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Understanding Dog Body Language – Learn how to read dogs behavior better

 
Understanding dog body language may not be as hard you might have think. In this article, I will show you how you can easily understand what your dog is trying to tell you? When humans communicate directly to one another, what do we do? We use words, right. Sometimes, we might say a descriptive word or two. But do they adequately convey our emotions?

You may not actively notice, but when we speak to one another, our behavior and body language play major roles in the way we express our emotions. Think of a time when someone expressed affection toward you. They most likely smiled, kissed, and hugged you. If they didn’t say anything, would you still have felt their love? Yes.

Imagine observing two men having a conversation from a distance. You can’t hear what they’re saying, but one man’s face is red. He’s pacing back and forth, his fists are clenched, and he’s rapidly waving his arms around. Do you think you can guess what emotion he’s most likely experiencing? Yup, he’s angry.

Dogs, of course, don’t use words when they communicate. They do, however, use their body and behavior to express their emotions, especially when they’re stressed. So, while you might not be able to converse with your dog in words, you can still learn to comprehend his emotions.

Communicating with Your Dog

You love your dog and want to make him happy. So, of course, you want to know when he’s anxious and out-of-sorts. But, the goal isn’t simply to please him. The goal is to remedy the situation and/or remove him from it before it leads to aggression, at which point it can become dangerous and lead to biting.

Dogs speak loudly when it comes to body language and behavior, especially when they’re stressed. Because humans don’t know the signs or the behaviors and body language their dogs are using to express their emotions, they may sometimes overlook a stressful situation or unknowingly place their dog in an uncomfortable or stressful situation. They don’t intend the situation, they simple don’t understand what their dog is saying.

When All is Well

Before you can figure out how to know when your dog is telling you that he his stressed, you should how he tells you when all is fine. Simply observe his facial features. When all is well, his snout is relaxed. In fact, some dogs actually look like they’re smiling, especially when they’re relating positively with humans. Other signs that indicate all is well include:

o Eyes: his eyes will be round and soft and you’ll be able to see his eye color. If he has a smile, his eyes might look squinted.

o Ears: unless he has flopped ears, they will be partly upright and facing front. If he’s socializing with a human, they may be back a bit, which shows manners.

o Body: he will carry his body uniformly on all his paws and may jump around in a fun manner, to invite play.

o Tail: he will be wagging his tail to the right at or below his normal position. An excited dog will wag more enthusiastically.

Signs Your Dog is Stressed

Your dog will tell you when he feels stressed or out-of-sorts. Situations that may make him feel that way include the approach of an unknown person or animal; seeing a vacuum cleaner; getting pet in an uncomfortable manner; suddenly having guests in the house; a person shoving their face next to his; being in an unfamiliar place; sudden noise; undergoing a veterinarian examination. Whatever the case, he’ll exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Avoidance (he’ll turn away and/or avoid eye contact)
  • Lick his lips
  • Yawn
  • Pant
  • Raise his paws
  • Spread his toes
  • Sniff the ground
  • Back away
  • Exhibit whale eyes (slightly deflect his head so that the whites of his eyes are visible)

High Arousal Behavior

Your dog could have the kind of personality that gets excessively stimulated when excited. They simply don’t know how to control their emotions and need their owners to look out for them. So, if your dog displays these behaviors, it’s time for you to intervene and settle down the situation before it gets worse. Signs that you dog is starting to lose control include:

  • Teeth clacking
  • Pushing off of you with his paws
  • Punching you with his snout
  • Whining
  • High-pitched barking
  • Lip licking

Dog to Dog Interactions

When dogs encounter one another, they communicate through behavior and body language. There are situations in which you should intervene and situations in which you should let them work out whatever is going on by themselves. Here are warning signs that there is conflict and stress:

  • Your dog is snarling.
  • They have tense facial muscles.
  • Dog is staring intensely.
  • Your dogs is flicking his/her tongue.
  • When the dog is snapping.
  • When his tails are raised high.
  • They have bared teeth.

When you observe these behaviors, your response can simply be to redirect the attention of one of the dogs with a treat or toy. You don’t even have to get physically involved.

If, on the other hand, the dogs seem to be communicating well and/or playing effectively together, there is no need for you to intervene.

Extreme Stress Behaviors

There are some extreme stress behaviors that should be covered, as well.

Anxious

Loud noises, car rides, new situations, environments, strangers, age, and separation are only some of the situations that might make a dog anxious. An anxious dog may stop eating or become a very picky eater and/or become excessively thirsty. He may spew out treats or seize them form you. He may abruptly urinate or defecate and suddenly become aggressive. Anxious dogs exhibit the same kinds of behaviors and body language previous noted, as well as the following:

• zipping back and forth and from side to side
• hyper-awareness
• low tail
• quick movements
• ears far back

Fearful

A fearful dog will do anything he can to stay away from you, all other people, and anything and everything else that scares them. They may seem sad and uninterested and might bark at you and jump at you to make you go away. They exhibit all the aforementioned behaviors, plus the following:

• drooped head
• body sunk to the floor
• do anything to make themselves appear smaller and less intimidating
• try to disappear
• low bark
• stiff mouth
• ears back
• whale eyes
• rolling over
• shallow, rapid bites

Fear Aggression

A fearful dog will first try to run away from a threat. Such is called the “flight response.” If that option isn’t available, he will face the threat and choose the “fight response.” Keep in mind, however, the fear continues to be cause of the aggressive behavior. These dogs exhibit the following behaviors and body language:

• tense posture
• ears straight up
• direct stare
• legs spread
• bared teeth
• growl
• flicking tongue

Conclusion

If your dog exhibits any of these extreme stress situations, you should consult your veterinarian. Your dog may need medication and a trainer. With time and patience, you can learn to address and solve these issues.

Your best friend wants to communicate with you just as much as he wants to communicate with you. You already have a close bond and share so many great times. Just imagine how much greater it will be how that you understand him even more.

How Do Dogs Grieve & How You Can Help Them To Heal?

 
How do dogs grieve and why it is so important for us to know it as dog owners? This is what I am going to cover in this article. Let’s dive in.

dog grievingDogs are said to be a man’s most loyal companion. They are considered as a man’s best friend. Furthermore, they stay loyal to their master throughout their life. Over time, they develop an emotional bond with their owners that are inseparable and unbreakable. This phenomenon can be seen in the painting of Sir Edwin Landseer 1837, which is known as ‘The Old Shepherd’s Chief Mourner’. In this painting, it is evident that the dog is grieving over his owner’s death and it shows the depth of grief, a dog is capable of feeling.

In another case, a picture of a brown Labrador retriever lying next to his owner’s coffin went viral over the internet. The coffin was of Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson and the dog named Hawkeye was his companion for several years. In the picture, you could see a heart-broken dog that is depressed and sad over his owner’s death. All of these examples show that dogs feel sad and they are capable of feeling pain and grief. Therefore, it’s necessary to explore more to understand the pets’ psychology.

 

 

Many behavioral scientists have also suggested that dogs are capable of feeling grief, sorrow, and depression due to several reasons. According to several research studies, a dog’s mental capability is similar to a human who is aged between two to three years. Therefore, we must treat dogs as children and we should help them get over their depression and sadness. However, the question is how can we help them and how can we understand them in such situations. We have gathered all the necessary information that you may require while helping a grieving dog. This will definitely help you understand a dog’s psychology and you can use it to help them.

Common Reasons Behind A Grieving Dog

There could be many reasons behind a grieving or sad dog. Most common reasons are mentioned below to help you identify the cause of their grief. Once you have identified the reason for their depression, you can help them deal with it effectively. So, let’s take a look at them.

1) Death of a loved one or another pet.

2) Moving of residence to a new place.

3) Introduction of a new child or pet in the family.

4) Left alone for long durations.

5) An abusive owner who treats them badly.

6) Separation from family or owners.

7) Taking away the puppies at an early age from them.

8) Sickness or a recent surgery and treatment may also make him sad.

Other than these, there could be many reasons behind a grieving dog. You can identify them easily if you observe them closely and patiently.

Quick Note: dogs can be sad for different reasons (not just grieving, so I covered them all).

How do dogs grieve? How do you know?

It is difficult to understand a dog’s feelings and if you are a new pet owner then it can be more challenging. However, you can look out for these common signs that show that a pet is depressed or sad. A dog will show his grief or sadness through these signs and actions. Look out for them, and take necessary action immediately.

1) Loss of appetite and less water intake.

2) Sluggish reactions or response to humans or other pets.

3) Loss of interest in playful activities.

4) Howling frequently.

5) Staying in isolation and avoiding people.

6) Change in sleeping habit.

7) Showing laziness and being lethargic.

8) Repeated roaming from one room to another.

9) Sniffing different things continuously.

10) Being clingy to their owner.

There can be several other behavioral changes in your dog that only you can identify. Keep an eye on them. Once you see these changes, use the methods mentioned below to help them cope with any kind of grief and sadness.

How to help them cope?

Every dog is different exactly how every human is different. Some dog may grieve for a long period and others might grieve for a short period. Also, some may not grieve at all. Whatever the case may be, these methods and tips will help you deal with a grieving dog.

1) Console them

First and foremost, you must console your dog by petting them. Make them feel comfortable and be around them as much as possible. Play with them, take them for a walk, or you can take them with you while you ride a bike. If they are sitting idle in a corner then go to them and show them love and affection. Make a happy surrounding for them and tell all the family members to be cheerful. A dog can sense the tension in the environment and they can feel other’s stress. So, don’t stress yourself or your dog. A dog can quickly recover if he is in a calm surrounding and if people around him are happy.

2) Distraction is the key

A grieving dog needs a distraction and there are many ways to distract them. Either you can get a new toy for your dog or you can take him out for a walk. You can also take him to a dog’s park. The more he socializes, the better he will get with time. You can give him tasty treats and food items too. Also, you can extend the playtime and let your dog indulge in playful activities.

3) Observe and monitor

Keep an eye on your dog so that you can observe his actions. Check how he is coping and keep giving them more love and affection. Some dogs may need some time to get healed and you must give them space and time to heal. Look out for any changes in their behavior or reaction so that you can deal with it effectively. If there is no improvement then you must visit a veterinary behaviorist for treatment or guidance.

4) Natural grief remedies

You can give some natural remedies for grief to your dogs like relaxing aroma incense or stress-relieving mix. Moreover, there are many homeopathic remedies available in the market. They are extremely soothing and it has calming effects on the dog. Some of them are spirit essences loss remedy, the bach flower and honeysuckle remedy, etc. Either try out the natural remedies or consult a doctor for proper medication recommendation.

5) Get him a companion

After few weeks of grieving, if you see no improvement then introducing a new pet to your family can do the trick. Bring a kitten or a puppy to your home and let them help your pet fight with grief. A new member of the family can distract them and they will soon recover. At times, they need a familiar companion to feel comfortable and accepted.

You can either try all of them or just a few of them. Observe, what is the best option for your dog. Furthermore, you can use the quick tips that are mentioned below.

Quick Tips

1) Take them out to a dog’s park so that they can socialize with other dogs.

2) Play calm and soothing music for them at home.

3) Spend extra time with your pet so that they don’t feel lonely.

4) Give him special treats and toys so that they feel excited to see them.

5) Play audiobooks at home or use dog videos so that they can feel calm.

6) Be patient with your dog so that they recover properly.

All of the information stated in this article is sourced from various research studies and journals. They have helped numerous pet owners and you can be one of them too. Also, the methods that are mentioned above are tried and tested over several years. All dog trainers and experts suggest them to pet owners. So, try them out and help a dog overcome sadness, depression, and grief. In return, you will get a loyal companion forever.

