Paws For A Minute®
Providing a safe place and schedule for your new puppy creates a mellow puppy.
Mello puppy = happy person.
A new trend in Los Angeles is helping to change the face of pet stores. Many animal foundations are redefining the “pet store” concept to include “only” rescued shelter pups. The concept has been emerging over the past few years, but now picking up steam.
During the past 20 years the pet industry has tripled and so has the volume of breeders good and bad. The internet and local pet stores are inundated with breeding facilities who follow a trend of popular pups, designer or not. The internet competition of where to get your Lassie-like idea of your next BFF is an underground web of confusion in this furry internet secret society.
In other words, the rescues and shelters can’t stop the puppy mill or internet breeders. They can only educate us to be responsible and provide help for the pups in the pound. Only we can change with awareness, education and knowledge to ask the right questions. USDA (United States department of Agriculture) are legal commercial kennel facilities that produce mass puppies often sold to pet stores. That’s not to say all breeders are bad, it’s truly buyer beware and education on how, where, and who to get a puppy from, that’s lacking to the general public.
The puppy mill breeders appear behind internet sources and pet stores providing cute puppy faces and sometimes make deals with pet stores. The breeding conditions aren’t known (behind a website or from a store) and a seemingly heathy puppy within a year can have chronic ailments due to bad breeding or not having the proper training (due to lack of puppy parent education) hence, they’re turned into the shelter. By the way, not all rescue pups are in ill health. I personally have a rescue pup that will turn 17 years old in August. She’s in perfect health for her age!
The rescues keep plucking the best out of the pounds urging people to spay and neuter and adopt, but the cycle continues. All topics are important issue’s that contribute to the approximate 10 Million animals a year that get euthanized across the U.S shelters, costing tax payers roughly 2 Billion dollars to execute.
Congratulations to the many animal foundations who are making their way into main stream retailers! This provides the space and appeal to “rescue” a puppy while shopping in a local shopping mall. Spot! (West Hollywood) , Love and Leashes (West Los Angeles) and Adopt and Shop (Mission Vejo, CA) to name a few. Many people want to rescue yet the local animal shelter can be a sad depressing place or not local. The great thing about these types of stores is that they provide more than just puppies. Often a more mature pet is your ideal lifestyle pick. Viola, love at-first-sight! A store front environment changes the appeal and makes recycling a paws-a-tive gift!
Found Animals Foundation who is a privately funded operating foundation in Los Angeles that focuses on a few powerful levers for changing the outcome for millions of animals euthanized each year in the US. Working with local communities and animal care professionals, we deliver innovative community-based adoption, spay/neuter, and pet ID programs while offering a wealth of trusted educational resources. Bravo!
The teething stage of puppyhood can be so annoying, keep you on your toes and constantly chanting a chorus of “No’s!” Most new puppy people have arms that resemble a heroin addict covered with needle marks. Puppy teeth hurt like crazy!
There are several stages to this function of puppyhood and good for new puppy parents to know how to deal and what chew toys are good for each stage. Usually this topic is not discussed in detail as to what and how to deal with this sometimes painful playtime. Having a zillion toys on the ground often don’t get noticed, especially if you don’t have the right toys for the right stage!
8 week to 10 week old pups: Squeaker toys are awesome at this age. It helps pups focus and follow you. Oversized “dog” stuffed animal toys fantastic. At this age pup’s are just beginning to chew so biting into a stuffed toy instead of your arm helps the play process. Ice cubes are also a big hit during playtime. Toys that roll are essential to your sanity and keep your pup moving.
11 to 14 week old pups: During this stage they are beginning to really teethe! Tempting to repeat the word no constantly as they gnaw on everything. By the way, this stage will pass. Don’t think this will become a bad behavior or that you have a devil dog. In the meantime, think exercise and reverse psychology with trading in your arm for the right toy. Being smarter than your puppy when he’s being evil works. What satisfied your pups urge to chew a few weeks ago may not be working anymore. Bring in different toys!
Planet dog brand has great softer rubber toys pups this age love them. Pigs ears and bully sticks are your ticket to peace during these weeks. Hold the bully stick while your puppy chews. Holding it identifies the stick as the right chew bone. I know it seems obvious however, you’d be surprised at how fast they’ll learn what to chew. If it’s just laying on the ground they may not seem interested in it until you give it them to chew.
A helpful tip is to define a chewing area that’s a gated space, in a central part of your house. This helps to keep your puppy on a bit of a schedule, preventing your insanity and puppy’s constant freedom. It also helps them to focus on the art of chewing.
