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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Simple Exercises to Help your Dog with Separation Anxiety

You leave your house and your dog is barking up a storm and won’t stop all day. You come home after work and your dog has destroyed the blinds on your living room windows. You put your dog in his crate and he digs at the gate, trying to get out. These are some canine behaviors signaling your dog may suffer from Separation Anxiety.



Before you label your dog as having Separation Anxiety, make sure that the behavior only occurs when the dog is left alone. For example, if you have a dog that is destructive while you are at work, does he also tend to chew your valued belongings when you are at home?





Provide physical exercise:


One of the reasons why dogs are anxious when being left alone, is a lack of exercise. When you have a dog with behavior issues, such as constant barking or destructive behavior, the first step to eliminate the unwanted behavior is to provide physical exercise for the dog. A good 30 to 45 minute walk, just before the dog is to be left alone, is the best way to provide such exercise. The walk, on-leash, actually provides more stimulus and drains more energy, than a similar off-leash exercise.

When you walk your dog, ensure you require him to behave on the leash. Don’t allow the dog to walk you. You should expect your dog to walk on a loose leash, preferably next to you, not in front of you.

For exercises on proper leash training, see our previous blog: Stop Your Dog from Pulling on the Leash”, or view our YouTube Video: “How to get your excited dog to behave on leash


Review your arrival and departure ritual:

Another reason  why a dog might display anxious behavior when the owners are not present, is that the dog has become accustomed to high level of excited energy at the owner's departure and arrival. Dogs learn over time, so if you and other family members always make a big deal out of leaving and arriving to the home, the dog has been conditioned to associate the happy, excited energy with these times. He is using the barking or destructive behavior to recreate this level of excitement when he is left by himself.
Teach your dog to be in a more calm and balanced energy, by not speaking to him when you first arrive after being gone. In fact, if the dog is very excited, it is best to not touch or pay any attention to him in the first few minutes. Simply come in and put your things away and ignore the dog, until he has calmed down.
Do the same as you leave him each day. Ask him to lay down and expect him to be calm. Don’t allow him to follow you to the door. Instead create a habit of him giving you space around the entryway of your house or apartment. To teach this, see our blog on teaching your dog not to bolt through doorways.


Provide a comfortable and nurturing environment:

We highly recommend that you crate your dog if he is displaying destructive behavior while you are away from home. Please be sure to introduce the dog to the crate slowly, and allow him to be comfortable being in the crate first before you leave him in the crate for long periods of time. The best way to introduce a dog to the crate is to remove the door and feed the dog inside the crate for several days. Put a comfy blanket or dog bed inside and let him sleep in the crate, without being locked in it.



Make being left home alone more fun by providing a special treat, like a bone or a chew toy, when you plan to be gone for a while. This will give your dog something to do, while you are away. Reserve this special treat for times when you are not at home, and take the treat away, when you are at home.
If your dog barks a lot in the home, when left alone, play some music or talk radio. This background noise helps to calm the anxious dog and can also drown out any outside noises, that may cause an anxious or excited dog to bark for attention.

 

Practice while you are at home:

Dog behavior modification takes time. You have to repeatedly condition the dog to the new and wanted way to behave. To do this, practice often, for short sessions, when you do not have to leave your pet.
Calmly set up the home as though you are leaving, put on the background music, give the special treat and leave the home as you usually would, but only for a very short time. When you come back, do not make a lot of fuzz over the dog, but rather be calm and ignore him. Take away the special treat and just go about your day.
Repeat the short exercise again, each time allowing the dog to be left behind. The dog will associate your leaving ritual with calmness and with the understanding that you always return shortly.


I hope the information provided will be helpful to you, or someone you know. Please share our blog on your Facebook feed, and please comment below.

Until next time: Keep Your Paws on the Road!

Bee Walker

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Can Fido fly? - Your Dog travels in the Cargo Hold



In my last blog, Travel by Airplane - Dogs that travel in the main cabin I discussed travel with your pet under 20 pounds, flying with you in the main cabin. In this blog, I want to continue providing information on Airline Travel with dogs. 

