11 April 2011

Dog care tips

Some Dog Care Tips
  • Dogs should always be in collar. Even while bathing he should not be without the collar. A tag mentioning the name of the dog, the owners name and address should always be attached to the collar of the dog. Also use a leash when you are taking your dog out for a walk. If there is a swimming pool in your house make sure of training your puppy not to go close to the pool.
  • Your dog would need plenty of attention in order to make him more close to you. Especially if your dog is of a big size you are required to devote a considerable amount of time to increase the sense of attachment in-between you and your pet. Else, you will find abnormal behavioral changes in your dog.
  • You should take up effective steps to save your dog from the attack of fleas. You may even consult a vet doctor regarding how to get rid of fleas and heart worms. He might turn up with effective flea control suggestions like topical application of Advantage, Front line, Revolution, Sentinel and such. You are advised not to make use of flea collars as they can be dangerous for the health of your dog.
  • Make yourself update with all the vaccinations that are necessary for your dog. Visit the veterinary clinic for routine check up of your dog.
  • Give your dog to eat food items that are made up of pure ingredients. Choose the right dog food item that would have a balanced combination of nutrients like vitamins, protein, minerals and right amounts of calories. Some of dog’s food packets have excess of nutrients and calories that cause harm to the health of the dog. The amount of nutrition to be taken by a dog depends on the age, the breed and the level of activities carried out by your dog. So, be very particular about the nutritious diet that you should be giving to your dog.
  • Dogs are more susceptible to heat than you are. So, especially during the summer season provide your dog with a cool resting place and do not force your dog to run or walk with you or to perform exercises in case your dog is not willing to do so. Give them plenty of water to drink. If you find your dog to be feeling restless due to heat do not hesitate to contact a veterinary doctor as a heatstroke for dogs can be life threatening for them.
  • Make sure of spaying your dog or neutering if you are not willing to face pet over population. It is also beneficial for the health of the dog as well. You will find him to be less restless, aggressive as well as less susceptible to diseases like prostrate cancer and development of tumors related to hormonal activities. Get your male dog neutered when he reaches the age of 5 to 6 months. A female dog if neutered will not have to bear the emotional turmoil and the bleeding that takes place in every three months. The scent of a female when in heat may attract male dogs which are even miles away from

7 April 2011

Help your dog make good choices

There was an anti-drug ad on TV that portrayed a sleazy dealer talking to a group of teenagers while the narrator intoned, “If you don’t talk to your kids about drugs, someone else will.”
I was reminded of this ad after hearing about training advice someone had received to help them with their dog who was prone to barking and biting. Granted the advice was given in regard to other issues, which were-demanding attention and enthusiastic greetings-but the real quality of life challenges were the dog’s insecurity, lack of skills and inappropriate reactions to people and other dogs. What was the advice? Simple and often heard-ignore the dog, do not respond to any attempt by the dog to solicit attention. Attention was to be granted at the behest of the owner, never the dog.
Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, sometimes ignoring a dog makes sense. Effusive greetings for dogs with separation anxiety can be problematic. Shy dogs prefer to be ignored and doing so with submissive pee-ers might save you some paper toweling. After I’ve told my border collie that I will not throw the frisbee again I will ignore any continued attempts to engage me in the game. What troubled me about the advice given in this instance, was that by not acknowledging a dog that is seeking attention or information, in effect, not rewarding that behavior, we should begin to see less of it. Not a problem if you don’t want a soggy tennis ball dropped in your lap repeatedly, but for a dog whose first impulse is often inappropriate, wouldn’t it be better if they did look at us so we could share information and perhaps circumvent bad behavior?
Dogs repeat behaviors they get rewarded for and get better at behaviors they repeat. If anyone is expected to perform a behavior under pressure, whether it’s playing a piano piece on stage, drawing a firearm, rushing into a burning building, or pulling off a triple lutz, their chances of success improve the more they have practiced those behaviors. The same is true for dogs. If we want our dogs to respond to us when they are under pressure they are more likely to be able to if they have opportunities to practice giving us their attention and being rewarded for it.
A dog that wants to engage with their owner is easier to work with than a dog that could care less about the human in control of their life. We can’t teach a dog anything if we can’t get and keep their attention. Sometimes it makes sense to ignore the slimy tennis ball but it may also be a teachable moment that we’d be better off taking advantage of. The behavior we’re trying to fix may not be broken. My dogs should know they can come to me with any questions they have about their triggers, or temptations. I’ll make better choices for them than the pusher in their head.

