Properly socializing shy, timid dogs eliminates fear-based aggression. It also allows you and your furry friend to enjoy trips and activities together that are impossible with (and terrifying for) a fearful dog. Use these tips to design positive, productive training experiences that transform your bashful pup into a confident companion.

Six Tips for Training and Socializing a Shy Dog

Set the Place, Not the Pace

Introduce new people in a place where your dog feels safe, allowing the dog to make the first move, rather than letting strangers approach the animal. Visit with guests as usual and let your dog decide when and if introductions are necessary. Pushing too hard can cause the dog to react aggressively, so provide opportunities for your dog to socialize but don't force unwanted interactions with strangers.

Avoid Coddling

Resist the urge to calm a puppy that is showing fearful behavior, such as whimpering or whining. A soothing voice, gentle stroking and being picked up all unintentionally reward the dog for showing fear. Instead, ignore fearful behaviors that occur at inappropriate and unnecessary times.

Positive Reinforcement

Avoid rewarding unwanted behavior, but always praise shy dogs when they display confidence and bravery. Reward a timid dog with treats, attention and praise immediately after positive behaviors. Positive reinforcement is more effective than attempting to punish unwanted actions.

Treat After

When training a dog with treat or food rewards, always give a treat in clear response to appropriate behavior rather than using the treat in attempt to prompt the behavior. Tasty treats and real pet food can be effective for luring a dog into a situation outside their comfort level, but when the food distraction is gone, the dog may suddenly feel exposed and lash out or hide in fear.

One-on-One Training

Ironically, socialization training is best begun in private sessions rather than group classes. Learning and practicing basic obedience skills strengthens the bond between dog and owner, giving both the confidence to stay calm and trust each other later in more stressful and distracting socialization exercises.

Keep It Simple

Socializing dogs involves new experiences, as well as new people and animals. Exploring new sounds, sights, smells, textures, weather and tastes all build confidence. Things as simple as ice cubes, paper bags and opening umbrellas are interesting to puppies or under-socialized pets.

Proper training helps meek dogs face the world with excitement rather than fear. To set your pet up for success, allow your dog to set the pace during socialization activities and provide an escape route in case things get too intense. Curiosity will overcome trepidation with time and patience.

 

Emma Sturgis

Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer currently living in Boston. When not writing, she enjoys baking and indoor rock climbing. Find her on Google +

 

 

By Natalie Gomez 55 days ago at 12:00 am 0 Comments
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If your dog loves the outdoors, then it should come as no surprise to know that the areas where your pet runs around in is where ticks may also hang out. When you find a tick on your dog it’s important to get the little bugger off as soon as possible, but with careful handling. Rushing to remove it can create more problems for both you and your pet. Below explains some simple tips on helping you remove the tick safely at home. 

Removing Ticks from Dogs
Prepare a Tick Container
Before you go plucking the little suckers off your pet, prepare a container that has some rubbing alcohol in it to place the tick in once it’s been removed. Simply flushing it down the toilet or throwing it away in the garbage won’t kill it. Plus it’s best to hold on to the evidence in case your pet falls ill from any bites that it attained from the tick.

Have Someone Help You
If your dog isn’t one to sit patiently as you pluck and part through his/her fur looking for ticks, have someone help you hold him/her down to soothe and calm their nerves. This will make the process easier as you search and pluck out the ticks in the deeper parts of the fur.

Don’t Use Bare Hands
One important thing to remember when doing an at-home removal for ticks is to never do it with your bare hands. Always wear some latex or rubber gloves to protect your skin from direct contact with your pet’s infected area and away from any tick. The little suckers can carry infective agents that can seep through your skin and can get you sick. So keep those hands protected throughout the removal process.

Use Tweezers for Removal
Before pulling out any ticks from your dog, be sure to rub the infected area with rubbing alcohol to sanitize it. Use a pair of clean tweezers and grab the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible and pull straight up with an even pressure. Once removed place that tick in a container to keep it from escaping.

