Posted in Information, Seasonal

Cold Weather VS. Dogs

De-icing products can be unsafe

There’s a bit of controversy surrounding what is a “pet-safe” de-icing product. Back when there was only good old NaCl (salt), pets could make themselves significantly ill if they licked enough residue from their paws after a walk in the winter wonderland. And salt can be especially irritating to the skin as well.

More recently, a number of products have become available that are less irritating to the skin, but they all still contain compounds that can cause illness if ingested. Granted, it takes ingesting quite a bit of any of these products to cause serious complications in pets, and the amount that they tend to ingest when licking icy residue from their paws is minimal. However, I’m rarely shocked at the things that pets will eat – especially dogs – so it’s important to keep your pets away from these products during use, and shovel away the slush once they’ve done their job.

Pets get cold, just like us

Some people seem to believe that because cats and dogs have fur, they’re able to withstand cold temperatures better than humans. And certainly the so-called “Northern breeds,” like Huskies and Malamutes, seem especially impervious to the cold. But the temperatures can drop enough to present danger to any animal, and those that are small with short coats are at the greatest risk. Exposed skin in areas on the periphery of the body, such as ears, noses, and feet, are especially sensitive, and can quickly become compromised at low temperatures.

Never leave pets exposed to the cold when the temperature falls below the freezing mark. Bring all animals inside, and if this isn’t possible provide shelter with blankets and a heating source, as well as a way to keep water from freezing. Now, our GSDs love the cold much more than most dogs, which is fine but make sure they can have a warm place to go when they start getting cold. When it drops below freezing here my GSD refuses to come inside where my Pit Bull would much rather lay in the ray of death as I call it, (the sun shinning in the window) and will hold her bladder as long as she can before stepping foot outside.

Ice is a slippery slope

Cats and dogs don’t typically fall on the ice and break a bone, or hit their heads, like humans. Four legs and a lower center of gravity seem to provide quite a bit of protection, however they can still slip on the ice and sustain bruises, or tear ligaments. Cranial cruciate ligament ruptures – similar to a “torn ACL” in people – occur with some frequency in dogs when they slip while playing on ice and snow.

Ice and crusty snow can cause substantial damage to your dog’s paws. They can slice into the feet like a knife, and a dog that’s frolicking in the snow can sustain a deep laceration when they come into contact with this stuff. These cuts almost always have to be stitched, and they take a couple of weeks to heal – and that’s with strict rest and bandaging.

Don’t forget to take special care around frozen ponds, as the ice may not be sufficiently strong to support your pet’s weight.

Pain is intensified

People with arthritis report that cold weather intensifies their pain. No one seems to really understand why, but it’s pretty widely reported. Some people even feel that they can predict when the weather is starting to change, because their creaky joints hurt more.

In addition, people with bone plates or joint implants report that they can “feel” these metal structures when the weather is cold. The theory is that the metal transfers the cold directly to the surrounding bone, and the end result is mild pain at a previously unpainful site.

Staying warm may be more difficult for the sick

If your dog or cat is already dealing with a health problem, the cold weather may make it more difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. Hormonal diseases especially complicate this, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease.

However, don’t use the fact that it’s wintertime as an excuse to let your pet gain weight! Any residual warmth gained by adding pounds isn’t worth it, since being overweight increases the risk of a number of conditions. So resolve to keep your pet at a healthy weight through the winter, and all year-round.

Anti-freeze

Ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in most automotive antifreeze, is highly toxic even in very small amounts to dogs and cats. It rapidly destroys the kidneys, and without very aggressive treatment (and many times even with it), it’s fatal.

Antifreeze should always be properly disposed of, and you should take care to carefully clean your dog’s feet after a particularly sloshy winter’s walk, to ensure that any residue (potentially antifreeze-containing) is removed, so that they can’t lick it off.

Cold cars

We talk a lot during the summer months about how hot cars can get, and how deadly it can be to leave your pets inside while you shop or run errands. But you should be aware that the inside of your car can get extremely cold as well, when the temperature is low. Always consider whether it would be better to leave your pet at home on a cold day, where his comfort is assured.

