COVID-19 Risk To Pets.

The World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is now a global pandemic in early March of this year. People are worried not only about their own health but the health of their dogs, cats, and other pets. The virus was originally transmitted from animal to human. It is such a new virus, that not very much information about it is know yet. No one knows for sure if humans can transmit the COVID-19 to their pets or vice versa. What the officials are stating is better to be safe than sorry.

Dogs can contract certain types of coronaviruses, such as the canine respiratory coronavirus, but this specific novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is believed to not be a threat to dogs. Li Lanjuan, an epidemiologist and representative of China’s National Health Commission cautioned pet owners in China to be cautious about their pets’ health as well as their own. The one dog in Hong Kong that tested positive displayed a low-level of infection. It is likely that it was transmitted from human-to-animal. There is no evidence thus far that the virus can be transmitted from animal-to-human. If taking a pet outdoors, keep a safe distance between your pet and other people, including their pets. If your pet comes into contact with someone who is showing signs of illness, you will need to quarantine them for 14 days.

The CDC doesn’t think that there are cases in the US where animals have been infected with the COVID-19. However, we’re not really testing animals here and we are also just at the beginning of this new COVID-19 madness. Further studies are needed to understand if and how different animals could be affected by COVID-19.The consensus is that the virus does not survive on their fur but common sense is urged. If touching someone else’s dog, wash your hands properly.

If anyone in your household has been infected by COVID-19 or has been quarantined awaiting results, officials state to avoid direct contact with pets, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. Service animals should be permitted to remain with their handlers. When possible have someone else care for your animals while you are sick. If the individual in isolation is the only person the care for the pet, then the following precautions should be taken. Restrict contact with the pet just as you would with other people, wear a facemask while interacting with pets, wash hands thoroughly before and after interacting with pets until the individual is medically cleared.

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Music Therapy and Your Dog

I realized years ago that music really helped sooth Simba while I was gone.  Simba has always been a high anxiety pup with separation anxiety.  She tends to bark at any little noise coming from outside thinking that it may be that horrible, big, brown UPS monster.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out what she has against the UPS truck or Mail carrier.  Maybe since they come up to the door and either knock or ring the doorbell, she feels they’re trespassing on her turf. She just doesn’t bark when she hears a noise coming from outside, she continues to pace for a good long time.  Dogs will usually pace when they’re nervous or anxious.  Simba is high strung when it comes to noises. 

Music has been shown to affect dogs as much as it affects humans.  I remember driving my son to his hockey games and he would ask me to play his CD on the way to the game. I can’t even tell you what genre it was, all I can say is that I immediately turned to road rage, wanting to pull my hair out, speeding, yelling at other cars, turning on two wheels, well you get the idea. As soon as he got out of the car, I turned off the radio and sat in total silence for several minutes examining how my mood changed from the music. Shelters have tried playing different genres of music and realized that each genre had a different effect on the dogs.  Classical music was one that helped relax the dogs the most. I have read many posts regarding this subject but found Music Therapy for Dogs – Does It Work? had great information on the subject.  One area discussed was If Your Dog Howls at His Soothing Music. I found this to be very interesting since Gypsy likes to howl only to certain songs.  One song, in particular, is ‘Hello’ by Adele.  I often wondered what she’s thinking when this song comes on the radio that makes her sing along.

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Make Getting Your First Pet Even More Joyful with These Money-Saving Tips

by Penny Martin

There are few things in life that can bring as much unmitigated joy as getting a new pet — and if that pet is your first one, then you’re in for a real treat. Taking care of a new dog can be tough and time-consuming, but the rewards of pet companionship outweigh all of that. 

One thing you will have to come to terms with early on is that owning a pet costs money. Food, water, and shelter are the basic necessities of any pet, but their actual needs stretch beyond that, and it can be a hit to your bank account. To keep your budget in line, follow these tips to save money and make your first pet experience all the more amazing.

Use Amazon Coupon Codes to Buy Your Supply Necessities

There is simply no reason to pay full price for your pet supplies — there are countless discounts at your fingertips. Here is what you’re going to need from day one:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Collar/tags
  • Pet bed
  • Travel crate
  • Bones, toys, and chews
  • Treats
  • Litter boxes

This should be enough for any first-time pet owner to start off on the right track. There’s no getting around buying these items, so you need to look for ways to save. Using Amazon is your best option — not only can you get savings by using Amazon coupons and promo codes, but buying products on a site that offers delivery will give you more time to spend at home training your pet (instead of time spent driving to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores).

