5 Ways Owning a Dog Improves Your Mental Health

It is well known that dogs are the ultimate companions. They offer friendship and comfort to children and adults alike. But dogs can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Particularly for those with PTSD, dogs can provide emotional support and reduce loneliness. Here are five ways that owning a dog can improve your mental health:

Dogs Can Decrease Stress and Anxiety

When feeling anxious or overwhelmed, petting your dog can relax you. The repetitive motion of stroking the dog’s fur and focusing on the rhythm can recenter your thinking and provide a calming influence. Oxytocin is also released when you connect with your pet, which reduces cortisol levels and reduces anxiety and stress.

Dogs Get You Out of the House

It is common for those struggling with depression, anxiety or PTSD to isolate themselves and to avoid leaving the house. However, a dog needs its owner to take him out for walks or for play. This exercise releases endorphins, which increases positive feelings and reduce sensations of pain. Even the exposure to sunshine and fresh air can improve stress levels and depression symptoms.

Dogs Will Listen to You

It can be embarrassing or overwhelming to discuss feelings of depression or anxiety with friends or family for fear of judgment. Dogs, however, offer a sympathetic and unbiased ear, and provide love and comfort regardless of what their owner has to say. Talking through problems or concerns with your dog can have therapeutic effects that positively impact mental health symptoms.

Dogs Provide You With Purpose

When bombarded with anxious and negative thoughts, it can be hard to find value in everyday life. The act of caring for a dog provides an owner with purpose and responsibility, which has been shown to improve mental health. Feeding the dog, taking him outside and playing with him allows for a positive focus on your mental and emotional energy.

Dogs Bring You Joy

Dogs are playful and eager by nature, which can be contagious. Whether playing throw and catch or snuggling on the couch, happy moments with your dog can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin helps to regulate mood, improve your sense of wellbeing, and keep depression at bay.

Training might seem a bit daunting at first, but there are plenty of resources available to help you out! While owning a dog will not cure mental illness, caring for and spending time with your dog can make a positive impact. The everyday routines of walking, playing with, and engaging with your dog can increase neurotransmitters that boost your mood and improve your mental health.

References:

How Dogs Can Help Combat Vets with PTSD | Low VA Rates

What Dogs Teach Us about Peace, Joy, and Living in the Now | Tiny Buddha

Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog. | The New York Times

5 Surprising Benefits of DOGA—Yoga with Fido

Yoga has taken a novel form ‘doga’, which is based on the concept of doing yoga with a companion. However, the companion in doga is your best friend, the dog instead of a human counterpart. The meditative sessions are beneficial not just for you but your pooch as well.

Pooches enjoy the pet-massage and relaxing music at the doga classes. It can motivate them to join you in your yoga each day and bring more fun, vigor, and energy to the class. If your dog shows disinterest still, why not begin it at home where he feels comfortable to be around you?

How Does Doga Benefit You And Your Dog?

Let’s explore the positive effects you’ll reap after joining doga sessions ‘regularly’. It shouldn’t be irregular at any cost or else there are no results.

  1. Better Understanding with Dog:

According to Dr. Danni Shemanski, doga can develop a feeling of being important and loved in your four-legged. If your pooch has been craving for time and attention, doga session will provide him with an opportunity to connect with you. If your pooch is suffering from separation anxiety, it can be tackled well by doing doga with the pooch. According to Dr. Danni Shemanski, doga can develop a feeling of being important and loved in your four-legged.

The mindfulness exercises and a feeling of being connected help to improve your understanding with the dog.

Remember: To avoid poopy mats at the end of the day, don’t forget to take the Fido’s poop scooper, poop bags, etc.

  1. Improved Dog Behavior:

Doga has shown to improve the focus of dogs and their obedience level. Their anxiety problems are toned down to a great extent.

Moreover, as you start feeling connected with your Fido, you’ll begin to understand his body language better. The meditative doga will surely improve your patience level during dog training. This patience and understanding have a two-pronged effect on the dog to demonstrate better behavior and obey the commands.

  1. Reduced Anxiety Levels:

Yoga, music and companion dog will assist in relaxing your mind, body, and soul. It’ll reduce the anxiety levels of pooch by utilizing his excessive pent-up energies. Breathing exercises are extremely relaxing; while cuddling the pooch will add to the good feeling.

