Tips for getting a puppy
If you’re either about to get a puppy or have recently added one of these four-legged creatures to your family, you know that pet ownership is about more than just using your dog travel crate in the car to go for exciting walks and playing in the backyard. Indeed, there is a dizzying array of things that new puppy owners should consider.
While puppies are cute and cuddly, they require a lot of care, so it makes sense for you to know what it entails. What follows is a look at everything you need to know as a new puppy owner.
Make Your Home Pet-Friendly
It’s critical that you ensure that your home is safe for your new puppy. You can begin by getting rid of or relocating any plants or flowers that, if eaten, might prove harmful to your puppy. You should also obtain electrical cord protectors and remove things that a puppy might turn into a chew
Visit the vet
After your puppy settles in, you need to set up a veterinarian appointment and get your small dog crate ready. Your puppy’s vet will conduct tests and find out if there are any potential or existing problems that need to be monitored or acted upon. Vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and heart worm prevention efforts are just a few of the things you need to discuss with your puppy’s vet. Taking these proactive measures can pave the way towards a long, healthy life for your dog..
Socialise your pup
The earlier you begin socialising your puppy, the better. Ideally, you should begin this process as early as the three-week to the 12-week mark. If you do this, you’ll find that your puppy will grow to interact properly with people and animals alike. Taking your puppy to the pet store will provide a good socialisation opportunity since such places typically allow people to bring their pets.
Get some exercise
Don’t forget that your new puppy needs exercise. Sure, it won’t require as much as an adult dog, but it will still benefit from daily walks and playtime. The length of time will depend on the size of your dog and its breed, so it’s best to research various types of dogs so that you can get a ballpark figure for the appropriate amount of daily exercise they may require.
Housebreak your puppy
Housebreaking your puppy won’t be a simple process. You’ll reduce the odds of your puppy having an accident in the home, however, by taking it outside every couple of hours for as much as half a dozen times daily. And be sure that some of those bathroom breaks take place shortly after mealtime. If you’re observant, you’ll not only notice when your dog wants to go out, but also figure out the times of day that it is likely to want to do so. In the event that you
have to be out for work or errands, you need to crate train your pet or restrict it in a specific location.
Train from an early age
It’s very important to train your dog. It should learn its name and some commands, for instance, and you should reward your puppy with a treat when it responds appropriately to instructions. The key is to be consistent and patient so that your puppy comes to know what is expected of it. Remember not to encourage the sort of behaviour as a puppy – like enthusiastically greeting people by jumping on them – that you won’t appreciate when it is older and, presumably, heavier.
Get the right food
Your puppy’s dietary needs will be different than if it were a grown dog. During your vet visit, be sure to ask about how often and how much you should feed your new pet. This will ensure that your four-legged family member gets the nutrients it needs to grow up healthy.
Yes, getting a new puppy is an enormous undertaking, and there are a lot of things to mull over. If you take the recommendations above to heart, however, you’ll be well on your way to successfully introducing a new puppy into your home. Good luck!
Written by Amber Kingsley
Travel junkie, Amber Kingsley, is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica, CA. Her art history background helps her hone in on topics that are of interest to readers. She is a dog enthusiast and loves spending time with her pomeranian, Agatha.
Summer health and safety tips for your dog
Summer is a fun time for dogs. They get to go on summer trips along with their owners, swim in the pool, play along with other canine pals at the park, and even have the opportunity to meet their love interests within their neighbourhood. But just as summer is a fun time, this too can have its hazards for your beloved four-legged bud. To ensure that your pet will have the best time of his life this summer, check out these simple safety tips for keeping pet dog healthy:
Common Problems and Corresponding Solutions
The hot climate can cause your pet to suffer from dehydration. The best way to beat this problem is by providing your dog with fresh clean water. Make this accessible by having their water bowls always filled. Instead of dry pet foods, you can also serve foods that have ample moisture in it, such as broth or yogurt cubes. Make sure you provide water in your dog’s crate with a crate water bowl and that there is enough water for all your dogs, if you have a multi-dog household.
