How to Train Your Dog to Love Baths

 

From: P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle And You, Inc

posted by: Randi Case, DC

I  read this article and thought it was very interesting.  Often when a dog is afraid of baths, the owners just give up and don’t bathe them or send them to a groomer.  Maybe these tips will help to calm your pup so you can enjoy bathtime instead of dreading it.

Certain words inspire strong reactions in animals. If I tell my beagle Mary that we’re going for a W-A-L-K, she knows exactly what’s happening. If I don’t move quickly enough, she’ll bark until I open the door. Walks are important, but what happens when there’s an activity that causes dread in your furry friend?

How to Train Your Dog to Like Baths

Bath-day anxiety stresses out the entire household. No one likes to see a four-legged family member scared. So how do you train a dog that’s afraid of the tub to step into the water?

Find the Source

If possible, try to sort out what part of the bathing process your dog is afraid of. Does he start shaking at the sound of water or does he wait until he’s wet? Is he afraid of the bathroom completely? Maybe the bath itself is just fine, but he relates it to those dreaded nail clippers. Identifying the first trigger will help you ease him into accepting baths are safe.

Have Fun

Play in or around the bathtub – especially if you notice that Rover avoids the entire room and not just the tub. He’s associating the room with bad days.

Don’t wait for bath day to use the tub or bathing area as a fun place. Show your dog that the room is used for fun things, too. Make games of tug and belly rubs frequent occurrences.

Tasty Rewards

Whether you were able to pinpoint a specific trigger at bath time not, bribing with toys and treats is a good way to help your dog enjoy bath time. Once you’re in the bathroom, give him a treat. Once he’s in the tub, give him a treat. If you have a second pair of hands, there’s no harm in treats occurring throughout the bath, too.

Take a Drive

Some dogs live for car rides and some don’t. If you’re lucky enough to have a dog that goes gaga for a car ride, try using the ride as the first phase of the reward system. If you head to the park for a long run, Rover might actually be willing to step into a bath to cool down afterwards.

You can actually even cut out the tub altogether by using a public pet washing station. Some states, like Illinois, are practically riddled with pet washings stations in convenient locations like outside of grocery stores and auto repair shops. How could a dog hate bath day when it starts and ends with a car ride and involves a long play date in the park?

Teach Them Young

If your dog is still a puppy, you’re in luck. You won’t have to help unlearn a decade of fear. Odd are good that the event itself is so far from their daily routine that they don’t know how to respond. Following the above reward and play-date steps will swiftly calm a puppy’s fears.

Quick Tips

A few final pointers to round out the actual bathing process:

1. Don’t yell. No matter how frustrated you may be, don’t use anything other than a friendly, soothing tone with your pup. He’s already terrified. Thinking that you’re upset with them is just going to make things worse.
2. Use a mat. Use a cheap rubber mat on the bottom of the tub so the dog’s trembles don’t make him skid. That slippage will only increase the panic.
3. Don’t rush. Rushing will only increase overall stress to you and your dog.
4. Check the temp. We both know you want the drama over with, but accidently throwing ice cold or too hot water on the dog will also make a bad situation worse.

Even the most skittish dog will eventually respond to the above training. You might never have a completely willing participant but, with patience, you can help sooth everyone’s nerves. Stay patient, remind your furry friend that they’re loved and always begin – and end – with a treat.

Where Do Dog Breed Names Come From?

I thought this was really interesting…

What’s in a name? We’re exploring the origins and names of your favorite breeds. 

By 

posted to Blog by Randi Case, DC  CCSP

A dog breed’s name may reveal something about his origins, his intended work, or perhaps the person instrumental in developing the breed. Other times, a breed’s name is just a name… and occasionally a confusing one at that.

Australian Shepherds

For centuries, dog breeds have been named after geographical areas, the dog’s working purposes, or his appearance. For example, a Pointer points, a Shetland Sheepdog hails from the Shetland Islands, and the Curly Coated Retreiver has (surprise!): a curly coat. Other correlations between breeds and their names aren’t quite so straightforward. But what’s in a name after all. Wouldn’t a breed — by any other name, smell as sweet?

Affenpinscher: The name Affenpinscher loosely translates to Monkey Terrier. Let’s leave it up in the air if Affenpinschers look like monkeys. Suffice it to say, owners concur that the dogs are as clever and impish as monkeys.

