Dog Home Tips and Tricks

Here’s some other tips in caring and training your dog. 

The Crate As A Safe Den 

  • People use crates for lots of reasons, like to help with housetraining or traveling. Our dogs use theirs to sleep in at night. But, the crates are also a great place of escape when a dog's world seems scary. When there is a big thunderstorm, the crate is the perfect size and shape to crawl into and feel protected from the noise and lights. Even a socialized dog that is used to having three or four people come over to visit can be overwhelmed when all the relatives arrive for a holiday - crates come to the rescue. 
  • Crates not only give your dog a place to feel extra safe, they come in handy to actually keep them out of danger. When there are workmen in the backyard, the dogs feel secure in their crates, but they also won't accidentally be allowed to run in the street or get hurt by nails or power tools. 
  • For thousands of years, dogs have had the instinct to den - so providing them with a safe den seems like the least we owners can do. The crate is cleaner than a hole in the ground, and it has the added benefit of being portable and lockable. Dogs are less likely to bark when they can see less, and they feel more protected when "danger" can't see them. What can make a wire crate feel as safe and cozy as a den includes a soft pad to sleep on and a tie-on cover. We prefer the carrier because it is solid (with ventilation holes). With either one, you just need it to be large enough for the dog to be able to change position. A larger one feels less like a safe den and adds the risk of it being used as a bathroom. 

Act Like a Dog When Puppy Bites

  • Puppies bite everything when they are getting new teeth, which helps the teeth come in. But, you do have to stop him from biting people. The best discipline is the kind that his mom would use. 
  • If puppy bites, grab his muzzle with your hand and say no in a mean voice - "in his face." Then leave. Playtime is over. 
  • If puppy doesn't get the message with this, pick him up by the scruff of his neck and shake his body while you tell him no in a mean voice. And, again, playtime is over. 
  • For the really stubborn puppy, put him on his back and hold him down until he calms down and gets the message that you are top dog. If he is little, you can do this in your arms. For the larger puppy, do this on the floor. 
  • Playing tug of war with a puppy encourages him to use his teeth in play. So can wrestling. Instead of these trouble-causing games, you must show him in the beginning that you are top dog. And that goes for everyone in your family. Your family is in danger of future aggression and real biting from a dog that thinks that he is equal to or above any of you. 

Emergency Remedy for Swallowed Objects 

  • What do you do if your puppy (or mischievous older dog) gets into your holiday decorations and eats some of the glass ornaments? This potentially lethal mishap can darken even the brightest holiday season. 
  • THE PROCEDURE: BEFORE the holiday go to a pharmacy and buy a box of cotton balls. Be sure that you get COTTON balls...not the cosmetic puffs that are made from man-made fibers. Also, buy a quart of half-and-half coffee cream and put it in the freezer. Should your dog eat glass ornaments. Defrost the half-and-half and pour some in a bowl. Dip cotton balls into the cream and feed them to your dog. 
  • Dogs under 10 lbs should eat 2 balls which you have first torn into smaller pieces. Dogs 10-50 lbs should eat 3-5 balls and larger dogs should eat 5-7. You may feed larger dogs an entire cotton ball at once. Dogs seem to really like these strange treats and eat them readily. As the cotton works its way through the digestive tract it will find all the glass pieces and wrap itself around them. Even the teeniest shards of glass will be caught and wrapped in the cotton fibers and the cotton will protect the intestines from damage by the glass. Your dog's stools will be really weird for a few days and you will have to be careful to check for fresh blood or a tarry appearance to the stool. If either of the latter symptoms appear you should rush your dog to the vet for a checkup but, in most cases, the dogs will be just fine. 

Some dogs get pretty scared in the bathtub 

They jump around, slip and fall, shiver and shake, and are simply miserable. In the process, you can get even wetter than they do. You spend most of the bathtime pushing and pulling just to keep him from jumping out of the tub and within your reach. 

  • Instead of a bath, give him a shower. This is especially good if you have a hand- held shower head. Your dog should feel much more relaxed and less scared standing on firm ground than in a tub of water. You will probably stay much drier and may even get less of a backache. Your dog can get just as clean and get a more thorough rinse, and the wetting and rinsing process is so much quicker. Dry him off in the shower also so, when he shakes, most of this water will stay inside the shower instead of all over your bathroom. 

Feeding your dog table scraps is not always healthy 

Some people food is not good for dogs (especially chocolate!), some people food is too fattening, and any amount of people food he eats lessens the amount of dog food he will eat - lessening his intake of the nutrients he needs. 

If you run out of dog food, cat food will do in a pinch. And, it contains even more vitamins and minerals than dog food. ☺ 

Does your dog really have doggy odor? That is, even after a bath? What is causing the strong odor just might be an infection in his ears! 

If your dog doesn't like his nails clipped or the trip to the vet to get his 

shots, do your very best not to call him to you just before these things happen.
Instead, just walk over and pick him up (or connect the leash to his collar if he is too large) and go. This way, he won't connect coming to you when you call him with the things he doesn't like - which could stop him from coming to you at all. 

