Thursday, December 26, 2013

Helping Your New Dog Feel at Home

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, everyone wants a place to relax and feel at home. For those of us with a new dog during this time of year, we can’t forget our pets in preparing for a comfortable holiday! If you recently added four legs to your family, make sure that through all of the holiday festivities, you do your best to get your dog acclimated. Here are five holiday helpers in order to make the transition a little bit easier.

Management Always stay one step ahead of your dog. Whether you brought home a puppy or an adult dog, many objects in their new environment will be tempting. Think about the possible scenarios your dog could get into and manage them accordingly. For example, remember that keeping the Christmas ham out on the counter could entice your dog to jump up and take a lick. If you are unable to watch your dog every second, you’ll want to keep them out of the kitchen or keep the food in a safe spot.

Dog Proofing For the holidays, don’t give your new dog free reign of the house. This leaves the possibility open for your pooch to get into mischief, such as eating the holiday dinner, using the Christmas tree as a spot to relieve themselves or unwrapping presents from under the tree. Holiday decorations are a common pet hazard and should be kept out of reach of your dog. Also be careful with household cleaning products, wires, children’s toys or anything else that could be potentially hazardous to your pet.

Teachable Moments Always be on the lookout for teachable moments, or any moment when your dog does something for which they should be rewarded. A good way to do this is to have small treat containers randomly dispersed throughout the house. This allows you to take advantage of any teachable moment with treats readily available. A good example would be a dog that jumps. If your dog likes to jump on strangers but sits nicely instead, grab a treat and reward! It would be great to keep a treat box by the door for such an occasion.

Routine Just like humans, dogs thrive on routine. In order to get your dog adjusted to your new home, you will want to keep a regular schedule. The more you stray from your routine, the longer it will take for your dog to get comfortable. The holidays are always busy, so make sure to remember your dogs feeding and potty times. Your dog has come to rely on the schedule you have started and altering that schedule can confuse them.

Affection Your dog is so happy to have a new home and family this holiday season. However, as you can imagine, this is also stressful for your new pooch. It is important to shower your dog with affection so they begin to bond with you. A belly rub is a great way to show your dog some love and affection. Just remember that your dog still getting to know his new family. Therefore, you will want to stay away from too many hugs and coddles, as this can make your dog a little stressed. Learn to recognize the signs of a stressed dog so you know what to watch out for.

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Keep in mind it can take up to 12 weeks for your new family member to become completely adjusted to their new life. For help training your new pet into the perfect dog for your family, you can find socialization, training tips and more at Morris K9 Campus. As you get to know your new dog, remember to have fun and enjoy the journey!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Puppy Dos and Don’ts

During the holiday season, there is often an increase in the amount of puppies that are brought into homes. The holidays can be a stressful and busy time for everyone, but you still need to take time to focus on the newest member of your family. If you bring a puppy home this season, it’s essential that you do the right things in order to begin shaping your puppy into the dog you want them to be. Below is a list of puppy dos and don’ts specifically for the holiday season.


Do puppy proof your holiday decorations. With a new puppy comes experiencing everything for the first time. This means a first introduction to Christmas trees, wrapping paper, tinsel and other holiday decor. If your dog is loose in the house and near the holiday decorations, make sure they are well supervised. Puppies can be extremely curious, so keep a watchful eye on your dog and never let them explore the holiday decorations alone.

Do be cautious when walking your puppy. If it is snowy outside, take care to protect your pet’s feet from ice and salt used on the sidewalks and streets. Read how to keep your dog’s paws safe outside here. Lawn decorations, including inflatables and giant plastic figurines, can be quite scary for a new puppy. Take caution around these objects and bring treats to entice the puppy to walk past anything that makes them uncomfortable.

Do provide your dog with a safe place. The holidays can be filled with lots of family and friends visiting. Have a safe place for your dog to go when they are feeling overwhelmed. Signs of stress in your puppy may include not wanting to greet a certain person or barking. A crate is a great tool that can help your dog feel safe when stressful activities are happening around them.

Do socialize your pet. Your puppy is at a very impressionable age, so it is best to expose them to other dogs and people during this time period. Morris K9 Campus offers free puppy classes on Saturday mornings to help your pet learn how best to interact with other dogs. Visit our website to learn more about what this free class has to offer and how it can make a difference for your new pet.

Do form a routine. From holiday parties to Christmas concerts, this festive time of year can be very busy. As always with a new puppy, however, it is important to keep your dog on a consistent schedule.  This applies to waking up every morning and keeping bedtime consistent, as well as feeding and walking your dog at similar times each day. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be for your dog to adjust to their new home. A steady routine will also help your pet to have fewer accidents in the house. 