Compulsive Barking – How Can You Easily Transform This Behavior?

 
Compulsive barking can be annoying, and it can also be a sign of something more significant. The key is to observe, understand and deal with it as soon as possible. In this article, we will touch upon the reasons of compulsive barking and also provide you some tips.

Please do seek expert help if you feel things are going out of hand. Because we want the best for our dogs, isn’t it so?

Barking is the language in which dogs communicate, but even for those who love their dog to bits, it can sometimes be nerve-racking if they incessantly keep barking.

Compulsive barking can be annoying and disturbing, not just to the pet owner but also to the neighbors. Just as children, dogs also suffer from separation anxiety, and don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. They exhibit similar symptoms as humans like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Destructiveness

If a dog develops the habit of compulsive barking, the pet owners need to understand why the dog is barking.

Pet owners also need to understand that compulsive barking is not a habit that can be stopped immediately. It requires patience and regular training to break this habit in a dog.

Dogs usually bark due to the following reasons:

  • They want to alert the master about a stranger coming.
  • If it hears some odd noises
  • If it feels someone is encroaching on its space
  • To gain its owner’s attention
  • If the dog is excited at seeing someone familiar
  • Loneliness

Treating The Dog Out Of The Habit Of Excessive Barking

Never Shout at Your Dog

Shouting at the dog when it is barking will only make it bark even more. A calm but firm voice works better on the dog to stop its compulsive barking. Train it to understand simple commands like ‘Quiet’ or hand signals like holding your finger to your lips. When it stops barking, don’t fail to praise it! Understand why the dog is barking. Don’t yell at it and show your frustration on the dog, however tired you might be.

How to Stop A Dog from Barking When Left Alone?

Take it for a run or play with it before you leave home. If the dog is tired, it will curb its barking even if it is locked up in the house. If you are busy, get someone to take it for a walk.

Don’t Encourage Unnecessary Barking

Barking gives dogs an adrenaline rush, and thus, should not be encouraged.

Medical Problems

Compulsive barking is also a sign that the dog is feeling some kind of discomfort or is in pain. It is also a sign of senility and taking it to a veterinarian is usually advisable to ensure the well-being of the dog.

Block Its View

Dogs tend to bark if something catches their attention or they hear some unfamiliar noises. Keep your windows closed or use blinds or curtains so that your pet does not get a clear view of the outside. If you have a yard, ensure that your pet does not get a view of the neighborhood by planting some bushes and shrubs around the fence.

Create A Private Space

When you have a dog at home, it is always a good idea to create a comfortable space for it. Set a bed and leave some of its favorite toys or a snack which will keep it happy when it is left alone at home.

Never Pay Attention or Reward Your Dogs’ Barking

If your dog has the habit of barking to go out or for a treat or water, you are rewarding it for barking. Teach it to push the door or tie a bell or rope which it can pull if it needs to go out. Teach it to tap its bowl if it needs water or food.

Curb Frenzied Barking While Playing

Some dogs, usually young ones, tend to get into a barking frenzy when they get excited while playing or when their master comes home. You should discourage this tendency from a young age. Train it to wait near the door when you open a door or while playing with the dog. Use praise and treats to encourage good behavior.

Devices to Control Barking and Reduce Stress

With the advancement of technology, numerous products are available in the market such as sprays, jackets, collars and ultrasonic sounds which help curb the habit of compulsive barking in dogs.

Conclusion

Training the dog using simple commands is the most effective way of curbing compulsive barking. It is also equally important to be calm and authoritative with the dog. This is to ensure that it understands the instructions given to it. If the pet owner is also yelling at the dog, it will only howl louder instead of stopping. Be patient and understanding towards your pet, and it will reciprocate in kind.

Cycling with Your Dog – 3 Top Tips

 
Cycling with your dog is a wonderful fun filled activity. Not just that. It is an excellent exercise for you and your dog. Trust me, it will improve the bond between you and your dog. Here is a beautiful short video by Cesar Millan on how to ride a bicycle with your dog.

 

 

If you can teach your dog to run along side you when you cycle, then that would be the best thing you can ever do. You can either use a leash when riding a bike. Make sure they are properly leash trained. Or, you can use the hands free tool, which is quite easy to use. The one shown below can be used for walking your dog or while riding a bike.

 

Cycling with your dog important considerations

+ Train Your Dog.
+ Safety First.
 
cycling with your dog

This a best selling hands free tool – more on Amazon.

 

But, you have to train your dog properly. So that they listen to you and follow you around when you are cycling. If it is the first time, then it will be time to put your patience to real test. It won’t happen right away. Because you have to get your dog used to the bicycle. They will need to trust and build confidence first. Before you can cycle with your dog you have to train them. Follow this three simple steps.

#1 Be Calm and Make Them Familiar

I talk to my dogs and explain to them what I am going to do. Yes, they do understand what you say to them clearly with lots of love and care. Make them feel comfortable with the whole exercise. Like Cesar mentioned in the video, walk your dog along side your bike. No rush and no hurry. Take your time and let your dog adjust to the new exciting idea.

What I also do? I slowly ride the bike around them. I don’t ask them to do anything. The idea is to let them watch me, and enjoy it. I have found if you do that, they feel very comfortable around the bike.

Trust me, they will start following you around because they want to see you happy. When they follow you around, praise them that will give them confidence. So, I would try a mix of the two strategies I mentioned above.

#2 Make Your Dog Sit Near The Bike

Like you have seen in the above video, make your dog sit near the bike. Make sure you position him or her in the direction you are going to go. Again, no rush and no worries. Take your time and give your dog enough time. Make sure you are calm and assertive because that will be mirrored by your dog. Only give them a treat when they do what you expect them to do. This will reinforce that behavior.

#3 Ride Away Gently

When you and your dog are ready, ride away and enjoy. Ride slowly and steadily. That will help you to be in control of the situation. At the same time your dog will find it comfortable too. If dog leash pulling is a a problem, then these simple tips will help.

Also, make sure you ride on surfaces that is safe for your dog and his paws. Safety always comes first. So, make sure the area is safe for you and your dog. You do have other options available to you as well. If you want to go biking and you want your dog to come along with you, then you can buy a dog trailer and teach them how to ride a bike trailer. Or, you can attach a bicycle rear seat. There are a lot of other great outdoor activities you can enjoy with your dog, and boating is also another great adventure.

Happy Bike Riding with your Dog!

How to get an abused dog to trust you?

 
How to get an abused dog to trust you when nothing is working and you are getting a bit frustrated? I agree it is not easy. But, the three methods given below will definitely help you break the ice and make your dog happy and more sociable. Let’s dive in.

A dog is a man’s best friend. They shower unconditional love and affection to their owners. Being the best cuddle partners, these cute little paws of fur can fill your heart and home with warmth and love. If you are planning to rescue a canine companion instead of buying one then visit a local shelter. Sadly, many of the dogs at the shelter have survived either abuse or ill-treatment from their previous owners. Keeping this in mind, building trust with your dog can be a hard job. However, it is not impossible to do so. You just need to be patient and show immense love to your new pet. There is nothing better than rescuing a dog and giving them the love and care that they truly deserve. Moreover, one act of kindness can change the entire life of a dog. Watch this beautiful video on how to gain a dog’s trust?

There are several ways to build trust with an abused dog. I have mentioned some of them below. Try them with your pet and embark on a journey that can be a life-changing experience for both of you.

Methods to build trust with an abused dog

1) Counter conditioning method

This method is helpful for those dogs who have specific fears. The method involves exposing the dog to the things that give him stress in a comfortable environment. You can do this by keeping something he loves next to the thing that makes him anxious.

i) Observe

First and foremost, you must identify the thing that stresses your dog. Through observation, you can find out the source of his anxiety. The stressor could be a cycle, stair, spray, stick, etc.

ii) Face the fear

Place his favorite toy or food next to the thing he fears. Expose him to his fear in a controlled environment. Don’t push him or force him, instead let him take small steps towards it.

iii) Reward him

Give him a treat and encourage him to do the act again.

iv) Keep going

Repeat this method till he gets comfortable with that particular thing that stresses him.

2) Interactive method

This method is helpful for those dog owners and dogs who have a hard time getting comfortable with each other.

i) Select a place

In a quiet and clean room, place a chair, bowls with water and food, and toys. Select a place where you and your dog can spend time and interact.

ii) Interactive session

Play with your dog or train him. You can teach various tricks and exercises to your dog. In short, just spend a good time with your dog for few hours.

iii) Encourage

You can give him his favorite treat from time to time and reward him for good actions.

iv) Keep going

You must repeat this method till he gets comfortable with you.

3) Clicker training method

Train your dog through simple commands. When you will do clicker training with your dog, he will start obeying you. Hence this method is best for those dog owners who wish to build a closer relationship with their dog.

i) Prepare

Before you start practicing this method, ensure that you are well-prepared. Therefore, search for articles and videos from experts and dog trainers on clicker training techniques. Learn as much as you can about this technique. Moreover, buy treats and a clicker.

ii) Practice

Click the clicker whenever your dog will show good behavior and give him a treat. Practice the techniques that you have read and learned.

iii) Praise & Encourage

Whenever he does the right act and he responds well to the technique, reward him with a treat. After hitting the clicker, give him a treat so that he can relate the clicker with the treat.

iv) Keep going

Repeat this method every day. Furthermore, have a fun time with your dog.

Quick Tips

1) Most importantly give your dog his favorite food and feed him properly.

2) Make sure you place a dog collar around your dog’s neck that is lightweight and don’t forget to add a name tag.

3) Make a comfortable space for your dog. Moreover, add a crate or bed along with pillows.

4) Get healthy treats to reward your dog from time to time.

5) Show constant love and compassion to your dog. Pet him delicately and play with him.

6) Help him socialize with other dogs, however, be cautious while doing so.

7) Train your dog and give him rewards when he does something right.

8) Most importantly, don’t punish him. Also, reward instead of punishing him.

Finally, now that you know the best methods to treat an abused dog and get him to trust you, try them out. Especially, be an angel for a dog in need. Build a strong relationship with your dog and make them feel special. In addition, show them that you are trustworthy.

Either the dog may instantly begin to trust you or he may take some time. While some dogs can forget their past easily, others may face a lot of difficulty in overcoming their past horrific memories. Whatever the case may be, be persistent in helping him get over his past fears and harrowing memories. Furthermore, transform his life and he will do the same for you.

Dog Communication with other Dogs – Beautiful Story of Kimba & Sonny

 
Dog communication with other dogs is a topic of interest for most dog owners. How to understand an organic conversation between dogs? As pet parents, we try to understand our dog’s behavior and make sense of their body language and how they bark. You often get tired of hearing mean things about your dog about how aggressive and ill-mannered he or she is – only if they bark.

Hey! It’s a dog and they don’t communicate through words. They bark because they are trying to say something in their own language. You feel like your dog is barking but he/she is actually trying to communicate! You’re a dog lover but you wish to understand what’s really going on between two dogs. The trouble begins when you get home two dogs and they go mighty with each other. You want your dogs to be happy, right? In order to make both the dogs happy, you have to try and understand the ‘doggy’ language.

If you have a dog in your home and he/she is getting aggressive with other dogs, you need to evaluate the situation differently.

The question – What’s going on between two dogs? What are they saying to each other? You are not a dog whisperer like Cesar Milan but you can try his ways to understand the organic conversation between dogs. The trick is to look and observe! Let’s understand this better by sharing the story of Kimba and Sonny with you.