If your pet is large and weighs in access of 18 pounds, he will need to fly in a crate as cargo.




Every airline has different procedures for dealing with pets. All that allow pets in their cargo hold will require that you have a IATA (International Air Transport Association) approved hard case pet carrier. There are also strict guidelines on the size of kennel for each dog. To measure your dog and make sure you purchase the correct size crate for him, follow the guidelines on the airlines website. I have decided not to include a sizing guide here, as different airlines have different requirements on their sizing. 

Purchase the right Sky Kennel 

The best source of information about traveling with a particular airline is their own website. They will have a page specifically for their requirements. You can print out the page and check off each requirement to make sure you understand and have the requirements that they need. Please be sure to carefully review your airlines pet policy and ask as many questions as you need answered to be clear about their guidelines. Once you know what size of crate your dog will need, you can purchase it at a local store or online. Most Airlines will require that the kennel is secured by wing nuts and screws, so be sure not to buy a crate that uses snaps. Kennels with snaps might open during travel and you definitely do not want that.

You can go to our website to find our favorite products for travel at www.moderncanineservices.com. Make sure you purchase the Sky Kennel in advance and allow some time to get your dog familiar with it. We recommend you remove the door and feed your dog inside the crate for several days to make him comfortable. It is also a good idea to allow him to sleep in the crate for several nights prior to your travel.


Required labeling


You are required to have information labels attached to your pet's crate for his safety. Do a web search or call your local Pet or Feed store and ask if they have any CS-345 Labels orLive Animals” stickers. Tell them they go on your dog’s Crate for Airline shipping.

Federal regulations require that each kennel be properly labeled with the words "LIVE ANIMAL" on the top and at least one side of the kennel in 1-inch (2.5 cm) letters. The kennel must also have orientation labels. Indicate the top with arrows or "This End Up" on at least two sides.

You will also want to have labels with your dog’s name and your contact information. Be sure to put your mobile number, not your home phone, on the crate and also an address of another emergency contact, in case you cannot be reached. 
In addition to the label, make sure your dog wears his collar with an ID tag. Double-check to verify that the number is your cell phone number and not your home number. It is also a very good idea to have your pet chipped.

During Flights


While cargo area is climate-controlled, temperatures can and do vary. Therefore airlines may deny pets traveling in the cargo hold during extreme cold or hot weather conditions. You don’t have to worry about air pressure. Every compartment of every plane is pressurized for safety. If your dog is particularly sensitive to temperature or has breathing issues, the cargo area may not be safe. Pets that are brachycephalic –those with short muzzles and flat, “snub noses,” such as boxers, pugs and bulldogs – are more susceptible to breathing problems, and may have a hard time adjusting to air pressure changes during flight. If you choose to fly with your snub-nosed pet, check with your airline, as some have banned brachycephalic pets completely from commercial flights. 

Other considerations


IMPORTANT: Do not feed your animal in the two hours prior to departure, as a full stomach can cause discomfort for a traveling pet.

The airline will want to see your vaccine records and any additional paperwork required for traveling outside of the US. Be aware that in some countries bringing Fido may include a quarantine for your dog. If your flight has layovers, you will want to find out how the pet will be taken care off at the staging area between flights. We highly recommend to find the flight with the least legs, so there are less chances of your dog getting left at a baggage area or not being put on the same flight as you are.

Upon arrival at your final destination, you will usually pick up your dog in the over-sized baggage area, but it is a good idea to check with your airline upon check-in to clarify this procedure.


Your dog Flies WITHOUT you.


Make sure you ask: “Will my pet be traveling on the same plane as I am?”

This might seem like a silly question however the flight that you are taking might not be equipped for live animals, therefore they might put you and your dog on different flights.

Don’t assume that when you travel with your dog, your dog must travel at the same time as you do. That might not be the case. Sometimes having your dog travel to your destination before you arrive might be a good option. You might take a multiple stop flight that would be too long for your dog. Or you might be in too much of a hurry to get to the airport and trying to get your dog situated.

