13 WAYS TO KEEP THE PEACE
Your dog has been barking up the wrong tree lately. In fact, it seems that every time a leaf falls, the mail carrier calls or a car stalls, his outbursts shake the walls. Barking is normal, and a little is okay. It’s just that some dogs have more to say than others. When your pooch doesn’t know when to call it quits, try these tips to help keep the baying at bay.
1) EXERCISE HIM OFTEN. A couple of good walks or play sessions a day can help your dog be calm. Instead of barking all day, he may sleep all day.
2) LET HIM CHEW IT OVER. Your dog will have a hard time barking if he’s busy chewing on bones or doggy toys. Chewing is a real stress-reducer and occupier of time. If you’re going to be gone, give your dog his very favorite chew treat just before you leave.
3) GIVE HIM SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. If your dog often gets lonely – and vocal – when you’re away, try rubbing your hands all over his chew treat before leaving. The scent will remind him of you, and he may not miss you as much.
4) MASK OUTSIDE NOISES. If your dog is super-sensitive to noises in the environment, try blacking some of that noise so he’s not as inspired to bark… For example playing your radio at a normal level when you are gone.
5) CATCH UP ON YOUR CLEANING. Turning on the vacuum cleaner can also block unwanted noises – the approaching steps of the mail carrier, for example – and prevent your dog from going into a barking frenzy.
6) THANK HIM FOR HIS THOUGHTS. Sometimes just praising your pet will make him hush. The dog may be trying to tell you something, and when you acknowledge him, he may realize it’s okay to turn off the barking
7) INSIST ON QUIET TIME. Sometimes a dog will keep barking even after you acknowledge his watchdog woofs. Say “QUIET!” sharply, but without yelling. If he blinks and stops barking, praise him warmly. It doesn’t hurt to occasionally give your dog a treat after the noise stops. What you’re doing is taking his mind off the barking and making him realize that it’s so good when he stops.
8) LEAVE THE PARTY Some dogs, like people, hate talking without an audience. So if all your praises and commands fail to keep him quiet… leave. Chances are your dog wants you to hang around, so turning your back and leaving the room can make him see he’s doing something wrong. To reinforce the lesson, ring a bell before leaving. Let it ring for a couple of seconds, and when you think the dog hears it, leave. Over time, your dog will learn to associate the ringing with your leaving, and he’ll be more likely to keep his thoughts to himself. It also helps to praise your pooch once he stops barking.
9) TRY A HOMEMADE SHAKE. A shake can have an effect on dogs that is the canine equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard. Put some coins in an empty soda can and tape the opening shut. When your barking pooch doesn’t respond to your command to be quiet, shake the can a couple of times, they don’t like the sound, so they often stop what they’re doing when they hear it.
10) DAMPEN HIS ENTHUSIASM. To remind your dog that you’d appreciate some quiet time, give him a firm “QUIET!” followed by a short blast with a squirt bottle. If they don’t like water, they’ll tend to stop. It’s best to aim for the body and not the face.
11) BRING HIM INSIDE. If your dog sleeps outside and likes to exercise his vocal cords at night, you may want to bring him indoors. He’ll have less to bark at.
12) TRY SHOCK THERAPY. Your veterinarian may recommend a specialized bark collar, which delivers either a high-frequency sound or a light shock whenever your dog barks. Some collars go off immediately, while others allow the dog to bark a few times before kicking in. They can be extremely effective, but you really need to work with someone who can help you get a good collar and training.
13) KNOW WHEN TO SWITCH STRATEGIES. People often don’t know when to call it quits with a particular approach. They’ll keep doing one thing for months even though it’s just not working. If you haven’t seen improvement within three to five days of using one anti-bark technique, try another one.
Okay… so your dog isn’t exactly Lassie. When he barks, you know he’s not telling you “Timmy’s in the well!” but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something by listening carefully to what he says.
There are many, many different tones of barks. You can learn “Bark-speak” just as you can learn to recognize a variety of American accents.
If your dog is whining between barks, for example, he may be telling you he’s frightened or he doesn’t want you to leave the house. A dog that barks for a long time, with brief pauses between identical-sounding woofs, is probably bored. An exuberant bark, however, means your pooch is probably eager to play. Eventually, you could get to know what your dog needs just by hearing him.
