Sunday, January 31, 2010

Exercise Limits?

Is there such a thing as TOO much exercise for a dog? For puppies?

According to Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, he has always adhered to the theory that, as long as you are careful, the dog is the best one to tell you what is too much exercise. Puppies often do not have enough muscle tone to take long runs, but there are always exceptions. Most dogs and puppies will tell you when they have hit their limit, and it is important to resist pushing them beyond this point.

Even if your dog or puppy wants to keep going, some things you should be cautious about are:

1. Be sure that your dog does not overheat. If you are too hot, assume they are. Provide water or try to run in a cooler area.

2. Be consistent with exercise. The weekend marathon after a week of couch potato life is very hard on the joints.

3. Be cautious with your dog's feet. Running on cement (especially hot cement) can cause sloughing of the foot pads, so try to have breaks on softer surfaces or at least work your dog up to the harder surfaces to give them a chance to form the necessary calluses.

4. Be aware of your dog's limits. Until you understand your dog’s stamina, be sure that you are able to stop when your dog starts to lag behind. (i.e., Take the short route 5 times instead of the long route once.) If you feel that he or she is not able to go as far as they should, consult a vet to see if there is a reason for the intolerance.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Well Do You Know Your Dog?

How well do your know your dog? Really.

You know him well enough to know that those bacon flavor biscuits are his favorite. That worn out spot on the far end of the couch is his favorite place to sleep. You know that he seems genuinely pleased to see you when you get home from work each day. When he scratches at the door and gives you "the look", you definitely know it's time to get the leash. You know a lot about your dog. But do you know him well enough to make him really happy?

Yes, a dog needs a good bone, a soft bed and a loving companion to take care of him. But for a dog to be really happy, all those wonderful things simply aren't enough. He also needs to be interested, amused, entertained and challenged. A dog needs to have some fun to make him truly happy.

Yes, a dog needs to play. Playing makes a dog happy. Toys are important. Quality playtime with you is important, too. I'm sure you spend a lot of time playing with your dog, and you buy him toys that he can play with when you're not around. But do you buy him the right kind of toys to hold his interest? Do you do the right kind of activities with him to make him really happy?

All dogs are different. They have different styles of play. Some dogs like to play in many different ways while other dogs are only interested in one certain type of play.

Do you know what kind of play makes your dog happy?

Think about it. Some dogs won't fetch. They simply will not do it. Some dogs like to cuddle. Some love to tug. Some really get into a challenging toy that they have to "figure out" and some dogs just want a toy that squeaks. All dogs are different.

To make your dog really happy, you must understand how he likes to play. Then, you can buy him the kind of toys that will actually hold his interest and play the kind of games that will bring him real joy. Find out what stimulates your dog. Good satisfying play is important for a dog's mental and physical health. Engage your dog in the kind of play activities he loves and you will make him truly happy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Balanced Life

Just like humans, animals need a certain "balance" in their lives. Again, just like us, pets can become easily stressed.

Our pets exhibit stress in various ways ... some are easy to see, while others can be a bit challenging to recognize. One way that you can help alleviate undue stress for your pets is to balance the play and relaxation in their lives.

Studies have shown that playing relaxing music for your pet can help decrease stress behaviors, especially when it is played following stressful situations.

According to Webster's Dictionary, "stress" is a constraining force or influence of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium. When you think about stress, it is important to remember that not all stress is considered "bad".

To help bring balance back to your pet's life, you can play relaxing music after you have finished a fun-filled play session. It will help bring your pet's heart rate back to a normal rhythm and alleviate tension in the body, just like it does for us.

Studies in shelters have shown that music helps relieve stress in dogs. In shelters, relaxing music was played after feeding and walking times. These are very exciting times in a shelter ... and you routinely see dogs jumping up and down, barking and getting very excited. When relaxing music was played after the tasks were completed, it was common to see the dogs sit down, relax and even curl up for a nap. This new routine has now been implemented within shelters across the nation.