The Narrative of Sonny and Kimba

Kimba is a beautiful Siberian husky and she is out in the open to ‘talk’ to a mighty male dog named Sonny. Kimba felt hesitant to go near Sonny but she is curious! A beautiful conversation took place between Kimba and Sonny. She kept barking at him and the pup parents wondered why she would do this! At first, Kimba’s parents thought that she is an aggressive dog and the problem is with her.  They were worried because everyone told them that Kimba is an aggressive dog. Is it so? Is it a case of aggression? Let us find out!

Dog communication with other dogs – Cesar’s Approach

In the video, Cesar has brought Sonny (the mighty dog) into the picture and he is just trying to show Kimba’s parents about how dogs have an organic conversation. As a pet owner, we think that our dogs are barking for no rhyme or reason. We start believing that our dog is aggressive but it is not true.

If you look at Kimba’s body language throughout the video, you would notice that she is not being aggressive dominant. Rather, she is being aggressive defensive because she knows that Sonny is bigger as compared to her! However, Kimba was pushing it and trying to bring out Sonny’s dominant side. Her instincts are saying that she wishes to submit and wants Sonny to dominate.

Cesar’s Clear Strategy

Cesar brought Sonny into the picture because he wanted Kimba’s parents to understand what she is trying to say to Sonny. When Cesar brought Sonny into the picture, Kimba’s parents were afraid because they have never seen Kimba interact with other dogs. They were afraid to see Kimba barking at Sonny and felt that she is being aggressive. Is she really aggressive? Cesar made it clear that Kimba was just trying to submit and even her body language was depicting that! The real deal was that Kimba was trying to get a reaction from Sonny. She wanted to be dominated by Sonny and finally, he pounced on the ground and gave a dominant bark. At the end, Kimba gave a dominant bark and looks like she liked it!

Please note, Sonny plays a vital role here. He is being calm and even though he is stronger than Kimba, he is playing it cool and reacts at the end of the video. Well, Cesar definitely knows what he is doing! After all he is the most amazing dog whisperer in the whole wide world!

Cesar said, “That’s the way dogs do it: they don’t send flowers’’.

He explained the situation beautifully to Kimba’s parents. She was not really an aggressive dog! She was just trying to get dominated!

Looks like Cesar handled this with grace and they helped Kimba’s parents to believe in her. The next time you feel your dog is aggressive, you can look for signs. Is it really aggression? Cesar knows it all. By the way, dog communication does not end here. If you are interested, this is a great piece of research article by American Psychological Association: “Researchers studying dogs’ communication skills hope to shed light on early human evolution“.

Leaving a Dog Alone for 8 Hours – Top 10 Fun Games Your Dogs Will Love

 
Leaving a Dog Alone for 8 Hours will never be a problem again after you have read this article. No one wants to leave their adorable furry friends home alone for long hours with just chairs and tables as companions. We all love them too much to do that willingly or happily. But as much as we are aware of this fact we also know that with today’s lifestyles and busy schedules, leaving a dog alone for 8 hours or more everyday has become more of a necessity than an option among working people.

How many times we have felt that pang of guilt when we get ready to leave our buddy home for long hours without anyone to look after him? How many times we have wondered about ways which could help our furry friend entertain himself alone for long hours? Well, no need to despair any longer because we have compiled a list of ten things just for you and your dog. These things will keep your buddy entertained and productively occupied when you are away at work.

10 things that will keep your dog engaged

1. Play with Toys

If modern lifestyle has brought with it the cons of long distance commutes it has also brought the pros of technically enhanced products. With advances in science and technology you are no longer confined to giving your dog a tennis ball as a toy always. Today, there are a number of choices when it comes to dog toys. The market is full of chew toys, puzzle toys, treat dispensing toys and what not. Here is a list of toys to help you choose one for your doggy friend:

Kong toys: These toys can ideally be filled with some semi-solid treat like peanut butter or Kong’s own delicacies for the dog to enjoy at a leisurely pace. You can freeze the toy before giving it to your dog for extending the enjoyment hours.

Starmarks’ Bob-a-lot: This is a treat dispensing toy that drops treats when it is touched. You can also adjust the openings to increase the difficulty level so that your dog is occupied for long hours.

Seek-a-treat puzzle toy: This toy will make your dog think of different ways to get the treat. It will keep him mentally stimulated and he will get treats as rewards for solving the puzzle.

Chewable toys from Greenies: Chewable toys not only help fulfill the urge of dogs to chew on something but special dental chew toys also help clean their teeth and keep their breath fresh.

Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours will not seem like a problem when you have these toys. In order to keep the dog’s interests alive each day, try to rotate these toys. Do not give the same toy every day. Also, remember to clean the toys after use, especially the treat dispensing toys.  This way you can use them for long term and also keep things hygienic and safe for your dogs.

2. Go on a Treasure Hunt

You can also create your own toy or game if you have the time. You can take a basket and stuff it with toys and other interesting things which your dog loves. It will keep him busy for hours as he will take out one thing at a time and explore it and have fun. Things you can stuff are toys, treats, balls, rope toys and so on.

You can also create small treasure hunt games for your buddy by hiding his treats in safe places. He will have a mentally stimulating time trying to find his treats. You can place them inside his bedding, under the sofa cushions and so on.

3. Watch TV

You can keep the TV turned on while you are gone. You can tune in to a channel that your dog usually likes to watch like Animal Planet. This will have two advantages. Firstly, it will keep him occupied and secondly, it will keep him distracted from outside noises. This will make him bark less at every harmless sound he hears. This in turn will also keep your neighbors happy.

4. Go on a walk with Dog Walker

Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours or more is generally not recommended for any dog. Small dogs and puppies cannot hold their nature’s call for that long because of their small bladders. Secondly, dogs are social beings and remaining alone for too long is not their natural way of living. They live in packs and thrive on companionship. Thirdly, bigger dogs have lots of energy and remaining idle for such a long time might make them expend their energy in the wrong direction like towards your sofa or boots!

In order to overcome these problems use the services of a dog walker. A Dog walker can add one more walk to the daily walking routine of your dog. If using a dog walker daily seems a bit expensive, then you can combine 2-3 methods together. You can call a dog walker for a couple of days a week. For another 2 days you can ask a friend or a neighbor to walk your dog in the afternoon. On other days you can ask a friend who has a dog to walk your dog too when she takes her dog for a walk. You can in return walk her dog on weekends and holidays.

5. Have a Pet Sitter

Call a pet sitter, if possible, once a week to give a break to the weekly routine of your pet. The pet sitter will play with your dog, give him food, take him for a walk and might also bathe and brush him if required. You can find some good pet sitter around your locality through the online resource Pet sitters. Make sure to take a look at their tips of hiring a pet sitter before you decide to hire one.

6. Go to Doggy Day Care

Another professional option is to send the dog to a day care center. Day care centers are great if they have trained personnel to take care of your dog and vast open and clean space to put up your dog. Evaluate the option of day care very carefully before sending your dog there.

The downsides of sending your dog to a day care are illnesses, injuries, changed behavior to name a few. A recent blog published on The Globe and mail carefully outlines all the pros and cons of doggy day cares which would be worth a read before you make your decision.

7. Sleep

Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours will look easy if the dog spends most of that time sleeping. According to American Kennel club, dogs sleep on an average 12-14 hours a day. The sleep pattern and amount would also depend upon age, health, and breed and activity level of the dog. Hence if you can take your dog for an hour’s play before leaving for work and exhaust him, then in most probability he will spend half of the day sleeping. Apart from keeping him away from mischief and boredom, this high level of activity will also be good for him physically, emotionally and mentally.

8. Listen to Music

Recent studies have shown that music has a calming effect on dogs. They tend to bark less and behave less aggressively when they hear music. There is a wide selection of music you can pick for your dog. Studies also show that running same kind of music again and again will not show any positive effect. It is only when music is changed or music type is changed that dogs respond positively.  You can select different type of music and let it run for your dog. It will be a good pass time for him for a couple of hours and might also induce him into sleep.

9. Have another Dog Friend

Like Humans feel less lonely when they have a companion, similarly dogs might also feel better when they a dog companion. But before you go ahead and adopt another pet make sure that your dog’s temperament suits this idea. Leaving two dogs home alone for long hours is equivalent to leaving your dog in a day care without any supervision. Evaluate your pros and cons very carefully before you make a decision.

10. Have a Human Friend Over

Instead of adopting a dog, you can ask one of your friends who have a dog to come over and let the two dogs play together. This will give your dog some supervised playtime and will help decrease his boredom. Even if your friend does not have a pet dog you can invite him to just house sit. While he works at his computer or watches TV your dog will feel comforted by his presence.

Now, that you know that your dog can be happily busy in your absence you can also enjoy your day without worrying too much. You can also leave for work feeling relaxed and you will notice that this positive change in your attitude is also helping your dog cope with loneliness better. According to Dog psychologist and trainer Cesar Millan, Dogs react to our energy, hence if we radiate positive energy our dogs will also react positively. Keeping that in mind take care of a few things listed below before leaving a dog alone for 8 hours or more

Leaving a Dog Alone for 8 Hours Things to Take Care

  • Train your dog sufficiently so that he adjusts well to your routine
  • Don’t make good byes or hellos long or dramatic
  • Don’t leave tempting things such as dustbins, laundry bags within his easy reach
  • Always test toys in your presence before leaving your dog alone with them
  • Don’t leave your dog alone for too long (like more than 8 hours)
  • Always leave happily and with a positive frame of mind

Now, that you have prepared the ground both physically and emotionally, leaving your dog home alone will not look like an uphill task any more. You can look forward to seeing a less messy home when you return. No more chewed up carpet or disturbed neighbors or an unhappy dog. Come home to your bundle of joy and spend the remaining hours of the day enjoying each other’s company to the maximum!

Grieving for a Pet – Beautiful Story of Dexter

 
Grieving for a pet is difficult and a complicated process. But, faith, support and love can heal. Let me share with you this beautiful story of Dexter and his kind owner. This is a guest post. For confidentiality and respect to the story teller’s privacy I have not shared the name of the owner.

How I met Dexter?

It was a rainy evening. I had just stepped out of my office in a rush to reach home. Instead, I found myself standing stranded on the pavement, under my big orange umbrella and getting sprayed by the rain as the wind blew it haywire to and from all directions. Every bus that had arrived was overcrowded and every cab occupied. I stood cursing under my breath. I had no idea how much longer I would have to wait. My clothes were almost dripping, and my socks in my ballerinas were soaking wet. My legs had begun feeling heavy and uncomfortable. To top it, I could feel something tugging at my feet. What the hell! I jumped in fear and quickly looked down in utter alarm and the very next moment, my entire life changed.

Looking down, I saw a sight I can never forget. A brown and white, dappled, dripping wet dog, rather a pup, was trying to stick closer to my legs while shivering violently in the cold. As I looked down, it instinctively looked up and met my eyes. That look in its eyes! A strange mixture of vulnerability and strength, compassion and companionship, seeking help and offering friendship. It all so strangely blended into one unforgettable look in those beady, glassy, round little eyes. Compassion overcame me. It was a feeling that I had never felt before. I immediately picked up the pup and tried offering it some warmth. As if magically, the very next moment, an empty cab appeared out of nowhere and came and braked right before us as if to say, “Time to go home!”