You can put your dog by himself on a flight to your destination and have someone at the other end pick him up. A lot of times you can find a better flight for your dog then you can for your dog and people. If you do not have someone that can go to the airport and pick up your dog for you, there are companies that can pick up your dog for you.

One option is find a full-service boarding kennel at the location that you are flying to. Many offer an airport pickup service. For a fee, they will go to the airport and pick up your pet on your behalf and take your pet back to the boarding kennel until you get there. Now all you have to do is fly to your destination and go pick up your pet and start your vacation.

Another option is a local pet sitting service, many will offer transportation for dogs. Research online for Pet services and call around to find the right service to get your pet pick-up at the destination airport.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dogs Travel by Airplane - Dogs that travel in the main cabin

Vacation time and travels are here and so I would like to offer a small excerpt from our book "Keep Your Paws on the Road".The book is soon to be published, and offers lots of valuable information on traveling with dogs.



 

Travel by Airplane - Dogs that travel in the main cabin

While every airline has different regulations, generally speaking, pets who weigh less than 20 pounds – pet carrier weight included – can travel in the cabin if the airline permits it. Your soft or hard case pet carrier must securely fit under the seat in front of you and is counted as one of your carry-ons. When you look to purchase your pet carrier, be sure to verify that it is airline approved, as there are lots of choices, but not all pet carriers meet the IATA requirement. You can go to our online store and check out our recommended carriers in the travel essentials section. If your pet meets your airline’s criteria for traveling in the cabin, this is probably the best option for him.

Spending time in the pet carrier

Keep in mind that your dog must remain in the carrier for the entire flight. Your dog may whine or bark when confined in the carrier, especially when he can see you and is unsure why is his inside. We highly recommend that you get your dog used to the carrier weeks ahead of travel. You can use his bed and some toys and have him spend time in the crate while you watch TV or cook dinner. Use short periods of time to get him accustomed to the carrier.

After the initial crate training, make sure to have him spent time in it, while you carry him around. A good way to practice is to take him to restaurants or into stores with you. Practice with him staying in the crate for several hours at a time, since that will be the case during your flight time.

You can put a worn t-shirt in the bag with him, so he has your familiar smells with him to be comfortable.

Before you go on your flight, limit his food and fluid intake, so he will not need to go potty and won’t get motion-sick. You can talk to your veterinarian and see if the vet recommends a sedative for your dog to calm him during the travel time. If you have practiced being in the carrier prior to the flight, your dog should be fine.

Make sure you have his pet passport, and other documentation required. Have the dog collar with his ID tag on the dog and his leash handy, in case you want or need to take him out.

Security Checkpoint

After you have checked in for your flight, you and your dog will need to go through the airport security checkpoints.

You have two options to take your dog through the screening process. You can take him out of the carrier, and have the empty pet carrier go through the X-Ray belt, while you walk through the body scanner with your dog on-leash. Or leave your dog in the pet carrier and walk through the body scanner with him in it. If you leave him in the bag, TSA officials may ask to inspect the bag after you have been scanned.

To simplify the process, we recommend you have only few other carry-on items with you, so you have your hands free to handle the dog and the carrier.

In-flight

When you get to your seat on the aircraft, you can store the pet carrier under the seat right away, or keep the dog with the carrier on your lap until the flight attendants clear the cabin for take-off.

During the flight, you may want to interact with your dog. You can have the carrier on your lab during the flight, but your dog must remain contained in the carrier at all times. If you are tempted to open the carrier to give your dog a treat or pet him, do so carefully and only open the bag a little bit. You can give your dog a small ice cube, but again, don’t overdo it. The more you interact, the more likely he is wanting to come out. Just keep things calm and let Fido sleep in this carrier.


Connecting flights

If your flight is long and has several legs, you will have time in between your flights for Fido to come out of the crate in the airport area. If he has been confined for some time, the first order of business will be to give him an opportunity to relieve himself. Many airports have dog walking areas. However, going to the dog area usually requires for you to leave the secure gate area and to go back through security later. This may not be feasible if you have only little time between connections.

We find it is very beneficial to piddle pad train your dog, when you travel by airplane, since it allows you to stay within the secured area with your dog. 

