I’m a Man and My Dog is Afraid of Me… What Do I Do?

Your dog may be perfectly content and calm without any behavior problems around women and children, but when a man approaches (even if it’s just one man he or she knows) she can become a completely different dog.

Some dogs may try to hide from you (the man), cower or show submissive behavior, shake, or even urinate due to anxiety.

Others may show signs of aggression (growling/showing of teeth). If you (the man) get too close she may even snap at you.

A Fear of Men is Common

A fear of men is actually a relatively common phobia in dogs, and some very well-behaved and well-rounded dogs share this fear.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your dog overcome its fear and learn to accept the men or man she encounters.

why do dogs fear men?

When people find out a dog is afraid of men, they often immediately connect the fear to a bad experience. But, there are a variety of reasons why your dog may fear men in general or even one particular man including:

  • If your dog has been abused by a man prior to being brought into your family, this may cause a lifelong fear of all men. Think about how long you have had your dog. Was your dog a puppy? Adult? In most cases, this is not the most likely culprit, though.
  • In many cases, being afraid of men is a result of a lack of socialization with men when the dog was a puppy. If you are the man your dog is afraid of, how much time did you spend with your dog when she was a puppy? Sometimes, the lack of socialization with men is due to the man being out of the house due to long work hours.
  • Another factor could be intimidation. Men can be more intimidating in a dog’s eyes. They are often taller and bigger than women and children, have deeper voices, and may have different types of features, like facial hair. From a dog’s perspective, these differences might be scary.

easing your dog’s fear of the man

The level of difficulty of correcting this behavior depends on the severity of your dog’s fear.

Some dogs are only somewhat fearful, whereas others may be completely terrified. Remember to be patient with your dog; it can take a lot of time for any dog to overcome any phobia.

In the meantime, keep things as positive as possible. We’ll recommend a few things to try to help ease your dog’s anxiety below.

your dog’s comfort zone

It’s important to understand you cannot force your dog to go beyond her comfort zone and expect her to change her behavior.

If you attempt to push your dog too far by pushing her into uncomfortable situations, your attempts can backfire and actually strengthen the fear.

Worst-case scenario…. your efforts could lead the dog to bite and increase her fear of you.

Let Your Dog Approach you on her own terms

Allow your dog to approach you (the man) on his or her own. This may be difficult, but attempt to ignore the dog who is fearful of you. Of course you want to be near your dog to increase the bond, but this just isn’t the right time. By ignoring your dog, you’re essentially providing her with the opportunity to come to you. It’s on her own terms.

Offering treats to encourage her to come

When you’re trying to break your dog of her fear of you, be sure to keep treats handy (even if your dog is no where near you- just in case she comes closer).

Whenever the fearful dog gets even a little closer than usual, very gently toss a couple of treats in the dog’s direction.

It may take a while for the dog to accept treats from a man, but eventually, he or she will connect you with something good- treats! A positive association with form.

For some dogs, this can take a week or two. For others, a month or even longer. Patience is key.

Desensitize Your Dog

Desensitization is the process we’re talking about here. We are using treats and praise to slowly, over time, help your dog understand that it’s safe to approach you (the man).

Over time, you may be able to slowly close the distance between the dog and the man without your dog feeling fearful.

In some cases, your dog may never feel completely comfortable around men (dependent upon the reason why she or he is afraid). But, you may notice her becoming significantly more comfortable over time.

obedience training: it helps

If your dog is obedience trained, there’s a higher chance of her or him being able to focus in stressful situations.

If there is someone in the home (a woman), she should make obedience training part of their daily routine. Continuous obedience training with a fearful dog may speed up the process of comfort.

Prevent Disease in Your Dog Using ‘Superfoods!’

If you’re reading this, we already know your dog’s health is extremely important to you. We all want our dogs to live long, healthy lives. That’s no shock.

Disease fighting foods can help!

We’re sure you have heard the saying ‘you are what you eat.’ That’s true. Literally.

Eating healthy will help you stay healthy- and that goes for both ourselves and our pups.

Disease Fighting Food #1: Blueberries

Blueberries are jam packed full of fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K.