When seasons change, this is commonly tied to seasonal allergy in pets. During summer, the culprits may be in the form of molds, flowers, and fleas. If your pet has a history of suffering from allergy or has developed one, keep it safe by restricting contact from what triggers it. For pets that may have contracted it, your vet will be able to prescribe recommended antihistamines for treatment. If your dog has grass allergies, then dog boots (or dog socks) may be able to help your dog.
If you are one of those who can’t spend a summer vacation without tagging along the pets, you must at least try to keep it safe on the road. Don’t leave it alone in the car on its own. The summer heat will literally turn your car into a hot oven without the aid or air-conditioning. Furthermore, get a dog leash to keep it from biting anyone just in case your dog gets restless in the presence of strangers. Having a car temperature monitor may help on those occasions where you are competing with your dog and is being supervised constantly. There are also window vents and door vents you can use to help keep the car cool. A car crate fan may also provide some cool air for your dog.
Having plants at home is great not just for home improvement but for your health too as it provides needed oxygen. However, there are some plants that are considered toxic to dogs and some of these may be lurking in your yard. Remove these soon, or if you plan to keep these, make sure that your dog will in no way be able to chew on them. Examples of plants dangerous to canine pets are daffodils, oleanders and hyacinths.
Most dogs have coats that help protect them from the heat of the sun and from the cold in the winter months. But the sun’s rays today are harsher than ever, no thanks to the ozone layer now rapidly deteriorating. To keep your dog from getting sunburned when the two of you are doing training activities out in the yard or at the park when it’s hot, apply some sunscreen lotion specially formulated for dogs.
When your dog’s body temperature tips way above the normal scale, this can end up in heat stroke. This usually happens when they exercise under the heat of the sun or are left in very hot environments. To prevent heat stroke in pet dogs, provide a shaded or cool space for them to stay when the weather is hot. Do not use a dog muzzle during summer since these can impede in your pet’s ability to cool itself down through panting. On very hot days, a cooling dog coat will help keep your dog’s body temperature down and if you are using a dog crate (or puppy crate) then a crate sun cover will help keep it cool too.
This disease is common during wet months but can also be prevalent during the summer months in areas that have access to stagnant water. And since dogs are very curious animals who love to wander about, being bitten or having indirect with an infected animal, or ingestion of contaminated water, will make your pet dog suffer from it. If your dog shows symptoms of anorexia, joint and muscle tenderness, frequent water intake, vomiting and fever, get medical help right away since these are signs of leptospirosis.
Some dogs make walking on pavements look like there’s really nothing to it. But they are actually not. Your dog’s foot pads have nerves in it and they will be able to feel the heat coming from a cemented walk. Feel the pavement with your fingertips. If it makes you cringe with pain, then don’t let your dog walk on it. If you have to, then dog shoes (dog boots) will help protect your dog’s paws.
Many dogs end up in shelters and one of the reasons is not because of abuse, but simply because they got lost. Keep your dogs within the confines of your fence. If you go out on a walk, use a dog lead. Better yet, invest in microchips for identification purposes. It is also a good idea to put your mobile phone number in your dog’s tag, so that if he gets lost during a walk, you will be able to get the phone call while you are out looking for him.
And of course, summers are never complete without being able to dive in a pool or at the beach. Dogs are popular for their swimming prowess. But this does not mean they’re invincible. Let them wear life jackets just the same for added protection in case some nasty tide tips them over.
What about other pets?
For those who own other types of pets such as poultry, cats, or rabbits, you too should exercise some precautionary measures to keep your pets safe this summer. For example, backyard chicken pets are sensitive not just to the cold, but also of the summer heat. They must be provided with well-insulated chicken coops that are well ventilated to keep them from feeling hot. Furthermore, summer is also the time where predators are on the hunt for their foods. Your eggs and chickens will be considered the best meal to calm their hungry stomachs. This can be prevented by having well-built chicken coops that offer added security features. And unlike pet cats or dogs, you can’t take all of your backyard chicken with you on a beach vacation. You will need to hire a caretaker to feed or secure them in coops in the evening.
During the summer, you have the right to enjoy this any way you want to. Visit a beach, fly to an exotic place, or go camping with your friends. But before you do, secure the safety of your pets too. Their summer fun also depends on the arrangements you make.
