Dealing with your Dog’s Inappropriate Chewing

Dogs chew on things.  It is  a common and natural behavior.  It is also good for them because it helps to keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean.  However, chewing can be a big problem if your dog chooses to chew on the wrong objects.  You need to be able to direct their chewing to appropriate objects.  This is important both for your sanity and for the health and well-being of your dog.

Good Options

One of the most important steps to take when you are trying to establish good chewing habits for your dog is to make sure he has plenty of good chew toys available.  It is good for your dog to chew on things however you just have to make sure they are the right things.  Having a healthy assortment of chew toys on hand is a good way to make sure that your dog will be able to satisfy his need to chew without destroying something that is  important to you.

Substitution

Having appropriate chew toys on hand also makes it possible for you to substitute a chew toy for your slipper or whatever else your dog enjoys chewing on at the moment.  Being able to provide your dog with an appropriate alternative is a great way to get him to understand what an appropriate chewing target is and what is not.

Obedience Basis

Just like with any other bad behavior, establishing a good foundation of obedience training is the best way to correct the problem.  This will allow you to open a clear path of communication with your dog and make it clear to your dog that you are in charge.  Once you have opened the lines of communication, you will have a much easier time dealing with specific behavioral problems.

Dangers of Chewing

It can be annoying and expensive if your dog makes a habit of chewing on inappropriate things around the house.  That is not the only reason to make it a priority to put a stop to that type of behavior however.  If your dog does not have any boundaries when it comes to chewing, it is likely he will wind up chewing on something dangerous sooner or later.

There are plenty of things around the house that could hurt your dog if he decided to chew on them.  Electrical wires and cleaning products are probably the most common hazards for dogs who chew indiscriminately, but they are hardly the only dangerous household items.  Training your dog to only chew on appropriate toys is the best way to ensure their safety.

Tailoring the Solution to the Problem

Addressing behavioral problems is the best way to make sure that you and your dog will enjoy a long and happy relationship.  As with many behavioral problems, your dog’s inappropriate chewing may have several causes.  In order to stop it and reinforce the correct behavior, it is important to understand where the unwanted behavior is coming from.  This is the only way you will be able to approach the problem from the right angle and is the best way to ensure quick positive results.

No Comments »Claudie on September 15th 2010 in Dog behavior, training Tips

Dealing With Dog to Dog Aggression

It is very common for dogs to be aggressive towards other dogs in certain situations.  Particularly when they are in their territory or on a leash, dogs can feel trapped or threatened.  In this type of situation, many dogs will react by showing hostility towards another dog they see or come in contact with.  They are protecting you, their territory or themselves.  This all makes sense, but that does not mean that dog to dog aggression is something you have to live with.  You should do something about it.

In order to deal effectively with dog to dog aggression, you have to view it as you would any other bad behavior.  As any bad behavior, dog to dog aggression can be addressed and eliminated by utilizing the proper training techniques.  You may feel that you can just deal with it, but addressing dog to dog aggression is better for you and your dog for several reasons:

1 –   Your relationship with your dog

If your dog engages in aggressive behavior towards other dogs, it can put a great strain on the relationship between you and your dog.  This type of bad behavior can make walks frustrating and  unpleasant experiences for both of you.  You will be unhappy with your dog, and your dog will likely be confused about why.  As far as the dog is concerned this is necessary behavior as in his/her mind, they were protecting you and themselves and will not understand why you are unhappy.

2 –   Safety

It will also be better for both your safety and that of your dog if you can eliminate dog to dog aggressive behavior.  There are numbers of unpleasant scenarios to contemplate.  Your dog may pull you down trying to get at another dog, or he may break free of your grasp all together.  These are not good situations to contemplate, but if you have an aggressive dog, it is likely that you have thought about them more than once.

3-   Take Charge

It is time to do something about this aggressive behavior.  To do this though, you have to take charge of your relationship with your dog and take control of the situation.  Your dog will respond to the cues he gets from you.  You need to stay calm and patient throughout the training process.  It can take some time, and certainly some effort on the part of both you and your dog, but it can be done.

Just like in any other training situation, you need to be the alpha – the boss.  There can be no ambiguity in your dog’s mind about who is in charge – him or you.  Once you have accomplished this, you are already half way there.  Maintaining your consistency during every training session is essential to your success as well.

Unfortunately there is no use hoping this behavior will go away.  In fact, aggressive behavior, if not addressed, will often only get worse with time.  The sooner you do with it the better.

No Comments »Claudie on September 7th 2010 in Dog behavior, training Tips

Herding (Pastoral) Breed Overview

The Herding Group is the newest classification with the kennel clubs, created in 1983 in the US and 1999 in the UK, except for the Leonberger which was in the Utility group, all the other breeds were formerly members of the Working Group. The Herding group has the highest number of breeds, over 30. Breeds such as the Collie family (Border Collies, Rough Collies, Shelties), Old English Sheepdogs, Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries, Shepherd (Australian, Belgian, German) to name of few.