American Eskimo Dog: Descending from European Spitz breeds, the American Eskimos Dog was developed for attractiveness and liveliness. Despite the name, the dog was not bred by northern Native Americans, but rather by German immigrants. (Maybe we Americans simply like to lay claim to lovely breeds!)

Anatolian Shepherd: The Anatolian Shepherd originated in the ancient land of Anatolia, now known as Turkey. Anatolia derives from the Greek word “anatole,” or “the East” or “sunrise.” The breed’s serious name corresponds to his serious purpose: shepherding and protecting in Anatolia. They certainly weren’t developed as a sporty playmate; their guardian/frontline defense role was critical to the survival of the shepherds, their families, and their livestock.

Australian Cattle Dog: Similarly accurately named, the ACD was developed in Australia to control cattle. The breed is sometimes referred to as a Blue (or Red) Heeler, because they move reluctant cattle by nipping at their heels, and because their coat coloring gives the overall appearance of red or blue.

Australian Shepherd: Now, just when we’re on an Australian accuracy roll, we move to the confusion. The Aussie was developed for herding livestock and all around ranch work, but not in the land down under. In fact, the Aussie is Made in America. Gobsmacked by this news? Your astonishment is justifiable. (well, history does suggest that the Australian title is connected to sheep herds brought in from Australia).

Australian Terrier: Bred to accompany Australian settlers on chores and keep their barns clear of rodents and snakes, the agile hard working Australian Terrier is both from Australia and a Terrier. So two for two with name accuracy.

Beagle: A lovable scent hound and popular companion, the Beagle’s name may derive from the French “begueule,” meaning open throat/mouth, or a Gaelic blend of the word “beag,” meaning little. Since we can’t pinpoint the exact derivation of the word Beagle, let’s talk instead about one of the world’s most famous Beagles, Snoopy. Cartoonist Charles M. Schulz’ Snoopy character was based on his beloved childhood dog, Spike. Now that’s a beguiling Beagle derivation tale to share.

Boston Terrier:  Often deemed the American Gentleman, the Boston Terrier was indeed bred in the stables of Boston. But he’s not in the Terrier Group, so the name Terrier is perhaps confusing. Developed from bully breeds and Terriers, the Boston Terrier is in the American Kennel Club’s Non-Sporting group. {Let’s concede the name “Boston Non Sporting” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like “Boston Terrier” does!}

Catahoula Leopard Dog: We need to wander deep into the swamps of Louisiana to track down the origins of the Catahoula Leopard Dog. If you’re looking for Leopards, though, you’re off trail. The name Catahoula itself (possibly a mispronunciation of “Couthaougoula”) – is of Choctaw Indian origin, and loosely translates to “sacred lake.” The leopard in the name refers to the color patterns. The tough and adaptable Catahoula did, however, take on large animals such as wild hogs.

Chow Chow: An ancient breed with a lion-like scowl, the Chow Chow was developed in China as an all-around working dog. Presumably sailors bringing the dogs back to England gave the breed the Chow Chow name — as slang for cargo items, including the dogs.  Other explanations concerning the possible origin of the name seem more respectful, especially for such a confident, capable, and ancient breed of dog. We may never have the mystery altogether solved.

Dalmatian: The early Dalmatian worked sentinel duty on the Dalmatia border, the area on the eastern coast of Adriatic Sea. The name Dalmatia came from an ancient people called the Dalmatae. But today the breed is typically more recognized for either his spots or for running alongside fire-equipment carriages. And I’m guessing more of us can sing some of Cruella de Ville from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians than point to the ancient Dalmatia border on a map.

Dachshund:Merging the scrappiness of terriers and the tracking skills of hound breeds, the Germans developed the Dachshund centuries ago to hunt badgers. The dog’s development may have been complicated (their long bodies aided hunting in burrows), but the Germans stuck to a simple name. The dog breed that hunted badgers was called, most appropriately, a Badger Dog (aka, a Dachshund).

Doberman Pinscher: One of only a few breeds named for a person, the Doberman was named after Friedrich Louis Dobermann, a late 19th century German tax collector bothered by robbers. Dobermann developed the breed for both protection and companionship. The second “N” got dropped along the way.

Glen of Imaal Terrier: This spunky Irish-born Terrier was developed as an all-around farm dog, ratter, and (fact or legend, it makes a great story!) a turnspit dog to keep the kitchen rotisserie turning. The breed originated in the remote Glen (valley) of Imaal in the Wicklow Mountains. The name Imaal links to an Irish dynasty, the Uí Máil, who dominated the kingship of Leinster in the 7th century — until the Uí Dunlainge toppled them. Confused by all the Uí’s? Well, they do make for fun names for the little Glen Terriers….if you can learn to pronounce them.