All about Kong dog toys
Kong dog toys are widely used and recommended for therapy and prevention of under stimulation, boredom, separation anxiety and other behaviour problems. Following are some simple ways Kongs can be utilised to promote good behaviour in your dog.
The Kong toy is designed to be filled with your dogs favourite treats and food
It is important for dogs to succeed at their “work”. To start with, make it easy to remove the Kong stuffing. As they become more experienced, you can start to make it more challenging by:
- Packing stuffing tighter.
- Wedging biscuits inside the cavity using the inside rim of the opening to secure them.
- FREEZING IT! Very popular! Try various combinations of canned food, gravy, noodles, rice and mashed potatoes mixed with food nuggets and freeze. You can also keep your dog cool with KONGSICLES. Put a dab of peanut butter in the small end of the Kong to plug it. Turn it upside down in a cup. Fill it full of water, chicken broth or fruit juice and freeze.
- CHEESING IT! Mix cheese pieces or cheese spread with food nuggets. NOTE: Use a cup to hold the Kong upright when freezing.
- Hide stuffed Kongs indoors and/or out. The hunt is great fun and rewarding.
Important points when using Kongs
- Provide stuffed Kongs randomly so that they won’t always be associated with you leaving.
- If your dog is unstuffing several Kongs per day, you should appropriately reduce the amount of bowl feeding.
- CLEAN KONGS THOROUGHLY AFTER USE! A dishwasher is recommended. Your dog’s job will last until the Kongs are unstuffed. You can keep your dog “working” all day if you provide enough stuffed Kongs!
Kong Stuffing Recipes (courtesy of the Kong Company)
As you create recipes, be sensitive to your dog’s tummy as you experiment. Following are recipes created by veterinarians, dog trainers and dog lovers worldwide.
- BANANA RAMA: 1 fresh banana · 2 tbs wheat germ · 1 tbs plain yogurt (can use your pet’s favorite flavor as well) · Kong Toy that best fits your pet’s chewing temperament in a bowl, mash up banana. Then, add wheat germ and yogurt. Mash all ingredients together and use spoon to add to Kong. Freeze for 4 hours. Makes 1 serving for a medium Kong. Double for every Kong size that is bigger.
- PHILLY STEAK: steak scraps · 1 ounce cream cheese · appropriate Kong toy. Place small scraps of the steak inside Kong toy. Spread cream cheese in large hole to hold scraps.
- FRUIT SALAD: apple and carrot chunks · 1/4th of a banana · appropriate Kong toy. Place apples and carrots in Kong toy. Mush the banana in large hole to hold fruit in place. You can include other fruits and veggies: orange slices · peach and/or nectarine chunks · celery sticks · broccoli and/or cauliflower · tomato and black olive mixture.
- AUNT JEANNIE’S ARCHEOLOGY KONG (for advanced dogs) LAYER ONE (deepest): roasted, unsalted cashews · freeze dried liver bits LAYER TWO: dog kibble, cookies or liver biscotti · Cheerios · sugar-free, salt-free peanut butter · dried banana chips, apples and apricots LAYER THREE: carrot sticks · turkey or leftover ravioli or tortellini · Kong toy (the larger the better!) Pack as tightly as possible. The last item inserted should be an apricot or piece of ravioli, presenting a smooth “finish” under the main opening. LIGHT VERSION: substitute crumbled rice cakes for cashews, Caesar croutons for freeze-dried liver, fat free cream cheese for peanut butter. – by Jean Donaldson
- KONG ON A ROPE: Dry dog kibble · appropriate Kong Toy · Rope Take the rope, pull it through the Kong Toy and knot it. Hang this upside down from a tree, deck or post. The small hole should be facing the ground. Take the kibble and fill the Kong toy. Make the toy hang just low enough that it is out of your dog’s reach. The dog will spend hours trying to retrieve the kibble from the Kong Toy. At the end of the day, take the remaining kibble and give to your pet as a reward. This is advanced work for your dog. – by Dr. Ian Dunbar
- FROZEN JERKY POPS: Peanut butter · bouillon · Jerky Strips · Water · appropriate Kong Toy · muffin tin Smear a small amount of peanut butter over small hole in your Kong toy. Fill the cool water and add a pinch of bouillon. Place a Jerky Stick inside Kong toy and freeze. This can also be put (once frozen) in a children’s size swimming pool for a fun day of fishing for your pet. – by Terry Ryan
- SIMPLE, TRIED AND TRUE: Peanut butter · Appropriate Kong toy. Smear peanut butter inside the cavity of your Kong toy. It’s that easy!
