Archives for June, 2009

Dog Allergies, Identifying a Problem

By Damien Gay

When you own a dog you expect a certain amount of scratching, rubbing and itching to take place. After all, they’re prone to the odd flea and they’re covered in fur so it comes with the territory to a certain extent. However, when a dog is suffering from an allergy, particularly when it is related to the skin, it becomes very obvious that there is something wrong.

The trick is to identify that the dog’s problem is an allergy and not some other unrelated complaint. There are some things to look for that will alert you to the fact that there is a problem.

Excessive scratching is a sign of some kind of skin allergy, but this can be accompanied by other complaints such as inflammation of the ears, head shaking, frequent licking or biting of the paws. Because there are different types of allergies the symptoms to look for will also be different.

An allergy known as atopic dermatitis is an allergy due to a hypersensitivity to particles that exist in the atmosphere such as dust mites, pollen or mold spores. The symptoms to look for in this case are licking or chewing at the paws, an inflamed red irritation on the belly or ears that are hot to the touch.

This is in contrast to a food allergy which can present in similar or contrasting ways with the symptoms ranging from skin irritation to an alteration of mood and behavior, vomiting, diarrhea and a loss of appetite.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from an allergy, it is a good idea to take down notes of what you see the dog doing and what changes you notice. You can then use these notes to help the vet pinpoint exactly what the cause of the irritation might be.

Dog allergies are not trifling matters. They are best treated as early as possible both to alleviate the suffering of your dog and to minimize the expense. If you are vigilant you will stand a better chance at identifying any possible allergies in dogs in short order.


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Jun 30, 2009 | 0 | Dog health

Spending Quality Time With Your English Mastiff Dogs

By Steve Blake

It doesn’t take much to keep your English mastiff dogs happy and healthy. Put in a little bit of your time for their needs, walk with them, play with them, maybe even laze around with them on a good Sunday afternoon is all that it should take. Whatever you do, just don’t neglect them.

Turn training time into fun time
Training Mastiffs don’t require a lot of repetition in commands. These dogs are very intelligent so they learn fairly quickly.

They do, however, get bored quickly too. To remedy this, inject some fun into your training routine and keep your pets’ attention focused on you and not on the training.

Take a walk in the park
Even though it seems like you and your pets have a common liking to lazing around at home during one good afternoon, you might want to take the opportunity to go out and jog with your pets more often.

Set the pace and show it your well known jogging routes. Not only do you and your pets get the exercise you need, you’re also establishing your bond as master and faithful companion.

Practice proper grooming
If you put in some effort in making sure you look good, there’s no reason for you not to make sure your mastiffs also look their best. Your pets may be fidgety when you first start grooming them, but you can be sure that they’ll soon get used to the soothing sensations of you brushing its coat.

Even the most restless of pups will soon learn that grooming is a good thing and will sit still for minutes while you shower them with all the attention they deserve.

Other than brushing, you will also need to regularly trim its nails, clean its ears, and brush its teeth to keep it free from injuries and infections.

Steve Blake is a mastiff breed researcher and enthusiast. His love for this breed has prompted him to build and operate his own website. You can learn more about the do’s and dont’s when taking care of English Mastiff Dogs and sign up for the 10-lesson mastiff mini-course by visiting

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Jun 29, 2009 | 0 | Dog breed information

Should You Allow Your Pet to Sleep in Your Bed?

By Colleen Mihelich

Many dog owners are extremely bonded with their pets. The animal is more than just a pet – it is a furry family member and companion. Since pets and humans are so closely bonded, many dogs and cats want to spend the night with their owners. Humans too, can enjoy the comfort and companionship of having a purring cat curled up at the side or a snuggly dog sleeping at their feet.

The benefits of allowing the dog or cat to sleep in your bed go beyond just having a companion in bed. This co-sleeping can be an important bonding experience for pets and owners, as animal packs generally tend to sleep together. For a dog or cat that is new to the home and separated form his or her littermates for the first time, the comfort of a human companion during sleep can be essential to helping the dog or cat feel safe and secure. A young puppy who cries when left to sleep alone will often feel comforted by the sound of a human heartbeat and will happily drift off to sleep.

