Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Reminder

No need to remind you all how bad most of our favorite Thanksgiving fare is for your dogs. Which raises the question, where is your dog during feast time? Is he sitting closely to Aunt Mary who simply can't resist those big brown, sad, hungry eyes, and is slipping turkey down to him throughout the meal? Is he hanging around the candy dish which was put out on the coffee table for easy access (for which he thanks you!)?

When you're having a dinner get-together I always suggest that your pup be in a safe, quiet environment, i.e., your room, in his crate (which should be in a quiet place) while guests arrive and get settled. Then he can certainly come out and say hello. This approach does a couple things. Makes sure "Fluffy" doesn't sneak out the door while folks are coming in for an unexpected walk about in the neighborhood, and two, he doesn't get to "practice" his greeting behavior if he's not properly schooled on how to be calm and happy instead of jumping and happy! Remember, the more practice he gets, the better he gets at it, either good or bad!

Once he's out, be sure you keep an eye on him. He's going to scope out his favorite, softest folks who will fall for his good looks and big eyes, trust me! Don't let him practice his wrong behavior when your back is turned. If his house manners are a bit iffy, keep him on a leash with you, or someone you trust. Take advantage of folks being around to reinforce how to be a calm happy dog!

When it's time to gather around the table, that's the time my dogs go back to their crates or room while we eat. Personally, I don't need to have $1,000 vet bill because of what he's been given to eat! That way, you can enjoy your meal with your family and friends and no one has to be "chastised" because they snuck a treat to your pup!

Of course, after the food is put away, your little party animal can most certainly come back out! My dogs love a party as there is all those folks there to pet them for hours!

My best to you and your families, both human and canine. Blessings and gratitude to you all.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Adding Another Dog

A common question I'm asked is, "should I add another dog to my house?" Answer is easy. First and foremost, is the dog you have now trouble free. This means, are there no fears, phobia's, aggression, or lack of training? Before you bring another dog into your house you should be absolutely sure that the dog(s) you have now are under control, obedience trained, housebroken and a joy to live with. Then, and only then, should you think further on the idea of bringing in a new dog. So often I've had folks get a dog when their "senior" dog still doesn't listen to foundation obedience (sit/stay/down/come!). I'm not saying you have to have an obedience champion in your house, but at least have a dog with a solid foundation under his/her "collar" and has no temperment issues that could be passed onto the incoming dog. Also, be sure that senior dog is healthy enough to enjoy or tolerate a new young one in the group. It's sad to see a 12 year old dog having to put up with a puppy in the house because the humans wanted a 'replacement" for when the senior dog leaves. Most older dogs would really prefer to retire in peace! That said, I do know of a few friends who's older dogs enjoy puppies to pieces and loved having the addition of a young one. Gauge it by your dog's needs - not yours!

And of course, always consider the fact that adding another dog means double the dollars going out for pet care, vet care, food, etc. And, now you have another dog to train. I always wait until my "puppy" is at least two years old before I consider getting another dog. By that time I know the young dog inside and out, and if he needs me for more training or attention, I'm aware and won't be adding a new dog till he's ready! So, think hard about adding another dog...and never buy a pet for your pet! Only get another dog if YOU want one, not to keep senior company!

Enjoy your "pack"..we sure do!