Why you should consider adopting an older dog

So you decided you’re ready to add a new furry family member…that’s wonderful. But before you start searching for a new puppy here are a few myths and facts about adopting an older animal.

1) MYTH: Older dogs are harder to train

Actually, it’s often the other way around…puppies can be more challenging to train. It’s a bit like trying to teach a toddler v.s school age child there are big differences in their ability to concentrate and understand what is being asked of them. Not to mention that in many cases, older dogs are already housebroken and know basic commands.

2) FACT: Older dogs are great because you already know their size, their temperament, etc.

Unlike young dogs where you only have a rough idea of how big they will become and what their personality is like…older dogs are generally “what you see is what you get”.

3) MYTH: Older dogs will cost more

This is not always the case. While some older dogs may have health issues (any responsible rescue will make potential adopters aware of a dog’s health status and any cost associated with treating these conditions, allowing you to make an informed decision) many do not or they are easily managed. Don’t forget, the first year of owning a puppy can be rather expensive since they require vaccinations and to be spayed/neutered.

4) FACT: Older dogs have to wait longer for their forever homes than young dogs

Even with all the wonderful things an older dog has to offer they still wait on average four times longer to be adopted.

So when you are searching for a new companion…please don’t over look an older dog, they just might be the perfect fit for your family.

(This was originally posted on C & K Pets)

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Socialization..right or wrong?

 

Photo: ccho
Photo: ccho

The other day I came across a thread on a dog forum I regularly frequent. It questioned the need for socialization as defined by Ian Dunbar and others. That is, a puppy should meet a 100 people  (20 of them children) by the time the dog is 12 weeks old..aka the end of it’s “socialization period”.  Advocates for this type of socialization argue that without this degree of socialization, you are setting yourself up for an unstable/reactive dog later.

Socialization is emphasized even more for people who own more aloof type breeds (like German Shepherds); after all you don’t want a powerful breed becoming reactive warn the advocates.

Others argue that genetics are more important for a stable temperament and socialization is used to round things off.

Throw in the vets warning about parvo and avoiding basically everything until 16 weeks (when standard vaccinations are done)…missing the all important socialization window.

What is an owner to do?
Continue reading

When school is out…Dog Training Alternatives

Photo: andreaarden
Photo: andreaarden

Group classes can be great when you want to work on commands with distractions or want some in real time tips/corrections for you and your dog. But what happens if for some reason you can’t afford it (since many classes are over $100), you don’t have access to good trainers, or just don’t want to go to a group class (and private lessons aren’t an option). What are the alternatives? Continue reading

Your New Puppy-What to teach them first

puppy

So you’ve brought home a new puppy…there’s so much to teach them but where do you start? Crate training and housebreaking are of course top of the list but that doesn’t mean you have to hold off on teaching them other things. In fact, the sooner you work on some of these behaviors the better your bond (and your puppy) will eventually be. Although formal training sessions are good, I like to Incorporate training into daily activities as well as during play (really this isn’t as boring as it sounds).

Every book under the sun talks about training your dog to sit, stay, etc. and yes these are very important behaviors. What is less commonly discussed is the importance of teaching your dog to respond to their name (even if you don’t…eventually they will get it but this will help speed up that process), making eye contact/checking in, drop it and leave it. Continue reading

Top 7 things a new dog owner should have

Photo: eastick_east
Photo: eastick_east

Everyone knows the basics a dog needs to have …leash..bowls…crate…but here’s a list of things that will make your life easier, your dog’s life happier and well are just plain cool. In no particular order

  1. Antlers: these are naturally shed and cleaned up to make the best thing you can buy your dog if they are teething or heavy chewers. Assuming you buy the appropriate size, they won’t shatter/break like regular bones or raw ides.  It may take a couple of introductions but soon your dog will be gnawing at them endlessly
  2. Dog Mats: Whether you opt for the Dirty Dog Mat or one of the other brands on the market it will make rainy messy days much much easier. They absorb tons of water and dirt….keeping the rest of your home cleaner and your dog that much drier
  3. If you have a teething puppy, either a frozen wet cloth or for something a bit fancier….there are several teething sticks you can freeze.
  4. Treat dispensing toys will keep your dog busy and a busy dog stays out of trouble
  5. Bullysticks they are totally digestible (unlike rawhides), and will last most dogs a long time
  6. Car harness or other restraint. Dogs (even little ones) that are allowed run loose can be a serious distraction. Not to mention they could cause injury or be injured in a crash.
  7. Tropiclean Fresh Breeze Cleaner. Really, you only need an enzyme cleaner to help reduce odors and deal with any accidents. I just like this one because it smells really nice.

What would you add to this list?

 

So you’re thinking of getting your first puppy?

Photo: Paul+photos=moody
Photo: Paul+photos=moody

Puppies are cute there’s no question. The real question is are you ready for your first one? I think the answer to this one is the same as having kids…you might think you are but you have no idea what’s in store. We read a lot before you got our puppy but there’s tons of things they don’t tell you about such as you dog might not really know how to play (we actually had to teach our puppy to play rather than just try to bite and shake our pants instead). Your puppy might not be bothered by their collar or leash but they have zero interest in going for a walk….and so on. If this doesn’t deter you then great! The next question is where do you find that cute fuzzy ball of fur? Continue reading

Zoe Lifestyle Dog Treats

he other day I was looking for a new treat for the pup instead of giving her a bully stick or a bone. I found Zoe Lifestyle Dog Treats and decided to give it a try.

 These treats are soy, wheat, gluten, corn, additives/dyes free. They come in puppy, low calorie, and antioxidant varieties. Today, I’m reviewing the low calorie type. These treats claim to have a “dense, chewy texture” that helps to clean teeth. The low calorie variety is only 92 calories per stick and dogs 30-60lbs can have one per day based on the feeding instructions (we never gave our puppy a whole one). She did seem to love it..just as much as her bully stick surprisingly but had a much more pleasant smell than the bully stick (it’s cinnamon spice flavor) and more importantly…resulted in her having nice smelling breath.

These are a nice alternative to other treats and might be a great option for dogs needing to lose a few pounds (but you still want to give them something special).

We give them  cartoon_bone cartoon_bonecartoon_bonecartoon_bone

out of 5

Zoe Healthy Lifestyle Dog Treats are available from all major pet stores from $5/up for 187g/6.6 oz bag