Dog parks can be great places to give your dog much-needed exercise and socialization. But it is imperative that you know a few things before you “release the hound” on the dog park grounds.
How is your dog around other dogs? Do you know the difference between friendly dog behavior and aggressive behavior? Do you feel confident that you can intervene if playing turns from fun to trouble? If you’re not comfortable in the dog park environment, it is best to find other places to exercise your dog. And if you’re not sure how to distinguish between play and problems think about consulting your veterinarian or a dog professional.
Every dog park has rules that need to be followed. Some dog parks have age limits, but even if yours doesn’t, never take a puppy less than 12 weeks old to a dog park. And make sure your dog is vaccinated, because dog parks can be a breeding ground for illness. Some parks don’t allow treats or toys as both can be the source of a less-than-polite dog desiring what is not theirs. Avoid trouble and save the treats and toys for home. Always keep dogs in heat away from the dog park. And a universal rule, no matter what park, is to clean up after your dog.
Keeping your dog safe at a dog park should begin before even stepping on the dog park grounds. While it might sound counterintuitive, it is a good idea to give your dog a walk before getting to the park. A dog that hasn’t had the opportunity to blow off a little steam before getting to the park might be too energetic and that energy can swiftly change to aggression if not properly harnessed.
Make sure your pet is dressed for the occasion. Breakaway nylon or leather collars are the safest for your pet. Choke chains, harnesses and prong collars can cause problems and possible injury to the dogs.
Also, before bringing your dog into the park, take a look around. Is the park overly crowded? Are the dogs playing happily, or is there a bully in the bunch who is acting aggressively towards the other dogs? Are there a lot of children in the park? Does your dog do well with children?
Be extra careful with smaller dogs. Some dog parks actually have a place designated for both larger and smaller dogs. It is wise to adhere to the directives. If your park doesn’t make that distinction and there are a lot of larger dogs in the park, the larger dogs could view the smaller ones as prey. If your smaller dog is getting into trouble with a larger dog, don’t pick it up. This can actually make the problem worse. The best thing is to avoid that situation to begin with by bringing your smaller dog elsewhere. All these things should be considered before entering the park.
If you’ve determined the park is safe for your dog—and your dog will behave properly—let your dog feel his or her way around with the other dogs, always being aware of good manners. If any rude behaviors are displayed, such as rough play, charging, mounting or incessant sniffing, whether on the part of your dog or other dogs, remove your pet from the park.
Finally, pay attention! You are responsible both for your dog’s behavior and for getting your dog out of a dangerous situation. And most of all, have fun. If all the conditions are right, a dog park excursion can be wonderful for all involved.
Nothing says Fourth of July like parades, barbecues and fireworks. And while you might be looking forward to these celebrations, your pup could easily be dreading them, and in particular, the fireworks.
Many dogs are simply petrified by the lights and noise of fireworks. But with a little preparation and attention, your four-legged friend can get through the day without being traumatized.
If you know that your dog is particularly sensitive to fireworks, start planning ahead for the festivities by talking with your vet. There are some medications available that can reduce your pet’s anxiety. Your vet can tell you when and how much to start medicating your dog for optimum results.
On the Fourth, take time out from parades and barbecues to make sure your dog has been thoroughly exercised. A “pooped pet” tends to be a more relaxed pet. Even as you’re walking your dog, be aware that some people may be lighting fireworks, so make sure your dog is on a leash. Always have identification on your dog, or have him or her chipped so in case your dog does gets spooked and happens to get away, ownership can easily be determined.
Never take your pet to the fireworks, especially if you know loud noises and bright lights terrify him or her. Don’t tie your dog outside during the fireworks; rather keep your dog in the house with plenty of water available, as dogs drink more when they are stressed. Put your dog in a quiet, dark room, with favorite toys or blankets available. Sometimes “white noise” like a television or radio will provide comfort or reduce the sound of outside noise.
If you decide to forgo the firework festivities and stay home with your dog, be aware that they may still feel the reverberations of the celebration. Try to remain calm during the event, and reward your dog for staying calm as well. Try not to react adversely to your dogs’ possible distress; rather, help your dog relax with stroking and attention, if that is what your dog desires, or allow your pet to retreat to a safe place, like under the bed, in its kennel or in a corner.
