Archive for August, 2008

Dog and Pet House Proofing and Safety Measures

A basic rule to follow: If any or all of something will fit in the mouth, it’s dangerous, and if it’s not safe for children it’s not safe for pets.

Books, newspapers, magazines, mail, important papers; money, coin, checks — all need to be safely out of reach.

Instinctively, pets understand that wood is good for chewing. Use thick plastic sheeting or tubing to hide chair and table legs.

Some furniture types can be hazardous to cats. The reclining chair can trap a cat that curiously crawls inside. Always make a habit to check for your cat under the leg rest or inside the recliner before returning it to the upright position. Rocking chairs can roll on a cat’s tail or foot, so be sure where your cat is sitting when you decide to use the rocker.

Wheel chairs and their spokes can be dangerous for paws, and for collars and tags to be caught on. Stow these chairs away when not in use.

Use childproof latches to prevent paws from prying open cabinets.

Place medications, cleaners, chemicals, and laundry supplies on high shelves.

Cats will jump in sinks, on countertops and tables, and will lick water from the sink or nibble bits of food left after rinsing dinner dishes. Make sure to clean and rinse thoroughly and the same goes for the bath tub.

Check for and block any small spaces, nooks, or holes inside cabinets or behind washer/dryer units.

Make sure your kitten hasn’t jumped into the dryer before you turn it on. Cats love the warmth and will often crawl into clothes dryers when the dryer door is left open. Many cats have perished because their guardians have turned the dryer on without realizing they were inside.

Keep trash cans covered or inside a latched cabinet; some of the items in your trash (like chicken bones) may be dangerous for your dog to ingest.

Keep foods out of reach. Your pet can overeat and get ill or bloat (even if the food isn’t harmful, the wrapper could be).

Plastic food wrap can pose a danger if ingested when pets lick food residues off of them and bits of plastic become separated and can cause choking or an intestinal obstruction.

Rawhide chews are not necessarily harmless and can pose a danger; small bits may come off and lodge in the throat and cause choking, or create an obstruction in the stomach or intestines.

Rawhide chews can harbor salmonella, infecting the dog and family. Some manufacturers have been found to use toxic chemicals in the production of these treats.

Cigarettes, tobacco and nicotine can be fatal to dogs. Keep all cigarettes, pipes, tobacco, chewing tobacco and all other tobacco products away from pets and empty ashtrays often.

Keep the toilet lid closed. Curious puppies can become curious or thirsty and fall in head first and drown.

You also want to keep the toilet lid closed to prevent drowning, or drinking of harmful cleaning chemicals. For that reason, you should avoid using any sanitizing toilet products that are placed for continual cleaning.

Candles — never leave a burning candle unattended.

Christmas ornaments look like toys to your pet, and broken ornaments produce shards of glass that can cut your pet’s paws. Any ornament can be life-threatening if shards are eaten.

Tinsel and ribbon are cat magnets, and can cause intestinal obstructions if ingested.

Air fresheners and potpourri can be hazardous especially for cats as well as some dogs. Liquid potpourri can be found to be tasty but it is caustic and will burn esophagus linings or even poison them.

Firewood or fireplace debris is a chewing and ingesting hazard.

Always use a fireplace screen.

Put safety covers on any open power strips and outlets to keep your pet from licking the outlet or sticking a nail into it.

Move electrical and phone wires out of reach of chewing. A curious dog can suffer severe burns or even electrocution from chewing on live electrical cords.

Tame the wire clutter throughout the house, including dangling wires that pets can inadvertently find themselves tangled in. Whenever possible, “hide” cords from lamps, VCRs, televisions, stereos, and telephones under baseboards and carpet seams.

Keep out of reach hot irons, coffee pots and space heaters.

Don’t leave irons unattended. Irons left standing on ironing board can topple over and injure your pet.

Office shredders may seem harmless but they represent a huge danger. Most have an on/off switch as well as automatic-feed buttons. The motors may become warm with use and cats are known to love warm places, and more than a few canine tongues have met with a devastating outcome from these machines. Unplug the paper shredder until you need it.

Put away children’s toys and games.

Kids love play dough, but it can pose a danger to pets if pieces fall off the table onto the floor and get ingested. Play dough has a high salt content and can cause salt poisoning in pets, which can be fatal.

Put away knick-knacks until your kitten has the coordination not to knock them over.

