Living with a dog brings so many pleasures to our lives that it shouldn’t be surprising that so many of us share our homes with at least one canine member of the family. But we also speak different languages, and we display our worries and concerns in different ways. So, that means that there can be times when there is a misunderstanding, resulting in conflict.
When our dogs show what looks like protective behaviour, there can actually be many different reasons for us seeing that response. That’s when we need to take on a detective role to work out what’s going on. Once we know that, then we can help our dogs respond in new ways, if that protective behaviour is not what we want to see
What Does Protective Behavior Look Like? Imagine for a moment what protective behavior looks like in a person. The chances are they will step forward to be between you and the threat to your safety, and their whole body language will be confident and assertive. A dog demonstrating protective behavior will be the same. That means your dog will:
Be by your side, or they may step in front Ears will be pricked There might be some growling Tense body language A still tail or it will be wagging very slowly
Which Breeds of Dog Tend to Be the Most Protective? Many types of dogs have been bred for hundreds of years to display particular traits. Just think of the gundog breeds, who love to hunt and carry things in the mouths. Then there are the herding breeds such as collies, who, in the absence of sheep, will round up the children for you instead! Well, we also have some breeds that have been bred to demonstrate guarding and protective-type behaviors.
That means that they are less likely to go up to new people to say hello, and they may naturally guard their home and the people that live there. These breeds can include the Belgian Malinois, the Doberman Pinscher, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and the Akita. Now, we should say that protective tendencies vary hugely from dog to dog, and some breeders work hard at reducing the protective instinct in their pups by only breeding from very sociable parents.
What Isn’t Protective Behavior? At first glance, a dog that’s barking at another person can look as if they are protective of their owner. But take another look at that canine body language. Is the dog barking but backing away at the same time? Is their tail tucked under their body? How about the ears? Are they flat on their head when they would normally be standing upright? All of these are signs that your dog is actually quite worried about the situation rather than being protective.
These dogs have learned that they can often make the scary thing go away if they bark. Think about it from the dog’s perspective; a person they don’t know is heading towards them when they’re out on a walk. So, they bark because they’re a bit worried, and the ‘scary’ person crosses the road to keep out of the way of the dog. Success! Now the dog has learned that to make scary things go away, you just have to bark.
Now you can see why many dogs who might be labeled as being protective are actually dogs who lack confidence but who have found a way to keep scary things away from them.
What Can You Do to Stop Your Protective Dog Being Too Protective? So, let’s now look at how you can live with one of the instinctively protective breeds without running into problems.
Choose Carefully If you’re looking for a pup to join your family and it’s from a breed known for being protective, then it’s essential to do your homework. You must meet the pups’ mum and, ideally, other relatives so that you can get a sense of what you might be getting yourself into.
Protective adult dogs may not come rushing up to say hello, and they may be a little wary of you, but they shouldn’t be aggressive. You should see that they are affectionate towards their owners and that they are responsive to them.
Socialization is Essential Socialization is the process of your dog getting to meet lots of people in different environments when they are younger. Anything that your pup doesn’t get to see or experience when they are young is likely to cause them to startle and be afraid of when they are older. So, this might mean taking your pup to parks, markets, dog-friendly cafes, and bars to take in these new experiences. It’s important not to overwhelm your youngster; you don’t want them to feel that they need to be protective. This is time to watch the world go by and for your pup to develop their confidence.
Train, Train, and More Training Are you getting the hint that training is going to be important? For the protective breeds of dogs, obedience is essential, and it’s going to be an ongoing feature of their life. Forget the saying that ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ because you absolutely can. It may take an older dog a little longer to learn new ways of doing things, but with patience, they will get there.
For all dogs, learning with rewards will get you better results than relying on punishment. When training is fun, your dog’s learning will be quicker, and they’ll love being around you. This doesn’t always have to be about rewarding with food; your dog may enjoy a game with a toy or fetching ball instead.
Has Your Dog Suddenly Become Protective? Whenever there’s a sudden or dramatic change in your dog’s behaviour, and you can’t work out why then a trip to the vets should be first on your to-do list. That’s because there are several conditions, such as hypothyroidism which can cause aggression and be seen as protective behaviours.
If the vet has given the all-clear, then this might be a good time to get professional behavioural help. A qualified and experienced canine behaviourist will be able to help identify why the behaviour is happening. Then, they’ll devise a program to help your dog to become less protective.
There are thousands of dogs out there who require a forever home. If you’re looking to bring home a puppy then why not think about adopting instead? Find out everything you need to know, right here.
