Author Archives: David

Keeping your Hound Safe and Sound

Any responsible pet owner should know that dogs need to go on walks and have ample playtime. This gives a dog a positive way to release energy, bond with their pack leader, and learn acceptable behavior. Keep the following safety tips in mind to get the most out of playtime.

Consider your environment
If you are taking your dog on a walk, or traveling to the dog (or regular) park, leash him up and look for signs with rules about leashing. Ask yourself if the environment is a safe one for your dog in particular. Is your dog good with other dogs? How about good around children?
Safety Play timeFence ‘em in
A busy person like me may want to let their dogs play outside, but if you aren’t in a dog park, it’s best to do it in a fenced area. Whether you are letting your dog play outside with his best buddy or you are teaching your dog to fetch, you’ll want to make sure the dog won’t bolt for the woods for whatever reason (or jump over the fence as mine would when I left him unattended for even a second in our yard). One of the good options out there is a wireless dog fence for a customizable boundary zone and collar that corrects your dog when he reaches the boundary of the roaming zone.

Establish and enforce rules of play
While playing with your dog, you need to consistently make it clear if your dog’s behavior is acceptable or not. While this is true for living with a dog in general, it is extra important during playtime to prevent any bad habits from beginning to form. Be sure to take breaks to keep a positive vibe and your dog’s attention during playtime.

Tug of war
This is a great game for two dogs, but as always, playtime is only fun until someone gets hurt. To make sure you don’t unintentionally encourage dog biting when playing tug of war with just the two of you, make the rules clear, such as when it’s okay to take the rope or toy and when they must drop it. Make use of commands such as “Take it” and “Drop it” and stop playing and take a break if your dog inadvertently touches his teeth to your hand. If your dog refuses to drop it on command, stop playing altogether.

Social isolation
Don’t leave your dog outside too often. You may be considering it as a quick fix for those behavioral problems that seem unsolvable, but you are only making things much worse. Your dog will soon replace his need to please his leader with a desire to occupy his time in any way he can find, which in turn makes training your dog even harder.

Cold weather cruelty
Cats and dogs are not actually any more resistant to cold weather due to their fur – even the Alaskan Husky sled dogs wear booties on their feet depending on the weather and type of snow conditions. Buy or make your pup some booties, and make sure their toenails and fur is trimmed to the proper length to avoid snow collecting around their toes. Like us, dogs run the risk of hypothermia and frost bite, so limit play and walks in extreme cold weather.

Keeping these considerations in the back of your mind will ensure playtime is always an enjoyable and fruitful use of time. Make sure you and your dog are in the right environment with a secured fence or dog park, with well-established rules, don’t leave your dog outside too often, and protect them from the cold. Keeping outdoor playtime safe for your dogs has never been easier.

Adam Holmes loves his two dogs Argos the husky and Lilly the Labradoodle more than life itself. When he isn’t writing for Havahart Wireless, he spends his time training his dogs for CGC certification and he is thinking about doing agility training with Argos.

Anthropawlogy: A look at Dog Breeding throughout the Ages

I’m Cindy Romero, an animal activist, blogger, and “mother” of two dogs, a cat and a bunny.

Do you know anything about the genetic history of your pet, other common dog breeds and part of what it means to breed a dog in the world today? Before getting a dog, most people wonder what kind of breed best fits their lifestyle and personality, but not many consider the cultural ramifications of a well preserved dog breed lineage, the shifts that can happen in a dog’s brain or the dangers of poor dog breeding.

Until recently, the melting pot of American dog breeds has been explained as originating from Asia along with humans as we brought our pets with us.  These original dogs were believed to have largely mixed with European breeds, most dying off from the introduction of European illnesses, leaving them unrecognizable from the Native American dogs before the days of Magellan and Christopher Columbus.

Chihuahuas: More native than you are!

According to a 2013 NPR article, some North American breeds have a purer pedigree than evolutionary geneticist formerly thought. North American dogs have actually not mixed so much with European dogs after all.  The modern Chihuahua actually still has the same DNA that it did 1000 years ago in Mexico meaning it is a breed untouched by European influences.

Aside from the Chihuahua there are other dogs that have remarkably little European genetic influence including the Greenland dog, the Mexican hairless dog, and the Peruvian hairless dog. This shows that most American breeds are the result of the native cultures that made them, mostly before Europeans arrived. For some Indian and Inuit cultures these dog breeds are an important signature of their ancestors and they must be preserved.

Dog breeding today

A 2010 study found that one of the dangers of dog breeding is that on top of altering a dog’s behavior, personality, and physical traits, dog breeding also can affect how a dog perceives its environment. Breeders can decide to select two dogs with different skull lengths, shifting the dog’s skull and rearranging the brain. Dogs with short skulls such as the pit bull have a brain much different than other dogs. The part of the brain for smelling is rotated forward making it near the base of the skull instead of at the front of the brain.