A great music CD that can help soothe your pet's mood is the Music My Pet CD. It was specifically designed to calm pets, based on the results of those recent pet anxiety studies. The music on this CD uses only those sounds and instruments that were proven to relax pets. After playing with your pet you can turn on this great CD and both of you can relax. This CD is also quite helpful to calm pets during stressful situations, like when they are left home alone or during thunderstorms.

So remember, the less stress for you and your pet, the happier you both will be.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What About Pets in Haiti?

I have read about the many relief efforts in Haiti, but they are mostly focused on human needs and issues, which are considerable. However, I could not help but think about the poor pets.

It appears that there are several U.S and international groups that are banding together to help the animals, but it may be a few weeks before aid workers are sent.

According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) website, they have joined the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH). ARCH is a coalition created to address the needs of animals in Haiti following the country's devastating earthquake.

The ASPCA pledged an initial $25,000 to support ARCH's relief efforts.

The ASPCA indicated that they plan to extend their full support to Haiti's animal victims by joining forces and collaborating with other organizations. USA Today indicated that a team of animal responders is awaiting access to Haiti to begin animal relief with medications, food, bandages, and other supplies. There are millions of goats, livestock, stray dogs and other animals affected.

So relief is coming for the animals. We hope that it comes in time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

German Shepherds - Popular Breed

The German Shepherd is the third most popular dog breed according to the AKC.

Here are some pros and cons about choosing a German Shepherd for a pet:

They are often wonderful dogs that may be considered "serious" and maybe even a little "shy around strangers."

Loyal companions, they love their owners and are devoted pets. Be sure to get your German Shepherd from a reputable breeder and closely looking at the pup's parents personalities. Some new lines of German shepherds are nervous and have been associated with "fear biting." Others can have dominant personalities with a potential for aggression.

Training is very important with this breed since they are very smart and are eager to please. There is not better dog than a happy, healthy, well-trained German Shepherd.

They do have some genetic hip problems so ask the breeder if the dog and both parents have certified hips.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Golden Retrievers - Popular Breed

Golden Retrievers are the second most popular dog according to the AKC.

Here are some pros and cons about choosing a Golden Retriever as a pet:

They are great dogs, sweet, social, and can be very laid back. Unfortunately, because of the breed's increased popularity there has been some in-breeding and this has caused some lines to be less consistently laid back.

Some of the breed lines can be very nervous, anxious, hyperactive and aggressive. If you choose this breed, it is important to go to a reputable breeder and look closely at the parent's personalities whenever possible. I would also call references from previous litters to find out the adult personalities of the dogs. Golden Retrievers, like the Labrador Retriever, require plenty of attention, exercise, and stimulation-especially during the first 2 years of life. Their hair is long and may require more care than other shorthaired breeds.

Generally, these dogs are happiest if they are given the opportunity for lots of exercise. They make great companions if you like to play fetch in the yard or enjoy a loyal jogging partner. As with any large dog, if they become ill or injured they can be hard to carry or manipulate if they require assistance.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Labrador Retriever - Popular Breed

Did you know that Labrador Retrievers are the most popular dog breed?

Their personalities are generally good with kids and they can be wonderful family dogs.

Here are some pros and cons about choosing a Lab for your pet.

Be aware that there are many breed lines that are very hyperactive and eager to chew on everything, as well as some that are known to be aggressive and have the potential to be fear biters. Be sure to get your Labrador Retriever from a reputable breeder and closely look at the parent's personalities for indications of these traits.

An important consideration before owning a Lab is evaluating how much available time you have for exercise, grooming, and training. Labs are known to mature late – they can act like a puppy for 2 to 4 years.

While some pet owners may love this trait, many pet owners who wanted a very calm, laid-back pet wonder, "When is he going to grow up?" It is important to make sure you have the time, interest, and space to give a Labrador Retriever plenty of exercise and stimulation.

