May 17, 2012 by Jill
May 2, 2012 by Jill
Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke in Dogs
As spring brings on the warmer weather we are outside playing with our dogs more and being prepared is key to the health and happiness of your dogs.
Being prepared before you go out hiking, to the dog park, throwing the ball in your own backyard on a hot day and knowing the signs of heat exhaustion can save your dogs life. Dogs do not regulate their playtime so it’s our responsibility to monitor their play. Their normal body temperature is between 101 and 102 and they can overheat quickly, way before we notice the signs. It can be dangerous, even fatal, for dogs. Here are some simple things that you can do to protect your dog from the dangers of heat exhaustion.
Preventing Heat Exhaustion
In most cases, heat exhaustion is preventable.
Always keep a bottle of water in your car and bring water with you on your walks or hikes, enough for both of you. Dog’s won’t regulate themselves so it is our duty to know these signs to ensure their safety.
- Never leave your dog untended in your car, even if the temperature is mild. In a locked car, the temperature can climb rapidly to 110 or more. A cracked window will not prevent your dog from overheating and suffering heat stroke. You may have parked in the shade when you left your dog yet the sun shifts and an unexpected delay could endanger your dog’s life!
- Dog’s should have access to shade and fresh water while outdoors. If the temperature is very warm, outdoor access should be limited to short periods of time and the dog should be housed indoors.
- If your dog is working in warm weather, be prepared to offer him water at regular intervals and understand that he may drink more water than usual under these circumstances.
- Use caution with dogs that are obese, have respiratory difficulties, are geriatric or are otherwise unhealthy. These dogs may be more prone to heat exhaustion than other dogs.
- In addition, short-nosed breeds such as Pugs, Boxers, etc are at higher risk of heat exhaustion that other dogs.
Recognize the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
Dogs suffering from heat stroke will normally exhibit any or all of the following:
- Panting with tongue becoming larger and thicker often times unable to fit in the mouth.
- Increased respiratory rate
- Increased heart rate
- Excess salivation
As the symptoms progress and go unnoticed, the dog’s body temperature increases and signs become even more serious.
• Tongue and gum color may become brick red, then purple or blue (cyanosis)
Treatment of Heat Exhaustion
If you believe your dog is suffering from heat exhaustion, seek veterinary care immediately. When they are at this stage they will often times refuse water for drinking however it’s important to begin to cool their body down by putting water directly on them and on their feet. Don’t use cold water as it can worsen the situation.
Spring has sprung so here’s to wishing you happy and safe tails on trails.
February 9, 2012 by Jill
Dog Bite: Misunderstood Body Language
Channel News 9 Anchor Kyle Dyer Unnecessarily Bitten
There were a lot of mistakes that happened not only on the TV interview but also from the preceding day’s dramatic event of Max’s near drowning in frigid waters. I will approach this whole very sad story from an educational standpoint.
Let’s begin at the beginning. This dog was off leash and did not have a solid recall (come command). He was chasing a coyote and ended up on this icy pond when they both fell through the ice. We have all seen the footage of the rescue by the fire fighter. If the owner had been responsible this never would have happened. This dog was not properly trained and the cost of this irresponsibility has been devastating in a myriad of ways. Our tax dollars were unnecessarily spent when the fire fighter rescued the dog, the trauma to the dog from the near drowning, the law suit and trial dollars that will need to be spent, the quarantine the dog is now subjected to, the cost of the medical bills and worst of all Kyle Dyer, who was bitten in the face has to deal with the physical and emotional trauma and none of this should have happened.
This dog never got to recover from his trauma, instead was dragged onto a TV set and put in front of a lot of strangers and an irresponsible dog owner who was probably still recovering from the incident as well. The folks at Channel 9 News did not do their due diligence in fact finding about the dog, the owner and or physical and emotional state of the dog. All of this served to be one big set up for this dog to fail. I am not by any means saying it was everyone else’s fault. What we are dealing with here is our complete lack of understanding of a dog’s psyche and how to read their signs of stress. When any animal is trying to convey signs of stress and their messages aren’t being received it’s an instinct to defend themselves. Max was doing his best to say “GET OUT OF MY SPACE!” We need to know these signs and potential dangers inherent in dogs, all dogs when they feel threatened or stressed and can’t find a way OUT.