Don’t slack on potty training. Extreme winter temperatures might make going for a walk seem like a huge chore, but just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you can slack on potty breaks. Bundle up with your jacket and mittens and take your new puppy outside! If you have a short-haired or small dog, don’t forget to bundle them up as well. A jacket will keep them toasty during their winter walks.

Don’t feed your dog food off the table. As tempting as it may be, don’t feed your new puppy  food off the dinner table. Feeding your puppy scraps could lead to your dog begging later in life. Also it should be noted that not all of your holiday food is safe for your dog to eat. Better safe than sorry!  If you really want to treat your dog to some of your holiday feast, fix them their own plate and don’t feed it to them off the table. You can always stuff a rubber Kong toy with some dog-safe holiday food, this way it will keep them busy while keeping them safe. Chicken or turkey without the skin would be a great treat for your new pup, however, limit quantities to avoid an upset tummy.

Don’t overwhelm your puppy. While it is great to socialize your young puppy and have them meet as many new people as possible, be careful not to overwhelm your dog. Remember that your puppy is in a new situation and a bunch of strangers in your home can be quite scary. Have your dog meet as many people as they seem comfortable meeting, and if the situation seems to get a little scary, make sure you have a safe place for them to go.

The holidays can be a fun time for you and your new puppy, but make sure that you do everything you can to set your new dog up for success and make their first holiday season a great one!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Santa Paws - Keeping your pet's pads safe in winter

With the first snowfall of the year in the books, you may have begun to notice that your dog’s paws seem to be bothering them more than usual. The change in the weather can be a huge contributing factor, but salt on the ground can also irritate your dog’s paws. It's easy to take the proper steps to insure your dog’s safety during the wintertime.

Use dog-friendly salt

One major cause of irritation is the salt used to melt ice. Salts can cause serious irritations for your dog. Make sure you spend a little extra money to invest in a pet-friendly salt. Safe Paw is a great dog-friendly salt and can be found at most local pet stores and hardware stores.

Walk your dog on the grass instead of the sidewalk

Since most of the salt that can bother your dog’s paws is on the sidewalk, a great alternative can be walking your dog on grassy spots that haven't been salted. Make sure the hair in between your dog’s paws is kept trimmed in order to prevent snow from building up between their toes, which can make it hard for them to walk.

Invest in a pair of dog booties

If your dog is tolerant enough, a pair of dog booties could solve paw irritation problems. However, some dogs enjoy wearing the boots more than others. If you do decide to try boots, make sure you introduce them slowly in order to get your dog used to wearing them. Let your dog become accustomed to the boots indoors before you make them wear them outside.

Clean your dog’s paws after going for a walk

Simply wipe your dog’s paws down with a warm, damp rag when you return from a trip outside. This removes the salt and prevents possible stomach issues in the event your dog would lick their paws and ingest the salt. A good wiping with a cloth will do the trick.

The wintertime and snow can be great fun for your dog! Just be sure to keep your dog’s paws clean in order to prevent any safety issues.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Can You Identify these Mixed Breeds?

With thousands of dog rescues scattered across the country, dogs are constantly going to their new homes. The question that most people wonder when they adopt a dog is, what breed is my dog? Or what combination of different breeds? Most dogs are given a designated breed while in shelter, but many dog owners continue to wonder about their new dog’s breed or breed mix.  These questions can get answered, as people are paying money to get their dogs DNA tested with the hopes of finding out clues about their family pet.

The interesting part of these test results is that they do not always match the designated breed given by the shelter. Without the proper history and with generations of mixed breeds, it is nearly impossible to accurately determine a shelter dog’s purebred lineage just by looking at them.

Shelter dogs can often be mislabeled as Pit Bull mixes due to a lack of knowledge of the actual breeds that make up what people frequently assume is a Pit Bull. According to experts, there is no such thing as a “purebred” Pit Bull. Instead, what people identify as a Pit Bull is actually a mix of breeds with similar physical characteristics, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino and even the Boxer. However, the dog’s DNA may contain no genetic markers with the breeds commonly known to make up the Pit Bull.

The same can be said for other dogs across the breed spectrum. Labrador Retrievers are commonly mislabeled in shelters as well. The reason why dogs are so commonly mislabeled is the fact that mixed-breed dogs have been breeding for generations. A purebred could be so far down the line of generations that your dog may be only a quarter or less of what they appear to be. This also means that puppies can develop characteristics that look like what we think a specific breed would at that age, when in fact it is just a combination of different breeds. As they grow older, these dogs can look completely different then the breed they were originally thought to be.

Do you think you would be good at guessing mixed breeds? Take the quizzes below to see if you can correctly identify “Pit Bulls” and “Labs." The results may shock you!

 See the Pit Bull answers here!

See the Lab answers here!

When adopting a dog from a local shelter or rescue, you may not be 100% certain of their breed. You may never know the exact mix of your rescue dog, but they are family and we love them as the individual they are!