If you do not have the time or interest to give a Lab the proper amount of play and exercise, then this breed is not for you. In addition, this breed does a fair bit of shedding and it is important to regularly brush your dog if you don't want hair all over your home. Finally, training is very important in Labs. They are smart and eager to please but you will need to teach them what you expect. A well-trained Lab is a wonderful pet!

Labrador Retrievers are also known to have several orthopedic problems e.g. hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia and osteochondrosis. They also can get some heart problems. Genetic predispositions such as these make choosing your dog from a reputable breeder that much more important.

Although this opinion discusses many of the negative aspects of this breed, it is still one of my favorites. Take time to choose the right one and give him what he needs to be happy and you will have a very special dog. Just remember, you'll need to make sure you eat your "Wheaties" to keep up with this breed!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Problems on the Walk?

Many people don't take their dogs on as many walks as they should because they have issues keeping their dog under control. Whether it's pulling, lunging, or other problem behaviors, there's hope!

Here are The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan's tips for a successful walk:

Be aware of your energy and body language. Make sure you are communicating a message that says, 'I am the pack leader!' Keep your head up and your shoulders back. Think positive, and envision the walk going well. You might be surprised at the results.

Keep the leash short – but not tight. This simple tip can save you a lot of headache. Flexi-leashes and other longer leashes make it harder for you to communicate with your dog and easier for her to go wherever she wants. But, don't forget, it's also important to keep the leash loose. If you make a correction, it should be quick, and then the leash should be returned to the relaxed state.

Position the collar at the top of the neck. If you've ever seen sledding dogs, you'll notice that the harness is around the lower part of their neck, near the shoulders. Why? This is where their pulling power is located. You're actually helping your dog to pull you around if you have the collar placed there. Instead, position it on the upper neck, which is the most sensitive area.

Record the walk. Ask a friend or family member to help you film you and your dog on the walk. It may be easier to see your problem areas after the fact. What's your posture like? How do you react when your dog misbehaves? Are you putting tension on the leash? These are the types of things to look for while you watch. If you don't have access to a camera, ask a friend or family walk with you and then share what they noticed.

Enlist the help of balanced dogs. If your dog barks or lunges at other dogs that you pass on the walk, take time to do just that activity with another dog you trust. That way, you can practice remaining calm and correcting your dog. Then, when the situation arises when you're not expecting it, you'll feel better able to handle it, and that confidence will be communicated to your dog.

Practice! You and your dog won't get better if you don't go out there and do it! Celebrate every success along the way. Learn from the bad days, but don't dwell on them. And then one day, you'll find you've done it! You've mastered the walk!

January - Walk Your Pet Month

January is Walk Your Pet Month.

What a great way to start the year! Ceasar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, is a firm believer that many behavior problems can be helped by providing more structured exercise. Walking your dog can actually help you to meet your own fitness goals. A recent study from the University of Missouri found that people who walk with dogs are more consistent in their exercise routine than those who walk with a human -- what could be a better way to burn off those holiday calories?

Throughout the country, people are hosting group walks to show their commitment to Walk Your Pet Month. Is there an event near you? If there is not an event going on in your area, create your own! Get your neighbors together and take a stroll around the block. Or ask some friends -- human and canine -- if they want to meet up with you and your pup for a hike in your favorite spot.

Winter Dog Games

It's winter and with limited outdoor time, a lot of dogs have pent up energy. What can you do to increase your dog's playtime during cold winter months?

There are several things that you can do. In fact - here is a fun article for you called "Beyond Snowballs: Winter Games for You and Your Dog".

And for a good laugh.....

Watch this energetic dog play in the snow.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pet Insurance Without Age Discrimination

Insurance doesn't help you if you can't get it especially for older dogs.

I found an answer - PurinaCare® pet health insurance. A website that allows consumers to review pet insurance companies - - currently has PurinaCare® pet health insurance rated 8.77 points out of a possible 10. Now here's the good news - there is no age limitation! PurinaCare offers policies to any pet, regardless of age or breed.