Great Dane: Danes as we know them today were developed in Germany to hunt boar and protect estates. Despite the name, the Great Dane wasn’t developed in Denmark. In fact, the breed name comes apparently from a French naturalist, who saw the dogs in Denmark and called them Great Danish dogs. Note that Germans today call the breed Deutsche Dogge, or “German Dog.” Sounds like the Germans are spot-on with accuracy in this case!

Irish Setter: Renowned for his brilliant red coat, the Irish Setter was certainly bred in Ireland, and undoubtedly bred as a bird dog for setting. Name correctness? Check!

Parson Russell Terrier: The Parson Russell is a fox hunting terrier, aptly named for the Rev. John Russell. Who was this sporty Parson? He was the vicar of Swimbridge in 19th century England, but he’s more famous for developing Terriers than doctrine. Whether fact or fiction, it makes a good story that his sermons were short because he was eager to head off on the day’s hunt.

Plott Hound: The German Plott family of North Carolina bred hound dogs in the mountains to hunt bear. Since the dogs were Plott’s hounds, the breed became known as the Plott Hound. Not highly original, but as direct a correlation as it gets.

Pomeranian: The Pomeranian takes its name from Pomerania, where it was believed to have been developed from larger Nordic breeds to the size recognized today. Pomerania is a historical region on the south shore of the Baltic Sea. To learn more about it on the web, stay clear of distracting yet delicious-sounding Pomeranian Gingerbread recipes you’ll find (and I succumbed to!).

Rhodesian Ridgeback:  Developed in South Africa to hunt and guard, the courageous Rhodesian Ridgeback was later used (yes, in Rhodesia) to harass lions out of the bush, allowing big game hunters to take aim. The Ridgeback portion of the name stems from the distinct ridge of hair that grows backward on his back.

Rottweiler: Although the breed has origins with ancient Roman drover dogs, the Rottie hails from the areas of Rottweil, Germany. Rottweilers worked as all-around farm dogs and pulled carts for farmers who couldn’t afford horses or cows. A hard-working breed with a spot-on accurate name.

Saint Bernard: An 11th century monk named Bernard de Menthon founded a hospice in the Alps. The monks developed the Saint Bernard dogs in later centuries from local alpine mastiffs to work as watch and rescue dogs. As for the famous depiction of the dogs carrying casks of brandy….well, it may well be a creation of literature and art, but the image is too wonderful to toss out lightly.

Tosa Inu: So now we head to Japan to decipher the breed name Tosa Inu. Let’s start with the easy part: Inu means dog. Now pull out a map. Tosa is the name of the prefecture (state) on the smallest of Japanese islands, Shikoku. The Tosa, revered in Japan, has been around for many centuries. Plus he’s a dog with a history of strength, cultural ritual, and athleticism – loosely a parallel wrestling dog (complete with processions) to Japanese sumo wrestlers.

Xoloitzcuintli: An ancient Mexican breed, the revered Xoloitzcuintli chose their own unpronounceable name to keep humans humble. An alternative explanation is that they were named after an Aztec god associated with fire, lighting, and illness. Either way, the breed arguably wins for the most misspelled and hard-to-say dog name.

Is Your Dog’s Bed Toxic??

Toxic Chemical Found in Dog Beds and Toys:        Triclosan Alert

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Posted by Randi Case, DC, CCSP

What do your toothpaste, your athletic socks and your dog’s bed have in common? They most likely contain triclosan, a powerful anti-microbial chemical incorporated into a broad array of consumer products. Triclosan is also turning up as a contaminant in rivers across North America, and in the bodies of more than three-quarters of Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Should we care? The FDA evidently thinks so. On April 8, the agency launched a safety review of this now ubiquitous chemical. “Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation,” the FDA press release states. “Other studies have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.”

Triclosan belongs to a class of synthetic chemicals that scientists term endocrine disruptors, for their ability to interact with organisms’ hormone systems. A 2006 study found that even in extremely low doses, triclosan interferes with thyroid function in frogs and leads to premature leg growth in tadpoles. Evidence now strongly suggests that hormone-mimicking chemicals like triclosan effect similar outcomes in all animals with backbones — frogs, dogs and humans alike. They can interfere with everything from insulin regulation to brain function.

