Friday, January 22, 2010

Arthritis Symptoms in Senior Dogs

If your senior dog is having trouble moving around, especially when he or she first wakes up, then most likely your older dog is suffering from arthritis.

Knowing the symptoms and signs of arthritis in dogs helps dog owners to treat arthritis as soon as it appears. Depending upon the severity of your dog's arthritis, treatment involves a healthy diet, keeping the dog's weight under control, daily exercise, over the counter supplements which support healthy joints, or adding a prescription for steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

Early Signs of Arthritis

  • Lame after exercising but then recover
Moderate Arthritis

  • Stiffness when first waking up
  • Lame after exercising
  • Slow walking pace
  • Hesitant to go up or down stairs
Severe Arthitis Symptoms

  • The dog needs help getting up
  • Limping all the time
  • Will not attempt to climb stairs or jump
  • Has trouble lifting leg or squatting to urinate
  • Shaking leg muscles
  • Seems to experience pain when touched
  • Hops rather than runs
If your senior dog displays any of these signs of arthritis, contact your veterinarian for a consultation. Sometimes, early stages of arthritis only need diet and exercise for positive results.

The later stages of arthritis in dogs often requires supplements like, glucosamine, chondroitin, and other joint products.

If your older dog is really suffering on a regular basis, a prescription for pain medication will relieve your dog's discomfort.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Dog's Purpose (from a 6-year-old) Good Advice

Author: Unknown

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try to live..

He said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''
  • Live simply.
  • Love generously.
  • Care deeply.
  • Speak kindly.
  • Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you're not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Teaching a Dog Loose Leash Walking

By and large, leash-pulling masks the real problem.

Without a leash you would probably be without a dog. It is indeed a sobering thought to think that most dogs prefer to forge ahead to sniff the grass or other dogs' rear ends than to walk by their owner's side.

There are some dogs who simply don't want to walk beside owners who keeping yanking the leash. However, regardless of why your dog pulls, all dogs need to be trained to walk nicely on leash. If not, they are unlikely to be walked at all.

Trying to teach a dog to heel using leash prompts and corrections requires a lot of skill and time. And even then, all you have is a well-behaved dog on-leash. Let him off-leash and he's history; you cannot safely take him for off-leash rambles, and you still cannot control him around the house, where he is off-leash all the time.

Luckily, there are more effective and enjoyable ways to get the job done.
First, teach your dog to follow off-leash. Second, incorporate many sits and stays for control and attention. Third, teach your dog to heel off-leash and on-leash. After following these steps, you will find it is easier to teach your dog to walk calmly on-leash.

Teach Your Dog to Follow Off-Leash

Your dog's desire to follow and remain close is the necessary foundation for walking politely on-leash. You must become the center of your dog's universe. You need to stimulate and strengthen your dog's gravitational attraction towards you by moving away enticingly and heartily praising your dog all the time he follows. Click your fingers, slap your thigh, or waggle a food treat or a toy in your hand to lure the dog to follow. Proceed with a happy heart and a sunny disposition:
Talk to your dog, tell him stories, whistle, walk with a jaunty step, or even skip and sing.

Do not accommodate your dog's improvisations; you are the leader, not the dog. Whenever your dog attempts to lead, accentuate his "mistake" by doing the opposite. Stretch the psychic bungee cord: if your dog forges ahead, slow down or smartly turn about; if your dog lags behind, speed up; if your dog goes right, turn left; and if your dog goes left, turn right. Practice in large areas, such as in your backyard, friends' yards, tennis courts, dog parks, and safe off-leash areas. Feed your dog his dinner kibble, piece by piece as you walk. Once your dog is following closer, time yourself while practicing following-courses at home, going around furniture, from room to room, and from the house to yard.

Sits, Downs, and Stays

Enticing your dog to follow off-leash takes a lot of concentration and it is easy to let your dog drift. Consequently, instruct your dog to sit or lie down and then stay every ten yards or so.
Frequent sits, downs, and stays teach your dog to calm down and focus. They also give you the opportunity to catch your breath, relax your brain, and to objectively assess your dog's level of attention. Sitting is absolute: either your dog is sitting or not. Only have the dog sit or lie down for a couple of seconds (just to check that he is paying attention) and then walk on again.
Occasionally ask your dog to lie down for a minute or so to watch the world go by. You will find that the more down stays that you integrate into the walk, the closer, calmer, and more controlled your dog will be when following you.