The bonding between you as the owner and your anxious/fearful dog will strengthen after attending doga classes regularly. You’ll act more patiently towards the dog. Aggression, anxiety, and other destructive behaviors will be toned down gradually.

  1. Weight Loss:

Whether you are obese or your dog, you both are going to benefit from doga by burning the extra ton of calories. The meditative exercises work on all your body muscles through stretches.

The doga poses involve dogs to do the stretches and imitate your yoga poses. Therefore, the extra calories will get burned and extra energy will be invested positively.

When your dog will try to imitate you, he will definitely end up looking funny. Among all the fun and exercise, you would forget how much time has passed. Yeah, a motivation to visit doga class regularly!

  1. Social Skills:

Dog parks are one good opportunity for you to meet a bunch of people and socialize more often. Doga classes provide you with an equal opportunity to socialize, but with people who are more self-aware, mindful and maybe a bit anti-social. If you are fond of peaceful company, you’ll find many of them at doga classes.

The pooch will learn to socialize too with people and their dogs at the yoga class. The dogs at yoga class will mostly be well-mannered and well-trained due to the meditative effects of yoga. Your Fido might learn a thing or two from them as well.

Introducing a New Dog to Your Home

The first few days in your home are a special, yet anxious, time for you and your new dog. Your new dog will likely be confused about where he is. He won’t immediately connect your home with his home. It’s a completely different environment than what she knows (whether she came from a shelter or a family- it’s still different). It’s up to you to ensure she has the smoothest transition possible.

Before Your Bring Her Home

Before you bring your new dog home, you should determine which area of your home your dog will spend the most time. Then, dog-proof that area and place the crate somewhere comfortable (if you’re crate training). Usually, the kitchen works best. It’s easy to clean up in case of any accidents. Their knowledge of house-training may be lost during a time of great stress like this.

If you plan to crate-train your dog, the crate should be set up before you bring your dog home. Don’t forget to place a mattress of some kind in the crate with them. The type of mattress you should have varies based on the breed of dog you are bringing home, and the age of the dog. Be certain to do proper research on this before bringing your new dog home.

Now, dog-proofing. Dog-proofing your home is critical to keep your dog safe. Tape off any loose wires. Place household cleaners, medications, and other chemicals up high. If you have plants on the floor, do some research and see which plants dogs can and can’t be near.

Finally, have their collar and leash ready to go. On the collar, there should be identification tags already attached. If your dog doesn’t already have a microchip, this may also be something to consider. The microchip isn’t a GPS device, but if your dog were to ever get lost, the microchip would be scanned and an identification code unique to your dog containing all your details would be available.

On the First Day

The first day home could be extremely stressful or overwhelmingly exciting for your dog. Either way, give your dog time to acclimate to your home before you allow any ‘strangers’ to come over. Even if you think your dog is doing wonderful with the transition- one new event could spark stress in the first week. If you have children, show your children the appropriate way to approach a dog.

When you pick up your new dog, don’t forget to ask what she ate that day (and the type of food). If you feed your new dog a completely different food, this could lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. We don’t want that. An upset stomach could make the transition even more stressful for both him and us.

If you would like to feed a different brand/type of food, do so over a one-week period adding in the new food to their old food slowly. Watch for any signs of stomach upset or loose stools. If you do notice any symptoms, lessen the amount of new food and extend the transition time.

When you arrive home, immediately show your dog where the potty area is and softly say “potty-potty” or similar. Be patient during this time. Even if your dog is fully potty-trained, don’t forget there could be accidents. Your dog may not act like he has to use to the bathroom while he’s outside, then come in and immediately have an accident. Don’t panic, this is a completely normal behavior when being introduced to a new home.

A routine should be put in place immediately. Structure is extremely helpful to a dog adjusting to a new home, and your resident dogs as well if they don’t already have a routine. Feeding, potty-time, and play/exercise, should have an approximate time each day. If the time changes by a half hour occasionally, that’s okay.

For the first few days of your dog being home, try to be as calm and quiet as possible. Limiting excitement during this time will help her adjust. And, it will give you time to get to know your dog better. Take this time to build a foundation for the bond you will share.

