With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of gifts to give your friends and loved ones. Finding unique gifts can present a challenge, and most people never consider giving pet-related gifts. Since the chances are good that more than one person on your holiday gift list has a pet that he or she adores, why not give a distinctive gift that your recipient will treasure? Here are five great gift ideas to get you started:

1. Fine Art Animal Prints

Dogs may come in many shapes and sizes, but each has a personality all its own. One of the most delightful gifts you can give to a pet lover is a fine art print of his or her breed. One of the most notable artists offering fine art animal prints is Lorena Pugh. Her print, “Princess,” for example, depicts a white toy poodle laying atop a stack of twelve colorful pillows, while “Angel Face” showcases a gorgeous pug who has just snagged a cluster of grapes off of a dining room table. In “Chocolate Craving,” she realistically captures the yearning of a chocolate lab as he reaches for a tennis ball against a beautiful background of blue sky. These limited edition animal prints are sure to be treasured, as each comes with a consecutively numbered dog tag to match the tag in the print.

2. Crystal Animal Statues

Whether your gift recipient has a dog, cat, horse, or rabbit, he or she is sure to enjoy an elegant crystal animal statue. Typically made from 24 percent lead crystal, hand-finished animal statues are beautiful yet whimsical. Crystal animal statues can depict a wide variety of pets, from a sitting cat to a dog with a bone; from a turtle to a frog; from a horse to a mouse; and from a duck to a dove.

3. Stone Animal Statues

Who wouldn’t love a playful stone animal statue depicting their beloved pet? Animal garden statues are perfect gifts, as are stone animal statues for the home and office. While some statues – like a sleeping spaniel puppy or an eager dachshund – make you feel warm inside, others – like a cat holding a pair of binoculars up to his eyes, ever watchful for a bird – make you chuckle. Stone animal statues are available for virtually any type of pet, and are certain to be cherished.

4. Animal Posters

If you’ve ever owned a pet, you know how funny they can be. Animal posters depict pets in a variety of outlandish situations (remember the cat in “Hang in There”?), and are eminently affordable. An animal poster is sure to bring a smile to your recipient’s face.

5. Entertainment

When it comes to gifts for pet lovers, there’s nothing more unique that pet-related entertainment. There is actually a music company that creates music for animals, so consider giving a gift of music about and for cats, dogs, or birds. Another great gift idea is to buy a DVD or video that is designed to entertain your recipient’s dog or cat. Your friend or loved one can play the DVD or video while he or she is at work or out running errands – guilt free!

It’s both original and thoughtful to give a gift that acknowledges your recipient’s pet as a central part of his or her life. Pet lovers will appreciate and treasure your gift, whether it’s a fine art animal print or an entertaining DVD.

The trick of “sitting up” is easily taught to small dogs, but should try not be included in a big dog’s education, as it is difficult for them to preserve their balance.

The training of sitting up is one of the first tricks to teach and forms the groundwork for many other dog tricks. To train a dog to sit up, prepare some treats as a reward, and set your dog on his haunches in a corner, so that he cannot fall either backward or sideways and has very little or no space to lose balance.

Keep him from pitching forward by holding one hand under his chin and with the other hand hold the treat above his nose and keep repeating distinctly and deliberately say, “sit up.” Do not make him sit up too long at any one time, but repeat the lesson frequently and reward him often with plentiful of praise and treats.

During his first lesson he will require considerable assistance from your hand to prevent him from pitching forward, but as he gets control of the balancing muscles and understands what you want, he will depend less and less upon your hand to keep him in position and you can gradually render him less assistance until you will only have to keep one hand in position two or three inches from his neck or chin, so as to be ready to prevent him pitching forward; later on you can withdraw this hand entirely and simply hold the treat just above the level of his head.

By constant practice he will sit up well after you set him up; then he should be set up against the wall, so as to afford him a support for his back only, and after he has been well schooled at this and can keep his position easily, practice him against chair legs, cushions or other objects that afford him less and less assistance, until finally he learns to preserve his balance and sits up without anything to lean against.

