Spokesdog's Canine Couch
A journey about dogs and their people by Diane Rich
Pros and Cons
I work with many single dog owners. These pet parents, after careful thought and much research decided they wanted a dog in their life and will raise the dog alone. I also work with people who due to a divorce became a single pet parent. As most of us know, it is time consuming to properly raise a puppy or train any dog. Not easy for a family, let alone a single pet parent.
There are pros and cons of being a single pet parent.
1. Don’t have to ask anyone else how to raise the dog
2 . The pup is a wonderful ice breaker for the shy parent.
3. The dog can provide comfort for the homebody
4. The dog can provide motivation and company for a consistent walking program
5. The dog can sleep in the bed as there is more room
1. Allotting time for housetraining, training and Vet care
2. Financing the expense of food, supplies and Vet care
3. Trying to lift a giant or large breed puppy in the car
4. Who will take the dog if something happens to you
5. No one to blame the dog’s behavior on
Congrats; It’s a Puppy!
Ah, the puppy. Cute, silly and endearing
cDiane Rich Havanese
They give you “the face” and you are captivated! They can be irresistable.
A look of innocence one moment and you’re not the boss of me the next moment
cDiane Rich Cavalier
No matter how many pups the average owner parents, each pup brings their own unique, adorable and possibly challenging personality and quirks to the new family.
Normal does not mean easy to manage just easier to understand. With this understanding hopefully pet parents will learn how to guide the pup through their first year.
The first few days in a new home you may see a pup that sleeps more, withdraws a bit as it may be intimidated by its surroundings. Maybe the pup follows you around and appears to be an angel being on its best behavior. Behavior will change and new behaviors emerge as the very short honeymoon period ends.
Experienced puppy parents are aware the first night or two in a new environment can be met with the pup’s resistance to confinement. This protest can include decipals from a screaming dog that may feel like it will shatter human nerve endings. Dealing with loud protests from a cute canine is even more challenging if living in an apartment or condo.
New pet parents worry about the puppy hiccups. Hiccups are Normal
New pet parents worry about the pup twitching or making noise during naps. Normal. S/he is dreaming
New pet parents see a pup relieve an upset tummy by vomiting on a favorite rug, the sofa or your bed. Normal. However always best to talk with your Vet.
Normal Puppy Behavior
1. Jumping up on family or guests
Small dogs get latitude with this behavior but no matter the dog’s size, best to decide early on if this is a behavior you want long term.
2. Nipping or Biting
Your ankles, hands, pant legs, robe are all fair game to the mouthy puppy. The behavior can escalate if it is encouraged by rough housing.
Some dogs are not lickers, some are moderate lickers, and then there are the aerobic lickers. Many people like this behavior, especially from small dogs. It can get out of control easily and become attention seeking. Licking people even other pets is normal however excessive licking of floors, walls, the ground, your clothing are not. See your Vet if this continues.
This WILL happen. Some pups are power chewers and need to have something in their mouth during most of their waking hours and others less so. Unsupervised, everything within reach is fair game to explore. Some chewing is teething to help relieve painful gums from permanent teeth erupting. Some chewing is just exploration and the joy of chewing. Sometimes chewing relieves stress and boredom
cDiane Rich dog bed destroyed
When you gotta go you gotta go. The pup must be taught, fairly how to hold its bladder and relieve itself outdoors or for condo or apartment dwellers on potty pads if you are so inclined. If the family is not diligent about taking a young puppy out to potty frequently , which could mean every couple hours during the day, the clean up committee will be busy addressing the pee or poo left on the living room rug or kitchen floor. Normal and not the pup’s fault.
Accidents are not “on purposes” and dogs do not have accidents out of spite. Crating a dog too long gives it no option but to dirty its crate. Dogs from pet stores or puppy mills or poor and unclean breeding environments may be the most challenging to housetrain. Be patient but bring you’re A game.
6. Limited Attention Span
Pups are easily distracted. Pups learn best and fastest in your home or in an environment where the distractions are minimal before asking the pup to learn in a stimulating environment. Young pups will mentally crash if they have to endure too many repetitions of specific commands.
7. Submissive or Excitable Urination
If you have a timid dog and are rough or impatient with this temperament, the response from the dog may be to eliminate when she sees you. Conversely if your dog is off the charts crazy excited upon a greeting, usually something a human creates and reinforces, the pup that does not have great bladder control and will leak some urine. Or, a pup may have weak muscles due to genetics. See your Vet to rule out medical problems and a behaviorist if your Vet finds the pup is healthy.
