How to Socialize a New Puppy or Dog

Every dog owner should be aware that socialization of their pup is an important step in ownership and care of their pet. How to get a dog to be friendly with other dogs and people. What is socialization to a dog? How to socialize a dog. Why all dogs should take obedience lessons.

Contrary to what you may be told, it is never too late to socialize a puppy. Even adult dogs can benefit from socialization classes and lessons.  Failure to teach social skills to a pup, or dog, is one of the reasons so many attacks take place.  It is also a contributing factor to why so many dogs are surrendered to animal shelters. 

Pups first socialization lessons are from their mom and litter mates. They learn that rough play is allowed to a point, but when it becomes too rough it is not allowed. They learn the pecking order, how to read doggy body language, and so forth. This really comes into play at about 5 weeks of age and continues on until they are weaned. As such it is important that pups are not weaned too early and many breeders are now opting to keep the pups with their mother until 8 weeks of age.

New Home

If you are the new owner of a pup you must be aware that it is not safe to socialize to other dogs right away. The puppy is not fully vaccinated and can get diseases such as Parvo just by walking in areas where dogs have shed the virus. As such your pup should be kept strictly in your house and fenced yard until it is fully vaccinated, which usually happens around 12 weeks of age.

Until that point you can socialize your pup to your family and friends, as well as your other house pets, such as cats. The first day will be stressful so do not overwhelm the pup right away, but gradually introduce people over the first week in your home. The pup should have a crate, a save place to go, and people should respect that when the pup is in the crate it is to be left alone.

If the puppy shows signs of aggression or dominance they should be handled correctly. For example if the pup growls when you try to take its food away, and you back off, you have not dealt with it correctly, and have actually taught the dog to be possessive of its food and to growl.

When puppies and children are together they should both be fully supervised. Children should not be encouraged to pull the puppies tail, or ears, or to “ride” the puppy, even if it allows this. This is disrespectful to the dog and could put the child in danger.  You want to make sure that the children are not allowing the puppy to jump up on them or allowing the puppy to teethe on them (which some kids tend to find "cute). 

When introducing other pets you will want to do so slowly and again, under supervision.  If you have cats it is best to restrain the pup and reward it for ignoring the cat.  If you have dogs it is best to have them wear a collar and leash and be in a position to grab the leash and seperate them if needed.

dogs greeting each other

http://www.flickr.com/photos/billselak/4168635174/

Obedience Lessons

After the pup is fully vaccinated the best socialization lessons are the ones you can get in a puppy obedience class. Your pup will encounter many dogs of different sizes and personality types. Most classes allow for a few minutes of free play to allow the dogs to learn and practice socialization skills that you simply cannot teach on your own.  Obedience lessons teach much more than "sit" and "stay" they are critical in developing a well socialized dog.

Even small dogs benefit from such classes. All too often people coddle their small breed puppies and carry them around. The puppy never learns social skills and as a result many small breed puppies grow into adult dogs that are extremely anti-social and scared.

Out in Public

Once the puppy is fully vaccinated and has learned a few basic skills, such as walking on a leash and how to "sit" it can be taken out to public places to meet people.  The puppy should be taught to "sit" when meeting strangers rather than jumping up on them.  You will want to take it near traffic and around other unusual situations but make sure that it knows to keep its attention mostly on you.  Let it learn to be a dog, picking it up and carrying it does not teach social skils.

pups in training

http://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/2645628763/

Lifetime Learning

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is never too late for a puppy, or dog, to learn social skills. By taking him, or her, out to places where they can meet other dogs and learn how to behave correctly with them and watch their body language you create a better pet. Even if your puppy, or dog, missed earlier socialization it is never too late. Sign up for obedience lessons that offer the chance for your pet to learn important social skills.

Other Dog Related Links

11 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Dog or Puppy

How to Select the Right Dog for Yourself

Help for Dog Owners who Think their New Dog had been Abused

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How to Make Homemade Dog Food

Making your own dog food is an easy way to be sure the food your dog is eating is healthy for him and always safe.

The past few years the quality of many of the commercial dog food brands has come in to question. Many dog foods contain corn, which is nothing but filler, questionable meat bi-products, chemicals and preservatives. Multiple dog food scares have left owners uncertain on what brands are safe to feed their beloved pets. More and more people are choosing to feed their dogs something different from commercial food. Many people are feeding their dogs a raw diet and loving it. Those who would like an alternative to commercial food but are not quite comfortable with a raw diet, making your own dog food might be a perfect compromise.