What to Expect There really are so many reasons why pets end up in animal shelters. Usually it comes down to the personal circumstances of the owners, as opposed to it being the dog’s fault. It may be that you end up moving house, changing jobs, undergo a divorce or even have a new baby. Dog-ownership can be challenging to say the least and this is why so many people end up taking their dog to a rescue centre. Sometimes when you go to a shelter, you will soon find that they have so many family-friendly breeds as well as puppies. They also have adult dogs too. It’s vital that you research as many breeds as you can in advance, as this could help you to highlight some of the characteristics that your dog might have.
Choosing the Right Dog It’s highly recommended that you try and choose a dog with your head as opposed to your heart. It’s very easy for you to fall in love with an animal right away but at the end of the day, you’ll want to stay somewhat detached if you can so that you can keep in mind what you’re in store for. If you want to save yourself some heartache, then don’t choose a dog that does not suit your lifestyle. The staff who work at an animal shelter, or a rescue centre will have so much experience in helping you to choose the right dog, but at the same time it helps to have an open mind. You might have a shortlist of all of the potential dogs you want, but at the same time, you need to make sure that you are open to bringing a dog home that wasn’t what you had in mind to begin with, but is right for your home. Your dog should have no health issues when they come to you, but sometimes they can develop conditions soon after leaving the shelter. Read more here about diseases such as kennel cough, as this can be very common in dogs that are young.
Behavioural Issues Some rescue dogs will have behavioural issues that you need to address with patience and consistent training. It may be that your dog has aggression towards other dogs or even people. You will need to make sure that you are tough in your training because it is more than possible for you to curb these issues in no time. At the end of the day, most dogs will have a backstory. It may be that your dog was taken away from the mother too soon and that they like to snuggle. On the flip side, it may be that they have not been socialised enough at that crucial age.
Getting your Home Ready Before you even think about rehoming a dog, you need to have a check done by the staff who work at the animal charity. They will have so much practical advice which will help you to ensure a smooth transition from start to finish. You have to remember that some dogs are happy to sleep in a crate too, so you need to make sure that you are comfortable having something like this in your home if you want to try and keep your rescue as comfortable as possible at all times. It’s also helpful to have everything you need before you pick up your dog, such as grooming tools or puppy toys.
Having a new puppy, particularly if you’re a first-time fur parent is so exciting. Your puppy is the cutest little fluff ball on the planet and there is nothing you wouldn’t do and nothing you wouldn’t buy for your little bundle of delight. And boy are there plenty of things to buy; the best fluffy beds, top of the range food and drink bowls, toys, chews, some people even like to dress their pets in little outfits, and now this little bundle of fluff has stolen your heart It’s all fun fun fun – isn’t it?
Or do you feel that it might have been easier if your puppy had come with a warning “will chew your shoes, rip your belongings, wail loudly all night long or screech for hours every time you go out”.
And why did no one tell you that you
would soon be wondering how something so small could make so much noise and
mess, behave like its being murdered each time you try to take it out to
toilet, and then produce enough poo and pee to sink a battleship when after
what felt like hours in the freezing cold, defeated and deflated, you bring it
back indoors, or how it can wriggle backwards at the speed of light when you
try to attach collar and leash to go for a walk.
And what happened to all those who promised to always walk the pup forever and ever if only you would let them have him/her? The family who said they would take turns to feed and walk the pup?
Well you are not alone ….
I remember when one of my pup first arrived, I soon learned that initial excitement can quickly give way to frustration, I can clearly remember being so delighted that my boy Beau had learned to get upstairs all by himself that I squealed with delight – I squealed again some days later when I went upstairs and found the huge brown pool of diarrhoea that spread all across my beautiful mint green carpet.
And believe me when I tell you that
there is not an alarm clock on the planet that gets you out of bed faster than
being woken from a deep sleep by the sound of a retching puppy, only for you to
step into a pool of slimy frothy vomit – how did all of that come out of
something so small?
So whether it’s your first or your fifth, each pup is as different and individual as we are, so the chances are that the new puppy journey you have just embarked upon will have much to teach you.
To begin with think of your pup as a
toddler who has no concept of right or wrong and you are the parent who has to
teach them everything from potty training, walking on a leash, socialising and
being well mannered – seems daunting at first doesn’t it?
As puppyhood is the most important
time for learning, I’d like to share a few tips that helped me with my pups and
may help you in those first few months together.
Always try to have a calm but assertive approach when you’re when dealing with your pup, the aim is to provide positive, gentle and reward-based training. Don’t get upset if your pup doesn’t “get it” straight away or if he/she does something wrong or has a little accident now and then.
