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Puppy Love: Study Explains the Bond Between Human and Dog

Have you ever looked into your dog’s eyes and wondered, “why is my dog so charming?” What is it about your dog’s adoring gaze that makes it so powerful? A new study by Japanese scientist Miho Nagasawa seems to have found the answer, and it has to do with something called the cuddle chemical, love hormone, or oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a substance in the blood that encourages bonding. Levels of oxytocin increase, for example, when a mother feeds her newborn baby. High levels of the “love hormone” have also been observed in couples in the first six months of a relationship. According to Nagasawa’s study, levels of oxytocin can also go up when we look deeply into the eyes of a dog.

The Cuddle Chemical/Love Hormone

Humans and dogs have been working together for nearly 30,000 years. In order to better understand how the love hormone worked between dogs and humans, Nagasawa and his team conducted an experiment. They tested levels of oxytocin in dogs and humans, and learned that oxytocin levels in both humans and dogs were higher after interaction with one another. The same was not true for wolves and their human handlers.

The results of this study tell us a lot about the history of the bond between humans and dogs. Over time, dogs that have interacted with humans have become more loyal to their human partners. So loyal, in fact, that they are capable of releasing a “love hormone” just by gazing into our eyes.

As expected, puppy love is just as powerful as love from other humans. The bond you form with your pet is remarkably similar to the bond you form with your child or significant other. This Valentine’s Day, make sure you share the love with your pet too!

Read more about puppy love here.

Find out how to share the love this week at Brookside Barkery.

 

 

The Time to Think About Fleas is Now.

Integrated Pest Management is a nontoxic way to effectively control fleas.

Today, spot-on flea products are advertised in every sort of media available to animal guardians and veterinarians, and are touted as safe and effective. However, as we discussed last month (“Are Spot-On Flea Killers Safe?”), the safety record of these products is not as spotless as the manufacturers would make us believe. After all, they contain pesticides, which are poisons, and they also contain toxic ingredients.

The danger presented by these products is apparent in the hundreds of incident reports that sit in the Environmental Protection Agency’s files – not to mention the manufacturers’ own animal laboratory studies. These logs indicate hundreds of deaths and illnesses of cats and dogs who have been treated with these products by their guardians and veterinarians.

YOU HAVE OPTIONS

Fortunately, we have safe alternatives – effective, nontoxic methods to keep our companion animals and households free from fleas and their irritating and sometimes debilitating impacts. The safest and most effective way to eliminate fleas utilizes an approach called “integrated pest manage-ment” (IPM).

IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human and animal health, beneficial and nontarget organisms, and the environment.

The first step in any IPM program is to learn everything we can about the target, in this case, the flea. Who is the flea, and what are his habits? With this knowledge, we can implement an effective, nontoxic approach – and the knowledge that everyone in our household and surrounding environment is safe from the ravages of pesticides.

START WITH THE DOG

In order to control a flea infestation with IPM techniques, it is necessary to treat not only your dog, but also the indoor and outdoor environments surrounding your dog. In discussing all of these, we’ll start at the center: The dog.

  • Improve the dog’s health. “The most important measure you can take for flea control is similar to that with any illness, and that is to strengthen the overall health of the animal,” states Don Hamilton, DVM, author of Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals. “In general, given the same environment, healthier animals suffer less from fleas. It all comes back to good food, lots of love, and minimal stress.” Dr. Hamilton prescribes a human grade food, preferably a raw meat diet for dogs, along with supplements, a clean indoor air environment (see “No Room to Breathe,” WDJ October 2001), and no vaccinations. Carolann Mancuso, one of Dr. Hamilton’s clients living near Tampa, Florida, has used this protocol for keeping her dog family healthy and flea-free for over a decade.

A healthy dog is less likely to be the target for fleas. Fleas seem to know which dogs are ill in a household. If you are not already feeding a raw meat, homemade diet or human-grade food, this is the time to shift gears. A healthy immune system will make your dog less tasty to a flea. Consult a holistic veterinarian to help boost the health of your dog’s immune system. Some complementary therapies that are useful include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, homeopathy, and nutritional therapy.

