Christopher Aust, Master Trainer
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Did you miss me? Well, I got quite a few things done while I was off and have a few new things I will be telling you about in the next few weeks. They are really quite exciting, and I was able to put a lot of it in place during my little absence.
While we have been getting hit by a lot of storms here in Northern California recently, summer is quickly approaching, and we should all start preparing for it now. By taking care of it now, we won't all be blind sided when the temperature starts to hit triple digits.
Keep in mind, that during the winter, our dogs tend to put on a little weight due to a lack of activity. Therefore, we need to take it slowly when getting our dogs back out there to enjoy those summer activities. Just like people, when dogs have been inactive for a while, it takes a little time to get those muscles used to a lot of exercise.
We also want to remember not to excessively feed or water our dogs an hour before or after exercise. This is one of the leading causes of bloat/torsion and it is better to allow them to cool off naturally. If you think your dog is over heating, you would serve them far better by soaking down their body with a hose rather than allowing them to have a lot of water. Soaking their “armpits” will cool them much faster than a drink with none of the consequences.
Make sure your yard is set up for the summer. Your dog should have a source for cool clean water available and ample shade. Place dog houses in the shade and make sure the house is well ventilated to allow air to flow through. Whenever possible, keep the dogs indoors.
The sweetener causes blood sugar to plummet in canines, who compensate by creating huge amounts of insulin, sometimes dangerously high levels. It is not only used in gum but in a host of other products as well. Your best bet is to simply stick to your dogs' regular food and avoid giving them human treats.
Okay, that's it for now. I'm outta here!
Dog Chewing the Sofa? Puppy Eating Your Shoes? Or WORSE?
My family is planning a vacation this summer and we're wondering whether we should take our dog or not. He is a year old and has never been away from us for more than a day at any one time since he has been with us.
We have never traveled with a dog before and can't decide if it would be best to kennel him, hire a pet sitter or take him with us. Our friends and family all seem to have horror stories about each of these options. What would you recommend?
Now just because the industry is making it easier, doesn't mean you don't have to put a lot of thought into taking your dog with you. There are several things you need to be prepared for whether you decide to take your dog or not.
We have to face the fact that some dogs simply don't like to travel, and we need to remember the huge amount of stress traveling could cause these animals. We have all heard the stories of dogs that have been taken on trips only to run off and try to make their way home.
While one of a thousand (and that's probably a pretty generous figure) may make it back to their family, most will either end up in the pound, hit by a car or, if they're lucky, taken in by a new family. Either way, this would put a real damper on the trip.
If you have any doubts about how secure your dog is when traveling, I strongly recommend taking a couple of short weekend outings before taking a week long plus vacation. This will allow you to evaluate your dog's reaction to a new environment and help you to decide whether taking them with you or leaving them at home is the best option. If leaving them at home appears to be the best option, there are several different ways you can go.
Simply put, a pet sitter is someone who will come to your home and care for your dog while you are away. They will feed your dog, take them out for exercise, clean up their messes and spend a little time playing. There are pet sitting businesses in every town but it could also be a trusted friend or family member.
There are a couple of things we should do and consider when hiring a commercial pet sitter. First, they should be licensed, bonded and have several verifiable references. The license and bond simply tell you they are a serious operation, but please remember to take the references with a grain of salt. I don't know of any business that is going to give you a reference they know isn't going to be favorable.
Interview the sitters just like you would if they were going to be watching your child. You will want to ensure that ...
a. The same person will be coming to your house each day to care for the dog. If there are multiple people who will be coming to the house, this could cause confusion in the dog, which could make the dog anxious.
b. They will allow your dog to meet their sitter before you decide to hire them. This way, if the dog doesn't like them for one reason or another, you can look elsewhere.
c. They not only feed the dogs, but also clean up after them and take them outside for exercise. Exercise is critical because no matter how secure dogs are, they are going to experience some stress with you being away. Exercise will help to relieve this stress and make your absence a little more bearable for the dog.
Before you leave for your trip, make sure you have secured your valuables. I am not saying pet sitters are thieves, but I would rather err on the side of caution rather than risk loosing grandpa's gold watch.
This is probably my least favorite option for a couple of reasons. First, the dog is in a foreign environment that is often noisy and less than what I would consider sanitary. Additionally, they are often exposed to other animals that could have a host of diseases that could be transmitted to your dog. Now this is not true of all kennels but I would say most.
