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Choosing a veterinarian
- Check with friends or other dog owners. Asking around at a dog park or similar location could reveal a few local names to avoid.
- Reputable veterinarians should not complain if you want to know details about their education.
- A veterinarian's office should be able to give fees for vaccinations, office visits and other similar charges, and should at least be able to give an estimate for many other needs. Information like your dog's weight, reactions to kenneling/strangers/other dogs and eating habits may be required beforehand.
- Bring vaccination information with you until your veterinarian's office has it in their computer system. If travelling or otherwise using a new veterinarian, have at least a phone number for any office that might have previous records of your dog. Bring along any medications you are giving your dog, except for normal flea and tick or heartworm medications (though know precisely what brands and schedules you are using for those).
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. A reputable veterinarian will take the time to explain anything that confuses or worries you.
- Know what the problem is and educate yourself on possible diseases and injuries. See Signs and symptoms.
Routine Care For a Healthy DogEdit
The Routine Care For a Healthy Dog are the following: brushing teeth, veterinary checkups and teeth cleaning. While the problems are bad breath and infected gums.
- Bad Breath
- Infected Gums
This is part of the Dog Care Wikibook.
Bathing is an important part of the overall grooming process.
Brushing is often recommended before bathing, to remove dead skin and loose hair. Human shampoos are generally not recommended, due to pH differences between humans and dogs.
Here are some general steps:
- Rinse the dog completely.
- Apply the shampoo on dog's back. Lather well. Repeat for belly, legs and tail.
- Short-haired dogs can be scrubbed in a circular pattern. It may be easier to wash medium-length haired with a back-and-forth motion; longer-haired dogs in the direction of hair growth.
- A washcloth can be used to wash the dog's sensitive head and face.
- Rinse again, holding the water with one hand as you work out the soap with another.
- Run your hand all along the dog to remove excess water. Squeeze longer hair to remove excess water.
- Towel-dry. Use a hair dryer on longer haired dogs, but use a very low heat setting because of the sensitivity of the dog's skin to heat.
Many use an indoor tub for dog bathing. For many home owners this can be burdensome, especially with large dogs. If you have an outside dog, chances are they may be particularly more dirty than an inside dog. Getting your large, dirty dog inside can be difficult and messy. You can always wash your dog outside with a water hose. It is important to be conscious of the outside temperature and the temperature of your outside faucet water.
It may be useful to purchase an elevated dog bath tub that brings the dog up to the level of the human, not vice versa. The ability to wash your dog without bending down or getting on your knees is not only convenient, but less stressful on your body. Many tubs also have straps to hold your dog inside the tub and prevent them from slipping and hurting themselves. A simple search for dog bath tub will reveal many providers of quality tubs especially for bathing your dog. They can also substitute for a grooming table.
Feed it well a good variety of textures,taste,sizes this will keep the dogs mind stimulated.
Dogs, like people, can become overweight if they eat more calories than they burn through activity. And, just as obesity can cause health problems in humans, it can cause health problems in dogs, including early arthritis, heart problems, diabetes, and much more. Because dogs' lifespans are so short to begin with, allowing a dog to become obese can significantly shorten its life.
For purebred dogs, you can get an estimate of a healthy weight for the dog by reviewing the breed standards published for that breed. Typically, male dogs are slightly larger and therefore weigh slightly more than females of the same breed.
For all dogs, including mixed-breed dogs or purebred dogs whose height falls outside the breed standard, it is easy to determine whether it is of a healthy weight as follows:
- By feeling along its sides, you should be able to feel the spaces between a dog's ribs without by just lightly running your hands along its sides, pressing only hard enough to feel through the hair coat. If you can't feel the ribs, your dog is obese and needs to eat less.
There should not be deep indentations between ribs, or the dog needs more calories (more or higher quality dog food).
- By feeling along its back, you should be able to just barely feel the vertebrae in a dog's spine when you run your fingers along the back without pressing (or pressing just hard enough to feel through the fur of a dog with a thick coat).
- By looking down on the dog from above as the dog is standing. The dog's waistline should be thinner than its chest and hips. You should be able to feel the hip bones with a little fat overlying them. (Sharp hip bones means your do is too skinny.)
- By visual inspection from the side. For short-coated dogs, such as Boxers or Chihuahuas, you should be able to just barely see the light outline of the ribs through the coat, but they should not be obvious. In any dog, the abdomen should be tucked up instead of horizontal toward the rear.
Although all dogfoods include printed suggestions for serving sizes for dogs, you must adjust the serving size depending on the amount of exercise that the dog gets and how many other sources of calories the dog has, such as plentiful treats, table scraps after every meal, and so on. As a rule, dogs should have less than five percent of their diet in treats and table scraps and at least 95% quality commercial dog food. Many pet food labels exaggerate how much food your dog needs. Ask your veterinarian for a more reasonable suggestion, or feed just enough to keep your dog in good condition, as judged by the criteria above.
If you do feed table scraps, avoid grapes, raisins, and chocolate, which are highly poisonous to dogs. Never feed uncooked meat, as dogs are just as likely as humans to get food poisoning. (It is very difficult to make a homemade diet as complete as a commercial diet... dogs need to eat mostly dog food.)