We hope you enjoyed this excerpt from our book. Check back for more information on traveling with your pets.

Thank you,
Bee


Friday, May 12, 2017

Pawsible Travel - Training to get your dog ready for vacation



Here comes the summer, with warm temperatures and long days. Time to get ready for that vacation! If you are like me, you're looking to spend some time relaxing in nature and you want to bring your dog (s) with you. I love to travel with my dogs, in fact, I plan my vacations around them.




When you want to take your dog (s) with you on vacation, you have to research and prepare a little more carefully. There are a lot of places your dog can't go and you need to find a dog-friendly accommodation, as well as plan a dog-friendly travel route.

For more on finding dog-friendly accommodations, read my previous post:

5 Questions you should ask before you book that pet-friendly overnight accommodation.

 

But before you make your reservations, did you ask yourself if your dog is ready for travel?
I believe the most important travel preparation is to make sure your dog is comfortable in unfamiliar places and feels safe wherever you take him, because he has learned to trust you. 
Here are a few exercises you should do with your dog, prior to taking him on vacation. These training exercises expose your dog to some unfamiliar places and in the process teach him to rely on you for guidance and safety.

1. Get your dog used to being out in public places,  new smells and noises.

 It is actually a good idea to practice taking your dog with you to a few busy places around your home town and get him used to being out in public places that are full of new smells and noises.Make it a regular habit to take your dog to the Farmer's Market or an outdoor event. This will teach him to be around a lot of other people, noises and smells. Make sure he is comfortable walking through crowded areas. Make sure he is well-behaved. He should be walking calmly by your side and not bark or lung at the leash, when he sees other dogs or distractions.

2. Practice walking on different types of surfaces and through obstacles and distractions.

You should expose your dog to as many different surfaces and distractions as possible. Find a local skateboard park and take your dog near it. The sounds and fast moving skateboards are hard to get used to for many dogs. Being accustomed to these noises will help as you are out in unusual surroundings. Find bridges in local parks that may have wooden planks with sections you can see through, this is another tough one for dogs. Go up and down different types of stairways and walk over metal walkways if possible. Can you walk past an area with sheep or goats without your dog barking at them? 

3. Take your dog to local restaurants and see how he behaves.

Have you taken your dog out for dinner? Can you eat and enjoy your meal with him under the table, or is he getting himself raped up in his leash and is restless, giving you no time to eat? Practice until he is calm and lays down under the table, out of everyone's way. Don't allow your dog to sit on the chair or sniff around the tabletops! Other patrons will not like the idea of your dog having licked the plates or the tabletops.

4. Teach him to be left by himself in unfamiliar surroundings

This will be the hardest lesson to teach. Try to find an area that you can leave your dog by himself and see how he reacts. Most dogs will whine or bark when left by themselves in unfamiliar surroundings. It is a good idea to have a familiar item for them to lay on, so bring your dog's bed or blanket. You should start by leaving only for a few minutes and then come back. 

5. Crate Train your dog.
Another important lesson for traveling is to crate train your dog. He should see the crate as his familiar surrounding and you can bring the crate with you on your vacation. There are several hotels and vacation rentals that may even require you crate your dog when you leave him alone.



When you travel with your dog, you will have to take him everywhere with you, so practice while you are at home and show him the proper way to behave while you are out and about. Make sure you have a well-behaved dog before you go on vacation, it will make your travels much more enjoyable.


For more information on getting your dog ready for travel, look for our upcoming book "Keep Your Paws on the Road" or go to our website and read through our free training tips on our FREE resource page.





I wish you wonderful travels this summer. If you can, share some of your travel pictures and stories with us here at ModernCanineServices.blogspot

Until next time: Keep your paws on the road!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Freshen you dog's breath with these homemade dog treats!

Most dogs have bad breath. I don't know if it is the things they eat or just the fact they don't brush their teeth, but I seldom meet a dog without bad breath.