 

There are several ways to protect your dogs feet from the elements and the harsh chemicals. One way is booties for your pup, an added bonus to this is watching the way your dog walks with these on. You can also buy or make paw balm for you pup. I will be posting the recipe for paw balm soon and will link it here.

I hope you all enjoyed this post. If you have any questions feel free to email me at germanshepherddogs@doglover.com

Posted in Puppy Training, Seasonal, Training

Indoor Brain Games 4

Ok yall this is going to be a long post but I hope you enjoy it. Continuing on with my indoor games to beat boredom. Check out the earlier posts here Indoor Brain Games 3, Indoor Brain Games for dogs 2, Indoor Brain Games for dogs.

20. Give Your Dog Regular Grooming Sessions

Although your dog won’t find a grooming session as exciting as a game of tug it is something that needs to be done from time to time. Our dogs need to be brushed, bathed, have their teeth brushed, and have their nails trimmed when they start to get long.

Some dogs tolerate grooming better than others, and the more you practice using positive rewards the easier it will become. Don’t be afraid to hand out lots of treats during a grooming session – you want to ensure your dog will associate grooming habits with a positive experience.

21. Play a Game of Tag With Your Dog

Playing tag will require a partner. Each of you will sit or stand at one side of the room with a toy or some treats. Take turns calling the dog over and rewarding them when he comes. Make sure your dog is receiving lots of positive reinforcement each time they obey. This is a simple and fun way to reinforce a reliable recall.

22. Create Your Own Indoor Obstacle Course For Your Dog

Create your own obstacle course inside your home. Have your dog jump over some towels, weave through his toys, and then lay down on a blanket. Use your imagination and come up with a set of obstacles for your dog to follow. Once your dog has learned how to jump over the towels you then move onto the toy weave. Building on prior tricks will keep your dog mentally stimulated and encourages focus.

23. Blow Bubbles For Your Dog

This is my absolute favorite activity to use when I’m under the weather. It’s such a simple way to keep my dog happy, entertained & exercised.

I don’t know why but some dogs are fascinated by catching bubbles. There’s even a wide selection of pet bubble making toys on the market. You don’t have to go out and buy special bubbles either – the bubbles that are available for children are nontoxic. If you have a child in the home here’s proof that babies, dogs, and bubbles are the most adorable thing on the planet.

24. Buy Your Dog a New Toy, Make One, or Rotate Them

Studies have found that dogs get bored with their old toys. You can either buy your dog a new toy to get their enthusiasm going or you can rotate their toys. Instead of giving your dog access to all of their toys all the time give them a couple. If you rotate one of their old toys back into the mix after awhile they’ll have some of that original enthusiasm back.

You can always make their toys more exciting by ensuring you’re engaging with them by playing fetch or tug. Toys take on a whole new value once you get involved and start playing with it as well. There’s also a ton of DIY toys you can make from household items such as old t shirts, towels, and denim.

25. Make a Doggie Play Date

Does your dog have some nice dog friends? Invite them over for some play time. It’s so satisfying to see dogs engaging in play with one another, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll have one tired dog at the end of the day. You’ll also have a chance to catch up on some chores while the dogs create their own wrestle mania in your living room.

26. Brush up on Some Old Dog Tricks

Just like us our dogs need a refresher now and then. When’s the last time you asked your dog to roll over or play dead? If it’s been awhile get out your clicker or treats and run through the drill. Have your dog practice all of their commands to make sure they’re not getting rusty.

27. Teach Your Dog the “Go To” Command

Does your dog know how to go to the couch or to his bed? This trick is simple to teach and it’s helpful when you’re making dinner or having guests over. If you tell your dog to go to his spot while you’re making dinner enough times it will become a habit. No dog in the kitchen while cooking means you won’t be finding dog hair in your dinner as often.