- List of dog breeds for links to breed info, often with size and weight, and with links to breed standards
- Important information on the Menu Foods Dog and Cat food recall
Spaying and neutering
Why spay and neuterEdit
Spaying or neutering your dog can be helpful both for the dog and for you.
- No possibility of accidental puppies (There are already many more dogs than there are people who want them, leading to many deaths.)
- Dogs are less apt to run away and/or attract stray dogs
- Spaying a female dog almost eliminates the risk of uterine infections, genital cancers, and mammary tumors
- Decreases aggressiveness of males to each other in the presence of females in heat (Unfortunately, it will not consistently decrease other types of aggressiveness.)
- Decreases territory marking, which aids in house-training
- Reduces the risk of prostate enlargement in male dogs
- Avoids disadvantages of female dogs in heat, such as aggressiveness, discomfort, and discharge of fluid from the vagina
"Debarking" a dog requires a veterinarian to enter the dog's trachea and modify its vocal cords. The procedure requires the use of a general anesthesia and involves punching or notching the dog's vocal chords to soften or significantly reduce his ability to bark. No procedure is without risk and debarking risks scarring and narrowing of the tracheal opening following the surgery, causing the dog difficulty in breathing. After the surgery, the dog sounds hoarse whenever it tries to bark, and it can not generate loud barks. Sometimes the bark will return to some extent due to a build up of scar on the vocal chord but the bark will never be as loud as before.
Debarking is a contentious issue within the dog community, even among experts and veterinarians. Some advocate debarking as a helpful last-resort for incessant barkers while others maintain the process is cruel and unnecessary. This surgery is considered unethical by some veterinarians who believe that the risk does not justify the benefit while others perform this surgery routinely for certain breeds.
As such, some jurisdictions have outlawed debarking. For instance, Section 6 of the German Animal Welfare Act forbids all deliberately damaging operations. Very few exceptions, such as livestock branding of horses, are granted, but mere cosmetic surgery is not allowed.
It would be best for a potential dog owner to consider whether a loud animal is acceptable before adopting the dog, as some breeds are less likely to bark than others are. Most dogs can be trained to bark less in situations where it is inappropriate. Should debarking be considered after training has failed, locating a veterinarian that has extensive experience with the procedure is desirable to minimize the risks.
Dogs will be dogs and all dogs bark to some extent. On the other hand, neutered cats rarely make noises loud enough to disturb neighbors, and may be a better choice of pet if noise is unacceptable.
How to give medication
Dogs cannot be convinced of the wisdom of taking medication. They do not ordinarily swallow anything that does not appeal to them as food, and so giving them medication can be an arduous task. Some dogs swallow pills with little difficulty, while others need their pills wrapped in a meatball or forced down.
Restraining the dogEdit
If a dog does not take medication easily, excessive restraint will train him to fear it. If the methods below do not work, consult your veterinarian for safe techniques to deliver the medication.
To open your dog's mouth, put your hand around his muzzle with your thumb and forefinger behind the canine teeth (curved "fangs") of the upper jaw; lift the upper jaw with your thumb and forefinger, making sure the other fingers are not in his mouth or between his upper and lower teeth. This should show you the back of the dog's tongue, where you can rapidly place medication. Release the dog between squirts of liquid (or pills) to let him swallow.
Any more restraint than this could lead to accidental dog bite, and will stress your dog. It is best to consult a vet if this method does not work.
If a liquid medication has a flavor that appeals to a dog, he might lick it from a bowl or eat it if applied to a small amount of food. Do not use a spoon, as dogs have been known to get carried away and swallow them.
If the flavor is not appealing, use a plastic syringe without a needle or a dropper (either of which should be provided by your vet) to inject the medication into the dog's mouth.
The easiest way to apply the liquid is to lift one of the dog's cheeks and squirt the liquid behind the last teeth. Be careful not to squirt in so much at a time that it runs out of the cheek before the dog can swallow it or so much that it makes the dog cough.
If this fails, for example on some flat-faced breeds that might not have much of a cheek, you might have to pry open the dog's mouth as described under "restraining the dog" above. Squirt the liquid into the back of the mouth, behind the last tooth and towards the throat. As before, do not drown the dog or give so much at once that he dribbles the medication.
Many dogs will take a pill as if it is a treat, without tasting it. This is especially true if you train them to accept strange things from you by giving them a crumb of cheese, bread, meat, or whatever you are eating (do not give so many crumbs and treats that they become more than 5% of the dog's diet; avoid toxic substances such as grapes, raisins, onions and chocolate).
Placing a pill in your dog's food in the hopes that he will eat it accidentally is a simple way to get the pill down his throat, but it doesn't always work if the taste is unpleasant or the pill is large, even for dogs that normally eat anything. Watch the dog eat to make sure he swallows the pill.
You can push the pill into a piece of hot dog or cheese (processed cheese slices are ideal - leave out to soften for a bit then just fold off a tiny slice, roll pills up in it, and give to Fido. Remember to replace film, and refrigerate leftover slice until next dose is due), or wrap it in a meatball of canned dog food. Try to make this treat small enough for the dog to swallow in one bite. Some dogs will not take the treat if they see you putting the pill into it. Watch the dog to make sure he does not spit the pill out after eating the treat (if this happens, you will need to force the pill, as described below).
