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November 18, 2015

HOHOHO! Save the Date! Santa Photos, 12/4 at Crate Escape too! Victoria’s Tips for Keeping your Dog Stress Free Over the Holidays

Crate Escape too – Santa Paws are Coming!

 

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Join us for our annual doggie pictures with Santa Paws! Friday 12/4 from 5-8:00pm. $10 per photo donation to Last Hope K9 Rescue plus 10% of the nights retail sales will be donated back to LHK9 too!

 

Victoria’s Tips for Keeping Your Dog Stress-Free Over the Holidays

By Kevin Lowery, positively.com

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Holiday decorations are already lighting up homes and businesses and I even ran into Santa Claus at the mall! The holidays are a wonderful time to spend time with family and friends, but they can also be a challenging time when you have pets. Anxious or reactive dogs are especially prone to stress during the holidays. Here are eight tips for keeping your dog safe and stress-free this holiday season.

1. PLAN AHEAD.

     

  • If you know you’re going to be having guests over, whether for a few hours or a few weeks, plan ahead.
  • If your dog is nervous around strangers in your home, set up a safe space for her to go to when she’s feeling overwhelmed. This may be a small room away from guests, or a crate with her favorite toys.
  • Ask your guests not to bother your dog when she’s in her safe place. For more extended visits, you can build a positive association between your shy dog and your guests. Ask guests not to directly interact with your dog; instead, they can drop treats on the ground when your dog comes around.
  • If your dog has shown any aggression towards strangers, manage the situation by keeping your dog in another room any time guests come over. Consult a trainer to help you work through these issues.

2. KNOW YOUR DOG.

     

  • If you know your dog is shy or fearful towards guests, don’t force your dog to interact with them. We don’t like everyone we meet, and we can’t expect our dogs to, either.
  • Is your dog a notorious counter surfer? There are sure to be extra goodies lying around over the holidays, so make sure to keep them out of reach of your pet.
  • If your dog jumps on guests, work on this behavior before the start of the holiday season so that your guests can have a more peaceful entry into your home.

3. WATCH OUT FOR COMMON HOLIDAY TOXINS.

     

  • Grapes, raisins, chocolate–all common around the holidays and all are toxic to dogs.
  • Coffee, alcohol, and nicotine are all potentially hazardous to your dog. If you have a guest that’s an avid smoker or drinker, make sure you plan ahead to make sure your dog stays out of reach of these harmful items.
  • You might be tempted to toss your dog table scraps from a delicious holiday meal, but keep in mind that rich, fatty foods can severely harm your dog’s digestive system.

4. KEEP YOUR PET FROM GETTING LOST.

     

  • You shouldn’t leave your dog outside unattended for long periods any time of the year, but this is especially important over the holidays.
  • If you have a dog that likes to dart out the door, teach her a wait cue to prevent a tragedy in the future.
  • Keep a collar and tag on your dog at all times. I recommend PetHub’s revolutionary ID tags. 

5. DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG WITH JUST ANYONE.

You have several different options for what to do with your dog when you go out of town. Choose the best option for your dog.

     

  • Hire someone to feed and let your dog out several times a day. If your dog struggles being left alone, this may not be the best option. If you do choose this option, make sure your dog is never left outside unattended. I do not recommend this option for long periods as dogs do not do well spending large amounts of time by themselves. A boarding facility or petsitter is a much better choice.
  • Board your dog at a doggie daycare, vet, or kennel. If you choose this option, make sure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations, and make sure you research the facility in advance.
  • Hire a petsitter to watch your dog in their home or in yours.  This may be the most expensive option, but it may also give you the most peace of mind.

6. BE WARY OF HOLIDAY HAZARDS.

     

  • Make sure your Christmas tree is securely anchored to the ground, and minimize your dog’s temptation to jump on the tree by avoiding edible ornaments like popcorn strings.
  • Clean up pine needles frequently and don’t allow your pet to drink water from the tree stand.
  • If you’re celebrating Hanukkah, make sure to keep your menorah or other candles out of reach of your pets.

7. DON’T FORGET FIDO.

It can be easy to get caught up in the busy holiday season, but don’t forget about your dog in the process. Regardless of the weather or your schedule, your dog still needs exercise and mental stimulation to avoid boredom and stress.
 