Since its first use as a medical scrub in 1972, triclosan has infiltrated all aspects of our everyday lives. It’s the germ-killing chemical of choice in soaps, cosmetics, clothing, kitchenware, toys and, not least, dog beds. If you own anything that advertises itself as antimicrobial, antifungal or antibacterial, there’s a good chance that triclosan is the magic ingredient.

It’s magic we can do without. Although “antimicrobial” sounds like a useful property in trash bags and cutting boards, there’s no evidence that household use of triclosan keeps us any healthier (with the possible exception of toothpaste, where it can help prevent gingivitis).

The soap industry has already begun to mobilize against any hypothetical regulation of triclosan, and the famously slow-moving FDA may take years to act. Still, this latest announcement gives us cause to think twice before stocking up on antibacterial chew toys.

That Digging Dog…

Dealing With a Dog that Digs
Written on 06/27/2014 by Brandy Arnold in Behavior Mod.

Posted by: Randi Case, DC, CCSP

Some dogs seem to just enjoy getting down and dirty by non-stop digging. Meanwhile, their owners are helpless as they watch their yard turn into a minefield. The solution for this unwarranted dog behavior depends on the reason behind why your dog scoops up soil in the first

Causative Factors

A lot of dogs dig relentlessly because of numerous factors. First is due to their strong urge to find comfort during hot days. By digging up into the moist soil and lying there, they get to provide themselves summer relief. Some dig because they are preying on small animals or following the odor of buried food. Other breeds dig just for the fun of it, to escape, or due to boredom or frustration.

How to Discourage Digging

1. If your dog digs because he is looking for a cool spot to nest, give him a sand pit or a small children’s pool somewhere in a shady area. Alternatively, you can provide a shelter under a deck or in an insulated doghouse for use during hot days. Do not forget that all outdoor dogs have to gain access to shade as well as water all the time. Of course, most of us prefer to keep our dogs indoors, with us, where there’s no risk of overheating and lots of snuggle-time.

2. If your dog digs because she wants to escape from the yard, find out why she is so eager to leave. If she is leaving to look for a mate, spaying or neutering may be considered. If she is leaving to raid the garbage can next door, give your neighbor a garbage receptacle that is dog-proof. If your well-meaning neighbor feeds your dog, ask him to stop.

3. Pay attention to improving your containment structure. Adding a fence that extends far beneath the ground level could be the only way you can contain your skillful escape artist.

4. If your dog digs just to have fun, try to show him some other ways to play. Give your dog plenty of exercise to keep him busy at the same time mentally stimulated. Play “fetch” with him, or chase each other around the yard! Playing with your dog will not only give him an outlet for his pent-up energy, but the pair of you will bond as well.

5. Now, if there is one specific spot that your dog loves to dig, temporarily cover the area with wood or plastic. You may also change the soil texture such as by pouring water, putting large stones, or planting grasses in it as these could put off the undesirable behavior. Some folks swear by burying the dog’s own poop in that spot they like to dig, to prevent them from returning. (While this might work great, consider first that your dog might venture off for a new spot to dig once he’s no longer interested in this one… maybe having him dig only in one little area isn’t so bad after all!)

6. Finally, you may consider providing a special area in the yard where your dog can dig freely. Teach him that one particular spot is acceptable to dig, but definitely not in the rest of the yard. Well-placed or buried treats would greatly help in directing your pet to dig only in a suitable area. If digging up your landscaping is a problem, consider adding a doggy sandbox, just for Fido.

Helping a Dog that Suffers from Separation Anxiety

Helping a Dog that Suffers from Separation Anxiety
Written on 02/12/2014 by Kevin Duggan, CPDT-KA in Ask the Trainer, Front Page News
Posted by: Randi Case, DC

I get questions on how to fix separation anxiety very often. I wish there was a quick easy answer. However that is not the case. SA for a lot of dogs is so severe that they are losing all control. This leads to urination/defecation in the house, torn up walls/doors, puddles of drool etc.

Firstly, lets get some myths out of the way. When this is happening this is not your dog seeking revenge on you. Your dog is not doing this because he is mad at you and trying to get back at you. This is also not happening because your dog thinks he is in charge and did not give you approval to leave. (The last one sounds silly but I’ve heard that one mentioned on TV before.) It is important that we understand that is a pretty serious condition in dogs that depending on the severity can take from 6 months a year to fix.