You can crush a pill or open the capsule (if your veterinarian says this will not decrease its efficacy), placing the powder on a small bit of peanut butter, soft cheese, canned dog food, or similar treat. Dogs often consume the treat and medication without further fuss, or you can place the peanut butter on the roof of the dog's mouth, where he is forced to lick it off and swallow the medication.
If these methods fail, you can force the pill into a dog's throat. Open the dog's mouth as described under "restraining the dog" above. Place the pill on the back of his tongue, either dropping it back there or placing it behind the back teeth with your thumb and forefinger (of the hand NOT holding the upper jaw). Close his mouth with both hands and hold it between your fingers (over the upper jaw) and thumb (under the lower jaw. Lift his nose gently upward and gently massage his throat. If this does not make him swallow, blow once into his nostrils while still massaging. Almost all dogs will swallow. Release his muzzle.
Observe the dog for a few minutes, to make sure the pill has been swallowed. Many dogs, especially breeds that have large mouths or extra skin around their mouths, are adept at hiding pills in their mouths. If you have had trouble with your dog, you can open his mouth and see if the pill is stuck to his lip or around his tongue. If so, it should fall out and you can try again.
If you are unable to do this, call your vet.
Signs and symptoms
Healthy dog factsEdit
- Mucous membranes should be pink
- Exact shade varies from dog to dog. Check when you know your dog is healthy to establish a normal baseline
- Mucous membranes include gums, cheeks, and eyelids
- Normal heart rate is 100 to 150 beats per minute, but should be lower in large and giant breeds.
- Take the pulse where the rear legs meet the body, in a shallow groove between muscles on the inside of the thigh. Press gently with two fingers. (Practice on the carotid artery to the side of your own trachea.)
- Normal respiratory rate is 15 to 20 breaths a minute
- Normal body temperature is 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit
- Check to see if the dog's nose is wet and cold as it should be. The nose may become dry during sleep or exercise.
- Use a digital rectal thermometer (a glass thermometer might break, causing mercury poisoning and trauma from glass shards). Put K-Y Jelly on the thermometer for lubrication and gently insert just the tip into the anus. Hold the thermometer so it won't slip out. Clean the tip with soap and thoroughly rinse it after use.
- Convulsions- call the vet and go immediately
- Lethargy- call the vet immediately
- Nervous system disorder
- Liver disease
- Moving across the floor on haunches- call the vet
- Blocked anal glands
- Feces trapped in hair
- Diarrhea irritating the anus
- Nervousness/ Skittishness
- fear- Try to figure out what the dog is afraid of; remove the cause if possible. You may need to call a vet or a behaviorist for advice on training.
- Heavy breathing or Labored breathing - call a vet
- Respiratory disease
- Heat - cool the dog off by bringing inside, giving plenty of water
- Endocrine disease - if dog pants even when cool, call a vet
- Bright pink or red interior
- Ear mites
- Ear infection
- Excess production of earwax
- Ear infection
- Hot ears
- Ear infection
- Ear mites
- Itchy or painful ears
- Ear mites
- Ear infection
- Stinky earwax
- Ear mites
- Ear infection
For any of the above, call a vet.
- Metabolic disorder
- Inability to defecate
- Bowel obstruction
- Inability to urinate (or dribbling urine)
- Bladder infection
- Kidney infection
- Neural disease
For any of the above, call a vet.
- Drooling more than normal - call a vet
- Foreign item in throat or mouth
- Gagging - call a vet
- Foreign item in throat or mouth
- Esophageal disease
- Pawing at the mouth - call a vet
- Foreign item in throat or mouth
- Bee-sting, porcupine quill, etc. in muzzle
- Ear infection
- Runny nose
Both of these indicate a respiratory disease. Call a vet.
- Hair loss - call a vet
- Endocrine disease
- Itchy, red skin - call a vet
- Topical infection
- Food allergy
Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm (Dirofilaria immitis) that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. The heartworm affects dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and some other animals, such as ferrets, sea lions, and even humans, but it is unusual for humans to become infected. The parasitic worm is called a "heartworm" because the parasite, in the final reproductive stage of its life cycle, resides in the heart of its host where it can stay for many years, until it kills its host through congestive failure of the heart.
Prevention of heartworm infection can be obtained through a number of veterinary drugs. Most popular are ivermectin (sold under the brand name Heartgard), milbmycin (Interceptor) and moxidectin (ProHeart) administered as pills or chewable tablets. These drugs are given monthly during the local mosquito season. Moxidectin is also available in a six-month sustained release injection administered by veterinarians, but the injectable form of Moxidectin was taken off the market in the United States due to safety concerns. Selamectin (Revolution), on the other hand, is a topical preventive that is likewise administered monthly. Some of these drugs also kill other parasites, including intestinal worms. In addition, Selamectin controls fleas, ticks, and mites.
Preventative drugs are highly effective, and when regularly administered will protect more than 99 percent of dogs from infection. Most failures of protection result from irregular and infrequent administration of the drug. However, the monthly preventives all have a reasonable margin for error in their administration such that if a single month's dose is accidentally missed, adequate protection is usually provided so long as the next two monthly doses are administered on schedule.