Adopt Instead of Shop

Local animal shelters charge less than $200 (in adoption fees) for most of their animals — no matter the age, size, or breed. Not only that, but they will come to you already fixed in most circumstances and with their basic vaccinations (saving you hundreds). Buying pets from breeders and expensive pet stores can cost thousands. And free pets (bought online or through classifieds) may sound good but could cost you way more in medical bills than a shelter animal. 

Make What You Can at Home

Some things you’ll need to buy but some things you can make at home for much cheaper. For example, dogs need food that’s about 50 percent veggies, 40 percent protein, and 10 percent carbs. You can easily make your own with mixed veggies, ground meat, and grains like rice. Some of the more expensive types of toys can be made at home as well, using common items like tennis balls, old towels and T-shirts, and even plastic bottles. Old bedding and towels work just fine for a new pet’s sleeping quarters. You can even make stain and odor-removal concoctions that work using vinegar, baking soda, and even hot water.

Form a Good Relationship with Your Vet Early On

The more proactive you are about getting your new pet the right vaccines and medications, the better the chance you will be able to avoid devastating medical costs throughout their life. Heed the advice of a local veterinarian and ask them for discounts, deals, and even free generic medication (more will offer these than you may think). 

Always Spend Time, Not Money

There is nothing you buy your new pet that will benefit them — physically or mentally — as much as spending quality time with them. This includes playtime, exercise, snuggling on the couch watching movies, and however else you can think to interact with them. Taking your new dog on a long hike, for example, is completely free and will help keep them happy and healthy. The more time you can spend with your animal, the less money you have to spend on dog walkers, dog sitters, and vets. In this regard, perhaps the best advice to being a frugal pet owner is to ensure that your pet is by your side as much as possible. This is especially true of new pets, with whom you need to bond and who may feel nervous about their new life. 

Your pet ownership journey will be a rewarding one. Heed these money-saving tips to make it easy on your budget as well. 

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

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Halloween Safety With Dogs

Simba has not gotten along with small children since she was a puppy. As a pup, I trained her to feel more comfortable around children. However, I don’t take any chances when it comes to children’s safety and choose to keep her away from them. I stay very alert when walking her in public. She normally ignores children around us except if they charge towards her. She also does not like men in hats or gloves. So bottom line, know your dog’s triggers.


It is important to know if it’s going to be safe for others to take your dog out at anytime but especially on Halloween. For Halloween doggie parades, be aware that there will be many other dogs of all sizes, children everywhere, and it may get crowded. People in costumes may cause the dog much stress. There are dogs that are very relaxed and aloof to their surroundings, however most are not. If a dog gets surprised, scared, or just uncomfortable by not recognizing someone, it may cause it to react unfavorably. Taking your pup out on Halloween night after dark, with people in costumes, unrecognizable noises coming from homes and people jumping out trying to scare each other can be very stressful. Leave your pup at home.

I don’t hand out candy on Halloween. Knocking on the door really stresses Simba out. She reacts to knocking like some dogs react to thunder and fireworks. She will start barking and run to the door until I tell her it’s ok. She then knows to go get a toy (to silence the barking) and she will circle nervously with the toy in her mouth whining. I can tell that she is stressed for several minutes, therefore do not put her through this over and over on Halloween night. I turn off the lights outside and sit to watch a quiet movie with my pups, a relaxing night for all.

If you’re going to put a costume on your pup, please make sure it fits properly and comfortably. They really don’t enjoy being dressed up. This is purely for human enjoyment. I will admit that I have put on a costume on Simba for a doggie parade but it was for a very short time. I made sure it fit comfortably and allowed her to pee or poo, if needed, without needing to wait for me to remove costume. The costume was also easy to put on and take off with velcro straps. Make sure the costume does not obstruct their vision. Don’t dress a dog if you see it makes it uncomfortable or nervous.

Extra Tips:

Don’t leave your dog in your yard during trick or treating. Unfortunately, thoughtless pranksters do exist.

Candy is bad for dogs especially chocolate and sugar-free (which contains xylitol).

Careful when opening the door to trick-or-treaters that your dog doesn’t run out.