I had to leave. So, I looked around wondering if the pup belonged to someone nearby. But there was not a soul around. The street was getting increasingly flooded, and every door and window of each building on that street was securely locked. I could not figure out how the pup had reached this street corner, who it belonged to, and where it came from. It was getting darker and stormier by the minute. I could either leave this stranded creature there in a city fast submerging itself in the rains and the swelling drains or I could take this stranger home and offer it some Love. I suddenly recalled what my mother had taught me years back, “When you’re confused between the right and the wrong, choose love because love is always right!” That evening, I chose love, and it transformed my life forever.

Dexter, my brown and white angel with beady, glassy, round little eyes and long drooping ears transformed my life forever. Till date, I have no idea exactly which breed he belonged to. And it never mattered to me. I knew I truly loved him from the moment I set my eyes upon him, and hence, his cast, creed, race, and religion had no real significance to me. Our love was true and pure. And forever! Dexter left for a bigger home as recently as two months back. He left for a home where he must be sleeping in peace, occasionally waking up to play with his favorite chew bone which I had carefully buried beside him.

Fading Away of Dexter

Yes! Dexter passed away two months back, breaking my heart into a million pieces, yet making it a thousand times stronger. He made me believe in love and perhaps afterlife too. And yes, magic! Dexter helped me believe in magic again. Why again? Because just a month before he walked into my life, on another equally wet, cold and stormy evening, I had sworn to myself that I would never believe in lies like magic and love again. That was the fateful day when I had decided to walk out of my first long-term relationship, by then verging on abuse and lies.

That whole month, I had cursed through the days and at nights, wept myself to sleep, calling myself way too gullible to ever believe in the magic of love. In real life, such fantasies didn’t exist, or so I thought in my temporary flood of rage and pain. That was until Dexter arrived!

Dexter was “the walking and talking magic of love” from the very first moment. How else did I manage to find an empty cab suddenly in a stranded city, riding straight up to us the very moment I picked Dexter up? How else did the otherwise cramped, damp and littered apartment turn so big, warm and cozy the moment both of us stepped inside the house that night? And suddenly, how else could I suddenly feel the weight of a dead elephant lift off my chest and my heart once again fluttering chirpily around the house like a little blue bird?

Finding Dexter, bringing him home, striking an unexpected companionship with him had been immensely transformative to my mind, body, and soul. We were not owner and pet or even pet-parent and fur-child because I think my maternal instincts still have time to bud. We were best friends. Bum-chums! Confidants! Partners in crime! And now that he’s gone, I have lost so many people in one blow! I have lost my best friend, my magician, my laughter riot and my late-night street food hunting team. Sometimes, I wonder if another pup might fill in these roles. Then, I sigh hard and re-realize one unambiguous truth – no one can replace my Dexter!

Grieving for a Pet is Tough

After Dexter passed away, some of the colleagues at work suggested I get another “pet.” Some others commented on my overdoing of the grief I felt for a “mere pet.” I could never make anyone see how Dexter was NOT my “pet.” He was my “Person.” My one and the only go-to person at any given point in time. Looking for a hug? Dexter! Wanting to cheer up? Dexter! Needing to reaffirm my faith in love and faithfulness? That’s Dexter’s department! Wanting to go on an evening stroll to smell the wildflowers after a brain-busting day at work? Dexter’s the perfect walking companion. Daring to go scavenger hunting on the lonely city streets to quench some sudden late-night food craving? You definitely take bodyguard Dexter with you!

Now, I hardly go out late in the night for food hunts. It is not because I am afraid to venture out without my “bodyguard.” On the contrary, it is because the absence of Dexter sniffing out my food plate or sharing a buttery masala bread with me sends a stabbing sensation down my throat right into my gut. Those special memories I spent with Dexter are irreplaceable and also impossible to recreate with another “new pet.”

Having said that, I am not entirely closed off to the idea of getting another fur friend. I am sure Dexter would also want to see me less lonely and depressed than I am right now. He had this peculiar observation power about my emotions almost like human empathy and could sense when I was down. He knew whenever I had had a bad day at work, and he knew my moods like the back of his palm or paw, I should say! I am not entirely sure if that amount of sensitivity can be found in another.

Yet, knowing Dexter always wanted to see me bubbly, bouncy and bright, I could try to get a new furry friend sometime in the future. But I need time for that. Right now, my heart, lungs, head, and home are still too full of my departed Dexter. His body is gone. Yet, I can feel his presence closely. Non-believers might call me delusional, and this tangible presence of Dexter just a habit of my mind, but I know it’s not just a whiff of memory or a mere flash of imagination. Dexter is tangibly present all around me. And that’s what has helped me not grieve him to the extent of plummeting in the severest lows. I do grieve hard for him. But this presence also soothes me. It’s as if one bridge was burnt for a new bridge to be built.

Speaking of bridges, Dexter had a favorite sport we often played. On Sundays or holidays, when I had time, we would go out to a nearby bridge on the local river. It has a low secret niche on its Southern end where butterflies gather in hundreds to drink honey from the wild weed flowers growing beneath the bridge, in the shade. Dexter loved running up to that spot and “nosing” the winged creatures. By nosing, I mean he would simply lift up his nose at a funny angle and wait until a butterfly or two came and momentarily parched on his moist black nose. How on earth did he manage to get butterflies to come and sit on his nose, I don’t know! Except, Dexter was the walking talking, err, barking, magician!

He would rush into the fleet of butterflies, making his presence known to them, sending them all in a scared flurry. Then he would pause, look around intently and hold up his nose in the air, as if to smell something distant until the winged friends came and lightly sat on it, before flying off soon again. That sight was sheer magic, unforgettable and nothing like I have ever seen in my entire life. This also made my faith in the “magic of love” stronger.

Dexter gave me my first real lesson in love, I suppose. He loved butterflies. He taught me that when you really love something or someone, you just have to be fully present and simply allow the other to come and accept that presence. No running, chasing or demanding! Definitely not barking and pawing and clawing for love to come and sit at your table, or on your nose! When it did come, you enjoyed its light footings, and let it fly away whenever it wished to, and simply continued being present for it to return home again. Dexter taught me to love. He was my teacher! And now, I miss my favorite teacher!

Now that Dexter is gone and so untimely, I wonder at times if he was sent to me only to teach me certain priceless lessons I desperately needed to learn. I think to myself while brooding and grieving this four-legged teacher’s loss, if he was an angel sent specially to help me learn some things, and once his purpose here was over, he returned.

I know it sounds fantastical, yet that thought soothes me a lot. Or why is it that I could never trace his owners, even after going back to that office neighborhood and asking people extensively about a lost puppy? How did a puppy end up in an office area where there were hardly any residential houses? How is it that not one soul was around that evening when I found Dexter if a passerby had indeed accidentally lost him? More astonishingly, why had no one come forward to claim him even after I put a lost and found ad in the local newspaper?

Even after Dexter has gone to what they popularly call the Heavens, I still don’t know where he had come from that evening. And it somehow makes me glad to think he had actually come from heaven! Dexter was my angel in every sense of the word!

His departure was sudden. But I see a bigger picture in that too now.

The infection, the vet said, had come from the roadside food. But this wasn’t the first time we had had junk food! We had been bringing on such nuisance once in a while for the last three years! However, the vet had been convinced that Dexter caught the infection from our last nocturnal street food escapade. “What kind of a pet owner feeds a dog junk street food?” he had asked me so rudely, without even realizing how guilty I was feeling already.

But Dexter loved accompanying me on these food trips. He was never fed huge chunks, only nibbles from my plate. He had not fallen sick even once over the previous three years. Yet, the vet’s question triggered a lot of guilt in me that morning. I took Dexter for all the necessary treatments over the next few days, but his condition kept worsening. The worse, however, was yet to come. After a whole week of infection, when Dexter began falling severely weak and staggering, an emergency checkup revealed that he had cancer!

I recall that moment when Dexter’s vet announced that fatal word – cancer. Even before I could digest the word, he quickly added to “help” me understand the dog’s problem that “Junk food often results in cancer in dogs!” I won’t ever forget that horrifying feeling. Suddenly, I realized that I was the only reason Dexter was dying so prematurely. First, I gave him a gastrointestinal infection. Now, cancer! I gave it to him by not being a responsible dog owner, by feeding him “junk street food”! At times, I still recall the thick, nauseous blend of shame, guilt, and remorse rising in my throat that evening sitting in the emergency room, holding Dexter tightly in my arms. I failed Dexter. I got him sick. He was about to die because of me!

That doctor chalked out an extensive treatment, much of which was too expensive and practically unaffordable for me. Yet, I began his treatment by borrowing some extra cash from my office. But I couldn’t complete his treatment due to the increasing medical bills. That was the third whammy of guilt I had to boil and writhe in, watching my dearest Dexter die right before my eyes, thanks to my own previous irresponsible gift of this disease to him. Those last days of Dexter, I frequently felt I could die myself of guilt. But through it all, Dexter’s love for me never wavered for a second.

Even in the last days of his life, he would remain snuggled up to my leg, at times wagging his weak tail when he saw me cry, and growl in gladness just as ever to see me bring him some milk or food. His love didn’t wane for a minute, though his life kept waning by the day. Whenever I would hold him close and cry, or apologize profusely for my negligence, Dexter always looked up into my eyes with his beady, glassy, round little eyes and growled each time softly! It was as if he was saying, “Stop blaming yourself. There’s a lesson in this too. I am busy making new magic for you. Wait and watch!”

I never understood what that could possibly be. What could be the magic in my best friend, wisest teacher and guardian angel dying so untimely and that too, due to my own human errors? It felt like the magic had gone horribly wrong.

Dexter passed away soon after. I buried him under the Pipal tree in my backyard. I also buried with him his favorite chew bone and a few other toys that he loved playing with. For the next few weeks, I even walked up to our favorite butterfly bridge to find him any dead butterfly lying around by some random stroke of luck. I even found some, twice. I brought them and laid them on Dexter’s grave, right near his nose. He loved to make these winged friends parch on his nose, after all. These silly rituals soothed me a lot. Yet, the guilt was eating me away.

Then one fine day, it suddenly dawned on me like a bolt from the blues that guilt had always been my most potent poison. Having a set of mildly narcissistic parents, umpteen one-sided, manipulative friendships in school and college, and later, with several un-emotive, noncommittal lovers, my pattern so far had been to take up tremendous guilt over everyone else’s life falling apart. I did that even when none of it were my fault. I don’t know whether Dexter indeed contracted cancer due to me feeding him junk food. However, the guilt that the whole episode left me in finally forced me to seek professional help to cope with the grief of losing Dexter, along with my lifelong struggle with guilt.

Only now I have begun learning that guilt, regardless of the situation, is always a useless emotion. Only now I am finding new courage to rise above all the guilt people close to me all my life kept making me feel. Had this last violent guilt of Dexter’s death not been gifted to me, I would never have thought of working with this one potent poison of my life.

Even after his death, Dexter’s bigger plan was to perhaps push me off my perpetual guilt threshold into a new-found sense of freedom. Dexter, my magician, my teacher, my love, knew the sheer magic of love. His sudden sickness and departure was perhaps his secret master-plan to teach me a new way of living guilt-free. Of course, I still need more time to process the loss, the remorse, the regrets and the residual guilt that haunt me from time to time. But the healing has begun. And I am so thankful to Dexter with each passing day.

Grieving for a Pet – Life Goes On

I hope that someday soon, I might get a Dexter Junior home. Or a Daisy! But my first love shall always be that one gem of a Best Friend I had – Dexter. He came out of nowhere. He left so suddenly. But in between the two, over the past three years, he touched my life in many ways. Sometimes, I look into the mirror and wonder how much I have changed for the better. And yes, often, when I look into the mirror, I also see a glimpse of Dexter’s magic and love shining in my own eyes. Dexter left for another home. But perhaps, a part of him is right here in my soul.

