December 2016

Great Gifts for Dogs 2016

Whole Dog Journal has never published a dog gift guide before. But after spending three days at Superzoo, a gigantic trade show for pet-industry retailers, we came home with so many dog product samples of chew toys, dog bowls, winter jackets for dogs, dog beds, and different toys for dogs that we had to share some of the best with you. We hope you get some ideas for great dog gifts for the dogs and dog owners you love.   More...

Dog Growling is a Good Thing!

Subscribers Only — Like my dogs in the feed room, dogs often growl while playing, just as they exhibit other behaviors in play that are often associated with aggression, such as bites, snarls, muzzle punches, and body slams. Whether the growls happen during a rousing game of tug or a more physical play encounter, the key here is that the dogs know they are playing. Often accompanied by play bows and other body language cues that telegraph to the playmates that it’s all in fun, pseudo-aggression is just part of the game.   More...

Rules for Playing Tug

A couple of decades ago, when positive reinforcement-based training was in its infancy, we were quite sensitive to criticism from the dog training community about this new “permissive” style of dog training. When we began encouraging people to play tug with their dogs, conscious of the fear that it would cause aggression, we created a detailed set of rules for playing tug, including the caveat that the human had to always “win” the game by gaining possession of the tug toy.   More...

Aromatherapy for Your Dog's Arthritis Treatment

Subscribers Only — Each essential oil has a chemical category that may have several different effects. Aromatherapy is a modern healing art, and the therapeutic quality of essential oils is still being discovered. In other words, aromatherapy is a complex subject that deserves careful study and expert guidance. There are many ways to deliver essential oils into your dog’s environment. Essential oils – the volatile substances of aromatic plants – are collected, usually by steam distillation, from leaves, blossoms, fruit, stems, roots, bark, or seeds. The water that accompanies an essential oil during distillation is called a hydrosol or flower water. Hydrosols contain trace amounts of essential oil and are themselves therapeutic.   More...

5 Benefits of Trick Training Your Dog

Subscribers Only — It’s fortunate that there are many positive training options for our dogs today! Increasingly, people are choosing to extend their dogs’ education past classes in good manners, and I strongly advocate following up those basic classes with a tricks class! Learning even just a few basic tricks is fun for you, your dog, and your potential audience! And while the benefits to you and your dog are many, I will describe my top five.   More...

Exercise Your Senior Dog

Exercise is essential for dogs of all ages. It helps maintain muscle tone, a healthy weight, joint flexibility, good circulation, and overall health and happiness – but when movement causes pain, it’s only natural to slow down or stay still. That creates a vicious cycle in which inactivity contributes to pain, pain reinforces inactivity, and the dog’s health deteriorates.   More...

Can a Collar Damage a Dog's Thyroid?

Pulling on leash is problematic for many reasons. It’s likely uncomfortable for the dog (even when the desired forward motion trumps the discomfort); it’s uncomfortable for the human handling the dog; and it skews natural dog body language, potentially contributing to conflicts between dogs. We’d say the additional potential for contributing to the development of thyroid disease, particularly in breeds known to be genetically predisposed, makes using a well-fitted front-clip harness a wise choice.   More...

Treating Your Dog's Hypothyroidism

Subscribers Only — Hypothyroidism (underactive or low thyroid) is a common disorder in dogs. A variety of breeds are known to be genetically predisposed, including the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Dachshund, Boxer, Doberman, and Cocker Spaniel. (It’s normal for sighthounds such as the Greyhound to have relatively low thyroid levels as a result of their unique physiology; these levels are not a sign of pathology in these breeds.)   More...

A Tale of Two Puppies

Most of us see our beloved dogs snuggled in their beds (or ours), romping in our yards or local parks or play groups, on walks along the most picturesque paths we can find, and then back at home, on the couch or by the fireplace. It’s easy to forget about all the homeless dogs, the ones who have homes but who are locked out of them in all weather, and those who are abused out of anyone’s sight.   More...