Monthly heartworm prevention should be administered beginning within a month of the onset of the local mosquito season and continued for a month after the cessation of local mosquito activity. In warm climates, such as the warm temperate climate along the immediate Gulf coast of the United States and in tropical and subtropical regions, heartworm prevention must be administered year round. Some authorities recommend year round administration even in colder climates on the theory that mosquito activity may occur during the occasional unseasonable warm spell, but others argue that computer models indicate heartworm transmission is highly unlikely under such circumstances.
Symptoms of infestationEdit
Dogs show no indication of heartworm infestation during the 6 month long prepatent period prior to the worms' maturation, and current diagnostic tests for the presence of microfilariae or antigens cannot detect prepatent infections. Rarely, migrating heartworm larvae get "lost" and end up in unusual sites such as the eye, brain, or an artery in the leg, which results in unusual symptoms such as blindness, seizures and lameness.
Many dogs will show little or no sign of infection even after the heartworms have matured. To some degree these dogs may be described as seeming to age slightly faster than normal as the worms slowly damage the lungs, kidneys and liver. These animals usually have a light infection and live a fairly sedentary lifestyle. However, active dogs and those with heavier infections will quickly show the classic symptoms of heartworm disease. Early symptoms include a cough, especially on exercise, and early exhaustion upon exercise. More advanced cases progress to severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood, and, finally, congestive heart failure.
Heartworms can be detected by blood test. The filtration test finds microfilariae in the blood; the occult tests (antigen and antibody) are used to detect adult worms. Many veterinarians prefer to do both tests, since the absence of microfilariae in the blood does not necessarily mean that there are no adult worms in the heart. Both tests are done with a single blood draw, preferably in the early spring before daily temperatures warm above 57° F.
X-ray radiographs and, to a lesser extent, ultrasound can also detect the presence of adult heartworms in the heart and lungs. X-rays also can provide a good estimate of the amount of lung damage caused by the presence of heartworms.
If either a blood test or the onset of symptoms betray the presence of heartworms, treatment is indicated. Treatment is highly efficacious if the disease is caught early in the disease process. Before the worms can be treated, however, the dog must be evaluated for good heart, liver, and kidney function to ensure the animal can survive the treatment. Any insufficiencies in these organs must be dealt with first, before treatment, as the eradication process can be taxing on organ function. Usually the adult worms are killed with an arsenic-based compound. The currently recommended compound, Melarsomine dihydrochloride, is marketed under the brand name Immiticide. It has a greater efficacy and fewer side effects than previous formulation (Thiacetarsamide sodium, sold as Caparsolate) which makes it a safer alternative for dogs with late-stage infestations.
After treatment, the dog must rest (restricted exercise) for several weeks so as to give its body sufficient time to absorb the dead worms without ill effect. Otherwise, when the dog is under exertion, dead worms may break loose and travel to the lungs, potentially causing respiratory failure and death.
The course of treatment is not completed until several weeks later when the microfilariae are dealt with in a separate course of treatment. Once heartworm tests come back negative, the treatment is considered a success.
Surgical removal of the adult heartworms is also a treatment that may be indicated, especially in advanced cases with substantial heart involvement.
Long term monthly administration of ivermectin (but apparently not moxidectin, milbemycin or selamectin) year round for at least three years at the dose normally used for heartworm prevention also removes most adult heartworms from most dogs. However, this is not the treatment of choice for removal of adult heartworms for two reasons. First, not all dogs are completely cleared of heartworms by this treatment. More importantly, adult heartworms do not begin to die until some 18 months of treatment have elapsed, which is not acceptable under most circumstances. This treatment is normally reserved for dogs that are not likely to tolerate treatment with the harsher, but more effective, melarsomine or instances where the owner cannot afford the more expensive melarsomine treatment.
From time to time various "homeopathic," "natural" or "organic" products are touted as cures or preventives for heartworm disease. However, such products have never been proven effective by rigorous scientific methods, and the claims should be viewed with skepticism.
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The best way to find out what vaccines your dog needs is to contact your local veterinarian. She will give you the best advice for which vaccines your dog needs depending on your location, what diseases your dog is likely to encounter and the prevalence of the diseases in your area.
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The proper training of the canine companion is essential to the coexistence of human and dog. While the task of training a dog or any other pet can seem daunting, the processes for training both everyday behavior and tricks are well established. Many people unfamiliar with dog training believe that it must be difficult, since so few dogs have any modicum of training. In fact, training a dog to be a well-adjusted member of a family is well within the reach of most people.
Dog owners normally train their dogs to be obedient and loving, to do tricks, and sometimes to compete in dog sports. There are multiple schools of thought on dog training, which run the gamut from training based on escape/avoidance to so-called "positive reinforcement" training in which no correction is used. While positive-only methods such as clicker training are currently in vogue, much if not most dog training is still accomplished using some sort of correction at some point in the training process. The single most important factor in dog training is that whatever method is applied is done so consistently.
Dogs can be trained by amateur enthusiasts to compete in obedience trials, various dog sports, for use in hunting, and to serve e.g. on volunteer search and rescue teams or as therapy dogs.
Moving to the professional side, dogs are trained for personal protection, security, police patrol, drug and bomb detection, evidence identification, etc.
There are several schools of thought on how to train dogs, ranging from what are often termed "Traditional" methods, based largely on avoidance or escape, to "Positive-Only" methods, such as Clicker Training. All of these methods when properly applied can be used to train most dogs to be tractable companions.
