Jack Russell Terrier Puppies born 3/25/2015

Kaya’s Puppies 3 boys 3 girls born 3/25/2014

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Tips for effective housetraining

Tips For Effective House-training


It’s important to understand that dogs do not have any attachments or respect for carpet, hardwood floors or anything that we may use as a foundation in our homes which we would like to keep clean.  They don’t know the difference nor do they care where the appropriate place is to eliminate waste, until you teach them. In your dog’s mind, your carpet is the same as grass or any place that will catch what is brought by that time of natural need.

Proper housetraining behaviors are much more than “where to do the business.”  If you find that your dog has special needs or the behavior continues after training; it could be signs of marking one’s territory or a sign of fear leading to a lack of control.

If you are training your puppy, effective housetraining takes continued repetition, which will help to strengthen your puppy’s bladder (and bowel) muscles. Keep in mind that it is natural for them not to want to eliminate waste near their feeding or sleeping areas. Taking your puppy to a specific location, at the same times per day on a daily basis, is the key to successful housetraining.

If used correctly, implementing a crate or confinement, housetraining can be accomplished in just a few weeks. However, if you got your puppy at a pet shop, chances are since they are not able to leave their confinement, it’s harder for them to develop that association of leaving their sleeping quarters to answer nature’s call.

With a combination of positive reinforcement and repetition, you will be well on your way to housetraining your new companion. Being consistent with how often and when you feed your dog is vital to the success of housetraining your new best friend. It’s easier to recognize how far from feeding or drinking does your dog take to process and come to the moment when they need to relieve themselves. Prevention is key here.

Setting an alarm is a good reminder if you think it will help you to be more consistent with taking your dog out at certain times.

It’s recommended that you take your puppy out every two hours (maybe less) and always after they have eaten. It’s also a good idea for you to take them out after they’ve had a nap or even after playtime, as that can get things moving. Over time you can extend these intervals each day and not have to rely on them quite as often.

Adult dogs may be just as easy to train. Remember each dog is an individual and results from one dog can’t always be expected for all dogs.  Even if you have well trained your dog, expect the unexpected. They are still living beings and not a stuffed toy. Their bodies are complex and they can get sick. It’s important that if your dog has an accident, for you to focus on the resolution backed with positive reinforcement, not punishment. It’s not the dog’s intent to upset you by vomiting, urinating and defecating because they are sick, untrained or have lost control.Tips for effective housetraining

Think about where you want to do most of your housetraining. Make sure that if you cannot part with a cherished rug that has been in the family for years, to roll it up, and be forgiving if after training there may be an accident after you have placed the rug back. Be prepared to invest in renting or buying a steam cleaner with enzymatic products that are safe for you and your dog. Point is, you own a dog now and things are bound to get dirty, be torn up, and little presents will pop up from time to time. Be patient; remain calm and aware of what your pet is trying to tell you.

One factor that can cause your dog to not want to relieve itself is the weather. Maybe it’s just too darn cold, or maybe that heat is too painful on your dog’s paws. What is most comfortable and convenient maybe on the forefront of their minds in this moment. Consider when you really have to go… you go… So how do you know when they need to go?

Signs are, but not limited to:

  • Suddenly stopping activity (play or other)
  •  Sniffing the ground or in circles
  • Whimpering and or barking
  • Heading towards the door or scratching at the door
  • Squatting

Now you may be wondering about “pee pads”. If you want your dog to eventually go outside and not on the pads, you may not want to consider training your dog with them. Best practice is to train your dog where you ultimately would like for them to relieve themselves.

So how do you decide where you want for your pet to go? You may be like many people who have limited areas for your dog to go. If you live in the city, with small dogs, you could consider a litter box, paper or a pee pad. If you have a backyard, try taking your dog to a specific corner of the yard. If you keep it clean, they will learn to respect the rest of your yard.

