DOGGIE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES

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GET READY FOR HALLOWEEN Mommy is getting me ready for Halloween.  We are going to a Halloween 1 mile parade this Sunday.  I’m really excited to see my friends there.  Which costume do you think I should wear?  Mommy likes … Continue reading

My German Shorthair Pointer Brings Me A Gift

My German Shorthair Pointer Brings Me A Gift

A noise in the middle of the night awakens me from a deep sleep.  Simba, my first German Shorthair Pointer, is still asleep with her heard on the pillow next to me.  I feel around for Gypsy, the other German Shorthair Pointer, on the bed and couldn’t find her. I sat up wondering where she went and then remembered that I noticed during our afternoon that her stomach was a little off.  A few minutes after putting my head back down on my pillow, I heard her coming up the steps.  She jumps on the bed and comes over to me to nudge me on the shoulder so that I raise the covers up as she slides in.  Both Simba and Gypsy start snoring and are sound asleep. Me on the other hand, could not get back to sleep.  I tossed and turned for about 20 minutes when my foot came in contact with Gypsy’s cold wet nose.  I moved my foot around wondering why her nose felt so slimy and squishy.  The more contact I made the more I thought it just didn’t feel right.  I tear the covers off the bed and there it was lying next to my foot.  A dead toad stretched out on its back!  I was on my feet so fast that my head spun as I yelled, “EWE! EWE! EWE!” for about 20 minutes.  I couldn’t get myself to pick up his poor little dead body but knew that I had to.  I knew that once I did pick it up, I would have to get rid of it as soon as possible in order not to vomit.  Running down a flight of stairs and across the living room was not an option.  The only other option was sending it to fishy heaven via the toilet.  The rest of the night, I laid in bed wondering if I would have to explain the toad in the trap to a plumber.  Why does everything seem so much worse at night.  By morning all was back to normal, including the toilet.  Gypsy being a German Shorthair Pointer will continue to hunt and bring me gooey gifts.  I just hope it’s not in the middle of the night and under my covers.

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Well Adjusted Dogs

Well Adjusted Dogs

As you know, mum, Gypsy and I moved to a new state.  We drove for hours and stayed in an apartment for one month until our new home was finished.  We finally moved into our new home and mum started her new job a couple of days later.  I could sense that mum was worried about leaving us alone while she was at work.  Mum had a dog walker stop by at noon every day to take us out.  We really like our new sitter.  She takes us to her house and we get to play with other dogs.  It’s lots of fun.  I like to watch from the couch but Gypsy loves to wrestle with the others.  It’s been a month since moving into our new home.  I believe we are all well adjusted.  We are all happy especially mum.  We love our trips to the beaches together especially when we stop at Starbucks for puppacinos.  Here are a few pics of my happy fam!

Help Your Dog Get Through Halloween

How To Help Your Dog Get Through Halloween

by: Bernie Boxer

Halloween isn’t too far away, and you couldn’t be more excited. While others cannot wait for summer or spring, you love fall and the spookiest holiday of the year. That’s why you’re already hanging Halloween decorations, buying candy, and planning out your costume.

Image Source: Pixabay

Although you might love this holiday, your pet dog probably does not. Dogs often have trouble with changes and strangers, and Halloween at your house will bring a lot of both. Between odd decorations and trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell, how can you help your dog feel safe and calm? Read on for some tips on helping your dog get through Halloween this year.

Why Some Dogs Have Problems
There are several reasons why so many dogs have problems with strangers and noise that comes with Halloween. Pet Place lists a few of these, including:
● Some breeds were made to bark at strangers or even attack them, so some dogs are predisposed to get upset during Halloween. Likewise, some are bred to alert others when noises are made.
● If your dog was neglected or hurt by strangers as a puppy, then they can “learn” to be upset with the chaos of this holiday.
● A rescue dog in particular can have issues with anxiety that can appear as aggression or fear when facing strangers or loud noises.
Plus, Halloween only happens once each year. It’s not like your dog can learn to live with it.