I was impressed with PurinaCare® for many reasons. Here are just a few:

1. Purina® is a name you can TRUST - it has been associated with high-quality pet care for more than 85 years.

2. Simple plan options - They tell you what they cover and what they don't.

3. Coverage for hereditary conditions - Certain breeds are more likely to have certain specific medical conditions. For example, Labs often get cancer, diabetes, heart disease and hip or elbow dysplasia. Yorkies often suffer from bronchitis, digestive disorders and spinal problems. If a condition is considered "hereditary" because it is commonly passed on through the gene pool of the breed, many insurance plans will not cover it - but PurinaCare will, as long as it is not present at the time of enrollment.

4. No benefits schedule for accidents and illnesses - this means there will be no preset cap on coverage for the treatment of certain surgeries or illnesses.

To me, these features are important options that every pet owner should consider when choosing a pet insurance plan. Find out for yourself by learning more at or by getting a free quote.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Intelligent Border Collie

Researchers have been working with a Border Collie dog who possesses a vocabulary of over 200 words and seems to show the ability to pick up or work out the meaning of new words on first hearing. The findings are expected to open up a new international debate on the nature of languages.

Rico is a 9 year old Border Collie from Dortmund, Germany. His owners started to teach him the names of toys and various everyday items at the age of 10 months in order to keep him stimulated while he was ill and unable to go out and exercise. Games were developed based on retrieving toys from a box or locations in other rooms. Most of the words he understands are the names of toys.

According to his owners, Rico rapidly developed an expanding vocabulary which now exceeded 200 words, and has demonstrated that he can learn the names of new toys easily - and remember their names many weeks later, even if he had not seen them in the intervening period. Impressed by the dog's apparent understanding of language, scientists have taken him in for tests.

They found that Rico has a learning ability thought to be unique to children. Children learn perhaps 10 words a day with just one exposure. This ability to realise that new words tend to refer to unfamiliar objects is called "fast mapping" and is used by children as they develop the breadth of vocabularies they will need to understand human language. Shown a toy once, Rico learns its name and can, on command, retrieve it from a distant room a month later with a reliability "comparable to the performance of 3-year-old toddlers" said Professor Fischer.

This shows that Rico has a vocabulary size about the same as apes, dolphins and parrots trained to understand words, the researchers say. Such quickness to learn a word eludes chimpanzees, thought to be man's closest relative. Rico has also learned his commands in German and English.

Border collies are among the brightest breeds. Bred to work on farms, they have a particularly good grasp of spoken words. But the scientists believe they have shown something more than the intelligence of the breed, saying that seemingly complex language skills only seen before in children appear to be found in other species.

Watch Rico

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Videos on Puppy Training

What is the worst thing about owning a puppy? Well, for many new dog owners the answer is "training"

Some dogs can be difficult to train. It is really important for a dog to learn basic discipline early on. This will make the dog happy (because he needs to understand the rules). And it will make you, the pet owner, happy as your dog follows the rules that are so important to you.

Eukanuba has some very simple videos that will help you train your puppy. There is a very good episode called "basic discipline" that you should see. Go here and click on Tune in and Train.

All of the "courses" are short, friendly and informative. Check it out. They only take a few minutes.

There is also a segment on crate training and one on basic commands. Both of these are also worth watching.

Really, dogs and puppies are like kids. You need to provide love, good nutrition, a safe environment and establish some basic rules that both you and the dog can understand and consistently reinforce.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Puppy Training

The training you do in the first months of a puppy’s life is all important for a successful relationship in the years to come. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer, believes you must be the pack leader from the start.

He says: Puppies are hard-wired for a structured life. From the time they are born, they seek out boundaries and want to learn what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do. Some people feel uncomfortable asserting authority over their dogs and will say things like “my baby is only two months old! How can I make rules for it?” But dogs, like all social animals, need structure in their lives. They need to feel a sense of direction and stability.

In nature, the puppy’s mother started making rules the moment it was born. She was the first pack leader, and as soon it was old enough, she took it on walks and set boundaries for it. She made it wait for food – not feeding it on the puppy’s schedule. In nature, that is what all animals do. Food has to be hunted and doesn’t just show up. It’s important that dogs still work for it.

