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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

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Behavior Problems in Dogs

There are many behavioral problems in dogs that leave us wondering, why are they doing that? What are the causes and what can I do to stop such behavior? The more frequently reported behavioral problems are described below.

Destructive behavior

Destructive behavior is one of the most common complaints from dog owners, and hence necessitates the most in-depth discussion. A dog quickly ceases to be ‘man’s best friend’ when he/she scratches up a prized rug, chews up a favourite sweater, or eats an expensive pair of shoes. Destructive behavior is due to many causes, including separation anxiety. Many owners are gone from the house for many hours during the day, and the result is that the dog has more opportunity to develop destructive behavior The problem with this is that owners come home and see the chewed object and will punish the dog at that time. The dog will not associate the act of destruction to the punishment because they will not understand exactly why you are upset. They will act ‘guilty’ because they know you are upset, but they will not associate your anger with their act of destroying the object. Therefore, do not punish a dog for its behavior unless you catch him in the act.

Another reason for destructive behavior is lack of environmental stimulation. Boredom may be a cause, or at least a contributing factor, especially in young or large animals that do not receive adequate exercise. Animals need environmental stimulation. Obtaining a second pet or providing interesting and interactive toys for the dog may help. For example, a hollow toy filled with solid treats or peanut butter encourages the dog to interact with the ball to get at the treats.

Finally, destructive behavior could also occur due to barrier frustration. This may result if the dog has been punished by being put in a closed room or into a fenced yard, or it may be caused by the presence of something very desirable on the other side of the barrier. In these cases, the dog will try hard to break through the barrier and may destroy the door frame or door knobs, for example.

To treat destructive problems, one must determine the exact cause of the behavior and remedy the cause accordingly. For example, a young dog that is chewing furniture but not doorways is mostly likely in need of more environmental stimulation. Increasing exercise, providing another animal companion, putting the radio on, decreasing anxiety, or giving a chew toys only when the owners are away are other treatments.

Preventing such behavior is always easier than trying to treat it. Puppy owners should avoid giving the puppy old shoes or a piece of rug to chew on because the animal will not be able to differentiate between an old sneaker and the new leather dress shoe. Dog toys should be provided, but they should be a type and texture that the dog can easily distinguish from forbidden objects. It is also a good idea to be consistent when presenting toys to the dog and make it obvious that the toy indeed belongs to the dog. Puppies should be left in their crate when the owners are gone from the house. The crate should not be the place where you confine the dog as punishment. The crate is their ‘den’ and the puppy should learn that it is their own safe haven.


Aggression is also a common complaint from dog owners and is a serious threat to public safety. Refer to the article on aggression and biting at http://pets.ca/articles/article-dog-aggression.htm for more information.

Biting should be discouraged during puppy-hood. Refer to the article on what to do if you have a ‘mouthy puppy’ here: http://pets.ca/articles/article-dogmouthy.htm

Excessive barking

Excessive barking can be disruptive to you and the neighbours. But before considering a drastic surgery such as debarking (which is not recommended), determine where and when the dog is barking. If it occurs only when out in the backyard alone, the solution is to keep the dog indoors and accompany the dog on a leash outside. More commonly, dogs bark at strangers or visitors to the house. This is due to territorial behavior and the dog is simply protecting his/her property – that may include you. It is your task to teach the dog to stop inappropriate barking. Use positive reinforcement to modify the dog’s behavior For example, when the dog barks, call him/her over or command him/her to sit and reward with a tasty treat. Do not use negative punishment because it may cause fear in the dog, which may exacerbate the barking problem. For more on eliminating barking problems, refer to the article here: http://pets.ca/articles/article-dog_barking.htm or here: http://pets.ca/articles/article-bark-alone.htm

Jumping up on people

Jumping up on people is a common behavioral problem that is usually minor, unless the dog is very large or the owner has small children. The problem persists because the dog continues to receive the attention that he/she wants. The best solution is to train the dog that jumping up will get him/her no attention. Ignore the dog completely when he/she attempts to jump up on you. Look upward and fold your arms across your chest so the dog receives no physical or visual contact. Command the dog to sit calmly. Once he/she sits, you may reward with attention. Be consistent and have the entire family participate in this training. The dog will soon learn that jumping up will get no attention.


