Tag Archives: Dog

How to Move With Dogs Without Stressing Them Out

wp march 26 2020

Abby, “Mom, I think that’s your glove!”

In January we moved from MA to Maryland, and to say that Abby was excited about our move would be an understatement.  She loved “inspecting” the boxes we were putting together to pack our things; she dashed between Cynthia and yours truly as if to “help” us pack; she watched Cynthia like a hawk while she taped the boxes; and when she was tired she’d take a nap near one of us or go to bed.

wp march 26 20202

Abby, “Aha!  I told you this was your glove mom.”

Abby seems to enjoy moving, but she is the exception rather than the rule.  Because dogs enjoy having a routine, moving could be stressful for them so I’d recommend the following:

  • Walk/run your dog at least once a day.  Exercise is paramount at this time
  • On moving day, make sure that your dog is in her crate while things are being loaded to a truck/car
  • Once you get to your new place – assuming you took her for a long walk/run in the morning – put on her collar and leash and walk with her through the entire house
  • Afterwards, put her in her crate while your things are being unloaded
  • Take her out of the crate once unloading is done, but limit where she could go and explore for the first week or so

Dogs love routine, but if you plan ahead of time perhaps moving doesn’t have to be very stressful for your canine companion and you.  How did your dog(s) do on your last move?

Dog Walking And Really Cold Weather

wp dec 11 2018

I love to walk, that is no surprise to those who know me, but when the weather gets really cold I keep in mind, and you should too, the following:

  • Puppies and senior dogs should take short walks
  • If your dog is shivering, doesn’t want to leave the house, etc., this is a clue for you Not to take him for a walk.  Yes, you heard me right
  • Short-haired dogs like Abby need a sweater and/or jacket when outdoors
  • Always check your dog’s pads and nails
  • In extreme cold weather, take your dog to do his business and bring him right back

wp dec 11 20182

Once you are back home with your dog, remember to provide him with a comfortable warm bed, and a sweater.  Abby always wears a sweater when we are home otherwise I’d have to take her out to pee once every 2 hours!

Summer 2018 – Go Away!

wp aug 15 2018

We’ve lived in Stoughton, MA 2 1/2 years, and Summer time in MA is beautiful, but this year I really want the Summer to be over and done.  Why?  I am tired of 90 degrees days and high humidity.

wp aug 15 20182

Last Summer we went to Provincetown, or P town, and we enjoyed ourselves, but this Summer none of us, and yes that includes Abby, have wanted to go out.  I know, I know.  I am complaining, but I am sure a few of you pet parents, and canine companions agree with me.  On a pleasant note, Summer is almost over!!

My Journey Through Life With Alex

IMG_4315I recently read one of my favorite blogs, Marking Our Territory by Will and Eko, and although I’ve never met them, I felt a sense of fellowship with Will.  Why?  He wrote that Eko, Will’s dog, is his anchor.  Alex, my pit bull mix girl, teaches me every day to appreciate the little things that I know would go unnoticed if she were not to be in my life.  I am a better person because of her, although to be quite honest if you were to ask Alex she’d say, “My mom is a work in progress,” and she’d be right.

IMG_5099If I were to try to enumerate all the things I do because of Alex, I’d probably have a nice thick book, but here are just a few of them:

  • I don’t feel guilty about taking naps anymore
  • I don’t go clubbing 3 times a week and instead I spend time at home with my girlfriend, Cynthia, our dogs Alex and Bella
  • Cynthia and I argue every blue moon.  Before we had dogs, and this is the truth, we argued like cats and dogs
  • I cook for Alex, and let me remind you that I hate to cook.  This is something Cynthia points out to me with a big smile on her face

Alex has been my canine companion for almost 12 years, and you know what?  I’ve been very lucky to have her in my life.  Will said that Eko is his anchor.  Well, Alex is the one being that finally got me to settle down, and that was something that I never thought would be possible.  A big thanks to all the dogs in my life for their love, loyalty, patience, and so much more.

Alex On Sabbatical Leave

add1I’ve had Alex since she was about 3 months old, and I still can’t believe that she is on her way to be 12 years old next year.  Thanks to Alex I have been able to help other dogs be more balanced and manageable, and as a result their pet parents were able to enjoy their canine companions and not find the need to rehome them.

Please, understand this, although Alex is perfect for me, she is not perfect, but then again, why would I want her that way?  It’d be boring, don’t you think?  Anyway, since she will be on bed rest for a while I was thinking about fostering a dog.  I’ve been thinking about it for a while, about 2 years, and I think that this is the right time to do it.  With that in mind, I put an application and it was approved so we’ll be going to pick up our foster dog within the next couple of days.  I am really excited about it.

add2By the way, I’ll continue to keep Alex engaged by introducing and reenforcing commands so my girl is not bored half to death.  Right now I am working on teaching her how to walk towards me slowly using voice and signal commands.  Why?  Because now that she is feeling better she wants to run towards me at full speed.  I don’t ask her to sit anymore for I fear it may hurt or cause her pain, but she is able to do a lot of other things without discomfort.

