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puppy being held

Putting Together the Puppy Puzzle

Contained in the October issue is an article I wrote about internal parasites – worms. I needed art to accompany that article, and the best thing I could think of to depict a wormy dog was a photo of a typically round-bellied wormy puppy, the kind that is surrendered to shelters all too frequently. I called my local shelter and asked whether they had any wormy puppies with bloated tummies; it turned out that they had just received such a litter two days before, and I was invited to come down and take some pictures.

Ways to Manage an Adolescent Dog

Is your once cute, cuddly, and well-behaved pup suddenly acting out? Is your dog ignoring you, taking off if he sees something interesting, and chewing on everything in sight? Did his once perfect sit

5 Things To Do When Your Puppy Acts Out

You thought you were doing a good thing for your mature dog when you adopted a new puppy. She'll love him!" you assured yourself. "It will keep her young and active." Rather than loving him
mother dog and puppies

How a Mother’s Stress Can Influence Unborn Puppies

Can a highly stressful environment during pregnancy affect how puppies turn out? Imagine this: A young dog goes stray and lives on urban streets for two months, in almost constant fear. Kids chase her down a street, throwing rocks at her; she is attacked by another dog; and she struggles every day to scavenge enough to eat. At last she is apprehended by an animal control officer and brought to a shelter. Here she finally gets enough to eat, but she's still not able to relax; the shelter is full of strange smells and loud noises, her run is small, and the floor is hard. After she's been at the shelter for a few weeks, a shelter staff member realizes that she is pregnant and due very soon. The shelter puts her on the waiting list for a foster home, knowing that puppies don't do well when they grow up in shelters.

The Effects of Male Womb-Mates

If a mother dog's hormones can affect her fetuses in utero, what about the hormones of their siblings? The effects of in-utero testosterone on females with all male siblings are well documented in rodents and cattle, and debatably exist in humans. These females undergo physical and behavioral masculinizing effects.

How To Crate-Train Your Puppy

Most puppies are crate-trained with relative ease. Remember that the crate should be just large enough for your pup to stand up, turn around,...
Puppy in play pen

The First Week with a New Puppy

It's one of the best feelings in the whole world -- those first few hours with your new puppy when everything is perfect and anything is possible. It doesn't take long, however, for that bubble to burst. It could be the very first day, when you step in that pile of puppy poo on your Persian carpet, or find deep puppy tooth gouges in your treasured pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.

Properly Socializing Your Puppy

While curiosity and the ability to learn don't have expiration dates, young puppies have an important behavioral sweet spot" between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. During this critical period
puppies in play pen

Optimizing Your Puppy’s Brain

Cute is not the first word you reach for when describing newborn puppies. Born unable to hear or see, with smushed-in faces and twitchy little bodies, they look for all the world like diminutive aliens. Detached and distant visitors from another planet, they are in their own orbit, seeking only warmth, milk, and the rough caress of their mother’s tongue. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.

Shock Collars and Puppies

Naturally, we regard shock collars as absolutely unnecessary and inappropriate in any training program, but particularly so in training puppies and young dogs. Given the potential for an exceptionally strong fear response during the early fear period – as well as during the secondary fear period – it pains us greatly to see trainers who market their shock collar training even for very young puppies. Of course they mask the aversive nature of shock collars by calling them “electronic” or “e” collars and “electronic fences.”

Puppy Vaccinations and Socialization

A veterinarian's first priority is the physical health of her clients. As a result, sadly, some veterinarians still issue the out-of-date edict to their puppy owners to not take their baby dog anywhere until he is fully vaccinated – age 4 to 6 months. This, of course, totally overlooks the very real concern for a pup's mental health, and the vital need for proper socialization to occur well before the pup is fully vaccinated. As mentioned in the accompanying article, the primary socialization period is early and short – when the pup is 3 to 14 weeks of age.

Eliminating Your Puppy’s Fear-Related Behaviors

The intent of puppy socialization is to convince the part of the puppy’s brain that reacts emotionally to his world (the amygdala) that, in general, the best/most appropriate emotional responses are calm, relaxed, and happy. These days, the importance of puppy socialization is well-known and widely accepted. Interesting, then, that some behavior professionals (myself included) report seeing an increasing number of canine clients with fear-related behaviors.

Latest Blog

A Registered Microchip Helps, But Doesn’t Solve Everything

I heard a crazy story recently: My son’s neighbors lost their cat. It was an indoor/outdoor cat and just went missing; one...

Poor Woody. He doesn’t love her, but she, like all the foster pups, loves him. I have to find a home for her!! ...

Haven’t yet managed to take a picture of the foster dog that doesn’t scream EARS! ...

Balancing on a rail fence! (He jumped off before I could get a shot that showed the fence more clearly... we will try again!) ...

A little drama right at sunset last night. I always pray to be with my dogs if those last golden rays of light break through like that. ...

I love it when they smile in their sleep. #anthropomorphicanimals ...

Best result from several attempts to get six dogs to stay still for one minute ...

“Something moved in the grass, I’m telling you!” ...

Two of these dogs don’t much care for the tractor-mower. One of them is riveted. I’ll bet you can guess which dog wouldn’t stop following me today. ...

Dogs don’t drive! (Except when parked. Why is the driver’s seat so popular with dogs?) ...

Smart foster girl earned off-leash privileges in three days (and got grass-stains on her forehead from somersaulting in the deepgrassrunningjoy) ...

Foster/assess project: So far, 100% adorable. ...

My sister and her three little dogs. Yes, she is one of those women who always carries a purse, and takes hikes in a colorful skirt. And yes, her dogs adore her and even off-leash, rarely get more than a few feet aeay from her. Otto stayed with them while I was on vacation and while happy to see me again, wasn’t THRILLED to ser me again, if you know what I mean. Thank you, Pam and family, for taking good care of him for me. ...

Today’s new friends. You may have guessed I am not at home. ...

Made a new friend today. Very personable. ...

This little service dog may be overweight, arthritic, and off-leash... but I watched him walk with his Vietnam veteran owner through a crowd and never get more than 10 inches from his side. #damngooddog #thankyoubothforyourservice ...

Incredulous that no one else wants to swim at dusk in winter ...