There are of course other dangers of dog breeding, so it’s best to do your research and find a humane breeder so that you don’t inadvertently support cruelty and ignorance. Adoption is always a great option too, and it happens that 1 out of every four dogs in the US is a purebred (if that is important to you). Adopting a dog also doesn’t mean anything about how the dog will behave or how easily they will be trained. I always advocate adoption first because it saves lives and a there is a huge over-population of pets needing homes.

Now that you know more about breeding, go fourth and choose the best dog for you. Readers, how did you decide on your current pet? Is there anything you regret about buying from a breeder?

Housebreaking A Dog: Litter Box Vs Outside

Housebreaking a dog means house training to urinate and defecate outside the house or any other designated area. It is often associated with potty training. Deciding on how you should house train your dog can be confusing to some dogs owners. Before you decide on what techniques to use, you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages for you and for your dog. Always consider your location and the most appropriate technique. Here are some facts that will help you decide whether you should use a dog litter box vs relying on going outside.

Dog Exercise

Dog litter box or the use of litter box is the perfect choice if you are:

  • Living in high apartment buildings or condo units.
  • No lawns or backyard.
  • Limited space outside.
  • Living in rural areas where dogs are not safe to go outside.
  • Over populated areas.
  • Dogs with old age owners or owners with impaired mobility.
  • Health condition of the dog that affects bladder incontinence.
  • Dogs with hip dysplasia and cataracts.

Advantages of training your dog to urinate and defecate outside:

  • The house is free from dogs mess.
  • Permanently placing your dog outside the house.
  • Saves you time and effort in cleaning the house for stains and odors.

Litter box or outside for potty training has the same process. It depends upon you to determine which best works for you depending on what is applicable. All you need to do is be consistent and have a lot of patience for it takes time to make the dog learn due to communication barrier. Obviously dogs do not speak english and communication is not always easy. You need to repeat the process for days or even weeks until they get it. Do not lose hope it’s just a matter of time until they get used to it. Potty Training is much easier if you try to watch for the signals for you to determine that they need to urinate and defecate at a certain time.

Meet Go-Go Dog Pal Giveaway Winner!

First and foremost we would like to send out a big thank you to all who participated in our giveaway. We loved seeing all your furry friends on facebook, you great tweets on twitter, and you’re awesome boards on pinterest.

We feel like we’re one big family. A big family that goes to Thanksgiving and overeats, watches football, and avoids Grandma’s fudge. A big, awkward family. That’s how we like it.

So without further ado, we would like to congratulate Diana Stanhope for being our contest winner!!  We know your furbabies are going to have a such an great time chasing their new Go Go Dog Pal! We can’t wait to see pictures!!Giveaway winner Stay in touch everyone, you NEVER know when a new contest will suddenly POP UP!!

Dogs Read Our Intent

Dogs pick up not only on the words we say but also on our intent to communicate with them, according to a report published online in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.Dogs Read Our IntentThe findings might help to explain why so many people treat their furry friends like their children; dogs’ receptivity to human communication is surprisingly similar to the receptivity of very young children, the researchers say.

“Increasing evidence supports the notion that humans and dogs share some social skills, with dogs’ social-cognitive functioning resembling that of a 6-month to 2-year-old child in many respects,” said József Topál of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. “The utilization of ostensive cues is one of these features: dogs, as well as human infants, are sensitive to cues that signal communicative intent.”

Those cues include verbal addressing and eye contact, he explained. Whether or not dogs rely on similar pathways in the brain for processing those cues isn’t yet clear.

Topál’s team presented dogs with video recordings of a person turning toward one of two identical plastic pots while an eye tracker captured information on the dogs’ reactions. In one condition, the person first looked straight at the dog, addressing it in a high-pitched voice with “Hi dog!” In the second condition, the person gave only a low-pitched “Hi dog” while avoiding eye contact.

The data show that the dogs were more likely to follow along and look at the pot when the person first expressed an intention to communicate.

“Our findings reveal that dogs are receptive to human communication in a manner that was previously attributed only to human infants,” Topál said.

As is often the case in research, the results will undoubtedly confirm what many dog owners and trainers already know, the researchers say. Notably, however, it is the first study to use eye-tracking techniques to study dogs’ social skills.

“By following the eye movements of dogs, we are able to get a firsthand look at how their minds are actually working,” Topál said. “We think that the use of this new eye-tracking technology has many potential surprises in store.”

**Article Courtesy of ScienceDaily.com**

Boarding Your Dog

Every day people face the question of what to do with their pets when travel, illness, or family emergencies disrupt normal care. Some pet owners attempt to solve this problem by taking their pets with them, only to discover that hotel restrictions, travel-induced pet illness, and runaway pets can turn their trip into a disaster. Other pet owners turn over the care of their animals to well-meaning but untrained neighbors, or friends. Again, the results are often unsatisfactory. Pets entrusted to such part-time custodians frequently escape or become seriously ill because of lack of reliable, frequent, and knowledgeable supervision.Boarding Your DogFortunately, the majority of pet owners who find themselves in need of substitute pet care utilize the services of professional boarding kennels. Annually, more than 30 million pet owners recognize that full-time, knowledgeable and experienced boarding kennel operators provide the most dependable, secure and safe pet care available.

