Our dogs depend on our ability to train them and to take appropriate and effective action if they develop behaviors that are in conflict with the home, schedule, and family we have imposed on them. If we fail to succeed in our new roles as amateur dog trainers and their behavior becomes problematic for our family, or neighbors, or the dog they just met at the park, they could lose their homes or even their lives.
I have had friends say to me, "You are so lucky to have this space to hike in, and so lucky to have such good dogs!" I know what they mean, but luck has nothing to do with it. I moved here mostly to be closer to my father in his last year of life and didn't think I would stay here after he passed away. But I ended up falling in love with the trails and open spaces, and have stayed a dozen years now.
In decades past, before we as a culture became more responsible about keeping our dogs safe at home, a fenced yard was a relatively rare phenomenon. The family dog was often allowed to roam the neighborhood and interact freely with other neighborhood dogs and humans. In general, they were better socialized and fence aggression was uncommon. Of course, dogs also routinely got hit by cars, shot, poisoned, and just plain disappeared. I am certainly not advocating going back to the days of free-roaming dogs just to avoid fence-fighting! But we do need to look for better ways to keep dogs contained in order to avoid concomitant unwanted behaviors.
A second factor that affects taurine status in dogs is size. There is evidence that a large adult size and a relatively slow metabolic rate influences the rate of taurine production in the body and may subsequently lead to a dietary taurine requirement. It is theorized that increased body size in dogs is associated with an enhanced risk for developing taurine deficiency and that this risk may be exacerbated by a breed-specific genetic predisposition.
If your dog is generally social but isn't yet solid on all her good-manners behaviors, then management is a must. The umbilical cord method is called for here, with you keeping your dog leashed and at your side to prevent any possible social lapses. Crates and portable exercise pens are options for those moments when you want to take a break from your own dog. The leash also allows you to restrain your dog while you inquire whether others want to interact with her, and gives you real-life opportunities to practice her polite greeting behavior.
If your dog has more severe symptoms or evidence of pneumonia, he may be treated in the hospital with antibiotics (in case of secondary bacterial infection), intravenous or subcutaneous fluids, oxygen therapy, and fever-lowering NSAIDs. Your dog may also be isolated in a low-stress environment to prevent further spread and to help minimize his anxiety.
Last month, we described some basic screening tests that veterinarians use to check for early signs of illness. The test results of senior dogs, in particular, are more likely to possess abnormalities, ranging from subtle and easily explained irregularities to complex abnormalities that require further work-up. So what happens when the screening test shows a problem? Let's explore the next-step diagnostics.
We're asking you to consider the social nature of the dog, just for a moment. His forbears chose to be our companions thousands of years ago, and when given an opportunity to choose, it's his strong preference to be with us almost all of the time. Please just think about this if your dog shows signs of being distressed by being home alone, or, especially, if you are planning to bring a puppy home soon. And then consider whether any of Tucker's suggested remedies might be available to you.
There are food-industry experts who feel strongly that HPP is a very safe technology, and others who worry that it may alter foods on a molecular level. We feel fine about HPP; we've been to HPP plants and observed the products before, during, and after treatment and have confidence that they are not harmed or made unsafe to feed. On the other hand, we respect the right of owners to feed raw foods that have not undergone a kill step - as long as they are informed about the risks to which they are subjecting themselves and their dogs.
There are now clicker trainers in practically every community in the United States. If you're looking to give it a try and want some help, seek one out. There are also many books and websites that can guide you in your clicker training journey. Ready, set…click!
There are divergent views of this trend within the pet food industry. Long-time industry observers grimly point out that the supply of "ethical" ingredients is incredibly limited, and that using this sort of ingredient in pet food is profligate and perhaps even unconscionable with starving people in the world. In contrast, cheerleaders for the industry promote any trend that sells more pet food - and the enthusiasm for ethically sourced ingredients is strong and growing.
If you are confident that your dog is a good dog park candidate, ask some trusted, knowledgeable friends and your favorite canine professionals if they agree. If so, first visit parks in your area without your dog to check out the facilities and culture. Make several trips at various times so you get a real feel for the park and its users. If you like what you see after multiple visits, then you are ready to take your dog for playtime in the park.