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Boarding Your Dog

Boarding your dog takes some serious thought; consider all the options before making decisions based on your convenience. There are a variety of options but it mostly boils down to paying a professional service or relying on friends and family to care for the dog while you are away. The easiest option is to find a friend or family member with at least one friendly dog that will keep your pet company while you are away.


Consider all the Factors

It is important to think of all the factors for your dog’s happiness and health while you’re away before making any final decisions. Many people just decide what’s easiest or most convenient for them without thinking of their dogs first. Think about the limitations, whether you want your dog in crate or have the freedom to roam around outside. Many times you have to consider how long you will be away from home as the deciding factor.


Help from People you Know

It’s also important to consider what kind of food your dog will have while you’re gone as well as how much fun it will have. The ideal situation is to leave your dog with someone it knows or that loves dogs and has other dogs to keep it company while you’re away. Getting together with friends and family will allow you the most control over how tour dog will be cared for while you’re gone. You can also call home at any time to check in on the dog without it being a burden. It’s also very important to have someone that is dependable in case something happens to the dog or it gets sick while you’re away.


Finding the right friend or family member will help you save money and feel less stressed as you take your trip. Sometimes your only choice is to pay for a service but that should be your last resort. Take the time to plan ahead so you don’t find yourself making last minute decisions to find someone to watch your dog while you’re away.

Negotiating the Byways of Dog Park Etiquette

In recent years, there has been a trend toward all things “free range”, usually referring to livestock that ends up in our food chain like chickens or pigs. Another free range movement has taken place with regard to the dog owners. In many parts of the country, they’ve been granted an exception to the rigid leash laws that restrict the free movement of their canine companions.

It’s Your Baby

Dog Parks, sometimes called “Bark Parks”, are more popular than ever due to the free reign they allow owners to grant to their dogs. Dog parks are designated areas in which dogs can run loose. This not only allows the dog to stretch its legs, but also to explore new environments and to get acquainted with other dogs. Of course, nobody understands their pet’s temperament better than the owner, and those who have dogs that “don’t play well with others” owe it to everyone else to make prudent and reasonable decisions.

Do’s and Don’ts

Some people might worry that such an unstructured situation could lead to a larger dog injuring a smaller one, whether intentionally or by accident. Once they take the lead off of their dog’s collar, though, they quickly realize (often to their astonishment) that the canine pack mentality brings order to the entire lot of them. Dogs are amazingly adept at policing themselves, with humans at the dog park often being relegated to sideline status. It also provides the dog with an experience that is far more enjoyable than that which exists on the end of a leash.

Here are some helpful hints with regard to dog park etiquette, as provided by some of the best dog trainers in the business. Do consult with your veterinarian, which includes keeping vaccinations current. Do keep track of your dog, monitor its behavior, and break up rough play. Do make sure that anyone giving you advice is a professional, and please do pick up after your dog. Don’t allow any dog to bully another one, don’t ever bring a puppy under 4 months of age, don’t worry if your dog is standoffish, and don’t get distracted by your cell phone or anything else. Your dog relies on you to make sure its behavior makes it a welcome addition to any dog park.

Breeding Dogs

Breeding dogs is serious business. Even simply owning a dog can be a huge responsibility. People tend to overestimate the benefits and underestimate the unexpected things that can happen when you try to breed your dogs. Many people breed dogs because they want puppies just like their current dogs, they want to make money, they want to show their children the gift of life or they just think puppies are cute so someone will want them.


Think Ahead

It’s impossible to predict how puppies will turn out once you start thinking about breeding your dogs. There is no way to control how the genes will mix are show up amongst the litter. Many people start with lofty expectations are usually disappointed with the results because they are unpredictable or they dogs were not as good as a match as they originally thought. It’s important to understand how much money it can really cost to breed puppies. The costs can easily overcome the profits, especially when you have trouble selling just one or two, let alone the entire litter. The checkups for the mother and the cost of the first shots for the puppies can be expensive.


The Unexpected

If something unexpected happens or goes wrong the process can be far more costly. It can also be a burden on the family if they mother or the puppies have complications or health issues in the birth. If any of the puppies die or when you have to get rid of them ultimately this can be troubling for the children.


Breeding puppies is serious work. It is best not to make this a new hobby, leave the breeding to the professionals. A sad statistic is that for each puppy that is born, three will die in a shelter; there are so many puppies and dogs available without making more for a potential profit

Caring for Newborn Puppies

For many children, their first glimpse of the miracle of life comes in the form of the birth of puppies or kittens, with kittens being a bit more of a mystery on account of the paranoia of mother cats. Dogs, on the other hand, are content to plop down on their sides on the living room floor and let their puppies nurse in front of anyone and everyone. That is only the most obvious of differences that make raising puppies from birth something of a challenge.

Doing the Best She Can

Puppies are messy in ways that kittens will never be, if only because of their physiological makeup. In most cases, pups are larger, tend to eat more, and are more active besides. They’re also harder for their Mommies to look after and to keep clean. In the first few days, the dam will act just like a Mama Kitty, cleaning and feeding the puppies constantly. But after a while, she’ll start to get tired of it, especially the cleaning part. Then that chore falls to the owner.