How to socialize a timid puppy?

 
How to socialize a timid puppy and what can you do to make your little pooch lead a joyful and happy life. This is the topic of our discussion today, let’s dive in.

A timid dog can be the result of genetics, a traumatic experience or inadequate education. They might even feel isolated because of little contact with other dogs or unknown people.

A dog is said to be timid when there is inhibition, distrust or fear in a situation. This can lead to various psychological trauma and even anxiety attacks in a dog. This article explains why dogs are timid and the different reactions of an inhibited dog. It also demonstrates how to prevent this dog behavior and four guidelines to help a withdrawn dog to socialize.

Below is a beautiful video you may love to watch. It has a lot of useful tips from Cesar Millan on how to help a dog to build their self confidence.

Why Timid Dogs Become Aggressive?

Timid dogs can have aggressive reactions because they feel insecure and unprotected in situations that are not in their control. Studies have shown that canine timidity is a trait that comes from the ancestor, the wolf. It is a characteristic of dogs who are very sensitive to external stimuli. Stimuli can often include excessive noise or the presence of unknown animals or people.

This explains, in part, the inherited shyness of some dogs. Timidity can also prevent a dog’s normal relationship with people, other animals or certain situations. This condition in a dog might even need canine psychological therapy in some cases.

Why Is My Dog Timid?

Timidity in a dog can be due to hierarchical issues. This can cause a dog to be submissive and shy because it is not the leader of the pack. Keep in mind that there is a rule that is often repeated: “shy parents, shy children.”

This unhealthy timidity in a dog is a common reason to consult canine educators.

However, you can definitely treat this timidity or extreme inhibition in your furry friend. Although it is quite challenging to make a timid dog, lose its inhibition completely, it is not entirely impossible.

Consequently, the ideal way is to be able to determine the cause of the timidity in the dog. However, it is not easy to ascertain the cause because the origin can be genetic. The timidity in a dog can also lead to anxiety. It usually happens with dogs who have lived isolated and deprived of freedom all their lives. As sad as this situation is, the dogs who have lived in and survived these brutal circumstances are usually nervous. They also tend to be compulsively destructive.

How to Recognize Timid Dogs?

There are dogs who, in response to shyness or their inability to cope with certain situations, respond with aggressiveness. Others may have panic attacks and flee uncontrollably or hide. There are also some who relax their sphincters and urinate or defecate involuntarily.

Another reason for dogs to be timid may be isolation or the lack of coexistence with other animals. It might also come from an inadequate education regarding the socialization of a dog since it was a puppy.

How to Prevent Canine Timidity?

The right kind of socialization from the time a dog is a puppy is the best way to avoid timidity. It is also the perfect technique to prevent the associated psychological problems in a dog.

An overprotected dog is more likely to be timid than the one who is not the center of attention. Moreover, canine games play an important role in establishing an effective relationship between an owner and the dog. It is an adequate therapy that allows the dog to release its energy and relax.

Playing with dogs helps to create bonds. Developing their social relationship is useful. This will help them to relax in various surroundings. Moreover, they would be uninhibited around people they know and trust. This is the first step to build or raise their level of confidence.

If we want a stable dog, we must lay the foundations from the time a puppy is young. We need to enrich the first experiences of a puppy, and how he or she relates to other people and animals. A good idea is help them to get used to its environment. By doing simple things such as taking them out in the streets safely, parks or trips with the family.

However, if behavioral problems caused by timidity in a dog cannot be reduced, it is advisable to consult an expert. It is important to determine the cause. An expert will be better informed to assess and choose the right procedure to follow to solve the problem.

How to socialize a timid puppy with these tips and tricks!

The technique usually used by dog educators concerning timid dogs is: The gradual exposure of dogs to various situations that cause timidity in them.

Relaxation is the key. Help your dog to relax, unwind and let go of all the pent-up fear and aggression. Here are four things you can do to help a timid dog socialize.

  1. If timidity in your dog is preventing him to lead a normal happy life, you should consult a veterinarian or a dog expert immediately. Also, if it triggers aggression, anxiety and the inability to face certain situations in your dog, consult a vet. It is natural for dog owners to try to solve the problem themselves at first. However, if you see it getting out of your hands, it is time to see an expert.
  2. Try to determine the cause of fear or shyness. For example, if you have an adopted dog, try to find out the ‘history’ if someone has mistreated him or her. Although, as stated earlier, it might not always be possible to determine the reason. There is a chance that it may also have a genetic origin.
  3. To reduce fear and shyness in your dog, provide your dog enough opportunity to socialize. This may include interacting with people and other dogs and having different experiences.
  4. Play with the dog and spend time with it. Go for canine rides, trips and play outdoor games like fetch and hide & seek. The more you spend time with your dog, the better it will be for you and your pet. This will build his confidence and gradually reduce fear.

Food for Thought

Dogs are our most loyal friends, and it is not just words. So, give your love lot’s of love and support him or her in every possible way you can. This will to a great extent ward off physical or psychological illness for you and your dog and ensure perfect happiness. Watch out for the signs and take action early to prevent any problem in your dog nit just shyness or fear.

Dog Aggression Towards People – Beautiful Story of Caitlin & Leon

 
Dog aggression towards people is a common problem many dog owners have to face. And, if the situation is not handled properly things can get really dangerous and nasty. Do you have a dog who is always trying to protect you to the point of making you a social outcast? Does your furry friend take his responsibilities a bit too seriously? Well, it’s time to take some action and show him who the boss is.

Overprotective dog that bites

Many times a dog-owner relationship becomes off balanced, leading the dog to believe that he is the leader. The owner, due to any number of reasons might accept the status submissively. It is only when this relationship status starts hurting others that the owner realizes it is time to take some action.

Cause and Effect

  • Cause: Owners’ inability to project a calm and confident demeanor due to any number of reasons.
  • Effect: Dog becomes uncertain, protective and aggressive.

And this is what our story is about today, which shows an off balance relationship between Caitlin and her dog Leon.

Leon shows signs of aggressiveness

Leon has always been a well behaved dog when suddenly his owner Lisa passes away and he is adopted by Lisa’s best friend Caitlin.

Caitlin who is still in mourning takes comfort from Leon’s presence. But little by little, her sadness starts taking an effect on Leon. His behavior changes and he becomes aggressive towards strangers. Why did it happen? This is significant, and we need to take a note of it.

Leon is unable to relate Caitlin’s sadness with an event that occurred a couple of months back (Lisa’s death). He takes it upon himself to help Caitlin. Why does dog’s do that? We definitely need to understand dog psychology here. So, what happens next?

He starts barking, pulling at the leash and behaving aggressively towards all humans and animals. Clearly we are seeing the effect here.

His aggression becomes uncontrolled to the point where he starts biting others.

His first victim was Caitlin’s neighbor. Naturally, that did not go down very well. They called an animal control unit to defuse the situation. Realizing that they have very little time in their hands before Leon is taken away from them, Lisa’s mother Sue calls upon Cesar to help them.

And, this is what happens next, and what you and I can learn from it.

Cesar’s experiment with the pool

Now, have a look at the video and see how easily Cesar achieved balance between Leon and Caitlin’s relationship.

Remember in the video how Leon would pull at the leash and bark at passers-by on the road. Cesar did a little swimming pool exercise and things changed. By the end of the video Caitlin is the one pulling the leash and Leon was coming to her submissively. An entirely opposite scenario to what was taking place before!

Cesar’s Strategy

It is remarkable how Cesar conducted the entire “experiment” through a set of simple exercise. Cesar brought Leon to Caitlin’s swimming pool. His whole aim he states in the video was to “put Leon in the pool”. By doing so, they helped Leon to overcome his natural fear of water.

Dissipating Leon’s fears and gaining trust

So, what did Cesar do? Cesar puts a leash on Leon and enters the pool first. Ask yourself why? As expected, you can see Caitlin watching all this from the edge of the pool with a worried expression on her face. According to Cesar many dogs are afraid of the pool and feel that they will fall off. And that makes complete sense. Because they do not know that there are steps which they simply need to climb down to enter the pool.

The idea is to lead and show them the way.

Cesar just wants Leon to see those steps and climb down. As Cesar puts it “Leon just needs to take his first step”.

To accomplish this, Cesar pulls Leon by the leash and helps him to step into the pool. Yes, one step at a time. After a little pulling and encouragement from Cesar’s side and a bit of whining from Leon’s side, Cesar succeeds in making Leon put his paws on the first step of the pool. See how the first and significant milestone was achieved. This is important. Because you can apply the same principle with your dog not just in swimming pool, but everywhere you train him.

Change of guard

At this point Cesar asks Caitlin to step inside the pool and finish the rest of the exercise. That’s what I call the golden opportunity for a ‘true bonding’. If you observe closely, Caitlin did pretty well. Didn’t she? She maintained a calm and confident demeanor while following it through. And Cesar guided her all along the way with some useful prompts. How does a calm and assertive energy help? By maintaining a calm pose she was able to communicate to Leon that she is in control now. And, dogs read that very well.

Did you see how easily the dynamics of the relationship changed? Caitlin is no longer a submissive human being who needs protecting by her animal friend. See how Leon’s behavior changed almost instantly. Leon accepted Caitlin as the leader and followed her in the pool. And, this change of role was then visible everywhere. Not just the pool. And, that is remarkable, and we all need to take note as dog owners.

Dog Aggression Towards People – Going forward

A balance was finally achieved which would lead to a happier and a safer relationship between Leon and Caitlin. This would also mean one more chance at life for Leon.

Though the whole exercise seems like a swimming pool training for the dog, it is actually much more than that. Through the simple act of getting the dog come down to the swimming pool, the owner has effectively conveyed her confidence and her ability to deal with any situation.

Her positive energy was projected on the dog making him realize that his owner is strong and capable of providing him much needed leadership. Finally, he becomes less aggressive and he could actually lead a more normal life. Hope you liked this beautiful story, and learned few things that you can apply to your life right away. Thanks for your time and take care.

How to keep a dog happy when home alone?

 
How to keep a dog happy when home alone and the things you can do, which your dog will love to bits? You’re right that’s the whole purpose of this article. Dogs are not called human’s best friend for nothing. They love you, worship you and want to spend each minute of their life alongside you.  But this hero worshiping might prove a bit suffocating if it hinders with your daily routine.

You cannot take your dog to work, parties or family dinners. These and many other occasions will come when you will have to leave your dog home alone. In order for you to enjoy these activities without a huge dose of guilt you will have to ensure that your dog is equally happy and calm without you in the house. This is not only important for you but it is equally important for the overall physical and mental well-being of your furry friend. Before we explore the various ways to achieve a harmony between your routine and your dog’s happiness we need to first understand what is causing your dog discomfort and if it is more than just unhappiness.

Reasons for your dog’s unhappiness

Dogs might be unhappy when left alone because of the following reasons

  • He has not been trained
  • He suffers from separation anxiety
  • It is a change from his normal routine

Training

In case you are already working and have brought a dog home, you will need to train him from day 1 to spend some time without you. It is as important as other training such as potty training, leash training or training to walk along side you when you are biking for example. Follow the given steps in sequence to help your new dog adjust to your ways of doing things.

Two step training

  • Step 1:

This step will involve de-associating your work clothes, car keys, bags from you leaving the house. When dogs watch you getting ready they associate it with several hours of loneliness. Even before you are out they will start whining, barking and start showing various signs of unhappiness. Try to do things differently. Pick up your car keys but don’t go out. Wear work clothes and watch TV or do a routine task such as cooking or reading a newspaper. After some time your dog will forget the previous departure cues and will not become upset when you get ready to actually go out.