Blueberries are known to assist in the prevention of obesity, colon cancer, and heart diseases. Plus, they help prevent memory loss in senior dogs.

With that said, don’t overload your dog with blueberries. A handful of fresh, organic blueberries is sufficient each day.

P.S.- Be sure to rinse off the blueberries prior to feeding. This goes for ALL fruits and veggies for both us and our dogs!

Disease Fighting Food #2: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has become the new ‘craze’ with health fanatics for people. But, coconut oil can help our dogs, too!

Coconut oil has special fatty acids resulting in a ton of benefits including:

  • Obesity prevention
  • Immune system booster
  • Healthy teeth
  • Flea and tick repellent
  • Healthy brain function

If you’re interested in adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet, it can go right into their daily food intake. The recommended daily amount is approximately 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.

To learn more about disease-fighting foods, watch the video below:

Until next time!

Steps on How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

When a person wants to lose weight, limiting his caloric intake and adding more physical activities to the day usually work. The same is true for your pets. If your dog is getting a little heavy, it might be a good idea to start limiting its food and making your dog exercise more.

However, unlike humans who can say when enough is enough, it might be more difficult to find a balance for your dog’s weight loss efforts. Here are some useful steps that you can take in order to help your beloved pet lose weight in a healthy manner.

Why Should Your Dog Lose Weight?

An animal that is overweight is more susceptible to health issues like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other medical problems. Putting on extra pounds can affect your pet’s quality of life. The added weight can put a strain on the dog’s back and joints. This could eventually lead to arthritis. In order to allow your pet to live a long and healthy life, it is best that you help it slim down.

Assess If Your Pet Is Really Overweight

Doing a visual test can help you assess if your dog is putting on too much weight. Check your dog’s profile from the side and the top Its waist should be obvious when you observe the area in front of its rear legs. There should also be a definite difference between the dog’s chest and abdomen.

If you check your pet’s profile from the side, you should be able to tell the difference in size of the abdomen and the chest. The abdomen should be closer to the dog’s spine rather than its chest. If you notice that your dog’s abdomen is sagging or it has a flat and broad back, your pet may be overweight. To confirm, you might be better served by seeing a veterinarian.

Work With A Vet To Figure Out An Effective Meal Plan

Our friends from Time for Paws – an online pet supplies store, says that once you and your dog’s veterinarian have established how overweight your pet is, the doctor can find out why your dog is gaining weight. Could it be from lack of exercise or is it caused by overfeeding? Is there an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed? Once those details are established, the doctor can help you come up with a meal plan that will suit your pet’s needs. You might be asked to buy a different kind of dog food.

The vet may also give suggestions on what treats can help your dog lose rather than gain weight. You will probably be instructed on how to control portion size and what times to feed your dog. If not, ask about these things so you will know how to best help your pet lose the excess weight. Ask also about possible physical activities that will be safe for your pet to try out. Usually, going on runs is enough but your vet will be able to better identify what other activities you can try out.

Stick To A Weight Loss Plan

If you are helping your dog lose weight, it is important to follow a weight loss plan. The vet may have already prescribed a type of dog food to buy, make sure that you stick to this. Make sure to measure your dog’s food portions properly. Buying a special diet food would be pointless if you still allow your pet to overeat. If you notice that your pet is still not losing weight, ask the vet if it is safe to reduce the amount of dog food even more. Use a scale or a measuring cup so you can be sure that you are giving your pet the right amount of food. Keep track of your pet’s weight to see if the plan is working. Do not be tempted to give your dog extra treats. This will go against its weight loss plan.

Engage In More Physical Activities With Your Pet

Exercising on a regular basis will do wonders for your pet’s health. It will improve its muscle tone, reduce weight, and even boost its metabolism. All of these will lead to weight loss. While running around may seem like a good idea, some dog breeds are not meant to engage in very strenuous activities.

That is why it is always a good idea to talk to your pet’s veterinarian before adding more physical activities to your pet’s schedule. Going on a short walk every morning or afternoon may be a good starting point, especially if your dog is out of shape. You can gradually increase the speed and distance by observing how much your dog can tolerate. You can also incorporate exercise into your games. Playing fetch is a good game for this purpose.

