaller dogs.

One last piece of advice, as a rule, smaller dogs live longer than bigger breeds. For example, the Irish wolfhound only has an average lifespan of 6 to 10 years compared to a toy poodle whose average lifespan is 12 to 15 years.


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May 24 2018

The New Best Friend and the Loyal Friend You Already Have

Family Fur Babies

Some dogs simply will not get along with a new dog being introduced into the household. Certain breeds and individuals can be territorial and possessive; his opinion is, “this is my house, my toys, my food, my owner, my bed, etc.” The new dog is viewed as an intruder. A good test is to have friends bring their dog over to your house and see how your dog reacts. If this ends up being an unpleasant experience, that’s what will probably happen when you bring home a new dog.

Sometimes dog owners make the mistake of paying so much attention to a new puppy that the dog that has been a loyal friend gets neglected, causing resentment. Even though a puppy is great fun, make sure you don’t forget to play with your old friend, too.

Your research into your new dog’s breed characteristics can provide clues about how well he will get along with your dog, but you must have the same knowledge about your existing dog to see if the two are a good match. If all works well, and you introduce the new dog with care, you can convince your existing dog that you are rewarding him with a new friend.

If you are adopting your dog from a shelter, many of them allow you to bring your existing dog in and see if the two can get along. They have private areas where all the prospective new family members can meet each other. This is especially effective because it is on neutral territory. Your dog will not feel threatened by a new dog coming into his space. If you are selecting a puppy, the breeder may let you do the same thing. Keep in mind that certain breeds are predisposed to not get along; one may be too dominant; one may be dangerously aggressive to other breeds. The staffs at animal shelters often have information on what breeds work best together.

Keep the two dogs separated as in separate rooms when not supervised. If the dogs can see each other, stress levels can rise. Only let the dogs be with each other if you’re in the room. If necessary keep each dog on a leash, so you can control them. Walking each dog on separate leashes but together is a good way to get them used to each other.

Having more than one dog—assuming they get along—can be of tremendous benefit to both you and the dog. Many dogs need more attention than an owner can reasonably provide; the second dog provides some of this attention for you. The two dogs will form their own little “pack” and play and romp together. This keeps them both active, alert and may even help with fitness and weight control.


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May 23 2018

The Financial Commitment of Having a Dog

Pet Care Costs Should Be in Your Budget

Dogs require a financial commitment. The total annual cost of owning a dog surprises many people—it’s best to be prepared and budget accordingly. Good quality dog food is not cheap. Municipalities require that dogs be licensed. Then there’s the cost of dog toys, dog beds, leashes, collars, treats, grooming—it all adds up.

Healthcare for your dog can be expensive. At a minimum, your pet will need annual wellness exams and vaccinations. But emergency injuries or illness happen as well. Dogs sometimes need expensive surgery. They ingest things that are harmful to them, including plants in your yard. As dogs get older, just like people their medical expenses rise.

One option to consider is pet health insurance. Several organizations offer this, including the American Kennel Club with its AKC Pet Healthcare Plan. By paying monthly or quarterly premiums you can spread the cost of routine medical care over the year, and you will be protected from being hit with a huge medical bill if your dog requires an operation or other treatment. Dogs even require dental care, including teeth cleaning and, on occasion root canals.

Are you willing to spend the money to properly care for your dog?  It’s not fair to the dog if at this particular stage of your life you can’t afford to take good care of him. And it’s not fair to you to have to worry about such things as whether you can afford the dog’s annual vaccinations.

Do you know what it costs annually to keep a dog healthy and happy? If not, you should do some research and calculate an annual budget for all the necessities, and allow for the unexpected medical care that might be needed. It’s a $500 a year cost at least, and can easily run $1,000 or more. It’s best to be prepared for these maintenance expenses instead of letting them be an unpleasant surprise.

There may be other expenses as well. If your property is not fenced, you may have to build a fenced area if you have an active dog or one that tends to leave the yard when he gets a chance. Without some kind of fenced area on your property, you may quickly tire of having to take him out on a leash multiple times a day, especially in bad weather.

Do you travel frequently? Then you either need to factor in the cost of taking your dog to a boarding kennel while you are away—and many of these cost $50 a day or more for care—or hiring a dog sitter to come to your home and take care of your dog.

You may enjoy reading about Pet Insurance options. We received an excellent article that actually reviewed many of the Pet Insurance options to help the Pet Owner make an educated decision. You can find it here:  Pet Insurance

May 22 2018

Dogs and Children Together Require Thought and Care

Best Buddies?

