Archives for April, 2011

Dogs 101: West Highland White Terrier

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Westies are tenacious little dogs with Type A personalities.


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Apr 30, 2011 | 0 | Dog breed information

Separation Anxiety in Dogs and How to Overcome It

By Christine Guth

At times it may seem like you own two different dogs when you really only have one. Is the following a familiar scenario for you: When you are at home, your dog is very well behaved. It listens to your commands, only chews on bones and other doggie toys and barks only when you ask it to “speak.” However, it transforms into a completely different animal when you leave it home alone. It tears up the furniture, chews up your clothes, scratches at doors and barks incessantly.

It may sound like something right out of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but most likely your dog is suffering from separation anxiety. One of the most common causes of canine behavior problems, separation anxiety occurs when your dog has a severe dislike or fear of being isolated. In addition to being stressful for both dogs and their owners, the condition can often puts a strain on our relationships with our four-legged best friends.

When we view the problem of separation anxiety in the home environment, we notice many factors that contribute to it. One is called passive dominance – that is, allowing the dog to train the owner to perform a variety of commands for him. One example is the dog asking to be let outside several times a day, only to find the dog didn’t really want to go out. He was simply checking on your training. He may request to be petted constantly, again testing to see if you will do what he requests. Another way in which the dog manipulates for leadership is by being first to answer the door, first when going for a walk, or first just walking room to room. Dogs place much emphasis on who leads the pack.

To treat separation anxiety, the owner must express leadership towards the dog in a canine way. Most owners over-indulge their dogs, whether the dog is dominant or timid. The owner provides food, shelter, entertainment and love, but provides no leadership.

Owners need to look at separating the dog from them when they are home. We have dogs because we love so many things about them, especially their companionship. However, if separation is an issue for your dog, then you need to practice this while you are at home. Do not have the dog stick to you like glue. Make him stay in another room on a mat, or put him outside and scatter some food over the back lawn to keep him occupied. Also, crate your dog for short periods when you are home and at night so you can monitor his behavior.

The crate is an excellent tool for training, if used correctly. Some owners put their dogs in the crate only when they are leaving, so the dog views it as a sad, unpleasant place. If you have been doing this, make a simple change – acclimate your dog to the crate so that he sees it as a safe haven. Place the crate in area that is not where there is people traffic, so the dog does not feel isolated. Continue to crate him periodically until he looks at the crate as his shelter, even entering it on his own.

Dogs with behavioral problems are not happy dogs. They suffer stress just as we do and express it through their behavior or through physical ailments. The cycle needs to be broken so that your dog can resign as leader, so he can sit back and feel content knowing you are the leader and that his pack is safe.

Christine Guth, Master Dog Behavioral Therapist & Trainer. Christine will teach you how to talk “dog”. You will learn communication methods that tap directly in to the way your dog thinks – helping you to send clearer messages.

In her volunteer work, Christine is a puppy raiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind. She is currently raising her fourth puppy – Diesel – a Black Lab who is now 7 months old. The first two puppies were raised for Canine Companions for Independence and the third for “Paws With A Cause”. This volunteer work was instrumental in convincing her that a career change was in order – from Senior Project Manager at OfficeMax corporate headquarters to Master Dog Trainer with Bark Busters.

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Apr 28, 2011 | 0 | dog behavior, Tips, Understanding Your Dog

Taking Heartworms Seriously

By Ann M Stewart

As the weather continues to warm up, with it comes the wonderful return of our dreaded enemy, the mosquito. With them comes the return of the threat of heartworms for our canine friends. If aren’t familiar with heartworms, here’s a brief description from

“Heartworms are a species of roundworms and live in the arteries of the lungs and heart and the blood vessels surround both.” Needless to say, this is a nasty little parasite that can potentially be fatal to our dogs.

The Perpetual Heartworm Cycle

Heartworm is transmitted through mosquito bites. Here’s the process:

  1. A mosquito bites an infected canine, and receives heartworm larvae with the blood.
  2. Those larvae being to mature, and are spread to the dogs the mosquito attacks.
  3. The heartworm larvae move in the circulatory system to the heart and lungs and fully develop, leading to Heartworm Disease.

Defeating Heartworms Starts With Prevention

Heartworms can be very difficult to treat once an infection has started. Treatment often entails multiple visits to your veterinarian, which includes a bill as large as the problem. There are several preventative treatments available, but must be obtained from your veterinarian. Options for treatment include a traditional pill (typically given with some kind of food), a chewy bar, and even a topical treatment.

Your chosen method of prevention will determine how often treatment is required; it is essential to follow the prescribed schedule of treatment to keep your furry friend safe and healthy.

As a boarding, grooming and doggie daycare provider, we have assisted clients with getting their dogs to the Vet for check-ups. We have unfortunately seen more than a few cases where the heartworm prevention regiment wasn’t maintained, and we had to deliver the news their dog is infected with heartworm disease.