Conclusion

After a few weeks, it is advisable to go back to the vet to see how much progress your pet has made in terms of losing weight. This way, the doctor can assess if your weight loss plan is effective and may suggest changes in order to keep the pounds from coming back. Remember that, although it is added work, your dog will live a longer and healthier life if you continue on this weight-loss journey.

How to Keep Your Canine From Causing Chaos

You know how much you love dogs, especially that little one that lives in your home and fills your heart with laughter and joy. But there’s a less pleasant side that comes with that goodness.

Canines cause trouble, pure and simple. This involves anything from spilling food on the floor to tearing up sofa cushions to doing their business on the carpet, any of which could make you tear your hair out as you yell and scream at the little feller in the hopes that they’ll learn a lesson for a change. However, that’s not the worst of it; sometimes, your dog’s naughtiness puts them in danger, like when they devour a bar of chocolate, which can be deadly.

It’s not their fault, though. They don’t have the same self-control as we humans, and they often don’t even know they’re doing something wrong. As their guardian, it’s up to you to keep them safe and secure. Here’s what you need to know.

Banish Poisonous Plants

Autumn crocus, azalea, and daffodil are just a few on the long list of species that could cause grave harm if your pooch were to take a nibble, according to an article in PetMD. The best bet would be to rid your home of all of them — or at least put them out of the reach.

Hide the Cleaning Products

You wouldn’t leave dangerous and potentially deadly chemicals out in the open where a toddler could get at them and take a swig, and the same should go for your furry friend. Behind closed doors that can’t be easily opened is where your bleach, detergents, and fabric softeners belong — unless you buy the non-toxic, pet-friendly versions.

Beware of Certain Foods

There’s a lot more than just chocolate that could give your four-legged friend a sore tummy — or worse. Anything containing caffeine or alcohol is a strict “no,” along with onions, garlic, and chives. Make sure to store these items and others up high or in a pantry to avoid mishaps, and throw out anything moldy, as that can be highly toxic, too.

Pet-Proof Everywhere

Hiding dangerous foods and chemicals from prying paws is just part of it. There are some rooms, particularly ones with lots of cables or cords, that should be off limits. Remember to close doors behind you whenever you enter or exit, or use baby gates to keep them from walking up or down the stairs. And don’t leave dirty laundry lying around on the floor.

Get an Electronic Feeder

A hungry dog is an angry dog that’s likely to take their wrath out on your interior. These devices dispense a small meal at specified hours of the day so you don’t have to think about it. You’ll no longer worry whether you left food in the bowl while you’re at work or out running errands.

Schedule Your Playtime

Dogs have a lot of energy, and they need to get it out or they’ll throw a fit. Lamps get knocked over, vases get shattered — it’s ugly. Tire your dog out with a spirited game of fetch, and build that into your daily routine so you don’t forget to spend quality time together.

Find a Dog Park Nearby

Visit a dog park so your pooch can socialize — with other dogs, that is. It’s more important than you think, says a writer with PetHelpful. Not only does it boost their self-esteem, but it also helps your pooch develop their communication skills, as they interact with members of their own species. Their rougher style of play will also make them calmer at home.

Make Regular Visits to the Vet

Once a year is the general rule of thumb, though that may change based on age and health condition of your dog. Dogs should get a checkup once a month until they’re four months old, while senior woofers need frequent expert checkups as well.

Now your pooch will be safe when you’re not home, and that gives you one less thing to worry about. Having a dog should be about enjoying the good times, not worrying about the bad.

How Dogs Help You Cope With Mental Illness

Animals have long been used to help provide support for those dealing with medical issues. They can help a person with a vision deficit find their way through a busy store, and they can help calm the nerves of someone suffering from anxiety. Many people wouldn’t be able to get out and mingle socially if they didn’t have their dog with them. If you are considering a furry friend to help you, then here are some health benefits to owning a pooch.

