Thursday, June 30, 2016

Curbing Destructive Chewing

The problem of chewing is prevalent in many dog owner homes.  Dogs, especially puppies, LOVE to chew.  For most puppies, however, they are not just being destructive, but trying to ease the pain of teething.  Providing them with safe, quality, toys they enjoy, will greatly diminish the temptation of your favorite slipper, the leg of your suede couch, or the garden hose.  

There are many different toys on the market, some that are durable and some that fall apart in the first week.  We love the Kong brand.  These toys will provide a challenge even for the most avid chewer.

For Christmas, we bought beef knuckle bones for our six month old pups.  You can pick them up at your local butcher for a reasonable price.  The dogs LOVE these!!!!! While we unwrapped presents,   we had a pup on "place" with one of these knuckle bones.  He stayed there for three hours!! He never even looked at all the tempting presents and paper flying around him.

A note on bones, you should never offer your canine friend cooked bones.  Cooking makes the bones brittle and more apt to splinter and cause choking.

Another reason dogs may be destructive, is an excess amount of energy.  A tired dog is a good dog.  ten minutes of ball retrieving, a good fast walk, or a jog may help your dog to quit destroying your home.   If you still are having problems after trying these, you may have a dog that doesn't fit your life style.  I know that might be a hard one to hear, but dogs have been bred for different purposes.   A husky was bred to run all day pulling a sled, while a shit-tzu is much happier sitting quietly in your lap.

Before you get that adorable lab mix your friends are giving away, think about your life style and how much time you will have to devote to him. Remember, a tired dog is a good dog!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer and Service Dogs

With summer already here the heat is quickly rising!  Although we can put on cooler clothes, our service dogs are stuck in their beautiful coats. Because of this, we need to keep in mind ways to keep our dogs cool.  Especially if the service that your dog is performing for you includes scent work.

Unlike us, dogs don't have sweat glands and can only lose body heat through panting.  Keeping our dogs hydrated is imperative.  There are many different travel bowls/bottles that make watering your pup easy. Also, at home you might think about getting a wading pool if your dog loves to play in the water.

Another thing to keep in mind during summer is asphalt and concrete.  They get HOT!!! Next time you are in a parking lot and the temperature is above 85-90 degrees feel the asphalt with your bare hand or foot. This will give you a feel of what the dogs are dealing with on their poor paws.  Perhaps that is why your pooch doesn't want to get out of the car!  It BURNS! One way to deal with this if you are a passenger, is to have the driver drop you off at the entrance of wherever you are going.  This way you can greatly minimize contact with the hot asphalt. 

However, this may not be an option for you.  Many service dog websites carry dog booties.  These can be perfect for you and your dog to handle the summer heat.  Your dog may need some time to get accustomed to wearing them, and you may need to do a bit of training with him.  But it should help to take care of that hot asphalt on those paws.

                                       Stay cool and enjoy your summer!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Devoted Dog- Part 3, Training Weekend

Jason's large family headed north and joined our even larger family for a weekend of training, fellowship, and fun!

Upon seeing each other again, Timber happily rolled over and welcomed a good tummy rub from Jason.  She let him love on her awhile, but then she was right back at Jeremy's side.
Our daughter taught Jason how to make his own hands-free paracord leash.

What was intended to be a weekend to teach Jason how to scent train Timber, turned out to be a wonderful Type 1 Diabetes Retreat for both families.  Both of our families have lived with diabetes for several years and have established habits and routines.

I've been to Type 1 support group meetings and have many friends who also deal daily with the disease.  But to spend almost three days living together with another Type 1 family was an enormous blessing.  There was time to discuss so much that a family living with this condition deals with everyday that no one else can quite understand-- emotions upon initial diagnosis, transitioning primary care from parent to son,  watching them make mistakes, the scary lows and troublesome highs, managing supplies, and of course what to eat.  And cooking together was just fun!

Another highlight was seeing my son not be alone in his battle.  For once, he wasn't the only one in the room who had to check his blood and give a shot before he could enjoy popcorn with his movie on the big screen. Watching the boys compare numbers after a meal of Dreamfields pasta and enjoy a scrumptious Samoa cookie that was practically carb free (with no artificial sweeteners either) was just plain fun for this Mama.

Saturday morning, Jeremy gave Jason a step-by-step instruction on scent training.  After doing a session with Timber, he brought in Henry, our nine month old DAD-in-training to demonstrate.  This gave Jason a visual of what he was hoping to accomplish with Timber.

That afternoon, the dads, boys, and dogs went to town to work on Public Access.  Although Timber has good manners, it's important that the family be trained what to expect of her in public and how to handle certain situations.  Lunch out, a stop at the meat department of the grocery store, and some ping-pong at our Rec. Center provided great opportunities to work on what to expect of her in public settings.

 On Sunday morning, after a last scent training session between Jason and Timber, the families said good-bye.  The devoted little dog jumped into the mini-van and rode away with her new person.

Here are links to the other parts of Timber's story. Part 1 part 2.