Have a great weekend, and thanks to the many bloggers that foster and served as an example for me to follow, and I hope that others would follow suit.

In Home Dog Boarding vs. Dog Kennels

boarding1Soon, it’ll be two weeks since Alex started wearing a brace for her ACL injury and so far she is doing fine.  She is putting pressure on both legs, although still favoring her right leg, and she is resting a lot.  This is her favorite spot when the sun is out, by the sliding doors.

boarding2In order to get her to look at me I had to bribe her with a treat, and it worked.  While looking at her, I remembered the last time, years ago, when I had to travel out of the US and leave her in a kennel facility, and how I told myself and Alex that that was the last time I’d do that.  Please, do not misunderstand me, there are kennel facilities that are run by experienced, competent, dog loving individuals that do their very best to take care of the dogs they are entrusted with, but a kennel environment for many dogs can put a great amount of stress on them.  Years ago, I was the manager of a PetsHotel and I can honestly say that the staff that worked alongside me truly loved dogs and did a great job caring for them, but I also realized that the majority of the dogs were stressed out so with that in mind I decided to quit that job and I started offering In Home Dog Boarding.

boarding3Years went by and I still love what I am able to offer to pet parents and their dogs and that is a stress free environment, similar to the one they have at home.  I’ve had dogs that had a variety of issues such as: separation anxiety, fear of being crated, incessant chewing, etc., and they all have done well staying with us.  At the end of their stay I talk to the pet parents for a couple of minutes to let them know how their furry kid did and to mention anything unusual that I noticed about their doggie.

boarding4 Dexter, the handsome boxer mix in the above picture, is one of my regulars and although he may look a little intimidating he is really a sweetheart.  For the most part, I don’t crate dogs unless necessary, but, and this is something I do want to stress to all pet parents, a crate should be used as a tool for training your dog and never as punishment nor the answer to solve all your dog’s problems or issues.

boarding5Recently, I read a post in dogsmakeeverythingbetter.com/‎ about a shelter for dogs run differently than the ones here in the US.  This shelter outside of Tehran allows dogs to live freely with each other and they are even able to eat next to each other.  She posted some amazing pictures and it really made me think about what she said about dogs being social animals.  I am a firm believer that we all can learn from one another, and perhaps this shelter in such a far away place can teach us all a thing or two.

boarding6Because the dogs that stay with me literally hang out with me, I always ask pet parents to text me an hour prior to picking up their furry kid in order to have their doggie ready and to make sure that all the other dogs will not disturb us when they get to my place.

Whatever your choice for your dog may be, when it comes to boarding, my advice would be to ask a lot of questions, ask to see where your dog will be staying, do a search and see what comments are posted about this facility or pet sitter, and weigh all your options before making your decision.  Always remember that you are your dog’s advocate and that if you are not comfortable with a particular place or person, follow your gut and keep looking.

Exercising Alex, My Senior Dog

exercisesenior1The above body language from Alex signals to me that she is ready to go around me making a circle while on a retractable leash a couple of times.  Oh boy, every time she does that I am dizzy, but I know she loves it.

Alex is 11 1/2 years old, and even at that age she is a very active senior dog.  After she got over her sprain, I started to walk her a little more each time and lately we have been taking walks 45 – 60 minutes long.  And you know what?  When we come home she runs around the house like the walk did nothing to her.  This past weekend she ran around me at full speed and fell down hard.  Yes, you guessed it.  She sprained her leg again, therefore she’ll be out of commission for a couple of weeks, yes, again.

Alex

Alex

Alex, to me, is the epitome of what an active dog is all about, but I know that she should not run like she used to so  I’ll do my best to stop her from running at full speed, and I’ll start looking for places that offer canine hydrotherapy.

I am a huge advocate for keeping dogs active, but make sure that your canine companion is not overdoing it, like in Alex’s case.  Even dogs that are very active will slow down as they age.  The goal is to fulfill your dog by tailoring exercise, diet, naps, etc., according to his age and needs.

IMG_4981My girl’s favorite pastime now is taking long naps, and my job now is making sure that she is comfortable, relaxed, and healthy.  Enjoy your senior dogs and have a great week.

What Is The Most Sensitive Part On Your Dog?

The first thing a pet parent should remember is that each dog is an individual, and as such his sensitive area(s) will vary from dog to dog.  With that being said, I’ll be using my girl, Alex, and some of her furry friends, Gir and Roxy, to illustrate my point.

sensitiverump1Alex’s sensitive area is her rump.  Years ago, when she was a little under a year old, I tried to move her by touching her rump and she growled at me.  I was pretty surprised because Alex, even as a puppy, was always very easy-going.  What did I do?  I worked with her, little by little, using treats so I could get her used to having someone touch her “sensitive spot,” and after a short while she was fine.  But, even after all these years, I still have to be gentle when I am brushing and wiping her cute rump.  She never growled again, but I am always aware that I need to be more careful when it comes to her sensitive area.

