Archive for August, 2019

  • 5 Best Dog Breeds for Hiking

    August is a great time to enjoy the trails with your dog. The end of summer temperatures are mild enough for you both to enjoy a midday hike. Time in the open air can help us unplug from technology and bond with our pet companions. While there are no rules regarding breeds best-suited for hiking, we’ve compiled a list of the top five best breeds for hiking. Read on to see if your dog makes our list.

    1. Labrador Retriever

    There aren’t many things labs aren’t good at, and unsurprisingly, they make wonderful hiking companions too. Rugged, outdoorsy dogs, labs love going on adventures, have the bodies to tolerate tough terrain and personalities that make them quite well-behaved when you encounter other hikers and their dogs.

    2. Siberian Husky

    As long as the weather isn’t too warm, huskies are great companions on the trail  and if it is cold enough to upset your husky, you should probably be indoors yourself. They’ve got energy for days, so they’ll view most of your hikes as warm-up sessions. Their hair can hide an army of ticks, so be sure to give your husky a good bath after every trip.

    3. Australian Shepherd

    Don’t worry whether or not your Australian shepherd will enjoy hiking – just be sure his leash is secure before you arrive at the trailhead, so she doesn’t leave you in the dust. The combination of their adventurous spirit, incredible energy and happy-go-lucky attitude makes them one of the best hiking companions one could desire. Additionally, despite hailing from Australia, these herding dogs are reasonably tolerant of both hot temperatures and cold climates.

    4. Border Collie

    Border collies are smart, agile and capable dogs that love to run – what more could you want in a good hiking dog? Most border collies are a bit sensitive, so you’ll want to make sure your dog feels confident out on the trail, so it probably pays to start introducing your pup to the trail from a relatively young age. Border collies will eye-stalk just about anything and everything that moves, but they have a relatively low prey drive, which helps prevent them from dragging you through the forest in pursuit of squirrels, chipmunks and birds.

    5. Australian Cattle Dog

    Australian cattle dogs are better suited for hiking than you are. They are often a bit much for first-time dog owners, but most experienced puppy parents will find them easy to train and eager to please. Like their shepherd brethren who also hail from the outback, Australian cattle dogs are surprisingly capable of enduring both warm and chilly temperatures. Simply put, few dogs are as well-suited for accompanying you as you travel over the river and through the woods.

  • Milestones for a 4 Month Old Puppy

    Four months old is a wonderful milestone for your puppy. Around this time things begin to fall into place. Potty accidents around the house rarely happen if at all, crate training is a breeze, unruly barking starts to subside. If you have a new puppy here are the milestones your pup should achieve around this time. Keep in mind that every puppy is different so if your pup hasn’t reached these milestones don’t feel as if you’ve done anything wrong. Patience is key with raising a young puppy.

    • Vaccinations

    Your puppy gets his rabies vaccination which also signals the time when your puppy’s immune system is well developed.  Naturally you will feel more inclined to take your puppy on outings and allow him to interact with other dogs because he is less likely to become ill. If your dog does happen to get sick or show irregular behavior such as lethargy or vomiting a visit to the vet is important because despite this milestone a young puppy doesn’t have the strongest immune system and may need help to overcome a sickness. 

    • Feeding Schedule

    You can change your puppy’s feeding schedule to 1 cup of food 3 times a day. Since your puppy is growing they will need more energy to play all day. 

    • Teeth

    Your dog’s baby teeth start to fall out and as the teeth disappear so does the puppy’s bitey, nippy, mouthy behavior

    • House Training

    It’s around this time that your puppy has fully grasped potty training.  If not, they are usually very close with not much more than 1 accident per week.

    • Crate Training

    Your pup can usually sleep through the night without incident.  They can also tolerate a stay in the crate for short periods during the day without barking, crying, howling, etc.

    A few other training milestones that typically occur at 4 months are: 

    • Good House Manners

    • Stays off the furniture.

    • Usually not 100% at this age, but your puppy is allowed more freedom around the house.

    • Can sit/down and wait for food for 30+ seconds until released.

    If you puppy is fast approaching or has reached the 4 month old milestone you can enjoy a new level of freedom as you puppy can showcase these skills. 

  • Tips for Using the Bell Potty Training Method with your Puppy

    One of the hardest jobs for new puppy parents is potty training. If you are like most new puppy parents, then you probably have combed the internet looking for help. You may have found the bell method and wondered if your puppy is a good candidate. The answer is yes! Your dog can learn to alert you with a bell each time they need to use the bathroom.

    This is an excellent method for apartment or condo dwellers. But the technique is also really good for someone with a larger home. All you will need is a simple bell that can be placed on the floor or hung from a door with a string.

    We’ve compiled some simple tips but keep in mind it’s all about repetition and responsiveness. Once your puppy associates the bell with being let out, they will ring it each time they need a bathroom break.

    Tip 1: 

    Start showing your puppy how to ring the bell by taking his paw in your hand and ringing the bell. Use a simple command such as, “Out” with each ring of the bell and reward your dog with a treat. It may take a few days or weeks, but your dog will soon begin to ring the bell with his paw without your help. Be sure to reward with a treat each time.

