Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How Many Sleeping Positions Does Your Dog Have?

While Coal sleeps without a fuss, Puppy twists and turns like a self-cooking pancake. 

Hey, pups and friends! How many sleeping positions do you get yourself into during nappy time?
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Keep Your Pets Safe Around Your Swimming Pool (Guest Post)

We interrupt our weekly programming with this guest post by Kaitlin Gardner on canine pool safety.

Dog swimming
By Prachya Singhto [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
It may be something most backyard pool (and pet) owners overlook, but the fact is that not all dogs are natural swimmers. Additionally, having a backyard pool does present a risk—even to animals that are comfortable in the water. But there are some easy, inexpensive ways to ensure that your pets stay safe around your pool. Here are a few links to some great ideas for blending pets and pools:

A Few Simple Steps

For any pet that is comfortable in the water, especially many breeds of dogs, a cool pool on a hot day is a welcome sight. What’s more, getting in is easy! But keep in mind that dogs don’t necessarily know how to get out of a pool. Many pool owners have had to rescue perfectly good swimmers because their dogs insist on trying to struggle out of the pool on one of the edges, which is nearly impossible for any dog and may result in injured paws and claws.

Dog Swimming Pool - geograph.org.uk - 90401
David Stowell [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Before you allow your dog free access to your pool, train him as you would for any other task. With a few treats in hand, leash your dog and walk him over to the steps in the shallow end. As you both enter the water together, he will likely try to paddle without even using the first step. Still, try to get him to stand on the first step before you unhook his leash. Then let him paddle around the shallow end.

Dog fetching ball in pool
By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
After just a moment in the water, show him the treats and call him. Stand on the pool deck so that he must exit the pool using the first step. Once he is up on the deck, give him the treat. Enter the water again with him, but this time, stay in a little longer. When it is time to exit, again, stand on the deck and show him the treats. If he begins to swim over to the edge of the pool away from the steps, get back into the water and go toward him. Show him the treats and entice him over to the steps. Exit the pool and when he follows you out of the pool using the steps, give him a treat. This will reinforce the habit of exiting the pool at the shallow end.

Cover it up

Dog Days 2013 -- cooling off in the pool (9358350221) (2)
By vastateparksstaff [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Pool covers are another way to not only keep your pool’s heat contained, but keep unwanted critters (pets and wildlife) out of it. While solar covers that lay on the surface of the water won’t do much for keeping an animal out, they may even present further risk if the animal is caught underneath and is unable to find its way out. If you have a dog or other pets that don’t see well, it may be worth the added one-time investment in a more sturdy cover that is attached to a track on each side of the pool, which automatically covers the pool tightly and securely. Other covers that roll out may also be attached to the pool deck.

Fencing Options

To keep unwanted animals (and people!) out of your pool with no maintenance and just a one-time expense, it may be wise to install a “play-pen” style fence around the perimeter of your pool. These fences contain the pool and pool deck (including portions of grass or flowerbeds) and can also feature a self-closing gate that shuts securely.

When choosing the height and style of your fencing, think about your dog’s habits and abilities. Small dog only? Large dog that can jump or dig? Of course, if you have small children in addition to dogs or other animals that need protecting, a five-foot fence with a secure latch is a perfect solution.

Author's Bio:

Kaitlin Gardner started AnApplePerDay.com to further her passion for a family friendly, green living lifestyle. She is married to her college sweetheart and lives in Pennsylvania. She and her husband enjoy going for long hikes, to get out and enjoy nature. She is working on her first book about ways to live an eco-friendly, healthy, natural life.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to Train Your Dog to Use a Crate

Crating your dog can seem a little harsh at first, especially when you consider shutting your precious puppy away! However crate training has been found to be beneficial for dogs as it promotes a range of advantages:

  • Provides a safe place for your pet to feel secure
  • Encourage bowel and bladder control – dogs don’t like to mess where they sleep/eat
  • Perfect for travelling; using a crate keeps you both safe and secure in the car
  • Great to ensure your pet doesn’t cause any damage when you aren’t around to supervise him.

Dogs were originally pack animals that lived in small dens for safety and comfort, so they like to have a safe place to retreat to. A crate can replicate this, and provide a place of his very own. For young dogs, or those who get bored easily, this can also mean you can leave him for short periods without the risk of carpets or furniture being chewed.

Never leave your dog in a crate for too long.
A key point to remember, is that the crate should not be used as a punishment. You want your dog to feel safe and comforted in his crate, and be eager to go inside. Associating it with negative connotations will mean he is reluctant to sit inside. 

Ready to give it a Go?

So, when you feel the time is right to crate train your dog follow the guidelines below for a fuss free transition;

Choose the right size for your dog. Remember, if he’s a puppy he will grow, and fast – so choose a crate with growing room. Make sure you opt for one that your dog can fully stand up in, and turn around easily. There is lots of choice in stores or online, Swell Pets have a huge range of crates that are perfect from Chihuahuas to Dobermans.
Buchi's five-year-old wire crate
Make it comfortable and appealing. Add some soft bedding and even a favorite toy to make the crate feel and smell like home. At first just leave the crate door open and make little fuss, if he does go in, don’t close the door. Allow your dog to go in and out as he wishes. Remember, patience is the key here!

If in Doubt…Food!

If, after a while your dog isn’t interested, maybe try popping a few treats inside and around the crate. There’s very few dogs who can resist a tempting treat. Again patience is vital, so go at your dog’s pace.

Another idea is to put your dog’s food in the crate, right at the back. If he goes in to eat, this will form a positive link with the crate. When he is eating close the door, but once he has finished open it. This reinforces the link between food-crate-happy dog. Keep the door closed for slightly longer each time, to make him realize that the crate is a good place.

These Shih Tzus were just too excited about it. The moment I opened our new collapsible wire crate, off they went inside. Chooey even strikes a pose.
If you think your dog is happy in the crate, try leaving him for very short periods and build up slowly. 

If you don’t have much luck at first, don’t worry. Simply take time and patience to ensure your furry friend feels comfortable in his crate. With a little hard work and perseverance, he’ll soon be happily curled up inside.

Buchi: Get out of my crate, Chooey! I have an appointment with the pretty vet lady today.
Sorry I'm a little under the weather, bloggy friends. Buchi's immuno-compromised body requires tender, loving attention twice a day, seven days a week. 

On the bright side, it's been a month since we've visited our favorite vet. Although, we might have to drop by her place tomorrow since the itchies is getting worse again.
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