INDEPENDENCE DAY and your dog

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and this week INDEPENDENCE DAY. Your plans for enjoying them and bringing both family and friends together are in your mind – planning, budgeting, inviting and making sure you all have a good time. Lots of plans for guests, parties and celebrations. But what about your dog? With an old campaigner there may be no problems but with young dogs and sensitive ones this can be a very stressful time. So, give a thought to how you will include and safeguard your dog both physically and mentally during this time. With a little planning you can ensure your dog not only is safe and cared for but also he does not become over stressed or interacted with in a way which will create behavior problems or even health issues. Too many treats, which may seem fun and delightful to him, can have you running to the vets for all types of issues. Diarrhea being only one of them.

Because of the activity, and general turmoil during the holiday season, more dog bites occur during this time than at any other. Guests want to pet, children want to hug and some children and adults will even tease. The result; the inevitable accident, a spoiled holiday and a dog that we now do not know if we can ever trust again.

By realizing that activity and excitement over the holidays with different sounds and different experiences can stress your dog think of ways and make plans to minimize these problems. Even kenneling in a Boarding Kennel over the holiday should be considered.

At the party, supervise your dog at all times. Know where he is and what he is doing and what others are doing with him. If in doubt or if you cannot supervise then put him in a safe room with radio or TV playing, or his crate where he can relax. Where there are a lot of children playing, running and making the usual party noises your dog must be supervised. If not, then there is the potential for ankles being nipped, your dog feeling threatened and reacting by biting, and him becoming over excited and jumping up on people or, all over your furniture. There will be opportunities to steal food and he will learn that being naughty is much more fun than being good. In addition he can become stressed by it all. This should not be surprising as he may be constantly hugged, chased, talked to, shouted at, and possibly frightened by all the new happenings. Imagine Halloween with everyone dressed up in masks and ‘play’ scaring everyone else, and your dog in the middle of this. Complete sensory overload. So supervise, or have someone responsible in your family supervise who the dog knows, trusts and obeys. If you cannot do either of these put him somewhere safe.

It is not only children that create problems. Dogs do not like to be hugged and overwhelmed by adults they do not know. How would you feel if a stranger in the streets came up and started hugging on you, putting their face in yours and rubbing you vigorously around the head? Yes, I know – me too!!! So teach your guests to basically ignore your dog at first and when they do say ‘Hi’; do it gently, slowly and stroke calmly under the chin. If he does not wish to be greeted by anyone, or he is good at ‘training’ guests to give him food, inform your guests of this and ask them to ignore him at all times.

Have a quiet room or if he is happy and quiet in his crate, use this to give him a break or to be secure throughout the happenings. Don’t forget him though, remember he still has to go to the bathroom occasionally. If he is loose and part of the party, watch for stressful behavior. Standing tall, ears and tail erect, hackles raised, submissive posture but lip curled, excessive yawning, fixed eye contact and if you know your dog, other signs of stress and possible reactivity. When you see these signs take him to a quiet room or his crate. Have a big sign on the door of either stating – “My room, do not touch, talk or stare. AND, do not let me out without permission from Mom or Dad.”

Safety is essential at parties, not only for your guests but also for your dog. Too much chocolate is dangerous for dogs, doors left open can have him running unseen out into the street, and an unseen fall into the swimming pool by a puppy leaves him not knowing how to get out. Be a dog person first and when you are, you will be thinking of these problems and automatically taking leadership action to minimize and avoid them. Be safe with your dog by having him safe. Even something as simple as having his leash attached at all times indoors and out can give him the confidence feeling of being under control and provides you the opportunity for it to be picked up if necessary.