Do not get agitated with your pet, instead be positive, and, of course, loving. If, despite all your efforts, you come home from the fireworks to an unhappy pet who has had an accident, torn up clothes or magazines or has been destructive, do not yell at your pet. It was probably the result of a once-a-year event, and tomorrow, with the quiet of the normal life returned, your pup will probably also return to good behavior and spirits. So enjoy the holiday… and help your pet enjoy it as much as possible as well. Happy Fourth of July!
After last month’s surprise snowstorm, I’m almost hesitant to say that spring has (finally) sprung! With hopefully many more weeks of warm weather ahead of us, thoughts turn to vacations. And whether you take your furry friend with you, or need to find “vacation” spots away from home and family for your pooch, there are some important things to consider in order to make your vacation as memorable—and safe– for both you and your pup.
When traveling by car with your dog, probably the most important thing you can do before you even buckle up and step on the gas is to exercise your pet. Burn off excess energy and make sure they’re “empty” before starting out. Also, don’t feed your dog a heavy meal before starting out; some dogs are prone to motion sickness. A long car ride is never made more pleasant with the after effects of a sick dog!
If you have used crate training throughout your dog’s life, he or she will know it’s a safe place…it’s also a safe way to travel! Make sure there are no items that can harm your dog, such as loose collars or leashes. If you haven’t been crate training your dog, spend some time before the trip getting your pet used to the crate, showing him or her it’s a good place, and getting your dog used to being confined.
If you’re not crating your dog for the trip, I recommend using a car harness. You will avoid being distracted by doggy antics like jumping around, and your dog will be protected from injury caused by short stops, or God forbid, accidents.
Take plenty of breaks along the way, both for exercise and bathroom issues. A small, high protein snack will keep your dog comfortable during the trip. Make sure your pet has plenty of water breaks as well, and, of course, never ever leave a dog in a hot car. Even with the windows cracked open, the car heats up quickly and can prove fatal to your pet.
If you are traveling by air with your pet, check with the airline to make sure what their policies are. There have been too many sad stories about pets coming to harm because pet parents didn’t know about the airline rules and guidelines, or because the airlines were not consistent in maintaining these guidelines. Many airlines require a health certificate; some allow pets in the main cabin with proper certification and some pets will have to be crated and travel in cargo. Do all you can to maintain the health and well-being of your pet, whether he’s occupying your lap, under the seat, or in cargo. A favorite toy or blankie can also provide immense comfort to your dog.
As with the airlines, if you’re planning on bringing your dog to a hotel, check beforehand concerning the hotel’s policies regarding pets. Some hotels welcome pets; others will not even consider allowing them to stay in the hotel.
Let’s assume you’ve found a pet-friendly hotel. First thing, take your dog on a long walk. Your dog will be in a more relaxed state of mind after some good exercise. New places can be frightening for your pet, so make sure you have him well under control. Upon entering the hotel, go first, don’t let him wander around. Be vigilant, and make sure your pet only moves around when you have given him permission. Be considerate of others.
It is not a good idea (and may possibly be against hotel policies) to leave your pet alone in a new place like a hotel. That can be challenging when it comes to dining out because, of course, you don’t want to leave your dog in the care. Fortunately, there are online sites that spell out dog friendly restaurants like www.bringfido.com. (In fact, this website not only outlines dog-friendly restaurants, you can also find recommendations for hotels that allow pets as well as activities like dog-friendly beaches, and dog events available in the area.) Another website www.petfriendlyrestaurants.com also has recommendations for places where you can dine with your doggy (some even have special doggy menus!). Always call first to make sure their pet policies haven’t changed.
Sometimes it is not possible to take your pet along. Make sure you find a reliable and trustworthy “dog sitter.” This might be an individual, a kennel or a trusted friend. This will be your pet’s new “pack” during the duration of your vacation. Find someone who will leave your pet engaged, and not mourning your absence.
With a little planning and training, your pet can share in your vacation experience, or experience positive time away from you. Have a safe and happy vacation!
As I look out my window at about a foot of snow, it’s hard to believe that it’s spring, and summer is right around the corner. As much as it doesn’t feel like it right now, warmer weather is in our future, and there’s no time like the present to remind ourselves that while the nicer weather brings more opportunities to get out with our pets–and possibly lose a couple of those pounds that both us and our pooches may have accumulated over the winter–warmer temperatures also bring some challenges and opportunities to keep our dogs safe, happy and healthy.
