Category Archives: Living With Your Dog

Begging for food

Scenerio 1: You and your family sit down at the table to eat dinner. Your normally well behaved pooch is under the table nuzzling everyone or sitting at the corner of the table whining and begging.

Scenerio 2: You can ALWAYS make your dog come to you by:
1. rattling a bag of chips,
2: opening the refrigerator.

If either of these scenerios fit your dog, you DO NOT have a dog behavior problem. This is a PEOPLE behavior problem.

Dogs learn to beg (and it is a learned behavior) because they are rewarded for their behavior. It is a TRICK they learn very quickly.

Sound silly? – Think about it.

One of the quickest ways to teach a dog a trick is to wait for him to do the desired behavior, and then reward him for it. The “trick” is staring you down and whining at the appropriate time, when food is available. The reward, well, we all know is the treat he gets, and there’s nothing tastier that “people food.”

The fact is, most dogs that eat a given amount of people food become obese, less mobile and die younger, the ultimate result of a trick well to stop a dog begging at table

Correcting the behavior is really not that difficult if EVERYONE agrees to abide by the rules.

Place a mat or bed away from the table but within your view. Your pet can watch you eat from a distance.
Teach your dog the “down” and “stay” commands and reinforce this “new trick” regularly throughout the day. You can then teach him the “place” command by showing him that “place” means to go to that spot and “down” “stay.” After a while, the “place” command is all you will need.
At meal time, give the “place” command and reinforce it with praise. Don’t scold or correct your dog for getting confused. Remember that the begging was a trick you taught him. If the dog comes to the table, give a firm “NO” and a kind reinforcement of the “place” command.
After you finish eating, release him and feed your dog his regular kibble, away from the table, in his regular bowl. Why feed him last?; Because in pack behavior, the leaders eat first. By eating before your dog eats, you are telling him that YOU are the master.

It should only take a few days for the behavior to be corrected, but remember, EVERYONE must agree and stick to the training. Visitors must also be told not to feed the dog. All it takes is one person to sneak food under the table, and all your work is undone.

Traveling with your dog

Traveling with your dog can be fun and exciting, or it can be disastrous. Planning ahead is the key to a successful trip and these guidelines can help.

“Buckling Up” is not only for people but for dogs, too. Unrestrained dogs can cause an accident by distracting the driver, and in an accident, will become a projectile. Pets also can bolt from a car and get lost in an unfamiliar area or run out into traffic.

Purchase a dog crate or dog seat belt and include their use in your practice runs.

Planning Ahead

Call the Agriculture Department of the state or embassy of the country to which you are traveling for information on the vaccinations, documentation, fees, or quarantine that may be required to bring your dog into the country. Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations. Check with your veterinarian about additional vaccinations which can protect your dog from disease local to where you are traveling,

Consider applying a flea, tick preventative and repellent to protect your dog from diseases such as heartworm, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease. I am not in the habit of recommending a single product, but in this case, I make an exception.

There are many such products found in stores but in my many years experience as a dog groomer, most of these are not effective. The only products that work ALL THE TIME are the veterinary applications such as Frontline and Advantage. For many years these were only available through your Veterinarian. You can now purchase these products without a prescription online saving you valuable time and money. The newest of these products is called Advantix. This is the one we use and highly recommend. It not only kills fleas and ticks but also repels mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus.

Make sure your dog’s ID tag is on his collar. Consider adding temporary tags with hotel information and travel phone numbers, a cell phone number or the phone number of a friend who will be home during your trip.

Book dog friendly hotels, motels, and campsites early and make sure to tell them you are traveling with a dog. Find out what restrictions they have (such as crating all dogs, size limits, etc.) before you book your stay.


Here are the basics to pack for your dog: A few of your dog’s favorite toys, food and water bowls, a leash, food, a first aid kit, medication, water, veterinarian’s phone number, dog’s medical records, blanket or king sized flat sheet, towels, poop scoop or plastic bags to clean up mess, garbage bags and paper towels (to clean up bigger messes), brush and comb (to remove stickers and burrs), and shampoo (for those emergency clean ups).

Bring health and rabies vaccine certificates, particularly if you will be crossing the border into Canada, the US, or Mexico. All three countries allow dogs and cats to enter if they meet strict entry requirements.

While Traveling

Keep to your dog’s regular feeding schedule. You can feed small amounts every few hours during the trip and plan his main meal in the evening or when you arrive at your dog friendly hotel or camp ground.