28. Teach Your Dog to Grab His Leash

Before we go for a walk I have my dog go and grab her leash. She also has to fetch me my boots and her harness. It’s not asking much, but it’s enough to keep her focused and busy while I’m getting ready. Before I taught her to go grab those items she’d be spinning around, whining, and jumping while I got everything ready.

29. Teach Your Dog to Turn On/Off Lights

This can come in quite handy when it’s getting late and you find yourself needing some more light and you’re feeling a bit lazy. Instead of having to get up and turn on the light have your dog do it for you. To start with this trick a touch stick or good “touch” it command are handy. If you have a small dog you might have to improvise to make it possible for your dog to reach the light switch. Don’t attempt this trick if the occasional scratch mark on your wall will bother you.

30. Work on Impulse Control For Better Manners

Dogs, like children, have to be taught that they can’t always get what they want right away. From a puppy learning bite inhibition to teaching an adult dog to “wait” on command, impulse control keeps our dogs out of trouble and safe. Brush up on the basic impulse control commands like leave it, wait, stay, settle, and down. These commands are important if your dog ever gets loose or decides to chase after that squirrel.

31. Make Some Simple Dog Treats

Your dog might not be an active participant in the making of dog treats, but he’ll certainly be reaping the rewards. You can make your own simple dog treats instead of going out to the store. It’s nice knowing exactly what goes into what our dogs are eating. Not only will you have a great supply of training rewards on hand but you’ll also impress your dog with your excellent culinary expertise. Check out my homemade Category for homemade dog treats. Minty Fresh Breath, Homemade Chicken Jerky, Homemade Chews.

32. Teach Them To Say Please by Sitting

Does your dog come up to you and nudge your hand when they want something? If you don’t find this behavior desirable teach your dog that sitting politely is the key to gaining your attention. Don’t be afraid to teach your dog how to act – without guidance they develop bad manners.

Our dogs look to us for cues all the time, they like to know what’s expected of them. Reward polite behaviors handsomely, with consistency your dog will get into the habit of asking for things in a polite manner.

33. Snuggle Up & Relax With Your Dog

After a nice training session or game there’s nothing better than a little bit of relaxation. We all need time to unwind, and many of our dogs love to lounge around with us. Before bedtime each night I sit on the floor with my dogs for a bit. It didn’t start off as anything planned but now when 10:30 rolls around they are putting their heads on my lap begging me to sit on the floor and rub them and snuggle before bed.

Well yall that’s all I have for today I hope you enjoyed and ill add more as I think of them or find the. Also feel free to post your ideas in the comments.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at germanshepherddogs@doglover.com

 

Posted in Puppy Training, Seasonal, Training

Indoor Brain Games 3

Continuing our indoor games for dogs, Check out the past post and check out below for the activities for today Indoor Brain Games for dogs, Indoor Brain Games for dogs 2

 

13. Play a Game of Tug of War With Your Dog

Tug of war is extremely tiring, both mentally and physically. The good news is you don’t need a ton of room to play so it can be done indoors. Make sure your dog has a good “drop it” or “leave it” command and have some fun with it.

Contrary to what some people have said for years playing tug will not make your dog aggressive. It’s a simple way to exercise your dog as long as you follow a few basic rules. Earn some bonus fun points with your dog by letting them win sometimes.

14. Teach Your Dog to Clean Up His Toys

If your dogs toys are kept in a container or bin teach them to clean up after themselves. If your dog already knows “drop it” have them pick up a toy and give them their drop it command once they’re standing over the container. Praise them like crazy, then rinse and repeat. Eventually with consistency you’ll have a dog that will be able to clean up after himself.

15. Get Some Puzzle Toys For Your Dog

Keep you dog mentally stimulated by giving them a puzzle to solve. There are a ton of dog puzzle toys available, as well as treat dispensing toys like the Kong Wobbler.  There’s also a ton of great DIY toys out there you can make. I love the simple muffin tin game – if you have a muffin tin and some tennis balls you’re ready to play.

