Whether you are getting a new puppy or adopting a puppy or dog from a shelter, your criteria for choosing your new member of the family must by more than “he/she is so cute!”
The American Kennel Club recognizes 193 different breeds of dogs. Some are big, some small, some in between. There are very energetic dogs that need plenty of exercise, and other breeds that are more laid back. Some dogs are good with families, and in particular, children; others thrive with adults only.
It is imperative you know into which category the dog you pick falls. There are far too many cases where people discover that the breed they are interested in is too big, too energetic or just plain too much for their family and needs, but only after they’ve tried to integrate that animal into their lives.
To that end, in the next few months we’ll be exploring the seven different groups of dogs, as identified by the AKC: Sporting, Hound, Working, Terriers, Herding, Non-sporting and Toy. We’ll list some of the different breeds included in the grouping, their characteristics and pros and cons. Obviously, the information is general in tone, and good breeding is always paramount when picking a purebred dog.
Finally, there are many wonderful animals who are of mixed breeds, and in our last installment we’ll discuss how to select a dog that is perfect for you and your family. Hopefully, armed with this knowledge, you’ll pick a pooch that will be your best friend for many years to come.
If you’re looking for an exercise partner, the Sporting Dogs might be a good choice. Some of the breeds in the sporting group include the ever-popular Labrador retriever, the German shorthaired pointer, the English springer spaniel, the Golden retriever and the Weimaraner. The AKC describes the Sporting Dogs as “calm inside the home, but exuberant in the field, sweet-natured, fun-loving, devoted and affectionate.” These dogs are generally eager to please, highly trainable, friendly, intelligent and energetic. They need room to run, as they are generally medium to larger dogs, and they need a lot of exercise.
Obviously, by nature of their breeding, they can be excellent hunting dogs. Within the grouping there are spaniels, pointers, retrievers and setters, each with their own specialty in the field.
Whether you’re looking for a hunting partner, a family dog or both, do a bit of research if you think a member of this grouping fits your lifestyle and needs. The AKC website includes a plethora of information, and their dog breed selector site is especially helpful. Find it at www.akc.org/dog-breed-selector/
And remember, no matter what breed you choose, your dog will need training, care and most of all, love.
Next month: The Hound group
It’s that time of the year when our thoughts turn to making improvements for a happier, healthier new year. Whether it’s losing weight, incorporating more exercise or eating healthier, most of us have entertained those changes with a big Jan. 1 starting date.
And really, those same resolutions can apply to our treasured pets as well. If your pooch is getting a little porky, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate his or her diet. Overweight pets can experience the same issues as their overweight human counterparts, including diabetes, sore joints and kidney and heart issues.
To amend these conditions, consider switching your pet to a better quality dog food, feeding recommended amounts to meet individual needs, and avoid feeding your dog human food. Think about it…you wouldn’t benefit from eating pet food, and your pet doesn’t benefit from eating people food, especially food high in sugar and salt. And when it comes to treats, make sure you’re not being tricked into giving your pet cheap treats that are counterproductive to good health.
Even if your pet isn’t overweight, a well-exercised pet is healthier and happier and a better companion. Daily exercise is essential. If you’re already exercising your pet, consider increasing the exercise time, even if it’s just 10 extra minutes a day. You and your pup will both benefit, and before you know it, you will have transformed your treasured pet into your own four-legged trainer.
Along with physical exercise, consider working on your pet’s mental acuity. Teach your dog a new trick every few weeks or play hiding games with him or her. By keeping your pet on his or her “mental toes” as well as their physical ones, you’ll have a well-balanced pet to provide a wonderful source of companionship and love.
Finally, if Santa found your pooch had more naughty than nice marks on his Christmas list, think about enrolling him or her in obedience school. Bad behaviors can be addressed and corrected and together you’ll make 2020 the Year of the Great Healthy and Happy Dog!
Happy New Year!
Mary talked with Craig Dillon at WCUB Radio – Manitowoc, on September 20th about her approach on canine obedience training.