Because competent, ethical boarding kennels are an important part of your pet care program, and because the selection of a boarding kennel can be a confusing and disconcerting process for pet owners, the American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA) has assembled this data to assist you in evaluating, selecting, and working with your local boarding kennel. Our goals are twofold:

1. To give your pet a happy and safe boarding experience.
2. To enable you to enjoy your time away from home content that your pet is receiving the best care possible.

What is a Boarding Kennel?
Throughout the United States and Canada, there are approximately 9,000 boarding kennels offering their services to more than 30,000,000 pet owners annually. Boarding kennels are businesses designed and operated specifically to care for pets, as distinguished from breeding kennels, which are devoted to producing puppies; training kennels, which take in dogs for hunting, protection, and other types of specialized training; and veterinary hospitals, which are designed to care for sick and injured animals. Most boarding kennels provide a variety of pet services such as boarding, grooming, training classes, pet supply sales, and pet shipping. Although the vast majority of boarded pets are dogs and cats, many kennels also offer boarding for horses, birds, reptiles and exotic pets.

What is the American Boarding Kennels Association?
A characteristic common to all boarding kennel operators is a deep love and respect for animals. This is their basic motivation for establishing their kennel. In 1977, however, a dedicated group of kennel operators recognized that the love of animals, by itself, was not enough to guarantee the development of professional standards of pet care within the industry. What was also needed were educational opportunities for kennel operators, to enable them to stay abreast of developments in pet care, and some method of establishing and promoting a high level of ethical conduct within the industry. To achieve these goals, these concerned kennel operators founded the American Boarding Kennels Association, the ABKA.

Today the ABKA has a membership of almost 1,600 kennels throughout the U.S. and Canada; by means of its publications, conventions, seminars, regional meetings, ethics program, certification program for kennel operators, accreditation program for kennels, and industry committees, the Association helps member kennels to develop and maintain the highest professional and business standards. This in turn enables ABKA members to offer you, the pet owner, the most knowledgeable, ethical pet care available anywhere.

Successful Boarding
The goals of ABKA member kennels are happy, healthy pets, and satisfied pet owners. This requires a cooperative effort from kennel owner and pet owner. In the following pages, the ABKA, in response to numerous requests from pet owners, lists the features you should look for in selecting your kennel, and suggests what you can do to ensure that your pet receives the best care possible. Let’s start at the beginning.

There are several ways of locating the kennels that are convenient to you:

1. Yellow Pages: Yellow page advertising is the primary method of kennel advertising. Remember though, the size of the ad is no indication of the facility’s quality.

2. Recommendations of friends: Satisfied customers are the best recommendation that a kennel can receive. Ask your friends and neighbors about their experiences. Check with your veterinarian or ask the kennel in question for references.

3. Better Business Bureau: If your community has a better Business Bureau, a phone inquiry about your local kennels is appropriate. Ask about a specific kennel’s reputation and if any complaints have been lodged against them.

Evaluating a Kennel
After finding your local kennels, you can determine the one to use by:

1. Telephoning the kennel. Call to see if the kennel can accommodate your pet. During peak times such as the Christmas season and summer vacations, many kennels are booked up and cannot accept your pet. Also, because some pets require special handling or accommodations (very young puppies, animals on special medication or feeding schedules, or giant breeds, for example), all kennels may not accept them. While you are on the phone, make an appointment to visit the kennel.

2. Making a personal visit to the kennel. A personal visit is essential to determine whether the kennel will be satisfactory. During your visit, observe or ask about the following …

General appearance of the kennel proper:
Following regular daily clean-up procedures, the kennel should look (and smell) neat and clean. Kennel operators are proud of their kennels and like to show them off, but some of them do not permit visitors in areas where animals are housed. There are two key reasons for establishing a “No Visitors” policy. First, some dogs react unpredictably to strangers. (They become excessively fearful or aggressive.) As a result, the presence of strangers in the kennel can cause such dogs to injure themselves or develop intestinal problems. Second, visitors do not follow the same stringent disinfecting procedures used by kennel personnel, and can transport contagious agents (bacteria, viruses) into the kennel. However, kennels with a “No Visitors” policy should provide you some type of viewing window, so that you can see where your pet will be staying.

In visiting your local kennels, you will observe that there are several types of kennel designs currently in use. Some kennels have indoor/outdoor runs; some have totally enclosed facilities; and some house pets inside, but utilize outside exercise areas. Each of these designs has its own advantages, and you should ask the kennel operator to explain the advantages of the system in use at that kennel

Security:
When you are on a trip, your pet may decide to try to “find” you. Because of this tendency, and because very few homes are designed with pet security in mind, pets can escape from inexperienced individuals who might be asked to watch your pet. Boarding kennels, on the other hand, are designed to prevent this kind of accident. During your kennel visit, look for sturdy, well-maintained fencing, gates and dividers between runs. If your dog is a climber, digger or some other type of “escape artist” tell the kennel operator so that extra precautions can be taken (wire covered runs, locks on gates, etc.). Cats always require covered facilities.