  • Use supplements. There are numerous dietary additives reputed to be helpful in repelling fleas. Unfortunately, their effectiveness varies from dog to dog. Some people have found the following remedies to be effective for their dogs. If, after giving your dog any of these supplements for a month, you see no improvement in the flea population, consult your holistic veterinarian for further direction.

Garlic: One clove per day of crushed organic garlic for a large dog, half for a medium-sized dog, and a quarter for a small dog. Or, use a capsule of cold-pressed garlic oil; adjust the canine dosage from the human dosage on the label (assuming a 150 pound human dose).

Vitamin B complex (with vitamin B1): Use a plant-source vitamin B complex, and again, adjust the dose for your dog’s weight. Some people simply add brewers yeast to the dog’s diet for its vitamin B1.

  • Some people have success with natural topical preparations. Again, the results vary widely. What works well for some dogs may not work at all for others. Desist if these suggestions do not work within three to four weeks.

Essential oils of cedar, tea tree, citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, and pennyroyal (the last two are toxic to cats): Mix 10 drops of certified organic essential oil to one tablespoon of olive oil. Spray on your dog as a repellent.

  • Combing the dog daily with a flea comb will help you determine the effectiveness of your efforts. Comb around the dog’s tail, stomach, and face, where they tend to collect in greater quantities. Look for fleas, as well as flea eggs (tiny white specks) and flea feces (slightly larger black specks). Drop anything you find into a glass of water; it will drown the eggs and fleas. Flea feces is comprised largely of your dog’s blood, and will turn the water reddish brown, confirming the presence of fleas even if no adults are found.
  • During the height of infestation, bathe your dog weekly with a noninsecticidal soap; reduce this frequency as the flea problem diminishes, because over-frequent bathing can dry out the skin. Rinsing the dog completely to remove all soap will help prevent drying the dog’s skin, as will increasing the essential fatty acids in the dog’s diet. For dogs who are being bathed frequently, using a nonscented hypoallergenic shampoo, such as Logona Free Shampoo and Shower Gel (800-648-6654), will be less irritating to their skin.

 

OUTDOOR ENVIRONMENT

Outdoor flea populations can be controlled quickly and easily. Again, the focus here is on the 99 percent of the flea population: the nonadult stages of the flea.

  • Keep grass cut short, and rake leaves to prevent piles where flea eggs, larvae, and pupae can harbor.
  • Apply a mixture of water and food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) – a calcium dust ground from single-cell, ocean organisms – to your lawns, walkways and planting beds (anywhere your dog frequents). In wet, humid climates, apply every other month; in drier climates, you can apply this less frequently.

This application works as an abrasive and desiccant, physically drying out and destroying the adult fleas’ breathing organs as well as drying out and killing flea larvae. This process is inexpensive, and the flea cannot develop resistance to DE. Use a mask whenever handling DE; the dust can irritate the lungs.

 

INDOOR ENVIRONMENT

Indoor environment control is relatively simple, and like your outdoor control efforts, should focus on the largest part of the flea population – the nonadult stages.

  • Wash floors frequently. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are attracted to cracks and joints in floors.
  • Remove area rugs during the flea season. If you are considering a remodel or new construction, choose alternatives to wall-to-wall carpeting, such as cork, wood, ceramic, or linoleum (not vinyl) flooring.
  • Vacuum carpeting daily during most intense infestation, cutting back to once or twice a week when it is under control. Seal the vacuum bag each time and put it in a freezer to kill the fleas before reusing.
  • Wash your dog’s bedding at least once a week in hot water and a mild detergent, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide (a whitening agent).

 

SMALL, SMALL DANGER

So far, all the indoor approaches we discussed are nontoxic. The methods we’ll discuss next have some toxic properties. However, properly used, these are very safe – far safer than pesticides.