Clean and Praise Your Dog
Even when you remove a tick from your dog, sometimes part of its mouth can still get stuck within your pet’s skin. In the case that this happens, check the area for any redness or inflammation and if there is none go ahead and gently disinfect it. After all that plucking and cleaning be sure to praise and give your dog a treat for being patient enough during the removal process.

Removing ticks off your dog at home is a simple process, but sometimes that may not be enough for your pet. In case of any irritation or persistent ticks on your dog call a professional, like the ones at Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic for either an at-home visit or a direct appointment, to have your furry little friend checked out.

 

 Karleia SteinerKarleia Steiner is a freelance blogger. You can follow her on Google+ and Facebook.

 

 

By Natalie Gomez on May 20, 2014 at 10:16 am 0 Comments
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Old age creeps up on everyone, but for dogs it often comes way too soon. Often, people don't realize their dog is slowing down until the dog is very old. It's better to be aware and monitor your dog's health and behaviors in the earliest stages of old age. For the average dog, old age is considered to start around six to ten years of age.

Keeping up with Old Age

How to Care For a Senior Dog

Although old age is inevitable, there are some things that can slow it down and other things that can keep your older dog comfortable longer. As a minimum, there are three signs you should watch and three veterinary tests to keep up.

Personally Conducted Tests

1. Does your dog seem to have hearing or vision trouble?

Test your dog frequently and make note of changes: Does he respond to your voice? Does he bump into things? Does he seem to get lost in his own yard? Is it easier to sneak up on him? Don't rely on your own tests alone. Take the notes from your results to the veterinarian and let the doctor test your dog as well. The doctor will usually be able to notice changes sooner than you will.

2. Keep notes about your dog's activity and diet.

Watch for signs of arthritis, loss of hearing or sight, loss of appetite and unusual gait. If your dog is slow to come when called or seems to get lost in the yard, it could be a sign of deafness or vision trouble - or it could be a sign of senility. If your dog seems to lose its appetite, it could mean dental problems, digestion problems or pain. Tiring more easily and sleeping more are usually normal, but a sudden or dramatic change in either should also be mentioned to the veterinarian.

3. It's not always easy to know the source of the problem.

For that reason, it's recommended that aging dogs see their veterinarian every six months even if they seem to be doing well. The more frequent wellness checkup helps your veterinarian more readily notice slight changes and get to the root of the problem quickly. Many dogs have suffered for years, needlessly, because their owners simply didn't understand there was a problem. Older dogs may slow down but they still want attention, playtime, walks and treats. Any change in those desires is likely a symptom.

Be sure the veterinary examination is thorough. A senior dog's examination should always include the skin, joints, eyes, ears, feet and more frequent blood work. There are some areas the veterinarian should pay particular attention to:

Veterinarian Conducted Tests

4. Blood Work

More frequent blood work is necessary for senior dogs. Many vets recommend a baseline for blood work should be taken, depending on your vet's recommendation, when your dog is healthy and around five to seven years old. This will show your dog's natural blood profile, so the doctor can compare future changes against the baseline. From there, your veterinarian will suggest the frequency of blood work, based on your dog's overall health at the six-month examination.

5. X-Ray

In some cases, your veterinarian may suggest radiographs (x-rays) or other tests to better understand problems such as arthritis. These can show arthritis or other, more serious problems that could be masquerading as arthritis.

6. Skin Tests

A thorough skin examination should always be done. You can help with this by noticing and tracking any lumps, bumps or growths that you see when grooming and petting your dog. Most of these will be benign, but some will require attention or a biopsy. The biopsy is a minor procedure that allows the vet to send a sample from the growth to the lab to determine if there are cancerous cells in the growth.

There are challenges to living with a geriatric dog, but the end results are well worth any of the challenges. Enjoy your older dog in his twilight years and take the extra steps to keep him as healthy and comfortable as possible. When it's time, be ready to let go, and stay with him to the end.

 

Erika Remmington

This article was written by Erika Remmington. Erika is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and 18 month old daughter. Click here to contact Erika.

 

 

Information Credit to Central Animal Emergency Clinic, a Vancouver Veterinary Hospital.

By Natalie Gomez on May 13, 2014 at 10:00 am 0 Comments
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