8. Grabbing Obects and Running off
The cute and fast puppy in your home loves to play. Sharing a prize which could be your shoe, dish rag, eyeglasses, remote is not always #1 on its list. Normal. However, this normal dog behavior can easily be addressed with early, sensible training.
9. Seemingly deaf to your commands
Keep in mind the puppy should learn obedience commands. He will need many successful repetitions of each behavior in a variety of environments and circumstances to give you reliable responses to commands. Early, very positive training is key.
cDiane Rich Welsh Corgi
10. Independence and Willfulness
Around 16 weeks your little ball of fluff will start to test you, the environment, itself and even other dogs. Normal.
America’s Family Pet Expo
Date: November 3 and 4
Time: Saturday 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm
Where: Puyallup Fairgrounds
110 Ninth Avenue SW
Puyallup, WA 98371
This event includes opportunities for pet adoption
Wine Tasting Benefit
Date: November 3
Time: 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Where: Northwest Cellars Winery
11909 124th Avenue NE Kirkland, WA 98034
Admission Fee of $10 is donated to SHS, and includes your wine tasting.
Help raise money for our wonderful Seattle Humane Society.
Don’t just taste the wine, buy…. 40% sales go to Seattle Humane Society.
Santa Paws Photos
Date: November 17
Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Where: Molbak’s 13625 NE 175th St
Woodinville, WA 98072
Holiday Gift Wrapping Benefit
Date: November 23
Time: 9:00am – 10:00pm
Where: Barnes and Noble
18025 Garden Way NE
Woodinville, WA 98072
This event benefits Homeward Pet Rescue’s shelter animals!.
Holiday Pet Food Drive at Safeway
Date: Friday, November 23 and Monday, December 31
Participating Puget Sound Safeway Stores
Look for the pet food collection barrels at your local Safeway store and make a donation to the Pet Food Bank. Your contribution will help feed pets of low-income seniors and people disabled by AIDS in Puget Sound. Can’t make it to Safeway? You can make a pet food donation through the Amazon.com Wish List for the Seattle Humane Society
You are Not Alone
If you are searching for a professional trainer in your area, hopefully you have choices. Large cities may be host to dozens of trainers who advertise availability.
Confused as to which trainer to hire?
Each trainer you contact has their own idea as to what methods they will use to train you and/or your dog. Dog training philosophies and techniques between two trainers can be similar in nature or may be polar opposites. A trainer may be proficient with techniques to help with obedience but not able to help with certain behavior problems. Behavior experts may offer strategies to help with behavior but not with obedience past knowing how to teach an on leash sit or down.
Over the years I have found that trainers teaching dog sports such as agility also differ with training techniques. Most agility trainers are adamant about their philosophies and training methods when teaching the sport to interested handlers.
Breeders also use specific handling and training techniques that work for them and may share those techniques with their clients.
Viva la Difference’
Some trainers use food when teaching behavior and others are against using treats, some trainers use clickers (click and treat), some use specific collars or harnesses for training including remote or e-collars (electronic collars). Some trainers use specific methods for correction while other trainers do not believe in correction. Some trainers believe in the dominance theory and pack structure and train according to their understanding of what that means. Other trainers and behavior experts believe the dominance theory is a myth and is flawed. The study was based on observing captive wolves and interpreting behavior and social skills or lack of skills of these amazing animals in a controlled setting.
Clicker, treats, head halter, no pull harness, choke collar, prong collar or any combination thereof?
Chase is modeling some, not all training equipment used by trainers to help with control, help create desired behavior or correct unwanted behavior.
To further confuse the dog owner, just watch training on television. The two main players are Milan and Stillwell who are very different in their approach to training.
Information is Power
There are good books on training and behavior. Clients trying to do their due diligence gathering information tell me they are overwhelmed with all the conflicting information.
Be the Pet Parent
What I can suggest is to be your dog’s advocate. Whether you enroll in classes or hire a private trainer, only you can be the judge of what is working, effective and humane. The worst case scenario is that you may be out some money if you do not agree with the methods a trainer advocates for your canine companion and decide to drop out. Better to walk than waste precious time or have your dog endure unnecessary exposure to inappropriate handling and training methods.
I always recommend getting referrals from people who have actually used the services of a trainer. If you want to give training a try on your own, without professional help, by all means give it a go. But, for the sake of the dog if you get confused, it may help to contact a seasoned professional to evaluate your training methods, equipment, process and results.
Safety Tips During Halloween
Halloween can be a fun holiday for both kids and adults. The most frequently asked question around this holiday is “what are you going as this year?”