This project is aimed at novice and intermediately experienced dog owners. This book is about the basic training all dogs will need to have, for example to pass a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) or other similar certification. The training methods recommended in this book should be safe enough that a novice dog owner won't be in danger of harming a dog by following the instructions (or vice versa).
Additional topics in dog training include
Please, if you can contribute to this book, do so. I'm also not sure what the best way to organize the chapters is yet. Please feel free to rearrange the sections if it makes more sense to you.
What is dog training?Edit
The key to successful dog training is communication. Dogs don't speak our language so we have to use a language they do understand.
Set your dog up to succeed... or to fail?Edit
There are three stages to dog training. Motivational, correction and distraction (or 'proofing'). In the motivational stage, you will set your dog up to succeed, giving it short training sessions and big rewards in a quiet environment and with plenty of encouragement. For example, Sit. You will lure your dog, click, treat, big smile, excitement and if your dog slips, you shrug it off and do it all over again.
Come the correction stage. Positive Reinforcement trainers view not getting the reward as a correction. They also teach a "no reward marker", a word or sound such as "oops" or "uh uh" to signal the dog that no reward is coming and pick a new behavior. You're sure your dog knows Sit already. It does it even before the lure comes and you're very pleased. Now you try a 2 second stay without a lure. Your dog does it. You're pretty excited and the dog can feel it too as you dump a big reward on it. Next is a 5 second stay. Your dog slips. You give your no reward marker and help the dog figure out what is expected. Your dog learns to choose, correctly = reward, wrongly = correction, or no reward. The dog might get another correction but then it learns, a lightbulb goes up in its head, it has chosen the right path and gets the reward it has been waiting for all along. Using common sense, it is better if you are told what's wrong rather th an be given little hints that aren't straight-forward.
Training should be done in increments. The biggest mistake novice trainers make is to move too fast. The dog has the mental capacity of the average 2 year old human child. They are sponges, but can only absorb so much at a sitting. Distractions should also be increased slowly. At first, you teach your dog a command, such as "Sit", in its own house. As the dog masters this, you start moving the dog to places with more distractions, the back yard, the front yard, the sidewalk in front of the house, etc.
There are certain common sense rules: when teaching stays, "with time comes distance". Teach your dog to stay while you are close to your dog and can keep him/her in the stay position, before you disappear around the corner. Once your dog learns to stay with you there for 5 minutes, putting that leash down and walking away is a piece of cake.
Also, never call your dog to you and punish him/her. If your dog escapes, after you have panicked, chased him around, screamed yourself senseless, etc. When your dog is finally back to you, YOU CANNOT PUNISH HER. She is incapable of understanding she is being punished for running away. She only knows when she got back to you, bad things happened to her and next time, she won't come back at all.
This indicates a huge problem with your relationship with your dog, and says your dog is not interested in being with you. Perhaps the dog hasn't been trained, or has fear issues, but you need to go back to square one and train your dog.
Luring with food is a very natural way to show the dog what you'd like it to do. Dogs generally will follow your hand with food. This can be used to teach many commands such as "sit" or "down". If you've ever wanted to create a cool treat for your doggie, with style AND flavor then try "Doggie Popsicles"
- 2 bouillon cubes (beef, chicken, any flavor works0
- 2 cups of water
- an ice cube tray
- a pot
- Start by boiling the water in the pot.
- After the water is boiling, put the boullion cubes into the water.
- Let them cook until they dissolve, gently stirring them occasionally.
- After they are completely dissolved, take them off the stove. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the broth into the ice cube tray. Put it in the freezer.
- Once frozen, give to your doggie. Watch him play with and eat his new treat!!
Cook time: approx. 15 min. Freeze time: approx. 2 hrs.
Discouraging Bad BehaviorEdit
There are many things dogs do that humans find unacceptable: Jumping up, mouthing, running away, urinating in the house, chewing, etc. The human has the big brain and should be able to manage the dog's environment so the dog doesn't get a chance to practice objectionable behavior. Don't leave shoes where the puppy can find them, teach the dog to "sit" when greeting people, yell "OUCH!!!" loudly when the puppy puts his teeth on you, go out with the puppy to be sure he potties outside and reward him instantly when he potties appropriately.
Teach your dog to do something that make the objectionable behavior impossible: teaching your dog to touch the palm of your hand with its nose, makes it impossible for the dog to mouth your hand at the same time. So instead of constantly correcting bad behavior, or just yelling "NO!" to your dog, you will learn to be proactive and not give it a chance to misbehave. Everyone is happier that way.
Redirect your dog when the behavior is inappropriate. If your dog is loose at the dog park, for example, and is starting to be rude to other dogs, call your dog and start walking briskly away. Your dog should want to be with you and will come.
Ignoring Bad BehaviorEdit
Sometimes it is best to ignore the bad behavior. Many times people inadvertently reinforce the bad behavior by giving the dog attention. For example, letting a dog inside while it is outside barking teaches the dog to bark to get inside. You are better off to wait until the dog has stopped barking for several minutes before letting it inside.
Distracting the dog can be a useful tool to reduce the frequency of an undesirable behavior. A small rattle made from a plastic soda bottle, or a can with pennies placed inside can be shaken to distract the dog from repeating the behavior. Most dogs however only require your voice. A well timed 'Hey, quit it!' is very effective. Then ask the dog to do something that is incompatible with the undesired behavior. Instead of jumping up to Counter surf, call the dog to you and play some tug.