Training should also begin immediately. But, after the first week, you can increase the amount of physical and mental stimulation your dog is receiving. Training also helps a dog settle in further and strengthens the bond you are building.

Introducing Your New Dog to Another Dog

If you have a resident dog, introduce your new dog to your resident dog outside in a neutral area. If you have more than one resident dog, introduce one at a time. Don’t rush the introduction. Each dog should be on a leash, and each leash should be loose to allow the dogs to get to know one another.

After the outside introduction, you can bring your new dog inside and do the in-home introduction (if all goes well outside). If you bring your new dog inside immediately without the outside introduction, this could spark a huge list of problems. Keep each interaction between your new dog and your resident dog(s) short and as pleasant as possible. If you see any sign of tension, immediately separate the dogs and try again an hour or so later.

Don’t leave all the dogs alone together until you know it’s safe to do so. Watching your dogs’ body language can help you understand when it’s safe.

The Bottom Line

The most important take-a-way here involves patience. Be patient with your new dog’s behaviors, training levels, and the bond you are establishing. Some dogs adjust quickly and form a bond immediately. Others take more time. Commit as much time as possible to getting to know your new dog while spending time with your resident dogs. Watch your new dog’s body language to understand what she is communicating to you and others.

Top 3 Calming Exercises for Anxious Dogs

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Many dogs are sent to shelter home due to their anxiety problems that develop due to hyperactivity. On the other hand, dogs that are brought home from animal shelters have behavior issues like barking, digging, destructive chewing, etc. The problem, in both cases, is not with dogs but with the owners who fail to provide enough opportunities to their Fido to invest their pent-up energies positively.

Did you ever think of trying out some calming exercises for your pooch? Here are three ways to tone down the excessive energy of dogs:

  1. Doga:

Doga has calming effects on both the dog owner and the pooch. Although dogs are not able to imitate the stretches and poses of their yogi owners, still they feel calm at the end of a yoga session. The bonding between the owner and the dog gets stronger. The owners are able to better understand their Fido’s body language. They will be able to train the pooch in a more calm and controlled manner.

Doga helps dogs invest their energies in calming exercises. Your pooch will feel relaxed after doga class. Try it out for your anxious and hyperactive dog.

  1. Routine and Familiarity:

Unfamiliar situations and environments, as well as haphazard routines, are known to create confusions in the pooch’s mind. It may create anxiety that will lead to destructive chewing and excessive barking, etc.

Dogs enjoy following routines. They feel uncomfortable when their set schedule is not followed. Routines help a dog wait for the play, walk or exercise time patiently. Consistency in daily routine activities will keep the pooch relaxed. Are you following the routine of your dog?

Sometimes dog owners do not maintain routine of giving food to the pooch. Whether you serve raw dog food or dry kibble, maintain a fixed time. One day giving food via treat dispensing toys and the other day in food bowls can also upset the little pooch. Dogs need surety about everything. Or else, they stay anxious whether they will have it or not!

If you are an adventure lover, your dog can feel anxious in unfamiliar places. To maintain the familiarity, take the Fido’s favorite chewing cloth that has your scent and of home. Give him a chew toy, familiar bowl, familiar bed, and blanket to stay calm and comfortable at unknown places or new home.

  1. Music or Smart Toys:

Some dogs are not hyperactive but are rather intelligent dog breeds. They need something for their mental stimulation. Find out some puzzles, buster cubes, interactive toys, Kongs to keep the pooch busy during your absence. Stuff them with their favorite treat so they may stay motivated to solve the puzzle.

Whether it’s a thunderstorm or fireworks that makes your pooch anxious and restless, it will not worry your Fido anymore. Simply, turn on some soft music in the room. A study conducted by Physiology and Behavior says that dogs feel relaxed and calm when the sound of soft rock or reggae fills the room. During unfamiliar situations or stressful ones, playing the soothing soft rock music will definitely improve your dog’s behavior.

Before you decide to leave your cute cuddle ball in an animal shelter, consider trying these tricks to calm his nerves. Sometimes, medications work for toning down dog’s anxiety.

Would you like being left alone for your bad behaviors that developed due to certain circumstances other had created for you?