Pica is defined as the abnormal ingestion of materials that are not normally food. These include soil, gravel, or feces. Puppies are notorious for eating inappropriate objects that must be surgically removed from the gastrointestinal tract. Occasionally, pica may be a sign of a deficiency in their diet, but more frequently, it is simply due to the animal’s own curiosity. One of the most troubling forms of pica is the ingestion of feces (coprophagia). Unless the feces contains parasites, coprophagia affects the owner’s aesthetic values more than the dog’s health. However, to change such a habit, owners can sprinkle pepper on the feces to make it less appealing to the dog. Another approach is to inject hot sauce into the center of feces so the dog cannot smell that it has been been altered.

Excessive licking

Self-mutilation is a behavioral problem caused by excessive licking and/or biting of the animal’s own body. The affected areas can progress to lick granulomas (hairless areas of thickened, irritated skin) or more serious infected wounds. An indication of the dog licking at an area is discolouration of the fur. Saliva will cause fur to redden in colour. In the absence of other diseases that cause itching (such as parasites or allergies), this self-mutilation has a psychological cause. Boredom, changes in the environment or other stress factors are examples of possible causes.

Tail Chasing

Tail chasing is a phenomenon that is often humorous to people. However, it should be considered a behavior problem and should not be encouraged. The cause is unknown. Restraint seems to exacerbate the problem, so eliminating cage confinement and distracting the dog while he/she is chasing may help. Tail chasing is also often a sign of boredom and inadequate exercise.

Phobias Dogs have an interesting variety of phobias, including fear of thunderstorms, fireworks, street noises, or cars. Occasionally, the phobia can be traced to a bad experience that the dog had in the past. A common phobia is fear of thunderstorms. Those dogs may become frantic or try to run away during storms. In severe cases, the dog will try to escape by clawing through doors, or jump high fences. The presence of the owner or a blanket to cover the dog often helps. Progressive desensitization for thunder phobias is a commonly used treatment method. A good quality recording of thunder is played quietly to the dog while positive reinforcement is given, such as treats. The volume of the recording is increased progressively as the dog becomes more and more comfortable with the noise. This can be done daily in 10 minute sessions. If the problem is very serious, calming medication may be needed during storms.
Car chasing/running awayCar chasing or running away are problems that can be prevented by keeping the dog on a leash, under voice control or in a sturdy pen at all times. If you wish to let your dog off-leash, do so in a fenced backyard or designated fenced dog park. Once a dog has learned to chase cars or to roam, it can often find ways to escape confinement, so restraint as well as behavioral modification methods should be used. For example, squirting the dog with a water pistol or frightening him/her with a loud noise (i.e. an empty pop can filled with pebbles dropped on the ground behind the dog) can discourage the dog from running onto the road.

Digging holes

Digging holes in the yard is a problem that arises when the dog is trying to escape from the yard when confined as punishment. Dogs also dig to keep cool or to catch rodents. If the dog is left outdoors during hot weather, ensure the dog has a cool shelter with plenty of water available. Eliminate rodents and put chicken wire where the dog likes to dig to deter it. If the dog is a natural digger like a Terrier than digging has a genetic component. Consider giving the dog an area where it is allowed to dig.

By Amy Cheung - Pets.ca writer

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Check out our Pet Stroies & Pet Memorials Pages


I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep. I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear, "It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea, You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.I want to reassure you, that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "it's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be so near you everyday.To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew, in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning and say "good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.Be patient, live your journey out ... then come home to be with me.

- Author unknown

Pet Loss

We love our animals so much, and it's so hard to let them go. The loss of any beloved pet has a drastic impact on our lives and is equal to or worse than that of losing a human family member. Losing a little one causes extreme anguish and sorrow. This is a natural reaction when you lose a loved one, whether human or animal; and the stages of mourning are the same. Grievers feel the identical shock and denial, anger and guilt, sorrow and depression.

Yes, it is okay to cry! It's okay to grieve over your loss. You have the right to grieve because you've lost a loyal companion and a best friend. You've lost a family member who gave you unconditional love and acceptance. You've lost the one who loved you no matter what you did or didn't do.

Anger and guilt are natural, but you must allow yourself to go through all the reaction stages of death: denial & disbelief, anger, guilt, depression, and finally, acceptance. There is no order to these stages. Be sure each person in the family, including children, is allowed to share their grief.