Besides people and noises, dogs can sometimes be confused about decorations, especially any that are electronic or animated. A skeleton that waves its arms around is great, but it can confuse your dog — and a confused dog can react aggressively or just retreat to their room. And as PetMD reminds us, Halloween candy is definitely not good for any dog.

Dog-Friendly Decorations & Treats
You want to enjoy Halloween with your pet, but what can you do to help? Since your dog is likely watching you eat treats, you want to make some pet-friendly Halloween treats for your dog. Some examples include:
● Yogurt popsicles made with peanut butter and banana.
● You can do the same with pumpkin instead.
● Make or buy dog treats, especially versions or flavors that you haven’t given your dog yet.
● No-bake coconut dog treats.
● Make popsicles with a variety of fruits but use a bone as the popsicle stick.
● Bake muffins with pumpkin flavoring and some sugar on the outside.

As for decorations, don’t get any that move around on their own, as those can give dogs anxiety. Instead, focus on immobile decorations like placing things on walls. Be careful about lights if your dog likes to chew as they can try chewing on the wires.

Tips For Trick-Or-Treaters
You’ve made some dog treats, and Halloween is finally here! Now comes the hard part — getting through the trick-or-treating. Redfin explains that you will want to keep your dog inside at that time. Don’t even take your pet for a walk, as there are likely just too many people, sounds, and smells in the neighborhood. Even the best-trained dog can make mistakes when overstimulated.

As kids come to your door, you’ll want to keep your dog in a safe space inside. Although your dog might want to say hello, keeping your dog in a quiet, secluded place in your home is often the best way to keep everyone safe and calm.

Make Halloween Great For You Both
You’re sure to have a great Halloween this year, and with a little planning and effort, you can help your pet dog have a great time as well. Make some treats for your dog, and when the kids come around for candy, keep your dog in a safe spot. After all, Halloween should spooky, not stressful.

BernietheBoxer.com

Happy Howl-o-ween

Happy Howl-o-ween

by BernietheBoxer.com

DOGGIE HALLOWEEN COSTUME

Hiya!

I’m Bernie and I’m a Boxer. My parents are at work so to keep my paws out of trouble I thought I’d reach out. Hi! Or woof, woof, as I like to say.

I know Halloween (or Howl-o-ween, as me and my four-legged buddies call it) must be close because my dad, Adrian, started decorating our front porch. Truth is, I love Halloween just as much as he does. Thankfully, he never forgets to include me. Last year, I was Batman and this year I’m going to be Captain America!

This is just a friendly reminder to be sure to include your four-legged pals in your Halloween plans. Otherwise, we feel left out and lonely.

Simba’s 10th Birthday

My 10th birthday was spent in the backyard while a bunch of men took our furniture out of the house.  After they stole all our furniture, mum put me and Gypsy in the car.  We each had a little space to sit in.  It seems that she tried to save some boxes, our food, and Gypsy and my favorite beds.  The rest of my

birthday was spent in the car driving to what mum said was “New home”.  When we got to ‘new home’, there was my birthday present from mum.  A brand new squeaky alligator.  Gypsy and I played with it for a long time until mum went to sleep.  The next day, mum took us to the biggest bathtub I have ever seen.  It was gigantic! I couldn’t see the other end.  Mum put her feet in the water and called me and Gypsy over but no way!  We know what that is, BATH!  We found these

big round toys that mum called horseshoe crabs.  We cautiously sniffed them out.  Gypsy was braver and tried to pick one up.  Mum wouldn’t let her play with the horseshoe toys.  I guess they must belong to other dogs.  I was a great birthday weekend!