Some holiday parties end with a finale of fireworks. Your dog may not give the impression of being noise sensitive but loud bangs and other sharp noises going off rapidly can easily create a fear. Even gundogs can be sensitive to fireworks even though they are accepting of gunshot. So, once more a muffled room, possibly with music playing, slightly louder than usual and if there is any reaction to the sound do not try to comfort him. Comforting can make it worse. He may think you are praising this fear behavior and it becomes rewarded. Basically ignore him. If he enjoys chewing on something, give him this to occupy his mind. It is better to avoid the problem of loud noises rather than attempting to overcome the fear once it is there. This fear, in many instances, is virtually impossible to overcome.

Our dogs are part of our family and we want them involved however we also have a responsibility to protect them, keep them safe and teach them how to behave with guests. The party can be a fun and enjoyable training opportunity for you and your dog. So don’t take risks. If in doubt pop him on a leash and have him with you where you can supervise. Give him an occasional rest in a separate room or his crate and do teach guests how to interact with him, and, in doing so, love him because he is a good boy.

And as a last point, if your dogs suddenly begins to behave differently, appears lethargic, has difficulty eliminating, appears as if in discomfort get him to a vet to check he has not eaten something he should not have. Blockage items and poison substances for dogs, such as raisins and chocolate, are often everywhere in the holidays.

Then with your care and attention, everyone will have Happy Holidays.

Quack, a good alternative to a basket muzzle

‘Quack’ by Japanesequack designer pet supplies company Oppo is an interesting option to the usual basket muzzle.  Shaped like a duck’s bill, the muzzle sits on the dog’s snout to transform your canine friend’s biting issue into being safe around other dogs and people.

Reviews are mixed for this product.  Some feel the muzzle is “nothing short of torture to the dog.”  While others think it “actually looks much nicer than a hannibal lecter/bad-guy-from-skyfall/darth-vador-face-mask sort of prison.”

We ordered three sizes to test from Amazon.com.  The total cost was less than $20 for all three. Although they say they are for medium and large dogs, I don’t believe they would fit a dog larger than 20 lbs.

Normally we use a plastic basket muzzle when walking dog aggressive dogs in the neighborhood.  People do notice the muzzle and stay away from the dog.  We noticed when testing the ‘Quack’, it seemed to encourage people to approach us and ask why the dog was wearing the muzzle.  (Not sure this is a positive for people aggressive dogs).

The ‘Quack’  seemed to perform the same functions as a traditional muzzle, but actually gives the dog a little more freedom to sniff around since it’s so open at the end.  It also proved easier for the dog to adjust to.

We think for the right use (such as nail trims or visits to vet offices) the Quack is a very good alternative to a basket muzzle.

Have a product you’d like us to test?  Send us the product’s name and where it can be obtained and your favorite Central Ohio dog training center will do the rest!