Once at your dog friendly hotel, spend extra time in the room with your dog until he gets used to his new environment. When you leave the motel room, first try to leave for a short time to see how your dog acts in the room. You don’t want your dog barking and disturbing other guests. Leave the room vent/air conditioner and the television on while you are away to create some white noise and keep your dog company.

Use a blanket or sheet from home (it was in your list of things to pack) on the bed to keep hair off the hotel’s blankets.

Enjoy the time you spend traveling with your dog. We know he will.

For Information on Pet Friendly Vacations

Training Your dog

Obedient dogs make the best companions. Time spent training your dog will reward you with a pet that is deeply bonded to you, respects you and is a joy to have around. Training your dog doesn’t mean extinguishing her unique personality, it is simply a means of setting boundaries-something that makes dogs feel secure.

Some owners unconsciously train their dogs to exhibit bad behaviors. Since dogs are social animals, they are interested in doing whatever gets them attention. Positive attention is best, but if negative attention is all they can get from you, they’ll try to obtain that. This is why yelling at a dog that has had an “accident” in the house doesn’t teach her to not do that. All your excitement reinforces her behavior. The best way to let a dog know you are displeased with her is to ignore her.

Positive reinforcement is the key to training your dog. Basically, this means rewarding desired behavior. A reward might be a food treat, lots of verbal praise in a high voice and/or a good pet or scratch in her favorite spot. Rewarding your dog’s behavior accomplishes two things: it makes her want to repeat the behavior to reap the reward and establishes you as her leader. Some dogs are more assertive than others, and will try to become dominant over you. It is important that you remain the “leader of the pack,” and obedience training helps with that. However, even, and perhaps especially, less assertive dogs benefit from training. Following a leader is instinctive in dogs. Training your dog allows her to employ that instinct to follow someone else, and makes her feel more secure.

There are many training approaches within the realm of positive reinforcement. Some behaviors will be captured-rewarded as they occur-while others can be shaped by gently coaxing the dog into the desired action. Most professional trainers recommend using both a verbal commands and hand signals to communicate with your dog. Besides words/signals for behaviors such as sit, stay, and come, you will need a “release” signal. This is a word or sound that tells your dog she’s done something correctly. The release signal is always immediately followed by a reward, so that the dog comes to associate it with something positive.

You have lots of option as to how you go about training your dog. Libraries, bookstores and pet stores offer plenty of “how-to” training books. You can also find a lot of great information by surfing the Internet. If you prefer to have a professional by your side every step of the way, enroll in a basic obedience class. Major pet supply chains, humane societies and dog clubs usually offer classes. These classes are an excellent way to socialize your dog and educate yourself. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to participate in a class, check your community phone book for personal dog trainers. Most will come to your home on a regular basis, and provide in-depth training custom-tailored to your needs.

For Information on Pet Friendly Vacations


They may seem to be bold explorers, sniffing at and mouthing just about anything, but all dogs have an instinctive fear of anything unfamiliar to them. Fear causes stress on the body, which affects long-term health. To help your dog avoid the negative health effects of stress, it is important to socialize her. Socialization is the process of exposing your dog to a wide variety of places, situations, objects and people. A well-socialized dog is a confident, healthy dog that you can take anywhere.

The things that startle their dogs often surprise owners. Hats, balloons, garden statues, and other mundane things that seem to pose no threat. To your dog, however, it is an unknown. If you are a subdued person, your dog might show fear around a bubbly extrovert. Basically, any situation or object your dog is not accustomed to can create fear and stress in her. It is best if the socialization process begins when the dog is a puppy. This is a key learning time for dogs, so they become socialized more quickly. However, even older dogs that were not socialized as puppies can reach that confident, relaxed state. Socializing a dog that is more than one year old may take a little longer, but the results are rewarding.

Socializing a dog is a very simple process: take the dog to as many different places as you can. Your dog will pick up on your body language and follow your lead, so it is important for you to act confident and relaxed, especially when your dog hesitates. While you are walking about, stop every so often to pet your dog and talk to her in a happy voice. Naturally, feeding her a treat or two will give her a positive association with the environment.

At some point during socialization, your dog will plant her feet and refuse to budge or try to hide behind you to avoid a stranger. How you react in this situation sends an important message to your dog. If you pick her up or talk soothingly while you pet her, you are telling your dog that she is right to be frightened. On the other hand, if you ignore her behavior and go about your business—perhaps walking a different direction to distract her-her fear is not rewarded. Since your goal is to give your dog confidence, not traumatize her, never force your dog to accept a person or situation. Respect her feelings, and try again later.