Though there will be times when you may feel convinced that he/she is doing it deliberately to get on your nerves – believe me, they really don’t know any better at this stage so be patient as it takes time.
A crate can be an invaluable tool particularly when potty training as it provides your pup with a secure area whilst you are busy. If your pup is reluctant to go in at first, persuade him/her by using a Kong with some natural peanut butter, (but make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol as this is a sweetener that is dangerous to dogs). Always praise your pup when it gets something right or does something you asked it to do. Don’t, however, leave your pup in the crate for too long as this can cause other issues.
A baby gate will also help to keep your pup out of areas that may be dangerous or simply “off-limits”, this will teach your pup what areas he/she is allowed to go into or not, and will help provide a safe area for your pup to play in.
If your pup cries all night – I won’t lie, I never had this problem because I always took my babies upstairs and they slept in my room until they decided to go elsewhere to sleep. I know this is not an option for everyone and I’ve heard of lots of different things to try, old fashioned alarm clocks have a soothing ticking sound that is said to help the puppy sleep. An old piece of your unwashed clothing to snuggle into or a teddy bear to cuddle with – it really is all trial and error. Your pup will sleep when it feels safe, warm and protected – its for you to find that place so that you can all get some sleep.
Teach your pup the command “eyes on
me” this is a great way of getting your dogs attention during training
especially if they are easily distracted by other things around them in the big
Also teaching your pup to “go to
your mat” is a good way to prevent them from running and barking in a frenzy
every time someone arrives at the front door and will save you from receiving
those embarrassing postcards from the post office telling you that your dogs
behaviour is upsetting the postman – yes I’ve had them!
Do avoid giving in to things now that will lead to problem behaviour later on, no matter how cute that little face is. For example, don’t let your pup jump up at people when they visit. Though this seems so cute now, once the dog is grown it may not be so acceptable – I have lost count of the times I have been knocked into someone’s flower bed by an overexcited dog running out and jumping up to greet me.
Always make sure to distract your
dog with something acceptable like a toy or a treat when you want to change
their behaviour instead of just telling them off when they get it wrong.
Enrolling into a puppy training or
obedience group is a great idea, but make sure to attend a proper class
where all the other dogs are up to date with their vaccinations. It’s
never too early to start training as it provides both mental and physical
stimulation. It will not only help them to learn some manners but also help
them to socialise with other dogs and help prevent difficult or dangerous
situations from developing in the future.
Training with your pup will help you
develop a firm bond and provide you with a better understanding of what
motivates him/her so that you can continue training accordingly. Puppies
just want to please you so this is a golden opportunity for you to show them
how. Always be consistent and always be gentle, there is no place or excuse for
any negative behaviour towards your pup. They will take time to learn,
they will make mistakes, and if they are anything like my boy Beau, they will
embarrass you further by cocking a leg and peeing over the pup next to them.
I get asked a lot about unwanted behaviours such as chewing and barking, and I’ve had a lot of personal experience of both behaviours with my girl Lola. In just one day she chewed my handbag to pieces, chewed the door frame and ate my husband’s library book so I know how frustrating it can be.
There are lots of reasons why dogs
chew but if a pup or very young dog is into this, its a strong indication that
they are teething.
A good way of coping with this is to use a Kong or something similar and place some frozen peanut butter or other goodies into it and give that to the dog or simply buy toys and ropes of various textures so that your pup can chew on these – a word of warning, don’t buy shoe-shaped chews, you know where it will lead to.
If it has happened and you are quick
enough to intercept your pup as it makes off with one of your best shoes, then
simply offer an alternative or a treat, once the pup drops the shoe say “good
boy/girl” in a very excited voice (or at least a relieved voice), your pup will
soon get the idea but you must be consistent.
If your handbag or best shoe does fall casualty to your babies toofy pegs then you will have to write it off and learn your lesson that nothing is off-limits to a teething pup unless you make it so.
On the subject of teeth, a good habit to start at this stage is that of cleaning your babies teeth, do ask your vet for advice and use the smallest brush (not a human toothbrush) to begin with. Tooth decay can cause a lot of medical problems particularly if you have a pup with a heart murmur as the decaying matter can make its way into the bloodstream and cause serious issues. A yearly check-up saves a lot of problems including a massive vet bill for a tooth removal.
Is there anything worse than a dog
that won’t stop barking? Well yes I can think of a few, but constant barking
can drive the most loving pet owner up the wall.