I watched the video several times and the dog was telling Kyle Dyer that he was uncomfortable the entire time that she was petting him. The owner was reading the signs but he neglected to tell her to stop. If you look closely at the video you can see the owner had a very tight hold on Max’s collar and he was giving little tugs while she was petting him and getting closer to his face. The dog was trying to tell her to stop. ALL his body language was saying STOP and no one came to his rescue. He was pinned in between the owners legs (a defensive den behavior position) with no where to escape and the owner was adding to his fears with very tight tension on his collar/neck and in the dogs mind he was being threatened and had to defend himself.
If we learn the body language and energy of dogs there would be a lot less biting going on and everyone would be so much safer.
There is a huge lesson to be learned by this horrific situation and that is that we need to learn how to read the signs dogs are telling us. We need to learn what their ears, eyes, lips, body stance, tension in their body is telling us, to know when they are afraid so we can remove the dog or ourselves from a potentially scary and dangerous situation. This would eliminate dogs from biting and people getting hurt and/or killed. Dogs are animals first and we go around as if we are not dealing with a species that can bite and kill if they feel threatened. They will!
October 4, 2011 by Jill
How to Distinguish an Ethical Dog Breeder From an Unethical Dog Breeder
A breeder, is a breeder, is a breeder, right? As a matter of fact, breeding dogs is a highly scientific endeavor that requires both extensive knowledge of genetics and deep integrity. Without these two major components, dog breeding has become one of the easiest and fastest ways to make a quick buck. Let’s start by defining types of dog breeders.
Ethical, or reputable, breeders demonstrate knowledge of their breed’s history, genetics, traits, temperament and conformation. They have years of experience with the breed and abide by their breed club Code of Ethics. They have a great passion for their breed and show their dogs to championship levels to represent the standards and improve the quality of the line. Ethical breeders know about genetics to the extent that they perform required genetic testing. Different breeds are susceptible to different problems; eyes, heart, hips, skin and they test and get certified accordingly to improve the quality of their bloodlines. An ethical dog breeder is willing to disclose any problems or defects in their line and submit any data about their dogs, puppies to the AKC or their breed club.
Ethical dog breeders are relentlessly committed to finding their pups a good home. If you’re a potential buyer, and haven’t faced a barrage of questions about your home, family, habits, yard, lifestyle, work hours and more, chances are you’re dealing with a backyard breeder or worse, a puppy mill. Ethical breeders care deeply about their dogs and even require new owners to agree that if the pup doesn’t work out for any reason, at any time, it will be returned to them. An ethical breeder will have their pups checked by a veterinarian before they go their new homes and will provide a full, lifetime guarantee, covering genetic disease and temperament problems. Reputable breeders offer guidance and advice to buyers for the lifetime of the dogs. They are not in it for the money, as most of the capital goes right back in to the breeding program, paying for genetic testing, showing, vet bills, and so on.
A backyard breeder is a slang term for a casual dog breeder that breeds dogs for fun and money. A step above a puppy mill, these breeders are not particularly educated about the breed, history, traits, temperament or conformation. They do not even know that a Code of Ethics exists—and if they did, they would not be breeding. They do not show their dogs and are not concerned with improving the quality of their bloodline. They’ll breed poor quality dogs that don’t meet the standards of the breed. Be aware that AKC (the American Kennel Club) is a registered organization, but is not equipped to monitor or screen breeders or their dogs. Anyone can have an AKC registered dog. For example, if I have a registered Golden Retriever, and you have a registered Golden Retriever, we can breed our dogs and sell them as AKC registered puppies. However, neither of us has any knowledge as to their genetic history, disease, temperament, and so on. We could then quite possibly breed pups that will develop hip dysplasia, heart disease, eye problems, auto-immune disease, and more. Since backyard breeders are in it for the money, they don’t spend it on showing, temperament testing or vet bills. Backyard dog breeders rarely do any testing beyond the parents, a far cry from testing for three to five (and more) generations back, which is how knowledge of their line and pedigree is developed and confirmed. They will not disclose anything, as most do not know what to disclose, having no knowledge of the history of their line.
Screening potential buyers is the last thing a backyard breeder is worried about. Some will ask a few questions, but most are just happy to have you come, purchase a pup and be on your way. Even unsuitable potential buyers aren’t turned down. Backyard breeders are notorious for selling puppies that are far too young so that they do not have to pay for food once the pups have been weaned. If you are allowed to pick up your puppy before it is eight weeks old you can be certain you are purchasing from a backyard breeder. Ethical breeders will not allow their dogs to go to a new home before eight weeks of age; most won’t let them go sooner than 10 weeks. Backyard breeders provide no guarantees and their pups will not have been checked by a veterinarian prior to your purchase. You might get a bit of advice, but take it with a grain of salt, as their knowledge is lacking, other than on a very general level.