Heartworm Early Detection

Unfortunately, once a dog is infected, heartworms can be very difficult for the owner to catch; the signs mirror those of other canine ailments. These symptoms include:

  • Dry chronic cough
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low energy levels

CAUTION: If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms for more than 72 hours, be sure to see your Vet.

Before your Vet will start a prevention program with your dog, he or she will do a blood test to make sure your pet doesn’t already have an infection. Heartworm Disease can only be verified through this blood work, so be sure to keep an eye open for changes in your dog’s behavior, and get him to the veterinarian early if you suspect she may be infected.

A regular grooming routine is a critical piece of catching heartworm disease early. More than just bathing, regularly brushing your companion’s coat and keeping a watchful eye for insect bites will help you connect the dots if your dog’s behavior changes compared to when he or she received a bit. If you’re unsure about what to look for, consider enlisting the services of a professional dog groomer who can point out when these appear.

Owner of Advantage Pet Center, Ann Stewart has the pleasure of working with dogs, cats, lizards, and guinea pigs, just to name a few, by offering doggie daycare, cat and dog grooming, and pet boarding for all varieties of pets. Ann is continually looking for ways to help the owners of these animals maintain a happy home for the entire family.

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Apr 27, 2011 | 0 | Uncategorized

The Importance Of Early Socialisation

By Emma Hope

Nothing, I repeat nothing, is more important than early socialisation for your puppy. There are many that will tell you that basic obedience comes first. It doesn’t! Trust me on this, teaching sit, stay, lie etc will be so much easier if you have your dogs full attention for a few minutes and you are never going to have that if he is off investigating or running away from things that he has never encountered before.

Your puppy has five very important senses. These are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Socialisation stimulates all of these senses. Not only that but very early socialisation prepares your puppy to deal with new situations that he will encounter throughout his lifetime.

During my years as a dog trainer I came to realise that poor socialisation in the early days is the number one cause of behaviour problems in not just puppies but older dogs too. I cannot stress enough how vitally important it is to stimulate those five senses by exposing your dog to lots of new situations and experiences in the first weeks of his life.

Our own dog Ted is virtually bomb proof. He was very sick as a puppy and only just pulled through but from the minute he was better I took him everywhere. He had to be carried as he hadn’t had his vaccinations at that point but nevertheless, I took him everywhere. I carried him through the busy shopping centre, I sat at bus stations with him, walked along some of the busiest roads, visited friends houses, exposed him to water, took him to the busiest dog park and even sat on a bench watching the noisiest road works. I knew that it was vital that Ted was exposed to all the things that he would be likely to encounter in everyday life. Ted is a very well adjusted three year old now. He is not frightened of anything at all. Not one thing. He doesn’t like the hoover but he is in no way frightened of it. He’s not even frightened of fireworks. He is confident and bold. He will approach danger or any threat without a second thought if any member of our family needs protecting.

I don’t believe that I was just lucky with Ted. I put in hours and hours of socialisation and training for him and it has given him a quality of life that he might not have had. How many times do you hear someone say “he’s frightened of his own shadow but he’s happy.” Is he? Is he really? Try living with anxiety your whole life, how happy would you be!

I need to add at this point that you absolutely must not, under any circumstances, nurture any emotion that your puppy shows signs of during socialisation. You need to make him realise that it’s the most natural thing in the world that he is being exposed to. For example, on the day Ted and I watched the loud road works he started to shake slightly. Every fibre of your being wants to stroke him and talk in that comforting baby way that we do to children. Do not do it! Do not stroke or alter your normal voice in any way at all. Just talk to him in your usual voice, relax and stay calm. You will see your puppy relax into the situation in no time at all. If you stroke your puppy and talk in a higher pitched voice, you are essentially reinforcing that it’s okay to be nervous of what he is experiencing. It’s not okay. You need to work through it until it becomes the most natural thing in the world.

In the first twelve weeks (sixteen at a push) of your puppies life he is like a sponge. He absorbs information more during that time than at any other time of his life. Just like babies do. Do not waste those weeks. Go out and stimulate those wonderful senses of his and be proud that you are giving him the greatest start in life. It’ll pay dividends.

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Apr 26, 2011 | 0 | Puppies, Training

Handling Poop Bags the New Way

By Kay Ringelstetter

Picking up dog poop and removing it so others don’t step in it is now made easier. And we must do this every time, always carrying our poop bags, so that we are ready. Dog waste is a danger to our environment and to our health and it is a real nuisance to many people as it is stepped in and then tracked into homes and vehicles. So we must be responsible pet owners. Our job has just become easier because there is now a new way to take care of pet feces.