Safety:
Kennels areas where your pet will stay should be free of sharp objects, harmful chemicals and objects your pet might swallow. Primary enclosures (sleepingquarters) should provide solid dividers between your pet and the other boarders, both for reasons of safety and so that your pet will be able to relax and sleep without feeling challenged by his or her neighbors. Exercise areas should include barriers between runs high enough to prevent male dogs from urinating into adjacent runs. Surfaces should offer good traction even when wet. Firefighting equipment should be readily available.

Supervision:
Proper supervision is the key to good boarding. Pets should be checked frequently during the day by someone who is trained to recognize the signs of illness and distress. Experience and practical knowledge are required to detect or interpret such symptoms as lethargy (“I thought he was just sleeping”), severe intestinal disorders (friends or acquaintances rarely check the backyard for bloody stool), urinary problems (it is almost impossible to detect blood in urine when pets urinate on grass), loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing, or discharges from the eyes or nose. Yet, all of these signs can be significant. Competent kennel personnel are trained to recognize and evaluate such signs and to seek veterinary assistance when needed. Therefore, you should try to evaluate the competence of the kennel personnel.

One good indication that the kennel operator is keeping abreast of the latest developments in pet care is his or her ABKA membership. Check for a current ABKA membership plaque on the office wall. If your kennel operator has been awarded the CKO (Certified Kennel Operator) designation by ABKA, it means that his or her competence and ethical fitness have been acknowledged publicly by the Association. If the CKO plaque has been awarded, it will be displayed proudly along with the kennel’s ABKA membership certificate. Accredited kennels will display a certificate which attests to the fact that the kennel has been inspected and accredited by ABKA, and has met over 200 standards of excellence.

Sanitation:
The kennel should be free of dirt, fecal accumulation, odors and parasite infestation (flies, fleas, ticks). There should be a strict schedule of disinfecting with effective chemicals.

Note: Since 1978, there have been worldwide outbreaks of an intestinal disease called canine parvovirus. This disease is spread when dogs come into contact with a contaminated surface (clothing, shoes, grass, carpeting, etc.). New vaccines are now available to combat this disease, but until the dog population develops immunity to the disease, it will remain a potential problem. Several professional disinfectants, including bleach at a 1:30 solution are effective against parvo virus. Therefore, if there have been any reports of parvovirus disease in your area, your kennel should be using one of these products for routine disinfecting, in addition to requiring the immunizations.

Health care:
Inquire about the following …

1. Water: Individual containers filled with clean drinking water should be available to each animal.
2. Food: Feeding procedures vary from kennel to kennel. Some kennels supply preferred brands of feed, which they serve to all boarders. However, they usually allow you to bring your pet’s favorite food, if you wish. Other kennels maintain a stock of the most popular brands, and feed whatever you request. Still others require that you bring your pet’s food when you check in. Determine the kennel’s policy, and if there are any additional charges for special feeding arrangements.
3. Veterinary services: Ask about the procedure for obtaining veterinary service, if required. Some kennels retain a veterinarian on the premises. Others prefer to use your pet’s veterinarian so that there will be a continuity of care. Remember that it is customary (and responsible) for you to be financially responsible for any veterinary care required for your pet while it is being boarded.
4. Immunization requirements: Dogs should be immunized against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus (DHLPP), and bordetella. Cats should be vaccinated against rabies, panleukopenia or distemper, feline rhinotracheitis, calici virus, and pneumonitis (FVRCPP).
5. Medication policies and procedures: If your pet is taking medication, advise the kennel operator of the nature of the problem and the type and frequency of medication. Many kennels will not accept animals requiring excessive medication (more than three times per day, or nighttime medication, for example) or animals requiring potentially dangerous medication (diabetes shots, for example). Remember, it is essential that heartworm preventative medication be continued during boarding, if your dog is presently taking such medication. Inquire whether the kennel provides such medication, or if you should bring a supply. Ask if there is an additional charge for medicating.
6. Parasite control: If you live in an area in which fleas and /or ticks are a problem, your kennel should utilize procedures for controlling these parasites (pre-entry examinations for boarders, sprays, dips, etc.).