Herding dogs are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer, geese etc; they all share the fabulous ability to control the movement of other animals. In this group the size of the breeds vary enormously, i.e. the small but big in charactere Welsh Corgis which will drive cattle, many time their size, by nipping at their heels, compared to the larger breeds like the Pyrenean or Estrela Mountains Dogs who protect shepherds and their flocks from predators.

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

Pyrenean Mountain Dog

They all have great stamina and an abundance of energy, they are very intelligence and easy to train. One of the most popular breed in the sheepdogs group are the Border Collies, whilst some are pets, many work in farms where are are most valued as they do the work of several trained men. Their ability to be trained to work on the sound of a whistle or word of command is renowned throughout the world.

Border Collie working hard

Border Collier retrieving a piece of wood

As well as herding, many in this group are also trained for rescue work, explosive search, police work etc.

Because the breed is required to work and mostly live in all weather, most have a serviceable coat and a dense undercoat which do not require excessive grooming. Whereas the Hungarian Puli and Komondor which have a distinctive coat which form cords require an unusual grooming demand. They require constant, vigilant attention during their first 18 months whilst their coat is growing, a least a grooming session every 2 – 4 weeks and once the coat is fully grown a grooming session every 8 weeks, all with weekly maintenance interval. So when considering these breeds you will have to bear this in mind.

The vast majority of Herding dogs are pets and never cross path with farm animal. However it is wise to bare in mind that they were bred originally to do a job of work and thrive on challenging activities. They prefer a lead a busy life, so they need plenty to occupy their minds; some might gently herd their owners, especially the children or they can become very protective towards their owners and property.

In general, these intelligent dogs make excellent pets and response well to training. Many do well in obedience trials, agility, fly ball or Schutzhund disciplines.

No Comments »Claudie on June 23rd 2010 in Herding (Pastoral) Dogs

Working Group Breed Overview

If you want a dog to perform such jobs as guarding your property, performing water rescues, pulling sleds you will need to consider dogs in the working group.  The group comprises of over 50 different breed i.e. Doberman Pinscher, Alaskan Malamute, Bernese Mountain Dog, Giant Schnauzer, Newfoundland, Great Dane to name of few.

Huskys working

Huskys working

They are intelligent, quick to learn and have been aiding humans in many walks of life.  Without a doubt the Working Group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world i.e. war dogs, sea and mountain rescues etc.

With such a variation of breeds within this group their function in life differs considerably; they can work as guard-dogs (in the past they even have been used as fighting dogs), as rescue dogs (sea and land) or they can herd cattle or get involved in heavy haulage work.

However, nowadays many of the dogs are used for exhibition purposes and as companions rather than work as was originally intended.  Careful handling and training is a must due to their considerable strength and size.  They are powerful in every way so it is of the utmost importance that they know who is their boss and therefore might not be suitable as pets for average families.

[

No Comments »Claudie on March 16th 2010 in Working Dogs

Hounds Breed Overview

Some of the oldest dog breeds in the world are amongst the hound group, e.g. some evidence can be found in Egypt in the tomb of the pharaohs.  Most hounds were originally used for their hunting instincts either by sight or scent.  Beyond this, it is difficult to find generalisations amongst the breed as there are quite a mix of sizes (from the giant Irish Wolfhound to the small Dachshund), coat types and attitudes.

The Hound Group can be divided in two groups:

– The Sight Hound group i.e. Saluki, Afghan, Borzoi, Pharaoh Hounds, Basenji, Deerhound, Otterhound, Whippet and Elkhound which are believed to date back to 5000 BC.

Saluki

Saluki

Sight Hounds possess a lean, powerfull body with a deep chest and long legs which give them both speed and a phenomenal gift of stamina.  They also have exceptional eyesight, this combined with the speed and stamina are what make them so efficient at catching the intended prey once spotted.  Typical examples of sight hounds are the Whippet and Greyhound.  Using these strong characteristics they can be used for racing or hare coursing.  Others in the group can be described as proud and aloof nevertheless they can make trustworthy companions.  They all will require a significant amount of exercise.

–  Scent Hound group i.e. Bloodhound, Dachshund, Beagles, Foxhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback and various Basset Hounds.

Scent Hounds rely strongly on the sense of smell to follow the trail of a prey, such as the Bloodhound, quite literally follow their noses.  Eyesight and speed is of less importance.