Secondly, it is important that we make sure this actually is SA and not just a bored dog. A dog that has copious amounts of energy will find a way to get rid of it. If the human doesn’t give him a proper outlet he will find one himself. Which typically means the dog destroying something of the humans.

When dealing with moderate to severe cases one of the first things I recommend to do along with the training protocol is to get the dog on a medication to help with the anxiety. It is important to have a training protocol because medication alone is not going to fix this. I know that not everyone is a fan of the medication part of it. My response to that is the amount of stress that the dog is going through on a daily basis is not healthy at all. If we can give him something that will help remove that horrible stress and it is only there for a short period of time it is worth it. I have tried using some all natural herbal anxiety remedies and have had mixed results. From my experience they do not always work as well and are rather pricey. When I was going through anxiety issues with my dog I started off with an all-natural herbal product that was $30.00 per bottle and that didn’t even last a month. I switched to a fluoxetine and was spending $10.00 a month. It is a good idea to hire a trainer to help you with this. It is also a good idea for the vet, trainer, and owner to work together as a team in solving this.

A couple things you can try along with the fluoxetine that are natural that could be helpful are DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone), a Thundershirt, and different relaxing music.

Lets talk about how to get the anxiety to cease. The ultimate goal is going to be the human leaving the house and the dog not caring. One of the first things you can start to do is incorporate a cue that lets your dog know you will be back. I usually say, “Be right back.” This is the last thing the dog hears you say before you leave. That means the next thing that follows it in regards to you is that you are coming back. With repetition he will start to associate you saying, “be right back” with you coming back. You can do lots of repetition of this. Say your phrase, step outside for 1 second, come back in and reward him. He will start to associate you leaving and coming back with good things. Each time you do this increase the amount of time you are outside. In the beginning your dog will be very concerned with you leaving. After some repetition he will know exactly what is going on and will start to relax when you do it.

The next exercise is going to consist of some auto-shaping. For this you will need something that has a hole in it like a Kong and something awesome to put inside of it like Peanut Butter. The idea with this is to keep the dog busy and focused on something besides the human. I like to use a crate for this because we can create a place of comfort. Every case will be different though so use your best judgment. The idea is that we are going to give the dog something it really enjoys for a short period of time and we are going to stay right next to the dog. The first time you do this do it for like 5 minutes. After 5 minutes tell the dog “okay” and safely remove the Kong and PB. If you cannot safely remove it do not attempt. The next time you do this increase the amount of time that he is in the crate with the Kong, and also take a baby step away creating more distance. Remember to stay stationary during this exercise. If you move around there is a good chance the dog will notice which could result with him focusing on you and potentially getting anxious. Continue this pattern. If done correctly you will get to the point where you will be able to be out of sight and your dog will be comfortable with that. A quick tip in regards to the Kong and Peanut Butter: You can put the Kong and PB in the freezer prior to this exercise to make it last longer.

These are just a couple ideas on how to help your dog be more comfortable when you are out of sight. Remember to take baby steps to ensure your dog stays comfortable. If you try to rush this you will just end up with an anxious dog. Once again hiring a trainer could be very helpful with this process.

Remember that to fix this issue it is going to take dedication. It is going to be very important to practice protocols multiple times a day. Also remember to stay very patient.

Thanks for reading!

Kevin Duggan CPDT-KA

Kevin is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT.org) and is a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator through the American Kennel Club. He currently resides in Ohio with his dog, V, a six-year-old Shepherd/Lab mix, where he operates All Dogs Go To Kevin, LLC, specializing in helping build positive relationships between humans and their canine companions using clear communication, not pain and fear. For more training tips and tricks, and to meet his amazing dog, V, follow him on Facebook

Before Bringing Home That First Dog

Written on 01/10/2014 by Ron Miller in Puppy Guides
Posted by: Randi Case, DC

Have you fallen in love at first sight with an adorable puppy? Good for you and the pup, but do you REALLY know how bringing home a dog is going to drastically alter how you live? I suppose the following tips are best suited for those people who have never owned a dog, so I will focus on first timers. Once a person has owned a dog they already have a good idea of what is involved.

There are several things the first time dog owner needs to consider before forking over the cash for the pooch. This is not like buying a new toy or car you play with only when you feel like it. Bringing home a dog is in essence adding another member to the family. If you have never been a parent, or for those with “out of the nest” kids, this cute little puppy is going to become your “new” baby”.