Provision for animal comfort:

1. Temperature control: The kennel should be able to maintain temperatures within healthful, comfortable limits for your pets. If you have an older pet, or a pet that requires warmer or cooler accommodations than are normally provided, determine if special arrangements can be made.
2. Protection from the elements: Exercise areas should provide shelter from wind, rain, snow and direct sunlight.
3. Ventilation: Good ventilation (no drafts) helps minimize the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses.
4. Light: Lighting should be at comfortable levels during the day.
5. Bedding: Find out what arrangements are made for pet bedding. Some kennels provide resting platforms, bedding or newspaper. Others require that you bring bedding from home. Check if there are any restrictions on owner-provided bedding (wicker beds and feather pillows, for example, may not be accepted).
6. Sleeping Quarters: As you know from observing your pet, most of his or her time is spent resting or sleeping. Your kennel should provide a place for this purpose (a primary enclosure). It should be clean and dry, and roomy enough for your pet to stand up comfortably, turn around easily, and stretch out.
7. Exercise Area: All animals require exercise, but the requirements for dogs and cats are different. Let’s discuss their requirements for exercise individually:

Dogs Cats
Dogs should have enough space to enable them to break into a run. Exercise time will depend upon the kennel’s layout. In some kennels, dogs are allowed free-access to their own individual exercise runs during the day. In such kennels, you may want to make arrangements to limit your dog’s exercise time, if there is any reason he or she should not be allowed to exercise at will (an older dog with a heart condition, or a ‘hyper’ dog who tends to run weight off, for example). Other kennels use a ‘time-sharing’ method for scheduling exercise. In such kennels, make sure that the time allowed and the frequency of exercise periods are adequate for your dog. Because cats exercise isometrically (by stretching), and because they are not ‘pack animals’ that need, or enjoy, the company of other animals (as dogs do), they do not necessarily require separate exercise areas, but are content when housed in roomy primary enclosures. However, some kennels also provide ‘play areas’ for those cats that appear to enjoy the additional space. Whether or not your kennel provides such play areas, your cat’s primary enclosure should be large enough to permit stretching and moving around, and should contain a regularly cleaned litter box.

8. Additional services: Many pet owners find it convenient to schedule grooming, bathing or training for their pets while they are in the kennel for boarding. Ask if such services are available. If you are in the process of moving, the kennel may even be able to take care of shipping your pet. Such a service can save you time and trouble, and helps ensure the safety of your pet.

Business procedures:
As a customer, you are entitled to be treated in a friendly, business-like manner. Furthermore, a kennel’s customer-handling practices are a reflection of their awareness of their responsibilities to you, the customer, and to themselves as professionals.
Therefore, you should observe the following:

1. Personnel: Kennel work is physically demanding and difficult. Nevertheless, kennel personnel should appear clean and neat. They should also demonstrate a high level of understanding and concern for your pet by their questions, their animal handling techniques, and their attitude.
2. Appearance of kennel grounds and office: Kennel property should be neat and well maintained.
3. Rates: Rates should be available in the kennel office. Be sure that you understand the method of calculating boarding charges. Some kennels have a checkout time, after which you are charged an additional day. Others charge by the night or day.
4. Boarding agreement or contract: Your kennel should have some type of boarding agreement, which clearly states your rights and the kennel’s responsibilities. This type of form protects you and the kennel from any misunderstandings in these areas.
5. Hours of operation: Days and hours of business should be clearly posted. If your kennel is closed on weekends or holidays, note and respect that policy. On those days, all pets are fed and exercised and the facilities are cleaned and maintained, but the kennel office is closed and there is no one in the office to meet customers.
6. ABKA Membership Certificate: Your kennel’s membership in ABKA is a public commitment to ethical practices, and your assurance that the kennel is subject to the ABKA Ethics Program. As a pet owner patronizing an ABKA kennel, you also can call on the ABKA for information and assistance should you experience a problem with a member kennel. If the kennel also displays an ABKA accreditation certificate, you are assured that they have met the stringent standards of the Voluntary Facilities Accreditation Program which inspects over 200 areas of kennel operation. The ABKA Code of Ethics and the Bill of Rights for Boarded Pets should also be posted in your kennel’s office, for your inspection. It is a public statement of the standards by which your kennel should be judged.

Using the information listed above, you have now located, evaluated and selected your boarding kennel, and have completed most if the steps necessary for successful boarding. However, there is still one thing required to assure that your pet receives the best care possible, and that is that you fulfill your part of the boarding. Even the best kennel in the world cannot take proper care of your pet unless you assist them by observing the following recommendations …