  • By the same token, if you call your dog and he runs through the entire house before coming, don't scold him when he does finally get to you. You don't want him to think he'll get a scolding every time he comes when you call him. In fact, start praising him as soon as he starts to come, which should encourage him instead. 

Some dogs have trouble coping when they are left alone. 

You'll know if yours does if he was destructive while you were gone or if your neighbors tell you he barked all day. You can teach him to cope, while reassuring him that you will come back - both leading to much better behavior and a much happier dog. 

  • Just like with his first "stay," make the session so short that he is able to succeed. Then, make each session a little longer. He will relate your keys, coat or purse with your long absences, so be sure to take them as you normally would. When your dog is calm and relaxed, leave the room. Give no good-byes, and don't make a fuss. Take your keys and go into the bathroom for two minutes. When you return, ignore him, put the keys down, and go back to your quiet time together. Don't make it a big deal before or after, and he may not either. Also, the time was short enough for him to put together your leaving and returning. Later, make your bathroom stay last about five minutes, and eventually get up to at least ten minutes. Next time, leave the house and stay out for about two minutes. Then, continue these sessions until you are gone longer and longer. After each session, he should feel less panic when you leave, less anxiety while he is alone, and more confidence that you will return. Your coming and going will eventually become just a normal occurrence. It is also helpful to have a few of his toys in the room in case he feels the need to chew on something. 

A dog's excess tears can be caused by many things, including blocked tear ducts, abnormal eyelashes, corneal ulcers, a tumor or cyst on the lids or eyes, a foreign object lodged behind the eyelids, dyes in dog food, or dyes in dog bowls. 

  • A wet area on the face, no matter what the underlying cause of the wetness, can be a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. And, bacterial infections commonly occur at the tear ducts, causing excess tears. Ptirsporum, a red yeast bacteria, is at the root of most yeast infections, and a yeast infection is the most common cause of tear stains. Tear stains also often occur at the same time as a gum infection or ear infection. Staining can also occur on a dog's paws from licking and around his mouth from infected saliva. 
  • You could continually wash away your dog's tear stains, but that affects only the result not the cause. Putting a teaspoon of Natural Apple Cider Vinegar per quart of water in your dog's water bowl can clear up most active yeast infections and prevent future infections. Apple cider vinegar tablets can be used if your dog refuses to drink the treated water. A dog's (and human's) system should be PH balanced (between acid and alkaline), and apple cider vinegar adds the acid that many of us are lacking. 
  • Apple cider vinegar (in its natural form from a health food store, not the pasteurized version from the grocery store) is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, and deodorant; helps digestion and to remove tooth tartar; prevents tooth decay and hair loss (even mange), prevents and heals gum disease and skin problems; and will discourage fleas. 

Puppies are not too smart. After all, they soon think of you as their mother and of themselves as human. 

Well, maybe that is smart afterall since both draw you two closer. But, they simply don't know the difference between that great rope with knots that pet stores sell for tug of war and your favorite shoe. This is where you need to show your superior intellect. You need to never, ever let anyone play tug of war with the puppy or you need to teach him to let go on command right from the very beginning. Otherwise, he will dig his teeth into your favorite shoe deeper and deeper as you try to grab it away from him. Tug of war can also cause him to become possessive enough to snap someday when someone tries to take a toy from him. 

  • To get a dog let go of one item simply offer him another, which can be a toy or treat, while you give him a command ("drop it" or "let go" or "out"). Praise him the second he lets the item drop. If you don't pick up the item, you eliminate his desire to guard it. Let him pick it back up, you offer something else while saying the command, and praise him when he lets go. 
  • Learning to let go on command could even save his life someday if he were to pick up something poisonous or sharp. You may even need to have him release his bite on a person someday. 

You will know when your dog's digestive system is too alkaline by the yellow spots on your lawn. 

  • A dose of one teaspoon to one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (depending on the size of the dog) per day will correct the pH imbalance and should solve the problem. The apple cider vinegar can be added to the dog's water or put directly on his food. Two tablespoons of tomato juice on the dog's food twice a day will have the same effect. 
  • Adding apple cider vinegar to your dog's diet has many other health benefits. And, you can use any vinegar to remove skunk odor by rubbing it full strength into his fur. As you may have guessed, tomato juice will also work. 

Chasing bicycles can be dangerous for your dog and the cyclist. He starts because it looks like fun. He continues because he wins. So, set him up to lose. 

  • Arrange for a friend to ride past your house while you are outside with your dog. When your dog starts chasing the bicycle, your friend should stop suddenly and yell "No!" as he squirts him in the face with a water gun. If your dog loves water, your friend can use an air horn instead. A third choice is for your friend to drop a sealed can containing lots of coins right in front of the dog. Your dog won't be expecting any of these things, and he won't like any of the sudden "shocks." Most importantly, he loses!

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