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August 2018

Tips for setting boundaries with your dog

 by lucy on 30 Aug 2018 |
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Setting clear boundaries for your dog is very important. On this article, you'll find some helpful tips. We all love our canine companions, but sometimes Fido jumps on the furniture, bolts through the front door or engages in other problem behavior. Setting clear boundaries for your dog teaches him what is and is not acceptable, not only strengthening the bond your share with your pet, but keeping him out of harm’s way.   When setting boundaries for your pet, the first step is to clearly establish your own space. If you watch dogs interacting with their fellow four-legged friends, you’ll notice each animal asserts his physical space through use of his body language. A dog claiming his food bowl may stand over it, for example, and canines will simply push each other out of the way to claim space another animal occupies. Do the same with your pet by blocking access to a doorway with your body or standing over a morsel he should not eat on a walk, for example. This will teach him boundaries in a way he clearly understands.   Asserting your space will also help your pet respect you as his pack leader. Dogs are social by nature and look to their leaders for guidance and safety. While there are many ways to establish yourself as the leader, one good example is making Fido wait: to enter a room, to eat, and even on walks. While this may sound like tough love to some, teaching your dog to walk beside, rather than in front of, you and to wait for you to enter a room ahead of him provides a clear structure he can understand. When he knows you have control over a situation, your dog will trust your commands.   Learning the ropes takes time, of course, and you should be patient with your pet as you establish boundaries. To help the process along, be sure to provide consistent instructions at the right time. Don’t scold your dog minutes after he bolts through the front door, for example, but instead, give him a firm “No!” as soon as he begins running for the entryway. Don’t wait until Fido is gnawing on something he picked up off the street to command him to “Drop it,” but instead, give the order as soon as you notice him going for the offending morsel. Use consistent commands and never bend the rules once you’ve established them, which includes having other members of your household do the same. With some practice, your pet will learn which behaviors earn your approval and which are better left undone.   Setting boundaries is an important part of training your pet. Not only does establishing yourself as your dog’s trusted leader strengthen the bond you share, but having a pet that listens to your commands will help keep Fido out of harm’s way and maintain a peaceful home.  

Should I get pet insurance for my dog?

 by lucy on 30 Aug 2018 |
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Pet Insurance; is it waste of money or necessity for all pet owners? Here are all pros and cons:   According to Canine Journal, up to one in three pets require urgent veterinary care each year. With bills ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, however, many owners think twice before taking their dogs to the vet. Enrolling in a pet insurance plan can help offset those costs, easing owners’ minds when it comes to caring for their companions.   Like their human counterparts, dogs can get insurance to cover the costs of care after an unexpected accident or illness. It’s important to note, however, that owners are still responsible for vet bills as they arise and the company will reimburse expenses, minus the copay or deductible. For a monthly fee, most insurance companies offer several types of coverage, including accidental, illness and wellness plans. Owners can choose a combination of these that best suits their individual dog’s needs. Accidental plans cover X-rays, tests and medications that arise from an unexpected incident, such as a broken bone, for example, while illness plans cover costs when your dog becomes sick and needs veterinary care. Wellness plans include coverage for annual checkups and vaccines. It’s important to note that insurance providers will not cover pre-existing conditions, so enrolling your pet while he is still young may help avoid exclusions for age-related conditions.   While pet insurance can ease tough decisions when your dog gets sick or injured, the choice to enroll depends on each owner. You should consider your dog’s breed, age, health, pre-existing conditions, hereditary conditions and individual care needs when shopping around for insurance, as these all play a role in determining insurance costs and what your pet needs. Talk to your veterinarian about what to plan for as your dog ages, too, as you will need to anticipate the kind of care he may require later in life. Some breeds have unique health concerns that sway their owners’ decisions about insurance, such as golden retrievers’ tendency to develop hip dysplasia. This can make these dogs more expensive to insure, but premiums can also save on costly surgery in the future. After researching and choosing several companies that match your pets’ unique needs, obtain quotes from them for the cost of insurance. Have your vet send in a copy of your dog’s records, as companies that are truly interested in your business will review them and clearly outline any conditions that will be excluded from your pet’s plan. It’s important to know exactly what is and what is not covered before investing in pet insurance.   In the long run, pet insurance can save you money and ease tough decisions if your dog becomes unexpectedly sick or injured. To learn more about pet insurance and compare plans, visit Canine Journal, Consumers Advocate or