  • Step 2:

Make him used to your absence little by little. Try to remain in separate rooms for some time. Time the separation and increase it slowly. Make sure you return to him before he gets upset. That would mean starting with just a few seconds of separation. Increase it gradually so that finally your dog can stay without you for more than half an hour. You can use food or toys to keep him occupied during your absence. Yes, you will have to practice it and have a lot of patience.

Tips on how to keep a dog happy when home alone

In case, your routine changes for example, you have now become an office goer instead of working from home, then you will need distractions or some kind of immediate solution to help your dog adjust to your new ways. Now, let’s explore the following ways on how to keep a dog happy when home alone.

  • Exercise

Dogs might become disruptive when left alone not just because they are unhappy but because they have so much energy and don’t know what to do with it. Hence, they will use that energy on furniture, doors, walls, shoes and anything that they can have a go at. By exercising your dog before you leave for work will help him release his pent up energy. You can take him for walks or runs or you can play with him in the park for an hour or so. If you can do that, it will be awesome for both you and your dog. The idea is to get him tired so that when he returns home he will find sleeping more preferable than chewing boots. You can then peacefully leave for work. And you will feel better because you got your daily dose of exercise.

  • Toys

There are many toys available in the market, some are chew-able, some are food toys in which you can stuff food and let your dog chew his way to it. You can put these toys near his bed so that when you leave he will have something productive to do. Always test the toys first before leaving him alone with them. They should not harm him or cause injury.

  • Food

Food is known to cure depression in humans so it should also work its magic on animals. You can scatter your dog’s food on the floor so that he can be easily occupied for a couple of hours and put his sense of smell to good use. You can also use a bowl if you like.

  • Music therapy

Music has always been associated with healing powers and various studies have proved it. Recently, the famous dog trainer Cesar Millan has done similar kind of research in collaboration with Audible, the audio entertainment company to study the effect of soothing sounds on dog’s behavior. He has recommended using audio books to ease the anxiety of a dog left home alone.

  • Get dog companions

You can also get another dog to provide companionship to your dog. But remember to weigh all the pros and cons before you set to do this. The second dog should be well-trained as well, calm and should be able to adjust well in your absence. Do not do this if you are unsure because it may rather cause more harm than good.

  • Dog Walker

A dog needs walking four/five times in a day or maybe more depending on the breed and the type of dog you have. If you are out and unable to take your dog for walking that many times then you can employ dog walkers. These professionals are experts in dog handling and provide variety of services like walking and feeding the dog; playing with him and so on. This activity will also provide a much needed break in your dog’s uneventful routine.

  • Pet sitting

Instead of a dog walker you can also enlist the services of a pet sitter. Unlike dog walkers they work with only one dog at a time. They will come to your home and feed your dog, take him out for walks, play with him and can sometimes even give him a bath.

  • Dog day cares

There are various day care centers where you can leave your dog for the day. But before you go and register your dog, check on a few things first. Is your dog comfortable around other unknown dogs? Will leaving your dog in new surroundings not add to his stress and anxiety? Is your dog old enough to be left in the center? Answering these questions will help you make the right decision.

  • Family/friend helping out

Using professional services like dog walking or pet sitting can be a bit expensive. Instead, you can take help from friends and family, who will be happy to spend some time with your dog. You can always return their favor by baking them some cookies or inviting them for a dinner.

Dealing with separation anxiety

There are also cases where a dog is not just unhappy but also feels frightened or insecure in his owner’s absence. The cause for this anxiety may be rooted in some previous bad experience. This anxiety is called separation anxiety and it will need to be dealt in a special way. The signs of separation anxiety are: eating less, pacing, clawing at routes of exit to the point of injury, excessive barking or howling and soiling the house. In case your dog is showing any signs of separation anxiety consult your Vet or a professional dog trainer. Additionally, you can try some of the remedies given below.

Remedies for separation anxiety

  • Medicine

Dogs who suffer from a severe case of separation anxiety and who cannot be treated by behavior therapies alone are given anti-anxiety and relaxation medicine. Before you start your dog on any kind of medication consult your Vet about it.

  • Snug garments

Some wonderful snug shirts are available on PETA online stores that provide a comfortable way to deal with stress. These shirts act like a warm hug and help the dog feel secure and safe.

  • Alternative medicine remedies

You can find various herbal remedies on pet stores which can help to calm your pooch. These products use naturally occurring ingredients that do not have any harmful side effects. But, please do consult certified dog experts before you use any kind of medicine.

  • Dog appeasing products

You can use products that emit dog appeasing substances which will have a calming effect on the dog. These plugins work over a particular area range and can last for a month before requiring a refill. You can choose any number of methods or tips depending upon your dog’s needs. Dogs, like any mammals are social beings and with a little help from you can keep themselves happily occupied when home alone. Try and avoid the things given below when you are implementing any of the discussed methods.

Things to avoid

  • Punishment

Any remedial method will have a better success rate when it is done with love and affection. Punishment leads to more insecurity and heightened anxiety.

  • Extended hours

Do not leave dogs alone for extended hours like 8-9 hours at a stretch. Especially, puppies will become distressed when left alone for more than a couple of hours. It is also unnatural and harmful for them to hold their natures call for too long. If it is possible for you then try to come home during lunch breaks to take your dogs for a short walk.

  • Elaborate greetings

Dogs like to greet their owners with a high degree of excitement reserved for long lost friends. Even if you want to, do not participate in this revelry. Be calm and just pat him once and carry on with your other activities. Only when he has calmed down sufficiently, you should go and pat him. It will help him to not to make a big deal of your outings.

  • Leaving dogs outdoors

Never leave dogs outdoor when you are not at home unless you have special arrangement such as a secured dog house etc. It is not only unsafe for them, but it could lead them to try dangerous ways to escape from there. They can also hurt themselves badly while doing so. Dogs are like children when it comes to getting separated from their parents. Like children feel unhappy on their first day at school or day care, similarly dogs do not want to stay at home without their owners. But like children, if they understand that the separation is not long term or permanent and that their moms and dads will return they will actually start adjusting well in their new routines and enjoy it while doing so. Good luck and I hope you have enjoyed this article and found something that you can use. Take care.

What to do with an aggressive dog that bites?

 
What to do with an aggressive dog that bites and what do you do when you have tried and failed at everything? You feel hopeless, right. You’re a dog lover and your heart shatters into pieces because you do not want your dog to be perceived as a nasty and dangerous dog. You want to help your dog and do whatever you can. Yes, that’s what we do as dog lovers. Isn’t it so? You want the dog to be happy. At the same time you want the people around the dog to be safe, happy and comfortable as well. So, this brings us to today’s story about Jolean and her aggressive German Shepherd buddy called Rocky.

Aggressive German Shepherd That Bites

Why does Rocky bite? Off course, there must be a reason. Dogs do not just become aggressive out of nowhere. Maybe because Rocky fears something. And that’s the reason he do not trust men in general. He is OK with women. Why does Rocky do what he does?

That’s the main point, because if he has to be rehabilitated, then the ‘root cause’ has to be identified and eliminated first. When the ’cause’ will go away, the symptoms will soon disappear on its own.

Cause and Effect

  • Causes can be many things such as fear, distrust, poor training, lack of assertive leadership.
  • And effects as we know can be barking, biting, general aggression etc.

In this situation, trust building is the key. So, gaining trust of Rocky is the very first step towards building a life-long relationship of love and understanding with the animal. As soon as we get a pet we work hard to become friends. And, the warmth of this companionship stays with us forever.

Imagine the pain of someone whose trust in her furry friend is waning little by little due to some unfortunate incident. This is the topic of our story today. Jolean and her mother’s well-wishers advised her to put away the dog, but she decided to give one more try to rehabilitate her friend. She wants to bring Rocky back to the social circle.

And this is where Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan comes to the rescue. Watch this beautiful short video first. Further below, I have also linked you to the full-episode on what to do with an aggressive dog that bites.

First Glimpse of Dog Aggressiveness

Rocky, an otherwise good dog is aggressive towards anyone who does not look like his owner. And this means that he constantly barks at anyone and everyone. His aggressiveness crossed limits and one day he even bit Jolean. This experience shook Jolean’s trust, because she was severely injured. But she did not want to quit on him. And, this is how Cesar Millan helped her in this journey. So, what did Cesar really do that the owners couldn’t or never even realized?

Let’s explore that a bit more.

As you can see in the video Cesar Millan is at Jolean’s home that is Rocky’s territory. Jolean was watching the whole proceeding through the window. Obviously as we can imagine, she had a careworn expression in her face. Rocky true to his form barks incessantly at Cesar because he does not want him there. Rocky is highly protective of his territory. In other words, it is a “go away warning’ in dog’s language.

What is Cesar’s reaction?

Remember, your reaction, your body language is what your dog perceives. If you want to become a better pack leader, it is necessary that we closely watch what Cesar did. Firstly, Cesar thoroughly evaluated the scenario. And, that’s the sign of an expert. Then, he came to the conclusion that the situation is too dangerous for him to handle alone. So, he called Junior for help.

Please note, Junior plays a significant role here. Junior is a calm and assertive dog. And Cesar used  Junior’s calm presence to settle Rocky. Cesar is not called a dog whisperer for nothing. He uses dog psychology to handle and rehabilitate troubled dogs. His techniques are unconventional to say the least. He believes in conversing with animals through his body language and assertive energy.

Cesar always says, if we feel fearful then we convey that negative energy to the animals and they respond accordingly to that energy. As we can clearly see this in the video. Junior’s calmness seems to have taken an effect on Rocky and he retreats to the porch. Only then, Cesar entered Rocky’s territory (the home and garden) and with some effort and skill put a leash on him.

Cesar Had a Clear Plan and Strategy

Rocky was on the porch but he was still barking. If you remember, Cesar said “That’s the real dog, listen to his bark. Normal dogs do not bark like this”. True. Normal dogs bark a little and then start minding their own business. They do not get disturbed by a stranger’s presence. They are not insecure and hence do not overdo it. So, Cesar takes every cue into account to assess Rocky’s behavior. He does that with the purpose of understanding Rocky. How many dog owners do that? Do you pay attention to those cues?

Paying Attention to the Cues

Unfortunately, most dog owners don’t. And, that’s the main reason we do not understand why a dog behaves the way he or she does? Going back to our example, a frantic dog this aggressive can be very dangerous and unpredictable. And, we have Jolean’s experience to vouch for that. Cesar quickly realizes this and asks for his broom. Now that Cesar and Junior are in Rocky’s territory they need a diversion tactic for Rocky. The broom creates a barrier between Cesar and Rocky and provides some extra space.

Cesar Uses Common Sense Backed-up with Strategy

So we have seen, only when Rocky is cornered and the broom is in between Cesar and Rocky, Cesar tried to put the leash over Rocky’s head. What happens next is interesting and significant as well? Suddenly the leash falls from his hands and lands on Rocky’s neck. But, Cesar did not panic. Why? Because he wanted to remain calm and assertive while he dealt with Rocky. Off course not an easy thing to do, especially with an aggressive dog.

This may seem a simple thing for most of us, but for dogs it is huge. Because they can read your energy, they know how you are feeling. And, they respond accordingly. That’s another reason why it helps when we learn and apply dog psychology.

So, what happened after that?