Making your own dog food is quite easy to do and can be done for cheaper than buying a high quality commercial dog food. Homemade food can also be made in large amounts and frozen so you do not need to spend time daily making it. There are many dog food recipes online but it is just as easy to make your own. Be sure the foods you use are safe and that the food consists of 30% starch, 30% vegetable and 40% meat.

For the starch, brown rice, oats or pasta work well.

Vegetables and fruits you can choose from are carrots, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, cauliflower, yams, sweet potatoes, lettuce, beets, peas, parsnips, zucchini, watermelon, other melons, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples (no seeds, they are poisonous), cooked beans.

Lean beef, lamb, skinless chicken, venison, buffalo, elk, moose, musk Ox, turkey, rabbit, duck, boneless fish, cooked eggs, small amounts of beef and chicken liver are all excellent meat choices.

Vegetables/fruits that are not safe to use are spinach, beet greens, chard, onions, garlic, leek, tomato, potato, bell peppers, corn on the cob/corn, grapes, raisins, rhubarb, mushrooms, avocadoes, broccoli and raw beans.

Chicken skin and fat trimming are not healthy and raw fish should be avoided. Tuna sadly contains too much mercury to be safe. Large amounts of Liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity so should never be given.

Nutmeg, sugar, chocolate, nuts, milk, yeast dough, seeds and fruit pits, wheat, baby food, coffee/tea, hops, potato, salt, dairy products, apple seeds, apricot/cherry/peach pits and mustard seeds should never be given.

Calcium is also a vital aspect of your dog’s diet and can by simply added by topping their food each night with some unflavoured no fat yogurt. Yogurt can help dogs keep a balanced digestive tract and can help stop gassiness.

A few points to keep in mind:

Fresh or frozen veggies are best; do not use canned veggies as they have additives.

Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than humans have and cannot digest most vegetables whole or in large chunks. Be sure to mash vegetables up well.

Remember to feed no white coloured/bleached foods. When possible try to avoid wheat too, as it tends to make dogs gassy.

All Fish and Pork should be well cooked.

A canine multivitamin can be added to insure he gets everything he needs.

When preparing homemade dog food, it is best to vary the recipes so that your dog gets an array of nutrients.

Talk to your vet before changing to a homemade diet.

All meat should be lean and not covered in fat.

Feeding a homemade diet does take more work than simply buying a bag of kibble. However, knowing you are doing the best you can to keep your dog healthy is well worth the effort.

Why Do Cats Pee on Beds, Towels, and Dirty Laundry?

Why do cats urinate on beds, clothing, towels, and so forth? Learn what to do if a cat is peeing on items other than in its litter box. Why is my cat peeing on my bed? Why does my cat always urinate in the laundry? What is wrong with my cat she is always peeing on towels? Why dogs my male cat pee on my dirty clothing?

Some cat owners will have a strange thing happen at some time or another... their cat will pee on their bed. We all know cats are suppose to urinate in their litter box, but what are the reasons that some don't?

Some of the places that cats will select to urinate, other than their litter box, are on a bed, sofa, towels, laundry, or even carpeting. You will note they seldom pee on the floor. Just to clear things up – we are not referring to “Spraying” or marking behavior which is most often seen in male cats and is characterized by them standing with their rear end facing a (usually) vertical surface. They “shoot” their urine, and typically twitch their tail at this time.  This article is about cats who empty their bladder on the bed, towels, and such, rather than "marking territory" with small amounts of urine.

There are basically three reasons why cats pee on the bed, towels, or what have you. One is that they have a reason for not using their litter box (there are many reasons for this), an other is because you have made these sources available to them, and finally it is because these things smell like you. Let us look into these factors further.

Reasons for a Cat Not Using the Litter Box

There are a multitude of reasons cats fail to use their litter box to urinate. They could have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), they could have a behavioral problem, or somehow you failed to keep the litter clean, locatable, and of the right type of litter. Perhaps another cat is not allowing them to use their litter box, or the door was shut to the room where it is.

There are so many reasons, in fact, that if a cat is having this problem, one should try to determine the source, a link is available here to help finding out the cause of a cats refusal to use the litter box.