Teach Your Dog to Heel Off-Leash & On-Leash

Instruct your dog to sit, and then lure him to sit using a food or toy lure in your right hand.
Transfer the lure to your left hand, say "Heel," waggle the lure in front of your dog's nose, and quickly walk forwards for a few steps. Then say "Sit," transfer the lure to your right hand to lure your dog to sit, and maybe offer the kibble as a reward if your dog sits quickly and stylishly. Repeat this sequence over and over. Practice indoors and in your yard, where there are fewer distractions, before practicing in the dog park and off-leash walking areas. Then just attach the
dog's leash and you will find he heels nicely on-leash.

Walking On-Leash

Teach your dog not to pull while you are both standing still. Hold the leash firmly with both hands and refuse to budge until your dog slackens the leash. Not a single step! It doesn't matter how long it takes. Just hold on tight and ignore every leash-lunge. Eventually your dog will stop pulling and sit.

As soon as he sits, say "Good dog," offer a food treat, and then take just one large
step forward and stand still again. Hold on tight; your dog will likely explode to the end of the leash, thereby illustrating the reinforcing nature of allowing your dog to pull for just a single step. Wait for your dog to stop pulling again (it will not take as long this time).

Repeat this sequence until your dog walks calmly forward (because he knows you are only going one step) and sits quickly when you stop and stand still. Your dog quickly learns he has the power to make you stop and to make you go. If he tightens the leash, you stop. But if he slackens the leash and sits, you take a step.

After a series of single steps and standstills without pulling, try taking two steps at a time. Then go for three steps, then five, eight, twelve, and so on. Now you will find your dog will walk attentively on a loose leash and sit automatically whenever you stop. And the only words you have said are "Good dog."

Alternate heeling and walking on-leash:

For most of the walk, let your dog range and sniff ona loose leash, but every 25 yards or so, have your dog sit, heel, and sit, and then walk on again.

Always sit-heel-sit your dog when crossing a street: sit before crossing, heeling across, and then sitting on the other side of the street.
© 2004 Ian Dunbar
Reprinted by with permission of Dr. Ian Dunbar and James & Kenneth Publishers

To learn more, read the Open Paw Four-Level Training Manual and Doctor Dunbar's Good
Little Dog Book
and watch the Training The Companion Dog DVD series—all available from
your local pet store or

New Puppy, New Adult Dog, Housetraining, Chewing,
Digging, Barking, Home Alone, Puppy Biting,
Fighting, Fear of People, Dogs & Children,
HyperDog, Puppy Training, Come-Sit-Down-Stay,
Walking On Leash, and Cat Manners.
© 2004 Ian Dunbar
w w w . d o g s t a r d a i l y . c o m
Courtesy of :
The Pet Parade

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ten Pet Peeves Dogs Have about Humans

I received this in an email this morning and just had to share. Very funny !

  1. Blaming your farts on me...not funny...not funny at all!

  2. Yelling at me for barking...I'm a damn dog!

  3. Taking me for a walk and then not letting me check stuff out! Exactly whose walk is it anyway?

  4. Any trick that involves balancing food on my nose...STOP IT!

  5. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons! Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you're not home.

  6. The slight of hand...fake, fetch, throw. You fooled a dog! Whooo-Hoooo! What a proud moment for the top of the food chain.

  7. Taking me to the vet for the Big Snip, then acting surprised when I freak out whenever we go back!

  8. Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests. Sorry I haven't quite mastered that handshake thing yet!

  9. Dog sweaters! HELLO_O... Haven't you noticed the fur?

  10. How you look disgusted when I lick myself. Look, we both know the're just jealous!

Now, lay off some of these things. We both know who is boss here. You don't see me picking up your POOP, do you??

Question: If you crossed a Bulldog with a Schitzu would it be called a Bull____?