How much is that doggy in the window?
Puppy mills are the lowest rung on the breeding ladder. These puppy factories keep animals in shockingly poor conditions, feed sub-standard food, and provide no love, comfort, toys or companionship. Despite efforts to shut them down, puppy mills continue to thrive because people keep buying puppies from pet stores or legitimate-looking web sites. Puppies are cute—but puppy mills are cruel and contribute greatly to animal suffering and overpopulation.
Be aware of Designer Mutts—the Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Pugles, Cavapoos, and so on. Years ago, if my Labrador bred with your Poodle, we wouldn’t be able to give them away. Today, they are called Designer Mutts, and can be purchased for the amazing sum of $3000 to $5000. As cute as they are, when you purchase a designer dog, you contribute to the craze of poorly bred dogs, unethical dog breeding, and furthering an unrealistic market. I encourage you to do your homework and purchase responsibly. If you can, go to your local shelter and adopt a dog.
• Backyard breeders are responsible for 2/3 of the dogs for adoption in shelters. 1/3 of these dogs are purebreds.
• AKC (American Kennel Club) is a registry just like the DMV is. Just because my car is registered with the DMV, it does not guarantee the quality of my car. AKC registration does not assure the quality of a dog.
• CKC (Continental Kennel Club) is puppy mill registry, and has no standards or regulations.
• There are between 4,000 and 6,000 animal shelters in the United States.
• Average numbers of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year is two.
• Average number of puppies in a letter is 6-10.
Huge numbers of dogs are being bred irresponsibly, solely for the money. No wonder our shelters are full, and so many dogs are euthanized each and every year. Choose wisely.
August 30, 2011 by Jill
How to Know if Your Veterinarian is a Good Doctor?
Many of us are guilty of putting doctors on a pedestal, making them into somewhat of a godlike figure. We often do this with our veterinarian, as well.
Veterinarians have an even more difficult job diagnosing illness, because the animals can’t speak for themselves. I don’t say this as if you don’t know this, rather to help you realize the importance of really explaining all the details, even the ones you think are small, or might be silly. These minute details can often be the crux of what the veterinarian might need, in order to make a proper diagnosis.
The problem with finding a good veterinarian has many facets. It is a rare doctor who really listens to their clients…(owners know their animal best.) Unfortunately, in vet school, they are not required to take courses in communication and listening skills. In their 4 yrs of vet school, they learn the general information that they will need to treat patients. There are those individuals who go to school to further their education and specialize in a specific field, i.e. horses, dogs, cats, birds, eyes, orthopedics, surgery, etc. The general small or large animal veterinarian is educated yet limited to a general practice, thus, making listening to their patients owner, more crucial in helping to treat the animal.
In this light, here are several things you can do to find out if your veterinarian is a good doctor.
• Ask about their education and if they did any kind of special training, i.e. internships or residencies.
• Ask people in your community who they would recommend and beware of recommendations due to bedside manner only, or the fact that they may be inexpensive. While bedside manner is very important, if that is their only claim to fame, then this would not be sufficient to the practice of good doctoring.
• Your veterinarian should be able to admit he doesn’t know something and refer you for a 2nd opinion or a specialist. They should be able to admit that they are wrong and learn from their experience.
• You, the owner, know your animal best and are keenly aware of any changes in behavior, weight, eating habits, all the little nuances of your animal. Therefore, it is imperative that your veterinarian is able to listen to everything you have to say when you bring your pet for an examination. No matter what you are bringing your animal in for, there should ALWAYS be a thorough physical examination and history that is being written down in your records, so that your veterinarian may refer to it, at a later date, if needed for further diagnosis. If you are getting the feeling that your veterinarian is ignoring you or intimating that you might be too anxious an owner, this is a clue you might heed in finding another veterinarian. Always listen to your gut. If you have the slightest feeling that you are not being heard, go to another vet. Veterinarians ALWAYS need to listen to you,
• Veterinarians who have a sole practice, that is, only one veterinarian in the office, could lead to problems if this vet is not tightly knit w/ his community/colleagues of veterinarians to be able to consult with them, especially if they are fresh out of school. It may be best to seek out a hospital where there are several vets so that they can consult with each other. Please be very aware of hospitals that are owned by a corporation, (a chain of veterinarian hospitals), as there is little accountability and competence, in my opinion.