Dog Potty Training / Behavior Issues

Get him (and his poo) checked out by the vet. Strong smelling poo, especially if its runny, can be a sign of disease such as parvo (very serious) or parasites such as coccidia (not as bad, but still needs treatment)

If one or more dogs are vomiting and being incontinent in the household, I would be very concerned you have illness going on. Hopefully it's just something they got into, but better safe than sorry!

Once you get the health thing sorted out, then tackling the housetraining comes next, and perhaps a lot easier. first off, I just want to say dogs are NOT "stubborn" or "refusing house training".... they just don't have motivations like that.... that being a sort of human emotion we are putting on them. What is most likely is that pup is "trained" to go in his crate.

Somehow in his early experience he learned this is THE place to go... the only safe place. You are going to need to be very creative in figuring out a strategy to fix this pattern. What you need to do is manage him in such a way that he ends up pooping outside with you there so you can reward him for going in the right place. (use a super tasty treat!) You must never scold him for pooping or peeing in your presence, even in the house, because he won't realize the reprimand is for the location... he will think it is "dangerous" to go potty NEAR a human. Usually it is such reprimands that are the origin of these difficult to sort out house training problems.

So you might try having him tethered to you on a 6 foot leash as you move around the house. Take him outside periodically and praise/treat him if he pees. Keep doing this. Eventually he is going to have to poop. The trick is make sure he cannot poop in his crate, but rather poops outside. Therefore, don't put him in his crate. Keep him tethered to you and keep taking him out every half hour or so. If he starts to poop in the house while with you, just stay calm but interrupt him with an upbeat "Let's go outside!" (or what ever phrase you use for going out) and whisk him outside. Maybe he will finish pooping outside, maybe he will be too worried about pooping near you. But the idea is you need to set up this first success somehow, even if that means having your dog tied to you for 2 days. When he finally does poop outside, after he finishes, have a party! Tell him what a great dog he is and give him a jackpot of treats (keep them with you at all times so he gets that reward right away)

Once you have one success, the second one should come a little easier, then it is a matter of building up the positive experiences. Clearly you cannot use his crate during this time.

Again the principles are:
1) prevent the possibility of him pooping in the wrong place by not allowing him access to his crate and keeping him on a tether to you so he cannot sneak off to a back room to poop
2) REWARD his successes

3) Most important, eliminate any punishments for mistakes. Dogs rarely learn what we want them to learn when we punish them for house training accidents. Instead of learning the "inside/outside" distinction what they learn is "safe/dangerous" distinction. That is it is safe to potty while owner is not present and dangerous to potty if owner is around. Thus the dog becomes afraid to potty with you nearby, so you can not get them to go out on a leash and reward them for going in the right spot.

Teaching Your Dog To Greet People Politely

Teaching Your Dog To Greet People Politely

One of the most common problems is that dogs lunge towards people. When that happens, we, embarrassed that our dogs are “out of control”, jerk the dog back and yell at the dog.

Big mistake. Dogs don’t speak English and we can’t explain to them why we are correcting them and if your dog associates the correction with a person approaching instead of the lunging, you can create a human aggressive dog. This happens a lot more than people realize.

“Uh oh!” Here comes a person, I’m going to get jerked and yelled at. I’m going to growl to warn the person to stay away so I don’t get jerked and yelled at.”

And then of course, we are even more upset when the dog growls and jerk harder and the cycles escalates. (Even though we should know to never correct a dog who is growling because we always want to know when the dog is warning us so we don’t get bitten.)

It is very simple to teach your dog to greet people politely. You will need accomplices because it is impossible to teach manners in real life, you need to set the dog up. Your accomplice can be a family member to start, although you will eventually need around 10 accomplices because dogs don’t generalize behaviors well and it takes about 10 people before the dog generalizes the behavior.

