Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fido, Come!

I found this article in my newsletter archives from 2007. I thought it was a good piece of info to share . . .

I think the single most important command you can teach your dog is a recall, i.e., the "come here" command. This can be used for many things, not just getting your dog to come to you from outside or when he runs off. For those with puppies, this command can be used to call a dog away from something rather than yelling & telling the puppy what he has done wrong (and causing him to learn to run from you). You must teach your dog to come to you on command for safety reaons, if nothing else! There are a few things you can do to ensure that you get a really good recall from your dog.

1. Practice, practice, practice . . . using really high-value rewards.
2. Call your dog for no reason & praise him profusely.
3. Never ask the dog to come to you unless you are prepared to reward profusely & the end result will be something Fido sees as rewarding.
4. Never walk towards the dog when trying to get the dog to come to you. Walk away and call the dog, happily, joyfully & prepared to reward.
5. Once you call the dog's name wait to say the word "Come". Only say this word once the dog is actually doing it.
6. If you have a dog that runs from you, keep a 15-foot line on the dog at all times. Never allow the dog to run from you.
7. Stop & think before you call your dog.

Follow these steps when calling your dog.

- Calmly stop, think & say the dog's name in a happy tone.
- Over-praise, don't over-call. Don't repeat "come, come, come". Say it once.
- Make it mandatory. Don't allow your dog to run away. Keep a long line on him.
- Evaluate your actions. Make sure you are asking for the recall only when the results will be approved by Fido.

If you have any questions or problems with your dog coming to you when you call him, we encourage that you let us know so that we may help you get a reliable recall with your dog!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whew, it's hot!

Looks like we have a taste of what summer is about to bring -- icky heat just like Texas is so good at doing! This means we need to be safe with our dogs and keep them cool.

Remember dogs do not sweat through their skin like we do, so they take much longer to cool off and shaving them can be more hazardous than helpful. The best thing is to provide them with lots a/c, cool water and prevent them from overheating.

I do not recommend anyone keep a dog outdoors, no matter the weather, but especially during a Texas summer. The shade or a dog house will not often help much and heat stroke could definitely be a risk. Crate your dog indoors while you are away, where it is cool.

If your dog likes ice cubes you can give them ice cubes if you'd like. If your dog has been running, playing, training or anything that causes them to pant heavily you want to cool them off properly.

Also remember dogs can sunburn. A shaved dog or a hairless dog is at much higher risk, so watch out for this. Also, light and white skinned dogs are obviously at a higher risk. You can use sunscreen on your dog if you are out long enough that he needs it. A good sunscreen is Veterinarian's Best Sunscreen spray.

Signs to watch and things to do to keep your dog's body heat down:

1) Don't let them get too hot in the first place.

2) Watch that tongue! If it gets wider and wider, your dog is getting too hot. Stop what you're doing and take him inside to cool off.

3) Let them drink cool water but don't let them drink too much. They can get sick if they inhale a lot of water, or some dogs who are prone to bloat could be at risk for this.

4) It's best to let the dog just lie down and relax calmly for 30-45 minutes before letting them drink too much. If your dog will not settle on his own then crate him for 30-45 minutes with no bedding or blankets in the crate. After this time then you can let them drink until the cows come home.

5) If you are active with your dog--sports, training, hiking, running, etc.--then I recommend a doggie water supplement to maintain electrolytes and prevent dehydration. This is also great for dogs that are so worked up and/or stressed that they will not drink. These water supplements taste good and often make a dog want to drink! I love K9 Super Fuel by Animal Naturals.

Have a safe, happy and cool-as-possible summer!