Preparing For Boarding

1. Make your reservations early: Most kennels are booked up on holidays and during vacation times. If you wait until the last minute to make your reservations, you may be disappointed. As you make your reservations, verify those items which you should bring with you to the kennel (immunization records, special food, medication, bedding, and toys). Make arrangements for any special services that you wish to have performed while your pet is in the kennel (grooming, training, or shipping). As you make your reservations, find out what type of payment arrangements are acceptable (credit cards, personal checks, money orders).
2. Prepare your pet for boarding: Remember that pets, like people, usually appreciate a vacation in new surroundings with new friends. Dogs, once they become familiar with their new surroundings, have a marvelous, exciting time, almost like kids at summer camp. (If your dog has never been boarded before, you might consider short, overnight stays at the kennel prior to an extended boarding stay to help him or her get used to boarding. Every time you return your dog is less likely to affected by “separation anxiety” and can enjoy boarding more.) As a rule, kittens take to boarding easily and have a wonderful time. Adult cats usually display a very nonchalant attitude towards boarding and prefer to sit quietly and observe the daily kennel routine. They don’t seem inclined to make new feline friends or participate in group play, but seem content to rest, eat, make friends with the help and purr. Make sure that all immunizations are current (and have immunization records, if your kennel requires them). Don’t overfeed your pet right before going to the kennel. The extra food is not really necessary and the result might be an upset stomach. Finally, because pets sense and reflect our emotions, DO NOT allow any member of the family to stage an emotional ‘farewell’ scene. Your pets can be made to feel unnecessarily anxious about the kennel visit if they are subjected to this kind of dramatic display.
3. Check in during business hours: Bring all agreed upon medications, etc. Make sure that medications list the prescription number and name of the pharmacy so the kennel can obtain a refill if your return is unexpectedly delayed. Allow enough time in the kennel office to fill out the necessary paperwork. The kennel needs to know such things as: name, address, phone number, return date, additional services requested, where you can be reached in case of an emergency, the name of a local contact, your veterinarian’s name and phone number, special feeding instructions (if any), medication instructions, etc. If your pet has any special problems which are not covered on the check-in forms, such as fear of thunder, epilepsy, or deafness, point them out to your kennel operator. All of this information helps your kennel take better care of your pet, especially if there is any type of emergency requiring special action. (And this is what professional care is all about. Anyone can feed your pet, as long as nothing goes wrong. But what you want for your pet is supervision by someone who can assess and respond properly to emergencies). Don’t be surprised if your kennel operator asks you to leave your dog in the kennel office, rather than allowing you to place your dog in his run. This is done so that your dog will see you leave and will realize that you have entrusted him or her to the care of the kennel operator. It also eliminates the possibility of your dog getting the erroneous impression that you are placing him in the run to “guard” it. When dogs get that impression, they sometimes become aggressive.
4. Relax and enjoy your trip: Remember that you are leaving your pet in the hands of capable professionals. Pets in the kennel probably receive more care and attention than they would at home.

Picking Up Your Pet
When you return from your trip, here are some things that can help you and your pet to have a happy homecoming:

1. Pick up your pet during the kennel’s normal business hours: Attempting to conduct business after hours is not only an imposition of the kennel operator and a possible disruption of sleep for the boarding animals, but can also result in a wasted trip to the kennel (because all personnel may be working in the kennel area and unable to hear the doorbell). For these reasons, many kennels assess an additional charge for after-hours pickup, to discourage the practice.
2. Ask about your pet’s stay at the kennel: Did your pet adapt well to kennel food, routine and environment? Did he or she display any unusual behavior or require any special handling? This information will be entered on the kennel’s records, to assist kennel personnel in caring for your pet during the next stay, but you should also be aware of it in the event that you move or use the services of another kennel in the future.
3. Do not feed or water your dog for at least four hours after returning home: Cats adapt to their return home with the same easy acceptance with which they adapt to boarding, but dogs can become very excited when you return. And, when dogs become excited, they tend to gulp food and water. Unfortunately, owners who allow their dogs unlimited access to either food or water immediately after returning home, frequently trigger vomiting and/or diarrhea. If your dog appears to be thirsty, provide a few ice cubes, rather than water. Let him or her calm down (about four hours) before offering food.
4. Contact your kennel operator if you have any questions about your pet’s behavior after returning home: Sometimes pet owners become unnecessarily concerned about behavior, which is completely normal. (For example, many dogs tend to sleep almost continuously for a day or two after returning home. This is usually a result of being back in a relatively calm environment after the excitement of the kennel). However, if you observe anything that appears to be out of the ordinary, contact your boarding kennel operator to discuss your observations. Your ABKA kennel operator wants you to understand the boarding process and your pet’s reaction to it, and will be happy to discuss any questions you might have.

Conclusion
ABKA member kennels have an investment in their profession. Through their participation in the educational programs of their association, they advance their knowledge and skills. Through their participation in ABKA’s Ethics Program, they demonstrate their commitment to high quality, ethical pet care. To you, the pet owner, this is your assurance that your pet’s time away from you will be as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Your ABKA member kennel is a valuable member of your pet care team, which includes your pet, your veterinarian, your kennel, and you. ABKA members invite you to stop by for a visit. They would like to get acquainted with you and your pet, and they would be pleased to explain their services to you. They are proud of their kennels, and of ABKA, their trade association, which serves the boarding industry through Education, Encouragement and Example.

Developing a good relationship with a boarding kennel will make things a lot easier for your pet, your family, and you. Taking a few of the precautions mentioned in this booklet before and after you board your pet will result in a pleasurable (and economical) vacation for every member of your family. Do your homework in advance, and trust your kennel owner to provide a safe, happy homecoming when you return. Have a good trip!

**Article Courtesy of petMD.com**

The Importance of Exercise for your Dog

In addition to providing food and water, daily exercise is need that must be met for your dog’s health and well-being. Exercise needs and energy levels are some of the most important things to research when deciding to get a pet. When caring for dogs, not only is exercise important for your dog’s physical health, the amount of exercise your dog gets can affect behavior, aggression levels, trainability, mental health, and physical health.Dog ExerciseThe Importance of Exercise for Dogs: Exercise Affects Your Dog’s Physical Health
Outside walks are more than just a chance for your dog to go to the bathroom. Physical exercise affects your dog’s physical health, mental health, and behavior. Lack of exercise can lead to dog health problems such as obesity and heart problems. Adequate exercise has health benefits that can help increase your dog’s lifespan. Consult with your vet about your dog’s health and exercise routines.