Your children and your dog can be best buddies, or there can be friction between the two. Both dog and child need to be trained to respect each other. Otherwise, you will find yourself having to scold one or the other—or both. There has to be a good match between the temperament of your child and that of the dog. If you have a high energy child, you want a dog who can keep up, such as a lab or a retriever. Very small dogs don’t enjoy romping with children as much as the larger breeds. Small dogs and puppies can be injured by children who are not careful how they treat the dog. Aggressive behavior in children—poking, pulling on or hitting the dog–can lead to a dog snapping or becoming afraid of the child. And aggressive dogs can react badly to things such as a child yelling, or sudden movements that from the dog’s perspective seem threatening. Remember, almost any dog will snap if severely provoked.

You need to make sure that all child/dog interaction is supervised. Dogs should never be left alone with infants. Breed characteristics come into play as well. The herding breeds are bred to—herd—and they will try to herd your children around the house unless the dog is trained not to do so. This experience can be upsetting to a young child.

The dog’s safety can be an issue as well. Children can forget to close doors or fence gates. Many times that is how a dog escapes and gets lost—or worse, gets hit by a car. An astounding number of dogs are separated from their owners this way every year—a totally preventable problem. Everyone in the household and even your child’s friends who come over need to be reminded to keep screen doors latched and fence gates closed. Losing a dog that a youngster has just become bonded with is a tragedy no child should have to go through. When you research the various breeds, find out which ones are most prone to escaping the house. Some breeds just simply love to run and take any opportunity to do so.

Toy breeds can be injured by toddlers by dropping it, holding it too tight or falling on it.

Extremely boisterous dogs can hurt a child by knocking him over. The dog is much more coordinated than the child, after all, and wants the child to “play like a dog”. Breeds that were bred to be guardians can become agitated by children engaging in horseplay or running around the house.


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May 21 2018

Should You Get a Puppy or an Adult Dog?

Puppy or Adult Dog?

There are pros and cons to considering puppies vs. adult dogs. Puppies are great fun, but plenty of work. Puppies need a great deal of attention, much more care and training—and lots and lots of play time. Puppies cannot be left alone as long as adult dogs. They must be watched at all times or kept in a secure place such as a crate when you can’t watch them. They need frequent trips outside to relieve themselves; they eat several times a day. An advantage of having a puppy is you train and socialize the dog right from the beginning. A puppy will quickly bond with family members.

Your house will have to be “child protected” with latches on cabinets where potentially dangerous things like cleaning supplies are kept. Puppies are curious and explore everywhere, often by chewing. New pups often have difficulty adapting to being away from their littermates and your sleep will be interrupted for the first days after you bring him home. Housebreaking a puppy can be a messy chore. You have to be patient when the puppy makes mistakes. The good thing about a puppy is he is a blank slate: he can be trained and socialized so he is a perfect fit for your family. You don’t have to worry about breaking him of bad habits.

An alternative is adopting an adult dog from a shelter or foster home or breed rescue organization. An older dog is usually already housebroken and can be left alone for longer periods of time. With an adult dog, you know right away what you’re getting in terms of the size of the dog, the temperament, the activity level and personality. What you don’t know is the dog’s past, what may have happened that led the dog to be in a situation of being rescued—or abandoned. Adult dogs sometimes have developed behavioral issues because of past neglect or abuse. It may take time for you and your new adult dog to develop mutual trust. Some adult dogs can be nervous or have separation anxiety when introduced into a new home.

Many well-trained, sociable dogs are available for adoption, however, and you can certainly find one that will fit right into your household with minimal stress or period of adjustment. Just remember to give the dog extra care, attention and love when he first comes into your home. If he feels completely welcome and loved, he is bound to make a smoother transition.


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May 20 2018

Make Sure Your New Dog Will Fit In

Does Your Family Have Room for a Dog?

Before you bring a dog home, you have to consider all the other members of your household. If you have children it will be an extra challenge. Households with children must take extra care before making the decision to purchase a dog—and in deciding which breed is appropriate. A rambunctious puppy may be overwhelming to a toddler. A miniature breed may be treated like a stuffed toy rather than a living creature. It may seem fun to the child to dress up their new canine companion in doll clothes and wheel him around in a stroller but it’s not good for the dog. Training may be more difficult since you’ll have to train both the child and the dog.

Similarly, if you have other dogs in the house or cats, you have to decide whether your current pets will accept a new member of the pack. Some breeds have instincts as predators that make conflict with a cat highly probable. If you adopt an adult dog, you have to find out whether that dog is friendly with other dogs—before you bring him home.

If you take your dog to the dog park, observe the breeds he typically plays with and those that he might have a conflict with. This can be a clue to guide you in selecting your new dog. You may be in for a surprise as well. Your cocker spaniel may prefer to run with the bigger hunting dogs instead of dogs his own size.

Consider your neighbors as well. Some breeds of dogs are relatively calm, quiet, and easygoing. Others are energetic “barkers” who sound an alarm whenever a noise or passerby disturbs them. Training is important to help your dog to be a good neighbor, but you also have to objectively look at where you live and whether a given breed will be a nuisance to the people nearby.