Walking your dog or taking them to a park may be less convenient, but a nice way for you to bond with your pet and for both of you to get more exercise. Leash training is a whole other process, but worth looking into if this is the option that you’d like to consider. It’s a matter of lifestyle, but remember to consider what lifestyle you are imposing on your dog, and that maybe your lifestyle isn’t appropriate for the needs of a dog.

Why Won’t My Dog Stop Barking?

Imagine you are relaxing after a long week of work, and as you start to daydream while enjoying the silence, your dog starts barking. You investigate and all seems well. With a wag of the tail, you are content in knowing all is well in your home. Then the barking starts again…

Dogs bark, but when your dog barks constantly or for no apparent reason, this can make for an unpleasant environment for you, your family, and your neighbors.  Speaking of neighbors, if they have dogs as well, the stress from neighbor dogs can cause your dog to react. Though humans may read compulsive barking as annoying, it is in many cases an indicator that your dog is suffering from emotional stress.

Many owners end up yelling at their dogs, spraying them with water or worse, spanking them. Using punishment as a way to stop the barking to a dog that is already anxious can be confusing to your dog, since to them it’s natural to bark and they believe it’s the right thing to do. Other than stress, barking can come about from boredom. It can also come from attention seeking behavior or even being frustrated (like being kept outside or inside for too long).

The goal here is to find the underlying causation for the barking and help your dog.

If you have determined that the reason your dog is barking is because of another dog that is setting yours off, it’s easier to help minimize the barking. Don’t expect your dog to never bark. It’s a tool of communication and could even save your life should you get an early warning sign from an intruder who is meaning your family harm!

Dog barking

Excessive barking or early warning sign?

Frequency is something to be mindful of. Are there certain times of the day when your dog is barking more often? Have you noticed your dog barking a lot more when the mailperson comes, loud noises, or maybe when children are around? Sometimes allowing your dog to discover what is really there may calm their nerves and get them used to the stimulus up close and personal. Just be cautious that it’s not a potentially dangerous situation if your dog is exhibiting aggressive behavior, projected onto that source.

If you discover the reason your dog is barking during certain times (say for example the daily delivery of your mail, or when the school bus arrives) then during these times, you can find ways to distract your dog. If your dog seems bored and barking really at nothing (seemingly) try to implement some activities to stimulate their mind and body. Safe chew toys can also be a good distraction from boredom.  Expending this energy will help your dog rest more in a healthy way.

If it is evident that the causation for the barking is due to visual stimulation, perhaps limiting your dog’s view from the source can help. Keeping your dog from a part of the house where it can’t see or hear more of this source can help to reduce barking. Alternatively, if that limiting your dog’s view of the source doesn’t reduce the barking, try to show your dog what the source really is and involve them with the source. The idea here is that your typical canine has better senses than you, but just like yourself, it relies on those senses to feel safe.

If you find you have done all that you can do and you still need help, consider the services of a positive reinforcement trainer with a lot of experience. At AtlanticK9 we offer affordable behavior modification courses. We service the North Shore of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Give us a call today at 978-468-1616 to see how we can help you and your dog live a more peaceful and playful life.

Boarding Options For Your Pet

dogs running in snow

Boarding shouldn’t be boring!

Face it…even though we may love the idea of taking our pets with us when we go to visit family for the holidays or when taking a vacation, the reality of travelling with your pet is often filled with frustration and anxiety for both of you.  Your pet has needs that can’t easily be met on long drives or flights. Food, water and urination schedules are thrown to the wayside, chaotic changes of environment, and cumbersome, uncomfortable pet carriers will make both of you wish you just left your best friend at home.