Luckily he had Junior on leash, so he used Junior’s leash. And, this time he successfully put the leash on Rocky and brought him outside the house and on the road. Why? Because, Cesar wanted Rocky in a territory, which is neutral. The idea is to make things easier for Cesar. Now, if you break everything down, it starts to make sense why dog experts like Cesar do what they do. Every step is calculated and planned. Also, they have a quick mind and a fall-back strategy (leash mishap example).

These are great things, we can easily learn with some practice. I agree, you may need help from dog experts, if your dog goes out of control like our example of Rocky. But, if we understand dog psychology, we will for sure become better dog parents.

Rocky has never trusted men. Now it is upon Cesar to gain his trust and make him social again. In Cesar’s words – “The only way Rocky can actually learn to trust man is if a man gains his trust”. Cesar has already successfully completed the first step of this journey.

The most important thing while dealing with any animal is to understand the psychology behind their actions. Here in this case insecurity was a big issue with the troubled dog. By staying calm around him Junior and Cesar has helped him become a little less insecure and a bit more social. Please watch the whole episode below. I hope I could throw some light on the ever growing area of dog psychology. Thank you for visiting our website and take care.

Cesar Millan Leash Pulling – How Cesar’s Tip Helped My Dog?

 
Cesar Millan’s Leash Pulling Tips greatly helped me and I wanted to briefly share with you my experience in this article (a guest post by Parul). Leash training is fun, challenging and it is better if you can start early. When you bring a puppy home you need to gradually start training him to stay by your side when on leash. The idea is that, he should not pull or tug.

Leash Training A Grown Up Dog

But what if you have a grown up dog that has not been leash trained? How would you train him or rather “untrain” him?

You see for the new training to set in, the dog needs to understand that his current behavior is not acceptable. He will have to unlearn pulling and tugging.

Here I am sharing my own experience of teaching an untrained dog to walk on the leash.

Now I am a dog lover and sympathizer i.e. if I see a wounded dog I want to help him, bring him home, and take care of him. My friends know this well and one of them reached out to me when he needed help. This guy was getting relocated. He begged me to adopt his German Shepard. Well, how could I say no?

So here I am with an untrained adult dog and want him to learn good manners starting with leash training.  This is entirely new to me. My two dogs were puppies when they came to live with me. I decided to take help from a professional.

The dog trainer obligingly came and showed me the steps of training the dog. He had brought his own well-mannered buddy along. At first I was a bit worried on seeing another dog. Won’t he come in between the training?

The trainer quickly put me at ease. He told me that his dog will actually help us in training my new dog. Here are the steps that the trainer showed me and I hope would also help you:

Show the dog who is the leader

First make the dog realize that what he is doing is wrong. There are various ways of achieving this. If the dog starts walking in front of you can go back to where you started like the porch or gate. Make him realize that you are the leader. Keep turning back till he adjusts to your pace of walking.

In our case the trainer had a unique way of showing the dog to slow down. He would pat the dog with his leg on the back. A slight touch that’s all. It would surprise the dog and make him look at you. Stop and make him sit for few seconds. Then start walking again. The trainer repeated this till the dog walked along with the trainer.

See and copy

Next came the non-verbal training by the trainer’s dog. My new buddy was taken to the van where the trainer’s dog was sitting. Before letting my dog enter the van the trainer let him smell the van’s door from the outside. Quickly the dog realized the presence of a stranger. Though he became a bit tensed, the trainer kept a firm hand on his leash and opened the door. He kept using his pat method now and then.

Once both the dogs finished exchanging pleasantries, the trainer took my dog inside his van and let him stay there for 5-6 minutes. Both the dogs were in a closed environment now. Some telepathy was going on. My dog’s new friend was telling him to stay calm and be less aggressive.

Let’s go for a walk

Once the threesome, the trainer, his dog and my dog were out, the trainer took them for a walk. His dog was not on a leash. He did not require it. He obediently kept close to his owner and was always a few steps behind. Never once did he try to run off in a different direction. The trainer was setting the direction of the walk and his dog was following it.

Strangely now, my new four legged companion who was on a leash also did not attempt to pull or tug. It seemed he was taking a cue from his furry companion. And my dog was trained. I will just have to make sure that this habit is maintained. Using commands should now be enough to keep him from wandering off on his own. Hope it has helped you and provided you some basic tips to use in case you face a similar situation.

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Basic Dog Care Tips

 
Do you have a dog at home? Are you planning to get home a little ball of fur? If the answer is a resounding YES then you must read my full article. Having a little furry friend can bring great joy to your life. If you are new to the pet parent club, you must know that taking care of a dog is very similar to taking care of a little baby. I am not trying to scare you at all.

As a dog enthusiast, I do believe that your little furry friend will give you immense love and unconditional loyalty in return. At the same time, you have a huge responsibility of taking good care of your beautiful friend as well. So, the question is – How do you properly take care of your dog? And, most importantly how do you get started? It is pretty simple though because what your pooch really need is a lot of love, care and attention. That’s it, and if you do that in the right way, then you and your dog will have the best times ever.

So, before you bring home a little puppy, it is definitely a good idea to know the basics of caring for a dog. Those simple details that you may easily miss out, which may affect their well-being or even put them at risk. I would like to emphasize again that having a dog as your pet and best friend is a big responsibility. Most new dog owners do not prepare them enough, and that results in many unfavorable situations. And, no dog lover wants that.  So, the whole idea of this article is to get you started on how to take care of your dog properly. Let’s dive in right away.

Feeding your puppy

Your little puppy is going to need good nutrition, so he can grow strong and healthy. When you get a dog to your home, you maybe be a bit unsure as to what is good for them and what is not. So, a good way is to talk to experienced dog owners, dog experts and read good reliable blogs who specialize on dog nutrition and health. It is a good idea to find a certified Vet in your area and get some tips from them as well.

Dog kibble is available for puppies as well as adult dogs. You can buy a starter kit for your dog. Your veterinary doctor would be able to suggest the best brand of kibble. But, as you know there are various opponents to commercial dog food. This is one good article who support natural dog food.

#Special note – Overeating can lead to nausea and dizziness, so do not give too much food to your little puppy. Follow the instructions given on the pack of the kibble. You could either soak the kibble in water or you can give it as it is depending on the food item.

Make sure you come up with a good eating routine for your dog. This is a brief article on how to create a simple puppy schedule by Cesar Millan. You may prefer to feed your dog in the morning and then the next meal may be night time, and some snacks in-between. And, off course plenty of fresh water to drink, so your dog remains hydrated all the time.

Your dog needs to go on a walk after he/she digests the food. Give the dog 20-30 minutes after eating. Take them out for a walk, so that they can get fresh. Do not give too many treats to your pet because they are called ‘treats’ for a special reason. You must use treats as a positive reinforcement.

Find the Best Veterinary Doctor

You would need to find the best veterinary doctor for your pooch! Your dog requires special care and choosing the top doctor would be a wise idea. If you had your own kid, you would take them to the best doctor in town!

When you bring home a pet, you need to get their vaccinations done. Getting your dog vaccinated is important because he/she will be free from diseases!

The best veterinary doctor will make a clinical report card for your pet. The doctor will vaccinate your dog and even take care of the parasite preventive treatments. De-worming your dog is necessary.

Once you get home a furry friend, take him/her to the veterinary doctor and get the vaccinations done!

Grooming your dog

Dogs with thicker coat would need regular grooming. You can either take them to a dog grooming parlour or you can get the necessary shampoos and conditioners for your pet. There are special tick treatment shampoos for dogs.

Do not bathe your dog more than twice in a month! If you have a long-coat dog then he/she may need a bathing session twice in a month. Visiting a grooming parlour would be wise because they would take care of the matts or tangled coat.

You would need to trim the nails. There is a special trimmer available for dogs but your veterinary doctor will be able to do it efficiently!

Regular Exercise is NECESSARY!

When you have a dog in your home, you must take him/her out for regular walks. If the dogs get lack of exercise, there will be behavioural problems such as excessive chewing and biting.

Let them view the world and play with people!

Words from the Wise

We hope that the post helped you to understand the ways of taking care of a dog! Your dog needs a lot of love and care. Having a dog will bring immense happiness to your life!

Your dog may need grooming sessions and there will be occasional accidents as well. If you feel prepared for taking up the responsibility then you can get a furry friend home!

Back to the blog for more information.

Riding a Bike with a Dog – Top Tips That Work Even For Fearful Dogs

 
Riding a bike with a dog looks easy when you see others doing it, but trying to do the same with your buddy might invoke different responses from him. And you wonder what am I doing wrong? Is it a problem with my bike, my dog or something else?

Well to start with, training a dog to ride a bike is just like training your child to ride bike for the first time without the trainer wheels. It takes time, patience and a great deal of good humor! And it requires some techniques and equipment too.

Is my dog fit to ride?

Start with finding an answer to this question. Find out if your dog is fit enough to ride the bike with you. Riding bike is not an easy exercise as walking or running in the park. Smaller dogs or older dogs are best taken in bike carriers or dog trailers. Talk to your vet to know more about your dog’s physical stamina and endurance level.

Mostly dogs that have long legs, short hair and medium built are ideal for riding alongside you. Some specific breeds that have been listed in the Mountain Bike forum are Foxhound, Ridgeback, Pointer, Doberman, Australian Shepard, Boxer and Vizslas.

Start training when your dog is young. But make sure that your dog is well grown and is still not in the development stage. Putting too much strain when his body is still developing might do him more harm than good. A good rule of thumb is to start when age is more than 1 year and weight is more than 25 lbs.

Equipment needed

You must have enjoyed a good laugh watching videos on America’s Funniest of people falling off their bikes when their buddy runs off to chase a rabbit. Apart from being entertaining these videos are also good teaching tools. They teach us what NOT to do while riding along with your dog.

  • Never hold the leash in hand while riding the bike
  • Use proper dog attachments and safety gear

Follow the given tips to ensure a safe ride:

  • Use a proper bike: Generally, a hybrid or a mountain bike is ideal for these types of rides. Make sure that your bike is in good shape and that there are no parts sticking out of it.
  • Use harness instead of leash: A leash puts strain on the neck muscles of the dog when he tries to pull. A harness minimizes such strain.
  • Use attachments that will absorb force of unexpected tugs:
    • Springer: This attachment is made of steel and is very easy to install. It has a U shaped spring that absorbs 90% of dog’s pulls and tugs. This not only keeps you safe but also protects the dog from the pedals and wheels of the bike. You can attach it to both sides of the bike. It has a safety release that will release your dog in case you come across a tree or a pole.
    • Walky dog: The walky dog attachment is great for medium to large dogs. You can attach it under the seat. It provides a better view of your dog beside you. You can also attach it to both sides of the bike. In case you are attaching two walky dogs then ensure you have minimum of 3 inches of space under your seat to set them up.
    • Bike tow leash: You can install this much lower on the bike like the rear wheel axel. It is flexible and is a good option for trails that can narrow down. You can attach it on the right hand side also. But for safety reasons the manufacturers recommend to use it on the left hand side of the bike. Refer http://www.biketowleash.com/questions.php.

Take a look at the following videos that show the attachments in action. They will help you decide the best attachment according to your requirement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m1CuLZVorQ for Springer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNW4AtiFgTE for Walky Dog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j-NLx_Z-4E for Bike tow leash

  • Wear a helmet while riding: Despite sufficient training your dog might get distracted and decide to run off. The helmet will protect your head from these unexpected falls and keep you safe.

Training steps

You cannot expect your dog to start riding alongside you on a bike the very first day. Bike like any other object is a new and curious thing for him. He needs to get used its smell, its sound, its shape and its use. Follow the given steps that cover everything. They start from familiarizing your buddy to the bike to making him a comfortable rider.