• The Internet has a plethora of information at our fingertips, and it is becoming more common that pet owners are finding their diagnosis online and then bringing their findings to their veterinarians, which has been a godsend to many animals. If your veterinarian is not OK with your findings and takes it personally, this is a sign that you are in the wrong hands. Your veterinarian should be willing to discuss and learn from you.
Maintaining the health of your pet is a team effort and you need a doctor who is willing to do whatever it takes to maintain this delicate healthy balance.
May 17, 2011 by Jill
Let’s look at this from a different angle for a moment. Dogs are much like us in that they have good days and bad days. Have you had a really stressful day and when you get home, a family member demands your attention the minute you walk in the door and you “snap” at them. I can’t tell you how many times I get a call from a client saying “He just doesn’t like some people” or “He was fine before he bit him”. I say– that all the signs were there in the dogs’ body language and they went unnoticed because the owners didn’t know what to look for.
All dogs are capable of biting whether or not they are timid, reactive, and assertive or even the friendliest dog on the planet. If the stressors are there any dog can and will bite.
The key to preventing dogs from biting is exposure to everything and anything you can think of and knowing the warning signs of a stressed dog. Do you know when your dog is relaxed and happy? Do you know when your dog is getting overwhelmed or stressed? If not, then you must learn the body language signals and know when they change one way or the other.
Here’s a short clip of a fearful or timid dog and ask yourself it the conditions were right could this dog bite?
A dog that bites even for the first time is under accumulated stress and this accumulation of stressors can cause any dog to bite. A fear biter is a dog that has been under-socialized or abused. A protest biter is a dog that fears someone or something is threatening his territory or threatening to take away his toy or food or abused. When a dog is exposed to these stressors and you are not aware that the dog is stressed, (aware of the dogs body language) the dog can bite.
Dogs have different degrees of tolerance to stressors or triggers. Some dogs are stressed around too many dogs, some are stressed at the groomer or vet, some dogs get triggered when they hear certain noises, some are fearful around small children or men with hats on, or someone walking with crutches, or riding in the car. Every dog has a different level of tolerance for any number of triggers and accurately identifying these stressors is important in knowing how to work with your dog to effectively modify their behavior. When these stressors accumulate over time and go unmanaged, your dog can get into trouble and become a biter.
I want to share a story about a dog I worked with recently. The call I got was that the dog was out of control around other dogs while walking on leash. When I came to the home to meet the dog I had the owners have their dog on leash outside their home while I walked up with my dog. We had never met before, so my dog would be a strange dog to this dog. My dog is a very confident non-threatening dog so as we approached my client with her dog on leash, nothing happened. Their dog was not out of control but stood calmly with a little anxiety waiting for us to approach, which we did confidently, right up to them. The owner said “Wow, she’s never been so calm, normally she would have been barking and lunging and running forward then back behind me and forward again” I knew what was really going on. Their dog sensed my dogs and my confidence as we approached them and the owner was also confident in just having me there knowing that I would handle anything that could go wrong. What does this mean? The dog was paying attention to my dogs and my body language and energy and didn’t feel threatened in any way. The dog didn’t feel her owners normal sense of urgency around her potential “out of control” behavior so the dog matched all of our calm energy and remained calm. This didn’t surprise me but the owner was sure surprised. At this point I put my dog back in the car and went inside the owners home with the dog. This was a 14-month-old dog who when we got inside and the leash was taken off, ran for cover into a corner in the kitchen. This is not normal behavior for a young dog, so I walked towards her and she began to bark and growl at me while huddling in the corner. I asked the owners if this was normal behavior with company coming into the home to which they said “We rarely have company and when we do she’s afraid of them and goes and hides.” Upon further questioning I found out that this dog was the victim of unintentional neglect. Both parents were working with 4 children under the age of 11 (all boys) and no one with the time to do what was needed to have the dog become the well-adjusted dog she should have been at this age. She was a Portuguese Water Dog who needs plenty of exercise, training and socialization with dogs and people, consequently became fearful of both. Because of this lack of training, socialization and exercise she had a lot of pent up energy and was unmanageable in the home with this many children and got either tethered to a cable or locked in a crate much of the time. This was a set up for failure on many counts. This young unintentionally neglected dog was showing all the signs of stress on leash with people and dogs yet since the owners didn’t know that these were warning signs they didn’t know that she could become a biter as she grew into an adult dog. It never occurred to them that this sweet shy puppy would or could ever turn into a biter. The truth is this is a perfect set up for a bite.