According to the National Retail Federation, 15 percent of Americans plan to deck out their dogs and will spend nearly $300 million on costumes for pets this year.
Normally, I am not one to dress up my dog, but thought Chase and one of his best and oldest friends, Witty should model a costume for this blog. I love western hats so thought this appropriate. Apologies to my regal Doberman and his handsome buddy for any humiliation.
Some suggestions to help keep Fido safe this Halloween:
Keep people food and alcoholic beverages out of your dog’s reach
1. Candy and Party Food
Chocolate can be toxic to dogs. Baker’s chocolate especially is highly toxic to dogs. Artificial sweetener, xylitol is also toxic to dogs and is found in sugarless gum and some candies. Food wrappers are not without problems either as they can present a choking hazard. Some dogs can get ill from consuming salty or sugary snacks
Lapping up alcoholic drinks can pose significant risks to your dog, even death.
However to the all the humans, cheers!
Keep lit candles out of range of a wagging tail, a curious paw or nose to prevent a serious burn or starting a fire.
Keep your pet away from jack-0-lanterns housing lit candles.
Keep pups away from power cords that could lead to electrical shock if chewed.
4. Trick or Treat
Some dogs love strangers and don’t go crazy when the doorbell rings, others are stressed out or even cranky at the door. Keep in mind kids will be wearing costumes and even the friendliest of Fidos can become scared or territorial when faced with masks and flowing costumes. Make sure your dog cannot bolt out the door. For the pet’s safety and sanity, you can crate or confine your dog and turn on some soft music or TV . If your dog over-reacts to the doorbell, you may want to start desensitizing him/her before the holiday arrives.
5. Canine Couture
If you plan on dressing up your dog, do a dress rehearsal before the party or going treat or treat to make sure the costume does not scare your dog, block the dog’s vision, trip the dog up, get caught on things, or encumber the dog’s normal movement or ability to go potty. Make sure any elastic does not cut off circulation.
6. Fright Night
When I was a little girl, I used to take our Miniature Schnauzer on trick or treat adventures around our neighborhood. He loved it. If your dog is ok with being out at night, is on a leash with you and won’t react to the unusual sights and sounds and surprises, by all means bring the dog along. Things look different to a dog at night so I would recommend taking a practice run at night to make sure the dog doesn’t react to Halloween activity. Make sure the dog is wearing a collar with ID. It pays to invest in a dog collar and leash that are reflective. Some collars, via LED battery offer low level light so the dog can be seen.
7. Keep Pets Safely Indoors
This is not a holiday where I suggest you leave your dog outdoors especially if you use an electric fence system whether you are home or not. There may be some twisted individuals who find taunting, teasing, harassing your dog or worse is their idea of fun.
8. Animal Poison Control Center
For any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year call (888) 426-4435.
A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.
I have never smoked and tend to steer clear of smokers. Last week when working with a client and her dog at a small park near her condo, we could not seem to find a spot where people weren’t smoking. The light breeze carried the noxious smoke quite a distance and it was challenging to find fresh air. The dogs were sneezing and we were coughing. Then, in our search for fresh air, noticed the ground was littered with butts. Everywhere.
I posted a blog years ago on the effects second hand smoke has on our dogs. Last weeks smoke-out motivated me to review that blog and repost.
We know second hand smoke isn’t good for humans. It isn’t great for our pets either.
Second Hand Smoke
Studies at several Universities showed a higher incidence of nasal tumors in dogs exposed to second hand smoke than dogs living in smoke free environments. The studies go on to state that the more smokers in the home, the higher the risk for your dog to develop respiratory problems and other dog related health problems.
Nasal tumors are found more in long nose breeds such as retrievers vs. short nosed breeds such as pugs. A pollutant-filled environment is also a known cause of nose cancer in dogs
Symptoms of Nasal Cancer
Swelling around the sinus area, bloody nasal discharge and sneezing.
Prognosis of Nasal Cancer once Diagnosed is not Good
Studies showed that dogs affected with malignant nasal tumors may only live around a year. Many years ago, dear friends and clients lost one of their dogs to a nasal tumor and the study proved correct in this case. From diagnosis to death was less than one year. Dogs that eat cigarette butts or get into a cigarette pack can get nicotine poisoning. Dogs can also get nicotine poisoning from ingesting nicotine patches.
Just the act of your cat licking his/her fur contaminated by carcinogens that accumulate in the fur can lead to oral cancers.
Suggestion; if you do smoke, try to do so away from the pet.