Rotation, Rotation, Rotation

It only takes a litter of puppies a couple of hours to completely trash their environment, if only due to their bodily functions. The idea isn’t to put down some sheets of newspaper, but rather some newspapers, plural. Thus, it is important to keep them moving. If they spend the night in a bathroom, you’ll need to move them out first thing, so that you can clean up that mess. While you’re doing that, they’re spending time in an outdoor pen of some sort, getting their breakfast and practicing their tumbling.

Playpens, the kind that human babies enjoy so much, are ideal for puppy management. It gives Mom a much-needed break, and it gives you a place to keep them while you clean up their other messy areas. The bottom of the playpen can consist of a removable, washable material such as foam or vinyl, making cleanup an easy matter. The mama dog will appreciate the rest, and will be better able to take care of them because of it. Commitment-wise, much like having a child, with all of the sleeplessness, drama and rewards that go along with it.

Smaller Breed Dogs

Sometimes picking a small dog is best when you have space limitations or live in an apartment. Smaller dogs can also be easier to take care of if you live alone. Take the time to do the research in order to find the best breed for your personality and specific situation.


Toy Breeds

The Yorkshire terrier is one of the most popular dogs amongst all types of people. These dogs are part of the toy dog breed group and usually only weigh seven pounds. Their height usually ranges from eight to nine inches tall. These are some of the smallest dogs in the world. These dogs are born black and usually turn blue and tan as they mature. They make surprisingly good watchdogs but they have high grooming needs as well. They don’t need too much exercise but they are not good with other dogs typically either. The Shih Tzu is another popular dog in the toy breed group. These dogs are usually nine to sixteen pounds and eight to eleven inches in height. These dogs can come in just about any color. They have high grooming needs but they are also good with other dogs. They make below average watchdogs but they don’t need much exercise either. This is a very small dog in comparison to other breeds.


Small hounds

The beagle and the dachshund are some of the smaller hounds that could be suitable for an apartment as well. Dachshunds weigh at least 11 pounds while beagles weigh at least 18 pounds. Both of these dogs make good watch dogs and tend to be good with other dogs as well. These dogs come in a variety of colors and don’t need much grooming either. The beagle tends to be better with other dogs than the dachshund.


Take the time to consider your priorities and limitations when picking your perfect breed of a dog. Smaller dogs tend to be easier to care of while still bringing more fun and security and stability into your life. Talk with your local vet and pet adoption office in order to find the best breed for your home.

Multiple Dogs: How Many is Too Many?

Every so often the news will bring to the fore a story of either a crazy old “cat lady” or an unauthorized puppy mill overrun by hundreds of uncared-for animals. That is tragic, and certainly worthy of the media’s attention, but the fact that a person may own a number of dogs should not automatically connote illicit activity or even instability. Popular TV shows like The Dog Whisperer have shed light on the fact that dogs are creatures that do well in packs, and that having just one dog may not necessarily be in the pet’s best interest – however convenient it may seem to be in the eyes of the owner.

Dogs of a Feather…

Some dogs are bred specifically to interact with other creatures, even those of different species, such as Border Collies with their proclivity for herding everything from ducks to cattle. Other dogs are prized by law enforcement and the military for their bravery and alertness, not just German Shepherds, but also the Belgian Malinois and Rottweiler. All have their roots in herding, being not only wily enough to deal with the livestock, but also imposing and powerful enough to fend off the largest of predators.

Pecking Order Established

All dogs, however, will take to a pack existence. The “alpha male” concept isn’t something created in the halls of academia. Classic Darwinism rules the day in the dog world, and there is no shortage of contests between the dominant males for the right to rule the pack, with an established pecking order to follow. Having a number of dogs, as opposed to one or two, can also bring about stability in the overall household with regard to pet behavior, which can be self-regulating to a certain degree.

On the other hand, a whole bunch of dogs can also seem quite unruly if they all get barking at the same thing. That sort of thing is par for the course when one owns multiple dogs, as are the responsibilities of feeding and cleaning up after all of them. It is also incumbent upon the owner to also be considerate of one’s neighbors. If the ownership of a number of dogs is undertaken in a practical manner, benefits will become obvious to both pets and their owners.

Finding Dog Breeds

There are so many types of different dogs and dog breeds it’s important to consider all your options before making the final choice. It’s easy to find information for the specific dog breed you have in mind from your local veterinarian, pet adoption office or even on the internet.


The Labrador retriever is one of the most popular dogs around. It is considered to be in the sporting breed group of dogs. The male is typically 65 to 80 pounds, while the female is usually 55 to 70 pounds. The height ranges from over 2 inches to over 24 inches for males and from 21 inches to over 23 inches for the females. The most common colors for these dogs are solid black, yellow as well as chocolate. These dogs are larger sized, they don’t need much grooming and they tend to be good with other dogs and have above average watchdog abilities. The golden retriever weighs a little more than the Labrador retriever and tends to better with other dogs while they are not as good as watchdogs. These dogs also need a little more grooming.