- TRIXIE’S FAVORITE: Trixie, a 50 pound Aussie/Springer mix, loves turkey, chicken or marrow bites mixed with slightly moistened food nuggets frozen inside her Kong. She is very clean about unstuffing – some dogs are not! – by Joe Markham
Every dog has a favorite recipe! Finding your dog’s will be fun. Remember, not all foods are healthy for dogs, check with your vet if you are not sure. If you have found a unique Kong recipe, drop us an email and we will include it here.
How to handle your stressed dog
Our lives are getting more and more stressful in this fast-changing world. As more pressure is put upon us and our families, this stress is also passed unto your dog, as family member too!
So, how can you identify if your dog is stressed and what can you do about it?
Below are some behaviours that your dog may show if he is feeling stressed. Of course, some of these behaviours are displayed naturally and are not a sign of stress, so you need to see each behaviour in context. So, if a dog is panting because it is hot, then the likelihood is that he’s not stressed, just hot.
Signs that your dog is stressed
Here are some signs to look out for. You will find that usually more than one symptom will be displayed at the same time.
- Restlessness and pacing. Perhaps your dog can’t settle down in areas he used to, or in new areas. Often, these dogs pull on the lead to escape the situation.
- Easily startled, jumpy and nervous
- Overreaction to circumstances where he would normally react calmly.
- Displaying calming signals. Learn about these extremely important signals in the Turid Ruugas ‘Calming Signals’ book. It’s an excellent read! It’s now also available as a DVD.
- Defecation and urination. When a dog is very fearful and/or distressed, the body releases adrenaline and the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This activates the rectum to defecate. On top of that, there are changes to the water balance, which means there is a greater urge to urinate.
- Unsheathing of the penis in male dogs. Most people are surprised at this, and think the dog is sexually-stimulated, when in fact, he is stressed. Again, you will need to look at this in context.
- Mounting. As above, this is often mis-interpretated, but seen within the situation, it may well be that your dog is stressed. This can be seen in both male and female dogs and also in puppies. See what other parameters are happening at the same time and what other behaviours your dog is displaying to properly assess this behaviour.
- Abnormal seasons. This happens relatively often in females under stress. The may come into season too often or very rarely. They may also stay in heat for long periods of time.
- Exaggerated self-grooming. Some dogs are so stressed, that they can cause themselves wounds, often in their legs, tails and genital areas.
- Destructiveness. This is extremely common in dogs whom are left on their own and is a serious sign of stress. Often, this creates friction between the owner and dog, which makes the dog even more stressed. Sometimes this behaviour can be seen by dogs biting on the lead after a prolonged exposure to whatever is stressing them.
- Exaggerated barking. Continuous barking, whining or howling is a sign that the dog is seriously stressed and as above, this can create friction in the owner-dog relationship, making the dog more stressed.
- Tummy upsets. Diarrhoea and vomiting are common signs of stress.
- Allergies. With chronic stress that has been there over a long period of time, the dog’s immune system is weakened, which may bring about all manners of allergies. For example, food, mites, flea, grass, pollen, etc. It can also bring about eczema, itchiness and open wounds.
- Change in appetite. This is a very easy sign to see if your dog is stressed or not, without having to look out for too many body signals. Often, when dogs are put in new situations or they have been over-burdened with training, they will often refuse or spit out those tasty titbits they used to love. Equally, a dog may gulp down whatever he can find (including inedible things like stones, socks, wood, paper, etc). This is understandably very dangerous to the dog, as it can cause intestinal blockage. Chastising the dog for doing this will make him even more stressed.
- Unpleasant body odour and bad breath. In most mammals, stress induces the release of gastrointestinal acids that become noticeable through the dogs panting and body. Of course, there may be other reasons for this, so it is advisable to always have your veterinarian give your dog a clean bill of health before assessing any behavioural problems.