Make sure your children don’t leave candy wrappers laying around. They can be harmful if ingested.

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Training Dogs To Respond

My name is S. I am the proud parent of 2 GSPs a 3.5 year old male named Huck and an almost 2 year old female named Liv. The difference in their personalities is fun to watch but can also be frustrating. I found Huck listened and learned things very quickly and was eager to follow my direction. Liv on the other hand knows exactly what I am saying and asking but is unbelievably stubborn. The biggest issue we’ve been having is with shadows, particularly in our backyard. At night she will bolt out to the backyard and sprint the fence line chasing shadows or wait for a reflection from the door to hit the fence. She will throw her hole body into them and essentially try and take down the fence. Typically, she is obedient with her verbal recall, however at night with shadows she could care less. I have worked with an e collar with her and usually the tone is all I need to get her back in. I’d like to not have to rely on the e-collar every night for this situation. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve tried taking her out on a leash to break the habit but this doesn’t seem to work and it’s not realistic on a consistent basis. Would love your thoughts.

Love the site and all the posts.

Hello S. I need a little more information.  How many times do you let him out at night? Does she use a doggy door? When using shock collar, are you using the tone only? When you say the tone is all she needs to get her back in, does this include when she’s barking at the shadows?  If also using shock, how does she respond? When you take her out on a leash, does she still bark at the shadows?


I couldn’t give you a hard number for how many times we let her out. Whenever the sun goes down and if she’s out the routine starts. Some days we let leave her out there if we are sitting on the porch etc. She does not use a doggy door. Usually when I use the collar it is the tone only. Sometimes it takes two tones for her to respond. Occasionally I have to give her a nick but that has not been the case recently. She doesn’t bark at the reflections or shadows just chases them and jumps all over the fence and looses obedience. If I use the shock she responds. She knows when she has the collar on and if she’s out at night without it she won’t come in at all. It turns into a game or I have to lure her in with moving her leash around and pretending to take the other dog out for a walk. When I take her on the leash she will pull in the direction of the shadows and occasionally lunge.
Thanks for the reply,

First you need to focus on training her to respond to your command of returning. She needs to be consistent. You can try giving her a small treat “baby carrot” when she responds to your call to come inside.  Start when she is outside during daylight, without shadows, and calm.  You needs to be very consistent the first few weeks. Give her a treat every single time she responds correctly.  If she doesn’t respond, you’ll need to go get her physically as you use a command “no jumping”or whatever is appropriate, bring her in and close the door. Let her see you’re disappointed. I don’t know about your pups but mine know when I’m not happy with them. You must do this every single time until she realizes that she doesn’t get a treat when she doesn’t respond to your command and her playtime is cut short.  I personally had the problem with my youngest; however it was barking as soon as she stepped out onto the deck, running towards the fence.  I immediately would go out and call her.  If she didn’t respond, I would go get her and bring her in as I commanded “no barking”.  She didn’t get a treat, she wasn’t allowed to sit next to me on the couch and I would close the doggie door and not let her back out until once before bedtime. When I re-open the doggie door I remind her ” No barking!”  If she barks, I repeat the previous steps.  Sometimes she wouldn’t make it off the deck before being brought back in.  It took several months of consistent reprimand because she is my stubborn and testy one.  Her older sister was much better at listening.  It didn’t take more than a couple of weeks of training with the older one. Then tackle the jumping on the fence. You may need to use a quick shock with a verbal command every time she displays that behavior. She’s smart enough to know when the collar is on so you need to start her responding to your command with the collar. You’ll need to go out with her every time. As soon as you see her engage with anything you feel is going to make her jump on the fence, use your command’ “no jumping”. If she stops, she gets a carrot. If she doesn’t, one tone, if she responds then a carrot. If she still doesn’t stop, a quick shock before getting to the fence. If she stops before the fence and doesn’t jump, she gets a carrot. If she jumps on the fence, she gets second shock as she makes contact with the fence and is brought back inside immediately. It takes time to train pups but in the long run, it saves you much stress. Do not train her until you know you have the time to put into it every time she goes out after dark. Consistency is the key, especially with the smart, stubborn ones. You may want to invite a trainer to give you ideas and tips since I don’t have all the information about her behavior and surroundings. Good Luck Y

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The Dangers of Fleas for Dogs

Written by Clara Lou

Have you ever tackled the problem of fleas in dogs? If not, you should know how dangerous they are and how you can prevent your dog from them. Those little jumpers can make your pooch’s life hell. The chances are high that your pooch is going to face fleas if he is not well-protected from them. 

