Friday, October 25, 2013

Getting your pet comfy in costume

With Halloween coming up, it’s the right time to find the perfect costume for your pet. However, dressing up your pet could cause a few problems. What happens if your dog absolutely hates the costume, and they end up shaking and shimming their way out of it? 
The answer is quite simple, prep your pet and desensitize them to the costume before they wear it for Halloween. If you follow these few simple steps, your pooch can proudly prance in their Halloween costume, and be comfortable while doing so!

1. Don’t force your dog to put on the costume the first time you present it to them. Start easy, present the costume to the dog with food on top of it. This gives the dog a positive introduction to the costume without being too invasive. Leave the costume on the floor or somewhere your dog can approach it freely and continue to reward them with food for any interaction with the costume. If they sniff it or approach it on their own, feed them. If you can get to the point where your dog sticks their head in the costume, that would be wonderful! They should be greatly rewarded for this behavior. 

2. Put your dog’s costume on for short periods of time once they grow comfortable around it. A great time to put the costume on would be when your pooch is about to eat dinner. When putting the costume over your dog’s head, always make sure you lure them and reward them with treats. Putting on a costume can be stressful for your dog, so do everything possible in order keep the experience positive. If you have a toy motivated dog, you can put the dog’s costume on and play with them. 

3. Reward, reward, reward. Once your dog gets used to wearing the costume for short time periods, you can start leaving it on for longer periods of time. Remember to always supervise your dog when they are wearing their costume. You never know what they could choose to eat off their costume or whether or not they may get stuck and hurt themselves.

Be sure to recognize when the costume is not working.  Don’t force your dog to wear something that they absolutely hate. If you try to get your dog acclimated to a costume and they still can’t seem to stand wearing it, don’t force them to wear it for your own satisfaction.

Remember to be safe and always watch over on your pooch on Halloween. Halloween can be fun and adorable for your dog, but all the activity can be scary and rambunctious, so keep an eye on your dog while you have trick-or-treaters.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Festival Safety Tips

Come out this Sunday, October 20th from 12 – 4 pm and join the celebrations as we host our 3rd annual Tip, Tricks and Tails Fall Festival at Morris K9 Campus! But, before you come out and enjoy the festivities, here are some dos and don’ts to keep everyone, both humans and four-legged friends, safe. 

Do use the right equipment. Getting your dog on the proper no pull equipment can make events, such as the fall festival, easier for both you and your dog. With the correct equipment, you can easily have control over your dog throughout the day. Don’t have a no pull harness, but you’re curious and wanting to try one on your dog? Stop by our no pull station outside at the festival and get your dog fitted by one of our dog trainers!

Don’t come with your pooch on a flexi leash. While flexis can be appropriate in certain situations, the hustle and bustle of the fall festival, as well as the amount of people and dogs, can make flexis dangerous. Make sure you come to the fall festival with your dog on a short leash no longer than 6 feet, in order to insure the safety of everyone and every dog there.

Do keep an eye on your dog when you are looking at vendors or talking to people. As distracting as it can be when you are shopping at one of the many vendors or watching the agility match, make sure you keep a constant eye on your pooch to make sure they aren’t misbehaving. 

Don’t assume just because your dog is friendly and wants to meet everyone, that every other dog is friendly and wants to meet your dog.  Keep an eye on your dog and don’t let your pooch bombard another dog. Always ask before your dog approaches another dog, and make sure you watch your dog’s body language in order to make sure they are enjoying the situation. If you aren’t sure what good dog body language looks like, check out a post we wrote about reading your dog correctly

Do bring treats and reward your dog for good behavior. What a great environment this can be for training! The festival atmosphere can be overwhelming to any dog, so make sure that you are rewarding your dog for doing the right thing.

Don’t get frustrated with your dog. Remember this situation is new, so don’t take any frustration out on your dog. Instead of punishing your dog for poor behavior, change their behavior by asking them for a sit or grabbing their attention with a cookie and reward them for the good behavior. The fall festival is all about fun, so make sure your set your dog up for success and make this festival a great time for them!

Do have fun! Of course there are some easy rules to follow in order to keep the fall festival safe for everyone, but above all, have fun! The fall festival is the perfect place to do some shopping, learn more about our new specialty classes, have your pooch participate in a costume parade, adopt a dog or cat, check out our agility match and much more!