Leaving your dog behind (even if only for a few days) is serious, and preparations must be made to ensure that your pet is well taken care of.  Fortunately, there are a few options that will keep your pet happy and safe, and leave you feeling relaxed and able to enjoy your time away.  Boarding has become an increasingly common option for dog owners, but before deciding to leave your pet with a kennel, you should seek out local alternatives, instead of leaving your best friend behind bars…

The first thing to consider is what impact leaving your pet behind will have on them.  Just like their human counterparts, dogs can (and often do) suffer from separation anxiety and being locked up in a kennel, is not going to ease that anxiety. Boarding options that include socialization, routine feeding, exercise areas, and lots of human interaction, will help alleviate some of the stress of your absence, and give your pet the loving care it deserves.

The next thing to consider is safety and security.  Your pet is going to wonder where you are, and will want to look for you.  Because of this tendency, pets can escape from boarders who are inexperienced, and is the main reason why owners may opt for the kennel stay, rather than a more comfortable solution.  Your dog’s safety is of utmost importance. Boarding facilities should have well-maintained fencing, lockable gates and be free and clear of harmful substances or sharp objects. Other important considerations involve the living quarters. The best Boarders will have temperate bedding locations, good ventilation with easy access to a fenced outside area, and proper lighting.  Exercise areas should be large enough for running and playing, but contained to a small enough area for proper security and supervision.

If your vacation is not going to last long and you will only be gone for a few days, a boarding facility may not be necessary.  You could ask a trusted friend or neighbor (that your dog has met a few times) to come by to put out food and water,  take your pet for a walk, and play with them two to three times a day, or even consider an in-home dog sitter.


At Atlantic K9 Training, we offer a boarding service in which your dog receives individualized training, socialization with other dogs, and one on one time with the trainer. Our team works with your dog to make sure he or she has an enjoyable stay and will pair your dog with dogs of a similar size and behavior to ensure they have happy playtime while outdoors.  Dogs that board with us receive the same attention that we provide during our daycare program, but with extended stay care that allows for extra attention and cuddle time at night!

For more information about our boarding program or any of our other of our In Home Dog Training programs, please visit: http://atlantick9.com/dog-training-ma/massachusettes-dog-obedience-training/

Are Holiday Plants Toxic to my Pet?

NoMistletoe

Mistletoe is toxic to your pet.

As you decorate your home for the holidays, be aware of what plants are toxic and which are not for your pets! Many of the decorative plants that we put out during the holidays are in fact not toxic, but some are and should be placed with care.  Dr. Dorothy Black, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM), explains,“Pets should not be allowed to come in contact with poisonous holiday plants, and if they are displayed in the home they should be kept out of reach, and pet’s behavior should be monitored to make sure they do not show symptoms of poisoning.”

Some Common Mildly-Toxic Holiday Plants include:

Christmas Trees – Most natural trees are not toxic to your pet.  However, sap can collect in the water you place under your tree and although not life threatening, if ingested your dog could develop mild gastrointestinal discomfort. Pine needles from the tree can cause oral irritation, vomiting, gastrointestinal obstruction, or puncture when ingested. The amount of tree needles that are ingested is the main concern, but thankfully pets don’t usually consume mass quantities of tree material.

Poinsettias – Poinsettias are considered mildly toxic! While poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are toxic to your pet, and the poisoning from the milky sap is greatly exaggerated.  Your dog may develop a mild rash if the milky sap is exposed to its skin. Be sure to check your pets skin for dermal irritation which can include any redness, swelling, or excessive itchiness and scratching.  When ingested, your pet may show mild signs of vomiting; drooling and sometimes diarrhea might also be seen.  If your pet has ingested any of your poinsettias and is showing these signs, please know that there is no antidote and medical treatment is rarely needed unless the signs are severe.

Although your poinsettias may look beautiful on the floor by the fireplace, they are better kept away from your pet. We suggest the mantle (if you have one) or on a surface that is harder for your pet to reach.

Some Common Toxic Holiday Plants:

Mistletoe – This beloved holiday plant is very toxic to your dog. Thankfully, Mistletoe is usually hung up high on an awning or overhang out of reach of your pet, nevertheless if you notice that your Mistletoe is missing and your dog is lethargic, vomiting, has difficulty breathing or a low heart rate, contact your Veterinarian immediately and explain that your dog may have ingested some of this toxic plant.