Available Sources

Peeing on the floor is not fun, it splatters, and cats know this. They sometimes have the same problem when their litter box gets so low that all the litter is piled up on one side of the box. They know that fabric is absorbent, and will not cause urine to splatter on their legs.  When a kitten cannot find a litter box it will look to whatever is available.

Smells Like You

Your bed, your towels, your dirty laundry on the floor, these things all smell like you. Of course people will try saying that your cat is marking your stuff as its own, but really we do not know what the cat is thinking when it urinates on your bed or clothing. Many theories exist, including that they use this as a way of stating their anger with you, but this is really just guess work. The fact is your cat does not pee on you (hopefully), just your soft stuff, so perhaps your cat thinks of this in a familiar sort of way.

What Can be Done to Prevent, or End, the Problem of a Cat Peeing on your Stuff

Assuming again that the cat is spayed or neutered, and is not spraying... and assuming the cat is not suffering from any kind of urinary tract infect, diabetes, and so forth, there are some things we can do. First amend the problem as mentioned in the link also mentioned above relating to why it cats fail to use the litter box in the first place.

Keep bedroom doors shut and/or keep clothing picked up or in a hamper (with a lid). Try spending a few minutes every day with the cat, patting it, or giving it treats. Keep the home as stress free as possible (do not allow kids to chase your cats). If you must, shut the cat up in the room where the litter box is located at night (with food and water of course), or when you are away, thus reinforcing it to use the litter box, but only if you have filled it with the correct litter, and it is placed in an appropriate spot to begin with (not next to a laundry machine or furnace).

Be aware that cats do not understand discipline for this problem. Rubbing the cats nose in “it” will not help, and may only add to the stress and confusion the cat is experiencing – thus making the problem worse.

Please read the link on why cats fail to use their litter box as this is the start to the problem of them using your bed, towels, and so forth, as a litter option.

What to Do? My Cat Has a Runny Nose

When the cat sneezes for several hours and then the sneezing suddenly stops, then it may be because of an irritation in the nose. When the cat grabs its nose and sneezes hard, then something may have been stuck in its nose. If the cat sneezes and has sniffles for a whole day, then it may have a respiratory infection.

Overview

The nose is a vital part of the cat’s ability to perceive his surroundings. His sense of smell is often remarkable as he can smell all sorts of scents. His sense of smell however, may get affected due to several illnesses caused by viruses, pollens and bacteria. Some of these may manifest with symptoms of a runny nose, sneezing and fever. It is important for cat owners to isolate their sick cat from other pets in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Owners are also encouraged to bring their cat to the vet for evaluation.

But can a cat get a runny nose cold from being too cold? How do cats cope with this cold? These are just some of the more common questions that cat owners pose regarding the health of their pet cat when the cat is exposed to cold weather or especially during winter.

During Cold Weather

When the cat is exposed to cold temperatures during cold weather, the nose of the feline becomes dry. This usually results in the drying of the nose’s sensitive membrane which blocks irritants that cause colds. When the sensitive membrane is unable to block off pollens, bacteria and viruses from passing into the respiratory system of the cat, the feline becomes more susceptible to infection that usually results in a runny nose.

Symptoms

The most prominent sign of cat nasal infection is the presence of a thick mucus coming out from the cat’s nose. Other symptoms of cat colds include heavy breathing, lethargy, sneezing, and breathing through its mouth. Runny nose among cats is characterized by a watery discharge from the nose for a few hours, which in such case, the cat should be brought to a veterinarian. The discharge may also turn yellow and this is often associated with a bacterial infection.

Sneezing

When the cat sneezes for several hours and then the sneezing suddenly stops, then it may be because of an irritation in the nose. When the cat grabs its nose and sneezes hard, then something may have been stuck in its nose. If the cat sneezes and has sniffles for a whole day, then it may have a respiratory infection.

Remedies

It is recommended that cats with colds are brought to a veterinarian given the complex nasal passages of the feline. Veterinarians usually advise cat owners to increase air humidity using a vaporizer particularly in a small space to help in liquifying the nasal discharge. A humidifier can also help stop nasal irritation.

Veterinarians also will prescribe antibiotics to help the feline avoid certain bacterial infections, allowing its body to fight to resist the viral infection that caused the cold. Veterinarians will also look into the symptoms and its eating behavior.

Prevention

So can a cat get a runny nose cold from being too cold? The answer is yes. It is therefore best to take measures to avoid exposing the cat for prolonged periods in cold weather. Many owners opt to keep their pets indoor during these conditions.