If we look at this particular dogs stressors or triggers: new people in the home, dogs on leash, strangers walking by the home, strangers wanting to greet her while on leash, someone approaching her while tied up—this accumulation of stressors in a designated time period without any stress relief can be the cause of a bite. Dogs never bite without warning. The signs of walking away, retreating to a corner, walking behind you when someone approaches, barking and lunging at dogs while on leash are all warning signals that went unheeded.
If you have a dog that you are concerned about its biting, please call me or hire a qualified behavioral specialist if you are not in my area, who can help you identify these warning signals and begin new strategies to set you and your dog on the right path into being the loving dog she really wants to be. Without your help your dog has no choice but to protect herself from her fears.
May 10, 2011 by Jill
Pick your poison
Summer is here and that means fleas, ticks, hot spots and the problem of how to rid our pets of these nasty bloodsucking, disease-laden parasites. The dilemma lies in the fact that most flea and tick products themselves are nasty, chemical-laden toxins. The most recommended flea and tick products—Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution—are made with chemicals that are toxic to our pets. Frontline is a class C carcinogen and works systemically, entering the animal’s bloodstream. Advantage and Revolution stay in the subcutaneous (skin) layers and are less invasive, but still somewhat so, and toxic. Fipronil, selamectin, and imadocloprid are the chemical agents in these spot-on products, and are also found in shampoos and sprays.
The U.S. EPA pressures the FDA to increase the safety of toxic spot-on flea and tick products for our pets.
With reported cases of skin allergies, auto-immune disorders, and even cancer and death caused by flea and tick products, the EPA is seeking to increase the standards for their quality control and safety. Many products are also toxic to aquatic life, sickening fish and wildlife who live in or drink from polluted streams and rivers.
The drug companies studied these products on rats and mice, but typically for only three to six months, with no longitudinal studies looking for long-term effects. It’s possible that these products may very well be a contributing factor in so many new diseases in our pets now that we did not see years ago.
Not only are we poisoning our pets and the environment, we are jeopardizing the health of our own families in order to solve a problem that is very easily managed by natural and non-toxic alternatives. You can care for your pets, family and the environment in a healthier way.
Natural—or naturally poisonous?
Natural, regrettably, does not necessarily mean non-toxic: When it comes to flea and tick control, almost all of “natural” products are harmful to you, your children, your pets and the environment. Natural products are suspect for two reasons. In some cases, a natural plant-derived component is combined with toxic chemicals to create the end product. In other cases, the plant-derived component is itself toxic to animals, though it might be safe for humans. Some wonderful essential oils are highly toxic to cats: Tea tree and pennyroyal oils, for example, can cause severe allergic and/or toxic reactions. Toxic pyrethrin is an insecticide that comes from chrysanthemum and d-Limonene from citrus.When we use these products, a toxic chain of events is set in motion. Our pets’ immune systems are depressed. Fleas and ticks develop an increased resistance to these products, which then have to be made stronger in order to work, escalating the ripple effect of toxic pollution to our precious loved ones and Mother Earth.
Please don’t be fooled by the word “natural”. It is nothing more than a brilliant advertising scheme. Consider the following statements found on the labels of so-called natural and safe flea and tick control products.
“Avoid contact with skin.”
“Harmful or fatal if swallowed.”
“This product is toxic to fish, birds and other wildlife.”
“Harmful if absorbed through skin.”
“Harmful if inhaled.”
“Avoid contact with eyes, skin or clothing.”
“Keep out of reach from children.”
Does this sound like something you want to put on your pets who then get stroked, loved, brushed and cuddled by your loved ones?
A healthy pet has a healthy immune system and a healthy immune system is not as tasty to fleas and ticks. If we start by feeding our pets healthy foods, and manage our home in a safe, environmentally friendly way, we can keep our animals, children and planet free from these nasty chemicals.