16. Make Your Dog Work for His Food

We give our dogs a nice comfy life – they get a warm bed, lots of attention, and their meals for free. But our dogs were bred to work alongside us, many of our dogs are missing out on some mentally stimulating activities. One of the easiest ways to challenge their minds is to make them work for their meals. You can make your dog perform some tricks before he gets his dinner, or you can have them eat from a food dispensing toy.

17. Play a Game of Fetch/Catch With Your Dog

Most of us do have some extra room indoors for a simple game of fetch, but if you live on the 5th floor with a St. Bernard you should probably skip this game. Hallways, stairways, and big living rooms are popular choices. My dog and I love playing soccer in the basement with her Jolly Ball. Be careful with heavy toys around anything that’s fragile or able to be tipped over, and it’s probably not a good idea to play fetch inside the kitchen.

18. Master The Art of Doggie Massage

Learning how to give a dog massage is enriching for owner and dog alike. A nice massage can help soothe and relax nearly any dog. Daily dog massages are great for older dogs or those with arthritis, it helps soothe sore and achy joints. Giving your dog a massage reduces anxiety, relieves stress, improves circulation, and creates a great bond between you and your dog.

19. Try Some Free Shaping Games

If you haven’t heard of 101 things to do with a box you’ve been missing out on some fun training opportunities. It’s a great foundation for learning how to practice free shaping techniques, and it only requires a box and a clicker. The basic principle of shaping games is to encourage our dogs to try something new. They get to make their own decisions and increase their mental and physical flexibility. You start out with a box on the ground and without any cues let your dog investigate and decide what to do.

 

Well yall, I hope you have a wonderful Monday and stay warm. If you have any questions feel free to email me any time germanshepherddogs@doglover.com

Posted in Puppy Training, Seasonal, Training

Indoor Brain Games for dogs 2

Aaaahhh, yet another day of freezing cold temperatures and lots of snow. Below are more activities to do indoors to work your pups brain. I will be posting more for the next few days so be sure to check back. Here is the first post of the series I am doing Indoor Brain Games for dogs.

7. Use a Stuffed Kong For a Nice Challenge

If you’d like to keep your dog busy with a toy for awhile stuff a Kong with something yummy. You can freeze peanut butter or broth, or just put some treats inside and give your dog something to work for. There’s a ton of dog safe options Dog Safe Human Food.

Also Check out my other post Activities for dogs for more toy ideas.

Check out these Kongs on Amazon.com.

8. Teach Your Dog The Names of Their Toys

Have you see Chaser the Border Collie? She knows over 1,000 words and can pick out any given toy among 800 just by it’s name. We can’t all be overachievers like Chaser, but we can teach our dogs the names of their toys.

Start by playing with one specific toy and giving it a name while you do. After some practice & praise your dog will assign that verbal name with the chosen toy . Once your dog has learned that specific toys name you can test their skills by seeing if they can pick it out among their other toys.

9. Teach Your Dog How to Play the “Go Find It” Game

Once your dog knows the names of some of their toys teach them the “go find it” game. Have your dogs toys in a pile or container and tell them to “go find” their favorite toy. Keep it fun for them by rewarding them handsomely with a treat or quick game of tug when they succeed. This game will give your dog a great mental workout.

10. Master the Basics of Obedience Training

Does your dog know all of the basic obedience commands? Does he have a reliable recall and stay? Even well trained dogs need a refresher course now and then to keep them sharp. All dogs should have a reliable sit, down, stay, drop it, and come here.

11. Teach Your Dog a New Trick

Does your dog know how to weave through your legs and jump through a hoop? There’s always a new trick you can teach your dog.  Once your dog knows a bunch of tricks step it up a notch and combine their learned behaviors into new tricks.

12. Work With Your Dog on Some Clicker Training

If you don’t have a clicker I’d recommend picking one up next time you’re at the pet store. When training a dog every second matters; it’s so easy to miss the chance to communicate with our dogs the instant they do the behavior you desire. When you use a clicker you can mark the exact moment your dog made the right choice.