All family members need to agree on the decision to add a dog to the household, and each member should have input into the type of dog you eventually select. Your children may have met and interacted with their friends’ dogs and be able to provide valuable input.

If you’ve never had a dog before, or at least not since you were a child, try taking care of a friend or neighbor’s dog and reacquaint yourself with the responsibility and care required.

And it may well be that when all factors are considered, it may not be the right time to add a dog to your family. Maybe a pet that requires less care, attention, and supervision might be more appropriate.


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May 18 2018

Should You Get a Dog?

Dog Owner Responsibility

Dog ownership comes with considerable responsibility, and the decision to introduce a dog—whether puppy or adult—into your home should not be taken lightly. Having a dog inevitably changes your lifestyle. The decision to bring a dog home can (and hopefully will) represent a 10 or 15-year commitment or more. Advancements in veterinary care and nutrition have resulted in longer life spans for most breeds of dogs.

Dogs require a time commitment from their owners. They are pack animals and do not like to be left alone for extended periods of time. You and your family members become your dog’s pack. The workaholic who leaves for the office at 6 AM and comes back at 10 PM is not the ideal dog owner. Frequent travelers have to make arrangements for boarding their dog when they are gone, which can be expensive. Even if suitable arrangements can be made, no dog wants to spend half its life in a boarding kennel—he wants to be with his pack.

Time must be spent training and socializing your dog so he can be a member of the community. Your dog must be under control when he meets people or dogs on a walk, or when guests come to your home. Successful training requires patience, consistency—and time. A poorly trained dog can be disruptive to a household. And a dog that is poorly socialized can be a hazard for children and other dogs he might encounter. In many cases, it is beneficial for the dog and owner to attend organized obedience training classes.

Dogs vary in the amount of maintenance they require, but most dogs need to have their coats brushed or groomed (in some cases like the Old English Sheepdog this may require several hours of grooming per week). They need their teeth brushed regularly. Most breeds need some kind of daily exercise; some need long walks or runs daily or twice daily to keep them contented. They need the stimulation of play as well, whether it is a simple game of fetch a ball or more formal activities such as entering agility training programs. Some breeds must have their ears cleaned regularly. And don’t forget baths!

The bottom line question is: Does your lifestyle allow you enough time to properly care for your dog, well beyond just feeding him or talking him for a quick walk around the block when you get home from work?

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Apr 12 2018

Adopting A Dog – Taking The Dog Out The First Time

Going for a Walk

Taking your dog out for a walk is not always the ideal, leisurely, and enjoyable experience it has often been cracked up to be. Dog personalities differ, as much as moods and temperaments differ. Temperaments are even more pronounced with active and athletic dog breeds. Although most dogs would want an outside walk most of the time, there will be occasions when the dog would rather stay at home. Barring that the dog is ill; you could make every walk in the park as enjoyable an experience for both you and the dog.

Set the pace. Start slowly. Dogs will always be excited during their first time out. Dogs, especially when still untrained, gets easily distracted. It could be a squirrel, pigeons, other dogs, people, no matter; the dog’s attention has to be controlled.

During the initial walks outside, be mindful that the dog is naturally inclined to chase and play. It is often not recommendable to let the dog set the pace because more often than not, it is hard to keep up with them. The dog will pull and will try to run and just love to romp. It will exert pressure on the leash. This is the more reason why the dog will tire easy. Set the pace. A fifteen minutes walk will already be enough for the first time out.

This could be increased gradually but the dog should be allowed to rest whether it wants it or not. Another reason for this is because of the excitement, the dog will pull hard at the leash that could injure his neck. Even so, the dog will keep on tugging. When the dog is panting hard and the eyes are getting red, it is a sign that the dog is exerting too much pressure on his neck. Rest for a while. If the dog refuses, take him back to your yard to prevent injury.

On subsequent walks, if you notice that your dog gets very excited at the site of other dogs, cats, squirrels, rest, and sit for a while. Calm the dog down. When the dog has calmed, resume the walk. You may be doing this several times but eventually, the dog will catch on. When there is no place to sit, just stop walking. The dog will try to tug, get his attention and give the dog a treat or verbal assurances and resume walking.

If you have a particularly energetic pup like a boxer or a retriever, you may want to tire the pup first before introducing him outside. Highly energetic games, for example, a game of fetch, would be good to release extra energy, just do not play tug of war with the pup. Playing tug of war will teach your pup to compete with you. Introduce games where you are in control over the pups activities.

If you chose to adopt an energetic/athletic dog, chances are you are athletic as well and love the outdoors. If so, maintain a brisk pace once outside your yard with the puppy. This way, distractions are minimized and tugging at the leash will become less often.

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Mar 27 2018

Funny Doggie Meme Day! Enjoy

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