During all these lessons the words “sit up” have been impressed upon his mind by frequent repetition, and now comes the final lesson to teach him to sit up as soon as he hears the words, and the chances are, if he has been diligently drilled, it will be necessary only to call him out in the room, show him a treat, hold it up a suitable distance from the floor, say “sit up” and he will do so, when he should be given the treat while still in position.

The only necessity to perfection is to practice him several times a day until he will sit up at the word and without being shown a reward; that can be given him after he has obeyed.

You have now a foundation for many other tricks. He can be taught to beg by moving your hand up and down just in front of his paws, which he will move in unison with yours. He can also be taught to salute by bringing one paw up to the side of his head, or to hold a wooden pipe in his mouth, or to wear a cap on his head or other articles of wearing apparel.

In teaching a dog to submit to being dressed up, do not attempt to get him to wear too many things at once; try him at first with a cap and after he becomes accustomed to that you can put on a coat and gradually accustom him to the other clothing articles.

Enjoy teaching your dog the “sit up” trick and most importantly have fun along the way!

Were you aware that there are literally hundreds of distinct dog breeds? When you decide to get a dog, choosing the right dog breed for you and your family is essential. With so many different dog breeds available, this can become a very daunting task. Luckily, there are ways in which you can narrow down your options somewhat, making the whole thing a lot easier.

First and foremost you should be considering one major factor….. How much space do you have? If you live in an apartment there is little point in getting a large dog that takes up a lot of room and may also need a lot of exercising. For living areas with limited space, consider the Toy group of dogs such as the Terrier Group or Miniature Pinscher. Also the cost of keeping your dog should be evaluated. Very large dogs may eat significant amounts of food whereas smaller dogs will eat very little in comparison. Try doing a rough calculation of cost for several different dog breeds over a twelve month period. Take into consideration food and regular visits to the vet for inoculation, worming etc. You will see that larger dogs are very often much more expensive to keep.

If you have children, you may want to consider what dog breed would suit them. Children can be quite heavy handed with pets sometimes; getting a Chihuahua for example may not be such a good idea as they are delicate animals. Similarly, having a Great Dane or Saint Bernard marauding around the house could be dangerous for a child. The age and number of children you have should definitely be considered as this will affect what type of dog would best suit your circumstances.

Another major point to consider is how much exercise you can offer your dog. If you have a reasonable sized yard, fencing it off will provide a good space for your dog to exercise itself. If you live in an apartment, consider getting a dog that requires very little exercise. An excitable Border collie would be a poor choice for an apartment life. Also, how much exercise can YOU put up with? There is no point getting a dog that requires lots of exercise such as a Hunting or Sporting dog breed if you cannot keep up the exercise regime. Try and get a dog that suits your lifestyle.

Grooming you dog is something to think about. If you do not have a lot of spare time in your life try to avoid dog breeds like the Standard Poodle which will need very regular grooming sessions. The short haired Terriers or Whippets make a good choice for somebody who has little time to sit and groom for hours at a time. Conversely if you have a lot of free time, regular grooming sessions with your dog will provide you both with a lot of quality time that you will both enjoy.

When choosing your dog, take a look at the bigger picture. Try to resist the temptation to go for the cutest, cuddliest, adorable dog you can find. Consider your lifestyle, your home, your family and try to find a dog breed that fits best with your life. After all, your new dog will be sharing your life with you for many years to come so making sure that you are both happy is an important thing to consider.