Chewing is function of a puppy not a behavior, what they learn to chew on becomes the behavior over time. You get to teach your puppy what to chew on, so setting a puppy schedule helps.
Good news! Adult teeth appear when your puppy turns 6 months-old, like clock work — all breeds. Promise!
Paws For A Minute® Quick Tip
1. When your dog turns 6 years old have a complete medical examination with your vet.
2. Examine your dog occasionally when cuddling for lumps and bumps.
3. Have your dogs teeth cleaned. This can prevent major problems in the future. This is very important, especially for toy breed dogs.
4. Speak to your vet about your dogs food. Nutritional needs change over time. Adding a few supplements or changing your dogs food to a senior diet could be needed.
5. Aging dogs sleep longer and deeply. Dog parents with children need to remember to recheck their reality. What was and still is a nice dog may have physical changes happening that we aren’t aware of (such as sight changes and hearing loss) due to the aging process. Even the nicest dog can snap at a child how is approaching their dog to pat it while sleeping. Note any changes in your dog and communicate this to your children or create a new schedule for your dog as to where he/she naps. If you have young children, creating a baby gated space for your aging dog to sleep will protect both.
6. Do some training on a leash! Yup, bring back the puppy in your older dog. The leash will formalize this fun exercise and really create the focus and attention your older dog will love then go through some old tricks. Your older dog will love the attention and praise for this accomplishment. Training also enables you to see if your dog is hearing or seeing properly. Changes can happen subtly but go un noticed. As your dog ages it’s common to go into a bit of a “dog owner denial” and think our dog is just being stubborn, when really other changes might be taking place.
7. Become aware of your dogs water intake. This can be an indicator of changes on the way and vet’s welcome new information. Noting water intake changes, eating and sleeping habits help guide your vet too in helping to Always check with your vet.
Paws For A Minute ® /Ask Inger
How can I get my dog to stop barking at people who come in to my house? If I have people over for dinner the two dogs eventually stop, but as soon as someone attempts to get up from the table they start barking again! -Barb
Hi there! Thanks for the great question. Barking can make many dog owners crazy and guests uneasy. Especially, two Akita’s that appear to be ruling the roost! Barking back NO at your dogs, before opening the front door is not the most elegant of ways to greet friends. So much for a happy hello, right?
Here’s the translation and meaning behind those barks and the scoop on how to solve the problem. To a degree barking is a normal communication for a dog to alert you that someone’s at the door. Kind of a built in alarm system, but how do you turn it off?
Before I answer your question, what alarms me, as a trainer, is not so much the barking at the front door, but rather the barking at your guests when they get up from the table. One type of barking is an alert ( door bell ringing) and the other ( people getting up from a table) is a warning. It’s important for dog parents to learn and understand the different meanings. When a dog barks at a sound it’s normal but when it barks at a movement it’s coming more from a territorial issue. When you add the two types of barking together, it can become troublesome for a healthy dog owner relationship. Why? Mainly because it’s YOUR house!
Psychologically the goal is for your dogs to take your cues from you in a nice pleasant way, not the other way around. It’s not really an alpha dominant “I’m in charge here,” correction. The problem and it’s solution should be understood from proactive and insightful direction with steps that make sense to both you and your dog.
The dog owner surprise to the barking solution begins with the awareness that the mixed signal that your dog is receiving is coming for YOU, not your guest. Dog’s are den animals and pack animals, this is a fido fact. Therefore, dogs need to look to owners for direction. If none is provided they will do their thing. Barking at guests who are merely getting up from the table is telling you (the dog owner) that your dogs are warning you AND your guest that they don’t trust the intruder in their house. Here’s the clincher, it’s not their house– it’s YOURS! Yes, most people think they correct the behavior by saying NO to their dogs. But they’re not stopping the main issue which is socializing their dogs to guests.
The most awesome thing you can do is to get organized and redirect your dogs prior to guests coming over. Getting truly organized means applying the leash with a language they truly learn to understand, obedience commands. This is the best way to explain to your dog that it be YOUR house. Redirecting your dog at the front door to sit and stay (on a leash, at first) builds trust and praise!
Taking sensible steps on getting the front door triggers under control by creating a new ritual will change the whole dynamic at the front door! It will also take your dogs focus off the sound of the doorbell, and movements of the guest and put it on pleasing you! It may take a bit of time in practice but eventually no steps are needed and the whole process organically moves to a happy easy greeting at the front door.