Check all those places where your vacuum cleaner doesn’t fit, but your puppy or kitten does.

Be alert for dangerous items, like dental floss, string, sewing thread, yarn, and rubber bands, even those items chewed off a rope toy for dogs! If swallowed, these items can cause intestinal blockages and strangulations by tightening around your pet or its internal organs.

Move common house plants that may be poisonous out of reach, including the dead leaves. Don’t forget hanging plants that can be reached from nearby surfaces.

Make sure all heating/air vents have covers.

Puppies have a hard time navigating up and down stairs and could fall down them and injure themselves. Purchase baby or dog gates if there is the chance of injury.

Open windows are another potential hazard to your puppy since it can easily fall out, causing serious harm or death. On the ground floor, your puppy can escape out the window and get lost or run into the street.

For cats, window sashes and screens need to be securely in place to prevent falling or an untimely escape.

Put away all sewing and craft notions, especially thread, and sporting equipment, hunting and fishing gear.

Garages, basements, and attics are often filled with many hazardous objects. It’s best to prevent a puppy or cat from entering these rooms.

If you have a cat, litter boxes should be inaccessible to the new puppy. Litter is harmful and can poison the dog, and feces may carry worms. Stick with basic clay litters.

Move all chemicals to high shelves or behind secure doors. That includes cleaning agents, bleach, ammonia, disinfectant, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, paint, gasoline, and rodent poison. Keep them locked up.

Clean all antifreeze from the floor and driveway, as one taste can be lethal to animals.

Bang on your car hood to ensure that your kitten (or any neighborhood cat) has not hidden in the engine for warmth.

Keep all sharp objects and tools out of reach.

Keep socks out of the dog’s reach; they are a favorite chew toy for many dogs.

Keep laundry and shoes behind closed doors (drawstrings and buttons can cause major problems if swallowed).

Keep any medications, soaps, toothpaste, lotions, or cosmetics off accessible surfaces (like the bedside table).

Be careful that you don’t close your kitten in closets or dresser drawers.

If you treat your lawn with chemicals, keep pets away.

Secure garden hoses and tools.

Check fencing for escape routes because if there is one, your pet will find it.

Check carefully that there’s nowhere for your puppy to crawl under, and make sure your puppy can’t get its head stuck in fence gaps or gates.

Never tie ribbons around your puppy’s neck. If the ribbon gets caught on a fence or other object your pet could choke.

Your pet should have a well-fitted collar and the tags should not dangle too far down.

When crating your dog or puppy, remove tags and collars to prevent them getting caught in the bars. Put the collar back on immediately when you let your pet out.

Don’t put the collar on the top of the crate where your can get to it and chew on it.

Be sure the floor to the crate fits properly and covers the bottom of the wire bars. Invest in quality crate wear to prevent nail snags.

Block access to the pond or pool and other hazardous areas. Even a dog bred to swim can drown if it doesn’t know where the steps are to get out.

When you think you have done a good job dog-, kitten- and puppy-proofing, go from room to room on your hands and knees. Look at the things in your home from your puppy’s perspective and continue to be aware. You will likely see something you missed before.

Always look for objects in which a pet could get caught tangled, pulled down or ripped up. Assume every place would be an interesting place for a pet to explore, chew, shred, carry or hide.

Observe your pet’s behavior and proclivities with an eye towards possible danger problems. That will help you determine where to focus your puppy-proofing energies, and remember that a puppy can behave differently when you’re not around!

As your pet becomes used to its surroundings and is properly trained, staying away from forbidden items and areas will be second nature. In the meantime, don’t neglect any of the advice above.

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Your dog’s chewing can end tragically

A wonderful friend to this site, whom we appreciate very much, told us of a tragic story of the loss of a puppy to her good friend because the puppy consumed fishing line and the veterinarian was not astute enough to recognize the problem.

Please let’s all do our best to see these things don’t happen.

Dogs are very much like children and, like our friend so accurately pointed out, will always be our dependent children in spite of advancing years and must be protected like children. They are curious and experience a lot of their world through their mouthing and like to chew on their toys and whatever else grabs their attention.

Dogs can sometimes swallow harmful objects that can affect their health and in the case of this one puppy produced a tragic end. It is important that we protect our canine family members from ingesting dangerous foreign bodies.

Foreign objects can become lodged in the stomach and intestines creating a deadly obstruction. Non-food items commonly ingested include but are not limited to toys, string, clothing, and plastic. Any object your dog chews on can become a foreign body problem.