You might’ve heard about human fleas which harm humans and treat them as hosts. But those are different than dog fleas. Actually, there are a zillion types of them. Anyway, we will discuss more about them soon. Read on if you’re considering to bring home a pet and want to know how harmful fleas can be to you and your pet.

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are wingless parasitic insects that thrive on hematophagy only. Hematophagy refers to getting nourished by consuming blood from a host organism. To our surprise, there are more than 2000 species of fleas and with the course of time, they have adapted to make living on an immensely specific variety of host organisms. That said, fleas thriving on dogs, human fleas, cat fleas are different than each other. In addition, there are some specific species thriving on rats and other rodents, birds, and other animals. You can compare fleas with a picky eater to understand this diversity.

As I mentioned, fleas are wingless insects, they don’t have to fly in search of a host. They are super athletes who can jump over a metaphorical building. A flea is of ⅛ to ⅙ inches long and can make a vertical leap of 7 inches and can cover 1 foot of distance on the ground. If they were of the size of humans, the same flea could make 160 feet high and 295 feet long leap! If you see a similar bug like fleas on and around your pet and not sure whether it’s flea, it’s the time to be alert and take preventive measures.

However, not all the fleas jump. This depends on the species they belong to. Fleas have strong legs but they don’t use muscular power to take leaps. Fleas’ bodies store a protein in their legs called resilin, which is highly elastic and help them to make longer jumps.

Fleas Is a Bigger Issue for Pet Parents

A lion’s share of the pet supply industry is dedicated to preventing fleas in pets. And this is not going to cease anytime soon. Fleas can cause a variety of medical condition in pets and that again makes flea a bigger consideration in a pet owner’s life. 

The most common flea caused medical condition is Flea Bite Dermatitis which causes a specific allergy to the flea saliva. Now, this allergy makes dogs to excessively scratch that breaks open the skin. And the scab starts getting infected. This can happen to any areas of your Fido’s skin but their back and base of the tail are frequent sites. If you see fleas in her body, visit your veterinarian immediately. Your buddy will need medication to remove fleas and for the infection as well. 

Apart from these external medical issues, pets also pose the risk of getting other internal medical complexities and infestations. So, it is always better to take preventive measures for fleas. Flea collars are a great way to keep the fleas away. They are different than the normal collars where you attach a leash. They are used for a specific purpose of getting rid of fleas just like dog bark collars are used for curbing excessive barking.

What Internal Infections Can Fleas Cause?

Talking about the internal problems fleas cause, tapeworms are the second on the list. Tapeworms are also parasites which make their way to your pet’s body when your doggie ingests the flea. 

Tapeworms initially find their home inside fleas. They can be as small as the size of ½ inch and looks like small maggots. These segmented parasites can grow as long as 12 inches also. So when they make their way to a dog’s body, they thrive inside and can grow bigger. A primary sign of tapeworm in dogs is weight loss for unknown reasons and itchy rear portion of the body. If you see some of these indications, please visit your vet. 

One more internal medical issue due to fleas is flea-bite anemia. Young pups and kittens are prone to anemia when they are exposed to an immense flea infestation. What happens here is when there are too many fleas on tiny bodies, fleas suck the host’s blood to the extent where it causes deficiency of red blood cells in the body. The total count of RBC diminishes and the dog becomes anemic. Sometimes this condition can turn into a matter of grave if not given proper treatment. Fortunately, the effects can be reversed with proper treatment by your vet to get rid of fleas.

Season Influences Fleas

The amount of struggle you have to face highly depends on what kind of climate you and your buddy live in.  In cold and chilly climates, fleas will die due to cold or stay dormant until the warm weather returns. Only the northeast and the northwest winter weather provides fortification against these parasites. And in the warmer regions, fighting the fleas lasts all year long.

Fleas can enter your house in the weirdest ways. Generally, fleas are found on wild animals (wild canines) which get stuck on the bushes. And your four-legged furry friend comes into contact with them and bring them home. Not necessarily your pet brings them home, fleas can stick on your clothes and they can find your dog as a host. Nevertheless, pet parents have to make sure that fleas don’t infiltrate your space even if it turns colder. 

