Category Archives: Laurie Darroch

How to Help a Scared Rescue Dog Acclimate to You

By Laurie Darroch

Adopting a rescue dog is a wonderful way to bring a new canine family member into the home. However, some rescue dogs are frightened by humans because of bad experiences with previous owners or homelessness which did not give them any bonding experience with humans. It takes patience and understanding to deal with a scared rescue dog and to help them acclimate to you and to their new home.

A skittish rescue dog may show his fear by being overly timid, withdrawn and untrusting or displaying signs of depression. Some may feel threatened by new people, situations and surroundings.

Warm Up to a New Home

When you first bring home a rescue dog, keep them confined to one area so they don’t feel so overwhelmed. Let them slowly get used to the new smells, sounds and sights around them. At first, your new rescue pet may seem jumpy, unsure and unable to relax. Keep the environment stress free for them. Use gentle commands, soft voices and quiet surroundings until they feel more at ease. They will eventually get used to the stimulation, but in the beginning, keep it a controlled non-threatening environment for them. As your dog begins to explore and perhaps timidly reach out, they will learn that your home is their home and it’s a safe place to be.

Read More »

EmailGoogle GmailBlogger PostTwitterFacebookGoogle+PinterestShare

Why Do Dogs Need Their Nails Trimmed?

nails Ray DBy Laurie Darroch

All dogs have different rates of nail growth, and how they exercise may help determine if they actually need a trim or not. Many dogs exercise on softer surfaces like grass fields, dirt paths or even indoors. Those surfaces don’t provide a great deal of friction for nails to file down as they play. Dogs that get a lot of exercise on hard surfaces such as concrete sidewalks or rough asphalt roads may get enough filing that their nails wear down naturally, but they may still need them trimmed on occasion.

You may notice that their nails are getting too long when they jump on you or up on a favorite resting spot, or when their excessively long nails are scratching the floor. Long nails can cut skin and rip furniture. They can cause pain and injury to your dog as well.

Different breeds of dogs have different nail growth patterns. Some have higher knuckles and some are more flat to the ground. That can determine how often or when they need their nails trimmed. You will learn with your own dog what their speed and type of nail growth is and how to deal with it.

Walking and Running

When a dog’s nails are too long, it can hamper their ability to walk and run correctly. To put it in human terms, imagine your own toenails growing so long that they curl under your toes or constantly rub against the ground, or make your shoes painful to wear by jamming back against the base of your nails from pressure against the tips. It would definitely make the actual process of ambulation more difficult for you. Sure, you would adapt, but you prevent the problems to begin with by keeping your nails trimmed. You can do the same thing for your dog.

Read More »

Do We Train Our Dogs, or Do They Train Us?

By Laurie Darroch

We train our dogs to help them fit in, to learn acceptable ways of behavior within our parameters, to make living with each other a smoother existence together, and simply because that is what a responsible pet owner does. You are teaching them new survival skills that fit in the human environment. Like a child, if a dog knows what it can or cannot do, it learns to act within those boundaries, but sometimes what they do makes us wonder who is actually doing the training!

A dog will test the boundaries they are given, which is a normal part of the learning process. It doesn’t stop once they are trained to an acceptable level either. It is an ongoing process at every stage of your dog’s life.

We start out with very clear goals in mind when we are training our dogs, but often find ourselves bending the rules in order to fit their individual personalities or specific needs. We don’t always do it consciously either. We see a cute or endearing behavior that isn’t quite what we wanted them to do – for instance, coming up on the couch to cuddle against you after you had decided that climbing up on the furniture was an absolute “no no” in your house. Pretty soon that becomes an altered acceptable behavior that your dog has basically manipulated you into allowing.

Read More »

Tips for Bonding with a New Puppy

By Laurie Darroch

Developing a healthy bond with your new puppy involves more than simply giving it food and a place to sleep. Like any relationship, a good strong bond between a puppy and their person involves continually working on that relationship in productive ways.

Puppies need the kind of focused love and attention you provide any child, to give it a sense of belonging, love and companionship. You and other family members are the source of everything that nurtures, entertains, guides and comforts a puppy. How you provide it is important in establishing a healthy and happy bond with your puppy.

Establishing Rules and Parameters

It’s important to begin establishing rules of behavior from the moment that cute little puppy comes into your home. They will look to you for guidance in everything they do if they know you are the leader of their new pack.

Puppies are individuals with different capabilities. They will learn at their own pace, but with repetition and reward – either verbal or physical – they will learn. Training a puppy is an ongoing process that requires continued reinforcement and consistency. That process is a wonderful way to bond with your puppy and let them know who is in charge. Learning to sit, heel, stay and curb bad behavior does not happen instantly. Puppies and even grown dogs make mistakes and accidents happen, but with patience and positive reinforcement you both will work through that and accomplish the learning goals.

Read More »

A Dog’s New Year’s Resolutions

By Neela Bear Darroch, Canine Guest Blogger

I have my own take on this New Year’s resolution stuff I have been hearing about this week. So I, Neela Bear, resolve to do the following things to the best of my ability this coming year.

I resolve to eat more CANIDAE treats whenever I can find them, no matter where they are hidden or put out of my reach. I resolve to always be a member of the Clean Plate Club when meal time comes around or when I sneak some other food that was left within my reach on the kitchen counter and was calling to me. I resolve to eat every drop of food that falls on the floor and help keep the floor clean.

I resolve to play more with Mommy as much as I can, whenever I can, even in the middle of the night when it is dark in the room, she is fast asleep, and I get what she calls a “bee up my behind” and she gets kind of grumpy with me.

I resolve to try and realize I am not 6 pounds, but 60 pounds, and I can’t do what I did when I was a tiny puppy, even if I still feel like one inside.

Read More »

How a Child Celebrates Christmas with Her Dog (poem)

By Laurie Darroch

Christmas is a season of family gatherings and celebrations that include the dogs and cats in your home. From a dog’s point of view, all the new smells, sights and sounds can be just as exciting as they are for any child or adult.

This poem is loosely based on experiences with my own daughter and our very loved dog. Kira was a big black lab/Dalmatian/mastiff mix. She and my daughter reveled in everything about the whole holiday season as much as I did. Christmas morning, the two of them would race to my door and anxiously wait for me to get up.

On the floor in front of the tree, all the filled stockings were laid out carefully. Kira knew which one was hers; every year she stood with her nose dug into her big stocking and her behind in the air while she wagged her tail furiously. She even knew how to unwrap her own gifts.

Dogs sense the excitement and the mood of Christmas celebrations and react to what is going on around them. If given the chance, they will enjoy the holidays too, in their own way.

Read More »