Chewing is a natural behavior that all dogs need to express. But every dog is different and a treat or toy that’s good for one dog may be dangerous for another.
Watch a dog or puppy the first time she gets anything new to chew. If she can tear the chew up, crack off chunks, or seems to be going through it too fast, take it away. This chew may not be right for her. If, however, she gnaws the ends of the chew, gradually wearing it down, the chew may be a good match.
Match the size of the treat to the size of your dog. A dog needs to be able to get his teeth around the chew, carry it, and hold it between his paws. Large dogs need chews that are big enough for them to enjoy for a while without the risk of swallowing them whole.
Dogs come in all sizes, but when it comes to chewing, size can be deceiving. While small dogs are often tougher chewers than big dogs, even a big dog that chews softly can get into trouble with a chew that’s too small. When a dog wears down her chew to a size that she could accidentally swallow, replace it.
Match the hardness of the chew with the strength of the dog’s jaws and the force with which he prefers to chew. If a dog always chews aggressively, look for chews that are easily digested, or for hard chews that won’t splinter, fracture or tear.
A fall hike can be a beautiful and relaxing experience for you and your pet, but some simple precautions need to be taken to keep your pet safe on hikes.
Always keep your pet on a leash. Even if you are hiking in a secluded area that your pet is familiar with, small animals can often be too enticing for your pet not to pursue. An unleashed, curious pet is also at risk for being bitten by a snake.
Just as you would for yourself make sure that you always bring an adequate supply of water, and a dish for your pet to drink from. Do not allow your pet to drink from puddles, ponds, or lakes, which may contain parasites or toxins that could be harmful to him.
Even if your pet is going to be leashed through the entire hike always make sure that you have your pet’s ID tags on their collar or harness. This should include contact information for you, including your cell phone number.
You never know what you will come across on a hike. Always keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date.
Make sure that your pet is up to date on his flea and tick preventative to help keep pests at bay.
On a regular and ongoing basis, puppies need to meet, play with, and be handled and trained by a wide variety of people, especially including strangers, men, and children.
Old dogs can indeed be taught new tricks. An adult dog may learn basic manners and good behavior (where to eliminate, what to chew, and when and for how long to bark) at any time in his life. However, socialization must occur during puppyhood—during the critical period of socialization, which ends when puppies are 12–13 weeks old. Shy and fearful dogs can be substantially rehabilitated, but they will never develop the confidence and social savvy of a well-socialized puppy. They will never become what they could have been.
Puppy socialization is critical for your puppy to develop the confidence and social savvy to continue socializing with people as an adult dog. Unless your puppy meets unfamiliar people every day, it will become fearful.
After eight weeks of age, puppies start to become shy and wary of unfamiliar people, and between five and eight months of age, they become fearful of strangers, especially men and children. Fearfulness and aggression worsen very quickly, because once a dog becomes fearful or aggressive, socialization stops. If your puppy becomes fearful, his life as a companion dog will be riddled with anxiety and stress and he will be useless as a working, competition, or protection dog.
If you notice any signs of shyness, standoffishness, or fearfulness in your puppy or adolescent dog, seek help immediately.
Contact the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (1–800 PET DOGS or www.apdt.com) to locate a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) in your area.
Coutesty of DR. Ian Dunbar
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