Some of you might think or have heard that fleas are only a problem during spring and summer but never overlook fall. According to experts’ observation, during fall and colder months, fleas tend to be dormant and stick to their warm hosts. Fleas would die if they stay outside of the house due to severe cold but once they’re inside, they can survive and thrive. All in all, I would recommend you to incorporate year-round protection. But there are more chances that your dog be a host during summers and springs. 

Humans Are Also at Risk

As we discussed, fleas are not likely to make you a host but they can still be a potential danger to pet parents. 

Fleas don’t live on your skin and thrive but they can bite you which can spread diseases including plague and cat scratch disease. That warrants a vet visit if you sense symptoms of any of the diseases. 

The EndNote

Tackling the problem of fleas is definitely going to cost you money. What’s more important here is the precautions and preventive measures because fleas can also cost you your pet’s health and well-being if they enter your space. They are quite dangerous as they not only thrive on your buddy’s blood but also cause wounds, infections, other parasitic infusions and diseases related to flea bites. So make sure your pet never gets fleas. Long live the canines and felines.

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Alert! Dogs In Summer

We have all been waiting for the warm weather.  It’s finally here!  Your pups also love being out in the warm weather.  But beware.  There are precautions that you need to take to protect your pup from the warm weather.  Dogs can suffer the dangers of the heat just as we can.  Many owners decide to shave off their pup’s fur thinking this will keep them cool.  Vets will usually advise against this.  The fur actually will help keep your pup cool.  Although the fur will insulate them from the heat for a while, eventually the heat in the fur works its way in to the skin in the sun risking heat stroke.

If you’re taking them on walks, check concrete or asphalt by standing on it with your bare feet.  Can you walk on it for a period without scorching your feet, then it’s probably safe for your pup.  To be safe, you can use an infrared thermometer held about one foot above ground to measure the heat on the ground. On 95 degree days, black pavement temperatures hit 140 degrees, 135 degrees on red brick, and 125 degress on concrete. Temperature limits for paws are similar to human skin. Initial pain threshold without permanent damage on paws is 120 degrees.  At 140 degrees, it will cause burning and permanent damage including scarring after one minute of contact.  Instant burn and blistering will result at 150 degrees (160 degrees for human skin). I have seen pups with scorched paws.  The outer layer of the pads will burn right off leaving them raw and exposed for infections; not to mention it is very painful.  If the ground is hot please put booties on him.

If they will be outdoors for an extended period of time, please leave them enough of water for them.  One suggestion would be to leave several bowls of water.  You can freeze a couple so that they stay cool and ready to drink when they are finished with the first couple of bowls. Place the water in an area where ants won’t get to it.  A shady area would be preferred. 


Do not leave your pet outdoors if there isn’t a shady spot in the yard for them to shield themselves from the sun.  Although my two have a doggie door to go in and out, they do enjoy laying outside in the warm weather.  I leave two 9’ umbrellas open for them to also lay in the shade.  They move back and forth between the sunny areas and the shade. A dog house can shield them from the sun but the air gets real hot inside.  Maybe leave a small solar fan to produce a breeze.  Another option is to put a cooling mat in the dog house or in the shade outdoors.

If you pup enjoys water, you can leave a small children’s pool in a shady spot.  Some dogs enjoy cooling themselves off by laying in the pool. If you have sprinklers on a timer, set them to go off for a short period a couple of times of day.  This will cool the grass off and give you pup a cool place to lay for a bit.  Don’t forget to treat you pup or your yard for ticks, mosquitos, and any other bug that can be a problem.  I also keep flowers in my backyard to a minimum so that they don’t chase bees and get stung.  I had a GSD whose head swelled up into a balloon.  It was scary at them time because we didn’t know if the swelling would affect his breathing. All my flowers are in the front yard for the bees and neighbors to enjoy.

Please be careful about leaving your pets in a parked car. When the temps are 70 degrees outside, the car can heat up to 89 in only 10 minutes and to 104 in 30 minutes. At 80 degrees outside, the car can heat up to 99 in 10 minutes and 114 in 30 minutes. Temperature of 95 outside heats up the car to 114 in 10 minutes and 129 in 30 minutes. Cold winter days can be just as dangerous for your pet. It’s best to leave your pet home when you’re running errands and can’t bring your pet in stores with you.

dog in car

Have a happy and safe summer.