Again, there are any number of
reasons why dogs bark and not all of them are negative, remember this is also
the sound of the dogs own language. It’s the way the dog communicates
with others of its species or tells you when it wants something. It can
also be an indication of fear, frustration or excitement as well as aggression
How to deal with it?
Pups usually bark because they want
something, are excited or simply because they have just found their voice and
quite like the sound of it – after all its new to them.
At this point, it’s a good idea to try some distraction tactics by engaging the pup with something else or by taking them for a short walk provided they are fully inoculated.
If the pup is barking because someone or something new has arrived in front of them, it could be an indication of fear. The pup will look to you for security so stay calm and tell them that it’s okay and provide them with comfort.
Always seek to reassure the pup
until you can ascertain what has caused the barking – remember how you deal
with this now sets the scene for the future. Never ever shout at the pup
because this will only make matters worse and could create issues that prove
difficult to deal with in the future.
Socialisation and training are key here, introduce your pup to many different situations, places and people as possible. People with glasses, hats, beards, tall people, short people and loud people, children and other dogs – though always supervise the latter two carefully and never leave a tiny pup alone with small children until they have learned to handle the pup with respect and gentleness. Always have treats on hand to reward your pup in new circumstances and never be afraid to tell other dog owners to back off if their dog gets a bit rough or overexcited with your pup.
This is a biggie for a lot of new puppy owners, here are a few tips that helped me stay sane not only with pups but also with adult rescue dogs I’ve adopted who weren’t potty trained.
Firstly, be prepared for accidents,
your pup will get it wrong and so will you.
The pup is not out to make your life a misery but do try to see things from their point of view some of the time – would you really like to go pee-pee in the freezing cold dark night or when it’s lashing down with rain? You will get stressed, the pup will get stressed and the moment you step back indoors the pup will pee !!
Choose a particular area where you want your pup to toilet and take the pup out on a regular basis, particularly after meals and before bedtime.
In the first few months, and if your
pup is small enough, carry it to the designated area so that it gets the
message that this is where you want it to toilet, reinforce this by saying
something like “wee wee” so that your pup associates the place and
the words with the action.
Use positive reinforcement, so that
each time your pup does a pee or poo say “good boy/girl” in an excited tone of
voice and provide a treat. The pup will soon learn that it will be
rewarded each time it goes to that place to pee or poo.
If your pup has an accident –
and it will – ignore this, clean it up and say nothing. Use a disinfectant that
removes the smell as well as cleans or your pup will keep going to toilet
there. Pets at Home have several good brands that will remove the odour and
disinfect the floor.
Never hit, shout or rub the pup’s nose in the mess – this is abuse and serves no purpose other than to terrify the pup and delay or prevent the training.
Remember it really is on you if your
pup keeps going to toilet in the house and you need to increase your pups trips
outside, never scold the pup for your mistakes.
If your pup is very slow to toilet
train or continually relapses, seek advice from your vet and get your pup
examined in case there is an underlying infection or problem.
In the meantime, you can get (human) adult-sized disposable incontinence sheets from Amazon, that you can put down on the floor – they saved my sanity during some difficult times with my rescue dogs.
When out walking in public areas, always pick up after your dog, it is an offence not to do so and you can be fined.
MORE GENERAL INFORMATION
Puppies need lots of naps, it’s essential for them to grow so don’t be surprised at how much they nap.
Exercise your pup, but not too much
too soon and only take them outside once they are fully inoculated, seek
guidance from your vet if you are unsure.
Initially avoid taking your little
pup into big shops or places where lots of other dogs go, parvovirus, other
diseases and parasites can last a long time in areas that are not properly cleaned
or where people have not picked up after their adult dogs.
Try to get your pup used to being handled, particularly around their face, feet, legs etc as this will help the pup cope with being handled on future visits to the vet and the groomer. Always handle with care and gentleness and never allow children to “play” with your pup – remember they are only babies.
Get your pup used to travelling by
car as soon as you can, this will help them with any travel sickness issues.
Ensure that everything your pup
needs, such as beds and feeding bowls are in low traffic or quieter areas of
the home so that they are not disturbed by lots of noise or people coming in
Does your pup cry, whine or bark
excessively when you leave the room or the house for any length of time, or
destroy and chew things up when you are not there?
This could well be separation
Before your pup came to you it lived
with its mum and siblings and there was always someone to go to for comfort,
food or whatever.
Now this beautiful pup has left its
family behind and lives with you and your family, your pup doesn’t understand
everything in this strange new environment.
