Archive for October, 2016
A walk with your dog can be a soothing time spent with your canine best friend — or it can be a battle for control. The way your dog acts when he’s on a dog leash can cause serious problems. As a dog trainer, I frequently work with clients whose canines are pulling on the leash, mouthing the leash, and barking and lunging at the end of the dog leash. All of these behaviors are problematic, but all have solutions.
Here are three common leash problems and solutions for each.
Pulling on the Dog Leash
What it looks like:
Your dog strains at the leash, nearly choking himself. This may be the way your dog habitually walks, or perhaps the pulling only happens at the beginning of the walk or in high-distraction, exciting situations.
Why it happens:
Dogs naturally want to pull against pressure rather than giving into it. Your dog learns that when he pulls, he is more likely to get where he wants to go — and to get there faster. Dogs who pull have little connection with the human on the other end of the leash; they’re only interested in what’s in front of them.
How to change it:
Gain control by only allowing your dog to move forward when the leash is loose. As soon as your dog pulls hard enough to make the leash tight, stop in place and wait for a loose leash before continuing forward. For dogs who are especially resistant to change, use a verbal marker like “oops” to mark when the leash becomes taut, and then change direction with a gentle pull (no jerking) that hinders any forward motion. When a dog is pulling to get to something, like sniffing a bush or going into the dog park, only allow forward movement while he is on a loose leash. Once he has walked close enough to the area of interest, ask for a quick behavior, like a hand target or sit, and release him to sniff the bush or enter the dog park as a reward.
In addition, carry treats to reward your canine every time he checks in and turns his head toward you or even in your direction. This increases your dog’s awareness of your presence and teaches him that looking at you is more rewarding than looking around him. Teach and reward a heel on leash, or walking aligned next to you; this can be a useful alternative behavior when your dog is highly aroused. Your entire walk doesn’t need to be a heel, though — loose-leash walking allows your dog to explore and sniff, which is important for his mental health. Ask your dog to heel until he calms down or you pass the distraction, and then release him on a loose leash as a reward.
Mouthing and Chewing the Dog Leash
What it looks like:
Your dog grabs the leash in his mouth. Some nibble and bite, while others pull, like a game of tug-of-war. This may be done while walking or when standing still with the leash on.
Why it happens:
Some dogs do this frequently, all throughout the walk, while others only do it when they are over-the-top with nervous agitation. Having something in their mouth is calming for some dogs, especially those bred to retrieve objects, like Labradors. It’s also a game that gets attention and a reaction from people.
How to change it:
Teach your dog an alternative behavior to do instead. For some dogs, merely asking for a heel while walking or rewarding a quiet behavior while waiting, such as a down, replaces the leash chewing. You can also take the fun out of unwanted mouthing by downplaying the behavior. Try using two leashes, one on a harness and the other on the collar. When your dog grabs one leash to mouth or chew, drop the leash to take away the resistance that is naturally created when you’re holding on to the leash. Switch between leashes as needed so that there is no fun tug available with the leash game.
Lunging, Barking, Reacting on Dog Leash
What it looks like:
Your dog will usually be reacting to something in his environment. Often it’s another dog, but triggers also include joggers, bikers, skateboarders or strollers. Your dog may lunge, stand on his hind feet and strain at the end of the leash, spin in circles or vocalize with barks and whines.
Why it happens:
Most of the time these behaviors are rooted in anxiety and frustration. Your dog becomes upset at the sight of the stimulus for a number of reasons, such as: He cannot approach the stimulus and check it out because he is restricted by the leash, or the leash restricts his ability to get away from a situation that makes him uneasy and anxious. There may also be an element of chase to the sequence, especially with faster-moving joggers or bikers; the dog wants to run after them as they move past but cannot because he is on a leash. It is important to note that the more a dog is punished for reacting on leash, the worse the behavior can become; punishment can cause a dog who already has a negative association with a situation to become even more aroused and upset in that situation.
How to change it:
It’s important in a situation like this to get help from a professional, such as a veterinary behaviorist or a veterinarian working with a positive reinforcement trainer. This issue rarely resolves on its own and requires assessing the individual dog’s emotional state, triggers, level of aggression on leash and the degree to which the dog poses a risk to other animals, people and to himself through this behavior. You will need to work with a trainer to address your dog’s response to the specific stimulus and provide a better alternative behavior for him to perform in that situation.
We hope this blog was helpful for anyone out there seeing issues like these with their beloved pups! Here at Petland, we can help you out with tips and tricks for getting your pooch walking on a leash appropriately and at your speed. We also carry many different types of dog leashes and collars and we can help you pick out the perfect one (in the perfect size!) for your pet’s needs. Thanks so much for reading our blog!
The good news for dogs is they’re not as prone to cavities as human beings are. But despite the old conventional wisdom that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans, dogs can still develop problems like tartar and plaque buildup and gingivitis. But it’s not just bad breath and yellow teeth you have to worry about. As with humans, these canine dental problems can actually lead to life-threatening infections and issues including heart, liver, and kidney disease. So, I need to know how to clean my dog’s teeth!