I am all for adding a dog to the family, but first off you need to know who will be primarily responsible for the dog. Taking care of feeding, fresh water at all times, housebreaking, exercising, and behavioral training are chief among the tasks this individual can look forward to. Oh, bathing and grooming also!

Next is the expense of owning a dog. Just as gas, our food, rent, and you name it has increased in price, so has the cost of owning a dog. Is your budget capable of absorbing this additional expense? I am speaking about more than just buying dog food, a collar, and a leash. There are vet bills, vaccinations, grooming expenses, special dog supplies like a dog bed and dog shampoos, toys, treats, and more. Sit down and be honest with yourself concerning the expense involved, because your dog is going to cost you more money than you realize.

If you have made it over the first few questions we should look at where you live. Is the home or apartment/condo large enough for the breed of dog you want? A small living space and a large dog usually do not work, so consider a smaller dog. Do you have a place for the dog to go out and do his or her business?

How about the job you have. Does this work require you to travel and be away from home for days at a time? If so, who will care for the dog until you return?

As you can see, there are many things to consider for the first time dog owner. Bringing home a dog is something I would encourage all people to do, but only if you know what is involved.

Challenging Breeds for Dog Owners

Most Challenging Breeds for New Pet Owners

BY KRISTEN SEYMOUR | AUGUST 26, 2013
Posted by: Randi Case, D.C.
Many dog lovers believe there’s no such thing as a bad dog, just bad training. And while we don’t disagree that a good owner along with proper training and socialization can make a world of difference, we have to admit that some dog breeds are best suited to experienced owners.

Those very traits that make certain breeds so good at the jobs they were bred to do, like hunting big game and guarding their owners and property, can make them a challenge for someone who’s never trained a dog before.

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

No. 1: Akita

The Akita was bred to hunt big game such as bear, boar and elk. He can also weigh upwards of 115 pounds (or even more), and requires a 20-30 minute walk every day, always on leash due to a strong prey drive. He’s a beautiful dog, but sheds heavily and can be a challenge to train, making him best suited to experienced dog owners.

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

No. 2: Chow Chow

Not known for being particularly lovey-dovey, the Chow Chow isn’t the teddy bear he appears to be. He’s intelligent but stubborn, and may require a lot of training before you get the results you’re looking for. This breed is wary of strangers and may be aggressive toward dogs he doesn’t know.

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography

No. 3: Chinese Shar-Pei

The Chinese Shar-Pei requires an assertive, experienced owner to train him and keep him from getting bored. This highly territorial dog tends to bond with one person, and can be quite distrustful of those he doesn’t know — humans and canines alike. And all those dramatic skin folds can increase the tendency for chronic skin and eye conditions that a naïve pet owner may find daunting.

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

No. 4: Alaskan Malamute

He’s friendly, joyful and exuberant, which may make him attractive to someone seeking a first dog, but be warned: The Alaskan Malamute sheds like crazy, pulls on leash with all of his 65-100 pounds and is a talented escape artist. This breed is made to travel far on his own four feet and he needs a family committed to a lot of exercise when it’s best for him. That thick fur coat also leaves him vulnerable to heat injury.

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography

No. 5: Rottweiler

Although he can be a gentle giant, the wrong Rottweiler with the wrong owner can truly be a scary dog. A Rottweiler wants someone to be the boss, and if you’re not taking the job, he will. He’s powerful and protective, and known for being extremely loyal when it comes to his people and his property. Considering he can weigh as much as 135 pounds (and most of it muscle), he can generally back up his threatening growl.

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

No. 6: Weimaraner

The “Gray Ghost” earned his nickname for his beautiful gray coat and habit of following his owner closely, but the highly intelligent Weimaraner isn’t the right dog for everyone. He’s extremely energetic with no “off” switch, and he’s not happy being left alone — separation anxiety can be a real issue with this breed. He can be difficult to housetrain and a hazard to cats and other small pets, but if you plan to spend many days hunting, hiking or doing obedience and agility with him by your side, you might have found your perfect companion.

Tetsu Yamazaki, Animal Photography

No. 7: Dalmatian

The spotted Dalmatian isn’t just a Disney darling — he was bred to work as a coach dog, running alongside carriages or horses, alerting coachmen to approaching highwaymen and warding off stray dogs. That’s how he became the traditional firehouse dog — he kept the streets clear for horse-drawn fire engines. However, the traits that made him perfect for this work can make him a challenge in the home. He has an endless capacity for exercise and can be destructive when bored. Also, he’s a notorious shedder with stiff fur that weaves its way into fabric (but not out).