Dog Training Tricks

  • It is easier to develop good behaviors than to change bad ones
    • Start off on the right foot- encourage good behaviors from day one. It is much easier to reward good behavior than it is to fix a bad behavior.
  • Take training in small steps – go at the pace of your dog
    • Taking on too much at a time can be confusing and frustrating for your dog. Break your training down into smaller steps to ensure success.
  • All dogs are different and learn at differing rates
    • Every dog will learn at a different rate. Do not compare your current dog to any other dog you have had in the past. Your dog is an individual and should be treated like one.
  • Even the cleverest dog can encounter difficulties
    • Don’t get frustrated if your otherwise brilliant dog gets stuck on a particular command or behavior. Move slowly and make everything as clear as possible.
  • We are always training
    • Your dog is always watching and learning. Make sure you are always enforcing and rewarding good behavior, while simultaneously discouraging unwanted behaviors.
  • Set your dog up for success, not failure
    • Do not put your dog into situations in which he is not ready for. Make sure you are not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t take your dog to Disney World if he cannot behave in the library.
  • Even dogs have days off
    • Watch for your dog’s overall health. If he is ill, has an injury, or is tired give him a break. Even dogs should get a “weekend”.
  • Stay calm and remain patient
    • Your dog will respond best if you remain calm and patient. Training can be frustrating, so take your time. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, slow things down, and put your dog in a position in which he can learn. If needed breath slowly and count to 20. If that doesn’t work, end on a good note and come back when you are in a better state of mind.
  • Always remain confident and positive
    • Your dog can sense your emotions. If you are discouraged and frustrated he will know, and as a result he will not respond as well as he could.
  • End your training sessions on a high note
    • If your dog is doing great, end the session on a high note. Let your dog thing about all of the successes he just had.
  • Spend time with your dog – develop a trusting and respectful relation with him
    • Spending time with your dog can help build his confidence, and feel comfortable with you. If you can gain your dogs trust and respect you will find that training will go much easier.
  • Training is exercise
    • Training does not have to be boring. Incorporate fun activities into the training, or even play games while giving your dog commands. Training also stimulates your dog mentally, which can often be more exhausting than a physical workout.
  • Short and successful sessions are more effective than long, tiring ones
    • Keeping your sessions shorter can help your dog retain more information. Also, pushing your dog too hard for too long can cause mental fatigue, which can affect how well he responds to you.
  • Never correct out of frustration or anger
    • If you have to correct, always be fair. Correcting out of frustration and anger can be considered as a form of abuse. It is easy to fly off of the handle and accidently injure a dog. Never train if you are upset or angry. Do not hold grudges with your dog. After you correct him, show him what you want, and then praise him. Your dog should be happy to be training with you, not afraid or intimidated.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to go back to the basics
    • As we progress and our dogs are behaving well, we have the tendency to become slack with them. Dogs can read this from you and will manipulate you if given the chance. Don’t be afraid to go back to the basics to show your dog he still has to follow the rules.
  • Be fair and firm, but always have fun
    • If you and your dog are not having fun then you may not be doing something right. Training should be taken seriously, but it should also be upbeat and energetic. Your dog will learn much faster if things are kept fun. You want your dog to be excited to train…and you should be, too!
    • After correcting your dog be sure to immediately show him what you want him to do.
      • If your dog is confused then it is up to you to show him what is required. After correcting your dog, don’t be afraid to help him out. Make sure he understands what you are asking of him.

Water dog? Help your dog like water

This dog game will give your dog the ability to pick up floating or sunken objects from water, plus it’s fun watch with other dogs that join the dog-party! It is basically the canine version of bobbing for apples. Since no self-respecting dog is going to get his muzzle wet for an apple, all you need to do is substitute dog biscuits, hot dog slices or other treats.

Experiment to find some that float on top, some that float just below the surface and some that sink. If you’re having a summer pool party, you can use a child’s wading pool and let each dog splash around after the treats. For more formal affairs you can use a large bowl or pot. Fill your pool or water bowl with lukewarm water. If you’re using a bowl or pot, change the water between contestants; if you’re using a pool just empty it after the entire contest. Let each dog have a practice bob until he gets one treat. Then start the clock and see how many he can grab in two minutes. Can anyone get them all? A variation on the theme for a ball-crazy puppy is to fill a kiddie pool with tennis balls.

See how many balls each dog can pick up and give to his person in one minute. The person is allowed to get in the pool and encourage the dog in any way, and she can take each ball from the dog as soon as the ball is totally out of the water. The person can even help by picking up balls herself – of course, using only her teeth.

Coping with grief after your dog is gone

We received this note today from a client, “I’m sending this email to let you know that our sweet Ava passed away over the weekend.
She truly loved coming to Acme – thank you for everything.”

A long time Acme Canine client passed on 5/24/15.  She will be missed
A long time Acme Canine client passed on 5/24/15. She will be missed

Most of us grieve greatly when this occurs. For some of us, this is a very private thing. And some of us question if it is the right thing to do. It is.

It doesn’t matter if the pet was a mouse or a mastiff – grief is independent of size. Some animals are lost due to accidents when they are young and in good health while others die after a prolonged illness. Whatever the case, grief and sadness are normal responses to loss.

It is unfortunate that pets live shorter lives than the people who own them. We are faced with pet loss many times in our lives. In modern society, pets have taken on remarkable rolls. Some substitute for spouses while others substitute for children, siblings and parent.