Here’s how to practice good dog dental care that will extend your dog’s life:
How to clean my dog’s teeth
If your dog can brush his own teeth, you can stop reading this article and start posting the video to YouTube. For the rest of us, we have to use a canine toothbrush and a little strategy to clean our dog’s teeth. The best brush to use is double-headed with the brushes at a 45 degree angle to clean below the gum line, like those we carry in our store.
Your dog might not go for the tooth brushing at first, but you can make it a pleasant experience for both of you. Try and choose a time when your dog has had plenty of exercise, so he’s more inclined to sit still. Don’t overdo it the first few times. Start slowly and quit if your dog gets agitated, even if you don’t brush the whole mouth. You can increase the time every day as he gets used to it. Also, make sure to speak soothingly during the brushing. And always reward your dog with a treat afterwards! Before too long, your dog should start looking forward to the event.
How to clean my dog’s teeth …. Start early with your dog as a puppy!
Grown dogs can learn to become comfortable with dog teeth cleaning, but make things easier for yourself by working with your dog as a puppy.
How to pick the right tooth paste for your dog
This is very important. Do NOT use regular human toothpaste for your dog. Most human toothpastes include fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to dogs. You can find toothpaste formulated for dogs at our store to clean our dog’s teeth.
Dry food is better than soft food
If the tooth brushing ends in blood, sweat, or tears, there are still choices you can make to help improve your dog’s oral health. Crunchy kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than soft food, as soft food is more likely to stick to the teeth and cause decay.
Chew bones and chew toys to clean teeth
There are many synthetic bones and chew toys that are specially designed to strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth. Just make sure you’re providing safe objects for your dog to chew on. Hard objects can cause broken teeth.
Giving your dog a good bone to chew on can help get rid of buildup and keep teeth strong, but imagine a human who only chews gum and uses mouth rinse. That’s not an effective means of ensuring good dental hygiene and overall health. The same is true for your dog.
How often to see a vet?
Even with healthy teeth, your dog should have his teeth checked by a professional every six to twelve months. Your vet should include a dental examination with a normal checkup, but ask for it if they don’t.
Dental care can be a hassle for dogs, but proper maintenance can be a money saver in the long run. Letting it go can lead to costly and often painful vet visits down the road. Many dogs have to be given anesthesia to have their teeth and gums cleaned if the buildup is bad enough. Keep your dog’s mouth clean though, and you’ll both be smiling!
Here at Petland, we carry a wide variety of dental products for both dogs and cats. We believe it is very important to get off on the right foot with taking care of your animals’ teeth. That’s why dental care is thoroughly explained with every puppy that goes home from our store! We also carry dental treats and toys that can help in between cleanings and brushings for both puppies and adult dogs!
At Petland, it’s important to us to have a wide range of education on all different types of animals. Just because one person loves puppies doesn’t mean another might not be more interested in our feathery friends! When you come to us for a beloved pet, helping you make the decision is not something we take lightly! But even more important than helping you bond with a new friend, is our vast knowledge of how to properly care for that animal or bird so you can have many happy years together!
While we’ve already done a blog on how to prepare for a new bird in the house, we thought we would do a fun fact blog on one of our favorite birds, the cockatiel! Have fun learning something that you didn’t know about America’s (second) favorite bird!
First Interesting Facts About the Cockatiel!
- The Cockatiel was first discovered in Australia in 1770. It did not become popular until the Australian gold rush in the nineteen hundreds.
The Next Top 3 Interesting Facts About the Cockatiel!
- The fumes emitted from cookware coated with Teflon can be very harmful to your Cockatiel and actually all species of bird.
- In the wild, you’ll see immense flocks of cockatiels circling the sky in search of large bodies of water where they can rest and escape from the Australian heat.
- Cockatiels are very sociable birds and will become unhappy if they are left alone for long periods of time. It’s best to get a pair of cockatiels if you know you’ll be out of your house for long periods of time or are otherwise unable to play with them several times daily.
And the Final 6 Interesting Facts About the Cockatiel!
- Male cockatiels are better are talking and whistling than female cockatiels. In the wild the male cockatiel use sounds to attract females.
- Cockatiels can be considered as the most widely kept parrot other than parakeet or budgie.
- The cockatiel life span can reach up to 25 years, though the standard is 15 years. This life span is based on proper care, nutrition and environment where your cockatiel lives.
- Cockatiels are better at whistling than they are at talking! In fact some extra-talented cockatiels can whistle entire songs.
- Cockatiels actually require quite a bit of sleep each day, about 14 hours!
- Cockatiels make good fathers! While the mothers are responsible for hatching the eggs and caring for the newborn chicks, the male cockatiel doesn’t fly off and abandon them, either. In fact, they are quite protective of their family, and in the wild, will face much larger birds and predators just to keep them safe. They are also nurturing and affectionate with their young.