Managing fleas in your home
Our inside home environment is probably the best breeding ground for fleas which lay their eggs in carpets, rugs, and some furniture. Boric acid is a non-toxic powder that kills the fleas and larvae. This treatment is completely safe and lasts one full year. Flea Stoppers and Fleabusters are two common, easy to find boric acid flea powder products and can be found online or in select pet stores. You can administer these yourself or have it professionally done.
Pets get the spa treatment
Managing our pets at the same time that we manage our home environment is crucial. After reducing the flea population in our homes, taking care of our pets gets easier and easier. Use a flea comb daily. Pull the little jumpers off the comb and put them into a bowl of water to drown while you work. (It’s very satisfying.) Bathe your animals with a non-toxic shampoo, massaging the soap through the fur for 10 minutes to make sure fleas have drowned. The massage makes bathing much more enjoyable for both of you. Cats on the other hand are more difficult to bathe, but often love being combed frequently. Bear in mind that fleas are sneaky little blood suckers and will scurry around to his back while you’re combing his stomach. Be thorough, comb the whole animal, and keep an eye out for renegades.
Fleas also live outside in the grass. If taking care of your house and animals doesn’t stop the problem, it might be time to add nematodes to your lawn. These microscopic worms eat flea larvae in the grass, killing them naturally. Nematodes are safe for the outdoor environment, for your pets and your family—and are very easy to apply. Find them at your local gardener supply or online at http://www.fleabusters.com.
Managing your home environment is easier than you think. It’s so much healthier for you and yours, too, that the thought of putting chemicals on your pets will be a thing of the past. I know sometimes it seems as though putting a few drops of something on your pets once a month is the most convenient and effective way to treat the flea and tick situation, but once you realize what the cost of using these products truly is, you may become a convert.
Hot spots are an allergic reaction to fleas and occur when your dog licks himself so much that the skin develops a bacterial infection. If you are diligent in your efforts to manage your home and your pet, your efforts will pay off tremendously. Sometimes though, hot spots happen, and can easily get out of control. The saliva in the dog’s hair creates a moist environment ripe for bacterial growth. You’ll want to shave or cut the hair around the hot spot, clean it with hydrogen peroxide and then let the air do the healing. It will heal naturally without a trip to the vet for medication. The most common medical treatment for hot spots is a steroid, which only further debilitates the health of your pets.
With a bit of knowledge and effort on our part, we can help our pets live longer and healthier lives, keep our families safe, and contribute to a healthier environment.
April 13, 2011 by Jill
TRAVELING WITH YOUR DOG
If your are camping… is there a water source for your dog? If not, make sure to include Fido in your plans because he is surely going to be on the go much more than he is at home and given the water shortages, there may be limited water in campgrounds and on backpacking trips. Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Ease into activities so your dog can acclimate herself. Bring portable water/feed bowls that can attach to your hip or backpack.
Make sure your dog is used to the car before you go on a long trip. Take lots of shorter trips in the weeks before travel. Make sure you have good training under her belt, so when you stop at a rest stop your dog is safe and won’t jump out of the car. If it’s hot and you have to leave your dog in the car for short periods, park in the shade even if it means walking a good distance to your destination. If it’s 90 degrees outside, it can warm up to 120 in about 5 minutes. Leave all four windows cracked so that there is ventilation and a water bowl in the car.
Make sure your dog is crate trained, that is comfortable in a crate for weeks before travel to help lessen anxiety. Don’t feed your dog before travel. You don’t want him to get sick in his crate and you don’t want her to have to go potty. You can feed when you arrive and fasting one meal is actually good for your dog. She’ll be much more comfortable. Make sure you have all the necessary health documents before you get to the airport. Arrive in time for one last potty break and ask if you can wait till the last possible minute to board your dog. Less time in the crate the better. Only book a non-stop flight. This will prevent the potential loss of your dog in switching flights, and less handling of the crate and less travel time.
Even if you hike regularly chances are the terrain is different than what your dog may be accustomed to. Beware of rocky trails and cuts on the pads of the feet. Make sure you have an extra leash in case you need to hoist him up a steep trail or help across a rushing stream/river. Bring first aid for you dog as well. Bring portable water/food bowls. Camelbak backpack has extra bladders for water that will fit inside with your own water bladder. Make sure dog has his current tags on in case he gets lost. Please make sure your dog has sufficient training under her belt, so she comes when you call and is well socialized with other dogs and won’t bother wildlife.
If you plan on having your dog pack his own food and water, be sure to do some trial runs at home for weeks before travel, so he can get used to the extra weight and learn how to balance on hills around trees and single track trails and swimming.