5 Ways to Prepare Your Dog for Natural Disasters

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This may seem like it’s a bit early to write about… but the National Weather Service is calling for widespread tornadoes in the month of May. And, regardless of the time of year, it’s always good to be prepared for natural disasters. Understanding how to prepare for natural disasters for your family, and for your beloved dog, is extremely important.

During times of natural disaster, many dogs are lost. In a tornado situation, for example, we rush our family to the basement. Then, we’ll come back up as fast as possible to call for our dog if he hasn’t already followed us. But, remember, sometimes there isn’t much time to take shelter. If your dog hasn’t followed yourself and your family down into the shelter, he or she could easily become lost.

For those of you reading in my hometown of Western New York, tornadoes are less frequent, but remember they can still happen. It wasn’t long ago when a tornado swept through Randolph, New York, hitting many homes. And, we do actually have frequent tornado warnings throughout the summer time.

Way #1: Ensure Your Dog has Identification

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You should make sure your dog has identification on his or her collar. The identification tag should have your name, phone number, and address engraved into it. If your dog gets separated from you, this could be extremely helpful in helping someone find her way back.

Way #2: Microchipping Your Dog

One of my newest clients, PetKey, has emphasized the importance of microchipping your dog. And yes, my dog, Molly has a microchip. I’ll admit that I didn’t use to think microchipping your dog was “that” important. Because, all of my dogs have always had their identification on their collar. But, what happens if that collar gets lost during a natural disaster? There’s a high chance your dog will lose her collar during all of the chaos of trying to locate her family following the natural disaster. Then what?

The microchip contains a unique identifier connecting her to you. When a lost dog enters a humane society, or a veterinarian’s office, one of the first actions they take is scanning for a microchip. If the dog does have a microchip, they jot down that unique identification number and enter it into a universal system. Then, they’re able to see all of the details in your file (the dog’s name, the dog’s age, any medical conditions the dog has, and your name and address).

Way #3: Ensure You Have Your Supplies Ready

Having a ‘to-go’ back for your dog ready is an excellent idea. Do this before the natural disaster occurs so you’re not scattering packing up for your dog as well as the rest of your family. You can even keep one ‘ready’ bag in your shelter, as well as in your car.

The ready bag should contain a minimum of 5 days of food and water. Your dog’s ready bag should also contain photographs of your dog(s)… and cats if you have cats with you as well. In addition to a paper full of their medical issues (if any), you should also have a paper containing their behavioral issues (if any). And, don’t forget to pack extra collars and leashes (litter box and litter if you have cats as well).

Way #4: Bring Crates for Your Dog(s) and Vaccination Records

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If you need to evacuate your home, be sure to bring your dog’s crate. If you have to go to an evacuation shelter, most of them do accept pets, but often require dogs are in their crates.

Many shelters also want you to have copies of your dog’s veterinary records. They want to make sure your dog has all of their shots, and know if your dog has any type of medical condition they may need help for.

Way #5: Look for Dog-Friendly Hotels

Another way to make sure your dog(s) is able to stay with you… is to search for dog-friendly hotels. When there’s a hurricane coming, you often have several days of warning which allows you to evacuate and get as far away from the hurricane as possible.

Unfortunately, fewer and fewer hotels are allowing dogs. And, if you travel with your dog, i’m sure you already know this. An excellent site you can use to find pet-friendly hotels is a website called Bring Fido. You can take a look at Bring Fido by clicking here.

In addition to helping your find dog-friendly hotels, Bring Fido can also let you know if there are any local restaurants you’re able to bring your dog to. Because, we know, in these types of situations, the stress is high and we want our dog (of course, he’s part of our family) to go everywhere we go.

A Video Sum it Up

Most people are particularly fond of videos to learn information… so here’s a video to sum up some of what we just talked about.

Share Your Stories

If you have ever been involved in a natural disaster, and have additional tips, we want to hear from you! In the comments below, please let us know how you prepared.

 

Do Dogs Cry Like Us?

When dogs get upset, do they cry real tears like we do? Do they even have tear ducts? Our dog’s language is extremely intriguing. And, although they don’t talk the same language as us, they still have ways to communicate their feelings.