9 TIPS TO TABLE THE PLEAS
Your heart swells as your loyal, loving pet gazes up at you with those soft brown eyes. Then you notice the whining, the drooling and the unrelenting stare at your fork. This isn’t about love. It’s about your food – she wants it, and she wants it now. It’s hard to ignore a good mooch, but if you give in, you’ll never have a peaceful meal again. So be strong, hang onto your plate and follow these helpful hints.
1) FEED THEM FIRST. If your dog is really full, she just won’t be as inspired to ask for more.
2) DON’T GIVE IN TO GUILT. No matter how much she manipulates your emotions with those Oliver Twist eyes – “Please, master, may I have some of yours?” – remind yourself that your pet is already well-fed and doesn’t need human food.
3) MAKE HER LEAVE FOR LEFTOVERS. If you do decide to slip her a snack, don’t do it from the table. Otherwise your pet will begin confusing your mealtimes with hers. If you are eating something healthy and can’t finish it, at the end put a little in their bowl.
4) LAY DOWN THE LAW. Usually just raising your voice will send your pet scurrying to another room. If that doesn’t work, try honking a bike horn or rattling a shake can. After a few times, they should get the message.
5) SAY IT WITH SPRAY. Dogs aren’t above trying some pretty pushy maneuvers. To discourage such brazen behavior, surprise your pet with a blast from a spray bottle. The plastic bottle you use to spray plants will do nicely. Just aim for whatever part of your pet is handy.
6) ISOLATE THE PROBLEM. When your dog is driving you crazy, tell her “OUT!” or “LEAVE!” etc. and calmly put her in another room and shut the door. You may get complaints in the form of barking, but don’t let her out until you’re done eating. Eventually she’ll figure out that if she doesn’t beg, she doesn’t get sent away.
7) TRY A STICKY SOLUTION. Does your dog’s begging repertoire include jumping up on kitchen counters? If so, try putting strips of double-sided tape in strategic spots, then stand back and watch. Dogs hate the sensation of their paws getting a little stuck. They’re unlikely to return, but just in case, buy an extra-big roll.
8) GIVE IN – JUST A LIITLE. Some people love feeding their pet at the table and don’t want to give it up entirely. As a compromise, try slipping them something healthy, like lettuce. If she doesn’t like it, you’ve done your part – and if she does, you’re not loading her down with fattening food. .
9) SEND HER TO SCHOOL. If your pooch’s pleas are starting to peeve, why not try obedience school? Once you’ve both mastered the essential commands like “Stay” and “DOWN’ you’ll have peace in the family once again. This way it’s not a constant battle at the dinner table.
7 TIPS TO GRIND OUT THE URGE
Dogs are born chewers, and when the urge to be oral strikes, almost any object will do. Chewing knows few bounds. It’s a popular pastime among all kinds of animals. But while unauthorized munching may be a source of great amusement for your dog, it can wreak havoc around the house, so if your pet’s chewing is gnawing at your patience, don’t stand around biting your nails… try these suggestions.
1) JUST SAY NO. Letting your pet get away with chewing even once can set the stage for a lifetime of bad habits. When you catch your pet chewing something he shouldn’t, say “NO!” then replace the object with an appropriate chew toy and praise him when he takes interest in it. They learn pretty fast this way.
2) ROTATE HIS TOYS. Instead of lavishing your pet with a dozen of his favorite chew toys all at once, give him one or two at a time. Then change them every couple of days. This makes life more interesting. There’s always something new to do.
3) MAKE THE GOOD BETTER. Particularly when they’re young, pets can’t always figure out why it’s okay to chew rawhide but wrong to feast on the Corinthian leather couch. To help him figure it out, it helps to make his toys really appealing. Try dragging a chew toy on a string until your pet gets interested. Or try coating the toy with peanut butter, soaking it in chicken or beef broth, or even rubbing it between your hands to get your scent all over it. When he starts chewing, get all excited and tell him “Good, chew! Chew, chew, chew!” after a while, you’ll just have to say ‘Chew’ and your pet will know what to do.