The Importance of Exercise for Dogs: Exercise Affects Your Dog’s Mental Health
Exercise provides mental simulation for your dog. Outdoor experiences provide mental simulation for dogs with a change of scenery, sounds, and smells. Outside your dog experiences scents of other dogs, other people, and other animals. These experiences are important to help your dog develop socialization skills for interacting with people and other dogs. Lack of mental stimulation can lead to boredom and behavioral problems such as over excitement in dogs, fear, or aggression in dogs when seeing a new dog or person.

The Importance of Exercise for Dogs: Exercise Affects Your Dog’s Behavior and Aggression Levels
Exercise affects your dog’s behavior. Lack of exercise can have negative affects on your dog’s behavior. Adequate exercise can have positive affects on your dog’s behavior. While watching dog training shows like it’s Me or the Dog, time after time dog behavioral problems increase when dogs aren’t getting enough exercise. Also time after time, dog behavioral problems decrease when dogs are given enough exercise. If your dog is misbehaving, it could be due to not enough exercise.

The amount of exercise a dog gets affects his or her energy levels throughout the day which can have negative behavioral effects. Lack of exercise in dogs can lead to hyperactivity, irritability, aggression, destructiveness, excess barking, and even biting. A dog with energy to spare can be bored and have more time for chewing your things or their own feet and running around the house knocking things over. Pent up energy can lead to a dog who chases people or other pets inside. A dog who has received inadequate exercise may have problems with jumping and biting. A dog’s behavior problems could be due to lack of exercise. Your dog may be sending a signal by trying to get the exercise they need by exerting energy when not appropriate and in unacceptable ways. A dog who has received enough exercise can be a calmer and quieter pet dog.

The Importance of Exercise for Dogs: Exercise Affects Your Dog’s Trainability
Exercise affects your dog’s trainability. Mental simulation that appropriate dog exercise provides can lead to a smarter dog. Appropriate physical exercise increases your dog’s ability to focus. A lack of appropriate outlets for energy makes it harder to sit, stay, wait, or lie down. A dog who has not received enough exercise can be more easily distracted or bored by training. Providing enough exercise for your dog can help solve dog behavior problems and increase dog trainability. Getting enough exercise makes dog training easier.

The Importance of Exercise for Dogs: Providing Adequate Exercise
It’s important to provide enough exercise for your dog. Providing adequate exercise for your dog has many benefits. A well exercised dog can be calmer around the house. There are dog training benefits, mental health benefits, and physical health benefits for your dog. Providing adequate exercise for your dog can help solve dog behavior problems and increase your dog’s lifespan.

Training can be good exercise for dogs. Your dog can get exercise learning to come when you call. Play can be good dog exercise when your dog is playing fetch or learning to play fetch. Catching a Frisbee can be good exercise for your dog. Dog exercise can be fun. Toys can provide exercise for dogs. Appropriate chew toys for dogs’ size and strength will exercise mouths and give dogs an acceptable outlet for chewing.

The Importance of Exercise for Dogs: How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need?
Before getting a pet, it’s important to know what the pet’s needs are to be sure you can provide the care the pet needs. Dog care requires money, time, patience, and energy and dogs don’t fit everyone’s lifestyle. Dog care requires grooming, cleaning, vet care, food, water, and providing daily exercise. Dog exercise needs and energy level vary according to breed, size, age, and health. Some dogs need more aerobic exercise than others. Dog exercise requirements can vary according to the individual dog. A dog may need more exercise than you think.

Before you get a dog, or if you already have one, seek advice from animal shelter workers, animal shelter trainers, other trainers, and vets about the exercise needs of the dog you’re thinking of getting or already have. They can also offer free dog training tips for training your dog to walk on a leash or help solve dog behavior problems. Animal shelter workers, trainers, and vets can also offer free dog training tips for potty training your puppy or dog. The age of a dog, health, and diet affects the number of times the dog needs to go outside to use the bathroom. Animal shelter workers, animal shelter trainers, and rescue groups are often happy to provide free dog training tips and help solve dog behavior problems. Dog training shows like It’s Me or the Dog also offers free dog training tips.

While not all dog behavior problems are due to lack of exercise, many dog behavior problems are affected by the amount of exercise the dog is given. Talk to animal shelter workers for free dog training tips and ask about the importance of exercise for dogs. Provide enough exercise for your dog and help increase your dog’s lifespan along with increasing your dog’s trainability. Consult with your vet about your dog’s health and exercise routines. If your dog has problems with behavior or training, consider the amount of exercise he or she is getting.