If your dog isn’t used to wildlife, you can all be in for quite an adventure. Most important is to have a trained dog. LEAVE IT is a good command to know because you can use it when she sees a deer, a cow, even a rattle snake. Know the habits of the wildlife in the area you will be traveling so there won’t be any surprises along the way. Know how far you are from the closest emergency vet and bring a first aid kit for your dog as well as yourself.
Many hotels allow dogs and have areas just for you pets. Check online and in books for dog friendly places.
Don’t leave your dog in the car overnight, even if you are close by. Bring him into your tent with you at night. Even if your dog is used to the car, staying in a new place can have your dog be on alert and bark at every little sound keeping camping neighbors awake during the night, invite other critters into the site like coyotes and wolves. If your dog is in your tent with you, you will be able to better manage him.
Don’t leave his food or water bowl out. This will invite raccoon, bear, deer and other wildlife to your campsite. Don’t leave food in your car either, as this can still attract bear.
Bring extra bowls, leashes, food and water as one should always be prepared for anything when traveling.
jill, the shewhisperer
March 10, 2011 by Jill
Certified or Licensed Dog Trainer? What Does it Mean?
It’s important to know that there are only two types of state and federally licensed dog trainers: Guide dog trainers, who train Seeing Eye dogs for the blind, and Sentry dog trainers who train police dogs. These two are the only types of dog trainers licensed by the state. ALL other trainers are unlicensed. Defining a “certified dog trainer” is a bit ambiguous at this time. What I mean is that there are many trainers who simply decided to become a dog trainer, who have little—or a lot—of experience, and perhaps even went to a school to get certified. Therefore, the field is wide open to anyone who feels they possess some knowledge of dog training and wants claim themselves a ‘dog trainer‘. Yet there is only one University Program where one can get a degree in Dog Studies. The Bergin University of Canine Studies and is based on universally adapted and agreed-upon standards by state and federal agencies.
Schools that offer dog-training certification programs are neither licensed nor registered with state or federal agencies. Those that offer dog training programs and award titles such as APDT, CCPDT or IACP have come into being in the last 15 years. They were started by a group of well-known and respected dog trainers who formed an organization and developed a “certification” test for trainers. The testing requirements and ongoing educational seminars are a wonderful set of standards and tools to help regulate the field of dog trainers. While this is a good attempt at regulation, taking these tests does not guarantee that the end result is a qualified dog trainer. While I am highly in favor of these organizations to create ethical dog-training standards, it’s important to understand that these are dues paying membership organizations based on passing their test yet they neither endorse nor follow up on any of their members.
The best advice I can give? Listen to your intuition: Is the trainer coaching you about dog body language and energy and how to be a leader in a positive way? If you want an in-depth understanding of dogs and their behavior and how to have a well mannered pet companion, choose wisely, ask friends, your veterinarian for referrals and remember—training should be fun for you and your dog!
March 10, 2011 by Jill
Establishing Leadership With Your Dog
- Exhibit body language and energy that clearly shows you are a leader. Leaders are calm, authoritative, and confident. Dogs match a leader’s energy, not the other way around!
- Use the correct tone of voice, or pitch—it’s as critical to leadership as your body language and energy.
- Command Tone: a normal, calm, speaking pitch
- Praise Tone: a higher, excited, happy pitch
- Correction Tone: a deep, firm, disappointed pitch—not yelling
- Understand that obedience work forms the foundation for gaining a dog’s respect.
- Do obedience work in locations with distractions, once the dog has been taught a new command.
- Use every interaction you have with your dog—playing, walking, mealtimes—as an opportunity to establish leadership.
- Don’t issue commands unless you’re prepared to follow through. Don’t repeat commands once you are certain your dog knows the command. Dogs know when you aren’t serious and become desensitized to both your voice and the commands! (In other words, they will TUNE YOU OUT!)
- Don’t threaten or challenge any dog by leaning over it and imposing the alpha dog stance. NEVER act like a dog: don’t growl, bite, snarl, or otherwise act like an alpha dog. Don’t hit, use the alpha roll, or harm your dog in any way. Force will only bring out fear and aggression.
- Respond, don’t react.
- Praise your dog after a full completion of a command or activity—not midway through.
- Have fun with your obedience work; be creative and set up fresh challenges. Your dog mirrors your energy and emotional state. If you’re having fun, your dog will too!