Our pets’ ability to love unconditionally endear them to our hearts as little else can. A pet’s presence can lower your blood pressure, change your heart rate and remove feelings of loneliness. They are truly our “best friends”. A single pet can fulfill multiple rolls for different human family members. When a pet dies, bonds and rolls within the family must be rearranged. Often, the trauma of the loss will be unappreciated by your extended family and friends. That is because everyone else’s pet is an animal – except their own.

Mourning or grief occurs in stages that are experienced similarly by people in all walks of life and from a wide variety of cultures. It is not a strictly predictable process and each of us experiences grief in different ways. Some of us will get stuck in one of the stages for a long period of time or never reach closure. It takes different people differing lengths of time to pass through the stages of grief and they do not necessarily occur in the same order or intensity in different people.

The Five Stages of Grief and Mourning:

1) It is common for our first reaction to learning of the death or terminal illness of a pet to be denial and inability to grasp the fact. We feel stunned, bewildered and dazed. This is a normal reaction, which is often called shock. Shock is temporary but it gets us through the initial weeks.

2) Anger and looking for objects to be angry at, often occurs subsequent to the initial shock of pet loss. We may lash out at friends and family or, more frequently, at ourselves. It is common for us to feel guilty and sometimes, the veterinarian who tended to our pets become the object of this anger. Other times it is self-directed or directed at other members of the family. The best way to get over this anger phase is through talk and conversation.

3) Denial or bargaining is another method we use for coping with pet loss. We may search for miracle cures to incurable diseases or seek out second opinions from a different veterinarian. We think of all the things we would do or not due if only the pet would get better.

4) Depression is the longest portion of grief and mourning. We are sad, hopeless and helpless and we are regretful. We think about our lost pet constantly and we wish we had done things differently.

5) If we are fortunate, we eventually reach the stage of acceptance and healing. We treasure the time we had with our pet and lapse into a period of calm and tranquility– if not happiness. We develop a new lifestyle in which other things substitute for the relationship we had with out pet. This is the time we might look for another furry friend.

Here Are Some Things You Can Do To Hasten Acceptance And Healing:

Give yourself permission to grieve. Accept that you were very close to your pet and recognize how much the pet meant to you. Place a memorial plaque to your pet in a favorite spot. This allows you to pay tribute to the pet that meant so much to you. Try to get plenty of rest, eat well and exercise. Surround yourself with positive friends who understand your loss and let them share your burden. Treat yourself to pleasurable activities. Be patient. Recognize that you will have relapses of grief and sadness. Remember that grief will pass and life will be pleasant again. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and pet loss support groups.

The degree and depth of your mourning process depends on your own personality as well as outside factors. Your age, how the pet died and the closeness of your relationship all play a part in the feeling you experience. Children are more resilient than adults and usually recover first. Older people have the most difficult time accepting the loss of a pet.

How To Explain The Loss Of A Pet To Your Children:

As parents you may feel uncomfortable talking about death to your kids. You may think that silence will spare your children some of the pain and sadness. But, this is wrong. The whole family needs to talk freely together, even if through tears. Kids develop deep bonds to their pets. Once their best friend is gone they need to be allowed personal grief and closure.

The loss of a pet is often your child’s first need to confront the reality of death. We often do not realize how traumatic death is to a child because children do not express their emotions well. It is human nature to attempt to shield our children from grief. But this is rarely necessary because children, from an early age, begin to understand the concept of irretrievable loss and death.

Children should be taught from an early age the impermanence of life. A healthy understanding of death allows a child to experience the pain of loss and to express his or her feelings. A great deal of patience, hugs and kisses are required when explaining death to a small child. We need to give our children permission to express themselves and work through their grief – not burry it. Do not leave your children with the impression that anything they did was responsible for the loss of your pet.