We all know when our dog is happy… but do they cry when they’re upset? Do their feelings get hurt?

A Dog’s Tear Ducts

Yes, dogs do have tear ducts like us. And, anyone who has a Maltese, or a Poodle, can attest to that. They are particularly apparent if your dog is pure white. Dog lovers who have a Maltese or Poodle are continuously wiping off the corner of their dog’s eyes due to their tear staining.

maltesedogbehaviorblog

Other breeds may also have excessive drainage from their eyes. In technical terms, this phenomenon is known as epiphora.

Tear Types and the Emotions

There are two types of tears humans and dogs share. These tears are known as basal tears and reflexive tears. Basal tears are continuously produced to keep the eye moist. Reflexive tears protect the eyes from allergens or any type of irritant.

Then, there are emotional tears. Dogs don’t share these with us. Emotional tears begin when we (humans) are overwhelmed, frustrated, or generally emotional. A dog’s tear ducts do not allow them to produce emotional tears. But, even though dogs don’t cry ‘tears’ when they’re upset, they still have their own way of letting us know.

Why Does My Dog Look Like She’s Crying?

If your dog looks as if she is crying, this could be due to a medical condition. The causes of ‘dog tears’ include the following:

  • Allergies: Allergies can cause a dog’s eye(s) to water… just like us. If your dog has allergies, your veterinarian should be contacted so you’re able to determine what she or he is allergic to.
  • Blocked Tear Ducts: If your dog’s tear ducts are blocked, you may notice what appears to be tears leaving his eyes.
  • Scratched Cornea: If your dog is active, there’s a possibility she may be ‘crying’ due to a scratched cornea. If your dog has a scratched cornea, she might also be blinking excessively.
  • Irritants: There could be a speck of dirt in your dog’s eye, or some other type of irritant, causing tears.

Do Dogs Understand When We Cry?

Yes, research has found dogs respond to our tears. They know when we’re upset based on our facial expressions and the tone of our voice. Research has gone so far to say many dogs can understand how we’re feeling without even seeing us in person. They’re able to tell by a picture.

The Bottom Line

Even though it might look as if your dog is sad, and crying emotional tears, your dog isn’t truly ‘crying’ the way do. If you notice tears coming from your dog’s eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out the cause.

7 Tips for Choosing the Best Dog Toys

Would you buy your 6 month old baby a nerf gun or an easy bake oven; of course not.

How do you decide what kind of toys to buy for your fur baby? Is it better to buy a bunch of cheaper toys so they will have more to choose from or a few that will last (hopefully) and be safe for them?

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Tip #1: The Size of the Dog

More than the age of your dog, their size should be taken into consideration.  If you buy a toy for a small dog that fits their mouth, that same toy could get hung in a larger dog’s throat and choke them – to death.

Tip #2: Dog-Proofing the Home

Another thing to help keep your fur baby safe is the same as having a toddler in your home. You should make sure not to have strings, ribbons, pantyhose, or rubber bands within reach. These items WILL be eaten and they are not digestible. I am learning this even when buying the toys made of string which MY dog has ingested. She sometimes has to have help getting the strings to come out (not a pretty picture). Point in fact, don’t buy string balls, toys that have the string inside of them to make them stronger, etc.

Tip #3: Don’t Buy Rawhide for Your Dog

Some people believe that all the rawhide chewing toys are a good thing for any dog but there are things to watch for on this also. Asking your veterinarian would be a good idea to make sure which ones would be safe since some could come apart and cause your dog to choke. On top of that some rawhides have unsafe byproducts that come from the cruel international fur trade. It is better to be safe and a humane alternative to buy the hard rubber toys. These last longer and are safer. For my pittie, I buy Kong and they definitely last longer than normal toys. She also has a Nylabone that has lasted now for about six months (peanut flavor). There are different sizes in these also for different size dogs. For any toy that you buy be careful of when they are beginning to come apart so your dog doesn’t try to eat it and get choked.

Tip #4: Encourage Mental Stimulation

If you want to keep your puppy/grown dog busy for a while and distracted there are also distraction toys. These are toys that you can put treats in the middle of and they play to get these treats by moving the toy around.

