Do You Really Want A Large Dog?

LeonbergerEvery year, thousands of individuals and families bring home a member of a large dog breed, only to discover in a short time that it is not the right fit for their home and lifestyle.

Of course this sudden realization is understandable – why would most people want a canine that reaches 100 pounds and is taller than the children? However, it was not a responsible decision in the first place to buy a large breed of dog without doing the research needed to ensure it was a perfect match for you and the family.

Beware Of That Adorable “Little” Puppy

Too many people see that oh-so-cute pup in the store or walking around the neighbor’s yard, and are suddenly drawn to have one. Why? Cute ears, puppy breath, that harmless wobbly walk – but you know what – all puppies are cute!

Let’s take some breeds for example that have characteristics that many people are not privy do when purchasing: A beagle is one of the cutest puppies there is, but most likely will run away most of the time without lots of training. A Coonhound is cute and will be big, but due to its genetic makeup must have a large outside area to explore and run when it is older. It is a tracking and scenting dog.

It’s All In The Genes, So Take Time To Read Up On The Breed

Big dogs all have unique “big dog personalities” and somehow they must blend with you and your home. There must be a fit. They can put a huge demand on you and your home if the family is unprepared to handle it.

The characteristics bred into canines by humans will determine if a big dog can be a good companion in your situation. The expenses are often greater, if not only in food, and you must be committed to caring for them. Big dogs are also hard to find new homes for once they are older so if you change your mind then it will be the poor animal that suffers down the road.

Once You Have Decided A Big Dog Is Right For You

So you want to have a dog in your life, have done all the research you can on the breed, understand its size potential as well as its needs for living and care.

You have also been honest with yourself and determined why you want a big dog and that you have the proper environment set up. You are well funded enough to do so and you just don’t want a compact mini model dog – you must have a big one!

Now all you have to do is decide want length fur you want and what breed is most suitable for you and your family. When you bring the new pup home make certain you train and socialize the big guy well. And above all, enjoy your big dog!

4 Tips to Help Stop Aggressive Behavior in Puppies

wanna_playPlaying with your puppy can be fun, but there can come a point when your puppy is too aggressive. Some puppy’s hostile behavior can be genetic, but a good portion of it is how the puppy is handled. Here are 4 tips to help keep your puppy from becoming too naughty!

1)      Do not manhandle the dog. This is hostile behavior on your part and only teaches the puppy that aggressive behavior is the only way to get what you want. The puppy will respond in kind when they want something.

2)      When you do want your puppy to give you things, a ball or chew toy, teach them. By using command words you can train your dog to do a variety of things to include giving you whatever they have in their mouth. If you try and grab it or force it from the puppy, this reverts back to tip one. Training your puppy also encourages obedient behavior and establishes commands are to be obeyed, not negotiated.

3)      Use your voice in a firm but non-angry manner when using command words. And when you touch the puppy it should always be in a positive manner; never strike or yell at the puppy for punishment. This instills fear not obedience. Fear can often lead to aggressive behavior later.

4)      When your puppy acts inappropriately, reprimand with a firm “no” – but in a non-angry manner. Stand your ground if the puppy is misbehaving. If you over-react you are likely to create a puppy that feels they can win if they just push hard enough. Do not fight back, but be firm as to what your expectations are. Teach the puppy your commands are non-negotiable.

Dogs are pack animals and they naturally understand the concept of Alpha or leader.  However, the Alpha of the pack does not have to be aggressive, nor is it the leader constantly questioning their ability. The best way to ensure you have an obedient dog is to train your puppy that you are the leader. The best way to be the puppy’s leader is by being firm but not cruel with your expectations. Be fun, kind, playful and loving often with your puppy, but also make sure your puppy understands what you think is proper behavior. You will accept nothing else, not if the puppy wants you to play.  Sign up at for more puppy training tips.

Your Dog: How to Deal With Separation Anxiety

djur-explore-173_lMany owners can’t figure out what to do with a dog that barks or howls constantly when they are gone, destroys things in their absence and basically makes a nuisance of himself.  These people do not understand that the dog is not being disobedient—he is most likely suffering from separation anxiety.

Dogs are pack animals.  As his family, you are his pack.  When you leave him alone, he feels lost and scared.  Often loud noises will frighten him.  His howling and destructiveness are the only way he has of showing his displeasure.  You can help him get through this with patience.

Try to find a room where he feels comfortable—one that isn’t close to a street or other traffic.  If possible, buying a crate made specifically for the size of your dog will help him feel more comfortable.  Placing a loved toy and an item of clothing that smells like you inside with him will increase that comfort.