However, there are some questions remaining as to whether it is a good idea, for the development of your pet, to allow your pet to sleep in your bed. Allowing a pet to sleep in your bed, especially a dog, can make that pet feel as though he or she is equal to a human. This can create dominance problems in the dog. A dog that feels that he or she is equal to their owner may be less likely to submit to commands or be trainable. Dogs that feel that they are equal or in charge within the relationship, may become tense and fearful as they assume the responsibility of being a pack leader, in a pack that contains an unfamiliar human member. Dogs may also become aggressive and overly protective of their human, if they feel that they are in charge of their human or responsible for their human.

These issues of dominance and submission problems can become especially pronounced if a new baby is introduced into a home where a dog sleeps in the bed. The dog, because he or she sleeps with the human pack leaders, may feel that he or she is of a higher status than the new infant. The dog also may begin to feel resentful towards the infant, or feel that they need to protect their place within the pack. These circumstances are rare and do not happen with all dogs, but they can and do occur especially in dogs that have an elevated level of status as a result of sleeping with their owners. It is these types of circumstances that can lead to surrender of pets to shelters, or in worst case scenarios to the premature death of a dog due to aggression. Owners who want to ensure a long life and delay the purchase of pet urns or pet headstones for as long as possible, want to do everything they can to avoid this situation.

While there are potential problems, as long as the bed is introduced properly, for most dogs there are no issues with co-sleeping with owners. Typically, a dog should not be invited to co-sleep with their owners until their place in the pack is already established. This can occur around six months of age, once a dog is trained and understands that he or she must obey. In addition, requiring the dog to sit and be invited into the bed before entering can also help to maintain the proper pack order within the household and minimize any potential behavior problems caused by co-sleeping.

In general, owners can enjoy this practice of having their canine companions close to them as they sleep, as long as the privilege is introduced properly. These hours of bonding and cuddling can add a wonderful level of enrichment to the relationship, and when the day eventually comes to say goodbye to your pet and write pet memorials, it may be a strong comfort to know that you and your companion had this extra time together to share love.

Colleen Mihelich
Owner, Peternity . . . honoring your pet for eternity


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Jun 27, 2009 | 0 | Looking after your dog

What Dog Breed Suits Your Lifestyle

By F. Bournston

So you’re looking to get yourself a new dog, but you’re not sure what dog breed suits your lifestyle. In this article I aim to explore what types of dog would best suit certain types of people.

If you’re a sporty person, then a small, dainty dog is not going to be ideal, because it will never be able to keep up with you. Similarly, a big energetic hound dog is not going to be right for someone who just likes to sit and do some knitting, as it will just get bored and start chewing on your cushions.

Also, the size of your house is an important factor to consider. For example, a large dog such as a mastiff would not be suited to a small bungalow. A small poodle would feel overwhelmed in a large country mansion.

Everyone knows how cute puppies can be. But if you don’t train that puppy correctly whilst it’s growing up, it could easily grow up into an aggressive adult dog that you have no control over. Good training in essential no matter what dog breed you decide to get.

Are you after a jogging companion? If so, then an upbeat, energetic dog such as the Jack Russell Terrier could be the ideal choice. Alternatively, if you just want a cuddle buddy, then a sweet natured Scotty could be more ideal. And let’s not forget the Golden Retriever, a popular choice for people who want a big dog with a friendly, easy-going temperament.

Most dog problems are totally unnecessary and easily fixed, but most people simply don’t know where to turn for help. The solutions to your dog problems are much simpler than you think. Take the first step in getting the well-behaved cat you’ve always wanted by visiting Dog Training Advice


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Jun 26, 2009 | 0 | Dog breed information

Shih Tzu Housebreaking – Consistency, Vigilance and Understanding

By Al Bullington

When people look at getting a Shih Tzu pup, one of the first things that pop into their head is, “What do you do about housebreaking a Shih Tzu?” For a companion dog this is a very important thing to consider. When faced with Shih Tzu housebreaking people often decide they don’t want one of these fabulous dogs because it would just be too hard. Not so!

I’m here with a few very important ingredients to success with housebreaking. These are consistency, vigilance and understanding; let’s take a look at each one.


