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How to Leave your Dog while on Deployment – 14. November, 2014

Leaving your precious dog for a long period of time is a hard thing to do and wondering what choices you have for his care can be very stressful. Dogs do not keep track of time, this is an important thing to remember, and by knowing this information it will help you to feel at ease when you have to leave. The important thing to know is how the situation is when you leave. Showing your dog emotions that are happy and positive will free your dog from feeling insecure or anxious, so upon your return your dog will relate to these emotions and feel happy as when you left.

Thinking of who would be the best choice to take care of your dog in the same special way that you do, and to give him  the love and attention that he needs is a very important and hard decision to make.

If you are thinking about choosing a parent, friend or a loved one there are several important things to consider. First be sure the place your caregiver lives allows dogs and does not ban the breed of dog you own. Your dog should know the caregiver very well and get along together and have a positive relationship. The caregiver should treat your dog the same way that you do so your dog will feel safe and secure in your absence. Will your dog be able to keep his daily routine that he is used to, such as his play, exercise feeding and sleep time. If your caregiver is a senior they may not be strong enough or have physical limitations to handle your dog if he has a lot of energy or is a big dog. Knowing that your dog can still enjoy his daily routine, the caregiver should keep your dog’s lifestyle as normal as possible because as a result of your absence your dog will experience some stress.

To ensure your dog’s health while you are away provide your caregiver with information about any special treatment or medication your dog may need. Also give your caregiver your veterinarians and a 24 hour Animal Hospital’s phone number and address. Advise your veterinarian that you will be deployed and who will be taking care of your dog in your absence. Your dog is your financial responsibility while you are away so arrange with your caregiver to pay for veterinary care, emergencies, food, supplies and grooming.

If you are unable to find a caregiver that you can trust and be responsible for the best care for your dog, a professional foster organization may be your best choice. An industry that is small but growing fast is pet fostering. Military personnel have the option for short and long term care for their dogs. Private foster homes that are qualified and experienced take your dog into their home for the entire time you are deployed, giving your dog socialization, exercise, veterinary care, shelter and food. Foster parents are volunteers and do not receive any money except for veterinary expense and your dog’s normal living. Check in your state if there are any requirements for these fosters to be licensed which will put your mind at ease knowing they are to go by strict rules in the care of your dog.

Exploring all of your options will make your choice easier as you decide what would be the best fit for your dog while you are away. Knowing that your dog will be taken care of in the best possible way will make the time you both are separated less stressful. Upon your return you will have a happy reunion.

Photo credit: The U.S. Army/Flickr

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How to Find the Right Boarding Kennel for Your Dog – 6. October, 2014

A Boarding Kennel can give you peace of mind and quality care for your dog. Kennels must adhere to strict guidelines that are determined by the American Boarding Kennel Association. The code of Ethical Conduct ensures that the kennel staff are trained by a professional and certified.

Locating the right boarding kennel is an important task. Recommendations from your veterinarian, a friend, neighbor or an animal shelter is a wise thing to do. It is very important to do a background check when you locate kennels that you are considering to use.

Check if boarding kennel inspections are required in your state. Kennels that are reputable proudly display the credentials for dog owners to see as they enter the kennel making known that they insure the safety and good care of your dog.

The kennel should require that your dog is properly immunized with the correct shots including Bordetella which is for kennel cough. The health and well being of your dog depends on his shots being up to date.

The kennel staff should conduct a tour of the facility. The kennel should be well lighted and relatively quiet. The dogs should be calm and comfortable. The living and playing areas should look and smell clean free of odors and disinfected every day to eliminate any chance of your dog contracting a disease. There should be no urine or waste in site preventing the spread of disease.

The staff should show you indoor and outdoor runs so you know that your dog will be going outside during the day for exercise and have the proper covering for the cold and hot weather. Indoors should be properly ventilated for correct air flow to all the animals. Adequate air conditioning for summer and heat for the winter is very important. The facility should have enough room for each dog so they are not crowded close to each other for health concerns. Special bedding for dogs that have any medical issues such as arthiritis, should be available. The kennel should have food and water bowls that are clean with each dog.

The kennel staff should inform you as to what type of interaction is available during the day for your dog, because they need physical and mental stimulation with activities such as playtime with the staff and other dogs, also walks. During playtime dogs should be kept together by size so there is no chance of injury. Your dog should receive individual attention from the Kennel staff if he is solely around people.

The kennel should have staff on duty at night in case there is a medical emergency. Specific steps should be in place with the kennel staff being fully knowledgeable in dealing with any problems that arise. The kennel should have a relationship with a veterinarian that is on call for 24 hours, so immediate treatment is available to care for your dog if you are unreachable. Be sure to also leave the contact information of a family member or friend in case of an emergency so they can make a decision for your dog to be taken care of if the situation arises. Some dogs have serious medical conditions, severe separation issues and special needs and need to be supervised constantly during the night, or this could become a serious problem for your dog. If your dog needs medications be sure the kennel has a system in place for delivering the necessary dose when needed. The decision to choose a kennel with staff on call all night should be a number one priority on your list when selecting a boarding kennel.

Photo credit: behavior training & coaching/Flickr

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Best Guard Dogs for Families – 4. July, 2014

One of the most common ways to protect your family from danger is to own a dog. Dogs have a natural tendency to protect their families and never hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way to save the life of the people they love.

There are specific breeds that have the characteristics needed to protect and chase away unwanted people or dogs form your home. The following breeds are considered the best dogs for protection because of their resistance to pain, physical strength, courage and most of all their loyalty to the family.