I hope this help you beat the boredom today. If you have any questions feel free to email me at germanshepherddogs@doglover.com and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for more.

Posted in Puppy Training, Seasonal, Training

Indoor Brain Games for dogs

Ok, I don’t know about where you live but here last night we got our first good snow storm and it is cold. My GSD loves the snow and is spending all of his free time begging to go outside. My short hair pit bull how ever is not so excited to go out side. Lets face it I am not either. So below in this post and several others for the next few days I will be posting Indoor boredom busters.

1. Play The Which Hand Game

If you’ve been thinking about teaching your dog some scent work games this is a great game to get you started. The only thing you’ll need is some dog treats. If you don’t have dog treats on hand you can use fruits & veggies (be sure they are on the safe list, Dog Safe Human Food, or make some Homemade Chews, Homemade Chicken Jerky or other homemade dog treats.

How to play the which hand game with your dog:

  • Place a treat in one of your hands.
  • Close your fists and hold them out in front of your dog.
  • Let the dog choose which hand it’s in.
  • When your dog sniffs or paws the correct hand open it up and give them the treat.
  • If he chooses incorrectly don’t discourage him, it takes a few tries to catch on.
  • A gentle “touch” command will be helpful.

Our dogs have excellent noses but they need to learn to utilize them.

Just like us they’re used to relying on visual cues in their normal day to day activities. Simple nose work games help hone in their natural sniffing ability, and it’s a nice mental workout.

2. Try The Three Cup Game

One step up from the which hand game this game is also commonly referred to as the shell game. You place a treat under one of 3 cups and have your dog choose the correct one. Once they get the hang of it you can start mixing up the cups so they’re not just relying on visuals.

3. Play Hide and Seek With Your Dog

This is by far one of my dogs favorite indoor games. Have your dog sit and wait while you go find a hiding spot. Call them once when you’re hidden and praise them enthusiastically when they find you.

4. Play a Game of Tug for a Nice Workout

If you’re snowed in you might not have an opportunity to get in your regular amount of exercise with your dog, but that’s where tug comes in handy. Not only is a game of tug great for teaching your dog some basic impulse control, it can be a great workout for you both.

5. Make a Scavenger Hunt or Play Find The Treats

Grab some smelly treats and have your dog stay while you go hide them around the house. Start with some easy hiding spots and work your way up once your dog is accustomed to using his nose.

6. Teach Your Dog to Fetch My Slippers/Paper

Dogs love having a job to do, even if it’s something as simple as fetching you your slippers. Make them feel extra useful by teaching them the names of some items you wouldn’t mind them retrieving for you. If you want to impress all of your friends teach your dog to fetch you something from the fridge. To make it easy on your dog tie a towel around the handle so it’s easy to pull open the door.

 

Well that should be enough games for today, check back tomorrow for more indoor boredom buster games. I hope you and your pup enjoy the snow and as always if you have any questions feel free to email me at germanshepherddogs@doglover.com

Posted in Seasonal

Christmas Hazards

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

With that being said below are a few things to make this Christmas even better.

We all love giving our pets a little treat from our dinner plate but keep in mind somethings on our plates are not good for our dogs! Check out the Naughty list below.

Also below see what Christmas hazards could cost you in Vet bills. Remember keep one eye on our very sneaky hairy best friends.

christmas-protectionholiday-foodpet-hazard-prices

I hope this helps some of yall and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

If you have any questions feel free to email me germanshepherddogs@doglover.com

Posted in Health, Seasonal

Pumpkin

Everyone knows that pumpkin is great for our dogs, but do you know how or why it is good for your dogs???

Below is a picture that explains how pumpkin is good for our dogs. I am sure this is not all of the uses for pumpkin but it is a start, as I find more uses for pumpkin I will add them. I hope this helps.

pumpkin

I hope this helps some of you that have had questions about pumpkin. If you have questions feel free to email me germanshepherddogs@doglover.com