Children younger than five years of age typically have no understanding of death. They think of it as extended sleep from which a pet will awake. Explain to these young children that the natural state of the World is such that pets die and do not return. Reassure them that nothing that was their fault caused the pets death.

Six and seven year old children have a limited understanding of death. They too may consider the pet to be sleeping or living somewhere in an underground home. They may expect the pet to eventually return and for death to be a temporary state of affairs. They may worry about their own mortality and need reassurance from you that they will not also die soon. They may temporarily lose their toilet training, bladder control, eating and sleeping patterns. Talking thing out with them is the best cure for these problems. A child needs to express his or her feelings and concerns. This process may take a month or two. Many short discussions are generally more productive than one or two prolonged sessions.

Your child may wish to have a funeral for the pet. Such a ceremony is a fitting way to say goodbye. Don’t rush out and purchase a new pet to ease the grief. Allow your children a reasonable time to accept the loss.

Children eight and older generally understand the permanence of death. Sometime the loss of a pet triggers a concern about the possible death of their parents. They may become curious about death and its implications and you should be ready to engage them in frank and honest discussions about the subject. These children will experience many of the stages of grief that you experience. They may have transient problems concentrating in school and relapse to more juvenile behaviors. Many enter a period of clinginess that lasts a few weeks.

Teenage children react similarly to adults. Denial is more common in this age group as are stoicness, numbness and lack of emotional display. It is often years after the loss before these adolescents feel good about discussing their attachments to their lost pet.

Euthanasia:

There comes a time for many of us when euthanasia becomes the loving thing to do. This is because veterinary medicine, like human medicine, has succeeded in extending life beyond the point where quality of life is satisfactory.

No matter how long a pet lives with us, the time will never be enough and we will never realize the strength of our attachment to a pet until it is gone. Quality of life issues bring most clients to me for euthanasia. Usually they rely on me to reinforce and affirm their decision to put the pet to sleep. I have found that loving pet owners usually recognize when their pet is suffering seriously. If there is a sin, it is delaying this moment of decision beyond its proper time. Guilt often weighs heavily on the person who must make this decision and it is rare for there to be unanimity within the family. But do your Buddy this favor when you see in its eyes that the time has come.

 Is The Time Now?

In leading my clients to a decision regarding euthanasia I guide them through important questions. First, what is the current quality of their pet’s life? Is the pet still happy and playful? Does it show joy and affection? Is it eating well and is it aware of its surroundings? Is the pet in pain? Have we exhausted nursing and veterinary care? How is the pet’s illness affecting the family? Can you or your family really afford the cost of care that will likely be unrewarding?

Once the decision has been made to put the pet to sleep you must decide if you want to be present while it is done. Veterinarians euthanize pets by administering an overdose of barbiturate anesthetics intravenously. The process is painless. You can cradle your pet while this is done or you can wait in the reception area until the process is complete. About seventy-five percent of my clients decide to be present. Most of my clients elect to have the pet cremated although some of the more traditional owners still bury the pet in their back yards. You can also burry the ashes of your pet in a treasured spot. Alternatives include every option offered in human funerals and interment.

After Your Pet Is Gone:

Our other family pets also feel the loss. Family pets that survive also go through a grieving process. Even pets that seem to dislike one another are profoundly affected by the loss of one of the group. In fact, pets show many of the signs that their human owners exhibit. They may become restless, anxious and depressed. Grieving pets often eat less. They search for their missing playmate and crave affection from their owners.

Here are some things you can do to ease the transition for a grieving pet. Try to maintain normalcy and routine. Pets thrive on routine and normalcy so try to maintain this as best you can. With the loss of a pet in a multi-pet household, new peck orders and dominance will have to be established. Try to avoid pet fights by separating the pets and their feeding locations as this process works itself out. Wait a month or two before obtaining new pets.

Cherish the memories of your pet as the present it left especially for you. Remember its destructive clown-like puppy or kittenhood with fondness. Remember the wonderful times you two had together – how your pet made you laugh, comforted you when you were sad and showed you unrestricted love and devotion. These memories will always be there to savor – they are the immortal legacy of a true friend.