Tip # 5: Comfort Toys

Soft stuffed toys are good for several purposes, but they aren’t appropriate for all dogs. Here are a few tips for choosing the right stuffed toy:

  • Some dogs like to carry around soft toys. If your dog sees their toy as a companion, pick one that’s small enough to carry.
  • Some dogs want to shake or “kill” their toys, so choose one that’s large enough to prevent accidental swallowing and sturdy enough to withstand the dog’s attacks.

Dirty laundry, such as an old t-shirt, pillowcase, towel or blanket, can be very comforting to a dog, especially if the item smells like you! Be forewarned that the item could be destroyed by industrious fluffing, carrying and nosing.

Tip #6: Making Toys Last

Rotate your dog’s toys weekly by making only a few toys available at a time. Keep a variety of types easily accessible. If your dog has a favorite, like a soft comfort toy,  you may want to leave it out all the time.

Provide toys that serve a variety of purposes — give your dog at least one toy to carry, one to shake, one to roll and one for comfort.

Tip #7: Let Your Pup Find It

“Found” toys are often much more attractive than toys that are obviously introduced. A game of finding toys or treats is a good rainy-day activity for your dog, using up energy without the need for a lot of space.

The Bottom Line on Toys

Many of your dog’s toys should be interactive. Interactive play is very important for your dog because they need active “people time,” which enhances the bond between you and your pet. Try balls, flying disks and other toys that help foster the bond between person and pet.

By focusing on a specific task —such as repeatedly returning a ball, Kong, or Frisbee® or playing “hide-and-seek” with treats or toys — your dog can expend pent-up mental and physical energy from boredom in a limited amount of time and space. For young, high-energy and untrained dogs, interactive play also offers an opportunity for socialization and helps them learn about appropriate and inappropriate behavior, such as jumping up or being mouthy.

 

 

3 Fun Yard Games to Play with Your Pup

Keeping up with hyperactive puppies is a tough job. Puppies have a lot of energy that needs to be invested positively in keeping them happy, healthy, and active. Outdoor games will protect them from developing anxiety, sadness, and depression. There are many games that you can play with your pup to strengthen their mental and physical abilities.

Pups are fun-loving furballs that can entertain you at all time with their naivety.  Engage them in something different from the common fetch-games in your yard.

Here are three fun yard games that will be beneficial for the pup; and will ease your way for future training. The following games can expand the learning capacities of your dog to a great extent.

  1. Hide and Seek:

There are two sides to playing hide and seek with your pup, either you can hide a dog treat, or you can hide by yourself. Dogs are hunters by nature and love to search out desired things or people by utilizing their strong sense of smell. It will give the pup or the dog a space to express his inborn hunting strengths. Your dog will experience not only a physical exhaustion but also mental stimulation.

By playing hide and seek, the dog can stay engaged in the activity for a long time and can invest his energies more positively. Otherwise, pups and dogs get bored. Boredom can lead to frustration, anxiety, depression, and even a development of destructive behaviors.

Does your puppy have a favorite toy? Hide some treats in that, and hide it somewhere in the yard. It will require the employment of double the amount of dog’s intelligence.

One more trick to play hide and seek is that you hide different toys around the yard and call their names for your dog to find the specific toys!

The puppy’s intelligence, smartness, and alert behavior will help you train him easily later on. The more time you spend together having fun, the higher are the chances for him to take the training for a game. He will love to follow you and obey you just to have some fun!

The plus point is, his destructive capacities that can develop from hunting instincts are toned down and are trained in a better way.

  1. Pool Games:

Do you have a pool in your yard? What else can be more than perfect!

Pool games are ah-mazing for pups to have fun, learn, and get confident around water. Yeah! Bathing can become even easier. Fears can be curbed down better at an early age of life. When the dog is young, allure him to get into the pool and have some fun!

Why not play the ‘common fetch-games’ in the pool?

Fear of heights, water, and so on can be eliminated at puppy stage of dog’s life.

If you are an adventure-loving owner, then, get your dog prepared for future to move around with you comfortably. The basic point of pool games is to give ‘confidence’ to little pups so they can face their fears better!