The steps are numbered day wise. This is just to give you an idea about how much time it takes to train the dog. Repeat steps till they are successful. It might even take weeks to perfect the partnership between your bike and your dog.

Day 1- Smell of the Bike

Get your dog close to your bike. Put some treats on the bike so that he comes closer to it. You can keep the bike standing or even laying down to help him familiarize with its whole shape.

Day 2- Walk/Ride the bike

Walk the bike in the garden or garage and let your dog follow it. You can use treats to motivate him to do so. You can even ride a little just to let him know the use and sound of the bike.

Day 3 – Leash the dog and then walk the bike

Once he is comfortable being close to the bike you can leash him to it. This will also be the right time to use the attachments. Doing it early will help him associate the new attachments with bike riding.

When you pick the leash your dog shows his happiness by barking or wagging his tail or even jumping. He knows it is time for park or a walk. He knows that he will get to run or play or whatever activity you do when you take him outdoors.

Similarly, he should start associating the attachments with bike riding activity. This helps him prepare psychologically for the activity.

You see bike riding and walking are two different activities when it comes to safety issues. Bike riding requires a controlled behavior on your dog’s part. With a leash he is used to pulling or tugging. Hence, to avoid any confusion for your dog it is important that he understands the importance of the attachments and differentiates them from the leash.

Start practicing new commands also. He must already know commands like stop or stay. Make him used to commands that you will need while bike riding. Commands like turn, slow, fast and so on.

Another important thing to decide right now is which side of bike the dog should ride. Some bike attachment makers like bike tow leash recommend the left side as the leash might interfere with the gears of a mountain bike. Dogs are also more used to walking on the left side of you.

But walking and riding are two different things when it comes to facing the traffic. Since riding requires you to go in the same direction as the traffic keeping the dog to the left side exposes him to the other vehicles. Choose a side keeping in mind your dog’ safety and comfort level.

Day 4- Walk the bike outdoors

Like you did indoors you can continue with the same walking routine outdoors. But avoid taking your dog in high traffic areas or noisy areas. There should not be any distractions. Take him to a quite park instead. Practice the commands to the point of perfection. Slowly he will get used to the idea of walking beside the bike.

Day 5– Ride the bike

Once your dog has become comfortable with walking alongside the bike you can mount the bike and start riding it. But ride slowly at first. This is a new form of exercise for him and you do not want to overexert him. It should be as enjoyable for him as it is for you.

Continue using parks and low traffic roads for this purpose.

Day 6 – Go for bike rides together

Now you can take your dog for bike ride along with you. Explore roads that are soft on the paws of your mate. Riding too long on asphalt roads might injure the paws especially during summers. Try to select roads that give both you and your riding companion enough space as a team.

The pace and distance of the ride should be in accordance to your pooches comfort level. Increase both very slowly and always be on the lookout for any signs of tiredness on your dog’s part.

It is important to remember to never push your dog to do something. At any point of training if he is not willing then go back to the previous step and start again. He should not cultivate fear of the bike and things associated with it. Otherwise it would prove very difficult to train him.

Coax him with treats and words of encouragement. Pat him, hug him and cheer him whenever he does something right like obeying your command.

All this will require patience but the results will be very rewarding. Think about all the things that you will be able to do with him once he starts riding with you. You will not feel guilty of leaving him alone at home when you go for your ride. You two will get to spend more time together.

Things to carry along

Here is a list of few supplies you will need to carry with you when you go bike riding with your dog.

  1. Drinking water: Dogs heat up much faster than humans. Their fur and their inability to sweat make them warm and thirsty much faster than us. Keep water with you and take regular breaks during bike riding. It will keep your buddy refreshed and energized.
  2. First Aid kit: This is not only for you but also for your dog. Small mishaps might occur during the early days of training. He might pull you or get hurt along the way. Use the kit to treat bruises, minor cuts and abrasions.
  3. Tire pump and other repair kit: Equip yourself with the right tools to help you out of any bike problems like a flat tire.
  4. Mobile, money and ID: For any kind of emergency you should have some money on you. Having a mobile gives you an option to call out for help if needed. Fit your dog with his own id. The collar of the dog should have his id attached to it.

Points to remember during the ride

All through the ride take care of the following points:

  • Keep checking your dog regularly to see if he is ok. If you see any signs of tiring then take a break. You can even think about turning back home or slowing your speed.
  • Check your dog’s paws for any injuries. Use dog booties if necessary to make the ride more comfortable for your furry friend.
  • Bike riders are wear bright colored clothing so that they are visible properly. As your dog is now officially a bike rider he will also need to wear a bright colored vest. A reflective vest with a light embedded collar will be an ideal combination for him. Use a cooling vest in case the dog gets overheated.
  • Always wear comfortable shoes while riding to avoid any kind of foot problems.
  • Never park your bike unattended with your dog attached to it. The bike might fall on him if he tries to move away from it. This will set a fear in his mind that will undo all your efforts of bike training.

After the Ride

Like any other exercise, after bike riding too you need to give your dog sufficient time to cool down and relax. Give him water and check his fur for any dirt or ticks.

Riding the bike with your dog can be one of the most enjoyable sports if done correctly. Safety first is the mantra here and it pays to stay alert. It is an entirely safe and healthy way for highly energetic dogs who love to ride. It is also a good way to burn off their extra steam and keep them happy. I highly suggest to you and everyone that make yourself aware of biking rules in your country.

If you have a senior dog you have various other options to enjoy the great outdoors with him or her. You can buy a bike trailer. Here is a detailed bike trailer buying guide.

World’s Ten Best Dog Behaviorists

 
We know dogs are incredible animals, don’t we? And that is the reason why they have been our companion from the pre-dawn of human civilization. Even so, more than any other domestic animal, proper training and docility practices form an absolute requirement for every dog.

I am sure you will agree with me that dog training however, is an intricate subject. But, understanding a dog’s behavior definitely takes a lot of patience, study and off course some experience. The following list highlights the best dog behaviorist you need to follow. These guys are no doubt awesome, and they will teach you how to give your dog the best care and attention they truly deserve.

Below, we have selected for you the top ten scholars in the field. Most of them have done their doctorates, and they have an well established reputation with a wide range of experience. I would like to invite you to decide for yourself who you think is the best dog behaviorist.

  1. Leslie McDevitt

Leslie is a disciple of the pioneer veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Overall. McDevitt. She developed an understanding of dog psychology through personal enthusiasm. Her celebrity dog, Geordie, is a rescue dog. Determined to help him out of his crushing anxiety, and unhealthy behavioral pattern, she started learning about dog psychology. And that’s how she met her mentor in this process, and decided to share her knowledge with other pet owners. McDevitt is the author of the book ‘Control Unleashed.’ Furthermore, she is also known for her easy-to-follow training programs and real ground observations.

  1. Sophia Yin

Sophia was definitely one of the best dog psychologist of all times. Sadly she is not with us anymore. At the time of her demise in 2014, Dr. Yin had over a dozen books to her credit. Now her official website is managed by her fans and followers. The website is awesome as it contains excellent dog behavior related resources. The website has detailed information, excerpts from her books, and other related links. Dr. Yin’s website is a “go to” for everyone. She has a Ph.D. in Veterinary Science and Sophie was also a low-stress dog handing expert, and her fans call her the best dog behaviorist in the world.

  1. Ian Dunbar

Dr. Ian Dunbar is a celebrated author and founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). The APDT recognizes and certifies professional dog trainers in America. In addition to that, the website also maintains a catalog of qualified trainers in all the cities of the USA. Dr. Dunbar also runs the Dunbar Academy. His online dog behavior courses are loved by dog owners and professionals alike. Other than these, he conducts frequent seminars on the rehabilitation of aggressive dogs and off-leash puppy classes.

  1. Karen Pryor

Pryor is the pioneer of “force-free training,” and the dog and owner dance routine called the “canine freestyle.” Her training programs are unique, interesting and extremely unconventional. Furthermore, followers swear by their effectiveness. Karen is a best selling author of “Don’t Shoot the Dog”. This book is known for creative, stress-free training, and dog-parent bonding exercises. And, she has also founded the Karen Pryor Academy. It is a school for dogs based on her unique training style. And, the school also offers online certified courses for aspiring dog trainers. Other than this range of services, her website is an excellent resource for dog owners too. Additionally, with a wide range of information and area-wise catalog of trainers, there is a plethora of learning here.

  1. Patricia McConnell

McConnell is best known for her two well known books on dog psychology: “The Love of a Dog” and “The Other End of the Leash.” Her official blog and website offer detailed information on several relevant topics behavior management and dog psychology. Patricia is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and she is very active on her Facebook page offering memes, jokes, news and helpful tips on dog training.

  1. Susan Garrett

Garret’s book “Shaping Success” is one of the most celebrated books with beginners in dog training. The book offers simple and straightforward explanations to complex psychological concepts. It holds a 91% five-star rating on Amazon. Her lectures and programs are available on social media and DVDs. Stores across the world sell them by the millions. And the good thing, Garret also makes frequent appearances on various seminars and agility competitions along with her most adorable dogs.

  1. Jean Donaldson

Jean Donaldson is a celebrated author, dog trainer, and the founder of the virtual university known as: The Academy for Dog Trainers. In the same vein, her books “the Culture Clash” “MINE!” and “FIGHT! A Guide to Dog-Dog Aggression” are amongst the most authoritative researched volumes on dog training. Her academy offers extensive online training programs in comprehensive education related to dog behavior. Aspiring trainers and dog owners can learn from her practical techniques and detailed video coaching sessions.

  1. Jeff Silverman

Jeff Silverman is the former Chairman of the Board for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. He is celebrity dog trainer himself. Jeff currently works with the Training Tracks Canine Learning Station. It is an elite training school for dogs in Cincinnati, Ohio. Silverman is an expert on aggression, anxiety and trust issues in rescued dogs. Animal welfare associations and dog shelters all over the world appreciate his work. And, he is also a featured author on Dog Star Daily on related topics. The official Facebook page of Training Tracks offers tips, links, and news related to dog training and behavior. The page is an excellent resource for the average dog owner. Also, even the best dog behaviorist can take something from it.

  1. Kathy Slado

Kathy is a certified dog behaviorist and her excellent scholarly works include: Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs and Training and Finding Grace. She is also an active dog trainer. Kathy is currently working with the Bright Spot Dog Training School in Washington D.C. She offers regular webinars, video lectures, and tutorials on topics related to dog behavior. A wide range of people and dog enthusiasts especially subscribe to her webinars. The basics of canine learning theory, the body language of dogs, etc. are great learning resources for dog owners. Aspiring trainers can learn the management of a large group of dogs as well.

  1. Nicholas Dodman

Dr. Dodman is probably the most renowned in our list of celebrity behaviorists. He is a member of Animal Planet’s popular series “Dogs 101.” Dr. Dodson teaches at Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic. He offers an excellent resource for dog owners. The institute also offers personal interaction classes on dog training, phobias, and body language, etc. He is a regular contributor to Dog Star Daily. Dr. Dodson is also a known scholar on hypothyroidism in dogs and has published several articles on the subject. Identically, they have credited him with the debunking of the dominance theory.

The dog behaviorists mentioned in this list offer innovative and well-researched dog training solutions. Gone are the days of owner dominance and pack psychology. This new generation of dog trainers offers dance routines and bonding sessions. All things considered, all of them are accomplished and the best dog behaviorist in their own right.