 

For more information, please contact:

Acme Canine 1385 Franklin Street Lewis Center OH 43035 (740) 548-1717 acmecanine.com

booklets to improve your relationship with your dog

Over the years Acme Canine has gained quite a bit of knowledge on a variety of dog topics.  As part of our mission to be a canine resource to dog owners, we’ve created several booklets ranging from camping with your dog to exercising together in addition to puppy development and introducing your dog to a baby.

Price ranges from $5.00 to $20 (for a packet of 5 puppy booklets) and all are available through the Woofie Shop.  Stop by and check out the booklets as well as the other products we have.

It is probably a safe assumption that for anyone taking the time from their busy schedule to read this; your puppy matters to you.  It is important to understand that dog training is not simply a “dollars and cents” formula, but rather a combination of money, time, energy and ability. Acme Canine’s puppy booklets are designed to teach owners and their puppy at different levels.  Each booklet contains useful information on a specific topic (each coincides with Acme Canine’s Puppy Preschool group classes).  Housetraining, crate training and freedoms; socialization; nutrition & first aid; puppy commands; confidence building and leadership
It is probably a safe assumption that for anyone taking the time from their busy schedule to read this; your puppy matters to you. It is important to understand that dog training is not simply a “dollars and cents” formula, but rather a combination of money, time, energy and ability.
Acme Canine’s puppy booklets are designed to teach owners and their puppy at different levels. Each booklet contains useful information on a specific topic (each coincides with Acme Canine’s Puppy Preschool group classes). Housetraining, crate training and freedoms; socialization; nutrition & first aid; puppy commands; confidence building and leadership

P1180560

For years, your big puppy was your only baby and he received your undivided love and attention. Soon he'll have to share it with another. You're expecting a baby and, naturally, you're concerned about how your dog and child will get along. How will your dog react to this new arrival in his home? Will he be jealous of the baby or, worse, aggressive towards it? Or will he hopefully sense the importance that the infant has in your "pack" and act as a gentle and loyal protector? Here are a few tips to help you help your dog through the difficult transition from "only child" to "older sibling."
For years, your big puppy was your only baby and he received your undivided love and attention. Soon he’ll have to share it with another. You’re expecting a baby and, naturally, you’re concerned about how your dog and child will get along. How will your dog react to this new arrival in his home? Will he be jealous of the baby or, worse, aggressive towards it? Or will he hopefully sense the importance that the infant has in your “pack” and act as a gentle and loyal protector? Here are a few tips to help you help your dog through the difficult transition from “only child” to “older sibling.”
Tug of war or dogs chasing children isn't the way for children and dogs to play together. Children age 6 to 12 can benefit from learning how to recognize the advantages of incorporating new and innovative play strategies with their dog and how the wrong game may contribute to increasing bad behaviors.  The contents of this booklet is geared toward the discussion of age appropriate play with dogs, showcasing how various games can develop and encourage better interaction and bond between child and pet, addressing prevalent problems affecting certain types of play, and many other pertinent topics.
Tug of war or dogs chasing children isn’t the way for children and dogs to play together. Children age 6 to 12 can benefit from learning how to recognize the advantages of incorporating new and innovative play strategies with their dog and how the wrong game may contribute to increasing bad behaviors. The contents of this booklet is geared toward the discussion of age appropriate play with dogs, showcasing how various games can develop and encourage better interaction and bond between child and pet, addressing prevalent problems affecting certain types of play, and many other pertinent topics.
How much serious thought have you given to dog fitness? If you're like many dog enthusiasts, you may believe that your dog is doing just fine managing things for himself, but the fact is that many dogs could benefit from a little active fitness management on the part of their caretakers. Just like their human counterparts, dogs need a fitness regimen to keep them on the path to good health. The key in any dog fitness regimen is you. As the owner, it is up to you to set the routine, find the motivation and get out there and exercise with your dog. Have fun exercising with your dog.   Studies shows that dogs provide the companionship, the social support, and the motivation to stick with an exercise program.  Fitness with Fido offers the tools you and your dog will need to achieve a lifetime of good health
How much serious thought have you given to dog fitness? If you’re like many dog enthusiasts, you may believe that your dog is doing just fine managing things for himself, but the fact is that many dogs could benefit from a little active fitness management on the part of their caretakers.
Just like their human counterparts, dogs need a fitness regimen to keep them on the path to good health. The key in any dog fitness regimen is you. As the owner, it is up to you to set the routine, find the motivation and get out there and exercise with your dog. Have fun exercising with your dog. Studies shows that dogs provide the companionship, the social support, and the motivation to stick with an exercise program. Fitness with Fido offers the tools you and your dog will need to achieve a lifetime of good health
Avid outdoors dog owners swear that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. Dogs discover interesting features you might otherwise overlook, and a dog is thrilled at the new smells and sites of a camp site. Some avid outdoors people believe that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. But when bringing your dog along on a camping or backpacking trip, you need to make extra plans specifically for your canine companion. By the end of reading this booklet you will see new characteristics in your dog when you are camping with him. His walk may be a little faster, his eyes opened a little wider, and his head held a little higher when you're out in the wilds.
Avid outdoors dog owners swear that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. Dogs discover interesting features you might otherwise overlook, and a dog is thrilled at the new smells and sites of a camp site. Some avid outdoors people believe that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. But when bringing your dog along on a camping or backpacking trip, you need to make extra plans specifically for your canine companion.
By the end of reading this booklet you will see new characteristics in your dog when you are camping with him. His walk may be a little faster, his eyes opened a little wider, and his head held a little higher when you’re out in the wilds.

