Category Archives: Laurie Darroch

Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats Living in the Desert

desert kenBy Laurie Darroch

Living in any hot weather climate with your dog or cat means taking extra precautions during the worst of the heat, but living in the desert brings additional concerns for their safety. Here are a few tips to help keep your pets safer in that type of climate and terrain.

Wildlife and Vegetation

The desert has wildlife and vegetation that can be dangerous to a curious pet. Some stay away from roaming creatures and the tough prickly vegetation native to the desert, but simple curiosity in desert terrain means exposure to these possible dangers. Pets do not necessarily know what is or isn’t dangerous for them, particularly if the desert is not something your dog or cat has been exposed to.

The sharp thorns of a cactus or succulent can cut or pierce the skin, paws or mouths of an overly curious pet. Creatures such as poisonous snakes or crawling scorpions are among the natural desert inhabitants that can make your dog or cat very ill or even kill them. If possible, keep a safe area enclosed in your yard for your dog and cat. If you can’t do that, or are out walking or playing with your pets, keep a sharp eye out for what they are getting into or examining. Eventually they will learn some of what is dangerous or painful, but you don’t want to chance it by not paying attention to the possible hazards.

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Tips on Caring for and Training a Blind Dog

ffac151f-0247-4040-ba24-a9af9c1ac28cBy Laurie Darroch

Blind dogs may find ways to adapt to being partially or fully blind on their own, but might also need help adjusting in a world where visual cues are one way of communicating and getting around. A blind dog can present a special challenge in training and daily living, but you can make life easier for them by using some tips to help them adjust and cope.

Alternative Senses Cues

Because a blind dog cannot respond to hand signals and other visual cues, focusing on the functional senses they do have and using those productively when training the dog is key. Using a consistent sound in training will let them know precisely what they need to do. Try using a clicker or rattle to guide, and some healthy, natural CANIDAE dog treats as a reward when they achieve each step in their training and to help them cope daily even after they have learned. Like any other dog, it may take some practice to help them understand and learn. Be patient.

Blind dogs can be taught to use sense of smell as a guide, but it’s a good idea to use that in a very specific way. Anything with a smell leaves trails of scent, and blind dogs do not have the added benefit of vision to sort out the mixed cues. If you use a scented cue, place the object at the spot or target you want the dog to focus on. Don’t move it around or toss it since the scent travels around in the air as well, which can confuse your dog.

Blind dogs can also use touch, smell and feeling with their muzzles, paws and bodies to determine where they are and what is around them. As they are learning to cope with blindness, you can help by guiding them to specific places and using a guide word for each thing, such as bed, food, step up or down.

In the beginning, think like you were blind too and learning to cope. Put yourself in their position and walk the house with the dog to see what they may need help with.  Cover dangerous or sharp parts of furniture. Use a child gate on steps to keep them from falling down them. As they learn to cope without vision, they will map the house with their senses until they learn and are comfortable enough with their surroundings to get around easily. If you change things around in your home, guide the dog around to learn the new placement of things so they don’t get confused or injured.

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Keep your commands and guide words simple, so the dog knows precisely what they need to do or not do and where they need to go or not go. Establish a specific command word that lets them know they are in danger and immediately stops them from an accident or injury.

Consistency

Be consistent when you are guiding or training a blind dog. The consistency will give them a sense of security and help lessen any possible confusion. Repetition and consistency in training gives the dog structured guidelines. Once they associate certain sounds, verbal cues and smells with specific needs or requests, they will easily find their way around daily activities and your home. Be sure to include all family members or housemates in the training and learning the various commands and cues.

If you want to try a little experiment to give you an idea of how the world seems to a blind dog, turn off all the lights at night time and walk around the house in the dark. You will quickly learn what obstacles your dog may need help with to overcome.

Blind dogs can lead very normal lives. The added training you do as a responsible pet owner will make life more pleasant and easier for both of you. Love is blind!

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How Dogs Use Their Paws to Communicate

dog paw larkynBy Laurie Darroch

Dogs have many non-verbal ways of communicating with us, including the use of paws to get a message across to their human companions or even to other animals. Paws are much more than merely the part of their body used to walk on; their use has an individual language all its own. We just need to learn how to understand that method of communication.

Pay Attention to Me!