- Raised hackles. Dogs display this behaviour when they are emotionally charged, afraid, insecure, stressed or even extremely happy (in some dogs). So you will need to see the whole context and determine in which circumstances your dog displays this behaviour. These signs are often mis-interpreted as aggression.
- Tense muscles. It is important to allow your dog to move and release the tension in his body when he is stressed. You may see your dog tremble for this same reason, to help release the tension in his body. Calmly walking about will help your dog get rid of some of the tension in his muscles, which may otherwise cause him painful cramps and even more stress. If you see your dog shaking after a mildy-stressful interaction (this includes excessive play) then it is his way of releasing some tension in his body caused by the stress. Now, imagine being asked to sit still when you are very stressed, it would be impossible. We usually flap our arms, pace about, talk a lot, etc. It is the body’s natural way to release some of the tension. You will notice that your dog will try to keep an eye on whatever it is that is stressing or scaring him, to ensure it is not going to be dangerous to himself and be ready to fight or run away. Forcing your dog to look away from whatever is upsetting him, will only make him more scared and stressed. Imagine being made to close your eyes, then you know there is a tarantula 20 feet from you!!
- Dandruff. This may be due to dry skin, but it may also appear during or after a stressful situation.
- Sudden moulting or loss of coat condition. This can be seen as many hairs being released after a stressful situation or over a period of time, bald patches around the dogs body.
- Changes in eye colour or condition. It could be that the change in colour may be caused by the high blood pressure and the tiny blood vessels behind the eyes. The dog may have a sickly appearance with sunken and dull eyes. Under a high level of stress, like us, the eyes will be wide open and in some cases there may be some uncontrollable eye movement.
- Panting. As we have all experienced, stress increases muscle tension and heart rate, in the need for more oxygen. This also makes us hotter. Dogs regulate their body temperature by panting, which at the same time provides more oxygen if stressed. Like humans, dogs sweat when stressed, but unlike us, they do not have as many sweat glands, so they sweat through their paws.
- Runny nose. This can be seen in some dogs.
- Poor concentration, forgetfulness or too passive. This can often be seen in training classes, where the dog is so stressed that it cannot concentrate and learn, it will also not be able to carry out what it has already learnt. If your dog displays this, it is not that he is not intelligent, it is likely that he is too stressed in that environment.
- Compulsive behaviour. In some extreme cases of dogs being put a huge level of stress, they may display obsessive behaviours like constantly running in a figure of eight, chasing lights, snapping at imaginary objects, running in circles, excessive licking, chasing their tail, staring intensely at objects like flies and lights, excessive licking and many other extreme repetitive behaviours.
As mentioned previously, it is very important that you take your dog to your vet to get a clean bill of health, before looking at any behavioural problem, as many stress symptoms can be caused by an underlying medical condition. For example:
- Blindness, deafness, over/under-sensitive to touch, mobility problems (joints, muscles, fractures, etc).
- Problems with organ function like the kidneys, digestive and circulatory systems.
- Chronic pain due to injuries, trauma, infections, shock, arthritis, spondylosis, etc
- Sexual functioning. A dog may become stressed due to pent-up sexual drive. Also, female dogs may be stressed by the constant male attention when she is in season.
Along the above medical reasons, there may be other reasons why your dog is stressed. Here are a few:
- Change of environment – new babies/children, new animals/other dogs, new house, etc, etc
- Grief due to loss of owner or other animals in the household
- Change in pack dynamics, due to an introduction of a new dog/cat/other animal or person. Maybe there are too many dogs in the household.
- Lack of sleep or relaxing sleeping and rest areas
- High expectations in training and working/ rough play or uncontrolled puppy play/puppy parties.
- Over exhaustion due to lack of sleep, too much exercise (mental or physical), too much interaction or exposure to new stressful environments.
- Being left in isolation/separation anxiety.
- Unhealthy human-dog relationship – e.g. too much emotional dependency on the dog or maybe the dog is not shown any affection. Maybe there are too many or too few house rules.
How can you help your stressed dog?
So what can you do about it? Obviously, the first thing is to identify that your dog is stressed and why s/he is stressed. The help of a properly qualified dog behaviourist will help in this. They will also set out a proper plan for you to follow to help your dog.