If you do decide to kennel the dog, you will want to ask the following questions…
a. Are the kennels disinfected between “guests?”
b. Are the kennels cleaned at least three times daily?
c. Are the kennels climate controlled?
d. Are the dogs given daily exercise?
e. Will your dog be kept separate from other dogs at all times?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” then look for another kennel.
Personally, I will only fly with my dog if it is absolutely necessary. This is because my dogs are too big to fly in the passenger compartment with me and would have to be in the cargo hold. However, if your dog is small enough to fit in a crate that will fit under the seat, then it can be a viable option. Either way, you will want to take the following actions ...
a. Check with the airline before purchasing your tickets to find out their particular requirements for pet travel.
b. During warm weather, travel either early in the day, or late at night, to avoid exposing the dog to extreme heat, and take direct flights to avoid any “baggage” mistakes that might occur during transfers.
c. Make sure the crew is aware an animal is on the plane so the captain can take any special precautions.
d. Make sure your dog has proper identification on their travel crate and attached to their collar that not only has your home information, but also contact information to your final destination.
When I travel, I prefer to drive most of the time. I enjoy seeing the country and stopping to see local sites along the way. Additionally, I take my dogs with me when I vacation/holiday and find this to be the easiest on the dog. While it is the easiest on the dog, there are some things you have to consider for the welfare of your dog.
a. Make sure the dog is secured in the back seat of the car. There are harnesses you can buy that attach to the seat belt that will keep your dog safe if you are in an accident. Never transport a dog in the bed of a pick-up truck!
b. Make frequent stops to allow the dogs to relieve themselves. For some reason, I have found dogs tend to need to do the doo more frequently when they are traveling by car.
c. Make sure you bring your dog's favorite toy, bedding, food/water bowls and plenty of your dog's regular food with you. This will provide them with something familiar and make the experience less stressful.
d. Take a copy of your dog's medical record, plenty of medication (if any) and make sure you have the address and phone number of a local vet at your destination in case of emergency.
As I mentioned earlier, the vacation/holiday industry has started to recognize the need to cater to the pets of their customers. However, you need to make sure the facilities are pet friendly. I'm not just talking about the hotels here but also the activities you are planning to do.
For instance, in Huntington Beach, California, there are several hotels near the pier that welcome dogs. Unfortunately, the beaches in twenty miles each direction don't allow dogs on the sand or near the water. Now if you were planning on taking a leisurely stroll each morning along the beach with your pooch, you would be in for a major disappointment. Take the time in advance to contact any and all facilities you plan to visit to avoid any last minute upsets.
Additionally, many pet friendly establishments have deposits and fees you will need to fit into your vacation budget. Make sure you check in advance, as often establishments will tell you pets are welcome, but forget to mention the fees. Do your homework.
Traveling with (or without) your pet can be a fun and enjoyable experience when you plan in advance. There are several resources online that can help you plan your trip so your dog has as good a time as you do. Here are a few:
They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell.
~ Emily Dickenson ~
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~ You ever went to parties at a pasture, barn, or in the middle of a dirt road.
~ You used to drag "Main."
~ You said a cuss word and your parents knew within the hour.
~ You ever went cow tipping or snipe hunting.
~ You were ever in the Homecoming parade.
~ The whole school went to the same party after graduation.
~ You don't give directions by street names but by references (turn by Nelson's house, go two blocks east to Anderson's, and it's four houses left of the track field).
~ Your car stays filthy because of the dirt roads, and you will never own a dark vehicle for this reason.
~ You think kids that ride skateboards are weird.
~ The town next to you is considered "trashy" or "snooty," but is actually just like your town.
~ Getting paid minimum wage is considered a raise.
~ You refer to anyone with a house newer than 1980 as the "rich people."
~ Anyone you want can be found at either the Dairy Queen or the feed store.
~ You see at least one friend a week driving a tractor through town.
~ Football coaches suggest that you haul hay for the summer to get stronger.
~ Directions are given using "the" stop light as a reference.
~ The city council meets at the coffee shop.
~ Your letter jacket was worn after your 19th birthday.
~ Weekend excitement involves a trip to a Wal-Mart.
~ You decide to walk somewhere for exercise and 5 people pull over and ask if you need a ride.
~ Your teachers call you by your older siblings' names.
~ Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.
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Thank You For Reading! Have a Terrific Week!
Don't forget to send your comments, questions and suggestions on the BARK 'n' SCRATCH Newsletter to:
Newsletter Archive: Master-Dog-Training.com/archive/
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