Be very careful using sound distractions, many dogs are sound sensitive and the shaking of the penny can may make your dog skittish. If your dog is sound sensitive, you can create a situation when your dog will learn to mistrust you.
Using Equipment to get control of your dog while you are training.
If you have a dog that pulls or lunges at other dogs barking, it is imperative that you not give your dog the opportunity to practice that behavior.
If your dog just pulls, using something like the Sense-ation or other No pull harness. In this style of harness, the leash is connected in front of the dog's chest, so when the dog pulls, it inhibits should action and stops the pulling.
If your dog pulls and bark/lunges at other dogs, you need a head halter. There are several types of head halters available and all fit a bit differently from each other. Some of the most popular brands are the Gentle Leader, the Halti, the Comfort Trainer, the Snoot Loop. The basic idea is like the halters used on horses. A person can control a beast weighing over a ton by controlling the head. The same is true for dogs. The strap over the nose is the control. It hits a pressure point that both controls and helps calm the dog.
Another piece of equipment that can help with control is a prong, or pinch collar. Contrary to some myths, this is not designed to dig into the dog's neck or puncture the dog. If there is blood, the human is not only using the equipment wrong, but is guilty of abusing the dog. The prong should only be used as a last resort, after other alternatives have been exhausted. It can be an effective tool for dedicated pullers, but it is not recommended for dogs that lunge/bark. The tightening of the prongs on the dog's neck as it is looking at the dog it is lungeing at, can increase aggression.
Boobie-traps are items that will surprise a dog by making a loud noise when tripped or knocked over. They have a big advantage in that you don't have to be right there in order to correct the dog. This prevents the dog from associating you with the correction and allow for consistent correction even when you are out of the dogs sight. The effectiveness of these traps depends on the dog; some dogs are very calm and won't care that something fell, while others will learn on the first try and never trip the trap again. As always, use good judgment when formulating a trap. Do not cause harm to the dog, or cause an overconfident dog to get too scared.
Again, this can cause a lot of sound sensitivity. Management is the first defense. Pick up the shoes, keep food of off the counters, put the trash under the sink, etc.
Boobie-traps for use while training dogs can be made from various items:
Some traps can easily be produced from items found around the house. An object balanced on the edge of a counter may fall and frighten the dog when the dog sniffs at it. This is useful to deter a dog from patrolling the counter for food.
- A 12 oz. soda can with several coins inside will make a lot of noise when it falls.
- A small tuna can with water will splash the dog when it is tipped. (Of course, this is only useful if getting some water on the floor is acceptable.)
Some alarm systems to deter a dog from unwanted behavior can be purchased at your local pet store.
- Motion alarms
- trash can lid alarms
Walking on a LeashEdit
Walking a dog gives it exercise to help it remain healthy. It is also an easy way for the person walking the dog to get a little exercise. A dog will enjoy being walked because it will be able to explore and see new things. A dog being walked can often be distracted by things like cars, strange noises, objects, plants, other people, or other dogs, so the person walking the dog will want to keep a good hold on the leash. Walking on a leash requires a collar and a leash, which may be purchased at a pet store.
It is important to teach a dog "loose leash walking". This involves teaching the dog not to pull and to walk with you regardless of distractions. Treats/clicker can be helpful in this task.
On of the most effective techniques is 'be a tree'. Dogs pull because they want to go somewhere. If you hold the leash tightly against your body, plant your feet and refuse to move forward when the dog pulls, the dog isn't getting what it wants. At some point, the dog will turn to look at you. When the dog looks back, the leash will get slack, you immediately reward the dog by moving in the direction the dog originally wanted to go. If the dog pulls again, stop moving until the dog looks at you.
This is effective because the dog learns that by not pulling, he gets what he wants. The dog is also learning to pay attention to where you are in relation to the end of the leash. This can build your bond and relationship. Let's work together instead of away from each other.
Another technique is reversing direction immediately when the dog begins to pull. This technique is not effective on a determined dog and will often result in the owner being rather dizzy. It works best on young pups as it is virtually painless.
People often use 'Prong collars' or other devices such as 'Haltis' to discourage and teach the dog how to walk nicely. Never ever use a traditional halter as it only encourages the dog to pull more (think sled dog). However, the Sense-ation, Sense-ible and Easy Walk harnesses are designed to lessen pulling and work very well.
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Crating is the practice of keeping a puppy or dog in a kennel when you are not at home and at night. This provides a safe place for the dog and keeps them from being destructive when unsupervised. This is an excellent way to housebreak a new dog.
Here are a few commands that almost every dog should respond to:
- Come: This command, also referred to as the recall, is crucial. If the dog won't come when called, it is not an obedient dog. One method for training begins by allowing the dog to wander out on a long leash or line, then calling it by name and the command Come. This method might require a quick, light tug on the leash to get the dog moving when first teaching this command. Like all commands, it is successful only if the dog is rewarded when it completes the command and only if the practice is repeated—under different circumstances and distances and gradually removing the controls; until the dog performs flawlessly.
Another good way to train them without reinforcement is to praise them while afar. They will hear this and come to you. Then, grant them more "good dog!" and such.