    Tip 2:

    Once your pup has got a hang of ringing the bell, move the bell over towards the door you want your dog to go out. Do the same program, but as your dog rings the bell, use your command word, open the door, go outside and reward as you start walking through the door to encourage your dog to follow you. You can do this several times a day, and since you will be outside most of the time your dog will naturally want to relieve himself. Give a reward each time your dog uses the bathroom.

    Tip 3:

    Soon your dog will expect the door to be opened after ringing the bell, so feel free to add the leash into this routine. Be consistent. Your dog will pick up on the association that ringing the bell equals potty, so follow the same pattern each time. The bell rings. The door opens. They go potty. They get rewarded.

    It’s not uncommon for your dog to start ringing the bell more than it should because he just wants to go out or be rewarded. You can prevent abuse of the bell by only rewarding when your dog goes to the potty.  If your dog doesn’t potty, bring him back inside. It’s important that he knows the bell is for potty, not for play.

    Your friends and family will be in awe of the fact that your dog rings a bell to let you know they need to go out.

  • How to Make your Puppy’s Bad Habits a Thing of the Past

    We all have a few bad habits that we have picked up over time.  Like humans, dogs can pick up some bad habits as they grow. Lucky for us, it’s easier to break a dog’s unwanted behavior than change our own. Dogs learn by association. They are bound to repeat an action that is rewarded. Below are two of the most common bad dog habits—and how to break them.

    Destructive Chewing

    Chewing, especially in puppies, is not a bad thing. Dogs chew on things to release some pent up energy. Not only that, it keeps their teeth and gums in good shape. But to everyone’s annoyance, dogs often chew inappropriately—destroying plants, cushions, and shoes in their paths. Your dogs must learn what objects are meant for chewing and what is not.

    Instead of punishing them for inappropriate chewing, give them chew toys and treats to distract them. Practice positive reinforcement, every time they choose to chew on their toys instead of household objects, by praising them or giving small treats.

    Begging for Food

    We know those puppy dog eyes are hard to resist, but if your dog is constantly begging for food in the table, you probably have reinforced that behavior in the past. As hard as it is, you must be consistent not to feed them while you’re at the dinner table or snacking in front of the TV.

    Over time, your dog will learn that begging will not give them what they want and will stop the unwanted behavior. You may also train your dog to stay in his bed while you’re eating or plan his meals around your own, so that he will be busy chowing from his bowl while you’re busy eating on your plate.

    The most important thing to remember to break a dog’s bad habits is make sure that they only get a reward when they do good.  This doesn’t mean you should opt for negative reinforcement such as yelling, or other forms of punishment for your dog. Instead find ways to redirect your puppy to positive behavior and reward them for their actions. 

  • Benefits of Buying a Gentle Giant Dog Breed

    Good things do come in large packages – Extra large dog breeds are a prime example. There is a whole lot of joy packed into those 100 – 200 pound bodies of gentle giant breeds.  These gentle giants usually have a mild, often comical temperament.  Many are great family dogs.

    Things to consider before buying a gentle giant dog breed

    • Be prepared to adjust your budget to their often large appetites. They need high quality foods, low in carbohydrates and supplements to keep them healthy.
    • Life expectancy can range from 8 – 14 years. High quality dog food and nutritional dog supplements can help extend and add quality to the extra large dog breeds life.
    • An extra large dog breed will require equipment tailored to their size; large dog feeding bowls, large dog beds and large dog toys.
    • Prepare for some work in the grooming of these giant dog breeds. Your home bath tub can prove a bit small when attempting to wash these dogs. Consider professional dog grooming or rent a tub at a self serve dog wash. 
    • Many of the extra large dog breeds do quite well in apartments and smaller spaces as long as they are provided with regular exercise in the form of walks and trips to dog parks
    • These big dog breeds can also be great with kids and love to play and romp with them, often seeing themselves as one of the kids.  Care must be taken when selecting a giant dog breed if you have very small children. Often these larger breeds do not realize their size and can be quite clumsy, knocking over smaller kids.

    Here are a few gentle giant breeds and their known character traits 

    • Great Dane – One of the tallest dogs. Friendly, known as “the gentle giant”.  Short hair.
    • Saint Bernard – Extremely gentle.  Long hair.
    • Rottweiler – Reliable and loving with their family, very protective.  Short hair.
    • Mastiff – Gentle with family, excellent with children.  Shorter hair.
    • Bull Mastiff – Good natured, docile and affectionate.  Shorter hair.
    • Newfoundland – Calm and gentle.  Long hair.
    • Irish Wolfhound – Gentle, also one of the tallest dogs.  Shorter hair.
    • Akita – Docile, affectionate, courageous.  May be dog selective.  
    • American Bulldog – Loves children, loyal, not hostile.  Short hair.
    • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog – Not aggressive, loves to please, excellent with children.  Long hair.
    • Black Russian Terrier – Protective, loves children, needs to be close to owner.  Longer hair.
    • Bloodhound – Mild-mannered, lovable, very gentle.  Short hair.