Start by leaving him only a few minutes at a time.  He needs to be confident that you will return.  You can gradually extend the amount of time as he becomes more comfortable. Praise him greatly for every time he waits quietly.  If all else fails, talk with your vet and see if he can prescribe some type of anti-anxiety medication to give your dog when you need to be away.

Your dog can’t help his anxiety.  You are his safety and he feels lost without you.  Give him time and patience and he will eventually learn to tolerate your absence.  There is no reason to have a healthy animal put down because he loves you so much he misses you when you are gone.  Work with him.  You and he will both benefit from this.

Doggie First Aid

nice-guysAs a dog owner, you may find yourself needing to give your dog first aid. Dogs are curious creatures and sometimes get into dangerous situations. When they get into trouble, it will be your job to help.  Many of the problems a dog faces are similar to those of our own. Until you can get your dog to a vet, he will depend on you. Having the supplies you need on hand will really help you to be effective.

Rolls of gauze and tape are handy to slow or stop bleeding and are necessary in your doggie first aid kit. You can also find some great blood-clotting topical products too. Hydrogen peroxide is important for cleaning wounds. An old clean blanket is essential for wrapping a dog in shock. A first aid kit should also include an antihistamine for bee or wasp stings, an antibiotic gel and an eye wash. Also, absorbent cotton, gauze rolls or pads, scissors (preferably with rounded tips), tweezers, a rectal thermometer; syringes (without the needle) for giving oral medications, elastic bandages.

Take time to learn the basics of first aid. Keep your vet’s phone number handy in case you need him. If you think your dog may need professional care in the middle of the night or on a weekend, consider calling your vet and advising him. He may have some good advice or instructions to help you reach him.  Many cities now have pet emergency centers.  It is advisable to keep their number in your first aid kit as well.


Keep in mind that an injured dog is scared and may bite.  If you feel this is possible, a muzzle is another addition to your kit.  Avoid giving your dog Tylenol.  Ask your vet before it is necessary what kind of pain medication is okay and keep some of that with the rest.

Here’s a kit I found on Amazon:

Warwick Pet First Aid Kit Comprehensive with paw print bandage and 50ml Hand sanitiser foamer

Avoid Table Scraps in Your Dog’s Diet

puppy-eyes_lWe have all done it. Our cute, little furry friend is practically smiling at us from beneath the kitchen table. The ears are perked and the tail is wagging. We know what our dog is after. Just a tiny tidbit from dinner would be delightful, right? What could it hurt? It is just a bite or two after all.

Hold Fido’s ears he won’t want to hear this. A dog’s diet really should not contain table scraps. People food is just that…for people. A dog’s nutritional needs are not the same as a human’s. Sure, we eat some of the same things, but feeding your pet from the table is one of the biggest mistakes for your pet. A dog’s diet doesn’t require all the added goodies we put into our meals.

People have problems with obesity. A dog can have this problem, as well. If your dog’s diet consists mostly of scraps from the dinner table, chances are high that your dog will have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. Even a few pounds over weight can really make a difference in the quality and length of your pet’s life. Curb the begging and stick to your guns.

When you have a dog who is not a picky eater, it can be tempting to let your pet be the garbage disposal in the home, but really, this is not a good idea. Certain people foods can harm your dog and should never be a part of your dog’s diet. Grapes, for example, have been known to cause serious problems for dogs, even death. Chicken bones and popcorn can also be a problem for your dog. Permitting large quantities of chocolate can be dangerous in a dog’s diet.

A poor diet even shows up out in the yard. When your dog’s diet is not at its best, your pet’s outputs will be greater in size, smell, and mess. Benefits of choosing a healthy diet for your dog will be noticeable in your pet’s health, as well as, during those walks around the block.

There are a few occasions when a supplement or treat from the kitchen may be alright, but never in excess. Talk to your veterinarian about healthy snacks for your dog’s diet. If you simply must continue feeding Fido at the table, many vets recommend you give your pet ice cubes or pieces of carrot to munch on between scheduled feeding times. Providing your pet these healthy alternatives to pizza and cupcakes gives you the freedom to choose a healthy and nutritious snack for your dog’s diet.

So, the next time your beloved pet starts eyeing your grub, redirect his or her attention. Don’t reach for your fatty steak or chicken leg. Instead, toss your buddy a cool, refreshing ice cube to bat around and munch on. A couple of baby carrots will keep Fido happy and leave you feeling good about your choices for the nutritional value of your dog’s diet. You will know that you are doing your best to maintain a high-quality diet for your pet.