Remember that the festival is FREE but we will be collecting food donations, both dry and canned food, for the local shelters in the area participating in the event. We are looking forward to see you and your pooch on Sunday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Testing for Food Intolerance

Meet Grizzly, a 3-year-old mixed breed dog with a serious skin irritation issue. Last month, we talked about food intolerance vs food allergies and mentioned the HemoPet NutriScan test by Dr. Jean Dodds. We decided for our blog readers to test out Dr. Dodds’ theory.  

Grizzly was adopted from the Middletown Humane Society at roughly 4 months old. He was a healthy dog, but started developing skin conditions at about a year old. He was tested for a variety of different things, from Mange to allergies, but his skin issues, which included itching, hair loss, hotspots and open wounds, didn’t seem to improve. Grizzly was weaned off kibble and put onto a home cooked diet of chicken, vegetables and eggs. The change in his diet did start to improve his skin, however it didn’t solve everything.

Since the test for environmental allergies was negative, it was decided that Grizzly should undergo food intolerance testing. The NutriScan test by Hemopet is simple; it’s non-invasive and only requires the dog’s saliva.  The test comes with a saliva collection kit and easy to follow instructions. Once you collect your sample, you simply mail it to the testing facility and wait for the results.

Grizzly’s results came about a week after the sample was mailed out. His results came back somewhat neutral, showing he didn’t have a major intolerance to any of the foods, but he was borderline reactive for some of them including, chicken, venison, white fish and barley, and was directed to avoid these ingredients. There were three items that he was absolutely not intolerant to: lamb and rabbit as the protein sources and sweet potato.  Since Grizzly’s primary protein was chicken at the time of testing, he was switched to a lamb based diet instead.  

Since the switch, which was about a week and a half ago, Grizzly has begun to show improvement. The scratching is still present, but it has lessened. He is now eating a limited ingredient diet with lamb as the main protein. It is important to remember that it takes time for a dog to get adjusted when you switch their food, so try to keep their diet consistent.

This test is ideal for dogs who have skin issues or problems with digesting foods. Since the test is non–invasive, it is an alternative to traditional allergy testing and may provide the answers to diet based food intolerance.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Getting Your New Dog

It is National Adopt a Dog Month and to celebrate we are making sure that you are prepared to bring your new dog home. Whether you just adopted a dog or went to a breeder, it is important to make sure you are prepared to bring your new pooch home.

Remember that getting a new dog isn’t a spur of the moment decision. You should seriously consider you time and ability to care for a pet before you make the commitment.  First it is important to find the correct dog that suits your needs (not just your wants!), and take into consideration your activity level as well as your living condition or lifestyle. For example, even though you may want a large dog, your apartment may be best suited for a small dog. Make sure you look at what you can provide the dog and not only what you want in a dog. Also consider the differences between getting a puppy and getting an adult dog. Getting a puppy can be vastly different than getting an adult dog. Do you research and find what size, breed and age of dog would best suit your needs.

Knowing what to expect on your dog’s first day home is critical. Remember that your dog is likely going to be stressed on their first day home, they are experiencing a new situation and it’s important to make them as comfortable as possible. Get them on a set routine as soon as possible, including a set feeding schedule and a set potty schedule. This will help them better adjust to their new lifestyle as well as help prevent accidents. Keeping the schedule consistent will ease the adjustment period for both you and your new dog. 

It can take weeks for your dog to become comfortable in their new environment and for their true personality to show. It is an adjustment for both you and your dog. The first few weeks can be stressful and you may feel as if you are in over your head. Remember that there is help out there! 

Morris K9 Campus has started a new class called “Canine Rescues and Remedies: Living Happily Ever After with Your New Dog.  This class is focused on the main reasons why dogs and humans have a hard time adjusting to their new lives. The class is a non judgment zone to come in and talk about the issues you are experiencing with your new dog and get advice from our Pet Trainer. 

Always remember to give the situation time and don’t be afraid to seek help fr
om a professional. They are there to make the transition with a new dog as easy as possible for both you and your dog. A new dog can be stressful, but it also can be the most rewarding experience. Give it time and enjoy your new dog!