Sunday, November 29, 2009

Caring For Your Senior Dog

At what age does a dog become a "Senior"? Is it when their muzzle starts to gray? When they slow down? This is a common question. The typical dog begins to enter Senior Status around age 8 or 9. You may notice subtle changes such as graying, more naps throughout the day and arthritic changes that cause soreness or lameness. To help your dog make the most of their golden years a healthy lifestyle is very important. An active dog is not only healthy but happy. Whether it's a fun game of fetch, a walk in the park, or a swim in the lake, keep your dog active.  You can  teach an old dog new tricks so teach them a new skill or trick just for fun.  Speak with your Veterinarian about the best food for your dog, espescially those that include joint suppliments. The senior years can often lead to weight gain which puts added stress on the joints, so keep their weight down through diet and exercise. Keep up on regular grooming and do monthly exams to detect any physical changes in skin or abnormal growths. And most important enjoy this time with your dog. We all remember when they were wild crazy puppies and longed for the day that Fido would settle down. Well that day has arrived so ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When play turns rough

Have you ever watched dogs play and wondered if it's getting too rough? When does it turn from play to fighting? Well it can happen in the blink of an eye. What starts out as innocent play can quicly escalate into fighting.

Dogs need playtime with other dogs but we need to be aware of problematic behavior to avoid injury. Watch for an even give and take in play. If one dog seems to be getting ganged up on then break up the play session until things settle down. Not all dogs are good playmates or are well suited with certain dogs. It's important to pick playmates for your dog that have a solid socialzation history and good play skills. Have regular breaks in play to allow the dogs to take a break and settle down. ALWAYS supervise dog play, never leave a group of dogs alone to play.

If any of the dogs has a history of resource guarding do not allow toys or food in the play area. Limit your group to 4 or 5 dogs to keep things manageable and safe. To prevent collar grabbing/strangling remove collars from all dogs before allowing them to play. By following some of these simple suggestings you can provide a safe and fun play environment for your dog.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Keeping Training Fun!

Yes it is possible to have fun while training your dog. Whether I'm teaching a group class or working with a famiy one-on-one, I always encourage people to have fun! Start by setting realistic training goals for you and your dog. Most people feel overwhelmed because they expect their puppy or untrained adult dog to be 'perfect' after a few weeks of training. The process of training a dog takes time, it's a marathon not a sprint. It's best to set achievable goals and gradually add more skills as your puppy/dog progresses. Keep your training sessions short and sweet, don't have long grueling training sessions, it's not good for you or your dog. Incorporate play and games like fetch or hide and seek into your training. Train in a variety of locations to keep things interesting and ask friends and thier dogs to join you. Some of the nicest people I know are people I've met at dog class so connect with other dog people and let your dogs play. We all want a well trained dog but try not to make it feel too much like a job, have fun!