Ron Willbie, Animal Photography

No. 8: Australian Cattle Dog

Sometimes known as a Blue Heeler or Australian Heeler, the Australian Cattle Dog is a medium-sized dog with serious endurance. Originally made up of several breeds, including the Collie, Dingo, Bull Terrier, Dalmatian, and Black and Tan Kelpie, he has a reputation for being stubborn and having energy to spare — not to mention a truly adventurous spirit and belief in his own invincibility that will leave you wondering how he’ll injure himself next.

Nick Ridley, Animal Photography

No. 9: German Shepherd

Highly intelligent and a natural protector, the German Shepherd Dog is well-suited to a wide variety of jobs: He’s worked as a guide dog, a drug sniffer, and, of course, a police and military dog. There’s little he can’t do with the right training, but that’s exactly why he’s not ideal for newbies — it takes quite a bit of training, exercise and dedication  to stay “smarter” than he is. And all those smarts come with higher-than-average tendencies toward some pretty serious health problems including hip dysplasia and neurologic issues.

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

No. 10: Saint Bernard

The Saint Bernard is incredibly lovable, but this gentle giant is also a lot of work. He drools (and drools and drools) and is known to ingest items like socks and dishtowels. Because of his enormous size (130-180 pounds or more), you might think he’d like to hang out in your big backyard, but you’d be wrong — he’s prone to heatstroke and loves being around his people, so he’s very much an indoor dog.

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

No. 11: Siberian Husky

The happy and affectionate Siberian Husky is a working dog that thrives in cold, snowy climates. He was bred to pull sleds over long distances, and his liveliness reflects that — a short walk around the block won’t do for this breed. He sheds heavily, is a capable escape artist and has a strong predatory drive, so he’s not a great choice for homes with cats or small pets.

Barbara O’Brien, Animal Photography

No. 12: Bulldog

The Bulldog is generally good-natured and his goofy, wrinkled mug certainly makes him lovable, but the breed’s heavy build and flat face make him particularly sensitive to heat, exercise and stress. He can’t swim, so if you have a pool, pond or spa, his access should be restricted. He is prone to a variety of health issues and some may say he’s challenging to train, but his fans don’t mind — his entertaining antics and laid-back attitude make up for it in the right home.

Sally Anne Thompson, Animal Photography

No. 13: Bullmastiff

Devoted and protective to the point that he’d lay down his life for his family, the Bullmastiff has a mind of his own — and considering that he weighs in at 100-130 pounds, he can easily overwhelm an owner who isn’t ready to stand up to him. He needs good, consistent, positive training and firm boundaries from a young age. He also needs someone to follow him with a mop, because this dog can drool. His high prey drive means he should always be kept on leash, and he doesn’t generally love other dogs, so he’s best as an only pet.

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

No. 14: Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is quite a character. Independent, intelligent and stubborn, he’ll keep you laughing — and on your toes, as he’s a notorious digger and counter-surfer. He’ll bring the same exuberance and joy to playing games as he brings to excavating your garden and eating your drywall. He’s not great with other dogs or animals and needs plenty of stimulation (both physical and mental). It should be noted, too, that this “King of the Terriers” was the inspiration for Margaret Marshall Saunders’ novel Beautiful Joe, the story of an abused dog, which sparked the creation of the modern humane movement.

Eva Maria Kramer, Animal Photography

Honorable Mention: American Pit Bull Terrier

Although the American Pit Bull Terrier received enough votes for this category to land a place at the bottom of this list, he also earned a significant number of votes as the best breed for new owners, which canceled out enough of the negative votes to knock him out of the running.

He looks formidable and has historically been used in dog fighting rings, giving him a frightening reputation, but over the last few decades, he’s been bred to love and accept people. In the right home, he’s a devoted and loyal companion (although he can have conflicts with other dogs or with cats). But as with many dogs bred for strength, a mistreated Pit can be a problem.

For instance, a dog bred for hunting, birding, working, or running long distances will work until his job is done, regardless of weather or distractions. When that same breed is kept as a family pet, his circumstances change, but his drive and instinct to go, go, go? Not so much. Therefore, he needs an owner who’s prepared to work with that level of vitality to keep him from engaging in destructive behaviors.