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

Roxy, Alex, and Gir (L to R)

Gir’s sensitive spot is his ears.  Once, while petting him he moved away from me while trying to nip me when I touched his ears.  What did I do?  Every time I touched his ears just for a couple of seconds was after our long walk, and while he was asleep on my lap.  He seemed to mind less and less having his ears touched.

Roxy’ sensitive spot is her hair.  Yes, her hair, and she has lots and lots of hair.  Roxy’s mom told me that she did not like to be brushed very much, so from her very first stay with us I took her for long walks, followed by a nice gentle session of brushing and wiping.  I did not use treats, but rather exercise to desensitize her to the brush, and get her to associate brushing with something pleasant.  Since Roxy comes to stay with us often, she knows our routine:walk, brushing, wiping, and breakfast/dinner, and does not mind being brushed any longer.

sensitiverump3Once you figure out your dog’s sensitive part, make sure you work alongside a reputable behaviorist or dog trainer on desensitizing him to whatever it  is that is causing him to growl, nip, bite, etc.  The examples I used to illustrate my point are that of dogs that are not aggressive, exhibiting symptoms that I’d consider mild, but I’d strongly recommend to consult a behaviorist or dog trainer to help you with these type of issues, and remember that what works for one dog may not necessarily work for another.

Luca Passed His Canine Good Citizen Exam

I met Luca, a tall and handsome GSD mix, a little over a year ago, and he was a very challenging dog because he seemed to be afraid of so many things.  His pet parents worked with him under the guidance of a trainer, and the “new” Luca is so different from the dog I met a year ago.

20131004_113437Isn’t he handsome?  I took this picture during one of our many walks in Crofton.  Luca’s pet parents put a lot of work with him, along with patience, consistency, and money, of course, but I do believe it paid off.

20131103_124753Today, Sunday, Luca and his mom Holly took and passed the Canine Good Citizen exam, and I was able to see them in action and provide moral support, although between you and me I don’t think they needed it, but I went anyway.  I was so proud of him, of his mom too, let me not forget that, that I think I squeezed her arm a little too tight.  Sorry about that Holly, but I was just so happy to see them work together so well.

20131103_133606After I congratulated both Holly and Luca for passing the CGC exam, I went home and took out my girl, Alex, to stretch her legs for a while.  By the way, I think, I might be wrong, but I doubt it, that the sweater that she is wearing is the first one that she actually likes.

Whatever you decide to do with your dog regarding, training, exercise, behavior, etc., make sure that you set up your dog for success.  Work with reputable trainers, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Have a great Sunday.

Walking Your Dog Properly

Every time I go for a walk with Alex, I see pet parents walking their dogs, while others have their dogs walk them.  The former is the goal and is what you should strive for in order to enjoy walking your dog.

wlkrght1The above picture shows how a kid is walking his dog properly.  The leash is loose and both, kid and dog, are relaxed.

The picture below shows how not to walk a dog.  The dog is pulling his pet parent and frustration will soon ensue.

wlkrght2The dog’s attention is directed toward other people and dogs rather than the pet parent which causes the dog to pull on the leash.

Has this happened to me?  Heck yes.  More times than I care to remember, but walking Alex and the dogs that stay with us taught me the following:

  1. Before putting that leash on your dog, check your mood.  Yes, check your mood.  If you are angry, nervous, anxious, etc., your dog will pick up on it and your walk will be a nightmare.
  2. Ask your dog to sit so you can put on her collar and leash.  Open the door with you exiting first, followed by your dog.
  3. Make sure the leash is loose and your dog is on your left side.  If you prefer to use the right side, that is fine, but at the beginning you need to use the same side for consistency.
  4. Start walking with your dog next to you.  If she starts getting ahead of you, at this point she is probably pulling you, walk the opposite way.
  5. Every time she pulls you go the opposite way.  She’ll get the point after a couple of times.  I did this with my first dog, Casey, and I got dizzy because a few times were more like a lot of times.  Patience was my only weapon.
  6. If you get frustrated, and you will, please go back home and end the walk.  The ability for a dog to learn diminishes when she is under stress.

wlkrght3This is Cynthia and Alex walking on a loose leash in Annapolis, MD.  Alex, unlike Casey, learned very fast how to walk this way.  If you have a dog like Alex, teaching your dog to walk properly will be a breeze, but if you happen to have a dog like Casey be prepared to turn around over and over again.

Also, whenever you are teaching your dog something new make sure that you do it in an area that your dog is familiar with and where there are no distractions.  The point is to set your dog up for success, right?  Later on you can add distractions.

wlkrght4 I would not take a dog that does not know how to walk on a loose leash to Annapolis, although this is a very beautiful place, because there are way too many distractions.  Be fair and patient with your dog, and remember that dogs are individuals and as such they learn at their own pace, not yours.