Warm weather can be dangerous for our pets. Number one, never leave a pet in a hot car. It just takes minutes for temperatures to get dangerously hot, leading to heat stroke and suffocation. If you’re traveling with your pet, pack water and a water dish, and take your dog with you when you leave the car. Better still, leave your dog at home when it’s hot. He or she will appreciate a nice air-conditioned home, just as much as you do!
Unfortunately, the warm weather also brings with it fleas, ticks and mosquitoes which can carry devastating diseases, like heartworm, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain fever, and much more. Make sure your dog is protected from these bug-borne diseases, many of which can be dangerous for you too. Ask your veterinarian about proper protection.
While the warm rays of the sun feel good after months of cold weather, hot surfaces can be dangerous for your pup. Watch out for hot sidewalks and roads, as well as metal surfaces, like the bed of a truck. These hot surfaces can not only burn tender paws, they can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating.
Make sure your dog has plenty of water and shade during the warmer months. You may even want to get your dog his or her very own “kiddy pool’—or in your pooch’s case a “puppy pool!” Dogs love the water and getting wet will help keep them cool.
But if you take your dog to the beach, don’t assume he or she is a good swimmer. Dogs instinctively know how to swim, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily good swimmers. And if your dog jumps into a swimming pool, make sure he or she can easily get out. Just like children, dogs shouldn’t be able to get into a pool or a body of water without adult supervision!
Dogs can get sunburned, especially those with short or light-colored coats. Sunburn can be painful, and overexposure could eventually lead to skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your dog—don’t assume the human variety is appropriate for your pet.
A good rule of thumb is to simply pay attention to your pooch. If your dog seems uncomfortable, remove him or her from the source of discomfort. With a little attention to detail you and your furry friend can safely enjoy the beautiful weather and warmer temperatures which seems to come and go around here just a little too quickly. Enjoy!
As a fun kickoff to the summer, Mary is now offering the option of having offsite-based classes at a variety of area locations.
Classes will start on Wednesday July 17, 2017.
All dogs need to be Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Certified or must have completed or currently be enrolled in an Advanced Dog Class. All vaccinations must be up to date and on file. The dogs need to be on a regular leash. No retractable leashes are allowed. Bring your own poop bags!
Class payment is due before classes begin. Upon payment, you will receive a sheet listing where our classes will be held. All sessions will be held at the specified location on Wednesday evenings from 6-7pm.
Contact Mary for more information on how to get started!
In this short promotional video, Mary relates the positive method used in her dog obedience training techniques; focusing on the goal of maintaining a healthy, happy relationship between owner and pet.
Shelby is the newest member of Mary’s Den. She was born on 5/08/2016, Mothers Day. Shelby came from Monticello Way Border Collies. She is a happy healthy puppy.
Mary is currently offering gift certificate, a selection of West Paws toys, collars, leashes, dog rocks and Pet Remedy this holiday season.
West Paw toys and Pet Remedy are made in the USA.
Pamper your pet with the gift of love from K-9 Perfection!
Inquire for details:
Or Call: 920-242-2930
Mary will be at the following locations:
May 16, 2016 at Bethany Ev. Lutheran School at 1pm
May 16, 2016 at First German Lutheran School at 2pm
May 20, 2016 at Jackson Elementary School at 1pm
Mary has completed the following courses and received certification for the following:
• Crucial Concepts in Dog Behavior and Training
• Sirus Dog Training Academy
• Science Based Dog Training(with feeling)
• Simple Solutions for Common Dog Behavior Problems
• Dog and Cat Behavior Problems
• Treatment and Prevention of Dog Aggression: Biting and Fighting
• How To Train a Puppy
Dr. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and writer.
Mary now has a Certificate of Completion
for successfully completing the “Growl Class Workshop Demo for Reactive Dogs” online course, on November 22, 2015.
Mary is also completing online philosophy study of D. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS.
Her teaching gives an approach of timing, body language, and motivation, which forms the basis for trust between the person and the dog. Training becomes a joy and fun and the methods open up a whole new connection with your pet.