By Langley Cornwell
True confession time: we sing to our pets. My husband would vehemently deny that statement but it’s true, and I can prove it. In fact, we have three pets – two dogs and a cat – and we have a song for each one of them. What’s more, they all know which pet we’re singing to at any given time. Sure, each one’s song has his or her name in it, but even if we hum their specific tune, the appropriate animal responds. It’s fun for us and I think they like it, but I’m not sure.
What I am sure about is this: the way we talk (or sing) to our dog is important. It’s not just what we say but the manner in which we say it. Tone and pitch are critical in forging a strong bond and establishing good communication between you and your pet.
When talking to your dog, if you institute three different and specific tones—one for commands, one for corrections and one for praise—it will improve the flow of understanding between the two of you.
Here are some tips for how to talk to your dog:
By Langley Cornwell
Some people believe an old wives tale that it’s okay for a dog to lick his wound because his saliva has antibacterial abilities. Because of this, they let their pet tend to their own cut or puncture and then wonder why the wound is getting worse instead of better. It is true that a canine’s saliva has trace amounts of antibacterial properties, but not enough to heal a wound. In fact, incessant licking will impede the natural healing process and even further damage a pet’s wound.
The reason a dog licks his wound in the first place is because it temporarily blocks the pain receptors. It’s like when you bonk your head and then rub it. At first the rubbing makes the localized pain—where you hit your head—feel better. That’s what licking does.
The act of licking wounds traces back to domesticated dog’s ancestors. Wild and feral dogs licked their wounds to clean out any debris. Additionally, as mentioned, dog saliva does have a slight antibacterial benefit. But wild dogs were so busy avoiding predators and feeding the pack that they weren’t able to lick their wound endlessly. Domesticated dogs, on the other hand, have plenty of time on their hands (paws?). If left to their own devices, they could spend all day licking and fussing over a wound. Thus starts a cycle; licking makes the wound worse so the dog licks more, which makes the wound worse, which prompts more licking. You get the point.
Because of this unhelpful and perhaps harmful cycle, it’s important to block your dog’s access to his wound. Here are a few suggestions.
By Langley Cornwell
Training your dog to follow your commands promptly and accurately can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a very daunting task. It takes loads of patience and love, but it’s worth it. Responding to commands quickly helps strengthen a good relationship between you and your pet because you can take your dog more places and do more with her. Furthermore, this ability helps to keep your pet safer because you can direct her behavior and help keep her out of trouble.
This also means that she can be allowed to have a little more freedom because you can trust that she will obey you promptly when you give her a command. The problem is that sometimes, dogs can be very stubborn and not follow your commands as fast as you would like. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help get your dog to respond quicker to your commands.
When teaching your dog commands, you want to keep it as simple as possible. For example, instead of saying “come here” just say “come.” You should also remember that dogs don’t hear words the way we do, so your body language is very important. If you’re not giving her your full attention and expressing your commands with your body language as well as your words, she won’t give you her full attention.
By Laurie Darroch
When you need to be away from home for any length of time, it is necessary to find care options for your dog to ensure they are safe, taken care of and fed properly. Kennels are a definite option, but they can be quite pricey. Also, your dog may not be comfortable staying in a kennel with the constant stimulation of other dogs in neighboring pens, strange or uncomfortable surroundings and unknown caretakers. Thankfully, there are some alternatives to kennel boarding.
Your dog might be most comfortable in your home. Even with you gone, everything is familiar. They may be much more at ease staying there rather than going to a kennel. If this is the option you choose, you will need to have someone you can rely on to take care of your dog while you are away.
You can advertise for a home care person, but it’s important to make sure they are legitimate dog care specialists. Get full background information and verification of their services, whether or not they are insured. One possibility is to go through an agency that hires professional dog sitters.
By Linda Cole
Even though my dogs are allowed on the furniture, I still have a variety of pillows and beds for them to snuggle in. Sometimes I will even tuck them in with a cover thrown over them. Now that might sound like my pets are treated like royalty, but I think a good bed is as important for dogs as our bed is for us. A dog’s bed isn’t as much for their comfort as it is for their good health. We invest in a proper bed for joint and back support, and warmth. If we had to sleep on the cold, hard floor, we would feel the effects in the morning with stiff joints and back, and our quality of sleep would be affected. It’s much the same for our dogs. And contrary to what some believe, a dog’s coat isn’t always enough to keep them warm.
Here are five reasons to get your dog a bed:
Larger breeds like Labs, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands, Great Danes and Mastiffs are more likely to suffer from arthritis as they age. Small dogs that are longer than they are tall, like the Dachshund, are also at risk of this degenerative disease. A supportive bed helps cushion joints and bones, which is especially important for older canines and dogs with arthritis or other medical issues. It’s good to keep pressure off of the joints whenever possible.
By Linda Cole
Some of the more challenging dog breeds to train are also among the smartest. Part of the problem with smart dogs is they can think for themselves and quickly learn how to control their owner.
Dog intelligence is determined by how many repetitions it takes for a dog to learn a new command or task. Breeds considered the smartest learn in just a few repetitions. Canines at the bottom of the list take a lot longer to catch on. It’s not that they aren’t as bright as the top tiered dogs; they just need more motivation.
Border Collies can either be one of the most challenging – or easiest – dogs to train. This free thinking, problem solving and sensitive herder is capable of learning new things in just one try, but you can’t use heavy-handed training methods. This breed can be difficult for an inexperienced owner to train because he is an intelligent dog and notices absolutely everything you do. Subtle changes in your tone of voice and hand gestures can confuse him, because he thinks you’re teaching a new command. You have to be exact each time with your commands and gestures.
Beagles are happy, confident dogs from the hound group. This lovable scenthound has a stubborn streak a mile long, which can cause a novice trainer to throw up his arms in defeat. He needs a good reason to learn. Your best training tool is lots of tasty, healthy dog treats like CANIDAE Pure Heaven Duck or Salmon. Beagles love food, and are willing to learn anything for a favorite treat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture started the Beagle Brigade in 1984 to sniff out contraband food coming into the country via airports because this cute, friendly and small dog isn’t as intimidating as larger dogs.