  • There are several chemically inert desiccant dusts, including diatomaceous earth (DE), that can be applied to your carpeting to effectively kill fleas in all their life stages. Use only food grade (natural) DE – avoid swimming pool grade. Use care when applying; keep animals out of the rooms being treated. Dusts can cause breathing problems in humans and animals and exacerbate asthmatic conditions. Do not use if any household members have asthmatic or upper respiratory conditions. Wear a mask when handling and apply close to the carpet surface (avoid creating airborne dust).

TINCTURE OF TIME

Sometimes the answer to our problem is very simple, but takes the one thing we seem to struggle with daily – time. Time to understand the full impacts of the flea product you are considering using, and time to create a healthy environment for your dog during the flea season, and year-round.

 

It does take more time for an IPM program to work than it would if you used pesticides. But it is important to understand that pesticide use can be dangerous to your family’s health. In her book Designer Poisons – about the dangers of pesticides – Dr. Marion Moses minces no words: “When we share metabolic or neuro pathways with insects, we are impacted by these chemicals. The difference is only in amount – just because it doesn’t kill humans or animals doesn’t mean it is not having damaging health effects.”

-via The Whole Dog Journal

 

Keep your Dog Calm on Halloween

Halloween is only a few days away so it’s time to make plans for your furry friends! TheBark.com had some great ideas to keep your fur babies safe and sound.

Halloween offers a very specific opportunity to protect your dog with a commitment to preventing trouble. Between the doorbell and the monsters (literally!) at the door, the night is far more trick-y than treat-y for most of our beloved canines. Many of them react with fear, excessive exuberance or even aggression.

Since this holiday happens only once a year, it’s hard to give dogs practice with the situations unique to it. Jumping up too far in the process can be damaging to dogs and actually set them back. Avoidance is a good route to go sometimes. This may mean staying in the back room with your dog while another member of the household answers the door and passes out candy. It may mean having your dog spend the evening visiting a friend who gets no visitors on Halloween. Another option is to put candy out on your porch with a note saying, “Take a piece of candy to save my shy dog from listening to the doorbell ring.” If you really want to go to extremes, you can turn your lights out, draw the shades, and pretend you’re not home. None of these options are ideal, but they all have the advantage of protecting your dog from getting overly excited or spooked this Halloween and exhibiting undesirable behavior as a result.

Life can be hard, and for many dogs, that is especially true on Halloween. Let’s not miss out on opportunities to make it easier when we can.

Join the Barkery for safe  Trick-or-Treating on Halloween from 3:00-5:00pm!

Pet Therapy

The love from a dog can do so much to brighten someone’s day. Molly and Ed Fangman have been brightening the days of others for quite a while now. This article from animalwellnessmagazine.com tells you of their amazing story.

Meet Molly and Ed Fangman. The personable boxer and her person make up a Pet Partners therapy animal team and have made more than 1,000 volunteer visits to schools, assisted living facilities, day care centers and other sites. They’ve comforted seniors near the end of life, calmed frightened children, and eased the pain of hospital patients.

Before becoming a therapy dog, Molly was a rescue. When just three years old, she barely survived Hurricane Katrina. Abandoned and scheduled to be euthanized, she was given another chance by Boxer Aid and Rescue Coalition in Tallahassee, Florida.

That’s how Ed met Molly. The Florida retiree had recently lost a boxer and didn’t know if he was ready for another dog, but agreed to take a look. When the two met, it was love at first sight.

Molly quickly settled into her new home and Ed realized she would make a perfect therapy dog. “She is the most lovable, affectionate dog,” he says. So he and Molly applied to Pet Partners to become a therapy animal team. The duo has been touching lives in the Tallahassee area for over a decade now.

Ed tells the story of one man in an assisted living facility they visited for about a year. Charlie used a wheelchair and usually sat alone – at least until Molly arrived. To his delight, she would sit right next to him, sometimes putting her front feet and head in his lap.