You’ve researched the different dog breeds to find the best one for you and your family, you’ve taken the time to find out whether the breeder you chose is ethical, and now you’re finally bringing that precious new bundle of joy home. The hard part is over, right? Actually, there are several mistakes that many new puppy owners make that can really turn this joyful time into a frustrating and worrying experience. Avoid these new dog owner mistakes to be sure you and your puppy are off to a great start:

1. Potty training your puppy indoors and then expecting him to automatically go outdoors when he is older. Those nifty potty training pads look an awful lot like nice, plushy rugs to your puppy and he may opt to use your rugs as a toilet spot after you do away with the pads.
2. Giving in to his sad whimpers and tucking him in your bed for the first few nights and then expecting him to sleep on his own in a few days without crying. He’ll just cry louder and longer once he knows what he is missing.
3. Letting your guilty feelings overwhelm you so that you don’t crate train him. Crate training helps keep your puppy safe, since he can’t get into dangerous things when you aren’t watching him if he’s crated. Also, he actually feels more secure when he is crated while no one else is home.
4. Taking your puppy with you when you go out, especially if you are going to a park or pet store. Puppies should be finished with immunizations before they go on outings. Their immune systems are often not fully developed when they are young and they are more susceptible to some of the deadliest dog diseases.
5. Letting your puppy do things that are cute in puppies and not at all cute in full size dogs, such as jumping up on guests. It is easier to curb these behaviors right away than it is to break your adult dog of bad habits.

Dogs have been “man’s best friend” for thousands of years. Since dogs watch over their owners, it’s only right that dog-loving humans keep their pets safe in return. And now, dogs need our extra attention more than ever. With a little thought, you can easily create a safe home for your precious pups.

As you know, dogs have a keen curiosity. Take a look at your home from your puppy’s perspective and you’ll likely find all sorts of interesting items to check out. You may not realize that dogs first sniff, then mouth things to inspect them. So it’s especially important that you keep the following out of your dog’s reach:

  • insect traps
  • phone and electric cords
  • ashtrays and cigarettes
  • open doors and windows
  • rubber bands
  • housecleaning chemicals
  • candles
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • uncovered trash cans
  • medications
  • foodstuffs like: chocolate and grapes
  • plastic bags
  • batteries
  • anti-freeze
  • valuable items, like jewelry, photos, and books

Don’t forget the great outdoors when inspecting your dog’s area. Dogs, especially puppies, find plants fun playthings. They love to dig in the dirt or pull branches off shrubs. Because of this, make sure the plants in and around your home aren’t a health risk to your dog. The following common house and garden plants are toxic to dogs:

  • English ivy
  • dieffenbachia
  • mistletoe
  • philodendron
  • elephant ear
  • caladium
  • boxwood
  • holly berry
  • azaleas
  • chinaberry trees
  • oleander
  • wisteria
  • hydrangea

Other ways to protect your pup include keeping him or her safely confined to your home. Wandering dogs are more likely to be injured by vehicles or meet up with unkind people.

Make sure your yard is fenced and the fencing is tall enough and strong enough to keep your dog from roaming. Many dogs try to dig out under the fence, so it’s crucial you regularly check for gaps around the fence perimeter. Teach everyone in your family to carefully close doors and keep gates latched.

Additionally, it’s important that your pet wears a collar with an identification tag at all times, in the event he or she gets lost. In fact, most cities require that all dogs wear a collar and tag. This way, it’s more likely your dog will be returned home safely to you. You may also consider microchipping, where a small silicone chip containing your contact information is painlessly inserted under the dog’s skin. Most animal shelters and veterinarians automatically scan lost pets in search of a microchip. However, an identification tag will be useful if your puppy is found by an average citizen.

If you reside in an area prone to natural disasters, keep an emergency pet supply kit handy. Include a week’s worth of food and water, as well as any medication your dog needs. Don’t forget a photo of your pet too, in case you’re separated at any time.

The teaching and training of dog tricks while not a necessary part of a dog’s education, is an achievement that offer dog owners and his friends a great deal of amusement and adds materially to the value of a dog.

Training your dog tricks can be difficult and frustrating if you cannot achieve the results you want. However, unlike house and potty training which are vital education for any dog, I feel that the end-results is not the most significant element in trick training, to me the most important part is that both of you enjoy the training process and have fun along the way.

Listed in this article are 3 interesting dog tricks that you can teach your dog:

Dead Dog
Place a dog on his back or side or in any position you may select, threaten him with your forefinger and say “dead” or any word that you may select to associate with this trick, use both hands to help him stay in that position when you first begin training. Praise him and offer treats if he can stay in position.