There are a lot of products out there to help with the oral hygiene for your dogs, but here is one you can make yourself:

Parsley and Mint Dog Treats (breath fresheners)




Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 2 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 10-12 drops green food coloring
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, oil, water, and herbs. Mix well.
  • Add food coloring, then knead the dough until color is evenly dispersed.
  • Roll out the dough on parchment paper, using extra flour as needed so it doesn't stick.
  • Roll out about 1/4 to 1/2 thickness.
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  • Place on lined baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.
  • Let treats cool before serving.
Storage
    Treats may be stored in an air tight container for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
     
    I would love to hear your comments and feedback regarding our homemade dog treats. Please comment below, or share the post on your FB page!
     
    Until next time; Keep Your Paws on the Road!
     
    Bee

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Are you afraid to trim your dog’s nails?






There is a lot of things we do for our dogs to make sure they are well taken care off. One of the most hated tasks among dog ownership seems to be the trimming  of the dog’s nails.



Most of my dog loving friends say their dogs “hate” to have their nails clipped or trimmed and the task is almost always stressful for both the owner and the pet. Many dog owners even take their dogs to the groomer or the vet to have their dog’s nails trimmed, some go as far as having the dog put under anesthesia. 
Although it does take some of the stress from the owner, going to the vet or the groomer can be just as stressful for the dog, as having you cut his nails at home. Here are a few tips for a less stressful maintenance program for your dogs pedicure

 

Touching the paws:

As with any other training, it is best to condition the dog to associate calmness with the situation when you don’t actually need to trim his nails. So start the process by handling your dog’s paws frequently without doing any nail trimming. If your pet is particularly sensitive to having his nails done, make it a point to touch paws daily. Just sit quietly without talking. As you pet your dog, see that he relaxes, then start to touch the paws. If possible hold them for a short period of time. Work to being able to hold the paw, squeezing paws gently to spread the nails apart, as this is the way you would handle his feet during the trimming process.








Introduce the tool:

Once you can touch and hold your dog's paws, you can introduce the tool you will be using for the trimming. You may use Clippers or a Dremmel-like tool. No matter which tool you prefer, introduce the item to your pet first without actually trimming the nails. This is very important! Simply sit with your pet and have the tool nearby. Let the dog sniff the item and relax around it. If it is an electric tool, first introduce it without being turned on, and wait for your dog to be calm around it before introducing him to the sound. If your pet has had a negative experience with the tool in the past, sit and gently touch the pet with the tool, rubbing it against the neck to desensitize him. Let him completely relax before going any further! His body language must indicate he is not afraid of the item, before you should use it to cut his nails. Never force the issue if the dog shows any kind of distress.



Cutting the nails

Once your dog is used to the tool and used to having his paws touched and held, you can start cutting his nails. Do so gently, only cutting a little bit at a time. Be patient. Even if you only get to cut a few of this nails, you are teaching him to be calm and quiet. Don’t try to cut the nail too short, risking to cut the quick, rather cut only a short amount first. Commit to cutting the nails more often rather then cutting them too short in one setting. Make the trimming a weekly process.

Here are a few tips to make sure you are cutting the nails efficiently:

  • Use a sharp instrument. Many people use clippers that are dull and squeeze rather then cut the nail. Be sure your clippers have a sharp edge and cut through the nail easily without rushing it.
  • If you need cheaters for reading, use them for clipping your dog’s nails as well and make sure you are in a well-lite area.
  • Keep clipper blade parallel to the nail.
  • On a black claw, the interface between sensitive and insensitive nail is usually chalky and white – very easy to discern.
  • On a white claw, the sensitive quick will look translucent and glossy, like living flesh.


If you are afraid of cutting the quick, the sensitive part of the claw, consider switching to a Dremmel like tool. Most groomers and vets have switched to using these and they are available to purchase in pet stores and online. I personally use an electric rechargeable Pet Nail Grinder by Hertzko.



  
We would love to hear your experience with trimming your pet's nails. Please share your comments below. If you feel someone else may benefit from our post, please like and share the blog post to your Facebook feed.

Until next time: Keep Your Paws on the Road!

Bee  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Oh no! My dog pees when greeting people.