When Charlie took a turn for the worse, the team visited him in his room, and Molly lay on the bed next to him, resting her head on his stomach. On the shelf in Charlie’s room was a photo of a boxer that his daughter identified as a dog from his past named Princess.

Although Charlie was very weak, he turned to Molly and said quietly, “Princess is here to say hello. Thank you Princess – I love you so much.”

Charlie passed away before Ed and Molly’s next visit. His daughter said his last words to her were: “Thank you for bringing Princess to see me one last time.”

Ed says becoming a Pet Partners therapy animal team with Molly is the best thing he’s ever done. “This is the most fabulous experience of my life. It’s a great experience for Molly and the people we visit as well… everyone wins.”

 

Interested in getting an extra dose of  pet therapy? Stop on by the Barkery where there there is never a shortage of furry friends wondering around. Bring in your pet too and get a new treat for him!

Dog Poo – Let’s Probe Further

How is your dog’s poo affected by a raw diet? Dogs Naturally Magazine explains.

Those who already feed a raw, natural diet will be well aware of the numerous benefits of feeding as Mother Nature intended but many non-raw feeders may not be aware of one major plus to feeding a biologically appropriate diet: much less poo!

Many commercial canned or dried foods contain an often significant amount of fillers and carbohydrates – some as much as 70%.  Dogs are generally held to be carnivores, given their teeth, digestive systems and behavior (although this is a fiercely contested issue between vets, raw feeders and pet food companies) and most raw feeders agree that dogs are simply not designed to eat or process carbohydrates.  I frequently tell dog owners that if their beloved pet ran off today, he or she would not be found grazing the wheat fields, but chasing the rabbits.

Many dog food companies pack their products with carbs because they are usually cheap, last a very long time on the shelf and help bind their other kibble ingredients together. But, given that our dogs do not possess the digestive system or enzymes necessary to process these carbohydrates, feeding a diet packed with grains, rice or potatoes can have a number of serious repercussions:

  1. Feeding too many carbohydrates can result in the exacerbation of yeast issues, such as itchy feet and ear infections
  2. Starchy carbohydrates stick to the animal’s teeth, causing plaque and tartar (the dog’s natural enzymes are unable to keep the teeth clean from carbs, unlike when fed a raw diet)
  3. Cancers feed on sugars found in carbohydrates
  4. And finally, (and some might say most importantly), if the dog cannot fully process the food it is fed, it is wasted, and becomes poo – lots and lots of poo!

Ever been to a dog show and noticed a poor dog being dragged on a lead whilst leaving behind a very large, very smelly, very runny strip of poo?

Who hasn’t felt that pang of sympathy for the dog’s poor owner, trying to scrape up a small lake of soupy waste with one hand in a hastily found grocery bag, whilst with the other hand trying to control their dog? I guarantee you that somewhere in the crowd watching this cringeworthy spectacle is a group of raw feeders, knowingly nodding at each other, saying,

That’s not a raw fed dog!

For those who don’t know, the waste of a raw fed dog is usually much firmer, smaller, less smelly and generally easier to pick up as a result.  The reason why is simple: because the dog hasn’t eaten anything it cannot process or the body cannot use, there is very little wasted, resulting in very little waste.

The Experiment …

Someone I know once carried out a simple experiment. Personally I think she just had way too much time on her hands, but I have to applaud her efforts in the name of science! She weighed the dried food she was currently feeding her dog, and then weighed what came out the other end. She repeated that experiment for a number of days before changing her dog’s diet to a pre-made commercial raw diet, and then carried out the same procedure.

The results made for a very interesting discussion, and one which I have often now repeated to encourage others to switch their dog’s diet.

On a dried food, it turned out that her poor dog was excreting up to 70% of the ingredients which it had eaten the previous day.  Just imagine going into your local pet shop and buying a huge bag labelled “dog food”, only to find that it contained 70% dog poo – which you then had to dispose of.  You wouldn’t do it would you?  It is a complete waste of your hard earned money. 