German Shepherd – These wonderful dogs are quick to learn commands and extremely intelligent and a highly favored for police dogs. They are confident, fearless and bold. In the family home they are very calm but when their home of family is threatened they react without hesitation to the immediate danger. They are a wonderful choice as a guard dog and a pet for families with children as they will protect a child with their lives. They are eager to please and they form extremely strong bonds with their family.

Bullmastiff – These dogs were bred to overpower a person or game animal pinning it down until help arrived with his agility and weight. They are soft on the inside in spite of their tough exterior. They are a great choice for a guard dog for the family because they are very eager to please. They do not need a lot of exercise and grooming is low maintenance. Barking is minimal their silence is a virtue because they sneak up on predators and were originally used to guard estates making them excellent guard dogs.

Boxer – These adorable dogs are easily trained and highly intelligent. The Boxer has a tendency to stand on his back legs and “bat” at his “opponents” that included large game and bison therefore give him this name. These dogs have a lot of energy so families with older and active children will enjoy them as a pet. In the face of danger they are very protective and powerful. They are very affectionate and are a great choice to have as a guard dog for your family.

Saint Bernard – These beautiful dogs rescued avalanche trapped travelers as their work in the Swiss Alps originally. They have a very protective nature to their families and to children especially. They are loving and loyal. They have a gentle spirit, awesome strength and are very smart which makes them a wonderful guard dog. Due to their size they do not want to be confined so they need a lot of space to roam.

Doberman Pinscher – These dogs are able to reach an intruder in a short time because they are very fast. They are alert, loyal and fearless dogs and are also known as the fifth smartest dog breed in the world. They are ready and on the alert to protect their home and family. They are adventurous and a loyal companion and an intelligent capable guardian. They respond to their owner’s wishes and are sensitive. They are great guard dogs for your home or if you have a large piece of property.

Rottweiler – These dogs have a loving heart, and are strong and true. They are extremely loyal to their owners and are very intelligent. They learn quickly, a gentle companion and powerful. They have a natural instinct to protect their family and can be ferocious. They are calm and confident, never timid or fearful and typically distant toward strangers. Their attitude is “wait and see” when they are with new situations and people, then as this situation comes together they are a natural guard dog with a mellow disposition and  successful as a protector and a family friend.

When choosing one of these special breeds of dogs you will be making a great choice not only for a guard dog, but also for a wonderful addition to your family.

Photo credit: Peter Kunasz/Shutterstock

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Lead Handling Basics – 13. February, 2013

Dogs love socializing and exploring the outdoors, and walks and public outings are a great source of pleasure for them.

With proper lead training, owners can take their dogs everywhere, without risk of injury to themselves or others.

Start training your dog to walk on a leash at 8 weeks. Young puppies can be safely walked with a harness attached to a 4 to 6 foot leash. An adjustable, nylon harness is a good beginner’s item that will allow for some of your dog’s growth. Practice taking it on and off until you can do so quickly and easily. Squirming and wriggling is normal for a puppy first adjusting to a harness. Be patient, and give lots of praise once the harness is on. Your dog should always wear a collar that is tagged for easy identification. This will make the transition to collar leading smooth later on.

Have your dog wear its halter around the house without the lead attached. Gradually, start attaching the lead during feeding or when your puppy is tired. Let it hang loosely at your puppy’s side. Next, pick up the lead occasionally and follow your puppy around. Keep the leash slack, and do not pull or restrain your dog with it.

When you are ready for lead training, take your dog to a place with minimal distractions. Schedule training after a play session when your dog is somewhat tired out. Position yourself with the lead in your right hand and your dog on your left. Hold a toy in your left hand, and encourage your puppy to follow after it as you slowly move forward. Say heel when you both begin to walk. Stop after a few feet, let your dog play with the toy, and give lots of praise. Repeat several times, using the toy or a treat to guide your dog’s starts, stops, and position at your side.

If your dog becomes distracted or impatient, it may begin to pull. If you do not move forward when pulled, your dog will learn that only a slack leash lets him go forward, and brings treats and praise. When your dog stops pulling and the leash is slack, encourage him to return to you, and begin the process again. Once heel is mastered, be sure to practice with your dog in a variety of places.

If you cannot stop your dog from pulling in all directions on the lead or control lunges, seek professional training help. Only as a last resort should you consider purchasing a no pull harness or Gentle Leader. These are specially designed to make pulling uncomfortable or impossible. They may end unruly behavior, but should only be considered temporary solutions. The goal of lead training should always be to walk your dog with a regular collar and lead. The best training will teach your dog how to behave, not force it to.


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GoPets Treadwheel Lets Your Dog Burn Off Extra Energy Inside – 12. March, 2012

By Amy Tokic

You may think that you’re looking at a hamster wheel, but this piece of exercise equipment is for your pooch.

The TreadWheel is available in a few different sizes, so there’s no excuse why dogs big and small can’t get in shape or burn off some extra energy. Forget about taking a walk in the rain, snow or extreme cold. Your dog can get in a few laps, all in the comfort of your living room. Of course, the TreadWheel isn’t meant to replace a proper walk; it’s just supposed to supplement your dog’s existing exercise routine.

The TreadWheel is made of stainless steel and runs on pure pooch power. It comes with a training door, a special cushioned running mat and special resistance settings. Another great thing about the TreadWheel is that it’s easy to clean… just in case of accidents.

The TreadWheel starts at around $475 and is available at GoPets.


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