February 2017

Features

Great Solutions for Dog Crate Problems

I first used a crate as a canine management tool in the early 1980s. I was a little skeptical of the concept (“Put my dog in a box? What?”), but within two days was completely convinced that this newly touted training tool had merit for both housetraining puppies and as a “safe space” for older dogs. Decades have passed since then, and I continue to believe that crates are a valuable tool for successful dog keeping.

Put A Stop to Door-Darting Dogs

Door darting is an impulse-control problem. It’s also incredibly self-rewarding. Remedying the issue requires teaching the dog to exhibit self-control around an open door, while employing diligent management to prevent the rehearsal of unwanted behavior. The following tips can help.

Impulse Control Exercises for High-Energy Dogs

I have yet to see a high-arousal nipping, jumping, body-slamming dog who has not been successfully helped by an appropriate combination of exercise and training. In fact, I received an email just today from the owner of the 13-month-old Labrador Retriever that I met with two weeks ago. She was thrilled to report that she has already seen significant improvement in her dog’s behavior. I’ll be checking in with the Golden Retriever client soon.

Earth-Friendly Dog Poop Disposal

Lots of us go out of our way to look for biodegradable dog waste bags. After all, we want to be earth-friendly in as many ways as possible. Who wants to think of their dog’s poop festering away in a traditional polymer bag designed to survive a zombie apocalypse? Unfortunately, the term “biodegradable” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Truth is, when it comes to dog waste bags, it’s not easy to be as “green” as we’d like to be.

Super Durable Dog Balls for Fetching and Beyond

The balls that rose to the top of our review are ones that survived months of playing by fairly aggressive chewers without much more than cosmetic damage – and that the dogs themselves returned to play with again and again. There were a few balls included in our review that the dogs almost never selected to play with; for some reason, they were less engaging than the others.

Stop Your Dog's Demanding Behavior

A dog’s demand behavior is her effort to communicate her wants and needs to you. Her demand behaviors increase in intensity because she is frustrated when she doesn’t get what she wants. Imagine how frustrating it would be to keep asking for something and have someone deliberately ignore your requests. No wonder she gets frustrated! When you think about it, it is a true marvel of our unique relationship with the canine species that they are able to communicate so effectively with us, and we with them.

Euthanizing an Old Dog: How it Works and What to Expect

The final kindness we can do for beloved pets who are suffering from disease or painful effects of advanced age is to relieve and shorten their misery. Euthanasia should be painless and peaceful, giving a caregiver a last, loving embrace with her dog (or cat), and a memory of ending the pet’s life in a quiet, dignified, fear-free, trauma-free manner. Many of us are at our most vulnerable at this time, wracked with sadness and distracted with deep concern for our companions – and, unfortunately, this may cause us to fail to ensure that the end we want for our pets resembles our hopeful vision of a peaceful end in any way.

The "Art" of Euthanasia

In more than 30 years as a veterinarian, I have heard of a number of accounts similar to Jill Breitner's pet euthanasia horror stories. In my career, though, I have dedicated my practice to using only low-stress techniques, especially at the end of life. This is the art of euthanasia.

Pet Euthanasia Gone Wrong

When the vet injected the drug into the muscle of Yogi’s hind leg, my cat screamed the loudest meow I’ve ever heard and, with a power he hadn’t displayed in years, thrust himself backward almost off the end of the table. The vet said, “You can let him go.” What?! I heard the words but my protective instinct kicked in; I was not going to let my frail friend crash to the floor! I was able to prevent him from falling off the table, but then he launched himself forward and upward out of my arms, flailing toward the wall. The vet and the tech stepped away from Yogi, as I flew to the other side of the table, catching him mid-air so he wouldn’t crash into the wall. They then excused themselves and left the room!

Install an “Off Switch” on Playtime

Herding dog trainers commonly use “That’ll do” as a “off switch” cue – and the expression was popularized by the movie “Babe.” (Remember? It’s when the talented swine was told: “That’ll do, Pig!”) You can, of course, use whatever cue you want. But stick with it! Trust me, you will find it well worth the time and effort it takes to teach your persistent dog that enough is enough when you say it is.

How to Help a Leash-Reactive Dog

Beyond the human hang-ups and logistical challenges associated with a dog who now displays reactive behavior in the presence of other dogs, we must consider the impact on the dog. Reactive outbursts are the product of distress, and distress is serious business. It takes a long time for the body to recover from the jolt of hormones that happens during a distressful event. This altered brain state can leave your dog susceptible to triggers he might not otherwise react to, which is why many dogs can seem “edgy” for some time following a particularly stressful event.

Managing Dog-Aggressive Dogs in the Family

If you do nothing else about the aggression between your dogs, you must scrupulously manage their movements and activities. Every time your dog successfully engages in a behavior that you don’t want her to exhibit, it makes it that much harder to convince her that it’s not a useful behavior strategy. Every time your dog aggressively communicates to another canine family member, it increases the potential for unresolvable aggression between the two and serious injury to one or both.

Creating a Great Dog Foster Home

Foster or rehabilitation caregivers not only nurse dogs back to health if they are ill and give dogs temporary shelter before they are adopted out, but also are responsible for bolstering their emotional state and mental well being. Setting up a dog for success is a big challenge but should be the goal for foster caregivers.

2017 Best Dog Cone Alternatives

The term “recovery collar” is becoming the standard term to refer to what has been called an Elizabethan collar, a pet cone, or more humorously, a lampshade, a pet radar dish, and, of course, the misnomer “cone of shame.” There is no shame in needing help! The term Elizabethan collar is still heard frequently, but because it tends to be shortened to e-collar and because that’s also a shortened version of electronic collar, the phrase is falling out of use for this application.

Summer Activities for Your Dog and You

Before you embark on a trip with your dog, think of her individual preferences in addition to yours. It’s wonderful when your dog is easygoing and gets along with everyone. Our dog is one of those – she greets all humans and other dogs (and even cats and rabbits!) with a happy tail wag and sniff. But your dog may not be as social, so determine realistically the sort of places and times where your dog will be most comfortable. Is there a particular path or trail that is less populated at certain times? If your dog is reactive, maybe it’s time to work on some counter-conditioning and desensitization before embarking.