Many already complain about the cost of feeding their dog – imagine the realization that 70% of that money spent could just be taken straight from your wallet, wrapped in a poo bag and chucked in to a landfill site!

After the change to a more species appropriate, raw diet, the percentage of waste excreted by this canine test subject plummeted to 30% – and most of that was undigested bone.

It may not sound a huge amount, but that 40% difference can be extremely noteworthy, especially for those with larger dogs.  It can mean the difference between struggling with a shopping bag and a tiny plastic bag….

Think about it – how much poo can you hold in one hand?

Let’s be honest, no one likes picking up dog waste, and we’re all a bit icky about handling that warm soft package our pets leave us on a daily basis, even if our hands are safely wrapped in layers and further layers of poo bags. It’s a chore we put up with because its the right thing to do, a very minor downside to the otherwise joyful life-changing experience that is being the guardian of a dog.

But – there are serious issues with dog waste about which every dog owner should be aware, no matter what diet you choose to feed:

  • Did you know that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies dog waste in the same category as oil spills?  It is actually considered a major pollutant.  To quote the EPA website: “Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife. Pet waste also contains nutrients that promote weed and algae growth (eutrophication).  Cloudy and green, eutrophic water makes swimming and recreation unappealing or even unhealthy.”
  • American dogs alone create more than 10,000,000 tons of waste per year.
  • It has been estimated that a single gram of dog waste can contain 23 million fecal coliform bacteria, which are known to cause cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans.  It can also contain campylobacteriosis, E.coli, giardia, parvo, tapeworms, roundworms, salmonella and coccidia.  Unless scooped up, some of these bacteria can hang around in the soil for years…..
  • Waste water treatment facilities are usually unable to filter bacteria from dog poo.  Therefore don’t flush it!
  • Dog waste is also a known major contaminant of our water – once washed from your lawn or yard in to the water system, the waste breaks down releasing ammonia and bacteria which use up the oxygen in the water causing damage to fish and other wildlife – and making water unsafe for recreational use.
  • 20% to 30% of the bacteria in random water samples have been shown to have originated from dog waste!
  • According to the EPA, two to three days of dog poo from 100 dogs has sufficient nasties to close a 20 mile stretch of coastline to swimming or the harvesting of shell fish.  (Anyone else never eating clams again?)
  • A study of air samples in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan found that 10-50% of the bacteria in the air came from dog poo. I doubt they put that in their tourism leaflets.

Are you now ready to make the switch to natrual dog food? If so, Brookside Barkery and Bath can help you make the switch. We have a wide variety of natural dog food and our experts can help you make the right selection. Come by one of our two locations and make the right choice for your dog.

Summer Fun with Your Dog

Here are 4 way to have a lot of fun with your dog this summer from Moderndogmagazine.com:

Did you know dogs can get sunburns?

Their noses are particularly susceptible but dogs with little or no fur can easily get sunburned all over their bodies. Epi-Pet makes a broad-spectrum FDA-compliant sunscreen formulated especially for dogs that is safe even if licked!

Frozen

Make your dog the ultimate summer treat! Get a container of your choosing, one matching your dog’s size. An empty yogurt or ice cream container is ideal but a bowl will totally do. Now get creative! Toss in all manner of treats and toys to thrill your dog: a squeaky rubber ball (not so small it could be swallowed, of course), a few blueberries, a small handful of little liver treats, bits of hot dog—the only rule of thumb is nothing that will get all soggy, like wheat-based treats. Then fill with water (you can add a bit of low-sodium beef or chicken broth if you’d like), pop it in the freezer, and wait until a hot afternoon to take it out. Briefly run the container under warm water to release the surprise-filled ice treat you’ve created then give it to your dog—outside of course!

Cool Runnings

Keep your hot dog cool on warm days. Take a regular bandana (cut it down to size if your dog is small) and run it under the tap before wringing it out, smoothing it into a triangle and placing it in the freezer. Leave it in there until it’s nice and icy cool or until the next hot day rolls around, then fasten around your dog’s neck for a welcome cool down!