With regular practice, he should be able to stay in the position in which you have placed him, it is only a question of practice when you can call to him and say “dead,” and he will lie down and stretch out in the position that you have accustomed him to taking.

Sneezing
With careful and patient training, most dogs can be taught to sneeze. This is accomplished by tickling the nose – with a feather. At first he will snap at it, and under normal circumstances, most dogs will start to sneeze; he will not like the feather very well and in course of time his imagination will foreshadow its effects and he will begin to sneeze as soon as it is pointed in close proximity to his nose. When he sneezes, use a command like “Sneeze”, to associate with this trick. As usual, praise and treat when he gets it right.

By repeating this operation at odd times the dog can be taught to sneeze very creditably when you point your finger at his nose and give him the word “Sneeze,” and finally will do so simply at command.

This trick can be fun and entertaining but not easily achievable especially with dominant dogs. If your dog get irritated and turn aggressive toward you when you tickle his nose, you should stop training immediately.

Bringing His Tail
During play, dogs frequently grasp their tails in their mouths. If you haven’t notice, if you take hold of your dog tail while playing with him, he will probably seize your hand, but if you skillfully slip his tail in his mouth he will grab it – Interesting!

These facts suggested the trick of “Bringing his tail.” It is a rather difficult feat to accomplish, but it is possible for any amateur to teach it to his dog providing the dog has a long enough tail and the trainer sufficient patience – Sorry to dog owners with short tails!

Anyway, this trick is very amusing, for when the dog has his tail in his mouth he can only advance crab-fashion or sideways, with a tendency to go around in a circle without making much advance.

The first step in teaching this trick is to praise the dog when he first gets his tail in his mouth, and after he has held it for a few moments bid him to let go and reward him.

Should he give up his hold before you order him to do so, speak sharply to him and begin all over again. When he learns to hold his tail until ordered to relinquish it the first part of the trick has been taught, and you can begin to teach him to bring it to you. To do this, step back a few feet from the dog in the direction he can most easily advance, and call him.

If he releases his hold of his tail to come to you, ignore him and replace the tail in his mouth again, but when he comes without letting go he should be rewarded gradually increase the distance you require him to carry his tail, but this task is so difficult that he should not be asked to go more than ten or twelve feet.

In beginning the trick, when you place his tail in his mouth say “Bring me your tail,” so as to accustom him to the command. In time you will not have to place his tail in his mouth, but merely hold it for him to grasp, and after still further practice he will seize it at the word without your assisting him.

Enjoy training your dog new tricks, and most importantly enjoy the process and have a great deal of fun and laughter!

Raising up is a dog is a hard task. The only consolation that you’ll have when raising up a dog is that it’s not as hard when you raised or will raise up kids.

Dogs may be a little rough around the edges when you start training them. But when they get trained, a small amount of dog burdens will be lifted away from your shoulders. Imagine that you will no longer have to step on dog poop all of a sudden or have your dog occupy your couch.

However to get your dog trained well it will need a little effort form you as well. As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” The better you are at training your dog, the better attitude your dog will have. Here are some tips that you can do to make the training effective.

If you live with a family or lots of other people, chances are there will be one person with most of the burden of training the dog. This person might be the one who bought the dog or the person who got forced to train the dog. It is suggestible though to make kids train the dog. This is because kids have a higher pitched voice and are more animated making dogs react more. A child training the dog will also make the dog feel less abused or imposed because of their size.

Having the right attitude when you are training your dog will also be helpful. Don’t think of training the dog as a chore, because if you do you will feel bored. Naturally when you feel bored, you and your dog will not enjoy. Prevent it from happening, because when it does happen you will be spending less time training. Try to enjoy and have fun, that’s what your relationship with the dog should be anyway.

If you are tired or cranky, train at a later time. Relax first, if you train the dog when you are tired, you will only become more irritated when things don’t go right. When the dog is having trouble with something new; try to go back to something the dog has already mastered. This will make the dog feel not so bad.