This is why training is vital – and why you must establish yourself as pack leader. Your dog is an animal, not a human. It is a pack animal and needs leadership and structure to be fulfilled and happy. Exercise and discipline are both good for the dog; they fulfill him as a member of the pack. Fail in this and you are opening the door to trouble – in the form of an unfulfilled, annoying and even aggressive animal.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finding the Right Dog for You

You want a dog. You need a dog. But what you really want (and really need) is the right dog.

Remember: That adorable little puppy you just fell in love with will not stay a puppy for very long. In fact, puppyhood lasts only about eight months. Then, you have almost two years of adolescence. Before you know it, he or she will be a full-grown dog. If the puppy’s not right for you, the grown dog won’t be either—and he’ll be a lot bigger.

So, remember this: When you bring home a puppy, you’re not bringing home a stuffed dog that won’t ever change. You’re bringing home a living, breathing, growing creature. You need to make the right choice at the beginning.

People pick dogs for a multitude of reasons, most of them filtered through their own emotional needs. They think the dog has picked them, or they look into those big eyes and sense some sort of spiritual connection. Some people see a lonely, nervous puppy and feel sorry for it. Or they pick one simply based on how it looks.

But picking a dog—whether a puppy or a grown dog—is a serious affair, something that requires a lot of thought and planning. After all, you’re making a commitment that will last the length of your dog’s life.

It is important to make the right choice. The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, has a new book, Your New Puppy, where you will find everything you need to know for choosing the right dog: From where to buy it to making sure it is compatible with your lifestyle. PLUS a breed by breed guide to dogs’ personalities, health and exercise needs.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Facts About the Dangers of Dog Poop

Dog poop is a problem we deal with on a daily basis. But is it dangerous? How much do you know? Is pet waste a health hazard?

Here are the dangerous facts:

1. Dog poop is NOT good fertilizer. It's toxic to your lawn! The high nutrient concentration in dog poop will burn and discolor the grass, creating "hot spots".

2. Nearly two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified pet waste as a dangerous pollutant in the same category as toxic chemicals and oil.

3. You may not live near water, but unscooped poop from your yard is carried by overland water flow or is washed into storm drains, ending up in far away streams, rivers and ground water.

4. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms pet waste can spread parasites including hookworms, ringworms, tapeworms and Salmonella. When infected dog poop comes into contact with your lawn, the poop will eventually "disappear", but the parasite eggs can linger for years! When a human or animal comes into contact with that soil through everyday activities like walking barefoot, gardening or playing, they risk infection from those eggs ... even years after the poop is gone.

5. Pet waste is teaming with E. Coli and other harmful bacteria including fecal coliform bacteria, which causes serious kidney disorders, intestinal illness, cramps and diarrhea in humans. (There are 23 million fecal coliform bacteria in a single gram of pet waste!)

6. Dog poop often contains roundworm larvae, which cause blindness. If a human ingests a roundworm larva, it can migrate through the body causing disease to the brain, lungs, kidneys, liver, heart or eyes. So when people (especially children) touch soil, dog toys or anything that has been in contact with dog feces and then touch their mouths, they can become infected.

Dog poop doesn't just "wash away" or disappear. So if you're not disposing of your dog's waste, you're putting yourself, your family, your dog and your water supply at risk.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Amazing Dog Skills

This dog likes to jump on the trampoline.

Ebony,my dog, likes to watch this video.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

SURFice Dog

Must share this heart warming video.

Take a few moments to watch this puppy being trained as a service dog and finding its unique line of service to mankind.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Dog A Day

The artist in me came upon a colleague who paints dogs on a daily basis.

Kimberly Kelly Santini has been painting dogs each day for the past three years. She says it is like a fine wine that keeps getting better with age. I gather she is talking about her paintings, or maybe the dogs too!

Added bonus, she donates part of the proceeds from her commissioned pet portraits to animal welfare.


Visit her blog.....