Pets Help to Lower Blood Pressure

You’ve probably heard that owning a hound can help to reduce your blood pressure. Well, there is a scientific fact to back that statement. It’s called the “Pet Effect.” Using 60 people, a study was conducted by the University of Maryland Hospital. They found that when petting a dog for 15-30 minutes, the average person’s blood pressure drops over ten percent.

They Increase Social Connection

Dogs are great icebreakers. Most people love pups, and it can be a great conversation starter. Plus, being in a social situation when you have PTSD or social anxiety can be difficult. Thankfully, having a dog can allow these people to be in public and feel secure. A dog’s senses are far beyond the capability of a human. They can see and hear things that we cannot. So to the person with PTSD, having someone on guard and looking out for them means everything.

They Provide Companionship

Canine friends are used in nursing homes and convalescent centers around the country. The companionship that they provide to the lonely is unparalleled. Dogs love unconditionally. They are great for people who don’t have family and friends to occupy their time. They are a living, breathing being that stays close by your side.

Dogs Give A Sense of Purpose

Many people who suffer from depression, PTSD, and other anxiety conditions may feel that their life lacks purpose. Even those with empty nest syndrome after their children grow up and move away have found that a pooch can help fill the void. A dog can replace that sense of purpose. Parents often feel like they need to nurture and take care of someone since they have done it for more than 18 years. A canine can provide a reason to get up in the morning.

When considering adding a pup to your family, you should know that they can help with loneliness, depression, stress-related disorders, and companionship. Dogs can lower blood pressure and make you feel calmer. A canine companion might be just what the doctor ordered.

Sources:

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

Why Dog Owners are Happier

Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. They say that dog owners live happier, longer lives. One big reason? Dogs can help you get out more often, stick to your workouts, and stay upbeat while you’re at it. How can your pet […]

via Dogs Help You Exercise — simple Ula

6 Steps to Potty Training Your Puppy

puppy training tips.png

Young puppies have an extremely hard time holding their bladder and will need to relieve themselves frequently. Potty training isn’t an easy process, but with time and dedication, you’ll have a much easier time as your pup gets older.

Potty training should begin the moment you pick up your puppy. This will help her get on the right track, sooner. Although she may have accidents, she will begin to understand what is expected of her. And, this will mean less clean-up for you. In this article, we’ll go through the steps of potty training… the ‘do’s,’ and the ‘do not’s.’

Step 1: Praise Your Puppy Excessively

Being required to go potty in a designated area is new to any dog. A dog’s instincts don’t tell them they’re not permitted to use the bathroom inside the house. Their instincts tell them to find an area where they don’t sleep or eat, and use the bathroom there, whether inside or outside.

That’s why it’s so important to praise your dog excessively when he uses the potty outside. Your dog needs your feedback to be successful in potty training (and all other types of training). Be sure to praise your puppy immediately after they potty outside… or else they won’t know what you’re praising them for.

The praise can be in the form of an excited “yay, good job,” a yummy low-calorie treat or kibble, or both. Many dog lovers carry around a handful of kibble in their pockets out of their puppy’s daily portions.

Step 2: Utilize a Crate

There’s controversy in the dog world about using crates… some dog lovers want a crate and others feel it’s not necessary. But, the crate essentially becomes your dog’s ‘den’ or ‘safe space.’ The crate is also helpful because puppies don’t like to use the bathroom where they sleep.

The crate should have a soft layer of padding to it. A dog bed generally works just fine. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and move around, but not large enough for your pup to relieve himself and move to another spot to sleep.

You can also place toys in the crate with your puppy so they’re able to play if they get bored. Mental puzzle toys, and some type of chew toy, are usually best. The Kong toys work extremely well, they’re mentally stimulating, and puppies generally can’t rip them to shreds. One of the biggest mistakes puppy parents make is grabbing a toy that looks neat, but their puppy shreds the toy into small pieces and end up swallowing parts of the toy. This could lead to a blockage… and we don’t want that to happen.

For this step, it’s critical to note that puppies should not stay in their crates for long periods of time. The crate should only be utilized when you’re not able to pay attention to your puppy. Then, once their potty trained, you can leave the door to their crate open so they’re able to freely enter and exit.