**Article Courtesy of Yahoo! Voices**

How to Give Your Dog a Bath

As much as we all love for our furry friends to smell fresh and clean, getting to that point isn’t always easy. Dogs are rarely excited to jump into the bathtub for a good scrub. Bathing fearful dogs might be better handled by a professional groomer or your veterinary office. But if you decide to wade in, here are some helpful hints.Give Your Dog a BathGetting YOU Ready
Be sure you’re donning clothes that you’re okay with getting wet and dirty (and furry). Move all your grooming materials into the bathroom shampoo (ask your vet for suggestions specific to your dog), conditioner (a must for longer coats that need to be brushed out), brush, mineral oil (for eyes), cotton balls (for ears), at least two big, absorbent towels and, most importantly, TREATS. Lay a non-skid mat down in the tub to help the dog keep his footing. If you don’t have a detachable showerhead, a bowl or even a large cup is helpful in rinsing.

Getting (Fido) Ready
Trimming your pet’s nails prior to bath time will not only give your dog better footing, it will also help protect your skin in case he tries to make a break for it. Now, bring the dog into the bathroom and close the door behind you catching a wet, soapy dog running down your hallway is no easy task! Give praise and treats to make him comfortable in the bathroom before you try to get him into the tub. If you’re able to, gently putting a cotton ball in each ear can help keep water out — just be sure to remove them when you’re finished! Also, to help keep shampoo from irritating his eyes, you can put a drop of mineral oil in each one.

Bring on the Suds
Dogs are unlikely to get into the tub willingly. For bigger dogs, a second person to help you get Fido into the bath can help avoid straining your back. Make sure water isn’t too hot or too cold. Let your dog hear and then gently feel the water before going full-speed ahead with the bath. Start shampooing your dog’s shoulders and then move out from there. Be gentle around the face and any sensitive areas but be sure you get down to the undercoat. Read the directions on the shampoo bottle carefully to ensure proper usage. Rinse out all the shampoo, using your fingers to make sure you get through the undercoat to avoid subsequent irritation. This is where a detachable showerhead or bowl comes in handy to be sure bigger dogs get rinsed thoroughly.

No More Tangles
After the shampoo has been completely rinsed out, you can apply conditioner, if desired. Follow the directions on the bottle because some products need to sit on the coat for several minutes. If you have a particularly squirmy dog, you’ll want to find a fast-acting formula. Once you have finished the bath, it is time to dry your pooch. Towel dry as much as possible in the bathroom. For dogs with longer coats, you may want to use a blow dryer set on low. Before the dog leaves the bathroom, brush his coat out thoroughly because the bath will loosen up a lot of fur, which is better contained in the bathroom than all over the house. Many dogs get “after-bath-crazies,” so hold onto your hat and let ‘em run!

**Article Courtesy of Petfinder.com**

Picking a Name for Your Dog

Picking a name for your dog is a form of art. It is an expression of a dog owner’s creativity, ingenuity, feelings, sense of humor, or even spite. Indeed, naming a dog is a serious undertaking.

Giving human names is now the current trend in naming dogs. When you look at the list of the most popular dog names, it looks like a page out of a grade school class record. Many dog owners look at their pets as family members and give them personas that echo their status in the pack.Dog NamesFor many dog owners taking a pick from among the most popular dog names is the easiest way to go in naming that cuddly little pooch that will soon become an important part of the family circle for a lifetime.

Whatever may be the source of inspiration for your dog’s name, remember it will be the one he will carry and answer to for the rest of his life. It will be an identity, a persona, an expression of individuality.

There are dog owners who regret giving their dogs names which are products of a spur-of-the-moment decision. Will you be comfortable naming your cuddly St. Bernard Twiddles? Will this name suit her as she grows to be a hundred pounds? How about naming a miniature Doberman pinscher, Goliath? Will these names suit your dog’s appearance and personality when they grow older?

Naming your dog is not as simple as going through the most popular dog names and picking out what sounds good to you. The best way to go about selecting a name for the newest addition to your family is to get to know the puppy first. A day or two of being together will reveal different facets of your puppy’s behavior and personality which can eventually help you pick out the best name that will suit him for the rest of his life.

Over the years, Fido and Spot have been replaced with Buddy, Max, Molly, Maggie, and Jake. The most popular dog names for both male and female are people names. This is a sign that more and more dog owners treat their pets as they would their children and other family members.

These names reflect a dog owner’s effort to make his pet an integral part of the family—with its own identity and niche.

There are hundreds of popular dog names to choose from so much so that you will have a hard time choosing the best one. Here are some valuable tips to help you -

  • Pick a name that you will be proud to call out in a dog park. Maggie and Jack are less embarrassing than Gigolo or Stinky.
  • Get one that your pet can easily recognize. Studies have shown that dogs respond better to one or two-syllable names than three or more syllables. Compare calling out Betty and Bartholomew
  • Whatever name you choose, be sure the entire family agrees on it. Use it every time—while playing, training, hugging, or on your daily walks. Let him know that by calling out his name, you want his undivided attention.

**Article Courtesy of Dog Names Woof **