Listen to the interview below:
Chloe was born on April 9, 2019. She was adopted from Monticello Way Border Collies. Her and Shelby have the same dad. She is a very smart little girl. She is a snuggler and loves everyone she meets. She is catches on to everything so quickly. The perfect match for my pack.
Mary will be speaking at the following locations:
With the cooler days of fall right around the corner, many dog owners look forward to exploring the woods and countryside with their pets. But as welcoming as the woods appear, we must also be aware that we are sharing the area with hunters and their dogs, and all of us should take precautions to keep everyone—humans and dogs alike–safe.
As we are enjoying the changing colors of the leaves of autumn, we should also think color in clothing, both for us, and in any kind of protective wear for our pets. Bright orange vests for man and man’s best friend are the recommended attire when enjoying the woods and trails.
Do some research regarding the hunting seasons in the areas you’ll be visiting. By knowing whether the season is open for hunting you can more safely assess whether a specific area is appropriate for exploration. The best advice is to only use trails in areas that are closed to hunting.
If you do take to the woods with your dog, it is best to keep your pet on a leash, as dogs can venture away from the safety of trails where hunting is prohibited. Make sure your pet has the proper identification as well in case he or she accidentally gets loose. This is especially important for dogs who are bred for hunting. Even if you are not taking your dog on a hunt, spaniels, pointers and retrievers may possibly be tempted to revert to the call or nature versus the training you have tried to nurture in him or her. It is better to be safe than sorry.
If your pet is also your treasured hunting partner it is very important to keep your animal safe. Colored vests, bells and identification may be even more important if you’re taking your dog into an active hunting zone.
And if you happen to live near an area open to hunting, make sure you keep an active eye on your pet and never let him or her run loose. Even if your pet doesn’t venture outside of your yard, and is only going outside for bathroom purposes, consider putting him or her in a colorful vest.
When it comes to your pet’s safety, remember it is always better to err on the side of safety. Enjoy the beautiful fall season in all its glory—and be safe!
On Wednesday, July 31 from 6-7pm K-9 Perfection, Mary Jackson will be at Dirty Paws in Two Rivers. Bring your dogs, ask questions, this is for you and your dog. The address is 1612 12th Street. Hope to see you there!
The warmer winds of spring and summer are finally blowing in to our winter-weary area, but along with the comforting warmth of the season, uncomfortable fleas and ticks become a unwelcomed nuisance—and a health hazard, both for us and our treasured pets.
Traditional flea and tick collars and preparations are available to ward off these dangerous creepy crawlers, whose bites are not only uncomfortable for our dogs and cats, but can also carry dangerous diseases including Lyme’s Disease.
But as with all chemical preparations, there are pluses and minuses. Last Christmas I lost Ellie, a beloved member of my pack. She was diagnosed around Thanksgiving and quickly passed away from liver failure. Her health problems could have been caused by many thing, one of which was flea and tick preparations. Basically these collars and preparations are pesticides, similar to what you’d use on your lawns and in your gardens, but in the case of your pets, applied directly to their bodies.
Choosing flea and tick preparations is a very personal decision. But after doing some research, I have decided to go with a product that uses natural oils for protection. If you decide to go the natural route you will find there are many products available.
One of the biggest differences you’ll notice is that they probably don’t last as long as some of the other preparations, but they are also considerably less expensive. Some smell better than others…you need to try different brands to find the one you’re most comfortable with.
There are even recipes available online for making your own natural flea and tick preventative applications. Regardless of whether you go the natural way or use commercial, chemical-based preparations, I’d strongly suggest you avoid preparations with the following potentially hazardous ingredients: Tetrachlorvinphos, pyrethroids, and any ingredient that ends in “-thin,” such as permethrin, deltamethrin and flumethrin, as well as etofenprox.
I would also suggest you do the research and find the method you are most comfortable with. We all share the same goal of wanting to help our dogs…not hurt them. Enjoy the warmer weather with your pet, and have a safe and healthy season!