And consider the traditional guard dog, bred to be on the alert for anything that’s out of the ordinary. In his original job, that might mean keeping an eye out for dangers and predators, but as a member of the family, it means he needs firm and entirely consistent training. While some dogs might understand a good deal of nuance — that it’s OK to get on the couch with the kids, but not with Mom and Dad — a dog bred for guarding duties thrives on a dependable environment since knowing what is regular and routine is absolutely necessary to determine what’s not.

One other item to keep in mind: Some of these breeds may not be allowed in certain homes due torestrictions on the lease or insurance policy.

We’ve already shared what dogs veterinary professionals deemed best for new owners, and now we’re sharing which breeds those same 218 experts thought were the worst choices for first-time dog owners.

Please note: We don’t mean to imply these are “bad” breeds, and in no case is any breed friendly or aggressive clear across the board. However, if you’re a first-time, inexperienced dog owner, these are dogs you might want to wait to bring home until you have a few years of training under your belt.

 

Living with a Companion Rabbit

Posted by: Randi Case, DC

What’s it like to have a pet rabbit?

Rabbits are very loving, social animals, which means they not only love to spend time with their humans – they require it. Without human interaction, rabbits can get bored, even to the point of becoming lonely and depressed. While toys can alleviate some of their boredom, they still need human attention and interaction. Many rabbits also enjoy having another rabbit as a friend.

Some people wonder if rabbits are more like cats or dogs. They’re like rabbits! Yours might use a litterbox like a cat and get excited to see you like a dog, but really, rabbits are not quite like either of these animals. Do they “make good pets”? They make wonderful, intelligent companions for wonderful, intelligent people! Each rabbit has a different personality just like each person does. A new rabbit owner should be willing to learn a new language when she brings home a rabbit as a companion. A rabbit will teach you a new way of looking at the world! Although they can be ornery at times, rabbits are wonderful, fun, and loving companions.

Are you the right kind of person to live with a rabbit? Rabbits make wonderful companions for the right people.

Are you patient?
Do you have a sense of humor?
Do you enjoy watching the movements and learning the language of another species?
Does your schedule include plenty of time at home?
Are you comfortable spending a lot of time on the floor?
Are you not overly fussy with your furniture?

Why doesn’t my rabbit like to cuddle in my arms?
It’s important to remember that rabbits are prey animals. Prey animals interact with their environment very differently than predators like cats and dogs. In general, rabbits do not like to be picked up. The act of bending over them and grabbing them by their ribs to pick them up is very similar to being picked up by a hawk – scary!!

The best way to interact with your rabbit is on the floor. Sit in the room while bunny is out to play and she will soon come investigate you. She will like to be petted sitting next to you, but not necessarily while being carried in your arms! If you choose a cage or pen with a sideopening door and put it on the floor or provide a ramp to a taller cage, you can let bunny in and out for playtime without ever picking her up!

If you are going to pick up your rabbit, make sure you do it correctly. The best way is to place one hand under her rib cage and the other under her bottom, scooping her back legs so she can’t kick. This method will protect her fragile backbone while protecting you from those strong kicking back legs and sharp nails. It is also important to wear an appropriate shirt when handling a rabbit to avoid being scratched by nails as bunny tries to get away! Or just encourage or herd bunny into a pet carrier or box and move him that way.

Keep in mind your rabbit will likely be easier to interact with and handle once spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering reduces hormone-driven behaviors like lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing. Spaying also protects female bunnies from uterine cancer, which can be quite common in older unspayed rabbits.

How about playtime outside my rabbit’s cage or pen?
Just like all animals, your rabbit will need to exercise as well as play. He will need toys like cardboard tubes, phone books, and rattly rolling things to keep him busy. Your rabbit will also need to have anywhere from 30 to 40 hours of ‘run time’ outside his enclosure per week. Be aware that rabbits love to explore and discover – which could involve tasting items in your home. That is the nice way to say you will need to ‘bunnyproof’ your house to protect it from bunny and to keep bunny from getting hurt.

Some Basic Facts
Rabbits can be litterbox trained
Rabbits can live to be 7-10 years old
Rabbits are inquisitive, sociable animals
Rabbits make wonderful indoor companions
Rabbits can purr when contented

Like cats and dogs, rabbits need to be spayed or neutered to improve health and behavior

Most rabbits do not like to be held–they prefer to sit beside you

Rabbits like to play with toys, such as cardboard boxes, wire cat balls, hard plastic baby keys, untreated willow baskets

Rabbits need to have things of their own to chew on (or they might nibble on your stuff)

Rabbits need to be protected from predators, poisons, temperature extremes, electrical cords, and rough handling