While you are out and about, remember that you are your dog’s guardian. Keep an eye out for excited children running towards your dog. A good way to handle this kind of situation is to stop the kids verbally about 10 feet from your dog. Explain to them that your dog is just getting used to new places and new people. Ask them to approach quietly and one at a time so that your dog learns that children are nothing to be afraid of. Letting the children feed your dog a treat is sure to help her learn to accept these high-energy, enthusiastic strangers.

Safety tips

Keep your pet safely confined to your home. A wandering dog is much more likely to be injured by vehicles or unkind people. In most cities, by law, your dog may only be off your property if she is on a leash controlled by a person. To prevent escapes, make sure the fencing in your yard is high enough and strong enough to keep your dog from roaming. Frequently check for gaps between the fence bottom and the ground; watch for signs your dog is trying to dig out under the fence. Teach all the members of your family to carefully close doors and latch gates.

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, keep an emergency pet supply kit with your own. Include a week’s worth of food as well as any medication your dog takes on a regular basis. A photo of your pet is also good to keep with your emergency supplies, in case you are separated from your dog during the event, you’ll have a way to get the word out to locate her.

Every dog, regardless of age or living situation, should wear a collar with an identification tag. Most municipalities require that all dogs wear a collar and tag. To ensure your dog finds her way home if she ever loses her collar, consider having your dog micro-chipped. In micro-chipping, a small silicone chip containing the owner’s contact information is painlessly inserted under the dog’s skin. Most animal shelters automatically scan lost pets to read the owner contact information. However, if your dog is found by an average citizen an identification tag will speed up your reunion.

Dog Proofing You Home

Dangerous PlantsÂ

Dangerous Plants

Dogs, especially puppies, find plants irresistible as playthings. They love to dig in the dirt of houseplants, and seem to enjoy pulling off branches of shrubs. Because of this, it is important to make sure the plants in and around your home won’t pose a health risk to your dog. The following are some common house and landscape plants that are toxic to dogs:

  • Philodendron
  • English ivy
  • Caladium
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Elephant ear
  • Poinsettia
  • Mistletoe
  • Azaleas
  • Holly berries
  • Boxwood
  • Wisteria
  • Hydrangea
  • Oleander
  • China berry tree

Pet Proofing Your Home

For thousands of years, dogs have been “man’s best friend.” Friendship is a two-way street, and dog-loving humans have tried to keep their pets safe in return.

As our world moves faster and becomes more complex, dogs need our extra attention now more than ever to stay safe. With a little foresight and action, dog’s best friends can create a “home, safe home” for their precious pooches.

Dogs have a keen curiosity. If you look at your home from your dog’s perspective, you’ll probably find all kinds of interesting things to examine. What most people don’t realize is that dogs first sniff, then mouth items to learn about them. So, be sure to keep the following out of your dog’s reach:

  • Roach and ant traps
  • Electric and phone cords
  • Cigarettes in ashtrays
  • Open doors and windows
  • Rubber bands
  • Housecleaning chemicals
  • Candles
  • Christmas trees ornaments
  • Paperclips
  • Uncovered trash cans
  • Human medications
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Anti-freeze
  • Plastic bags
  • Valuable books
  • Wedding rings and other jewelry
  • Batteries

For Information about dangerous plants please click here

Keeping Dogs Healthy

You love your dog and want to give her the best life possible. Good news! Amazing advances in veterinary medicine are making it possible for dogs to live longer, healthier lives than ever before. The quality of your dog’s health is the result of a partnership between you and your veterinarian.

When you first get your dog, be sure to have your veterinarian examine her within 10 days. In addition to getting baseline weights and measurements on her, your vet will want to check her blood and stools for illness and parasites. If you have never had a dog before-or at least within the last five years-this first visit is a good time to get an education in modern pet care. If you ask, your vet will be glad to give a demonstration in cleaning your pet’s ears and clipping her toenails properly.

A proper diet and sufficient exercise are key factors in keeping your dog healthy. You must make sure the food you give your dog is of good quality to provide her with the correct amounts of nutrients to keep her systems running. If you are confused by the variety of brands of dog food available, ask your veterinarian for some help. Don’t be embarrassed to tell him how much you are able/willing to spend for pet food. There are some excellent brands that are not very expensive, and some expensive brands that are not very good.

Exercise not only keeps your dog’s weight under control, it strengthens her muscles and enhances her immune system, and prevents many destructive behaviors. Some dogs are naturally active. Others need anywhere from a little to a lot of encouragement from you to get moving. If your dog seems to lean toward “couch potato,” you must take control. Set aside some dedicated time for activity each day with your dog, and she’ll be more inclined to get physical.

