One of the most important things to remember is to dry your dog off throughly and not just after the rain either, your dog can become quite wet walking through grass covered in frost and for many dogs the urge is too great to resist a good roll in the frost! Also a dog covered in snow will become wet too so it is imperative that your pooch is dried off after its winter walk. Always dry behind the front legs well, at the tops of the legs and between the back legs, take extra care with older dogs as they may well be suffering a little from arthritis so require gentle handling but also need drying throughly.
An older dog or dogs with little hair might benefit from a coat during the winter. These days there are an array of coats available on the market from knitted sweaters to waterproof jackets. Most faithful friends object at first to wearing a coat as it will feel very alien to them to begin with but be patient and allow your dog time to adjust to it. Try it on indoors first and let your dog walk around the house and become used to how it feels.
If you have the chance try and walk your dog a little later in the morning when the temperature has warmed up a bit to make it more pleasant for both of you. Puppies also need extra care during the winter months to keep them warm and dry, at the same time it is good to take them out in the rain to ensure you do not end up with an adult dog that is reluctant to take a rainy walk! Just ensure they are dried off throughly afterwards and kept warm.
You may find if your dog is elderly and a touch arthritic that a gentle massage might help. Just use a very light touch and softly massage the legs when you have dried them off and encourage your pooch to move around during the day rather than simply curling up in the one position and then struggling to get up.
A lot is pure common sense to be honest and winter does not have to be a time of gloom just because the weather is a bit dull and cold there are some beautiful days during the winter too. Just wrap both yourself and your pooch up against the elements and enjoy!
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Many dogs are absolutely terrified by all the noise and at times it feels as though there is little you can do, as an owner, to help them. This is not strictly true, there are measures you can take to help your dog through this difficult time.
Firstly do not over fuss your petrified pooch, yes I know this is easier to say than actually do but it is important that you try. By making a huge fuss and bother of your dog you are simply letting them know that they are right to be afraid, you are backing up their fear. The same can be said if you show any signs of fear yourself to the fireworks or anger towards all the noise as this just confirms to your dog that if you are emotionally affected by it all then they should be too!
Prior to the lead up to the night, say even as far back as during September, begin to build a little safe haven den for your dog. Pop this den in a room that the dog is familiar with and ensure it is away from all windows. You can use a doggy crate/cage or even a strong cardboard box and drape a blanket over it and place a comfortable cushion or dog bed inside it along with a Kong treat, some toys and a water bowl inside or near the den. By doing this way before the night you are allowing your pooch the opportunity to become used to the den. Encourage your dog to use it and praise when they do.
If you walk you dog normally in the evenings try to bring the time forward as early as you can and do not walk after dark in the days leading up to the night. Try a canine-appeasing pheromone diffuser and plug this in during October and make sure you have a refill ready for November. Try a firework CD, build the volume up gradually so your dog can slowly accept the noise.
High fibre meals will assist to make your pooch sleepy, perhaps a meal of brown rice or pasta served with turkey or white fish and fed during the late afternoon on the 5th of November will help. Play some loud music and pop the volume up on the television, shut all the windows and curtains and relax as if you are worked up your dog will be too. I generally find the loudest film on the television and also pop a radio on in the kitchen as this is where one of my dogs always prefers to sleep on the night. Where your dog goes is where your dog feels comfortable and if that is away from you do not attempt to move them just to be with you as that is for your sake to make you feel better and not really for your dog’s sake.
It is not a good time of the year but try, for your dog’s sake, to relax and remain calm.
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There’s no mistaking the adorable ‘play-bow’ position that dogs and puppies adopt when wanting to play but do you recognise any of their other many poses and their vast array of noises? It helps if you can as this is an insight in to your puppy’s little world.
Fear is generally an easy emotion to recognise usually accompanied by flat ears and tail held very low and sometimes held between the back legs, if your puppy is especially scared, the posture may happen at the same time as your puppy whining. Now the very worst thing you can do in this situation is to scoop your puppy up in your arms. This action works two ways really; the first is that your puppy will assume that he/she does indeed have a reason to be scared, as you’ve just confirmed that information by your reassurance. Secondly, your puppy is now going to expect you to always do the same, even when said small puppy is a great big adult dog, not so easy to scoop one of those up in your arms!