Take to the water

The newest craze to hit lakes and oceans near you? SUP or Stand Up Paddle Board. Not only does this sport offer you a glorious vantage point from out on the water, it’s a lot of fun, and offers the bonus of abdominal strengthening as the balance it requires engages your core. But best of all it’s dog friendly! The large board is perfect for bringing along your water-happy dog! She can sit on the board as you paddle about. You’ll definitely want to outfit your dog with a lifejacket.

Animal Odor-It’s Science

If you have an animal companion, odors of one kind or another will become an issue at some point. It’s just the nature of the beast, so to speak. Animal Wellness Magazine’s article on animal odor will show scientifically what causes these odors, shedding some light on the not so pleasant smells that may be enveloping your home.

First, it’s important to understand what odor is and where it comes from. It seems simple, but the science of odor is actually very complex. Once you understand something about this science, it becomes clear why so many so-called odor eliminators fail to live up to their names.

Bacterial-based odors are the most prevalent in our environment and can be the most difficult and frustrating to eliminate. What your nose identifies as the odor is actually a very small gas molecule. It’s the natural by-product of bacteria eating and digesting a food source such as biological refuse (urine, feces, vomit or spoiled food). So scientifically speaking, there are three components to odor: refuse, bacteria eating the refuse, and what you smell as odor, the bacteria’s waste gas. These bacterial-based odors should not be confused with fungi odor (mold and mildew).

So now that you know what causes odor, and its components thereof, what can you do to eliminate it? Cleaning up the mess might seem like the obvious answer, but it’s impossible to remove every tiny trace of urine, feces, etc. using conventional methods. Think about dried cat urine, for example – no matter how much you scrub, the smell still seems to linger.

You could use air fresheners, candles or aerosols, but this kind of treatment either masks the odor with fragrances and perfumes, or attacks the waste gas molecule. Unfortunately, this only temporarily eliminates the gas produced by the bacteria. As the bacteria continue eating the traces of refuse still present, the odor will return rather quickly.

You could use bleach or a similar product, which attempts to kill the bacteria. This should theoretically eliminate the source of the odor, but unfortunately, it is impossible to eliminate all bacteria from the environment. When traces of refuse are still present, more bacteria will find it, happily eat it, and produce more waste gas. Consequently, before long, you will again smell the odor.

Unique Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator is a natural cleaning product that will eliminate all of your pet stains and odors on any surface that won’t be damaged by water. People want plain and simple products that work. This product is safe and it works, plain and simple. Pet Odor and Stain Eliminator is guaranteed to remove pet related stains and odors or Brookside Barkery will give you a full refund!

10 Things Humans Do That Annoy Dogs

Those ten annoying human habits are common breeches of canine custom. Might you be guilty of a few? See this list from Modern Dog to be able to better interact with your dog.

#1. Staring!

To a dog, stares often translate to challenge. Just watch your dog when he spots a squirrel—her level of fixation isn’t friendly interest. The last thing you should do is stare too long at a dog. Though you’ll probably have no problem with your own dog (note they still likely won’t love it), with others it might be interpreted as a challenge. Instead, ask people to look into your dog’s eyes for only a few seconds then break off. And never stare into the eyes of a dog who seems worried, edgy or aggressive!

#2. Yelling

Yelling is interpreted by your dog as angry barking, which to her means trouble. As a training technique, it works poorly to shut down bad behaviors and only serves to scare, confuse or agitate. Instead of yelling, stay calm and think tone. A deep tone to your voice means, “Hey, I’d like your attention,” while a lighthearted tone means “Good job!” or “Let’s play.” By adjusting vocal tone instead of volume, you’ll get your dog’s attention without annoying or scaring her.