Dogs of any age are susceptible to ingesting inappropriate objects but this is most commonly seen in young dogs less than 2 years of age.

Watch for signs of gastrointestinal upset such as refusing to eat, vomiting, drooling or abnormal bowel movements. If you have any questions, contact your veterinarian. If you happen to notice a foreign object, such as a string, protruding from the rectum, do not pull the object out – consult your vet immediately.

The best prevention of ingesting inappropriate objects is to prevent access to such objects. Keep dangerous objects away and only allow your dog to chew on toys that cannot be swallowed. Never allow string or clothing to become chew objects.

Click this way for Kong and other quality chew toys…

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Want to know why your dog chewed your…..

Want to know why your dog chewed your new shoes, carpet, table, or whatever else that sent you into exasperation?

The answer is there is no one answer, but there are a few possible reasons besides the possibility it may just be good entertainment and a way to pass the time.

Puppies and young dogs learn about their world by mouthing objects and gnawing. The targets of their attention are whatever piques their curiosity and can include anything that may occupy their time and bring them comfort in the moment. Destructiveness of this kind is not destruction to them and is a normal behavior for a growing dog.

Some dogs will be compelled to chew on something out of boredom, upset or nervousness like when they feel separated or “abandoned” by their owners when they depart for work in the morning.

Anxiety can escalate dog’s emotions into a frenzied effort to escape the house in an effort to find its pack leader. A dog in this state of mind might dig and chew at doorways, windowsills and whatever else is standing in way of its intended mission.

Chewing can be the result of a generally nervous personality or phobia. For instance, your dog may be normally well adjusted emotionally but a clap of thunder may cause the same dog to suffer anxiety thereby driving your otherwise calm pet to cause damage to your house or personal items on stormy days. This type of anxiety may not be limited to thunder; your dog may develop fears of fireworks, wind, and a variety of other noises.

A very simple solution is to make available something to chew on that will likely be enjoyed and bring comfort at those “doggie emotionally trying” times. What you give them should never represent or resemble what you would not want them to chew on.

Do not give an old shoe if you do not want a good shoe to be destroyed at another time when you aren’t around. You can’t expect your dog to draw a distinction and understand the difference.

There are a number of excellent “chew toys” on the market, and a truly excellent solution choice would be the Kong® brand toys. They are durable, strong and will stand up to the toughest of punishment. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes and one of the best feature benefits is that you can even hide treats in many Kong toys.

Whatever toys you decide to buy, it is imperative that you make sure your dog’s toys are built to withstand a good chewing without breaking into pieces. Broken pieces are dangerous and can even prove fatal because your dog can choke on them or they can get lodged in its intestinal tract. You must choose carefully.

Follow this link to check out KONG and other quality chew toys

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The Final 5 Dog Training Help Tips

As we promised you, here are dog training tips 14 through 18:

Dog Help Training Tip #14
Dogs will remember a command for about two minutes in duration before the concept is lost. Commands that are given must be clear and simple. Use only short commands and say the command once (do not repeat). For example, sit, down, leave it, quiet, out, and off. Word commands ending in hard consonants are better than words ending in vowels because you can emphasize the hard sound.

Dog Help Training Tip #15
COME is the only command word that should have additional sounds attached. For example, use the dog’s name and then follow it with the command COME, and then GOOD BOY/GIRL, so the dog does not feel threatened or in trouble. This should be done smoothly and in an upbeat, pleasant and happy tone: “Spot, Come, good boy”.

Dog Help Training Tip #16
Put your dog on a leash and position yourself directly in front. Attract its attention with a finger snap or the word “look” or “watch”. Then issue the verbal command SIT. Your dog might slowly get into the sitting position and when this happens, reward IMMEDIATELY with enthusiastic praise, “GOOD BOY, SPOT!” (remember, plesant high tones with an enthusiastic voice delivery), at the same time you produce the reward.

Dog Help Training Tip #17
A dog that is uninitiated to any training education will have to be assisted into the sitting position by moving a treat over and above the head so it has to sit to reach it. Successful accomplishment of the task meets with warm praise and the food treat. If necessary, placement techniques (tension on collar, downward pressure on the rump) may have to be used, with praise upon completion.

