November 2002

Features

Five Steps to Stopping Unwanted Behavior

Most of the time, when dogs do something we don’t want them to do (such as stealing our socks or jumping on our elderly aunt), the first thing out of our mouths is “NO!” We’ve all done it. But you may have had a dog trainer or two tell you not to use the word “no.” Why not? Shouldn’t you correct your dog if he makes a mistake?

Dog Teeth Cleaning: Don’t Deny Dental Health

While your veterinarian might not have said much about your dog’s teeth 10 years ago, today, it’s likely at the forefront of discussion during your dog’s annual or semi-annual health exam. That doesn’t mean your vet is now a money-grubbing capitalist. It means that veterinarians have learned how important their patients’ dental health is and how better to address it.

Barkaholics Not-Very-Anonymous

The trouble with having a dog who barks for a variety of reasons is that there isn’t one easy answer for getting her to stop. People often see barking as a single problem; just last week I was asked by several students in my class, “How do I stop my dog from barking?” I couldn’t give a simple answer. The solution to barking problems depends on understanding several factors.

Dogs vs. Wolves

Despite the widespread belief that wild wolf packs exist in a perpetual state of dominance challenges and bids for enhanced status, the collected evidence shows a glaring absence of these rigid types of relationships. There are few reports of wolves seeking higher positions in their pack, fighting over leadership, or physically dominating other wolves through aggression or alpha rolls.

Fighting Through The Fence

Fence aggression – barking, lunging, and fence-fighting – is an all-too-common canine behavior. It can also be a very difficult behavior to live with. A dog who is left for long periods of time (especially) in an enclosed yard can easily become frustrated and aroused by dogs being walked past her space and her inability to interact with those dogs. That frustration often turns into aggression, and the aggression can become very serious. Dogs can even be grieviously injured or even killed if they are able to grab another dog (or part of a dog) through a fence.

Diagnostic Health Testing for Dogs

Basic screening tests, in combination with regular physical exams, are foundation components of a good health care program. In younger dogs, routine tests are done to establish normal baselines, exclude congenital problems, and/or ensure safety for anesthesia. In older pets, these tests often provide the first indication of possible health problems.

Veterinary Visits: It's Important to Be There for Your Dog

I am going to be blunt; I have a strong opinion about this. There is absolutely no chance that I would allow any of my dogs to be taken “into the back” at a veterinary clinic for anything short of surgery. Our new vet does go above and beyond with her clinic’s degree of owner involvement, but we have never been clients at a clinic that required our dogs to be taken away from us for examinations.

How to Teach A Dog to "Leave It"

There are many times in your dog’s life when she needs to be able to control her impulse to engage in a behavior. Last month, we discussed “Wait” and “Stay” – but impulse control goes far beyond these “don’t move” cues. “Leave it” is another impulse-control behavior that is very useful for your dog to know. The cue means, “Whatever you are focused on at this moment, I need you to leave it alone.”

How to Teach Your Dog to Greet Nicely

On any given day, depending on the circumstances, a dog might have a multitude of opportunities to meet and greet a number of other creatures: dogs, cats, horses, a variety of other species, and all sorts of humans. Some dogs seem to do it with aplomb, while others are clearly overexcited and unable to contain themselves. I suspect most if not all of us would far rather have the dog who’s calm, cool, and collected rather than the other option. So how do we get there?

Entropion in Dogs: How to Treat This Common Eye Problem

The signs of entropion in dogs include visualization of rolled inward eyelids, excessive tearing, squinting (called blepharospasm), photosensitivity, rubbing and pawing at the eyes, and in some cases, corneal ulceration and dark brown pigment formation on the cornea. Some breeds do not seem particularly bothered by entropion – particularly the brachycephalic breeds – while it can cause significant discomfort and corneal trauma in others.

Properly Supervising Dogs

I would venture to say that many people think they are great at overseeing their dogs, but in reality, they don’t really have a firm grasp of what ideal supervision means. Further, many people lack information about their dogs’ body language – so, even if they are actually actively watching their dogs, if they can’t recognize their dogs’ stress signals, they won’t be able to help the dogs.

Don’t Skip the Stool Sample

A fresh stool sample is no one’s favorite to collect, but it’s important for a lot of reasons.Parasites are not the only thing that can be seen on a fecal check. Whether done as part of a routine screen or when a pet is sick, poop contains a lot of good information.

Basking in Sunshine

In past articles in WDJ, I have advised people who are thinking about adopting a new dog to develop a list of attributes that they must have, would like to have, would prefer not to have, and really do not want at all – and then to use these lists as search criteria. And yet, here we were, not really sure of what we were looking for. Another herding breed? We already have a Kelpie, so maybe, or maybe not. A Bonnie-type terrier-mix? Maybe, but they didn’t seem easy to come by.

Dogs and Carbs: It’s Complicated

The question of how best to feed dogs stimulates great debate and evokes strong emotions among dog folks. (Yes, this an intended understatement.) One of the most contentiously defended viewpoints in recent years is that dogs should not be fed diets that contain digestible carbohydrate (starch). Two primary arguments are used to defend this position.

Dog Diarrhea Causes and Remedies

The truth is, much like people, sometimes dogs just get diarrhea. Much as we do not see the doctor for every bout of diarrhea, similarly, dogs do not always need medical attention for a short-lived enteritis (inflammation of the intestines). Often, diarrhea can be managed with at-home therapy and convalescent care.