How interesting was that! I hope you enjoyed our fun facts blog and thank you for being an avid follower! If you already have a feathery friend, consider coming in to the store today for a new treat or toy. We carry a wide variety of presents, so you can show your bird you really care!
Okay, so maybe you’re a first time dog parent who’s just gotten comfortable wearing your new responsibility. Maybe you’ve had bunches of dogs in your life, but only one at a time. Whatever your situation, if you’re thinking about adding a second dog to your family there a few things you should keep in mind. Seven things, actually. These are 7 ways to tell if you’re ready for another dog.
7 Ways to Know You’re Ready for a Second Dog
1. The first dog is one your happy, healthy pup!
Yep, you’ve fed, sheltered, and successfully raised your first dog without ever missing a vet appointment. In fact, your dog loves you in a multitude of ways you never even imagined!
2. ALL members of your household are on board.
Getting another dog is not a light decision. Everyone in your home, from your significant other or children, right down to your first dog, all need to want a second dog. If others feel overburdened by the idea of another dog, or your pup doesn’t get along with other pups, it may not be the time.
3. It’s cool with your landlord.
Some landlords allow you to have pets even if your lease says you can’t. This just gives them the discretion to deal with problem pets, like cats. So always check with them, even if pets are allowed. Check with your landlord to see if there is a set number of pets allowed by the lease. If you own a home, then do you, you just do you!
Think You’re Ready for a Second Dog? Keep Reading if You’re Still Not Sure!
4. Do you have the time to train a new dog.
You might get a second dog who’s already housebroken, but you know what that dog doesn’t know? You or your family. There will be a period of adjustment for both you and the new dog and you need to be able to dedicate yourself to the care of the new pup until their transition is complete. You might not consider it training, but it is.
5. You can safely transport TWO dogs when needed.
That means a new leash and harness, a new carrier, maybe even a new car depending on where you live and how big your pups are. Now you’ll have to get two dogs to the vet, two dogs to the park, and if you’re lucky enough to work for Petland, two dogs to work.
6. No new hooman puppies.
We love hooman puppies, but if you plan on having another one then it isn’t the time to get a dog. Both hooman puppies and new dogs require 100% of your attention, so you’ll need to make sure you can provide that for whoever you welcome into your home.
7. Your first dog wants a second dog.
Now that You are Ready, Visit Petland Mall of Georgia
No matter how great a pup parent you are, you still have a job and other obligations that keep you away from your darling dog. Don’t they deserve the company of a fellow darling? If you think your dog needs a friend, then you know your dog well enough to introduce another dog into the arrangement.
We know that the decision to add another puppy to your home won’t be taken lightly and we want to let you know, at Petland, we support you! Literally, we specialize in new dog training and tricks for adding another puppy to an already dog filled household. It doesn’t matter if your new family member comes from our store or not, come by and see what a wealth of knowledge we have on our canine buddies! We have everything you need in-store for training, outfitting and occupying your new pup!
As a pup parent, it’s important to remember that grooming should have a big role in keeping your dog happy and healthy over the course of their lifetime. With every puppy that goes home from our store, we educate on the importance of “puppy spa day” where we teach new pup parents how to properly bathe, clip nails and brush out their new family members. But if you didn’t get your dog from us, never fear! We are always available to help you pick out whatever you need to groom your dog in our store. We carry many different kinds of brushes, shampoos and clippers and will definitely have something that is appropriate for your dog and budget. Here are 6 reasons why a good brushing session is so essential to your dog’s health and wellbeing.
1. Brushing Removes Loose Hair
We dog parents just love spending our weekends vacuuming up puppy sized hairballs – NOT. While routine brushing won’t stop your dog from shedding, it will help to remove loose hair before it shows up in your bed – or your yogurt.
2. Brushing Prevents and Removes Mats
Matted hair is painful, unhygienic and can lead to irritations and skin infections. If your pooch has a hair coat that is prone to mats, regular brushing can remove them before they get too serious and prevent new ones from forming.
3. Brushing Lets You Monitor Your Pal’s Skin
Responsible parents routinely examine their pups for lumps, bumps, spots, blotches, fleas and ticks. This can be challenging if your dog has a thick or dark coat. Brushing allows you to separate the hair one area at a time and spot potential problems.
4. Brushing Stimulates Healthy Oil Production
A thorough brushing session aerates and hydrates your BFF’s skin and fur. Each stroke of the brush stimulates circulation and distributes natural oils throughout. If you want your dog’s coat to shine with silky vitality, regular brushing is a must!
5. Brushing Promotes Bonding
When your dog’s skin and coat are strong and healthy, a good brushing feels like a relaxing massage. Many dogs come running when they see their brush. Not just because it feels great, but also because it means one on one time with their favorite human – you! Brushing provides an excellent opportunity for the two of you to spend quality time together bonding and building trust.
6. Brushing Keeps Your Pup Looking Sharp
Even dogs like to look their best. A good looking coat is a healthy coat, and a healthy coat is a comfortable coat. So when your pup is looking fly, chances are he’s feeling pretty fly, too!