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Training Your Dog To Come

I trained Simba to come without a leash indoors to start. I started with having her sit and stay. At first, I could only take one step back before she tried to follow. Before she would get up I would say come and point to my feet. She would get a small treat. As she got better, I took more steps back and finally walking around the corner of a wall. Taking it outside, we started on a long leash. I paired a whistle with the command come in case in the future she’d be on the other side of the field and couldn’t hear me. As she walked away from me on leash, I would blow the whistle lightly and said come as I pointed to my feat. She would return to me and get a treat. After much practice where she returned every time, we started our practice off leash. A mistake I made was not adding distractions during the trading like the following video does. A couple of times she took after a bunny but it would take more than a couple of minutes with several whistle blows to tame her desire of the hunt, remember her training and return to me. You need to be consistent with the training. It’s time consuming at first but the payoff is great. Good luck.

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Bringing A Puppy Home

Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting time. As exciting as it may be for you, it is equally terrifying for your new puppy. You will be taking him from his safe place, from his mother, and from the warmth of his siblings. Make sure that you have the supplies you need all ready. To help him acclimate there are a few things you can do ahead of time.

Decide where his safe, quiet, comfy zone in the house will be. Choose an area in your home where he can go to get away from excited children or visiting friends without being locked up. You can also designate this area for his meals. You can fence off an area to keep him away from trouble. Setting up a sort of playpen also works. Have a doggie bed or doggie cave with comfy blankets, a few toys along with a chew toy.

Have his crate ready. The puppy will be taking all his naps and sleep in it at night. Many people keep the crate in their bedroom. Although, you may not get much sleep the first few nights, the puppy will be comforted by your presence. Do not lock him up all alone in a basement. You don’t want him to feel isolated. If he cries, take him out to his potty zone on a lead then put him back in his crate without treats or playtime. Limit any interaction to a minimum during sleep time. To make this transition easier, ask the breeder to give you a blanket that has his mother’s and siblings’ scent. Many have tried the Smart Love Snuggle Puppy with success. The Snuggle Puppy mimics a beating heart to remind them of mom and comes with a disposable heating pad.


Take his new collar and tags with you. You may want to lay down some plastic sheeting in the car and bring lots of washable bedding that you can change out during your drive. If the crate fits in your car that’s great otherwise you may need to buy a travel crate to drive him home in and for vet visits. If the puppy seems anxious, covering the crate some and maybe calming music will help.

When arriving home, pick him up with one hand under his butt and the other under his belly at the same time hook a finger under his collar. Puppies can be real squirmy and slip out of your hands very easily. As soon as you take him out of the car take him out on a lead to his potty zone. Let him sniff around and relieve himself. Give him lots of calm praise and maybe a small treat like half of a baby carrot. If there are children there to greet the puppy, make sure they stay calm and don’t chase the puppy around. Have the children sit down and wait for the puppy to come to them. Explain that the puppy is nervous and maybe scared. He just needs time.

Show him his puppy den. You can put his mother’s blanket there too. You can feed him a light meal once he has calmed down some. Puppies sleep a lot, about 15-20 hours a day. He will be awake for an hour or so at a time. Every time your puppy wakes up, take him straight out to his potty zone. Give him time to relieve himself more than once. Some puppies go a little, move and go again. Try to keep visitors down to a minimum the first couple of days until the puppy is more settled in. You also may want to take a couple of days off work to be home and bond with your pup.

You want to set up his routines right away. Give him his meals at the same time daily. After meals and waking up, take him outside to his potty zone. He should be taken out to potty every two hours and every three at night. Soon your puppy will be on a schedule which will help you foresee when he needs to go out. Remember a young puppy does not have control over his bladder pretty much like a human baby. He will need to pee after eating, drinking, playing, or sleeping.

Enroll him in training school and remember to socialize your puppy with other animals and children. Be patient and give him lots of love. They grow up fast.