Step 3: No Punishments

Punishing your puppy for urinating or defecating on the floor can do more harm than good. By the time you find out your puppy has had an accident, your pup likely doesn’t remember what they did. And, even if you catch them in the act, punishing your puppy could permanently damage the bond and trust they have with you.

Staying calm when they have an accident is essential. You shouldn’t yell, chase, or smack your puppy. You also shouldn’t ‘rub his nose in it.’ Not only will you lose their trust, but they will associate going potty with punishment and may resort to using the bathroom in areas you won’t find.

Some dog lovers will argue, ‘but rubbing her nose in it works.’ And, yes… sometimes it does. But, you risk the bond you will have with her for the rest of her life by using punishment as a learning method.

Step 4: Show Her Where to Go

If you catch your puppy in the act, instead of punishing, try to re-direct her attention. You can re-direct her attention by saying “let’s go potty outside” or something similar. Then, immediately bring her outside to show her where it’s okay to use the bathroom. Then, once she uses the bathroom in your designed area, that’s when you can excessively praise her. She will connect the dots, and learn you are happy when she uses the bathroom in that particular area.

Step 5: Don’t Overuse Puppy Pads

You can, and should, have puppy pads in the house while you’re training your pup. But, you shouldn’t set them up in multiple areas around the house. This is confusing to a puppy, and they won’t understand why it’s not okay to use the bathroom in the house. They also may not be able to distinguish between a puppy pad and an area rug, or why she’s allowed to use the bathroom in some areas of the home but not others.

Step 6: Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine with any puppy or adult dog is critical. Dogs have a great sense of time, and if you have a set routine it will make potty training much easier. For example, if you always take her potty after she eats, she will understand after she eats she goes potty outside. This may take time- so don’t get upset if she doesn’t immediately understand the routine. Don’t worry- she will.

The Bottom Line on Potty Training

The most important step you should be aware of in this process is to always be positive with your puppy. Dogs and puppies are eager to please you. They want to make you happy as often as possible. Also, understand every dog is different, and some puppies may take longer than others to learn what’s expected of them.

Be Prepared: Make a First Aid Kit for Your Dog

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month, Canine Companions would like to help pet parents prepare for the unexpected, and we have a few tips to share with you.

firstaidfordogs

Taking care of your dog in the case of an emergency can be challenging, frustrating, and all around overwhelming. Most families view their dog as an important member of the family, and seeing them in pain is heartbreaking.

Putting together a pet emergency kit can help tremendously in the event something should happen.

Supplies and Phone Numbers Every Dog Owner Should Have

There are certain supplies every dog owner should have in case of an emergency. First, before you put together all of the necessary materials, jot down all of the important phone numbers. Write down your veterinarian’s phone number, the phone number for the American Poison Control Center (888-426-4435), and don’t forget to write down any important medical history.

Most veterinarians will recommend the following in your dog’s first aid kit:

  • Gauze for wrapping wounds, cuts, etc.
  • Milk of magnesia
  • Active charcoal
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Adhesive tape
  • Nonstick bandages
  • An eye dropper
  • Digital thermometer
  • Muzzle
  • Blanket
  • Dog leash

You should also make sure the information on your dog’s collar is correct. And, microchipping your dog is a great idea should he run away or get lost somehow. In cases of emergency, like a natural disaster, your dog could easily become lost. A microchip will provide a pet professional with your information so your dog can quickly be returned home to you.

Don’t Take it Personal

A dog who is in pain isn’t likely to act like himself or herself. A dog in pain might nip, growl, and show other forms of aggression. It’s absolutely crucial not to take these behaviors personally.

Think about when you’re in pain. Are you irritable? Most people who are in pain are irritable, they don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. They’re just not feeling well. It’s the same with our dogs.

Learn More About Pet First Aid

You can learn more first-aid procedures at the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website by clicking here. The AVMA has detailed instructions on how to take care of the following:

  • Poison and exposure to toxins
  • Seizures
  • Fractures
  • Bleeding
  • Burns
  • Choking
  • Heatstroke
  • Shock

Being fully prepared is critical to your dog’s well-being. And, if you’re reading this article, you’re in the right place.