You can’t be with your pup all of the time, you have to go out for whatever reason and the pup can’t always go with you. Now for some pups, this is no issue as they will use this time to catch up on much-needed sleep. However, for others, this will become a time of distress and worry that, if not addressed, can escalate to the point where the young dog damages its home or itself.
Separation anxiety is a complex
situation that can require the advice and help of a suitably qualified person
and in extreme situations may never be fully resolved. Unfortunately,
many dogs who suffer from this often find themselves put up for adoption or
The treatment of separation anxiety
requires a consistent approach and can initially feel distressing.
You may need to start with placing distance between you and the pup or young dog in order to reduce its dependency upon you.
By simply ignoring your pup just
prior to departure and again on return some cases can correct themselves
without further intervention.
However, some cases are more
difficult to deal with because the pup is very needy and its relationship with
you creates real distress when you are not there and the pup is left
In such cases you may need to lessen
the bond with the pup by cooling the overall relationship, stroking less or
getting someone else to feed or take on things like walking and visits to
the vet so that the pup gets used to other people in its life.
Crating the pup may help to a
certain extent but this should always be a short term solution.
Providing sufficient exercise
throughout the day coupled with obedience training and mock departures to help
desensitise or diffuse the situation may also help to calm the pup.
Providing an alternative stimulus such as leaving the television on or providing an acceptable object to chew can also help the pup to remain calm when you are out if all else fails the dog may require medical intervention, but that should always be a last resort.
Doggie daycare in an environment with a limited amount of other dogs is another way of dealing with long term issues as the pup or young dog gets one to one attention but also has the opportunity to enjoy the company and comfort of others – always ensure all the dogs get on with each other before making this a permanent thing.
Large dog daycare facilities should be avoided until the pup is old enough to cope with it otherwise you could be swapping one type of anxiety for another.
ONE LAST THING
The answer to most things is time,
love and patience by the bucket load so enjoy every minute of your adventure
with your pup.
When you bring home a new dog, one of the first things to do is to train it. For me and my family, it was necessary for our new pet to understand simple instructions. It is common knowledge that the secret to training your dog is to use treats because food is such a huge motivator for them.
In our experience, it was really effective when we were doing obedience training. Getting them to perform a task might seem easy for us humans, but dogs do not just understand the way people do. They need something very basic and primal, like food, to learn a task.
Training your dog depends on various factors, like the age of the dog and its temperament. For us, using treats to train our new dog was possible, especially if you follow these simple tips.
Use Small Treats
While using some treats is good because our dog got fed at the same time, but it was important for us not to overdo it. Some dog breeds are prone to obesity and giving too many treats can be dangerous for its health.
Another trick that worked for us was to use different kinds of treats to mix it up and keep it exciting for our pet. Choosing healthy ones was also important for our dog’s diet.
Reward Your Dog When It Is Calm And Submissive
The idea of rewarding with treats is to encourage the right behavior, which is why we had to be careful when we give the dog the treats. If you give your pooch a little treat while it is hyperactive or doing something destructive, then you are teaching your pet to act this way. We simply had to wait until the dog is calm and submissive before giving treats.
Do Not Use Treats To Bribe The Dog
While using treats is a great way for your pet to learn new tricks, you should definitely avoid using it for the wrong purpose. We did not want our pet to mistake the treat for a bribe. If you notice your dog waiting expectantly for the treat, then this is a bad sign. Ideally, you teach it to follow a command using a treat, but you should rely on this less and less. Our secret is to use reinforcement and praise to make it follow our commands.
Reward Each Step
Most tasks actually involve a few steps, like throwing a stick and having the dog get it and bring it back. One huge mistake we made is to only reward after it has done the entire task, which can be quite frustrating for everyone. Instead, we changed our technique, breaking down the task into smaller ones and get the dog to perform them first.
To do this, whenever your pet does each step correctly, remember to give it a treat. Once all the steps have been done correctly, then you can teach it to do them all together. Even if your pet is not able to do everything perfectly, any progress in the right direction should still be rewarded. In our experience, this kept our dog motivated the entire time.
Learn “fade the lure”
Fade the lure is an important technique to avoid the treat turning into a bribe. Simply put, you will use the treat the first few times to make it do the task you want it to do and then once it has mastered it, do the same gesture but with an empty hand. Our trick was to replace the treat with verbal encouragement. At times, we still continued to randomly use the treat, but eventually we reduced it until we stopped giving treats completely.
Even without training or experience, teaching our dog new tricks was not complicated, because we used the right techniques. Giving it treats is one of the most successful ways to do it, and it was great for making sure our new dog was obeying our commands and settling in the family well.