For more information, contact your favorite Columbus dog boarding facility at 740-548-1717 or dogs@acmecanine.com.

Acme Canine 2008

The year 2008, a Beagle was awarded the Westminister Best In Show Trophy.

The 2008 Iditarod featured 95 mushers and dog teams.   This 1,161 mile (1,868 km) dogsled race was won by Lance Mackey’s team, who reached the final checkpoint at 2:46 AM on March 12 (twelve days from when it started)

And families flocked to the movies to see Marley & Me, a American comedy-drama film about the titular dog, Marley.

Big changes were happening at Acme in 2008.  Their 2,500 square foot addition was completed.  Clients could now board their dogs in the comfort of roomy Mason kennels.  Dogs visiting Acme had a conditioned  space to play indoors as well as several fenced in areas outdoors.

As part of Acme Canine’s 10th anniversary celebration we are sharing special moments over the years.  Each issue of the Bark will feature a different Acme Canine year.  On Sunday, May 3rd from 1pm to 3pm the Acme Canine facility will be a buzz with dog games, raffle prizes and more as we celebrate our 10 years of serving Central Ohio.

But my dog looks sad…

Dogs have split from their wolf ancestors and evolved over the last hundred thousand years. During those thousands of years dogs had to use high-level problem solving skills to survive. It is unknown whether or not humans domesticated wolves or if wolves sought out humans, but as we grew together humans began breeding for specific traits. As human needs have changed over the centuries we have bred dogs to be more proficient at certain task, thus creating diverse specie of no less than 150 different breeds. Over the last 15,000 years or so humans have found constructive uses for their dog’s abilities such as hunting, clearing rodents, herding, providing early warning, or helping haul heavy items. However, in the modern era dogs have come to be viewed as companions to humans rather than trusted worker. Compare dogs previous work habits to today’s dogs that wear clothes for fashion and stay indoors most of the day.  The difference is stark, however, dogs basic needs have not changed; dogs need shelter, food, water, and to work. Dogs are beings that have worked throughout generations because it is in their genetics to do so.