In the meantime, here are some pointers:
- Establish a consistent daily routine that meets your particular dog’s needs. For example a good diet, a quiet and comfortable sleeping and resting area. Two walks per day, distance depending on your particular dog’s needs. A daily walk is not just important for physical exercise, but more so, for mental stimulation. It allows the dog to let go and behave like a dog. Off lead running in a safe place is the best way, ensuring there is no livestock or wildlife they can chase.
- Have a good grounding on your basic obedience. This is an important way to communicate with your dog, on what you need him to do. If your dog ignores you, then he doesn’t understand or you are not being clear or consistent on what you are asking your dog to do. Go to a reward-based trainer and get hold of your basic obedience again. Ensure there are no harsh training methods involved, as this will just stress your dog more. Dogs love to learn and to get it right, so reward-based training is a great way to build a strong bond with your dog. It will keep your dog mentally stimulated and he will love to get it right for you for your praise and perhaps the odd titbit here and there! Also, it will teach your dog that you have control of situations, so that he can relax and let you protect and care for him/her.
- Ensure you provide a safe environment for your dog. If you have issues within your dog pack, then see a dog behaviourist who will be able to help.
- Have rules in your household and teach your dog what they are (in a happy and calm way). The most important thing with rules is total consistency. Make sure everyone in the household follows these rules. An unpredictable environment will just make your dog more stressed.
- Don’t put too much pressure on your dog in training. Remember if your are competing in sport, it is your choice, not the dog’s. If the dog enjoys it (as most do), then great! If not, then re-think, get another dog who will enjoy it and provide your current dog with either less pressure to perform, or find another sport/hobby which he will enjoy.
- Don’t depend emotionally on your dog. They cannot deal with this and will stress them out. Make sure you have a routine, stick to it, and give your dog a healthy amount of love and attention (not too much and not too little).
The main thing is to enjoy life together with your dog. Provide a predicable environment for him/her and somewhere where they feel safe and that you are in control of situations, so that they don’t feel they have to.
Tips for dog flatulence
Believe it or not, ‘dog farting’ is one of the most searched for dog related terms on the Internet – even more so than ‘dog flatulence’!
Anyway, call it what you like, dog flatulence can be an embarrassing problem, particularly in larger breed dogs. I have a very gentle and elderly Great Dane called Dexter, who really knows how to let his presence be known, particularly when guests are around.
What are the causes and the solutions for dog flatulence?
Well, pretty much the same as what causes human flatulence:
Eating or gulping food too fast
Dogs that rush their food, take in a lot of air at the same time. There are now clever dog bowls that help slow down the consumption of food by making it difficult for them to get large mouthfuls (see ‘Related Products’ below). You may also want to try changing feed times and frequency, i.e. from 1-2 times a day, to 2-3 times a day. Also, a simple walk within 30 minutes of eating can help move those gasses along more quickly, allowing him to emit them outdoors.
Eating human food
Feeding your dog scraps from dinner plates is very tempting when they look at you with their big wide eyes. Well, if your dog has a flatulence problem, then this needs to stop. Particularly if the scraps are foods like beans, sprouts, peas, soy, dairy, peas, beans and fruit, etc. Probiotics (or ‘friendly bacteria’) can also help with digestion, but use a high-quality dog probiotic or a herbal remedy that is suitable for dogs (see related items below).
Eating poor quality food
One of the biggest factors in dog flatulence is poor quality dog food. This is one area where the more expensive it is, the better it is. Foods such as Burns and Arden Grange are excellent, but there are some other good ones out there as well. Although, neither of these completely solves Dexter’s flatulence. So if you, have had good results with certain foods, let us know below.
You cant rule out a medial problem when it comes to dog flatulence. So, if it is excessive and persists for a prolonged period, or your dog is showing other signs of illness, consult your vet. It’s important to ensure that your dog has been checked for fleas and ticks, a dog with fleas and ticks will have a nervous disposition which can contribute to flatulence -Frontline for Dogs is a good product to use for getting rid of fleas and ticks.
Whether your dog has chronic flatulence or simply passes excessive gas every now and then, it’s always a good idea to take him to the vet to ensure everything is in order. Even though flatulence isn’t dangerous, it can be a symptom of something serious.