We must always be prepared by carrying products to pick up the dog poop. Plastic grocery bags or the purchased sandwich bags work fine or we may choose to buy the various authentic dog waste bags or even the waste bags dispenser. We can stuff our products in our pockets, but a much better option is to use a dog waste bags carrier. These dog pouches allow room for the empty bags as well as room for dog training supplies. One new carrier that is now available even has a clip for a dog poop bags dispenser.

Once our pet has passed the feces, we must immediately pick it up. The sooner the better, before it has time to settle. We place a hand into the bag, grab the bottom of the bag with our fingers and then pick up the mess on the ground. If on concrete, we must gingerly lift the feces directly up from the surface and try to leave as little behind as possible. If on grass, we make more of a clawing motion with our fingers and try to get as far under the mess as possible and then lift it up.

Then you we use the other hand and pull the top of the bag over our fist and retain the dog poop inside the bag. We tie the end of the bag tightly and place the entire bag into the interior pocket of the carrier for poop bags. It will now be well protected from breakage and from the sight of others, including ourselves. Out of sight and out of mind. This carrier provides a much better option than carrying our poop bag out in the open by hand or attached to our leash. Not only is there a real possibility of getting a tear or rip in the bag if we choose that old option, but it is also such a very ugly sight. We know it is the way we have been doing it, but there is this new and better way now.

Another new and better way is to now use hand sanitizer. Dog waste is a common carrier of eleven diseases, including 5 types of worms. Although we may not have touched anything, we should not take that chance. We wash our hands after using the toilet. We must sanitize our hands now. One new carrier for dog poop bags actually has a side pocket which holds an inverted bottle of hand sanitizer, so this new procedure is remembered and made easy.

So there is a new way to carry dog waste bags that now makes the job of picking up dog poop rather simple and easy. The carrier for dog poop bags will hold everything we need for our dog waste and also other needed items. A new and unique dog pouch for holding poop bags, empty and full, for dog training supplies, for treats, for hand sanitizer, and for more will help us with our tasks as responsible pet owners.

Please consider this new, discreet and safe way to carry your poop bags.
This convenient dog pouch will safely and discreetly carry your poop bags, and also has interior and exterior pockets for empty plastic bags, dog training supplies and an inverted bottle of hand sanitizer. It also has a handy clip for a dog poop bags dispenser, keys or a flashlight. This is a new way to carry your dog waste bags which is convenient, discreet, and sanitary.

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Apr 25, 2011 | 0 | Looking after your dog

Limping Dogs Often Have a Dog Cruciate Ligament Injury

By Dr James St Clair

When you have a limping dog, it can be very discouraging trying to learn what is essentially triggering them to limp and where exactly the concern is. Oftentimes pet owners come up empty handed when they are feeling their dog to seek out the problem because their canine never demonstrated to them exactly where the discomfort is. If this is the case and your canine has been limping in excess of 3 days, it is advisable to contact your veterinarian and schedule a visit.

As this report expresses in its heading, all too often limping dogs already have an injury to their Cranial Cruciate Ligament within the knee, more commonly referenced as the ACL. The reason why we make this statement is that research indicates that the most commonly encountered orthopedic injury in dogs is to their ACL ligament. Before we talk about this remarkably common injury, we have to first take a step back and ask ourselves a few questions.

Is the limp in the front or back leg? Is it an occasional limp or continuous on a daily basis? Did your canine have a recent accident or incident that specifically induced the limping?

If it is a front leg limp, then is are a full list of diverse issues that we could discuss. What follows is a quick listing of general problems associated with the front leg limping. The most frequent soft tissue injuries are muscle strains and Tendonitis in relation to the front legs. The most typical orthopedic troubles are dog arthritis, Elbow Dysplasia, Panosteitis, Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) and lastly, cancer. Again, if your canine is limping for over 3 days, I suggest you have them examined by a licensed veterinarian who will be able to better diagnose the problem.

In regards to the hind legs, as previously stated, the most prevalent challenges revolve surrounding the dog’s Cruciate Ligament. In fact that isn’t always the scenario. This is a listing of a few of the other prospective challenges revolving around the hind legs, such as canine arthritis, Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Panosteitis, OCD and yes, cancer once again.

Detecting the exact reason as to why a dog is limping is often a difficult task for even the best veterinarian. Many times getting an answer requires your dog to be sedated for a total orthopedic examination and in many scenarios x-rays will have to be done to get a proper diagnosis.


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Apr 24, 2011 | 1 | Dog health

Dogs 101: Labradoodle

For More Dogs 101 Check Out: If you like cute and playful dogs, then you’ll love this designer breed!

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Apr 23, 2011 | 0 | Dog breed information

Busy Bee Dogs – Easter Dog Story

Clever dogs celebrate Easter in this fun-loving greeting.