Only second to the Bloodhound, the Basset Hounds are specially good at scent tracking, and due to this very strong instinct could easily wander off following their nose if they are left unattended in an open space.  Early training of walking on the lead is strongly recommended as they can have a one track mind when following an interesting scent, and will pull you in all directions.
Scent Hounds are friendly and social; many have been bred to hunt in packs and therefore enjoy the company of other dogs.

Basset Hounds

Basset Hounds

After many thousands of years of breeding, and valued for their independence of thought, the breed is generally not the easiest to train; the Afghan which a very independent spirit being the most challenging with the Ridgeback being the most obedient in the group.  Nevertheless they can make good family dogs and can get along with other family pets, however some might be tempted to chase the neighbour’s cat.

No Comments »Claudie on November 23rd 2009 in Hounds

Sporting Dogs (Gundog) Breed Overview

Sporting dogs, also known as gundogs (UK) were originally bred and trained to find live game and/or retrieve game that had been shot on land as well as in water and  are instinctively good swimmers. Even without any special training they will be happy to retrieve things from water however they will need to be taught what needs to be retrieved.

They are known for their intelligent and good temperament and make excellent hunting companions as well as ideal all-round family dogs. Due to their high level of intelligence, they are easy to train.  They are active dogs with an inherent natural love for running and swimming and will require plenty of exercise and attention.  If you are looking to train the puppy for gundog work  look  for parents from working stock as puppies inherit their hunting abilities from their parents; this will give him a head over others.

The breed can be divided into four groups, retrievers (retrieve game once shot), Spaniels (flush game), Pointers and Setters (who use their excellent scent to find game, then stay motionless pointing their body towards the game)however many of the breeds are very capable of doing the same work as the others in the group.

There are over 30 different breeds within the sporting dog group to choose from, the Labrador retriever being the most popular breed of all.  The American Cocker Spaniel  and Cocker Spaniel breeds also have a lot of followers.

Cocker Spaniels

Cocker Spaniels

No Comments »Claudie on November 15th 2009 in Sporting (Gundogs)

What you ought to know before owning a dog!

Now the time has come for you to choose a dog, your ideal dog. However, what is the perfect breed for you with so many breeds to choose from? You should never buy a puppy on impulse and really think it all through. You ought to find out if the breed is suitable for you and your family before making a final decision. A dog is likely to live for 12 to 15 years and he will rely on you for his every need so finding your ideal dog is a must.

Before you make the final decision you must ask yourself the following:

Who will be the prime carer?
Who in your family will be responsible for looking after the dog, e.g. who will feed, walk, groom and teach him the basic obedience exercises. Of course everyone in the family should be involved with the puppy care but someone will have to be the prime carer. The puppy will need to be taken to training classes, to the vet and taken out on a regular basis, and you must not expect the children to be responsible for these very important tasks.

Is your home suitable?
Are you living in an apartment? in a house? have a small yard? a large yard? is the yard safely secured? Is your home in the countryside or in town? Each breed has different needs, characteristics and energy levels. Some breeds will grow up into a very large canine whilst others will require a large area in order to use up excess energy. So before your decide on a specific breed it is important that you consider if your home is a suitable environment for the animal.

How much time do you have to dedicate to the puppy/dog?
The first year of owing a puppy is very time consuming and you must be prepared to socialise him, to take him to training classes and to walk him on a regular basis. Some breeds will need to be taken out for long walks, do you have enough time for that type of canine, whereas certain dogs, like the toy breed, will require less exercise, so this type of breed might be your ideal dog if time is an issue.

Do you have any children? Does anyone in your family suffer from allergies?
Some breeds are more suitable for families with children, retrievers are well known to be a gentle breed; also a small dog might be more suitable. Herding breeds like the Border Collie could be troublesome for a family with young children as his instincts to round up live stock is very strong and he could well try to round up your children instead. Is your child allergic to dog hair? You could still own a canine and a breed that does not shed any hair, such as a Poodle could be your ideal breed.

Border Collie

Border Collie

Do your research; check all the pro and cons of each breed. Narrow your choices down to three or four breeds which are suited to your circumstances, get as much information as possible then choose your ideal dog.

In the following weeks I will update you with the characteristics of the most popular pedigree breeds, as one of the advantages of a pure bred canine is that the characteristics i.e. size, coat, temperament are predictable, as they are passed down from generation to generation.

Please bear in mind that crossbreeds can also make wonderful pets but you will never truly know what the dog will look like until he is fully grown. It is quite possible that one of the parents is small. However the puppy could turn out to be a very large canine once fully grown which might not be the ideal dog for your family.

No Comments »Claudie on November 8th 2009 in Dog Ownership

Welcome to MyIdealDog.com

Over the next few months I will be updating the site with various dog breeds, the pros and cons of owning each breed. This might help you choose your ideal dog.

No Comments »Claudie on October 30th 2009 in Dog Ownership