Dog Help Training Tip #18
Your dog will have the motivation to comply if it has received moderate exercise before a training session involving complex tasks, such as the off leash down-stay. You can’t expect a dog that has a lot of unexploded energy to participate in prolonged attention-required instruction. This would be setting up the training session for failure right from the beginning.

We recommend these 3 online dog training programs. Be sure to check them out!

**Chet Womach’s Hands-Off Dog Training Formula**

**Dove Cresswell’s Dog Training**

**Daniel Stevens’ Secrets to Dog Training**

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Dog Training Help Tips 7-13 Of 18

Dog Training Help Tip #7
If praise is used as a reward, be sure you give it with enthusiasm in a celebratory tone of voice that your dog will interpret as pleasing so it will be appreciated by the dog. Petting given as a reward should be in a way the dog enjoys, such as scratching the chest, stroking the side of the face in the direction the hair grows or petting the side. Try to avoid the temptation of patting or petting the head. Contrary to most people’s habits, dogs don’t really appreciate having the top of the head petted.

Dog Training Help Tip #8
Train before a meal to ensure high motivation for the reward if food is the reward. If praise, petting and your attention are to be used as reward, do your training session at a time when your dog particularly craves your attention.

Dog Training Help Tip #9
The opposite of reward is not punishment, it’s no reward. Dogs want to obtain highly valued food and they want to please. By ignoring unacceptable responses, your dog will not be rewarded for its failed response and will likely try to accomplish what will get the reward.

Dog Training Help Tip #10
What does not belong in training is negative or punishment components. They are counter-productive and can easily cause the dog to exhibit socialization problems and suppressed anger. Training sessions should be upbeat and positive, with rewards for jobs well done. No yelling, no hitting, no chain jerking, no hanging, and absolutely no electric shock.

Dog Training Help Tip #11
Don’t reward the dog if it doesn’t respond appropriately to a command after several attempts. Wait a few seconds and give a simpler command, and attempt the more difficult task again later.

Dog Training Help Tip #12
Success depends not only on the degree of difficulty of the task but also on your dog’s motivation to respond. As the complexity of the task increases, a dog’s motivation to respond to a command decreases. Will the dog try to understand and do what is being asked of it, or will a tempting distraction be more likely to grab its attention? Understanding your dog’s choice of behavior will help your chances for success and increase your patience.

Dog Training Help Tip #13
A well socialized dog needs to be familiar with the basic obedience commands of sit, stay, down and come. It is also useful to be able to accomplish these tasks off leash. Additional useful commands are: enough or stop, cease, leave it, give or give it.

Coming Soon…..the final 5 Dog Training Help Tips!

In the meantime, if you need training help – 3 terrific options:

**Chet Womach’s Hands-Off Dog Training Formula**

**Dove Cresswell’s Dog Training**

**Daniel Stevens’ Secrets to Dog Training**

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Put Some Thought Into Your Dog’s Play and Activity Toys

Things that are often the most attractive to dogs are very often things that are the most dangerous at worst, or inappropriate for them to grab hold of and play with. It is not unusual for a dog to treat a non-toy item as a dog toy that can have dangerous consequences.

As you would do for a small child, dog-proof your home and check for trouble before it happens. Secure window treatment cords, and electrical lamp and appliance wire. Check for children’s toys that the dog might claim that can cause choking if broken, or other items that can present similar dangers such as pantyhose, string, rubber bands, ribbon, and anything else that could be ingested. Also be alert to balls that are too small, and other small toys can be easily swallowed or become lodged in your dog’s mouth or throat.

As For Your Dog’s Current Toys…..

Any toy your dog currently uses should be dog-safe or at least dog-proofed. Remove ribbons, strings, eyes or other small parts that could be separated by tugging, pulling and chewing and then ingested.

Problem fillings to look out for include but are not limited to nutshells, polystyrene, beads and basically everything else that is not truly digestible.

Toys that contain “squeakers” buried in their center may be cute in the beginning; however, these toys with breakable small parts could represent a serious emergency if your dog is inclined to tear and chew, and ends up ingesting the small part that squeaks. Any toy that starts to break into pieces should be discarded.

Don’t Select Just Any Toy…..

Before selecting toys for your dog, take your canine companion’s size, activity level, and personality into consideration. However, don’t be disappointed if your toy selection is not a big hit with your dog. There is never a guarantee that your dog will be enthusiastic about your pick.