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Apr 22, 2011 | 0 | Videos

Joint Pain in Dogs

By Barb Mueller

Many dogs, regardless of their breed, will develop some form of joint pain. Some may also develop dog arthritis as they advance in years, just as people do when they get older. There are some common signs of joint pain your can look for in your dog:

1) Hesitating or having trouble climbing stairs
2) Joints that are swollen
3) Limping
4) Having problems getting up

There are many 10 classifications of causes of joint pain in dogs:

1) Fractures that involve the joint
2) Dietary and hormonal disease
3) Muscle, tendon or ligament diseases
4) Degenerative joint disease
5) Developmental disorders
6) Metabolic disorders
7) Cancer
8) Degenerative spinal joint disease
9) Congenital disorders
10) Inflammatory joint disease

The two most common causes for joint pain in dogs is hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is genetic and can affect even young dogs. It is an inherited disorder that results in abnormal formation of the hip socket. It is more common in medium to large pure bred dogs, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, or Rottweilers, but there are some small breeds such as the spaniels and pugs that are prone to this disorder. If the symptoms are mild, there are medications that can help. If it is a severe case, surgery is an option to consider.

Dog Arthritis

Dog Arthritis, or referred to as Canine Arthritis, causes the loss of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones in a movable joint. When the cartilage wears away with age, the bone is exposed and rubs against the other bones, which causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation.

Tips to Help Your Dog’s Joint Pain

Keep your dog at a healthy weight. This may be the most important thing that you as an owner can do for your pet. Up to half of pets in the US are overweight, and this extra weight just aggravates a joint condition your dog may have. Just by getting rid of a few pounds can decrease the pain.

Your pet needs exercise, just as you do. It will provide a good range of motion and muscle building, in addition to helping them lose weight. It is important to exercise every day to get their bodies built up. If they go for several days without exercising, this can cause even more soreness in their joints when they are active again.

Make sure your dog has a comfortable dog bed that will support him. There are many orthopedic dog beds on the market now. This can help your dog get a good night’s sleep.

Make changes to their diet that includes nutrients. There are vitamin and mineral supplements you can purchase for your dog. You can also get him special treats that are filled with vitamins.

Before making any changes, make an appointment with your veterinarian to get your dog properly diagnosed. He will be able to offer additional suggestions that will help control your dog’s pain.

Barb Mueller cares about the environment and your dog’s comfort. For a large selection of dog beds, including orthopedic dog beds, visit These pet beds are made in the USA and are made of high quality eco friendly materials. In addition, we have eco friendly dog toys, cat toys, and other pet products.

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Apr 21, 2011 | 2 | Dog health

Jack Russell Training: Teach Your Jack Russell To Play Frisbee or Flyball

By Lea Mullins

As dogs originally bred for hunting, Russells are known for being fearless, active, and intelligent dogs. Since they often have a lot of pent up energy, it is best to have them engage in various activities to avoid potentially aggressive or destructive behavior. Common activities for Russells include playing Frisbee or flyball.

Jack Russell training may pose as a challenge to many since most Jack are blatantly strong-willed. However, with patience, the right attitude, and the right technique, Russell training should not be difficult at all. As with any method, be sure to understand the true meaning of being a pack leader. A typical Jack Russell will instinctively try to manhandle its master, but so long as you establish early on that YOU are the pack leader, your Jack Russell will learn to be happy to obey your commands. Just like any other dog, Jack enjoy being able to please their masters.

When it comes to Jack Russell training involving a Frisbee, first, you must introduce the Frisbee as a toy to your dog. It would help to associate the Frisbee with a treat to get your dog excited about the activity you are about to introduce. Once you get your Jack Russell comfortable with the Frisbee, start playing tug-of-war with your Jack using the Frisbee. This encourages the dog to have the Frisbee in its possession whenever possible. Eventually, whenever you throw that Frisbee, your Russell will learn to be more than eager to retrieve it for you.

The next part of this little dog training bit is to teach your dog to release that Frisbee after retrieving it. You may have noticed how most dogs often retrieve objects and end up simply running away with it. For this activity, you want your dog to actually bring that Frisbee back to you. Once it retrieves the Frisbee, take it from its mouth and give it a treat. Do not reward your Russell for simply chasing after the Frisbee; give it a treat only when it brings the Frisbee back to you.

Flyball is a dog sport that involves having your dog race against other dogs along a course that includes a line of hurdles that leads to a box that releases a ball or Frisbee. Your Jack Russel’s goal is to retrieve and bring that ball or Frisbee back to you as fast as possible. The same method of Jack Russell training is used in this activity, except that some trainers opt to do it in a backward sequential manner. Meaning, your concern should be getting your dog to retrieve the ball or Frisbee first then having it return to you while passing through the hurdles. Later on, it will be almost second nature to your Russell to go through all those hurdles in order to get to the ball or Frisbee.


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Apr 20, 2011 | 0 | Dog breed information, Training