Yearly “well-dog” appointments with your veterinarian help track your dog’s health. A thorough going-over under the vet’s expert eye can catch early skin or eye conditions and other physical changes that you might not notice on a day-to-day basis. Blood and stool samples allows your vet to diagnose and treat disease and parasites before they reach a critical state.

The yearly vet visit is also a good time to mention any “strange habits” your dog may have developed over the last year. Often, these have simple explanations, but some behaviors, such as licking paint or eating strange substances can indicate a medical condition.

One of the most important aspects of the yearly vet visit is updating your dog’s vaccinations. These are not only required by law in many areas, they can literally save your dog’s life.

The process for selecting a veterinarian is very much like choosing your own personal physician. You want to find a doctor that you feel comfortable talking with, someone who encourages all of your questions and supports you in all the health care choices you make on your dog’s behalf.

Summer Heat Dangers

Summertime is one of the best seasons to have fun with your dog. Walks in the park, hikes in the mountains, swimming and picnics are just a few of the activities you can share. The weather is warm, the kids are out of school and you have more time. But the heat of summer can also be dangerous and cause Hyperthermia or Heatstroke. By following a few summer dog safety tips, you can keep your dog healthy and enjoy the months of fun in the sun.

Never leave your dog in the car. It seems that we should all know this one. We hear the warnings every year and read the headlines “Dog Dies in Car”. It should be common sense, but each year, animals die because they are left in cars “just for a moment.” Though it may seem cool outside, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes, even with the windows rolled down. If you need to run some errands, leave your dog at home.

Have fresh water available at all times. Whether you’re indoors or out, both you and your dog need to drink lots of fresh water during the summer, so check your dog’s water bowl several times a day to be sure it’s full. If you and your dog venture out for the afternoon, take plenty of water for both of you.

Keep your dog well groomed. Keeping your dog well groomed will help the fur do what it was designed to do: protect her from the sun and insulate her from the heat.

Make sure your dog doesn’t overexert itself. Though exercise is an important part of keeping your dog or cat at a healthy weight, which helps her body stay cool, overdoing it can cause her to overheat. Plan your exercise times for early morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler. Keep the walks to an easy pace and make sure you both have plenty of water. If you dog is panting a lot or seems exhausted, it’s time to stop.

Know your dog’s limits. Elderly, very young, and ill dogs have a difficult time regulating their body temperature, so make sure they stay cool and out of the sun on hot days. Dogs with short noses such as pugs, shihtzus and bulldogs (just to name a few) have a hard time staying cool because they can’t pant efficiently. Overweight dogs are also more prone to overheating, because their extra layers of fat act as insulation, which traps heat in their bodies and restricts their breathing capabilities.

Bring them inside. Animals shouldn’t be left outside unsupervised on hot days. Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and dogs can become ill quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you must leave your dog outside, check on it often and bring it in when you can.

Pets need sunscreen, too. Though fur helps protect from the sun, your dog can get sunburned, particularly if it has light skin and hair. Sun can also bleach and damage the coat.

Know the signs of heatstroke.
Heatstroke or Hyperthermia is a medical emergency. If you suspect your dog has heatstroke you must act quickly. Have someone call a veterinarian immediately. In the meantime, lower the animal’s body temperature by applying towels soaked in cool water to the hairless areas of the body. Often the dog will respond quickly, only to falter again because his temperature is unstable. Even if your dog recovers quickly, it is imperative to get the animal to a veterinarian immediately.

Signs of Heatstroke: Panting, Staring, Anxious expression, Warm skin, Fever, Rapid heartbeat, Vomiting, Collapse.

Even with emergency treatment, heatstroke can be fatal. The best cure is prevention. By following the above steps and using common sense, summer can be a fun season for you, and your dog.

Regular Grooming

Why dogs need Regular Grooming

  • If you have a groomable breed (Poodle, Bichon Frise’, Cocker, etc.) the grooming should be a regular routine so the dog gets accustomed to this type of handling. If the dog is not used to his grooming, the time spent can be very traumatic.
  • Regular grooming helps keep the hair from becoming matted, removes dead skin cells and excess hair. Your pet is clean and pleasant smelling making him more comfortable and more huggable.
  • Regular grooming can stop problems before they start. For example: keeping nails neatly trimmed helps prevent foot related problems and keeps you from being scratched.
  • When grooming your dog, the stylist goes over every inch of his body several times. Often a groomer can spot a problem such as a tumor, swollen lymph nodes, ear infections, cuts or parasites that you may have overlooked, alerting you to see your veterinarian early.
  • A routine visit to the grooming salon helps socialize your dog by exposing him to new people, sounds, smells and other dogs.