However, be careful in the beginning—send your pup in the pool with a life jacket under your supervision. Moreover, hydrotherapy

Caution: Some dog breeds don’t like water. It’s in their genetics. Some rescue dogs suffered from a bad experience in their past lives. So, it’s better not to FORCE the puppy against his will. Game by force can cause anxiety and depression in dogs too.

  1. Tricks and Treats:

So, here comes the real fun! Make your pup learn new tricks by positive reinforcements. Allure him with treats, rewards, and appreciation. Make him jump over the sticks or crawl from underneath the planks.

What’s the benefit? Your pup will become a quick learner for the sake of your appreciation. His tricks will invite and attract people to appreciate and love him. Altogether, this will earn him confidence and fame throughout his life!

What’s more? Strong bones and athletic abilities are a great plus for future training.

Why I highly recommend these three yard games?

A few years ago, I bought a puppy, a black Labrador, named Leo home. They are amazing companion dogs, get more information here. Leo is a fun-loving pup but requires a lot of exercises. Regular training is required to tone down his stubbornness.

Leo’s high energy levels and intelligence levels were creating a concern for me to engage him at all times properly. Due to his high intelligence level, it was required of me to train him at a young age.

Previously, if I ever left Leo alone for hours, he used to get aggressive and stubborn. I looked out for fun ways to engage my new pup to channelize his energies properly. The most effective games that have paid me, in the long run, are these three yard games. They worked for me as well as for a lot of my neighbor dogs. Try them out, and you will admit it by yourself!

Canine Veteran’s Day: How to Help

Tomorrow is Canine Veteran’s Day. And, here at Canine Companions & Dog Behavior Blog, would like to share some information about our canine veterans here. Please take a seat, and read/listen to the article.

You might even find your soulmate dog after reading this.

You’re going to want to grab your tissues before reading and watching.

What Do Dogs Do at War?

In war, our dogs are the first line. They are first to go into a dangerous territory. And, they let their handler know if it’s okay to continue walking, or to stop in their tracks.

Watch this documentary to follow dogs and their handlers through the tears, blood, and sweat during war in Afghanistan:

Robby’s Law: Saving Lives, Encouraging Adoptions

Before Robby’s Law was enacted in 2000, dogs who came back from war were euthanized. Now, handlers have the option of adopting their dog once they come back to the states. And, if their handler isn’t able to care for them… they are able to be placed for adoption.

Over 90% of canine veterans are adopted by their handlers at the end of their service. And, it’s not hard to understand why. Watch the videos below to see the strength of their love for one another.

To Show You How Special the Bond Handlers & Their Dogs Share

Army dog races into the arms of his handler three years later:

Veteran reunited with bomb-sniffing dog:

Military hero dog reunited with handler:

 

Adopting a Military Working Dog

Most of the MWD’s available for adoption are puppies, or relatively young dogs, who didn’t make it through the training (only about half graduate training).

There are occasionally older dogs who have been at war, though. They may have medically retired due to an injury, or retired due to their age.

It’s important to note that those dogs who have been to war often have PTSD- similar to our human soldiers.

Only recently have we learned that dogs can suffer from this condition following war times. These dogs have been exposed to everything we were- and potentially more- including gunshots, explosions, and other loud and/or violent experiences.

Symptoms of PTSD in dogs include:

  • Fear of noise
  • Fear of new situations
  • Avoidance or fear of buildings
  • Flashbacks

These can usually be managed, but they’re important for you to understand when considering the adoption of a dog from war.

Organizations to Contact About Adopting a Military Working Dog

You can contact the following organizations if you’re interested in adopting a military working dog:

United States War Dogs Association

Save-A-Vet

Mission K9 Rescue

Take Other Action to Help This Canine Veteran’s Day

There’s a petition going around to help canine veterans here. 

  • The petition changes the wording from “adoption” to “foster” in case a dog is placed into a police force after retirement.
  • The military handler becomes attached to the dog throughout his or her entire life; their name is on all paperwork, so they’re able to be with their dog forever if they would like to be.
  • And, if they aren’t with their dog, they are able to find out how they’re doing and where they are any time.
  • The petition also requests handlers be permitted to retire their dog if they don’t believe their dog is able to handle ‘the job’ any longer.
  • And finally, only the handler is able to agree and sign off on an adoption.