- Sit: This command is also crucial. Sitting dogs are under the handler's direct control. It is common to precede other commands, such as the Stay command, with a sit command. One method for training uses a treat held in front of the dog's nose and passed back over its head, forcing the dog to sit. Sit and Stay are used in conjunction with many other commands.
- Stay: This command gives peace of mind. An owner can park her dog while doing something else. One method of training involves placing the dog in a sit or a down position, then telling it to stay while stepping away from the dog. If the dog stays, the handler rewards it while it is still in the position. Indoors, use this command to park your dog under a favorite table or bench.
- Lie down or down: this command allows even greater control than sitting. One training method uses a treat drawn forward and down across the dog's face, forcing it to lie down to get at it. Since even people without dogs are familiar with this command and use it when dogs are bothering them, the better the dog is at it, the better it can get along with strangers and visitors. But don't get discouraged if the dog refuses or is reluctant to drop into position. The Down is a submissive position and often a dominant dog will refuse to give in.
- Go to bed or get in: Directs the dog to go to its bed or its crate and to remain there until released. The dog has freedom of movement in that location to stand up, turn around, or lie down, unlike when placed in a Stay. Useful to keep a dog out from underfoot and safe in a busy or complicated situation. Not a necessary command as the dog is taught to 'stay' already while in Down or Sit. Useful for Stand stays though.
- Drop or drop it: Dogs pick up all sorts of things, some of which they shouldn't have. A dog that drops anything on command, no matter how attractive (which to a dog can be rotten and smelly), is a dog under control that the owner can prevent from eating dangerous items or from destroying valued personal property.
- Leave it: An adjunct to Drop, directing the dog to not touch an item. Also useful before the dog has picked anything up. One method of training involves leaving a treat on the ground and walking the dog past it without allowing the dog to pick it up. Leave it is also used in conjunction with Take it.
- Take it: The dog leaves a desired object, such as a toy or treat, untouched until given this command. This can protect an owner's, visitor's, or child's fingers.
- Heel, Close, By me: The dog walks with its head directly next to the handler's leg and does not deviate until released. One method of training accompanies the command with a slap to the thigh indicating where the handler wants the dog's head.
- Okay, Free, Break, or Release: Releases the dog from Stay, Heel, Sit, and so forth. Also a general release to play. A clicker acts as a release.
The specific command word is not important, although the preceding list covers some of the more common words. Short, clear words that are easily understood by other humans are generally recommended; that way, people will understand what a handler is telling his dog to do and other handlers have a good chance of controlling someone else's dog if necessary. In fact, dogs can learn commands in any language or other communications medium, including whistles, mouth sounds, hand gestures, and so forth.
Less Common CommandsEdit
While dogs can be trained far beyond these rudiments, a dog that obeys these commands will be a pleasure to keep and take out. Off-leash obedience is the hallmark of a well-trained dog.
There are a few commands that many domestic dogs learn, but that are not part of the basic repertoire.
- Stop – a dog that will simply stop whatever it is doing and lie down on command no matter how far it is from its keeper is a dog that can be taken anywhere. Some handlers use the German word Platz (related to "place", i.e. stay in position) for this action. (Useful if your dog is in danger, or headed for some trouble. I.e., your dog is about to get run over by a car. He/she hears "Stop!" and drops and you can be sure it will not be hit. Much faster response than a "Come" command.)
- Back up – keepers of large dogs or dogs with a reputation for aggressiveness can make strangers more comfortable by teaching the dog to back up on command. (Also useful if you are carrying a large box or something and the dog's in your way.)
- Growl – the inverse of backing up. Some owners teach non-aggressive dogs to growl on a subtle command – not the word growl, usually a small hand gesture – as a way of letting strangers know that you and your dog value being left alone.
- Steady – keep near by. The dog can walk free, but not dash off. Train to this command with a long leash, calling out Steady when the leash is taut. Continue off leash.
- Stand – dog stands still. Train from lying-down position by lifting under belly while repeating command. Useful for grooming. Many dogs are groomed frequently and need to stand quietly during the process.
- Speak – for amusement or showing off, a dog may be trained to bark on command.
- Chase Recall –
- Paw, or Give Paw – Pretty much for showing off, a dog may be trained to give you a "handshake". (Though it's also very useful if the dog needs to get their nails clipped or they have an injury.)
- Shake – Very useful after baths, or walks in snow or rain.
- Roll Over –
- Jump –
- Calm – tells the dog to stop growling and/or playing roughly. Similar to Back Up.
Games can be fun for both the dog and the owner.
Here are some games that can be played with a dog:
- Fetch – This is a game where the owner throws out an object and the dog retrieves it and gives it back to the owner. It can be played with a small ball like a tennis ball, a frisbee, a stick, or any small light object that is easy to throw and easy for the dog to pick up and carry. Large balls can also be used.
- Hide and Seek – You hide and your dog seeks. It is more difficult but worth attempting to make your dog hide while you seek.
- Tug-of-War – It should first be noted, that some (perhaps most) experts state that this game can teach or instil aggressive behavior in your dog. However, most dogs love playing 'Tug-of-War,' and if vigorously participated in by the owner, will allow the dog, especially a younger dog, to use a lot of its extra energy. One rule of the thumb is that you decide when the game ends and you always win. Never let your dog win even if it means pinching your dog's lips against it's teeth to get it to let go. A 'drop it' command is very useful for this.