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Dogs’ Separation Anxiety by Lisa Smalls

german shorthaired pointer

How you can help your dog with separation anxiety.
Pets bring incredible joy to their owners and are often considered valuable and irreplaceable members of the family. And, to their credit, pets return that love tenfold. This is perhaps especially true of dogs, who bond strongly with their humans and adopt them into their own “pack”. This enthusiasm and love, however, can sometimes create problems for dogs and their humans alike. Separation anxiety is a very real issue that impacts many dogs. Let’s take a look at separation anxiety and what you can do to help
your pet adjust to time alone.
What is separation anxiety in dogs?
Separation anxiety displays as a panic behavior in dogs that manifests when their owners leave them alone. If you’ve ever left for work in the morning and come back to find your home utterly destroyed and your dog acting as though they haven’t seen you in 10 years, you might already be familiar with the behavior. The same is also true if you’ve been informed that your dog howls and barks the entire time you’re gone from the house. This is an annoyance for your neighbors, of course, but your pet is just trying to express his confusion and fear.
Do all dogs suffer from separation anxiety?
Not all dogs experience separation anxiety, and it’s currently not known for sure exactly why some pets suffer from it while others don’t. What is known for certain, however, is that the disorder can cause your pet an incredible amount of stress every time you leave the house. And it’s not as though you did anything to cause this – many animals develop the concern seemingly out of nowhere.
With that said, there are a few triggers known to lead to the manifestation of separation anxiety. Dogs that have been passed from owner to owner, for example, will often exhibit separation anxiety. The cause is fairly clear in this case – they’re scared that you really won’t be coming back, because former members of their “pack” have left and never returned. Moving is another known trigger, as is the loss of a long-term household member.
Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs
We know what separation anxiety is and a few of the triggers that are known to cause it, but how do you go about treating an animal with the disorder? While the most effective solution depends heavily upon the dog in question and your relationship with them, there are a few general tips that seem to work well for most people.
Don’t Make Goodbyes a Big Deal
Some people like to give their pets a lot of love just before they walk out of the door. This is especially true with animals with separation anxiety. Many owners want to try and curb bad behavior by somehow making the dog feel loved before they leave. Unfortunately, this only signals that something is out of the ordinary to your dog. Giving so much attention to your actions already puts your dog on edge, in other words, because you’re not acting as you normally would. Instead of taking a lot of time right before you leave to tell your pet goodbye, give your pup love earlier in the day. When it’s time for you to actually leave the house, do so like you’re just walking to another room. Don’t ignore your dog, necessarily, but don’t give them attention, either. You want them to feel like this is just another ordinary moment in
their day. Doing this also breaks the association they might have with your leaving routine and the empty house.
Associate Your Absence with Good Things
Right now, all your dog has to think about is how lonely they’ll be when you’re gone. At some point, their frustration and anxiety start to make sense. Instead of having your absence tied to panic and worry, try to give them something to look forward to. If you don’t already have a comfortable dog bed, consider investing in a nice one and pulling it out before you leave in the morning. If that doesn’t work, remember that most dogs are heavily food-motivated. Use this to your advantage!
Before you leave the house, try giving your dog a special treat. Consider using a Kong toy that has holes on either end where your pet has to concentrate their attention in order to get the food out. Not only does this help take their attention away from your absence, but it also begins to give them something positive to look forward to when you leave the house. Remember to pick the toy back up immediately once you get home – those treats are something your pet only gets to enjoy while you aren’t there. This part is important! If the treats are something that they get all of the time, then they won’t command as much attention.

Take Your Pup for a Walk

A tired dog is often a calm dog. You might want to try taking your pet for a lengthy walk before you leave the house. If that isn’t possible, try to play with them for at least 30 minutes in some way, shape, or form. The goal isn’t necessarily to exhaust your dog but rather to burn off excess energy and induce a sense of peacefulness in them. Exercise often accomplishes both of these goals, and when combined with the other tips in this post, they can often help your pup relax quite a bit while you’re away from home.
Talk to a Professional If you’ve tried all of the above and nothing has helped, then it might be time to speak with a professional. I know that the prospect might be a little uncomfortable, but keep in mind that you didn’t do anything wrong here. You’re probably a great owner – there isn’t really any fault to be had, in other words, so don’t worry about being judged. Professionals just want to help your dog feel better and help make your days easier.
Consider speaking with your vet about the struggles you’re facing and ask them for recommendations if they don’t offer treatment for separation anxiety themselves. They’ll often be able to give you the name of someone who can help.
Keep calm (even if your dog can’t) and don’t worry – you can work through pet separation anxiety.

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Posted in German Shorthair Pointers | Comments Off on Dogs’ Separation Anxiety by Lisa Smalls