A helpful tip is to occasionally break up the pack prior to people coming over. The key here is to vary it. Often having two or more dogs creates a trigger effect where one dog triggers a bark and they end up tag teaming barks at the front door. To stop the pattern, make sure both dogs are exercised and choose to baby gate one dog in a kitchen, hallway or bedroom, WAY before your guests come over. This is not meant to be any kind of timeout or punishment. Think of it as chew bone time. Create a spa like environment with music. Use of the baby gate allows your dog to see out and WAIT. This process will help dissolve the pattern of both dogs being loose and tuning you out.
Your second dog, (who can take his turn to be loose in the house) can then be easily directed on a leash to sit, stay and learn to greet guests in a civilized manner. The great thing about using boundaries like the leash and the gate is that it separates the pack and allows you to elegantly reclaim your house and praise your dogs for waiting behind the gate and staying in the stay command on a leash. As for the barking, one shake of a penny-can will send a signal that YOU rule. The shake sound acts like a police siren when pulling you over for speeding. All of these suggestions together will help break the barking pattern and be able to emphasize the positive. Which is to praise your dog for waiting behind the gate and the other to hold a stay command at the front door.
Your guests will love you and your dogs and all can relax. Everyone will truly learn to experience a happy hello!
Giving thanks for the years of unconditional love, dog slobbered windows and free facials.
This Thanksgiving I must admit is sad. I recently lost my love. R.I.P
His knick name was Big boy and anyone who met him would undoubtedly have a comment. Guys would want to crack a beer with him and every woman would always ask me if he could be their boyfriend, married or not. Augie had a spirit that made people laugh and always walk away with a smile on their face.
He will be greatly missed.
I rescued my dog, Milo, 4 1/2 years ago when he was about 8 months old. We immediately signed up for puppy obedience school. He passed with flying colors. He is a mix of border collie/lab and I think pit, but our first vet said no. Anyway, as he entered his “teen” years (1 year 6 mos to 2 1/2) he became a terror on leash. VERY protective. I hired a private trainer and we did a lot of one on one to help him stay relaxed.
Fast forward and he’s now 5 1/2. He knows all his commands–knows them even better when I have treats. He knows the click and treat perfectly. He’ll come on command in our yard. Click, treat. He’ll sit, stay and come, click treat. When I throw the ball with our Chuck It, he gets the ball and runs to the top of the deck and completely ignores any command I give him. I can’t get him to just come back to me with the ball let alone drop it.
Paws For A Minute® … and think about this…
Some people give lengthy verbal dissertations trying to explain to their dog their extreme displeasure they feel after they’ve discovered their best shoes chewed. Other’s righteously feel their dog totally gets what he’s done wrong. Absolutely, 100 %.. slinking out of the room with their ears back and tail tucked. For sure they know! Right?
Some people try to punish their dog by using spray bottles, crating or putting your dog outside in the yard to “think about” what he’s done. This may give the person time to cool off after being mad, but really? Does it get the right point across?
Well, the truth is that dogs do respond to voice inflection and body language. So yeah, they get that your mad, but not at what? Dogs associate to things with sense of smell, patterns and triggers. It’s best to explain to them what they’ve done wrong with a sensible process that has a beginning, middle and end to it. Whether your pup has chewed something or gone to the bathroom in the house, get the leash, put it on and guide them over to what they’ve done wrong. Isolating the item or area by guiding your dog to it helps them associate the scent and your voice inflection to the word NO.
Reprimanding your dog this way you’re actually associating the smell of their saliva on the chewed item or urine on the carpet and that identifies to your dog what you’re saying NO for and to what? After saying no, take your dog “outside” ( in the case of a bathroom mistake) or (in the case of chewing the wrong thing) give them the right chew bone. Then say “okay” in a happy voice indicating that the reprimand is over! Over time he’ll learn the pattern of where to go to the bathroom and what to chew. The days of needing to catch your dog in the act of doing something wrong are over.
Add a little color to your kitchen with these cute studio bowls by Wetnoz®.
These bowls are perfect for puppy owners, they’re plastic, inexpensive and look fantastic.
Paws For A Minute® Feeding Tip: Always feed your new dog a measured amount right for his size and age. Ask your vet about amounts rather than package servings. How, when and where you feed your puppy has everything to do with teaching your pup where to go potty.
Feng Shui with Fido™ dog training method- Dog + Home = Peace.
Where: Kitchen is best, rather than outdoors.
When: Feed your dog when you are present. Many dogs love company or will get distracted if owners walk away and can become finicky eaters.
How: Best to time feed your dog. Put food down at the same time of day, same amount. Use a 15 minute increment for meal time. Pick up the food if not finished, until the next feeding time.
Why: If you leave food in a bowl out all day, it will effect your dogs housebreaking process.