Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tips for getting ready to bring new pet home

There is a lot of excitement associated with adding a new pet to the household.
   If your are bringing home your new pet from a local shelter chances are that you will receive a lot of guidance to making the transition as smooth as possible.  It is also very probable that this is not your pets first transition which could make for a smoother first couple of nights.  In the event that you are bringing home your pet from a local pet store the transition may be rougher since there may be less information made available to you and the animals are usually pretty young oftenn just about eight weeks old. They are probably still recovering from being taken from their mothers and being transported long distances. 

      Once again I would like to remind you all that there is a huge animal over population in our country and that many if not all animals that are sold in a pet store come from puppy mills where they suffer in  deplorable conditions.  Adoption should always be your first option but we can not always help when love for an animal will touch our hearts and it may very well be love at first sight while your pup is being taken from the delivery truck infront of the pet store, which has actually just happened to a good friend of mine. Hence the previous picture of the cute puppy.

  It is important not to get wrapped up in the excitement and forget to already have ready the essentials to a good homecoming. 

  •  If you are bring home a dog decide before hand if you will be crate training or if your dog will be allowed to roam free.  Crate training may sound scary but we must remember that a dog has a natural instinct to live in a cave like area where it can feel safe from the vastness of its surroundings.  Being comfortable staying in its crate will come in handy for parents who have to leave their dogs for periods of time while going to work and don't want to come home to a possible disaster.  Just remember that there is a limit to a dogs tolerance to being kept inside the kennel which usually correlates directly to its age the younger the pup the less hours it should be kept in a crate.  You want to create a feeling of security not a prison. 

  •    If your are bringing home a very young puppy like my friends baby Gaby then you need to take several additional things into consideration.  Gaby has been a very good puppy so far but it is to be expected she misses her mother and siblings.   I would recommend a hot water bottle or thermos of some sort wrapped in thin cloth or even warm towel that can be placed in the pups bedding so that she can curl up next to it and feel the comfort of a body's warmth. 

  •     It is also a helpful idea to put an old alarm clock the kind that tick loudly inside the bedding this will remind her of a beating heart, like what she would hear when curled up against her mother.  This will make it easier to leave the dog alone.  We are all excited that there is a new puppy but were reminded that come the work week she will find her self suddenly without her devoted following when we all leave to go to work and the attention she become accustomed to will not be there. 

  •     Probably the most important decision you are going to make is what type of food to feed your pet.  Will you feed her supermarket pet food, will you feed her organic food, table scraps, gourmet home cooked meals fit for a Queen?  The point is there are a lot of options and it can get very confusing.  My advice on this will always be learn to read the ingredients label.  If actual meat of some sort is not in the first five ingredients step away from the bag.  And meat meal or by products is not what you are looking for.  Now a days quality dog food can often be found for the same price as lesser quality store brands.  I like Merrick brand dog and cat food and Wellness dog and cat food.  Merrick works for my pets because they are on a mostly human food diet and Merrick is human grade food you can actually see the vegetables.  This may not work for everyone always remember your pets health is unique and you should research what you feed them.

  •   Also be prepared for the first few weeks of house training.  Many stores will try to sell you "wee-wee pads" and such products but newspaper works just as well. 

  •    At first you will have a larger area covered with paper at times pretty much any where your pet goes.  I find it useful if you put paper where she has gone let the paper absorb a little bit of urine just to catch the scent and then clean right away anywhere else with a solution of half white vinegar and half water.  This will eliminate the scent of her urine elsewhere and help let her know that the spot you chose is where it is OK.  There are different methods and it is a matter of practice and patience but what ever you do don't clean with bleach or ammonia based products as they will only recreate the smell for your dog and make them think they can pee anywhere.

  A helpful guideline is that a dog can usually control its urge to go out to urinate one hour for every month of age once trained.  So If a dog is six months it can usually keep it in for about six hours if you have to be away from them and can't take them out earlier.  This rule doesn't apply so easily to a young puppy because you are establishing a routine first and will find yourself taking them out almost every two to three hours at first. 