Why all cats don’t hunt mice

 by lucy on 30 Aug 2018 |
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Not all cats want to hunt mice. Contrary to popular belief hunting is a learned skill. Every cat owner has watched his pet stalk and attack his favorite toy, but not all domesticated felines actually hunt and kill prey. It turns out, hunting is a learned behavior and our companions must watch other cats to hone the skill.   All animals are born with instinctual behaviors that help them survive. A kitten does not need to watch another cat to know how to nurse, for example, but he does observe adult cats to learn other life skills. Unlike instinctual actions, these learned behaviors take time and experience to master through trial, error and observation. Researchers long wondered whether cats engaged in hunting instinctually or learned to stalk and kill prey by watching their mothers until one nineteenth century scientist sought to answer the question. In his decade-long experiment, Professor Kuo Zing Yang raised several solitary kittens without influence from their mothers at the same time he cared for families of felines. He found that more kittens raised by hunting mothers grew up to be hunters themselves, while kittens raised by humans or mothers who didn’t hunt were more likely to ignore prey than chase it down.   While his study provided evidence that young cats learn to hunt from their mothers, the professor’s findings don’t mean cats are born entirely without hunting instincts. Housecats have no need to track prey for food, but a playful feline will still chase down a piece of string, catnip mouse or other toy. Our pets are born with the instinct to follow movement, then, but must hone their skills to become artful hunters. Without a mother cat to bring home prey and teach her kittens to hunt and consume it by example, many cats simply retain their chasing instincts without the desire to actually stalk and kill.   You can tap into your pet’s instinct to follow movement by engaging him in play with a fishing pole, balls or wads of paper that roll across the floor, stuffed animals, a laser pointer or other toys. Look for models that will spark your pet’s interest in searching, stalking and chasing to help keep your pet fit both mentally and physically. Switch out toys regularly to keep things interesting—and remember to never use your hand as a toy, as this can lead to bad habits.

Four signs your dog respects you

 by lucy on 03 Aug 2018 |
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Earning your dog’s respect is a crucial component of any pet-parent relationship. Here are a few signs Fido holds you in high regard.   Dogs are known for being loyal, but it’s equally important that your pet respects you. This not only keeps him safe when you give commands to keep him out of harm’s way, but also leads to a happier relationship with your companion. Here are a few signs Fido holds you in the highest regard:   He lets you go first: If your dog races to beat you to the door, chances are he doesn’t respect you. In a pack, the leader always goes first, so watch for your pet to wait patiently behind you. Likewise, pack leaders always eat first, so make sure to eat your meals before feeding your dog. If you can leave your plate unattended for a short period of time without your dog stealing your food, this is a major sign he respects you as his pack leader.   He greets you warmly:  Dogs that truly respect their owners greet them with a wagging tail, relaxed ears and other submissive body language. If he plants a kiss on your cheek or licks his lips, your dog is showing he respects you as leader of his pack.   He listens to you: A dog that ignores commands it asserting his dominance, so it’s important to  teach your pet to obey basic commands such as sit, stay and come. Not only is this crucial in earning your dog’s respect, but it can keep your pet out of harm’s way in situations involving oncoming traffic, poisonous substances or other hazards.    He isn’t a comfort hog: Pack leaders always occupy the prime spots for sitting or lying down and this principle should carry over with you and your dog. A respectful pet will move out of your way when you claim a spot on the couch or bed. While it’s totally fine to share these spaces with your pet, he shouldn’t try to push you out of the way.   Earning a dog’s respect isn’t difficult. Give consistent commands and offer plenty of praise when he listens to you, and likewise, enforce consistent punishments—such as cutting playtime short—when your dog acts out. Make plenty of time to play and bond with him while always maintaining control over this situation. Be showing you are an able leader, your dog will come to trust you, strengthening the bond you share.
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