Don’t give up immediately when things are not going your way. Just think about the dog learning something from a different language. If you are learning how to read a book in Chinese, you’ll also have a hard time right?

If you’re at the point of giving up, just think about the benefits of all things once the dog has been properly trained.

People say a lot of things about Pit Bulls, but you never hear them talk much about the intelligence of this particular breed. Fact is you’ll never hear anything about the intelligence of this animal, unless you are in the company of Pit bull owners. Anyone who has owned one of these fascinating dogs will tell you straight up that the Pit bull is a very smart dog indeed.

Pit Bulls are fairly quick to learn, but they also have a certain stubborn streak which is a direct result of their intelligence. These dogs have a definite will of their own, and they like to get their way, but then again most humans do as well!

This stubborn behavior which shows from time to time tends to make the Pit Bull breed slightly harder to train than other breeds. Some people mistake the dog’s independent will as the dog not being trainable, but nothing could be further from the truth! These highly intelligent dogs can be trained.

The problems in training arise from owners who have no knowledge about the Pit Bull breed. As with any breed, prospective owners should always invest a little of their time into getting to know the particular quirks that all dog breeds have. Owners who get a Pit Bull then whine about the training of them simply did not do their homework. That’s not the dog’s fault, now is it?

As the owner of a Pit Bull, you should understand that his stubbornness comes from his intelligence, and that you shouldn’t take it personally. Just because he doesn’t want to do what you want him to do at a specific time doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. If you can simply treat it for what it truly is, stubbornness, then you’ll both make out just fine.

Always meet their hard headed ways with patience and understanding. Certainly don’t give up on their training, just be a little more stubborn than they are!

You may want to consider using a type of training called play training. This type of training appeals to Pit Bulls because they absolutely love to play. When a training task is presented as a fun game, the task will appeal to the dog’s inner desire for play. With this technique, you can outwit the stubbornness you may have encountered with any other type of training.

When purchasing toys for your Pit Bull, keep in mind those strong jaws this breed is famous for. You’ll want to purchase toys that are geared to survive for the long haul. Be sure to get toys which will not break apart easily and injure your Pit Bull. Above all, enjoy your new found friend!

We have a 15-16 month old German Shorthaired Pointer named Copper. She is pretty well obedience trained (if a dog can be that). We have used a pinch collar and an electronic collar for her training. The one thing we would like to solve is her whining. I would like to find out what we could do to eliminate it. When we corrected her in the past for whining she’ll stop for a few seconds, but then start right back up again. My first instinct is to continue to correct until she stops, but I wanted to get your opinion on the topic first.

Thank You,
Mark

Dear Mark,

This tends to be a genetically motivated behavior. That is, we see some breeds that do it more than others.

In any event, it’s unlikely that using a leash or e-collar correction will work for this behavior, or you’d have already seen results. (Note: It does work on some dogs if applied consistently).

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Recognize that it’s an anxiety-based behavior. The anxiety is usually the result of your dog not being able to contain her excitement for getting involved with the situation around her. For example, if the dog is made to hold a down-stay, but she sees another dog playing with a ball in the distance. This is when your dog will start whining.

2. PAY ATTENTION: Most owners will release their dog from the down-stay at this point, thus rewarding their dog for whining. Instead, wait until the dog is quiet for at least FIVE seconds before releasing the dog.

3. It is your job to convince the dog that: The longer she stays silent, the more likely it is that she will be rewarded with the ball/food/play/praise or whatever you’re using as a motivator.

4. Be sure to NEVER reward the whining. Even though it may be a hassle in the beginning.

5. Recognize that you may never completely eliminate whining, but you should be able to minimize it to the point where it is no longer an annoyance.

If you are reading this article you might be thinking about buying a puppy; or already bought on. Congratulations on the new addition to your home! You now have a friend who is always ready to play, never too tired to go for a walk and one of the most loyal companions you will ever have. There are some things you are going to need to know about training your puppy. A puppy is only as well-behaved as his training allows.