German Shepherds

The German Shepard is another very popular breed of dog. These dogs belong to the herding breed group and typically weigh from 75 to 95 pounds. The come in a variety of colors except white usually. These dogs make great watchdogs and are some of the larger dogs in comparison to other breeds. They need lots of exercise as well and tend not to be good with other dogs.

It’s important to consider your limitations regarding space and your busy schedule before picking the perfect dog for your home. Some of the most popular dog breeds have information readily available while mixes and mutts often take a little bit more research. Talk with your family and friends to help decide what dog best suites your personality.

Caring for a Dog

Caring for a dog is a serious responsibility that many people tend to underestimate. The situation can become more difficult for people that have more than one dog or for people that have busy schedules.  It’s easier to take care of dogs when you have a family nearby to help share the responsibilities. Many young people struggle with caring for their pets as they try to manage work and shook obligations as well.


Happy and Healthy

Many times dogs simply don’t have enough room to be happy and active as they should be. Medium to large sized dogs should have a large yard to roam around and play in. If you have a busy schedule, having at least dogs is advisable so at least the pets with have playmates and companionship with one another. Keeping the dogs happy is just as important as keeping them healthy and clean. Feeding the dogs a combination of wet and dry food is always best.


Bearing Responsibility

The dogs should have regular appointments with veterinarians as well as pet groomers. It’s important to monitor and check your dog’s daily for any pressing issues that may arise. Many dogs pick up fleas when they go outside to the bathroom or to play, it’s important to take fleas seriously and act on getting rid of them right away before the situation gets out of control. Speaking with the vet and using the internet are great resources for just about any kid of pet or flea problem you may encounter.


It’s always best to put the pet’s needs above any emotional attachment you have with the animal. Sometimes the best thing to do is to find another home for the pet with a family and children that can give the dog the time and attention it needs to be happy.

Small Dogs Perfect for Apartment Living

It may be the idyllic canine lifestyle to roam free on a 20,000-acre farm, mingling with the sheep and cows, howling at the full moon. The fact of the matter is that most dogs are lucky to have a house with a fenced-in yard. Many of them don’t even have that; in urban settings, owners have no choice but to take their dogs for walks in hopes of getting them some exercise and breaking the monotony of their daily routine.

Be Fair (Meaning, Choose Wisely)

When choosing their dog in the first place, pet owners have to be realistic, particularly with regard to their own living situations. Comedian Chris Rock said it best: When you see a homeless person living under a bridge with a dog, which one do you feel sorry for? It simply isn’t fair to put an active, robust breed into an apartment situation. The anxiety that the dog feels, due to confinement in close quarters, could manifest itself in ways you’ll wish it hadn’t (read: Chewing on your shoes).

Watch the Bias Melt Away

There are dog breeds that will do quite well in a small dwelling, obviously the smaller ones, which most apartment complexes are happy to oblige. Many people have a bias against “ankle-biters”, but that sort of bravado only lasts until one some cute little thing snuggles up against them as they’re going to sleep – then they’re hooked. But even the most loving of dog owners owes it to their pet not to coop them up during an 8-hour workday (plus commute). If family members won’t be present to care for the dog during the daylight hours, hire a dog-walker to stop by.

The benefits of pet ownership are well-known by now. Hypertension, stress and blood pressure (all of which can exacerbate more serious problems) are alleviated by the presence of a pet in the household. Small dogs, which are stereotyped as being barkers, will serve to alert its masters when anything happens to alarm it. But those are utilitarian aspects compared to the companionship, affection and love that create the bond between dog and owner that will bring joy to life no matter where you choose to live it.

Leash Control a Must when Walking Your Dog

We’ve all come across the dog owner with the out-of-control dog while out taking a walk. The owner seems to have no ability whatever to manage their pet’s behavior. This is not only exasperating to the dog’s owner, it could also open him or her up to liability matters if the dog happens to injure someone or damage property, intentionally or otherwise. At that point, it is no laughing matter, but something which can become quite costly.

Who’s Walking Whom?

One of the problems that often plague dog-walkers is the fact that they’ve chosen an animal that is big enough to exert physical control over its owner. Any dog weighing over 50 or 60 pounds will have enough strength and traction to make the dog-walking experience an arduous one. Therefore, effective dog-walking is often a matter of convincing the dog to behave itself, rather than physically imposing your will upon it.

Unorthodox Methods

Some people go for the “power steering” approach, meaning they use a collar with prongs or spikes that will dig into the dog’s neck when it pulls too hard. That may be effective, but it’s still not the correct approach. The dog will be just as unruly and naughty when it is off its leash as it would be if it did not have a control collar. Others have gone “high tech”, using shock collars to manipulate their dog’s actions. It may be effective, but it’s also highly unnecessary.

Harnesses that go around the body of the dog offer more control without restricting the dog’s airway. But most dog trainers, when confronted with a dog with poor leash skills, will immediately begin to retrain the owner. That usually comes as something of a surprise to the person who thinks they have a bad dog. Once the person calmly asserts control over his or her pet, that mindset will rub off on the dog, which is more than half the battle. A qualified canine behavioral specialist can help in this regard, usually in a short amount of time.