Your treasured pet will give you a lifetime of companionship, love and enjoyment. But just like humans, your dog’s health will inevitably be impacted by aging, and in dogs, this can happen as early as their sixth or seventh year. Illnesses and conditions like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and diseases associated with kidneys and the liver occur more frequently as your pet—and his or her immune system–ages. But with some changes in care, diet and screening, you can help assure that your pet ages as happy, comfortably and healthy as possible.
As your dog ages, it is wise to schedule a twice yearly exam versus a yearly exam. Your veterinarian can check more often for signs and symptoms of problems, such as stiffness and pain due to arthritis, dental problems and bloodwork to screen for conditions like diabetes and parasites. Dogs who have not been spayed or neutered are also more prone to reproductive cancers and should be screened accordingly.
Your dog should also be monitored more frequently for weight and nutritional problems as well. Your dog’s diet may have to be adjusted as his or her nutritional needs will change with aging, as well as his or her digestive abilities. And unfortunately, just like their human companions, weight gain increases with age, as well as health problems associated with weight. Mobility may decrease, contributing to this problem. You should talk with your vet regarding age-appropriate exercises for your pet.
Obviously, your dog’s vaccinations should be kept up to date, but talk to your veterinarian regarding any necessary changes associated with an older dog. You may also have to change your pet’s sleeping arrangements in an effort to avoid stairs and obstacles.
It doesn’t take a lot of adjusting to help make sure your pet ages as well as possible. It is a small price to pay for all the years of happiness your dog has provided you.
The holiday song tell you it’s the “most wonderful time of the year.” And the Christmas season can definitely bring delightful family gatherings and celebrations. But your pet might be facing a holiday nightmare if you’re not careful about some festive traditions that can prove harmful to your dog.
Gifts are an important part of the Christmas season. But as you’re wrapping the gifts make sure to do the wrapping in an area away from your pet. Wrapping paper, ribbon and other decorations can present problems if they’re ingested by your pet. Similarly, after the gifts are opened, make sure to clean up and properly dispose of the wrappings as soon as possible. Also, make sure the scissors is put up and away from your pet.
The tree is the focal point of any Christmas celebration. If you are buying a fresh Christmas tree, be aware that pine needles, when ingested, can puncture your pet’s intestines. Likewise, tinsel can be very dangerous if ingested. Decorations can be enticing to your pet, so make sure you place them out of doggy reach. Strings of lights can also provide a burning or electrical shock hazard as well as a way to bring down the tree if your pup should use grab onto them.
Consider a few things when dealing with a tree and your pet: an artificial tree may be safer, decorations should be used only on the upper branches and edible decorations like popcorn and cranberries should definitely be avoided.
Other decorations around the house can also prove hazardous to your pet. Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are all poisonous to your pet. Candles are very dangerous and should be used with the utmost care, and always away from where your pet’s tail could inadvertently knock them over. And that cozy fire in the fireplace should be screened off from inquisitive pets.
What are the holidays without some indulgent food and treats? Be aware that many human foods are toxic to your pet. In particular, chocolates, the artificial sweeter xylitol, grapes and raisins and onions should be avoided at all costs. Don’t feed your dog “people” food, and ask your gifts to do the same. And make sure that the garbage can has a secure lid and is inaccessible to your pet.
With all the guests, gift giving and holiday cheer that accompany the holidays, your pet might find himself or herself overwhelmed. Make sure he or she has a safe, quiet and secure place to retreat to, such as a kennel, crate or quiet room.
Finally, a cute, cuddly puppy is an enticing gift option. In a word, don’t! Owning a pet is a lifetime commitment that comes with proper feeding, training, exercising and vet care. It is a decision that should be made with great thought and care, not as a whimsical choice at Christmas time.
With a little care, the holidays can prove delightful and safe for both you and your pet. Have a wonderful, safe holiday season from K-9 Perfection!