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.

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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.

 

 

How to Get Your Pup to be All Ears

Dogs are an intelligent species; they can assist the disabled and are great detectives. However, at times we do feel that our dogs aren’t smart as they don’t listen to our commands.  Of course, it is difficult to make your dog walk off leash or to get him to leave the chicken bone he found outside. You keep shouting “Bad Boy”, “Bad Boy” but he just won’t respond, and you end up feeling helpless & confused. Whether you are a new dog-parent or you have had your baby for years, you may experience this behavior. Well, keep your worries aside as this guide explains the basics of teaching your pup to listen to you.

Communication is Key

The first step is to build a connection with your dog. Dogs are animals, and we can’t expect them to speak our language. They begin to understand our commands when they are trained to do so. Begin with talking to your dog, use simple and short sentences. Make sure you use the same words each time as your pooch will learn with repetition. Use a tone that is soft and immediately catches attention. Don’t shout or whine as your pup may get scared or upset.

You can use gestures as well, teach your dog to sit, stand or stay using basic gestures. Combining gestures with verbal commands help the dog understand effectively.

Where to Begin?

Start with teaching your dog his name. Make sure you train your pup in a quiet place with no distractions involved. Say his name and if he looks at you, immediately say “Yes” in a praising tone. Repeat this couple of times, try doing it when you are in another room and see if he comes running to you. Afterward, you can teach the basic commands such as Stand up, sit, lie down and stay.

Positive Reinforcement

Your pooch needs a motivator to make him listen to your commands and what is better than his favorite treats. Every time your dog does what he is asked to, offer him something he loves. Along with the treats you need to use a signal as a cue, say “Yes” or “Good Boy” whenever he behaves well.

Keep Practicing

We have all heard of the phrase practice makes man perfect, well the same goes for dogs. You need to repeat the same commands multiple times, using the same words and tone each time. If you started teaching your dog in your living room without any distractions, practice the same techniques in different settings with distractions around. Eventually, your pooch will perfect the ability to respond to the cues.

Figure out Why Your Dog Isn’t Listening

If your dog doesn’t respond to the cue the first time, try to find out the cause. Is it because there are too many distractions that are overwhelming your pup? Maybe there are interesting things around that fascinate your pooch. Whatever the reason may be, find it and try to teach to your dog from the basics in the new environment.

Your puppy may also choose to ignore your commands if that is the case, reinforce the behavior by incorporating short training lessons into his daily routine. Once your little pup grows up and begins to have adventures on his own, the connection between the two of you may weaken. In that case, you are the one responsible for making things work, spend time with your dog, plan new activities and strengthen the bond.

One thing to always keep in mind is that it’s all about training. No breed or genes will influence your dog’s behavior as much as your teaching. Remember that it will require patience; there will be times when you’ll want to express anger, but that is never the solution. Combine the skills with the effective tools, and you’ll be able to train your dog in no time.

Talk to you again soon,

Jenny Perkins, Guest Blogger at DogBehaviorBlog & Blogger at HerePup.com

 

 

Dog Talk: What Your Dog Wants You to Know

If you’re searching for a comprehensive dog book, this 400+ page book by Amber L. Drake is for you. Drake has over a decade of experience in canine behavior, and has developed this book in response to client questions throughout the years. Topics range from the history of the dog to canine behavior and nutrition. The print book is affordable at only $24.99 at Barnes and Noble at Amazon, or only $14.99 for the e-book.