Although many owners are aware that laws exist relating to dog ownership, few are aware of the details and the responsibilities they place on them. This article takes a brief look at the recent acts of Parliament, which cover dogs and their owners.
The Control of Dogs Order 1992
- Every dog while in a highway or in a place of public resort must wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it. Exceptions being hunting hound packs or whilst dogs are being used for sporting purposes, capture of vermin, herding or rescue work. Also, dogs for the registered blind or used by the armed forces, customs and excise or the police are exempt.
- Dogs not meeting this criteria can be seized and treated as a stray by your local authority under the Environment Protection Act (see below). Note that the police have no powers under this act.
- The full details of the act can be found here.
The Environment Protection (Stray Dogs) Regulations 1992
- All local authorities must appoint an officer to deal with stray dogs found in the local authorities area. The regulation places certain responsibilities on this officer in terms of recording key information (breed, where it was found etc) and ensuring procedures are followed relating to contact of owners.
- Should the owner reclaim the dog, a fine of £25 (plus any expenses) will be charged.
- The full details of the act can be found here.
The Dangerous Dog Act 1991
This act is relatively detailed and can be found in its entirety by clicking here. The highlights are as follows:
- The Dangerous Dog Act applies to ALL dogs.
- If a dog is dangerously out of control in a public place, the owner or person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence. A dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person, whether or not it actually does so.
- This offence can result in a fine or a prison sentence not exceeding 6 months. The dog may also be destroyed and the owner disqualified from owning a dog for a specific period of time.
- A Police constable or an officer of the local authority may seize a dog if they consider it dangerously out of control.
- Specific regulations apply to fighting dogs. These are deemed as Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa or any dog considered by the Secretary of State to have been breed for fighting. The act looks likely to prohibit these dogs entirely in the future, but currently in such cases it is an offence if you:
- breed, sell or exchange such a dog
- have the dog in a public place without a muzzle and kept on a lead.
- allow the dog to stray.
Developing confidence within your new puppy should start the minute they arrive home. Introducing your puppy to new experiences and situations in a controlled manner as early as possible is the best way to avoid potential fears and phobias later in life. The following section covers those things you should do regularly during your puppy’s first few months at home.
Children: Puppies should be accustomed to children and babies even if you don’t have any in your family. Under supervision, allow children to meet your puppy and handle it gently. Arrange to meet a friend with a baby and allow your puppy to see and smell it. (Further reading: Preparing Your Dog For a New Baby)
Grooming: Grooming your puppy every day for a few minutes will accustom them to being thoroughly handled. Do this even if they do not appear to need it. Handle the puppy’s nails regularly and slightly trim them when necessary.
Visitors: Allow your puppy to meet all of your visitors. Make meeting visitors as pleasurable as possible. Ask your visitors to make some fuss and feed tip bits as they do.
Vet Examination: Examine your puppy every day is the best preparation for the vet visits it will have during its life. Check its teeth, ears, eyes, paws and under its tail. Ask others to do this as well as yourself.
Delivery Men: Aggression towards delivery men and postmen is a common problem for many owners. Let your puppy have positive experiences with these people as early as possible. Carry them out to meet the postman and ask him to feed him tip bits. Repeat this regularly during puppy-hood. (Further reading: Chasing The Postman)
Cats: It’s a good idea to introduce your puppy to cats, even if you don’t have one. You don’t want a dog that is always barking at cats or getting into scraps with them. This most be done in a well controlled manner as most puppies are far to boisterous for most cats liking. It is best to hold your puppy during these introductions.
Other Dogs : Where possible, introducing a puppy to other dogs at home should be done on neutral territory or in the garden. For much more detailed reading this area, read our article Introducing New Dogs To Each Other .
Cars: Travel sickness can be a major problem for owners and often prevents their dog enjoying family outings. Introducing young puppies to the car is probably one of the most important aspects of puppy confidence building. Read out article Why is My Dog Getting Travel Sickness for hints and tips to ensure trouble free travelling.
Other Environments : Take your puppy to other peoples home or other places where they will experience different things. Take them to the post office or the newsagent, and places where they will see and hear traffic. Try train stations or bus stations.