Successful Shih Tzu potty training only comes after establishing a routine. It will be up to you to decide what that routine is going to be like. To start with, find a place in your yard where you want your dog to relive itself. Every time you take him out, go directly to that spot only and wait until he does his business. Do no let your doggie decide where he wants to go. Also, have set times during the day that you take him out. Try after meals, before and after naptime, after play or other excitement…these are times when he will need to go and if you beat him to it then you will be well on the way to teaching potty training to your puppy.


Vigilance is also a key as you teach your pup and try to avoid accidents. Watch your pup all the time as he plays around the house. If you notice him sniffing the air or floor, squatting, looking for a corner, or circling you must act fast to avoid any accidents. Clap your hands and he’ll stop whatever he’s doing to see what you did that for. Scoop him up and take him directly to the assigned spot. If you can’t watch your pup properly for a short time, confine him to his kennel.


Remember that even with all your vigil and routine there will still be accidents. When this happens, try to be understanding. Never punish your pup unless you catch him in the act. He won’t equate your punishment with the accident, which may have happened several hours before. However, if you do discover puppy’s accident take him straight his spot to make it clear where you want him to go.

Yes, Shih Tzu housebreaking is a challenge, but there are also great rewards as you watch your Shih Tzu pup learn something new. Just remember the keys: consistency, vigilance, and understanding as you deal with Shih Tzu potty training and it will be easier for both of you.

Would you like more tips on Shih Tzu housebreaking for your puppy?
Al Bullington invites you to visit and get more FREE resources.


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Jun 25, 2009 | 0 | Dog breed information

How to Get a Stubborn Mastiff to Heel

By Tara Connors

Mastiffs are a very large dog that anyone who owns one can attest to. However, if you are not careful with them or find out on your own just how stubborn they are you might be walking them only to find out that they are really walking you. Because of the size of them it would be very easy for them to take off with you being dragged behind trust me I know that from experience and know that it is not a fun trip at all! If you are wanting to leash train your Mastiff though and get him to heel to you then you will want to follow this great tip that I have used and it worked wonders for mine.

That tip is to make him wait for you. Now I know that for me I had the problem of him trying to bolt out the door and drag me down the steps behind him. Which for any dog owner we know that the worst time for them to bolt is when you are trying to get out the door and close the door at the same time while holding onto your pet. However, if you are making them wait then you will not have this problem because they are not going to be going out before you.

You might be asking how you can make such a large Mastiff who is stubborn as an ox wait well that is very simple because you are going to head out the door before them. Then you will hang onto the leash with your dog on the opposite side of the door from you. So if you are going outside you will be out first your dog will be indoors with the leash run through the screen door. Then when you are ready you will open the door and tell them free which will let them know that it is their turn to go through the door. Then when you are walking you just keep a tight grip on the leash so they stay by your side. Then you will free them and loosen your grip on the leash so that they can go potty. After they are done doing their business you will then walk back to your home and repeat the process coming in, but at no time do you let go of the leash so he still knows that your in control.

Tara currently owns one English Mastiff who is a giant baby. He is a very loving and caring dog for her children and does wonders in helping keep the children in the yard when they are outside playing. He is so well trained that he even listens to the children when they are around him. You can find a solution to help your mastiffs behavior at


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Jun 24, 2009 | 0 | Dog breed information

Dog Barking at the Moon

By Crystal Jordan

If you have a dog that likes to bark at the moon, it can be cute initially but eventually it can get tiresome, especially when you have neighbors calling you on the phone to complain. If your dog does this odd habit here are some tips to get him to stop.

Why do dogs bark at the moon? No one knows for sure, but on some full moon nights and during certain times of the year the moon appears much closer to earth, and when the moon is big and bright like this, it can be hard to ignore.

If you don’t want your dog barking at night, simply bring them inside if possible, or keep them in the garage and give them a nice bed there. Just be sure to lock up any chemicals or cleaners first.

If on the other hand you don’t want to lock up your dog, there are other methods you can try to keep them quiet. Beside the obvious of training your dog you can also try using bark collars like a citronella spray one.

These simply let out a burst of citronella when your dog makes a noise and while it won’t harm your dog, it will make them take notice and it should be enough to get them to stop barking.

Eventually overtime your dog’s drive to make noise will be diminished and your dog will simply be happy to just look at the moon instead of keeping the neighbors up all night.