Head on the keyboard, I’ve had enough. I’m tired of looking for the perfect solution to my needs. I grab my coffee and head over to the back door where I stick my head out for some fresh air, oh I wish I could have a holiday somewhere quiet away from it all. I know that’s not possible because of Lula my mix breed dog, she’s an absolute nightmare on the lead, in the house, in the car, you name it I hide from it! So here I am stuck at home with my barking, lead pulling (that’s why we don’t get out much) dog. I do love her and want to have a special bond with her but I can’t find what I’m looking for, I don’t even know what I’m looking for.
I pick up a tennis ball and throw it into the garden, Lula loves to play a game of fetch, it brings her alive and she brings it back and runs to fetch it, this could go on for hours how come it doesn’t make her tired? I bring her in and try to wipe her paws, yes you guessed it she doesn’t like that either and we end up in a wrestling match with me flat on my face in the middle of the kitchen floor.
That’s it, I’ve had enough! I slam the back door and head out of the kitchen back to the computer. I know what I’m looking for! Dog Trainer in King’s Lynn is added to the web browser. Dog Trainers, Behaviourists and Clubs/King’s Lynn/Norfolk wow that’s the one! I click and get a bright dog friendly page full of dog trainers in King’s Lynn. I look though a few of the premium pages and it catches my eye Game Based Trainer. Lula it is meant to be young lady, today is day one of our new journey.
The website was bright, light and full of fun, showing how games created learning through choice – I was hooked and clicked on the Make an Enquiry button on The Good Dog Website. Excited I jumped up and made another coffee returning quickly to The Good Dog Guide website and where it said click to choose a category I chose Self Catering and in lovely Norfolk. I booked our holiday for September which gives us four months of intensive game based training sessions to have the best holiday ever!
Thank you The Good Dog Guide you have it all covered!
Article supplied by to Julie Carter at MyLuka Dog Training Solutions
Pets are a part of many children’s lives. To help making pet ownership a positive experience for everyone, parental involvement, open discussion, and planning are necessary. When a child learns to care for an animal, treating it kindly and patiently, the child may get invaluable training in learning to treat people the same way. Children can develop social skills by taking care of a pet. If parents believe their child is old enough to care for a pet, they must oversee the pet’s care. Children under the age of 10 years are unable to care for a large animal, a cat or a dog, on their own.
According to a collection of scientific studies, having a dog can greatly benefit a child’s emotional intelligence. Puppy Pointers show that pets can have a positive effect on your child’s health, too. Here are some benefits of owning dogs and the ways kids who have a dog in the home evolves compared to those who don’t:
Children have higher self-esteem when they are given tasks to complete, such as helping with the care of a pet. Kids show an improvement in self-esteem and may even take pride in getting more responsibility. Though the tasks should be age-appropriate (3 years above).
Kids with pet dogs become more compassionate. Multiple studies have shown that children who owned dogs were more empathetic towards others. Parents and children frequently share in taking care of the pet. This suggests that kids learn at an early age how to care for and nurture a dependent animal.
They feel supported. Several researchers found that children often name their pet when asked who they would go to with a problem. Whereas fellow humans will judge and may criticize, pets can make people feel unconditionally accepted.
Children develop better cognitive skills. Some research has suggested that kids who talk to their dog, whether by giving praise and commands or just babbling, show improved cognitive development.
Having a pet dog can alleviate stress in kids. Petting a dog has been proven to lower cortisol levels in both the person and the pet. Also, research has found that children’s stress levels decrease when reading aloud to a dog.
They are happier with dog pets. Playing with a pet raises levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm the mind and increase the mood.
Having a dog can benefit your child’s health. Besides the obvious benefits of being more active and getting outside more often when playing with a dog, several studies have suggested that children who have dogs have a decreased chance of developing allergies. A current study is underway to determine if dogs could even have a probiotic-like effect on the human body.
When selecting a dog for your child, make sure to research the breeds and speak to the breeder about your family’s lifestyle so that you can ensure the pet you get is the best fit for your whole family. Also, be sure to educate children about dog body language and always supervise their interactions.
I was out walking with
my family and my dog over New year at a local beauty spot. Towards
the end of our walk I heard a dog fight close by, there were screams
of ‘help’ and so my veterinary mode kicked in and I found myself
Just as I got to the
gathering crowd someone threw something towards the dogs which
momentarily distracted them and they came apart. I checked over one
of the dogs whilst the other dog was led away by its upset owner. The
first dog was fine however a comment about blood alerted me to the
fact that the other dogs owner had a nasty bite to his hand. By this
time there were quite a few strong words exchanged and so I walked
I wanted to check the
other dog & owner and finally found them in the car park.