So unless your puppy is in imminent danger, leave well alone. Most puppies will dive behind their owner’s legs when out in the early stages and a dog approaches them to say ‘hello’ this is quite normal. Again just ignore it though, unless of course the approaching dog looks nasty or unfriendly, you’ll see that in the end your pup will come out of hiding and say ‘hello’ back.
Now many people assume that a dog’s hackles rising up is always a sign of aggression actually it can mean the complete opposite, it can mean your puppy or dog’s excited. Obviously the given situation will allow you to see what the case is. If your puppy’s playing then it’s probably excitement but if your puppy is meeting another dog it doesn’t like or another animal then it could well be aggression. If you think it might well be the second one then cool the situation down by removing the problem, and if that happens to be your pup then remove them.
A lot of the time puppies don’t always comprehend all their emotions, just like children, and they have to learn and have certain boundaries pointed out to them. Having a puppy is all about learning and growing together, that’s what makes your bond so strong for many years to come.
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Whilst your puppy is still indoors pop a very soft collar on them. Leave it literally for about five minutes and if there is no major reaction praise and offer a treat as a reward. By major reaction I mean throwing a bit of a ‘wobbly’ whining and running around etc, etc. Most puppies will display minor signs of discomfort or slight concern at the strange object placed around their neck. You’d expect some indication of knowing the collar’s there. Perhaps scratching at it or zooming around in circles whilst trying to remove it or rubbing their head against an object or along the floor.
Ignore the actions, unless of course your puppy looks as though it might harm itself. The more you ignore the more your puppy will also ignore. If you make a fuss now your puppy will simply think its actions are correct and it does indeed have an issue to make a big fuss of!
The kindest item for your puppy to wear along with its collar is a harness. This will feel much stranger than the collar to begin with. You can purchase very soft, small puppy harnesses. They’re all different but most involve your puppy’s front legs stepping through it and then fastening on their back, the lead will then attach to this instead of directly onto the collar. If the lead fixes on the collar your little puppy will feel as though it’s being choked each time it takes a step, not a good introduction to walking on a lead.
Buy a short puppy lead and clip it onto the harness, just walk your puppy around on this inside and in the garden. You must ensure you remember to always praise and reward each step of the way. So walk a few steps and if there’s no reaction to the harness and collar then praise and reward, keep each training session short and sweet as puppie’s attention spans are generally short. A bored puppy becomes a naughty puppy very quickly.
You may not feel as though you’re really training your puppy as such because you’re not really giving commands but your puppy is still learning, trust me. He/she is being taught that wearing a collar and a harness is fun and it’s a good thing. Just by gently leading your puppy around is also teaching that you’re in control, simply call your puppy’s name and then very gently coax him/her to follow you by gently pulling on the lead. Remember to praise and reward and there you are you’ve already taught your puppy the very initial parts to both lead walking and recall work.
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It might well be that your furries are housed in their cages away from your pooch and that they’ll probably never actually meet nose to nose but you still need to be certain that your puppy isn’t startled by them and begins to lunge at their cage. The best solution with cages is to purchase some sort of partition to place up around the cage. It doesn’t have to be strong as such but just simply something to let your puppy know that crossing that line and moving the partition is wrong.
Many dogs and rabbits can become the best of pals but again be cautious. If you wish to introduce them do so slowly and never leave them alone with one another even if you think they’re great together, it takes a split second for things to go horribly wrong. Pop your bunny in a closed carry case and let your pup and rabbit touch noses and have a good sniff of each other. If this seems to be going well with neither animal displaying any signs of discomfort then open the carry case and stay with your pets to supervise at all times. If there are any indications from either pet of being scared or uncomfortable then stop the introduction immediately and perhaps try again the following day. Don’t be tempted to rush your pets to like one another. Remember it may never happen as not all animals are destined to like each other.
Also, don’t assume that just because your other dog got along with all the pets another one will automatically be exactly the same. Each puppy has a different character and a different approach to life in general.
Some puppies will be easy going and seem to take everything in their stride whilst others will worry and fret about things. If you’re intent on your new addition meeting and greeting with the other furry members of your household then try and consider this when selecting your new canine chum and opt for a placid, calm personality rather than a total live wire!
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So what can you do to help your canine chum if he has indeed become a bit chubbier than normal? To begin with hunt around for a lighter food as this will assist with the weight loss but still provide your dog with all the required nutrients and vitamins. If you’re feeding your dog treats as a reward for training then this needn’t stop completely but simply change the treats you’re using for a lighter alternative.
