Wednesday March 5, 2014
Chewing is one of the most natural canine behaviors, but sometimes it can get out of hand, leading to destructive chewing. In addition, dogs can develop other behavior problems if not given an outlet for chewing. Some dogs chew more than others. My current dog seems to need to chew almost constantly, but my previous dog was just an occasional chewer (fetching was her activity of choice). Learn your dog's individual chewing style and habits, then find the right chews for your dog. Fortunately, there are a ton of chews and toys on the market to fulfill most dogs' chewing needs.
Every dog deserves to have several toys available to play with and chew on. This list of dog toy styles can help you become familiar with the types of toys available. In general, it's usually a good idea to have a few different types of toys on hand for your dog to play with. If you have too many toys, try putting some away for a while and reintroducing them at a later time. Months later, your dog will think they are brand new!
It's a good idea to give your dog the occasional edible chew. How can you decide which chews to give your dog? This guide about dog chews will help get you started. I typically give my dog one or two chews a day, depending on the size. Remember that chews are treats, and treats should not make up more than about 10% of your dog's regular diet.
How big of a chewer is your dog? What does he or she like to chew on best?
Photo © Stephen Swintek/Getty Images
Monday March 3, 2014
You love your dog, no matter how much he "acts out," right? But that doesn't mean it's easy to cope with issues like excessive barking, property destruction, or other common dog behavior problems. Over the years, various belongings of mine have suffered at the jaws of my dogs. Furniture, books, candles, shoes, clothes, and more has been destroyed. Eventually, I got wise and realized that part of the problem was me. Fortunately, I learned that many behavior problems can be curbed with training and exercise.
Sure, my current dog has the occasional urge to misbehave, but things are manageable. And the fact is, if my dog does something wrong, I can easily find out the reason for it (sometimes it's even my own fault). Ultimately, you have got to understand your dog's behavior problems in order to really begin solving them. I'm sure I am not the only one who has experienced behavior problems in a dog. Tell us about your dogs behaving badly and tell us how you worked to solve the problems. What has your dog done to really show off that naughty side?
Photo © Debra Delgiudice
Thursday February 27, 2014
I'm always happy to see my pets, as I am sure you are. But, when I've been sick or just had a tough day, being around animals makes it all seem so much better. My critters are my natural stress relievers. Just the simple act of petting an animal can be as soothing as a bubble bath, and I'm guessing many of you feel the same. Experts say that animals can lower blood pressure and improve overall health. Animal assisted therapy is based on this premise, and it works! Therapy dogs are becoming an increasingly common sight in hospitals, nursing homes and similar facilities. They patiently sit with people as if they understand the good they are doing. Some therapy dogs are trained to listen to children read - and they genuinely seem to enjoy it.
Therapy dogs are part of a specially trained and tested human/dog therapy team. However, when "off duty," most therapy dogs are simply pets. No special breeding is required to be a therapy dog, just a great temperament and a love for children, adults and other animals. Could your dog be a future therapy dog? Think about how much your dog brightens your day, then consider how nice it would be to share that joy with others through animal assisted therapy. The power of animal assisted therapy never ceases to amaze me.
Have you got an uplifting dog story? Share your tales of canine inspiration! It can be about a therapy dog or anything else that you find touching.
Photo © iStockphoto.com/suemack
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Today is World Spay Day, an annual campaign presented by The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International and partnered with the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. The goal of World Spay Day is a simple one: promote the spaying and neutering of pets in an effort to reduce animal overpopulation.
With hundreds of thousands of homeless pets in shelters, many of which are euthanized every day, there's no denying that pet overpopulation is a serious problem. My heart breaks for every shelter dog just waiting to be adopted. Like many animal lovers, I believe that the average household pet should spay or neutered.
I adore mystery mutts, but mixed breed dogs should NEVER be bred for any reason. The stray dog population is large enough to give anyone their pick of wonder-mutts. I also like many different purebred dogs, but I'd rather see breed enthusiasts getting their dogs from breed-specific rescue groups. However, I do support the right that dog owners have to make their own decisions about their dogs. I also appreciate all the responsible dog breeders out there doing it the right way. So, when it comes to spay/neuter time for puppies, I only ask that owners think about the pros and cons and make the best choice for everyone.
Should you spay or neuter your dog? Read the answer, then share your opinion with us.
Photo: China Photos/Getty Images