   Remember there are really no wrong ways to do things so long as you take the time to learn about the creature you just brought home.  Learn that a dog is not comforted when you pet her if she is scared of upset what you are doing is increasing her anxiety.  Only give attention and praise when the dog exhibits calm positive behavior. DO NOT go to her when she cries at night for you to let her out of her designated area of for you to put her on your bed.  Once a dog learns a behavior they will not unlearn it, all you can do is work hard, extremely hard to curb that behavior. Prevention is the best remedy. Stay strong and do not go to her when she whimpers for attention and affection.  Allow your pet to have alone time where it comforts is self so that she does not feel anxious when you leave. 

Good luck with your new addition and keep checking back to see the progress of Gaby. 

8week old Gaby enjoys nap time in her new home. A well adjusted dog will respond well to the transition to it's new home. She has found plenty of love and affection

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Dog has gone crazy

    It is not surprising that dogs have made their way so close to our hearts. They share so much of our own qualities.  They draw out tenderness and love just like our own human babies.  They show bravery and proud spirits like our heroes. 

    They can also display our same fears and even mental illnesses.  We've all seen it, the growling Chihuahua barking madly at its own tail or the obsessive Labrador chasing its tail until it made its self sick.  

   As I get to know my new puppy I realize how fragile the dogs mind truly is.  Zoe has developed a sort of fear of her reflection.  She barks incessantly at her silver food bowl and and glass window displays.  She spends a lot of time alone while we are at work and although there is an older jack Russell home to keep her company its enough to drive a dog mad.  

   Dogs develop these obsessions and these strange quirks when they are not allowed to fulfill their roles in life.  If a dog is confined to a small space and not given the proper exercise and proper outlet for all that bundled energy they will find other outlets.

    So when your dog takes to chewing your couch to the wood, or your favorite shoes or bark at its own reflection they are trying to give you a message that something is missing in their lives.  What is missing is not difficult to figure out they don't want therapy sessions or hypnosis they want to be take out more to be put on a routine they can predict so they can take the edge off their day. 

   As a response to this dog vs. food bowl case going on in my living room I am revamping my commitment to this new puppy in our house hold and give her the proper outlet to her anxiety. 

Remember our dogs are devoted to pleasing their human companions we should take this devotion with the proper respect and allow them to live out healthy lives mentally and physically.  It doesn't take letters to Dr. Phil, it takes commitment and attention.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One with the pack, the importance of the walk

    In New York City the average dog run consists of walking around the block once or twice a day.  It is also become no strange thing to see some pooches in purses, carriages or simply carried around like pampered babies.

   We may be dogs best friend but we keep forgetting that they are animals of instinct and habit.  They have it hardwired in their brains to want to walk, to be part of the pack and to devote their loyalty to you their proud leader. 

   Now that I have a new puppy in my house I myself am rediscovering the importance of the walk.  Took my pooch for a nice long forty-five minute walk around the neighborhood.  It felt so good to concentrate on walking, on leading and feeling my dog ease into a synchronized walk with me.  I literally felt the leash become an extension of my arm connecting my dog and I.  

   My puppy is now six months old and is usually an unstoppable bundle of energy.  Yet when we are on our walks she is so different she is calm and constantly watching me for instruction.  She walks proudly by my side as the walk progresses.  The walk also helps me relax and regain my confidence when a long day has worn me down. Its win win.

So remember to :
  • Take your dog on at least two half hour walks a day in addition to bathroom breaks
  • Clear your mind of previous walk experience just because your pooch was a mess last time does not mean she will be out of control now. 
  • Your mind sets the tone for the walk, positive thoughts equal positive walk
  • Relax and enjoy don't grip the leash until your knuckles turn white
    Be the leader and your pup will follow !