Don’t allow your dog to lounge around for hours on end encourage him/her to participate in plenty of exercise. This is a great way for you both to shed some of those unwanted pounds. How about cycling? You can purchase specially adapted leads for your dog to wear whilst you cycle, it may take you both awhile to adapt to the sensation but you’ll get there. Don’t save your swimming for the pool either, jump in a local river (as long as it’s safe of course!) and entice your dog to also take the plunge with you. If you have a floating ball to take with you then all the better as you can throw this for your pooch whilst you’re in the water together.
Jogging is another terrific form of exercise for you both and you don’t always have to stick to pathways and main road running either, your dog will adore some of the woodland trails and beach jogs that you can do with one another.
If all the above sounds just a little too energetic for you both then what about a nice brisk walk? You can discover many beautiful locations whilst walking beaches, moors or woods. Walking is still a great way to exercise just ensure you maintain a fairly brisk pace and if the weather’s warm never forget water for both yourself and your canine chum.
Grab your doggy pals and their dogs too for company. Dogs generally love to run around together and this is a great way for them to burn off any surplus pounds.
Make certain everyone knows about your dog’s diet too, so there are no crafty biscuits or treats handed to your pooch when people feel sorry for him/her as they don’t think they’re eating enough! Play with your dog more this is obviously fun but not only that it takes energy from both of you so is a fantastic way of bonding and losing weight all at the same time.
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If you don’t begin a training regime with your puppy now you’ll regret it later when you’ve a fully grown adult dog that’s completely disobedient and out of control.
One of your initial jobs to tackle is to ensure your puppy is clean in the house. There are many varying opinions on how to teach your puppy how to be clean but this is the way I’ve trained 2 puppies and an adult, rescue dog and it’s worked for me so far. I’ve never used newspaper as I feel this simply encourages the pup to go to the toilet on the paper. If you’re using a doggy crate for your pup then you’ll find the job a lot easier as most puppies won’t soil where they sleep I say ‘most’ as there are always exceptions.
Puppies will generally want to relieve themselves after they’ve played, eaten or slept. These are the vital times for you to scoop your puppy up and place him/her outside, now point to the ground and repeat a word over and over until your pup ‘performs’. When they do relieve themselves praise them like crazy, even if you feel a fool prancing around clapping, do it as it’s essential your puppy knows he/she has done the correct thing and that you’re delighted. Prior to saying your word, I chose the word ‘tinkle’, say your puppy’s name so for example, ‘Mylo tinkle’ this then establishes your puppy’s name by repeating it with a command.
If you make it through puppyhood with no accidents in the house then it’ll be a miracle, just try and learn the signs that your pup will give you as an indication of wanting to go out. Most will circle on a spot and sniff at the ground or become extremely fidgety; some might even rush to the door to go out. If you’re using a crate and you shut the door at night remember the first thing to do in the morning is to scoop your pup from the crate and pop him/her outside.
Working alongside the housetraining you can also teach simple commands such as sit, stand, wait and come. Always keep all training sessions short and happy because this way your pup will always maintain a happy memory of their training. Use some puppy friendly treats and a favourite toy if it’ll help with their learning process, you’ll soon learn that pups/dogs usually work to one of two items toys or treats but you’ll find that some will work equally to both. Use the item to keep your puppy’s attention and focus during their training, and ensure that when they’ve done well you always reward them by allowing them to eat the treat or play with the toy. Training is the perfect chance for you to bond and to have fun together, so enjoy!
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It’s always a good idea to take your new puppy along to see the vet when you first acquire them just for a quick check-up and their initial injection. The vet will examine and weigh them. The examining part’s the important part to introducing your puppy to being handled and you can begin this at home with your puppy.
Whilst they’re so small ensure you pick them up a lot, lift their paws and check the pads and claws. Many dogs don’t appreciate their paws being looked at although they’re perfectly happy to give their paw for a ‘paw shake’ when a doggy treat is offered their way! The earlier in your puppy’s life that you can start looking at their paws the better. Gently look in your puppy’s mouth by softly pulling their jaws apart. Check their eyes and ears. All of this is a brilliant handling experience for both you and your puppy and by the time your vet visit comes around, they’ll be more used to being handled.