One of the causes of destructive chewing behavior in younger dogs, as with children, is 'teething.' A good suggestion, that will allow your dog to relieve it's discomfort, without destroying your home, uses only a used, but clean hand, dish, or other small towel.
Soak the towel in clean drinking water. Wring out the excess, until the towel no longer drips. Tie the towel in a knot, and place in the freezer (you may want to place the towel in a freezer bag to protect other items). Once frozen it can be given to the dog as a chew toy.
A more expensive but better way is to purchase toys for your dog. The most popular amongst chewers is the Kong toy. Stuffable and challenging to even the most seasoned of veterans. Squeaky toys are noisy but fun to the dog as it mimics an animal that the dog has attacked. Dogs are often observed 'pouncing' on these.
First you have to decide if you want to allow your dog to jump up on people or not. Then you need to be consistent in enforcing the rules. Being consistent is the important thing to help your dog learn what is acceptable behavior.
Even if you decide it's okay, you may encounter other people who don't like it at all. NOT jumping on people is generally considered good doggie manners. Once you've made the decision that it will not be allowed you have to train your dog to understand what the rules are.
To teach a dog not to jump up on you, simply turn your back on the dog when he jumps up. The dog wants your attention. When you turn away from him, you give him the message that jumping up on you will not earn your attention. After a short time (a few seconds) of having you back to the dog, turn back to him and give him another chance to keep his feet on the ground. If he does stay down, praise or reward him for it. He may well try to jump up again then, because he hasn't yet learned what is getting him the praise and what is making you go away. But the dog will figure it out. Most dogs catch on quickly, after just a few times of ignoring him. But remember, it will take a while for your dog to really learn what is expected. So, don't be surprised if the next time he greets you he jumps up. Just be consistent in letting him know it's not acceptable. Keep the emotion out of it. You don't need to scold the dog or correct him. The fact that he is not getting the desired result from jumping on you will be self correcting to him.
You should also ask your visitors not to encourage jumping up on people. You can explain to them that they should turn their back on your dog if he attempts to jump up on them. A good alternative to permitting a dog to jump up on people is to teach him to sit when greeting people. Only praise and reward your dog when he is sitting. Turn away if he jumps up, as described above. He will learn to offer sitting to get the attention he seeks.
Scratching on doorsEdit
Don't reward your dog for begging. Dogs learn to beg quickly if you drop food even just a few times and even if you dropped the food on accident. Teach it to lay down out of the way while you are eating or cooking. Crating or a stuffed Kong is also recommended. If you can't prevent the dog from getting the food (this is usually the case when small children have the food) it is best to remove the dog from the room while eating. A well timed correction is also another way to deter Begging forever.
Chasing Other Small AnimalsEdit
Everyone has heard stories about the dog who ate the gerbil, hamster, or even human baby. Try not to let this happen. Correct the dog (via training collar or voice) for attempting to even sniff the animal. It will soon learn to ignore it.
Once the dog learns it can steal food, it's hard to break it out of the habit. A good way is also corrections, teaching the Leave It and anticipating the dog's action and reacting (verbal correction, taking the food away and turning the dog away, etc.).
Getting in the TrashEdit
There are two situations to consider
1) dog gets into trash when you are present (supervising)
It will be helpful to teach your dog a "Leave It" command. But start by teaching the command in a more controlled situation with a single piece of food.
2) dog gets into trash when you are NOT there to supervise
Dogs are dogs, they get into trash if it's left out for them when they are unsupervised. Put the trash somewhere where your dog cannot get to it. Or get a trash can that your dog cannot get open.
American Eskimo Dog
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Water Spaniel
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Australian Cattle Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog
Black and Tan Coonhound
Black Russian Terrier
Bouvier des Flandres
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dogue de Bordeaux
English Cocker Spaniel
English Springer Spaniel
English Toy Spaniel
German Shepherd Dog
German Shorthaired Pointer
German Wirehaired Pointer
Glen of Imaal Terrier
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
Irish Red and White Setter
Irish Water Spaniel
Kerry Blue Terrier
Miniature Bull Terrier
Navajo Mountain Dog
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Old English Sheepdog
Parson Russell Terrier
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Polish Lowland Sheepdog
Portuguese Water Dog
Smooth Fox Terrier
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Treeier
Toy Fox Terrier
Welsh Springer Spaniel
West Highland White Terrier
Wire Fox Terrier
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Proper socialization is essential to a happy dog. As a puppy, after all required vaccinations have been given, the dog should be introduced to as many new people, dogs and locations as possible. Doing this helps the dog be less afraid of new situations when they occur later in life. A socialized dog is more likely to have a lower level of aggression towards strangers (both human and canine).
Ask your veterinarian when it is safe for your puppy to interact with other dogs. It is safe for him to play with humans and probably kittens before his vaccinations are complete.
Ask your veterinarian about puppy classes, where multiple clients bring puppies and children to play together, learn simple commands, and be exposed to strange objects.
Regularly handling your puppies paws, rubbing his belly, trimming his nails (have your vet show you how to do this safely), and looking in his mouth will help your puppy be less fearful when he goes to the vet for a check-up. This applies to adult dogs adopted from shelters as well.
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- Mk2337, Lubbock, TX, USA