Fortunately both dogs were unscathed but sadly the owner had a deep
bite that needed urgent medical attention. I gave some human first
aid advice and had a long chat with them about the incident. They
were very upset as they had been walking their reactive dog on a lead
and when it had been approached by a very enthusiastic bouncy young
dog they had requested it was taken away. Sadly this was ignored and
after about the 10th time of asking their dog reacted and
so a fight broke out. As I walked away I felt sad for the owner,
disappointed that they were doing the ‘right thing’ by keeping
their dog on a lead and warning others to stay away…yet still their
requests were ignored.
My own current dog had
issues when I first rescued him and I spent a lot of time training
him to be calmer and accepting of other dogs around him. He does stay
on the lead a lot of the time and I too encounter many owners who let
their dogs come charging over, fortunately with the groundwork I
have put in and the training I continue to take with me on a walk I
can deal with it…however many people can’t. As soon as you put a
lead on a dog everything changes for them and so we need to respect
this, understand why and act accordingly……………..
As the days went on
after the incident, I kept thinking about what I had seen and felt
passionately that something needed to be done to raise awareness of
So after a lot of
thought, planning and design my ‘Respect the lead’ campaign was
born……… It has had amazing coverage on social media and I have
had many requests for posters (all over the world!). The support has
been overwhelming and I am still to this day amazed at the impact it
seems to have made in the dog owning world.
Let’s continue to spread the awareness so that everyone can enjoy their dog walks and together we can help our canine friends ……who may be kept on a lead for a reason.
Dogs have unique personalities and their moods vary ranging from joyful, playful to scared and aggressive. As a dog owner, you will always wish and work towards having a well-trained dog. However, often and when least expected, your dog may display risk-seeking behaviors. Even though aggression is not a welcomed behavior, it is common and quite dangerous. While you may want to use the best retractable dog leash for large dogs to train your dog, there are other important tips to employ. These tips will help you to manage the dog and to enhance its safety as well as that of your family members and friends.
To employ the best measures to prevent risk behaviors, you need to know the signs and symptoms that dog’s exhibit. This can be a one time or a sequence of increasingly intense risk-seeking behaviors. Your dog may;
Become rigid and still. Bark uncontrollably. Charge towards you, a friend or any person around. Mouthing and muzzle punching. Showing teeth and growling. Snarling and snapping. Quick nips and bites that may cause a bruise. Bites leading to wounds. Shaking.
There are also different types of risk-seeking behaviors that you need to understand. They include: territorial, protective, possession, fear, defensive, social, frustration elicited, redirected, pain elicited, sex-related and predatory risk-seeking behaviors or aggression. Therefore, you need to carefully analyze the reasons behind a certain aggressive behavior in your dog to prevent and manage it efficiently.
Work with your vet A dog can display a risk-seeking behavior due to an underlying medical condition. Painful conditions such as thyroid abnormality, canine aggression, and orthopedic issues can lead to irritability and aggression in dogs. Dogs under medication can also be aggressive and susceptible to different situations. Therefore, it is vital to have a pet to examine the dog, and if a medical problem is identified, the dog should get treatment immediately. This gives the dog a better chance to recover and improve its behavior.
Professional behavior expert It is equally important to seek the help of a professional behavior expert. Risk seeking behaviors are dangerous and can lead to detrimental effects. Think of it, even the best behavior experts get bitten time and again. This means leaving an untreated dog poses a serious risk to you and your loved ones. A professional will evaluate the dog’s behavior to determine whether it is a defensive behavior or fear driven. The professional will also monitor the dog over a period of time and recommend the most ideal behavior modification plan that matches the needs of your dog. A professional dog behaviorist will help you to understand the best ways to calm your dog, help it to relax, and stay safe around other dogs and people. This is why it is always important that you seek professional help at the first sign of a risk-seeking behavior.
Create a safe environment Safety is paramount as you try to prevent and manage aggression in dogs. If the dog is aggressive towards children, strangers or other dogs, it is wise to keep it muzzled outdoors but in a comfortable and safe place. Use the best retractable dog leash whenever you take your dog out in public or for a walk. This is because the dog can get frustrated, and try to run away. Your safety and that of the people around you as well as that of the dog is paramount. Exercise, play and walk the dog in a secure place such as the garden area with little or no interference from strangers. This is because, in such an environment, it is easy to calm and bond with the dog until the desired behavior is achieved.