1. The accomplice should be about 20’ away from the dog. If you can’t hold the dog, tether the dog. Tie the lead to a tree, slam it in a car door, do whatever is convenient because if the dog pulls you forward, it’s going to take much longer to teach.
2. Cue the dog to sit.
3. The accomplice starts to walk towards the dog. You are a tree, which means no talking or moving, the dog will learn much better if you don’t interfere (scientifically proven).
4. If the dog gets up, the accomplice dead stops and you wait. When the dog is giving you attention, or after about 30 seconds, get the dog’s attention by tapping the dog gently on the butt and cue the dog to sit again. This is the hardest time for humans who are a very verbal species, to be quiet, but it is the most important time for us to be quiet, except to get the dog’s attention if necessary and cueing the dog to sit.
5. The accomplice starts forward again. If the dog gets up, the accomplice dead stops, etc.
6. If the dog gets up 3 times, the accomplice turns and goes back to the “start” about 20’ away.
7. When the accomplice is able to walk all the way to the dog while the dog remains sitting, have a party like there is no tomorrow! The accomplice should pet and praise the dog for at least 20 seconds. If the dog gets up, don’t worry about it at this time, however if the dog jumps, the accomplice must immediately turn away from the dog.
8. Repeat with every family member and friend you can wheedle into helping. When the dog remains sitting, have your accomplice start talking as the accomplice walks towards the dog. This increases the distraction level and even if your dog was rock solid, your dog may get up when the accomplice starts talking.

Talking is an added distraction and very likely to happen in real life, but you start teaching with a quiet accomplice because you teach in steps so the dog can be successful at each step. If you ask too much of the dog, the dog will fail and you never want to set your dog up for failure.

Have the accomplice increase the talking and use a high squeaky voice to get the dog excited, but because you are teaching in steps, don’t add the
high voice until the dog is rock solid sitting with a calm voice.

9. The dog should be kept at home until the behavior is solid. Then the dog can go to the pet store or for walks. When a stranger approaches, politely ask the stranger to help you train your dog and to please stop if the dog gets up. Cue the dog to sit and have the stranger approach. I did this with a Mastiff puppy and everyone was very cooperative. In fact, he loved attention so much that eventually if he thought a person was coming towards him, he would automatically sit. If the person passed him by, he would look so disappointed LOL!
10. Patience, consistency, teaching in steps and letting the dog figure out what the right behavior is are the keys to success!