Holly, Amaryllis, Rosemary & Daffodils– These plants are considered poisonous to pets. Vomiting, excessive drooling, diarrhea, and general upset stomach are all signs of ingestion. Please seek veterinary assistance immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested any of these holiday plants. If ingested in large amounts, seizures and even deaths have been reported.

The best way to insure a safe and happy holiday for your family is to not bring any of these toxic plants into your home.  If you do, check the plants for missing leaves or those that look like they have been chewed upon.  Monitor your pet’s interest in the plants and if you notice any signs of ingestion, call your Veterinarian or local animal hospital right away.

Here is a list of toxic plants from a valid resource:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

Read more at: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/which-holiday-plants-are-toxic-dogs/34008

Happy Thanksgiving!

ThanksGivingk9

To Eat or Not to Eat

Not Safe Foods: chocolategrapes & raisins, caffeine, Mushrooms, macadamia nuts, candy & gum, Sugar, Xylitol (sweetener) ALL Cooked bones, Corn cobs, sugary foods (pies), bread, yeast dough, large amounts of avocado and more…

“If you know or suspect your pet has ingested or been exposed to a toxic substance, call your veterinarian, a nearby emergency animal hospital, and/or the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.” Dr. Becker, Healthy Pets at Mercola.com

Safe Foods: Lean meats, Raw bones like turkey necks, slices of apple, oranges, bananas and watermelon, carrots, green beans, cucumber & zucchini, pumpkin, Sweet potatoes cooked oatmeal white rice and more…

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More advice on what foods might be toxic for  your dog:

Social Encounters

Setting the tone for your dog to meet another is an important factor for introductions. You don’t want two dogs meeting each other on a tight leash head to head. Kathleen suggests that the two meet off lease in a fenced area or safe open area far away from the street. You should always have off leash control if you are taking your dog off leash.  If you have any questions please call Kathleen: 978-468-1616

It’s important to know what your dog’s temperament is like as well as communicating with the other dog’s owner. Often people do not ask the other owner what their dog is like. If the dog has Leash Reactive tendencies, it may bring out displays of aggression which can be dangerous to both humans and dogs. Harnesses or Flat Collars can bring out frustration which leads to Leash Reactivity.

It may be a good idea if you are unsure about your dog’s reaction, to first introduce them with a gate between them, so they can get used to each other. Also, you could go for a walk with your friend and their dog, walking parallel, and do not let the dogs get to each other for several visits. Then the next step could be allowing them to interact with each other.  If unsure always seek professional help.

Introducing Your Dog to Your Baby

KathleenImage_baby_dogRemember before any introductions, that the safety of your child should always come first! If your dog is well behaved, chances are that it will adapt to the new member of the family. If you have any doubt that your dog will not get along with your baby or you have any concerns about how your dog may react, consult a professional. You may contact Kathleen directly if you have any questions at this number: 978-468-1616 

It is a good idea to make preparations long before you introduce your baby to your dog. Kathleen advises that you introduce stimuli to better familiarize your dog with new sounds and smells that may cause unease. Some examples are playing a cd or sound clip of a baby crying, letting your dog smell the baby’s blanket, and set up the nursery before the baby arrives. Once your baby arrives, carefully introduce your pet to your baby, such as allowing it to smell your baby’s feet.

If you plan on not allowing the dog in certain places where the baby will be, make sure that you start that training before you introduce your pet to your child. You do not want the dog to make any negative associations with your baby. Jealousy can be a factor, so make sure that you are continuing to give your dog a healthy amount of attention that it is used to, and perhaps even an extra walk or playtime to show some extra love. Key note here is about maintaining a balance.

 

Advice from Dr. Mercola: Prepare Your Pet to Welcome Your New Baby