Category Archives: Laurie Darroch

Tips for Choosing Between a Small and Large Breed Dog

unused by austin kirk 2By Laurie Darroch

Breed and personality are very important things to consider when adopting a dog, but even the most perfect choice may turn out to be problematic if the dog is the wrong size for your living situation. Here are some tips to help you decide between a large breed dog and a small one.

Home Size and Location

A large dog can live in a small place, but their temperament may be a determining factor in whether or not that will work for you. Some dogs are very high energy, and the confinement of a small home or apartment may find you tripping over each other and quickly losing patience.

If you don’t have a fenced yard where your dog can run freely, you will have to go on multiple walks every day. If you’re not willing to take a big dog out daily for a good exercise period, a large breed may not be the choice for you. A dog walker or exerciser might be an option, if your budget can accommodate the expense.

A small dog can find more running and playing space inside than a large breed can. A big dog also requires more space for sleeping arrangements, crate size, and just general moving around space in your home.

If you are located near parks, beaches, dog exercise areas or good walking places, this may help you determine what size of dog you want to get.

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Beach Play Ideas for Dogs

beach steve stearnsBy Laurie Darroch

With all the open space, the beach is the perfect place to take your dog for an invigorating outing to get fresh air and exercise. Even in cooler months, the non-water activities at the beach can be a great way to burn off excess dog energy and provide refreshing outdoor play time. If you have kids in your home, this is a fun outing for the whole family and good bonding time with your dog.

During hot weather, pick cooler times of the day to go for a beach outing with your dog. Early mornings or evenings are best on excessively hot days. That’s when the sand is more tolerable for paws to walk on. Going at off times also makes it easier to play on the beach with fewer people there.

Some beaches allow dogs to roam freely. Others require all dogs to be on a leash. You can adapt any of the following activities for play on or off the leash. For play that involves running, if you are not physically able to run yourself, with the use of an extra-long lead instead of a standard shorter leash, your dog can still run and play.

Bring toys that are heavy enough to throw, even if the beach is windy. Include toys that can float if your dog goes in the water to play.

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Fun Activities for High Energy Dogs

high energy dogs carterseBy Laurie Darroch

Highly energetic dogs need ways to channel all their excess energy. Otherwise, they might find more destructive ways to use up their energy, such as destroying your belongings. It’s a good idea to have a variety of fun activities that will help them burn off energy in healthy and productive ways, while keeping their mind stimulated.

Chasing and Fetching

Play active games in the yard or park with your dog. If you have enough space in your home, you can play more subdued forms of these games inside.

Balls are always a favorite toy for high energy dogs; just be sure to get one that is the right size for your dog. A small dog may not be able to handle a large ball and will give up on the activity. A large dog can choke on a ball that is too small. With training, some dogs can even play a dog form of soccer with large balls.

Flying discs such as the classic Frisbee is another favorite. This is a perfect activity for a high energy dog. If trained properly, the activity can even be competitive with other dogs and owners. Running, leaping and learning to catch and return the disc is not only great for an active dog, but a lot of fun for you as well.

Your dog might find bubbles fun and fascinating.  You can use the simple bubble wands that release one or two bubbles at a time, or a battery operated bubble blower that shoots multiple bubbles at once to really get your dog running and leaping. Your high energy dog will have a really good time chasing them all over the yard and popping them. Because your dog will catch the bubbles in their mouth, use only non-toxic bubble solution, or make your own safe bubble solution at home.

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How to Stop Destructive Puppy Chewing

puppy chew mike spasoffBy Laurie Darroch

Puppies can be very oral and destructive with their incessant need to chew. They are exploring the world around them. By the process of elimination and training, they learn what is edible and what isn’t acceptable for chewing. It is a constant learning process that takes supervision from their human companions and behavior modification training to keep them from chewing and destroying things that are valuable to you or dangerous for them.

“Puppy Proof” Your Home

The easiest way to help keep your pup from chewing things you don’t want destroyed is to puppy proof your home. Look around the house, think like your puppy and move anything that might look tempting to them. Put it out of their reach. That way there is no issue to begin with instead of getting frustrated or angry when they damage something within their reach that looks intriguing to chew.

Not only are valuables important to move in order to prevent your puppy from destroying them, breakable things or potentially poisonous items can be a health hazard for your puppy. Puppies have no idea what is dangerous for them to chew. As a responsible pet owner, it is one of your responsibilities to make their environment safe for them.

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How Dogs Express Their Feelings and Needs

dogs express meredithBy Laurie Darroch

Although dogs do not speak the way humans do, they have no problem expressing their feelings and needs in other ways. Their emotions are simpler than those of their human companions. Understanding them is a matter of paying attention, training and getting to know your dog in order to comprehend what they are trying to tell us with any particular action or behavior.

Much of a dog’s behavior is based on instinct and not necessarily feeling in the way we think of it as humans. Ask anyone who loves a dog though, and they can tell you instances of their dog exhibiting what seems like almost human behavior and definite emotion, but it is different than ours. Dogs are very good communicators when we take the time to understand what they are saying to us in their own way.

Body Language

Body language is a more subtle way of communicating, but everything from the position of your dog’s ears, what they are doing with their tail, their body stance, or their eyes can relay feeling and need depending on what they are doing.

A frightened dog or one who has done something they know is wrong may tuck their tail between their legs in submission. An angry dog might put his ears back and exhibit an in-your-face offensive stance. A relaxed, happy, secure or submissive dog may roll on his back exposing his belly to you. A hungry dog might pace back and forth, or anxiously stand or sit near their bowl. Eye contact or lack of it can be a challenge or sign of submission or respect. A dog’s body language communicates a great deal of what they are feeling.
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Body Language and Behavior Signs That Show Fear in Dogs

fear WonderBy Laurie Darroch

Since dogs cannot communicate the way humans do, they let us know how they are feeling through body language and their own style of vocalizations. If you learn the cues your dog gives, behavior during situations they see as fearful or threatening may be more easily understood and dealt with.

Barking or Whimpering

Excessive barking or constant whimpering is one way a dog shows fear. What may be misconstrued as the dog misbehaving may merely be an expression of fear at the appearance of a stranger, being in new surroundings, experiencing pain or an injury, or the presence of something new and unknown in their territory. If you help your dog understand that whatever is upsetting them is something you can assist them with, your dog will calm down. Barking and whimpering are not just signs of a dog being territorial, angry or even excited and happy. They may be feeling fearful, and looking to you for reassurance and a solution.

Running Around or Pacing

If you have ever felt anxious about something in your own life, and pacing or walking around seemed to help release some of the tension caused by that fear, that is how a dog feels too. Dogs worry in their own way when they are scared or unsure of a situation. When your dog won’t sit still or paces nervously, pay attention. They may be telling you they are frightened about something. Working together, you can help your four legged companion through the situation.

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