Recently I had someone ask me if she could “train” her dog not to piddle every time someone greets her and wants to pet her. My answer was: “yes, you can, but it will require some time and patience on your part”

A dog that pees when she gets attention is likely a shy dog, that gets excited and intimidated when people come into her space. Most of the time people that love dogs want to pet them immediately and give them lots of verbal attention, like: “Oh, you are so cute. Come over here. You don’t have to be afraid, I like dogs!” They keep going after the dog, trying to pet her. Since the dog is in a submissive state, and likely excited for all the attention, she will crouch down and squeeze her body to make herself smaller, and in the process might pee a little, or even a lot. Now there will likely be some verbal exclamation from either the dog owner or the guest: Oh no, she peed on the floor!” and some excited hustle about cleaning it up quickly. The dog senses that she has done something wrong and associates this greeting ritual with a state of anxiety and confusion.

A quick fix to address this situation is to instruct your guests to ignore your dog and please don’t try and pet her. The suggested exercises that follow will show you how to help your dog overcome her state of confusion and fearful responses, and gradually teach her to associate meeting new people with a positive experience. It will take repeated short sessions of the exercise to change her current behavior with the new behavior. You will need to enlist the help of a friend or neighbor, and will need to find a high value treat for her.

You are looking for a treat that has a good scent. I like to use turkey or chicken meat, but you can also use a dog treat that she likes. Use one that you can break up into smaller pieces. You will not use the treat as a reward to feed to her, but rather use the scent to redirect her attention from the scary situation. I store my treats in an airtight container, so the treat container does not give out the scent.

To start, we want to remove much of the stimulus, so I want you to be sure to set aside some quite time to practice with just one guest. Choose an area with an easy to clean up floor and have a roll of paper towels nearby, so you can be prepared to clean up any accidents. When an accident occurs, please be sure to not say anything, but just simply use the paper towel to clean it up calmly and without much commotion. Walk your dog prior to the training session and let her empty her bladder, this will help prevent some of the accidents.

Ask your guest not to speak to the dog and not to touch her during this exercise. You will also ask them to completely ignore the dog when they first come in. I know this is hard, but be sure to instruct the person to be calm, quiet and non-intrusive toward the dog.

To start the exercise, greet the person at the door, as you normally would when a guest comes in. If you are training outside, to meet people on a walk, walk up to the person and just have a short verbal interaction between you and them. Make sure the person does not look at the dog and don’t use her name during your conversation. Now hand a small piece of the high value treat to the person. Instruct them to hold it in their lightly closed fist. Ask them to crouch down, but not talk or look at the dog directly.

The dog is likely at a bit of distance, assessing the situation. She may be excited and trying to decide what to do. Have the person just offer the scent to the dog by waiving the closed hand with the treat in front of themselves. The scent will redirect the dog’s attention and she will likely start to sniff in the direction of the hand, or come closer to investigate. Don’t offer the treat at this time, only the scent. Once she becomes interested, calmly have the person get up. Wait a moment and then get back down to repeat the exercise. The goal is to engage the dog with the scent. 






Repeat this a few times, then have the person put the treat down on the floor, stand up straight and see if the dog will come and get it. If she does, end the exercise here, if she doesn’t, just have the person walk away and leave the treat.

Do this several days in a row, you can even do it several times per day. After the dog becomes more interested and reacts in a more relaxed way to the stranger, extent the exercise to giving a treat by hand at the end of the exercise. If your dog is highly toy motivated, you can eventually have the stranger come in and pick up a toy and throw it for the dog. This helps as the guest is now interacting with the dog.

As you can see, you will over time reconditioning the dog to associate meeting new people with the scent and reward of the treat, thus removing the anxiety. Be sure to watch your dog's reactions and body language closely, and only move forward if the dog is feeling secure and relaxed. Gradually over time you can see if the dog becomes comfortable and starts to come over to people to be touched, but don’t force the issue. Not every dog is wanting to interact with strangers in this way. 


I hope you find the information helpful. We'd love to hear about your experiences, so please comment below. Please share our post on Facebook or other channels if you feel someone can benefit from it.


Until next time: Keep your Paws on the Road!

Bee Walker