If it bothers you to see your pet's belongings, you might want to put them out of sight so you are not constantly reminded of your loss. After a while, when you are feeling stronger, you can bring them out again.

To help yourself overcome the sorrow and grief you are feeling, have some kind of burial ceremony to say goodbye to your dear angel. If you have other pets, they are most likely grieving also. Let them be a part of it all. Write a eulogy to say how much you loved your little one and tell about all the good times and happiness you shared.

Talk about your pain and loss to someone else who will understand what you are going through. Other people who have also lost a pet are the ones most likely to offer you their comfort and support because they know the horrible pain it causes. In times when the pain feels unbearable, focus on all the good memories. Use pictures and some of your little one's favorite belongings to create a special remembrance. Use your angel's tags as a necklace, or put them on a key chain. Go for a walk or call a friend on the telephone to fill the time you usually spent with your precious one. Do something you think your sweet baby would like for you to be doing at this moment. Look through the pictures you have of your darling and remember all the love and happy times you shared. Remember, too, that our little loves are waiting for us at Rainbow Bridge.

After the tears have dried and you are feeling somewhat normal again, consider getting another pet. Nothing can ever replace the precious little life you've lost, but another pet can become a dear friend to share your love and your life. Our cherished ones give so much love and happiness to us in their lifetimes that I feel we are obligated to pass that love on to other animals who desperately need homes. Who knows? One of those furry little babies might just fill a small part of the huge hole in your heart.

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Here you will find our fabulous line of "hand-made " designer dog clothes for your pets. You will find shirts, dresses, vests, bandanas, robes, coats, accessories and much more! Can't find dog clothes for your large dog? You've come to the right place. We offer clothing for pets of all sizes, from teacup to Great Dane! Nearly every clothing item you will see on our site is available in sizes up to XXL!

Accessories, Beach wear, out door wear, Coats, Jackets, Dresses, Formal Wear, Hats, Holiday Fashions, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Hanukkah, Patriotic, Rain wear, Boots, Robes, wraps, Shirts, sleep wear, pajamas, sweaters, swim suits, vests, Western Wear, Sale, costume, harness, personalized, Dog, Pet, Dog Clothes, Dog Clothing, Pet Clothes, Pet Clothing, Pampered Pets, hair bows, bandanas, sunglasses, swim suit, swim trunks, visor, swim shorts, patterns, light weight jackets, heavy duty coats, winter coat, designer, Wedding Attire, Wedding Dress, Tuxedo, Fancy Collars, Graduation Cap and Gown, Bridesmaids Dresses, Flower Girl Dress, Hangers, Hats, Shoes, Winter Clothing, Spring Clothing, Western Clothing, Scarves, Sombreros, Christmas harness, holiday harness, pet panties, dog harness, pet harness, fancy pants, female dog panties, Fourth of July, St. Valentine's Day, and more!

Dog Apparel Basics

Some dogs are naturals for dressing up, and some people like their "kids" to look like humans. Dressing them up is an extension of their love for them. There are, however, practical reasons to consider apparel as well.Fashion Isn't Always FollyAside from our own desire to dress our dogs in human clothing, there are often practical reasons to do so. Dogs that have undergone medical treatments that result in the loss of fur will often need at least some temporary protection from the elements until their fur grows back. This also applies to dogs that have been shaved.People who live in severe winter climates should keep in mind that even though their pets have fur, they may need protection from the elements when they spend most of their time indoors, because they acclimate to their indoor surroundings.Short-haired dogs are almost bald on the chest and belly, so be sure to select garments that cover the lower portions of their bodies as well as the top. Most dogs don't enjoy the rain, and if your pet spends most of his time indoors, you probably don't enjoy the musty odor or the mud. With a rain slicker, all this can easily be avoided.Polar fleece is also a good protective fabric; it insulates and keeps the dog warm while drawing moisture away from the skin. Booties are good for dogs in snow, ice and rain. Booties are also outstanding for dogs when taken hiking in rugged terrain. In cases of extreme heat, booties can help protect a dog's pads from hot ground surfaces. Remember that while a dog's pads are less sensitive than our own feet, they are still sensitive to extreme temperatures.While people might not think about the summer as a time to use apparel, a dog that has been shaved or suffers from hair loss may need additional protection from the harmful rays of the sun. Hats and sunglasses offer protection from UV rays as well.Getting Your Dog to Accept Wearing ApparelProper fit is the key for getting your dog to accept donning dog apparel. However, ease of getting the garment on and off is a learned behavior for both you and your dog. Start by putting the clothing item on and rewarding the dog with verbal praise. Leave the item on for a short period. The next time, try leaving the garment on for a longer period of time, again praising and rewarding your pet. It is best to start this training as a puppy, but older dogs can also easily be trained with a little more patience.

