November 2016

Letters from Readers: November 2016

Subscribers Only — My dog has learned to demand having her teeth brushed! I read that coconut oil was very good for dogs. About a year ago, I started using it to brush my dog’s teeth. Every night for the past year, our 2-year-old dog Lila will come to me and paw my leg while staring straight into my eyes, about an hour after her dinner meal. She will not leave me alone until I say, “Ready for your teeth to be brushed?” She looks at me, licks her lips, and runs into the bathroom. I lift her up (she weighs only 18 pounds) to the sink area and dip her brush into the jar of coconut oil. By now, she lets me insert the brush and do the outside of all her teeth surfaces. I know this will keep us from vet bills down the line, and oh my! Her breath smells great! It’s really adorable.   More...

Herbal Remedies for Your Dog's Arthritis Pain

Subscribers Only — While it’s true that some herbs recommended for use with canine arthritis have drug-like actions, including contraindications and potentially adverse side effects, the plants mentioned here are easily acquired from reputable sources, widely used, and safe for most dogs. The descriptions that follow include safety notes as applicable.   More...

A Bond-Based Approach to Dog Training

There is a lot of food for thought in this book. There is much that I find intriguing and would like to pursue, and also much that I disagree with. Arnold criticizes modern trainers for their focus on operant conditioning without acknowledging the great interest force-free trainers have already demonstrated in regard to the concepts of empowerment, choice, and cognition in their training programs. She insists that dogs really are “eager to please” their humans – an idea I have long argued against. She hasn’t convinced me on that topic, but I do wholeheartedly agree with her that we need to improve our relationships with our dogs by working with their cognitive abilities and giving them more opportunities for choice and empowerment.   More...

Training a Dog to Make Choices

One would expect that the rise of force-free training methods and the increased awareness of and respect for dogs as sentient creatures would make life easier for them. We should expect to see a corresponding rise in the number of calm, stable, well-adjusted dogs who are happily integrated into lifelong loving homes. But many training and behavior professionals note with alarm the large number of dogs in today’s world who seem to have significant issues with stress and anxiety, with high levels of arousal and low impulse control.   More...

How to Furnish a Home for Dogs

Subscribers Only — Flooring is the most heavily used surface in our homes, particularly when we have dogs. Popular considerations for flooring in your pet-friendly home are usually wood, bamboo, carpeting, tile, vinyl, or linoleum. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, and what works for me may not work for you. It’s not uncommon for a dog to have an aversion to a specific type of surface, so if you know your dog won’t be comfortable on a certain surface, consider another option.   More...

The 4 Best Winter Dog Boots Out There

Subscribers Only — Using boots for warmth, it seems, takes a back seat to injury care and prevention to the ever-important paws for an active dog in the winter months. Even if you and your dog are just fresh off the couch, preparing to venture out for a stroll on the mean freshly salted city streets in winter, a boot can provide your dog the protection and stability needed to enjoy the outing when temperatures drop and ice and snow accumulate. And you will look for the same qualities in a boot whether you are walking a half-mile on a city street or skiing 20 miles in the mountains.   More...

Protect Your Dog with Pumpkin and Peroxide

Having peroxide on hand is also a great idea in case you just discovered your dog ate something he shouldn’t have. Again, time is of the essence. Having to send someone to the store might cause enough of a delay to contraindicate the induction of vomiting. Speaking of dietary indiscretions, having plain canned pumpkin on hand at all times is another good idea.   More...