Do Dogs Need Supplements?
Over the past 20 plus years in this business, I have consulted with breeders, Holistic and Conventional Vets and others as to their opinions about nutrition and supplements. And , you know what they say about opinions. Can be confusing.
Some Vets and breeders find that feeding a dog a well balanced commercial diet is sufficient. Other breeders and Holistic Vets usually recommend supplementation whether a client feeds commercially prepared foods or a raw diet to their furry companion.
Information is power, so getting opinions, talking with your Vet and doing your own research finding what works best for your particular pet is most important. What works for your friend’s dog may not work for your dog. You must be aware of your pet’s overall health to determine what if any supplements could prove beneficial vs. harmful.
Remember, nothing you give your dog whether prescription meds or nutritional supplements is without possible side effects.
It is helpful to research the benefits of supplements however when reading studies it is important to find out who financed the study providing the statistics. Best to find results of a study performed by an independent agency. Be wary of businesses that provide glowing studies on product they sell.
A study published in 2010, for instance, noted that though fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects at low concentrations, increased dietary consumption can increase the risk of free radical damage in the body.
Again, the studies are limited, but one study showed no significant difference between dogs that received fatty acid supplements and those that didn’t, while the other showed only limited effectiveness. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), however, released an overall positive press release concerning the studies, indicating that fish oil may improve arthritis symptoms for dogs.
A 2010 review of the evidence concluded there is some evidence that fish oil supplements can improve coat quality and reduce the dosage of steroid medications needed to control itching, but that the effects were small.
Confusing? Yes it is.
According to a report by the National Academies on the safety of dietary supplements for horses, dogs, and cats, “Growing numbers of pet owners are giving their pets dietary supplements in hopes of supporting their health.” At the request of the FDA, the Natural Research Council convened a committee of experts to assess the safety of supplements. The report concluded the following:
- It is clear that safety of the same supplements in humans does not guarantee safety in animals.
- The absence of laws and regulations that specifically address animal dietary supplements causes considerable confusion to the industry and the public.
When working with my clients, I recommend they let their Vet know what supplements, including herbal remedies the pet receives and at what dosages.
Questions to Consider:
1. Are supplements necessary?
2. Can the supplement be harmful?
3. How much is too much?
4. What are the risks?
5. Does the supplement meet industry standands?
6. Does the supplement meet the claims on the label?
7. Any long term adverse affects from continued use of a particular supplement?
8. Any information supporting quality and purity?
Not easy to find answers to the questions listed above. The industry is only lightly regulated. The FDA “oversees” animal supplements.
I am not convinced that the nutrients in processed commercial dry dog food retain the full potency. Overcooking vegetables can destroy beneficial nutrients so I believe it is the same with processed dry food. I do supplement my dog’s diet.
Pharmaceutical grade fish oil and organic virgin coconut oil are supplements I add to my dog’s food. With any supplement, it is important to start with low quantity to get the dog use to it and observe if there is a reaction to it. .
Supplements can cause vomiting, loose stools, diarrhea, or even gas just to name a few reactions.
New pup owners want to do the best for the new addition but it is incredibly important not to over-supplement a growing puppy. If, when I am in a client’s home and see multiple bottles or packages of pet supplements on the counter I get concerned if the puppy owner has been over-sold supplements at a pet store. I believe you must be your dog’s advocate as to diet and supplements and not be so quick to whip out the credit card.
Please read the label, do your homework and consult your Vet.
Be cautious of claims for supplements that sound too good to be true especially if the claim boasts a cure for serious diseases.
Looking for a forever home? This Border Collie mix was lucky enough to find one.
Save a life!
Our goal is to inspire community members to get involved locally with their community’s animal shelter through adoption, volunteering, and other support.
“Team Humane,” the Humane Society of Central Washington, is working hard to save more lives. They are currently in 9th place in the national ASPCA $100K Challenge which ends October 31st. If they win they are committed to opening a high volume, low cost spay and neuter clinic to help even more animals. We want to see them score a touchdown and come in 1st place!
To help Team Humane save more lives in eastern Washington, we are hosting the following events:
Kick Off Weekend:
October 5th Pep Rally,
11-5 at Humane Society of Central Washington
October 6th Tailgate Pawty, 10-4 at Union Gap PetSmart
October 26th event, 11-5, at Humane Society of Central Washington
October 27th event, 10-4, at Union Gap PetSmart
Get involved today and visit your local shelter. Special activities being planned for the Open House day, visit www.pawsitivealliance.org for a list of participating Open House shelters.