Copyright 2002 Virginia Wind

havanese dog allergies

Havanese Allergies

You may have heard that Havanese are non-shedding and hypoallergenic. You or other family members have allergies and/or asthma, so is a Havanese a good choice for you?
Maybe… but maybe not. An estimated 10 to 15 per cent of the population is allergic to animals; even so, approximately a third of that group chooses to live with at least one pet in their household. Choosing and living with a Havanese despite having allergies needs a basic understanding of pet allergies and a few sensible guidelines.
Glands in the dog’s skin secrete tiny proteins, which can be a trigger for allergies in people with sensitive immune systems. These proteins linger on the dog’s body but also easily drift in the air. Proteins are also found in a dog’s saliva and urine. Sensitive individuals can be allergic to one or more of these proteins. Dander is the most common allergy trigger, followed by saliva, then urine.
Reactions to these protein allergens vary from person to person, ranging from very mild to severe. Reactions may include sniffling, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes, skin itch, hives, rashes, headaches, coughing and shortness of breath, wheezing and life-threatening asthma attacks. These can happen as quickly as a few minutes after exposure or 24 hours or more later.
Contrary to long-held belief, no dog breed is truly non-allergenic. Since all dogs of all breeds have skin and produce saliva and urine, they all have the potential of provoking allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. The term “hypoallergenic” is typically used in reference to breeds such as the Havanese that appear to have a lower incidence of provoking allergic reactions. This may be attributed in part to the breed’s tendency to have less dander and to shed less than other breeds. (Havanese may be considered a minimally shedding breed.) Many refer to these as “hypoallergenic” or “allergy friendly” breeds (meaning less likely to provoke an allergic response).
Does that mean that anyone with allergies can add a Havanese to their family without concern of allergic reactions? Not at all. If you or a family member have ever experienced an allergic reaction to any dog or other animal, it’s wise to check for potential allergies to Havanese before choosing one for your family. Allergic reactions to Havanese may be less common, but they can and do happen.
Allergy triggers
If Havanese are considered hypoallergenic, why can a sensitive individual still react to them? Let’s look at some of the potential allergy triggers for a better understanding.
Dander is small particles of dead skin cells that flake off the body as the skin regenerates itself. If dogs have skin, they produce dander. Some breeds, like the Havanese, seem to produce less dander; however, it must be kept in mind that individual dogs produce individual amounts of dander. This means that one Havanese may be more irritating to an allergic individual than another Havanese. Tiny, almost invisible flakes of dander can also float through the air.
Fur. Contrary to popular belief, few people are specifically allergic to dog fur. Rather than reacting to the fur itself, allergic individuals are more likely to be reacting to allergens that cling to the fur. Similarly, it is not specifically the amount or length of hair that causes allergic reactions. While a full-coated Havanese does not necessarily produce more dander than a Havanese with a clipped coat, because of the volume, it has more space to hold dander and may also pick up and carry other allergens more easily. The long luscious Havanese coat can pick up an amazing amount of debris outside, including grass, seeds, dust, pollen, moulds and other allergens that may be additional triggers for allergic individuals.
Shedding. If fur is not specifically an allergen, what does shedding or not shedding have to do with allergies? Dogs that shed profusely may leave more hair everywhere, so allergens carried by the hair are naturally distributed more widely than by breeds that shed less. Havanese are considered a minimally shedding breed.
Saliva. Havanese form strong bonds to their families and can be expressive in their love, with kissing and licking that can be an issue for saliva-sensitive individuals. It’s important to know that saliva protein can also be transmitted by residue lingering on the skin and fur from the dog’s self-grooming. Some Havanese self-groom extensively.
Urine protein is the least likely to provoke allergic reactions since housebroken Havanese eliminate outdoors or in designated areas and there is minimal direct contact. However, urine residue on the fur on the belly or legs may cause unexpected problems in sensitive individuals.
Check for reactions
Tell the breeder about your allergies when you visit. Stay as long as possible; hold, hug, cuddle and kiss all their Havanese – puppies and adults. Rub your face into their fur; let them lick you, especially the sensitive skin on your face and neck and inside your arms. This will test your allergic reaction to dander and saliva and help you determine a basic allergy level to Havanese.
A mild reaction doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot live with Havanese. It may simply mean you need to check further. While some mildly sensitive individuals can tolerate one or two Havanese with few problems, they may not be able to tolerate a houseful.
Visiting a pet owner who has only one Havanese is a good next step. If you are highly sensitive to Havanese, it’s probably best to investigate other breeds if you’re determined to add a dog to your family.
Living with allergies to your pet
Many people with only mild, tolerable allergic symptoms can live with a low-dander, minimally shedding Havanese with proper environmental controls. Here are a few ideas to help reduce allergens on the dog and in the home. These are not to be considered long-term solutions for highly allergic individuals.
• Keep your Havanese clean and groomed. Regular brushing helps remove loose hair and the allergens it carries. Bathing your Havanese every seven to 10 days can reduce levels of fur-borne allergens by as much as 80 per cent.
• If possible, groom in a closed-door ‘dog room’ to minimize allergens loosened during grooming from becoming airborne throughout the home. Ideally, a non-allergic family member should do the grooming and clean the room afterwards. Even better, bath day can be done at a self-wash station at a local pet-supply store.
• Daily or weekly use of products that claim to reduce allergens when sprayed on an animal’s fur may be helpful for some, though studies show they are less effective than weekly bathing.
• Regular, thorough cleaning of the home, and using heating and air-conditioning filters and HEPA filters, are all ways of reducing allergens.
• Use an anti-allergen detergent for pet laundry.
• Saliva-sensitive owners should discourage their Havanese from licking them, especially on the face and neck. Wash hands thoroughly after handling the dog.
• For fur- and dander-sensitive individuals, the bedroom should be a dog-free zone.
• Many allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen – dust, pollen, smoke, etc. The overall allergen level in the environment must be reduced by concentrating on all the causes, not just the pet allergy.
A combination of methods is most likely to succeed in allowing a mildly allergic person to live with a Havanese.
Suzanne McKay, Havanese Fanciers of Canada
Photo: iStock
Originally published as Breedlines columns in the January, February and March 2006 issues