  • Don’t miss that daily walk with your dog. Not only will walking your dog reduce his stress level–it will reduce yours, too.
  • If you’re going to be away from home more than usual, provide your dog with interactive toys or treats to keep him busy.
  • Plan a doggie playdate with a friend.
  • 8. THINK TWICE BEFORE BRINGING HOME A CHRISTMAS PUPPY.

    There is a huge surge of dogs being given away and dumped at shelters after the holidays. A puppy may seem like a fun project for the family, but many dog owners underestimate the amount of work and responsibility they require.

    Check out my top ten questions to ask yourself before bringing home a new dog.

     

    The Mistakes Pet Owners Make When Breaking Bad Habits

    By Dr. Becker, healthypets.mercola.com

    Conventional wisdom says a good way for parents to make their children conduct themselves properly is to make bad behavior “unprofitable.” But pets are different from children; they don’t process information the same way.

    If you feel you’ve tried everything, but Fido and Fluffy’s same old bad habits are the norm, you may be giving the wrong signals and actually encouraging the very behavior you’re trying to deter.

    Putting your finger on triggers that set off your pet’s undesirable patterns, and positively reinforcing new behaviors with constructive guidance is a very effective way to train pets to live in family harmony – and avoid annoying neighbors and guests.

    Jumping At Every Chance

    Scenario: It’s a foregone conclusion that when you walk in the door, your beloved pup is so overjoyed and hyper she jumps all over you, licking your face to show how much she missed you. When you tell her to get down and try to push her off, scratching her ears in the process, you’re reinforcing her behavior. She wants interaction and you’re giving it to her.

    While you think you’re saying no, from your dog’s perspective, all your signals are saying you approve. Reacting by not reacting – turning your back, standing straight and ignoring her – indicates you don’t welcome her exuberant jumping routine.

    If you’re afraid you’ll hurt your pet’s feelings, it won’t. It simply trains her to know what behavior is acceptable and what is not.

    Your Dog Is a Woofer When a Whisper Would Do

    Scenario: Your routine is to release Fido into your fenced back yard every morning to do his business. But you can count on him barking loudly every time your neighbor leaves for work. If you call him in and feed him or pet him to distract him from barking, he thinks you’re pleased with his behavior. A better idea would be to let him out half an hour earlier and bring him back in before the barking starts.

    Another example might be when your mail carrier heads up the sidewalk to drop mail in the box, which invariably sets off boisterous “woofing” from your self-appointed guard dog. What to do? Try taking Fido to a back bedroom around the time of day you expect a mail drop-off. Turning on a fan or white noise machine might soften outside distractions that trigger the barking dog.

    Either way, if someone shows up at the door unexpectedly, but your forever friend hasn’t yet gotten the message not to bark and not to jump, by all means, take your pup to another room before opening the door.
    Whatever the scenario, the idea is to identify the triggers that set off the jumping, barking, scratching or other unacceptable habits, and avoid them whenever possible. That is the key to positive reinforcement. The result will find you frowning at your pet less often.

    Additional Tips

    Remove your pet’s temptation to search and destroy by removing access. If Fido likes sniffing out – then tearing out – the garbage all over the garage, place the container someplace where he can’t get to it.
    Handling your pet’s unwanted jumping, digging or barking with loud words or roughness may not only reinforce the bad behavior, but put you in a bad light for future correction. Be calm and speak kindly. You want trust and respect to rule the day, not fear.

    Pets, like people, have certain windows of time when they’re more receptive to directives. Rather than trying to teach your pup good behavior when he’s stressed, hungry, tired out or in an unfamiliar environment, wait until he’s calm to make a point. He’ll be much more apt to listen and behave better next time a situation arises.

    Small treats are a good idea whenever your pet responds well to new behavior training; give them occasionally when good behavior becomes the new normal.

    Treats are great, but affection and sweet talk are essential to encourage desired behaviors in your best furry friend.

    In Case It’s Not a Habit, But Something Else…

    Avoiding triggers and positive reinforcements aside, if your typically well-behaved pet suddenly turns rapscallion, he uncharacteristically does his business in the dining room or stops eating, he may not be simply acting out. He may be suffering from a health disorder. Rule this out first by calling your pet health practitioner to identify the problem and get expert advice.

    If you find your pet’s occasionally annoying behavior is morphing into a consistent behavior problem that you’re not able to get a handle on with all the tips and tricks you’ve tried, consider hiring a professional. Find a positive trainer through a trusted referral, or if the behavior is causing you to consider rehoming your companion, find a veterinary behaviorist ASAP.

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