Your vet is your friend and they’re always there to help both of you right through your canine chum’s life. If you’re at all concerned about any aspect of your puppy’s health just consult your vet. I think we all tend to panic unnecessarily when we home our initial puppy as everything’s new to us. When I had my first puppy I went into a panic attack about anything and everything, if my puppy sneezed she was whisked up the vets, it was an expensive time for me! I’m in no way saying that you shouldn’t visit your vet with your puppy if you’re at all concerned about anything but I think it’s important to try and learn to differentiate between serious and simply yourself over exaggerating. My best friends throughout owning dogs have always been people with their own dogs as they’re always the best people to talk with if you have your own problems with your pooches. Personally I wouldn’t recommend referring to the internet too much as there are so many conflicting reports on there and if you weren’t already flapping about your puppy’s health then you probably will be after reading too much on the internet!
The best advice I can give you is to befriend other ‘doggy’ people which will be simple I can ensure you as all you have to do is walk your dog where there are plenty of other dogs and you’ll soon be yapping away. Make a good friend of your vet and if you can always visit the same vet as this way both you and your puppy/dog can build up a good relationship with them.
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For instance a long-haired breed will take a lot more time grooming than a short-haired breed so to home an Afghan Hound with its luscious coat will take considerably more effort than a Jack Russell with its shorter coat. Yes Afghan Hounds are truly stunning dogs but to maintain their flowing coat takes a daily brush. Most breeds are generally the same with other aspects of grooming such as claw clipping and showering/bathing these tasks aren’t daily or even weekly unless of course your pooch is involved in the show-world where appearance is everything!
Worming and flea/tick treatments require doing on a regular basis whatever breed your dog is and so do annual vaccinations and of course any other vet visits outside of the annual ones.
Then comes the topic of exercise. This varies considerably from breed to breed. It’s essential that you research the particular breed of dog that you’re interested in before offering it a home and this is especially true when it comes to exercising. All dogs require exercise, small or large, but the amount needed does vary. For example one of the most misunderstood breeds when it comes to exercise is the Greyhound, most people instantly jump to the conclusion that these dogs run and run, never stopping. The truth is that they do love to run but will do so in spurts of energy, the Greyhound’s often the dog in the park running circles around the other dogs and then collapsing in a heap! The speed freaks of the canine world such as the Border Collies and Springer Spaniels need to run and then run a whole lot more on top. These breeds will just keep going and are the perfect companion for an avid walker, jogger or cyclist.
Cost must feature in your choice too. A bigger sized dog will obviously cost more to feed than a smaller one and will have a much bigger appetite to satisfy.
You must think about the space you have available to you. No point considering a Great Dane if you reside in a small flat although if you live in a mansion you might simply prefer smaller breeds and a little Yorkshire Terrier would certainly have all the fun of the fair zooming around a huge dwelling.
So whatever breed of dog you’re thinking of offering a home too always research the breed first to ensure that both you and your new friend will share a long and happy life together.
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Now your initial task is to decide what you want your canine chum to actually do with the toy, and don’t just say ‘play’! There are puppy and dog toys designed more towards fetching, chewing, swimming, training and even toys to make your doggy friend think and interact. The last group come mainly in the form of board games for dogs, yes you did read that correctly, the general concept’s the same for each one. Your dog has to work out what to do in order to receive a tasty treat, they actually have to use their nose or paw to move objects.
A similar idea to these toys are the range of Kong toys that you can fill with either a paste or dry doggy treats, they’ve an opening on one end and the trick’s for your clever pooch to work out how to access the goodies inside. The range includes smaller sized Kongs specifically designed with puppies in mind and soft Kongs for mouthing purposes.
With the swimming toys please always ensure that they do actually float. I know it will say that it floats but please always do check prior to your dog splashing through the water after it. I mention this as we had a worrying episode with our collie last summer, the ‘floating’ ball was thrown into a deep part of the river which we know well and know that our collie can swim well. On this occasion the ball didn’t float and neither did our dog! He tried to dive down after the rapidly sinking ball luckily both the ball and dog were fine, but this just goes to prove that every so called ‘floating’ toy should be tested first.
Whatever the type of toy you choose the key is to always have fun with your canine chum, dogs adore interaction as they’re social, pack animals. Playing with your pooch also presents the ideal opportunity to form a stronger bond and to do some training with them if required as nothing keeps your dog’s attention like their favourite toy!
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