Dog trainers all too often hear this phrase, “but my dog looks sad.”  This is a misinterpretation of the dog’s body language which leads to misplaced empathy. The reason people think their dog is unhappy is because humans and dogs are different species and thus interpret actions in different ways. Humans can easily reason with other humans but the same is not true with dogs. Humans can visually see what dogs see but the perception between the two species, most often, is not the same. People misinterpret a well balanced personality by thinking a hyper dog is a happy dog. Usually a hyper dog has a lack of structure and leadership in the home, which owners (knowingly or unknowingly) encourage. However, a high energy dog can be taught how to control its impulses and follow commands depending on how dedicated its owner is in managing that dog’s behavior.

Dogs left to their own devices will start developing behavioral issues. When they are bored they will find inappropriate activities to keep them occupied. Dogs can destroy entire rooms due to boredom, lack of structure, or neuroticism so we need to fill a dog’s innate need for purpose with structure and work. When your dog is only physically exerted you are increasing its stamina to do even more damage when left to its own devices.

We need to give dogs tasks to accomplish throughout the day and every day. Obedience training is one way to provide dogs with that sense of accomplishment they need. Not only does obedience training increase the dogs self esteem and confidence, but also creates a well-behaved dog that is receptive to their owner commands. Obedience training also provides dogs’ owners with the knowledge to keep dogs well balance by providing work. Long walks offer outdoor distraction while demanding your dog’s attention with a variety of different commands used in an unpredictable pattern.

Working commands around distractions are great exercises in self restraint and it provides great mental stimulation. Distraction training increases your dog’s reliability and its ability to hold commands in real life situations. Finding exercises that are tailored to your dog’s breed will fulfill your dog’s sense of purpose. Agility training for retrievers, shepherds and terriers is a great workout physically and mentally. Swimming is a great physical and mental workout for many dogs including retrievers. Laying out a scent track is fun for you and keeps your hound on its toes.

Food puzzles are fun for any dog. Often times, dogs food is either left out the entire day or just given to them without your dog working for its sustenance. Owners can make the activity of your dog eating more interesting for them by hiding the food or using toys to distribute the food. Boomer Balls or Busta Cubes or Kongs are great toys that offer difficult ways for your dog to work for its food. Boomer Balls are balls with holes in them that distribute food, Busta Cubes have drawers which the dog has to learn to open to attain its food, and Kong offers a variety of toys that have holes or compartments for food that your dogs has to work for to be able to eat.

Getting your dog out and about is a nice way to keep them occupied. Take your dog to classes like Therapy Dog, Reading Dog, scent training, soft mouth retrieval, agility or trick training. Classes can offer your dog distractions during training, mental stimulation from learning something new and socialization with other properly socialized dogs. Take your dog with you while you run errands. Have your dog get the mail and have them bring it back to you. Weekly field trips to the pet stores can also provide distraction during training, social interaction and mental stimulation.

Dogs are problem solvers and opportunists. If dogs are left to their own devices misbehaviors will develop and escalate unless humans step in to be their leaders. Just having a dog around is not in the dog’s best interest. You must be willing to be a part of your dog’s life by providing social interactions, obedience training, and mental stimulation along with the basic needs of life.

References:

The History and Evolution of Dogs. 3/5/2013 http://www.dog-names.org.uk/history-evolution-dogs.htm

Mental Stimulation for Dogs. Lisa Giroux, Ontario. 3/7/2013 http://www.k9station.com/mentalstim.htm

Opinion: We Didn’t Domesticate Dogs. They Domesticated Us. Dr Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods. 3/3/2013 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/03/130302-dog-domestic-evolution-science-wolf-wolves-human/

Evolution of the Dog. 3/5/2013 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/5/1_015_02.html

Mental Stimulation for Your Dog. Dr. Nicholas Dodman. 3/7/2013 http://www.petplace.com/dogs/mental-stimulation-for-your-dog/page1.aspx

Evolution of Dogs. 3/5/2013 http://pug.com/dog-history/evolution-of-dogs.html