During the first few weeks your puppy needs constant supervision to prevent accidents in the house. But it’s easier to teach good habits now than it is to correct bad behavior later in life. Your puppy needs to start understanding what is and isn’t acceptable in your home right away. You are the leader of the pack in the home and your puppy looks to you to work out what is allowed and what isn’t.

It’s important that your puppy starts to understand their boundaries. You will need to decide soon what the limits are – what furniture they may or may not climb on – what areas of the house they are allowed. Decide where your puppy will sleep and what they may or may not chew on.

Getting your puppy housetrained is not difficult and can be quick if you follow some of these tips. Make housetraining a painless and quick procedure by using the crate method.

The Crate method

The crate method is well known because it is one of the most humane ways to train a puppy. Your puppy will need to relieve himself after eating, drinking, running, playing. The frequency will depend on the size of your dog and also on the breed. Be careful – it can happen as soon as 15 minutes after any of these activities. One of the easiest ways to keep your home pee free is to keep a record of when he needs to go. Try to learn the natural schedule and take your puppy outside at the times when you know they are going to need to go. Plan your walks around this schedule. Take the puppy out when you expect they will need to urinate.

When your puppy is 10 weeks old until they are six months they will need to be walked between 5 and 10 times a day. Quite a task if you are not used to including a puppy in your daily schedule. Take turns walking the puppy. One of the most important things about housetraining you pup is that you do not return from your walks until he/she has urinated and done all his business.
If for some reason you need to go inside before he has gone you will need to take your puppy out every 15 minutes. Give lots of praise and affection when your puppy has done what you wanted. You might feel silly praising your puppy for going “wee wee” (or other!) but it is very important to the housetraining process.

Some tips for using the crate:

The crate method works and is one of the most humane ways to train your puppy. It works because dogs are naturally neat and don’t like to eliminate in their sleeping area. If your puppy sleeps in the crate they will not want to mess in it. It’s an instinctive desire to keep their sleeping area clean.

The crate should become a sanctuary for your puppy. A crate is your dogs’ den in the house; their very own ’safe space’. Your puppy needs to associate the crate with positive feelings. Put your puppy’s favorite blanket, toys and treats inside.

Help your puppy get used to the crate by leaving the door open until the dog seems comfortable. It’s important that your puppy is comfortable in the crate – the more comfortable they are – the less likely they are to soil inside.

Never use the crate as punishment. The crate must be associated with positive feelings. If your puppy does start whining, barking or scratching don’t let them out. Establish a regular schedule. After feeding take you puppy outside until they have done their business.

Put your puppy in the crate at night – but make sure to take him outside before bedtime and first thing in the morning. Let your puppy play for a while after they have done their business. Don’t give your puppy free reign of the house until they are housetrained.

Make a chart of when your puppy needs to go. Take the puppy outside within 15 minutes of eating, or any other time you know they will need to go.

After they have done their business; play with them for a while and then put your puppy in the crate for a nap. Repeat this throughout the day. After your puppy is fully housetrained you can leave the crate open during the day.
Some do’s and don’ts when housetraining:

DO

- If you are going to be away for long periods of time put your puppy in an area of the house where you are prepared for accidents. Put newspaper in this area.

- Limit the food and water supply if you are going to be gone for long periods of time. If it’s hot make sure your puppy has enough to drink (but remember what goes in must come out!).

- Praise your puppy when they are good.

- Be consistent. You don’t want to confuse your puppy.

- Involve the whole family in the training process. Even small children can participate in the housetraining.

- Be realistic, you can’t get mad with a puppy for not being completely housetrained. Accidents happen despite your most careful schedule.

Don’ts

- Don’t ever use the crate as punishment.

- Don’t let your puppy outside of your designated area until they are housetrained.

- Don’t reprimand your puppy for accidents.

If this all sounds like a lot of work – don’t worry. Your puppy should be completely housetrained after about 6 months. Even sooner if you use the crate method. As your puppy gets older it will get easier. A well trained puppy will bring much more happiness into the home then an untrained puppy. Owner and puppy will be more happy and in tune with each other for years to come.

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