Lead Training: Prepare your puppy for lead training by firstly introducing the collar for a day or so, then practice short lead sessions in the garden. (Further reading: Stop your Dog Pulling on The Lead).
Being left alone: Puppies that are not accustomed to being left alone are much more likely to suffer separation anxiety later in life. This can manifest itself in destructiveness, howling/barking and loss of toilet control. Our article Why does my dog bark when left alone covers the subject of separation anxiety in detail.
Don’t try to achieve this all at once, try and give your puppy a new experience every day, but don’t over do it. Watch out for tell-tale signs that they are becoming anxious. These include the tale between their legs, hiding behind you or heavy panting. When this happens you are probably progressing them to quickly. Remove the puppy from the situation and look to build up more slowly in smaller steps. With puppies that are not fully inoculated, ensure your carry them at all times to avoid contact with areas other dogs may have been. When out and about, it is sometimes useful to start by just letting your puppy watch new experiences from the security of the car.
Dog Breed Index
Puppies are at their most impressionable during early puppy hood. It is at this time that the many good and bad habits are formed. Preventing bad habits (e.g. chewing, barking, marking, biting, jumping up, lead pulling) at an early stage is much easier than rehabilitation after a bad behaviour is formed.
It is therefore essential to get off on the right foot, right from the beginning. So what does this mean ?. Well, it means building your education and understanding in the many aspects of dog ownership, before you get your puppy or dog.
Over the coming months, we hope to build up a selection of articles about preparing for a new puppy. In the meantime, Dr. Ian Dunbar’s book Before You Get Your Puppy is recommended reading for those new or lack recent experience in puppy selection and the early days of ownership.
As well as building knowledge, the vast number of products available for dogs generally bewilders newcomers. Many of these lack the appropriate advice dog owners need to determine how, when and where they should be used. Unfortunately, The New Puppy Checklist below does not resolve that dilemma, but it does list those items that, in our opinion, are must have’s and need to in place before your new puppy arrives at your house.
Pulling on the lead is one of the few unpleasant experiences of bringing up a new puppy or dog. In recent years dog head collars have revolutionised our ability to help train good lead walking manners, as well as being a useful training aid to help keep your dog’s attention. Although fairly straight forward to use, it is important that head collars are correctly fitted and that your dog be properly acclimatised to them:
How should the collar fit?
Both the Gentle Leader and Halti collars should fit fairly snugly such that one finger can fit under the strap that fastens behind the ears. The nose strap should locate no closer than 15mm from your dog’s eyes. On the Gentle Leader, the clip should tighten under the chin such that only one finger fits.
How do I acclimatise my dog to the collar?
It will take a week or so to acclimatise your dog to a head collar. But these tips should help smooth the way:
- Have some tasty treats at hand. Place the head collar over your hand such that it hangs around your wrist.
- With the same hand, hold a treat with your fingers and offer it to your dog, but holding the treat such that they have to nibble at it. As your dog is nibbling the treat, simultaneously slide the collar over its face.
- Now release the treat and while they are munching away, finish fitting the clasp. Give your dog another treat and praise them warmly.
- At this point it is important to keep your dog distracted- either by you playing with him or letting your dog use its favourite toy. After 2-3 minutes remove the collar and play for a few more minutes.
- Repeat this 3-4 times a day for the first week and only playing with your dog whilst they are wearing the head collar. As you progress, start to introduce a command word that your dog can start to associate with the collar being fitted. Don’t use a lead until your have completed this stage.
- Once your dog is able to wear the collar for 5 minutes without distraction (i.e. scratching or trying to remove it), attach his lead and continue playing with them for a few minutes. Repeat this until your dog is not distracted by the head collar or lead.
- Once your dog is acclimatised, gradually build up the time your dog spends wearing the head collar and lead to the point you can take short walks.
- Remember, keep this a positive experience for your dog and don’t try to achieve too much in one go.
- Don’t allow your dog to wear a head collar unsupervised. This will give them a chance to learn how to remove them.
- Never tug your lead hard when your dog is wearing a head collar. This may cause them neck injuries.
- For the same reason, never use retractable or very long leads as these may allow your dog pick up speed before the lead takes up.