#3. Teasing

Children can be especially guilty of teasing a dog. Barking back at them behind a fence, pulling on tails or ears, or even chasing after or wrestling with an unwilling dog are certainly annoying and can make dogs shy, insecure or even aggressive. Moving a dog’s dish while he eats, playing keep-away without ever letting the dog have the toy, or even endless laser pointer sessions can drive a dog bonkers, so lay off the teasing and be sure to reward your dog quickly after he performs a behavior correctly.

#4. Too Much Alone Time

Dogs are social animals and you and your family members comprise your dog’s pack. Dogs left alone in a home or yard for ten or more hours each day can develop a myriad of behavioral and psychological issues, including separation anxiety, excessive barking or digging, destructive behavior, or escaping. They can even lose housetraining skills and in the process trash your home.

Your dog is a member of your family and, as such, needs to spend time with you. If you work during the day and no one else can be home, ask a friend or neighbor to stop by once each day to take her for a walk. If that’s not possible, be sure to spend quality time with her when you return. A walk, a round of fetch—whatever makes her happy. When you are home, let your dog be around you. Interaction with others is critical to your dog’s wellbeing, so, however you do it, get her some company.

#5. Crowded Dog Parks

Crowded Dog Parks Many dogs get annoyed or defensive when thrown into a park filled with too many strange dogs. Think about suddenly being thrown into an elevator with twenty clowns and you’ll get the idea.

The same goes for doggie daycares. If your dog is sociable, she should get along with six or seven other dogs provided the space is large enough and the dogs well mannered. But increase the numbers or reduce the space and you’ll almost certainly see stress like pinned back ears, low tail carriage, yawning, avoidance, and even the occasional fight.
Is your dog sociable and physically capable of dealing with roughhousing? If so, try a park or daycare with a reasonable number of dogs (about one dog per 150 square feet). If she’s shy, opt instead for socializing her with a few dogs she knows or dogs who are gentle and laidback.  Avoid parks or daycare with high densities of frenzied dogs.

 

#6. Strange Dogs

Your dog will be wary of new animals entering your home. It’s a result of his natural, normal instinct to protect his home turf. But some people, thinking that all dogs instinctively love other dogs, let friends bring their dogs over for impromptu visits. This can annoy even the most congenial dog and might incite a skirmish.

Instead, first introduce any strange dog while on a walk. Then bring the new dog into your home on leash and have them both perform down/stays for a few minutes. Reward with treats then let them calmly interact. Pick up toys and chews beforehand to minimize arguments. If you have a fenced yard, let them then go out and burn off some social steam.

#7. Changes to Routine

Stick to the script. Dogs depend on routine. Feeding and elimination schedules, walks, playtime—your dog engrains these into her brain and expects them to happen each day without much variation. If you randomly change her dinner time, take her out later than usual, or even leave or arrive unpredictably, it can stress your dog and result in behavioral problems. As best as you can, stick to the same times, the same diet, the same ritual play activity—whatever is working. On days off, try not to sleep in too late. And, even if you’re tired, take her for that walk each morning before you go to work.

#8. Tight Leash

One aim of every dog trainer is a loose-leash walk, which shows that the dog is paying attention and focused. But most dogs today seem to drag their people down the street, the leash stretched tight behind them. This means that not only is the dog not paying attention, but also has constant tension on his collar or harness, which can lead to health problems. Though the dog technically creates the tension, it nevertheless annoys her.

Teach loose leash walking by changing the direction and speed of your training walks often and unpredictably. As soon as your dog seems to lose focus, do an about-face and walk the other way, keeping the leash as loose as possible. Slow to a crawl, speed up, circle left or right— whatever she isn’t expecting. When she responds to these position and speed changes, reward her with a tidbit that can be eaten on the move, with her beside you. You’ll soon have a focused, happy dog at the end of a loose leash.