To learn more about how to stop your dog from barking and to get a free
7 Page Dog Mindset System visit Stopping Dog Behavior Problems.


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Jun 23, 2009 | 0 | Tips

Grooming Basics – Brushing Your Dog

By Sue Wright

Grooming your dog regularly will keep his coat and skin in tip top condition so it makes good sense to groom your dog as part of his preventative health program. Brushing removes loose & dead hair and distributes skin oils throughout your dog’s coat. A universal slicker brush followed by a steel comb is good for most coat types but if your unsure ask a professional to recommend the right brush for your dogs coat.

How often should I brush my dog!

Short haired dogs such as boxers, Labradors etc will probably need brushing only once or twice a week whilst long haired dogs such as an Afghan will probably need brushing more often, if however you own a curly coated breed such as a Poodle or a Bichon then you will need to brush him daily to prevent mats from forming.

Mats are areas of tangled hair, to remove a mat first try to untangle the hair with your fingers if you can’t untangle it use a mat splitter to cut through the mat then brush again with a slicker brush, never be tempted to cut out the mat with scissors because they usually sit close to the skin making it very easy for you to cut your pet, if you have no success removing the mat yourself then consult your groomer, it may need to be removed with clippers. Remember prevention is always better than the cure and if you brush your dog regularly you will prevent painful mats from forming.

Get into a routine! This will ensure you never miss bits, some people like to brush their dog from head to tail whilst others do the reverse, try brushing the rear legs followed by the body, tail, front legs then head.It doesn’t really matter which body part you start with but a routine will help you to be thorough.

Starting your grooming session after vigorous exercise should help your dog remain calm, dogs don’t always enjoy being brushed but he will learn to enjoy his grooming sessions if you make it fun.

Remember always stay calm yourself, never get cross with your dog, he will learn through positive reinforcement, give him lots of praise and always end with a treat or a game with his favorite toy.

Visit Animal Affair to check out our range of grooming products and pet health care.

Sue Wright
Pet Stylist


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Jun 22, 2009 | 0 | Dog grooming

Ways to Stop Dog Food Aggression

By Alex De La Cruz


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Jun 20, 2009 | 0 | Tips, Training

What’s a Good Dog Breed For You?

By Mark Stimpson

Who of us hasn’t been through those days when having a pet only seemed natural, or one of those needs that were never experienced? Sadly, it is these impulse decisions that result in people getting a dog from a wrong dog breed and having a traumatic experience as a pet owner. Here are some tips for you to choose the dog breed that would be perfect for you.

Size of the Dog: This would be the first aspect you would have to look into while choosing a dog breed. The size of a dog breed would range from as much as eleven pounds to more than a hundred and forty pounds. Therefore, you will have to look into various factors, like would you wish to invest in strong and durable furniture for a heavy duty pet dog.

Energy Levels: One can own a dog for various reasons. Either they need a safe and loyal pet for their old age, or would want a energetic, lively pet while they run with the same speed of life itself. Make sure what that the dog has a lifestyle that compliments yours. If your energy levels are low, or if you do not have time to run with your pet dog in a garden, make sure you get a dog breed that can do without it.

Exercise Levels: All pets, and dogs, need exercise. Don’t give a dog exercise and you will see the major change in their behavior and health. However, some dogs require less exercise and some do not. Make sure you decide and adhere to a amount of time that you would spend with your dog in pure, refined exercise.

Training Ease: All dogs can be trained, its just that some dog breeds take more time than other dog
breeds. Make it a point to get a dog breed that trains according to your ease. Otherwise, you will end up with a dog that requires a lot of training and a owner who does not have a single minute to spare for the dog.

Affection: It is a misconception that all dogs are playful. Some dogs are quite unsociable and may cause problems whenever your friends, family or relatives walk into your house. Therefore, make it a point to keep your social life in question while deciding on the pet dog that you are thinking about. You would not want to be known as ‘that man with his dog’, right?

Security Level: While choosing your dog breed, think about what you want your dog to be. If you wish your dog to be a security guard for you, make sure you do not end up with a lap dog.

When looking for a new dog take a look at our online store, we have hundereds of dog breed profiles for you to look through to help you make your desision.


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Jun 19, 2009 | 0 | Dog breed information