Dogs are much like small children. Sometimes they simply need our attention for a myriad of reasons ranging from wanting some play time or affection, to letting you know they want some one on one time. Dogs like to be included in whatever is going on. How many times have you seen a child tugging on her mom’s clothing or poking her to get attention? It is the same for your dogs. They use their paws to say “Here I am! Pay attention to me!”

I’m Sorry

If you’ve ever had to scold your dog or put them in time out for bad behavior, the reprimand is often followed by some sort of apology. There might be suddenly contrite behavior or even calmly placing a paw on your arm, lap or leg immediately following the scolding. They are trying to say “I’m sorry” in their own way. Dogs follow their instincts and may become rascals when temptation is too much. They sense when they have behaved badly by reading your body language and hearing the tone of your voice, but also by training. It is hard to resist that plaintive look accompanied by a gentle paw placed on you. They are asking for reassurance when they paw you after they have been bad.

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5 Reasons Playtime is Important for a Dog

playtime michaelBy Laurie Darroch

Playtime is an important part of caring for and loving your canine family member. Dogs are pack animals, and they enjoy time spent with us and other dogs. Playtime provides benefits for your dog’s physical and mental health as well. Here are 5 ways that playtime will enrich your dog’s life.

Bonding

One of the benefits of play is that it provides individualized bonding time with your dog. Some dogs enjoy playtime so much that they will bring a favorite toy to their human companion when they want to play, or stand by the place where you store their favorite toys to drop a not-so-subtle hint that they want to play. It is their way of communicating and saying, “Please come play with me now!” Playtime can become a favorite part of a dog’s day. If you have more than one dog in your home, playtime is a good way for them to bond with each other as well.

Exercise

Every dog needs exercise, whether it is walking, running, or even specific types of playtime activities such as chasing balls or bubbles, playing tug of war, digging for hidden toys or enjoying a rousing game of hide and seek. Exercise is good for physical well-being and maintaining musculature and healthy joints. Your dog burns off calories as well with all the physical activity. Good playtime gives them a healthy appetite for their favorite CANIDAE  grain free PURE dog food when meal time arrives.

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10 Dog Related Terms Used in Conversation

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs have become so much a part of our world that terms related to their behavior and interactions are interwoven into our conversations. Although there are many dog-related expressions, this sampling of just ten will show you how much our canine friends have influenced us.

Dog Tired

If you’ve ever watched your dog run and play with extreme high energy until they fall asleep and barely move a muscle from sheer exhaustion, you have an idea of the origins of the term dog tired. A dog who is that tired may be difficult to rouse from sleep. When you are dog tired, you have reached the end of your rope and need rest to rev up for the next activity or day.

Dog-Eared

This term has different meanings depending on its usage. A dog-eared book has the corners of pages turned down as bookmarks, or to mark pages with pertinent information. Sometimes it is the sign of a very loved and well-read book. Any item which is worn out or shabby may also be referred to as dog-eared (old clothing, photographs or houses, for example). Basically, the item has seen better days.

In a Dog’s Age

You may not have seen an old friend in a dog’s age, or you may not have been to an old hangout or eaten a favorite food in a dog’s age. It simply means it has been a very long time since you’ve had that experience. The typical life span of dogs is about 10 to 15 years. That is a long time not to have done something you used to do!

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The All Dog Radio Website: Online Fun for Dog Lovers

By Laurie Darroch

While doing some of my endless researching and web searches, I happened across an internet website that is totally dedicated to all things dog. Intrigued, and obviously being a longtime dog lover, I wanted to see what the All Dog Radio site had to offer. I discovered that it’s full of trivia, music and other dog-related content, and some of it was quite surprising, fun and informative.

The site has a large collection of varied musical recordings that are described as “The WooFTunes Music Library! Probably the largest collection of Dog Music & Dog Songs anywhere!”. The musical choices range from rap to a page called “WoofHouse” which is a concert series of unplugged non-amplified and acoustic musicians.  The WoofHouse musicians travel by dog cart and perform around parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania on their little red cart.

All Dog Radio offers pages of jokes, poetry, song and rap lyrics, (available in recorded format to listen to or in print to read if you prefer it that way), and dog stories, including three ongoing fictional stories. If you want to send in your own stories, the site encourages submissions of your own real life doggy tales. For those into political related trivia, the First Dogs make an appearance on the website as well.

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