Secure the dog If the behavior of your dog is defensive, as a result of fear or due to an underlying medical condition, it is important to secure the dog. This can be in a kennel, a safe room or in the garden where the dog can relax and enjoy a quiet environment. Feed and play soothing music or provide toys that can distract the dog and keep it calm. Choose a companion wisely for your dog When choosing a companion for your dog, consider its breed and gender. Have a male and a female dog of different breeds to prevent aggression.
With these tips, the most important advice is that you seek professional help at the first sign of risk-seeking behavior. This will help you to treat and prevent safety and health risks for you, your family and your dog.
Something which may surprise a lot of dog owners recently emerged in the news, as the results of a survey from Legal & General revealed that one in every three dog owners did little to no research before deciding on which breed of dog to adopt.
This may feel like a high number, but as some of us know it’s sometimes the dog who chooses the owner rather than the other way around.
Out of those surveyed who did their research before adopting, common considerations for settling on a specific breed was size at 43%, followed by temperament at 41% and 34% who considered their breed based on their lifestyle. 11% of people surveyed thought about how much adopting a dog would cost, and just 7% looking into the price of insurance policies.
Considering the numbers, it isn’t much of a shock that 14% of owners said that they had five or more visits to the vet in the past year. 45% of owners also revealed that at some point they have also had to pay a visit to an emergency vet, which can come with astronomical costs.
Worryingly, 36% of owners revealed that they don’t have pet insurance, with 46% saying that there is no need for it. Thankfully, 48% of owners said that pet insurance is a life safer (and will surely be made up of those who had to visit the emergency vet!)
Sadly 6% of those surveyed said they were unsatisfied with their chosen breed, so to help lower this number Legal and General have released the Breed Selector, an tool which, instead of allowing you to choose the ideal dog for you, allows a dog to choose you as their ideal human.
It’s a fun tool that asks about you, your home and your lifestyle, and matches you with a breed which fits in with what you’re looking for.
As we all know, owning a dog can be hard work, but it is also rewarding and can bring love and joy to our lives. Whilst research is important before deciding who we want to bring home, we can’t always decide who we fall in love with and want to join the family.
For more information on pet insurance from Legal and General, more information is available on their website.
All good dog owners know that grooming isn’t just about primping your pet to look cute; it’s also about maintaining good health.
The first time you groom your puppy is an important occasion that requires careful preparation and dedication. Don’t be put off by your inexperience; it’s easy to do once you know how. If you approach the situation armed with good advice and confidence, all will go smoothly for you and your furry friend.
Puppies are obviously going to be more challenging to groom than an older dog, and the first grooming experience is much like a child’s first haircut, i.e. expect some tears and tantrums!
In the weeks before grooming, concentrate on building a positive relationship with your puppy and ensure he is as comfortable as possible with touch and being handled in anyway. This is probably the most important thing you can do to prepare for grooming. Your aim is to make each session a calming, bonding experience.
You can practice this with positive reinforcement whenever you feed your puppy from your hand; stroke your puppy as it is lying down and gradually teach that being held by you is not dangerous.
Create a friendly environment so that your puppy immediately knows that whatever is about to happen is safe and enjoyable. Show affection with petting and soothing words so that the puppy is relaxed.
Keep your first groom session short, that way the puppy won’t misbehave and when you are ready for a second session, your puppy will be more used to the process and you can gradually go for longer each time.
Keep your puppy loosely restrained so that you can maintain your control without frightening him is also important.
Begin with a nice, relaxing bath using puppy shampoo and conditioner. Take care not to get soap in the puppy’s eyes. To really put your dog at ease, you can give it a massage as you work your way lathering down the back towards the tail and back legs.
For the first session keep the brushing to a minimum. Be aware that any brushes, clippers and tools might alarm the puppy so show each brush or comb to the pup first before giving a treat as a reward. Do this a few times before then giving the puppy a few short strokes with the item. Be mindful of sensitive areas at first like inner legs and tail.
Remember that clipping your dog’s claws is not the same as trimming your own nails. Cut at a 45-degree angle so as to avoid trimming the blood vessel that runs into the nail (which will be a painful experience for your dog if it gets cut by mistake!). You need to only cut the part of the nail that extends beyond this blood vessel known as a ‘quick.’
If unsure about clipping claws you should seek advice from a vet beforehand.
Grooming sessions at first should be short but done fairly often so that your puppy becomes accustomed to them and learns to associate them as just another fun activity to share with you.