Soft stuffed toys are a good choice for the appropriate size or temperament, but are not appropriate for all dogs. For small and medium size dogs that are happy to just carry the soft toy as a comfort possession requires less consideration than selecting for dogs that want to “kill” the toy. In addition to durable, the toy should be the size of the “prey” the dog would instinctually hunt.

For reasons that are obvious concerning hygiene, a soft dog toy should be machine-washable for sanitizing as often as needed.

Active And Interactive…..

Many of your dog’s toys should be interactive. Interactive play is very important for your dog because exercise is a vital component to good health and longevity, along with socialization that helps them learn appropriate and inappropriate behavior with people and other animals.

Interactive toys encourage exercise with activities the dog finds stimulating and enjoys — games of catch, fetch, and for balanced dogs, tug and pull games along with long walks, jogging, swimming and biking.

Great Toys That Should Be Considered…..

Very hard rubber toys, like Kong — super-bouncy and irresistible. Kong’s exclusive super-bouncy red natural rubber compound is irresistible for most dogs, and five chewer-friendly sizes are available to satisfy dogs with typical chewing temperaments, along with the rest of the Kong toy offerings.

Other wonderful products to have are: A Ruff Dawg K9 Flyer disc, similar to a Frisbee, only more rugged, flexible and non-toxic for on-land or in water. Try a simple game with a rope tug toy, great fun as long as your dog understands play boundaries. If your dog has shown signs of aggression towards you, tug-of-war is not a game we recommend.

Also recommended: A Hyper Disc which is floatable, durable and soft on your dog’s mouth, or a Hyper Ball Launcher that allows you to launch a ball up to 220 feet. These and other quality dog exercise toys are available at

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Relationship Failure, Divorce and the Family Dog

A person whose privacy will be respected told me a story she thought people should be aware of. The story was about how divorcing and arguing families tear at the innocent, including the most innocent, the family dog.

Non-relevant details will be omitted for the sake of this story. She stated her dog has very simple needs, and it is the best ego-booster when getting home at night and how no one else would greet her so enthusiastically night after night. She recognized a special unconditional love. She went on to say that people should try to save a relationship even if it’s for the sake of the dog.

I nodded my head in agreement. She then said it was also the love for her dog and the help of an online course that was sent to her by a concerned friend that saved their marriage.

I was taken aback for a few seconds with that bit of surprising news but she was very right about the emotional toll, turmoil and stress placed on our dogs, and that can lead to health problems.

Dogs are often not given enough consideration when relationship difficulties and divorce occurs or is possible.

Dogs, whose owners get divorced, often end up disorientated, lonely and horribly at times homeless, supported by the evidence that increasingly dogs are given to pet shelters as a result of divorce.

Every dog will have an individual response; different dogs will react in different ways depending on their life’s experience, age, amount of training as well as breed and other aspects.

The result can be and often is nervous behavior and unhealthy anxiety. Excessive barking, howling, digging, soiling accidents, general destructive behavior, lethargy and/or sadness are all symptoms of anxiety-related behavior. The minimal possible amount of changes to your dog’s lifestyle can help to avoid behavioral problems which could complicate life further for everybody.

Divorce affects all personal dynamics of the life experience and that includes family, extended family, friends, associates, and at times to a greater degree the family dog. Human problems can cause a great deal of stress to dogs. The family dog is a social animal that has a bond to a family’s routine and a way of life. Dogs are sensitive to their owner’s emotions, in turn what affects us, affects our dogs. We should never underestimate the sensitivity of our four-legged companions

Our furry family members want their humans to be happy because that is the state that creates balance, and a balanced existence and environment is what dogs need most for their physical, mental and emotional well-being. There is a prized lesson to be observed and learned there. Focusing on your dog’s adjustment and not just on your own is a “win, win.” Your dog’s therapy will be your therapy.

Back to the story….. I thought to myself with a big invisible question mark over my head that we all get once in a while, she did it with the help of an online course? After all, this is an educated and not unsophisticated woman.

She saw the big invisible question mark of doubt over my head and said never mind what you are thinking, it was excellent and extremely effective. It included email consultation so that specific problems could be discussed and this very uncomplicated resource should be recommended to anyone serious about saving their marriage and needs to put the clutter to one side and let unconditional love come through.

I told her I was going to share the story about relationship failure, divorce and the family dog, but what about the E-course, can we share that too? I got a sheepish grin in return with the words, of course. She gave me the info and I am passing it on to you. Here is the link to Save My Marriage Today!

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