#9. Inconsistency

Make up your mind already. You often invite your Golden Retriever to jump up on you when you get home from work. But when your mother comes over to visit, you chastise the dog for doing the exact same thing to her. This discrepancy confuses dogs, who can’t figure out what you want them to do. To avoid this, decide exactly on what you do and don’t want your dog to do, then stick to it. If jumping is not allowed, then the behavior should never be tolerated. If begging is undesirable, never offer food from your plate. Be as consistent as possible with the rules.

#10. Inadvertently Aggressive Greetings

Are you greeting or attacking? Most people do not know how to properly greet a dog. They crouch, stare, stretch their hand out, and talk in bizarre baby talk. This is a threatening way to greet a dog. First, the person’s crouch mimics a predator’s pre-attack posture. The stare is the second threat, only to be topped by the outstretched hand reaching into their space, begging for a nip. Not only is this an annoying way to greet a dog, it’s possibly dangerous.

The best way to greet a strange dog is not at all. Instead, greet the person with the dog. While doing so, the dog will sniff you and interpret that his person seems to be at ease with you. If the dog seems at ease and his person says it’s okay, you can then casually reach down and give the dog a quick pet on the head. That’s it.

 

How Do You Leash Train a Dog?

Now that the weather is finally nice, it is time to get out and walk our dogs more! This can be hard to do sometimes- either your dog is pulling you or you are pulling your dog. Here is an article from Pet360 that gives some tips on leash training your dog.

download (1)While many first time dog owners may think teaching their dog to walk on a leash is a breeze, the rest of us know it can be anything but. Between pulling your pup to walk and getting dragged behind them as they speed ahead, there’s a certain science to getting your dog to walk nicely. We’ve asked an expert to share her leash training tips.

The Difficulties of Dog Leash Training

A common mistake dog owners make then they start leash training their dogs is to use the leash like a steering wheel: pulling it left, right or back at you to get the dog to do what you want, says Pamela Barlow, certified professional dog trainer at the ASPCA adoption Center. It seems natural, but it’s unfortunately not an effective way to train your dog. Signs of a poorly trained pup can include constant pulling on the leash or not paying attention to the handler, while signs of a poorly trained handler can also include constant pulling on the leash and neglecting to use their voice to praise their dog, Barlow said. Poor leash manners can also be a dog’s way of expressing their energy needs. If they haven’t had the opportunity to run or get proper exercise, they may be prone to pulling constantly.

Steps for Dog Leash Training

As impossible as it seems, you can absolutely teach your dog to walk nicely on a leash at any age. The first day you take home your pup, whether they’re eight weeks or eight years old, say a phrase like, “let’s go” while encouraging your dog to stay close to you with food, toys or verbal praise, Barlow says.

“After they’ve learned that this cue means to stick with you, attach a leash to your dog and let it drag on the ground while you practice,” she says. “When you’re very good at staying together, pick up the leash, say [the cue] and enjoy a leisurely stroll.”

Once you’re on a walk, keep your dog within a certain distance of you and encourage them to look at you regularly throughout your walk. Do this using positive reinforcement like toys, praise, or food in a quiet area before moving to a new area like a busy sidewalk or park, Barlow says.

Tips for Teaching Your Pup to Walk Nicely

Here are some additional tips from Barlow to help get you and your pup on the fast track to perfect leash walking:

  • Keep your dog’s attention on you by using your voice and body language before directing with a leash and if you exercise your dog before you walk by throwing a ball or playing a game in the house, you’ll have an easier time getting their attention and walking down the street.
  • Using toys and treats will make leash-training fun for both you and your dog. Another thing to keep in mind? Your attitude! “Dogs walk wonderfully with handlers that are ‘tuned in’ to them, making the walk fun,” Barlow says.
  • Find a leash length you’re comfortable with and stick to it. This keeps the expectation of how close your dog needs to be to you consistent and will help them catch on to training. Mark the leash with a knot, marker or piece of tape as a reminder of what your ideal length is.
  • If your dog’s an expert puller, try a harness or head halter to help. Just be sure to follow the directions of these devices carefully, as they have specific instructions about the sizing and proper use.