A Dog’s Purpose-Review

A Dog’s Purpose Review

My son bought me the novel “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron from Amazon for my birthday.  I am almost at a loss for words in trying to describe this novel.  The first word that comes to mind is “emotional”. Emotional only if you’re a dog lover.  If you’re not, you wouldn’t be reading it anyway.  As I read through the pages, they made me smile, contemplate, laugh out loud (in public), and cry out loud like a puppy spending the first night in a crate.  As I sobbed, Simba, my nine year old German Shorthair Pointer, would rush over to console me as she usually does when she senses a change in my emotions

This book has changed the way I look at my two dogs. It is as if I am watching them through different eyes.  I find myself wondering if Simba could be my “Bailey”. Of all dog’s that I have had in my lifetime, Simba is very different.  She has always been connected to me in more ways than physically. GSP parents know about their Velcro dogs.  German Shorthair Pointers are referred to as Velcro dogs for good reason. They never leave your side. The world comes to an end when I close the bathroom door for some privacy. I’m not sure if she thinks because I watched her doing her business as a puppy, that she needs to watch me too. Even when I’m in the shower they both take turns poking their head in to make sure I haven’t been swallowed up by the drain.

GSPs are sensitive dogs to begin with, but Simba has always been in tune with my emotions. She runs around wagging her stubby short tail carrying as many toys as she can fit in her mouth when I’m happy or excited. She slowly approaches to watch over me when I’m sad. First she puts her nose real close to my face and waits (maybe she’s nearsighted) then she lightly nudges me with her nose. Finally, she lays up against me laying her head on me. I will admit that feeling the weight of her head is always somehow always comforting, like a hug. She has also mirrored my ailments and personality. She’s a true tom-girl. She also suffers from stress, IBS, and allergies. One thing she doesn’t mirror is my anger but knows well enough that mum needs space. It is the only time she keeps her eye on me from afar rather than beside me.

Simba’s one year old sister, Gypsy, joined the family at eight weeks old just like Simba did but the connection between her and I is different. It doesn’t go beyond being the normal Velcro dog. I love her immensely and she loves me but she is oblivious to my inner thoughts or emotions. After reading “A Dogs Purpose”, there may be an explanation to the difference between my two pups. Simba maybe a dog with a purpose.

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How-to-Stop-Unwanted-Behavior

trusting paws

by Naomi Heck, M.Ed., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

How to Stop Unwanted Behavior

1. Stop focusing on correcting or punishing bad behavior. Saying “No!” or squirting your dog with water might relieve your frustration but it can maintain or worsen your dog’s bad behavior. Corrections are deceiving. They momentarily suppress unwanted behavior so it seems to have worked. But if your dog does it again, it didn’t work at all! If you correct your dog often, you can diminish his willingness to listen and cooperate.

2. Choose a behavior your dog can do that will replace Continue reading

Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Seniors with Mental Illness

Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Seniors with Mental Illness

By Brandon Butler

 fur & feathers

dog walking

Photo via Pixabay

There have been numerous studies centered on how keeping pets has mental and physical benefits for people, and most of these studies reveal that being a pet owner can truly help people stay healthy. A pet can also be a huge advantage in a home with a senior, particularly if the individual is suffering from a long-term mental condition. Animal-assisted therapy can work wonders for people with different health disorders, which is why it is becoming an increasingly popular trend in places like hospitals and assisted living facilities for the elderly. The following are some of the benefits of using pet therapy for senior people with mental illnesses:

  • Maintaining a daily routine

As most caregivers know, elderly people suffering from mental illnesses like dementia often have difficulties in performing their daily tasks. However, having a dog can change this as dogs require a regular schedule for feeding, exercising, and so on. Doing the same things with the pets every day, like walking your dog, can help seniors remember routines and thus adds structure to their lives, which keeps them calmer. This also boosts their self-esteem, trust, and mobility, making it easier to care for themselves. If, for some reason, a senior citizen can’t have a dog of their own, becoming a dog walker is a great option. Though it may not be best for those with dementia, for those with depression, dog walking will provide many of the same benefits that come with owning a dog while also boosting their income. Continue reading

Training Dogs Afraid Of Loud Noises

trusting paws

by Naomi Heck, M.Ed., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Training Dogs Afraid Of Loud Noises