How to Accurately Measure Your DogDifferent manufactures, and different styles of dog apparel sometimes require different measurements so please read the sizing guidelines included with each style of clothing you are considering.As a general rule, measuring should be done along the dog's backbone from the base of the head to the base of the tail, which is referred to as the "top line measurement".

This is from the base of where the collar rests to where the tail is attached.
The measurements you see on all our apparel indicate this top line measurement.

However, it's important that the dog's girth be taken into account as well as the top line measurement.For chest measurement, measure the chest at its widest point, which is typically right behind the front legs. If the dog has a large girth, going up a size in the top line measurement is always a smart choice, since some additional fabric will be used up.Note that there are different sizing ranges for different types of garments, due to how binding or flexible the material used is.

Coats are full length, where as jackets are shorter.


In many parts of the country, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months.

**Do not leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks. No matter what the temperature, wind-chill can threaten a pet's life. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors.

If your dog is an outdoor dog, however, he/she must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy.

Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal. Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, which may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine. Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Better yet, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.

Probably the best prescription for winter's woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family. Info from The Humane Society of the United States Winter can be hard on your four-footed friends. Don't assume that just because they have fur they can sit outside in the winter. Most of them can't. Water. Active dogs need as much water, or even more, in the winter than they do in the summer. Make sure that outside water supplies do not freeze. De-icers are available from pet supply catalogs, and run from $15.00 to $40.00. You can also purchase them from hardware stores. Antifreeze. Keep your pet away from antifreeze. Poisoning takes only a couple of licks. Antifreeze may lurk in your garage on your driveway. Road Salt. Keep your pet away from road salt. This chemical compound can cause painful burns to an animal's feet, tongue, and mouth. Wash it off immediately. Long-haired dogs can track in the chemicals on their body hair. Snow.

Don't let your dog wander away in the snow. Scent, sound, and landmarks may become confusing, making it quite easy for dogs to become lost. Keeping Warm . . . During the winter, dog sweaters are great for keeping long hair clean, dry, and away of chemicals. They are also wonderfully warm and cozy. Also: Keep beds and crates in a warm, draft-free area of the house. Avoid frostbite by limiting the time your pet plays outside. Remove snow and ice immediately from your pet's paws, nose, and body. If skin is red and dry, apply an emollient to soothe it. If skin is white, cold, and painful to the touch, contact your veterinarian immediately. Frostbitten areas require slow thawing by frequently applying warm, moist towels. . . . But not too warm. Hot water bottles are the safest choice for contact heating. Winter burns are common. Don't let your pet spend too much time in front of the fire. Even when heating pads set on low, they can burn your pet. Try to keep your pet away from the hot air that comes out of heating ducts. The hot, dry air often causes dry, flaky, itchy skin and dry nasal passages. Never leave your pet alone with electric or kerosene/propane space heaters. An accidental bump can result in terrible burns and/or a fire. Outside dog houses. The most preferable place for your dog to be is inside with you, However, if he or she has to be outside, follow these suggestions: Supply a well-insulated dog house that isn't so big that it lets out all of the dog's body heat. If a dog house has a wide open door, it won't keep out the wind. Choose the type of dog house that has a door on the side rather than in the front. Elevate the dog house slightly off the ground to prevent moisture from accumulating. Change the bedding regularly to keep it clean and dry.

Use nonmetal water bowls to prevent wet tongues from sticking. Get a warming device for the water bowl, and check it regularly to make sure it's working. If your dog is an outdoor dog, and is old, arthritic, or sickly, do him or her biggest favor and invite the dog in for the winter. Winter Diet. Check with your veterinarian about your pet's diet. Active dogs and outdoor dogs may require a more calorie-dense food to help them fight the elements. Mosquitoes? In many places, mosquitoes are present even in the winter. Be sure to continue your pet's heartworm medicine if he or she is already on it, and if not, have your pet tested. By Lori S. Mohr, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Don't forget the sweater!