Archive for November, 2011

Chance is a strong, sturdy dog and a very stubborn puller when being walked. The pronged collar was the right choice for him.

As I’ve said before exercising your dog is essential to their leading a healthy and happy life. But as much as I’ve stressed how important it is to walk your dog daily I have yet to talk about the proper tools to use when you’re setting out to do this.

The vital question here is when to use a collar and when to use a harness and what types of each to use. This can vary based on your dog’s size, health conditions and how well he or she walks.

First and foremost, if your dog has trachea problems, troubles breathing or spinal damage do not use a collar when walking them especially if they are prone to pulling. Use a harness to take the pressure off their necks and throats.

There are a variety of collars to choose from if your pet is not a puller. Traditional collars should be chosen to coordinate with your canine’s size and strength. They should fit snug, high on the dog’s neck with room enough to fit two fingers in between the neck and the collar.

Chain-slip collars are a good training tool for mild pullers and involve a quick tug and release movement for correction purposes. Pronged collars are the step up from this and are for more stubborn pullers.

Last, but not least, there are the halter-type collars which fit over the dog’s nose and chin somewhat like a muzzle and provide maximum control for the owner.

Harnesses are a completely different concept. They are mainly for pullers that refuse to be corrected or dogs with health issues that make harnesses a safer and more comfortable option for them. Harnesses attach around the neck and behind the front legs. To find the right harness you must measure for size and fit in width, length and tightness for individual dogs.

Regardless of whether you think a collar or a harness is the best choice for your pet remember to check fit frequently, attach tags to whatever they wear and remove their collar or harness if they’re being left home alone or in a crate.


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Where do dogs come from?

Melissa, a Miniature Pinscher, evolved from wolves like all dogs, but her breed is not one of the ancient breeds.

I’ve talked a lot about dog breeds and how to take care of your dogs, but what about the history of man’s best friend? Where did our canine companion come from?

All dogs evolved from domesticated wolves. Keep in mind it wasn’t a specific type of breeding that created dogs, simply evolution. This evolution has taken place between 40 and 150,000 years ago.

Every dog evolved from wolves, but they are a part of the Canidae group of animals which includes not only wolves, but also jackals, foxes, coyotes and dingoes.

Dogs first originated in the Middle East, found out because they seem to have more in common with the gray wolf that lives in that area than any other wolves. Although dogs began evolving at this time (some ancient breeds including the Siberian Husky, Afghan Hound and Alaskan Malamute), 80 percent of dog breeds today evolved within that last few hundred years.

Not only are new breeds evolving, but dogs are also growing more and more different from their wolf counterparts. They’re temperaments are progressively different, thus allowing them to be domesticated. As well they are growing to look more and more different from wolves as the species adapts to lives with humans.

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Healthy, happy and hairy

Dogs are just like people. They need exercise, mental stimuli, regimented diets, sleep and of course fun and play with friends. If dogs don’t get what they need in all these categories, they can lead unhealthy, unhappy and often quite short lives.

If you keep your canine companion on the right track in every aspect of his or her life, you’ll notice some improvements in coat, eyes and nose, heartbeat, weight and temperament. Here are a few tips to help your furry friend lead the happy, healthy life he or she deserves:

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I’m sure everyone has heard of dogs that assist people with visual and hearing impairments, but a new type of service dog has recently been discovered: seizure alert and response dogs.

Around 2.3 million Americans suffer from epileptic seizures and episodes can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and leave the sufferer helpless and sometimes unconscious. Many who have this disorder fear to be alone while doing ordinary tasks and to leave the house often.

Seizure alert and response dogs, unlike other service dogs, cannot be trained to detect seizures. They are born with this ability and for this reason breed, size and age varies in these canines. Seizure alert dogs have a 90 percent accuracy rate. These canines warn their owner of a seizure anywhere from 30 seconds to 45 minutes before. The methods of alert vary between dogs and can include pawing, intense eye contact and/or barking.

If a dog has this innate ability for detected seizures he or she can then be trained in responding to seizures. These dogs can be trained, by a specific group or even by the owner, to do a variety of things prior to and during a seizure. They can be trained to urge their owner to a safe place or position, to fetch medication and a phone, press an alarm button, fetch a family member, or even roll their owner on his or her side.

Seizure response and alert dogs can be very pricey, sometimes reaching around $19,000. Of course, there are many non-profit organizations that donate these dogs (sometimes with just a requested donation) such as Canine Assistants and Canine Partners For Life.

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