Hi there! I love the blog!
I recently got my 8 month old female GSP “Charley” from her board and train program. She has received e-collar training for every command. The e-collar is not a punishment tool, but a communication tool. She is amazing in the house – no accidents, knows how to place/down/heel/sit/stay/come/off/etc. She has been introduced to agility and will start scent games and snake avoidance in the Spring. She plays fetch well and also has met my nieces and nephews this weekend for fun time in the backyard. She even did great while one nephew played the ukulele in the back yard. She does great off leash on hikes and while doing training at the training center we visit each week for polishing classes. We will be starting doggie day-care once a week this week! She really is so sweet and amazing…
However…. My problem is that she absolutely is fearful of getting on the leash to go for her morning and afternoon walks that last anywhere between 20-45+ minutes. It’s like she knows it’s coming and cowers/pouts. I try to put the leash on and just walk in the backyard/house and she’s totally fine, but going through the front door is a chore. The first couple days we had her she was exposed to some fireworks on a walk that were very very loud and ever since then she is pretty skiddish about loud buses/diesel trucks/construction noise near the house. Inside the house – fine. Backyard – alright, looks around at super loud noises and then proceeds to keep playing. We live in a busy neighborhood with lots of distractions and new houses are going up each day. I am doing my very best to remain calm yet assertive and even give her treats when we pass an object that gives her the shakes. Her whole body trembles. It’s really sad and makes me feel terrible because she NEEDS to go walk to get pushed through some of these issues, but I can’t help but think I may be making everything worse. 🙁 Sometimes she tries to run/escape away from me, but eventually settles back in with a “come”. It is taxing as I know she needs her walks along with some off-leash fun in the yard and neighborhood dog park, but the walks are difficult to start. I also know she is only 8 months old and has only been in our home since Dec. 29th. I’m running out of new ideas.
Do you have any suggestions to help her emotional state? Is there something else I should try? I really want the best for our GSP. Again, thank you for the blog. 🙂
Rachael from Texas
Hi Rachel,
When doing behavior modification for fear, it is crucial that you understand that Charley’s behavior is not voluntary and she is not being stubborn or defiant.  Fear is a survival state and is thus treated differently than regular training.  If food is used, it plays a different role(that of creating a positive association rather than as a reward for a voluntary behavior that is offered by the dog).  Charley has clearly demonstrated a deep fear of going for a walk.  The fear starts with the leash, then going out the front door, and peaks outside.  This is a classic example of a negative association created with a scary experience and the events that led to that experience (which now are predictors of something scary.   If you press to get the leash on her and coax her to do something she is afraid of (even when you try showing her there is nothing to fear), you risk sensitizing her to the situation and making her more afraid.  What is desired is de-sensitization, which must be done gradually to be effective.  A good explanation of the concept can be found here- https://positively.com/contributors/counter-conditioning
It would be best to enlist the help of a force-free trainer that is knowledgeable in science based behavior modification to help you design a program to help Charley overcome his fear.  Make sure the trainer does not employ any kind of flooding technique  (making a dog “work through” scary situations) because of the risk of overwhelming and sensitizing that I mentioned.  You can do a search for a trainer near you through this site – https://apdt.com/trainer-search
My advice to you would be to temporarily suspend your desire to take Charley for a walk and find ways to exercise her with games and enriching mental activities (lots of examples can be found on Youtube).  Start with desensitizing very gradually (without eliciting avoidance) to the act of leash clipping leash (with professional guidance).  If she runs away at the mere sight of the leash,  that would be where you would start, not with attaching the leash to her collar.   If she is not afraid of car rides, try taking her to a different neighborhood or a park for walks, but only if she enjoys it.
Fear is best addressed with a willingness to make her sense of safety be your top priority.   Being assertive is counterproductive because this is not a disobedience issue.  When an animal (or person) is so afraid that she trembles, the mind is not in a state to learn.  Survival mode has kicked in and that primal state will overshadow “logic” or obedience every time.  That is why helping her feel safe while you train in small baby steps is so important.    http://somuchpetential.com/the-value-of-empowerment-to-our-pets/
Hope this helps steer you and Charley in a positive direction.  😊
Naomi