4) MAKE THE BAD BETTER. If your dog persists in noshing things he should leave alone, try using pet repellent. Pet stores sell a variety of repellents, with names like Get Off My Garden and Habit Breaker. One of the favorites is bitter apple repellent. Just wipe it on furniture or spray a little on objects you want them to stay away from; they hate the bitter taste, and they learn quickly.
5) SPICE UP HIS LIFE. Putting a dash of hot pepper sauce on whatever your pet is chewing will quickly quell his desire to come back for more. Sometimes Tabasco sauce works too. It wipes off furniture, walls and lots of other chewables almost as easily as it wipes on – and it works. But add this caution: try a test spot first to make sure it won’t permanently stain your belongings orange.
6) HAVE BAD SCENTS. Most pets dislike the smell of perfumes and colognes, so mixing one part perfume with ten parts water and spraying the solution on whatever your pet shouldn’t be chewing. The cheaper the perfume, the better.. .they won’t even come near it. Then again, it may not exactly be a sensory joyride for you, either.
7) HIDE THE SHOES. People often wonder why pets always seem to go for their favorite belongings. The reason is that these objects smell like you. Your pet thrives on your scent, especially when you’re gone. Shoes are a real favorite. Not only are they overflowing with your scent, but also the leather is fun to chew. If you have a pair of $500 Gucci shoes and a dog that still doesn’t know what to chew, simply put the shoes out of his reach.
12 WAYS TO END EXCAVATIONS
Your dog digs ditches… but you want him to ditch digging. If life with your pet seems like a regular hole-y war and you think your pet’s digging is the pits… try these tips.
1) MAKE HIS PAWS POOPED. A well-exercised dog is much less likely to dig because he’s already used up all that energy. You could see a marked difference in the digging.
2) PLAY IT COOL. If your dog digs overtime during the warm months, he might be looking for a cool place to rest. The earth is a great insulator and many dogs seem to know this instinctively, and they’ll dig a nice cool hole to lie in. As soon as the hole warms up, of course, your dog will often get the urge to dig deeper… or to start another hole. To keep your yard from looking like a minefield, make sure your hotdiggety dog has plenty of water and can cool off inside when it’s hot out. When he’s outside, let him have access to a spot that’s cool, shaded and damp, such as beneath the porch or under a large, leafy tree.
3) TRY A WARMER APPROACH. Just as your dog digs to keep cool in summer, he may use the same strategy to stay warm in winter. The insulative qualities of the earth work both ways. Make sure your dog can come inside when it’s cold. If he is not allowed in the house, provide him with a sheltered place outside where he can be warm and cozy.
4) GARDEN ALONE. When your dog sees you digging away in the garden, he may say to himself “What fun!” and return later to try it on his own. Some dogs do copy when their owners dig. So you may want to leave your pet inside when you’re doing your own digging outside.
5) STOP THE OFFENSE WITH A FENCE. We tend to forget the obvious, but a fence can do a fine job of keeping your dog from sensitive areas in your garden or yard. Just make sure the fence is tall enough so your dog can’t easily scale it in pursuit of a good dig. Chicken wire on strong support posts is relatively inexpensive and can be quite effective. If your dog is digging in order to get out of his yard or pen, you may need an escape-proof fence. Some experts recommend erecting a fence that extends several feet into the ground.
6) DIMINISH HIS DRIVE. Your dog may not feel the urge to tunnel out if he doesn’t feel the urge to mate. Neutering or spaying your dog may be all you need to prevent escape digging.
7) STAGE A COVERUP. Spreading canvas or another kind of heavy cloth and weighing it down with bricks is an easy way to stop your dog from digging where he shouldn’t. Or you can lay chain link fencing flat on top of his digging ground. What you want to do is interfere with habit. Once your dog has forgotten the joys of digging, you may be able to safely remove the coverings.
8) CREATE A WORK STOPPAGE. The next time you spot your four-legged backhoe excavating the backyard, tell him “No!” in a loud, sharp voice. If that doesn’t stop him, clap your hands loudly, blow an air horn or make some noise to startle him. Giving a headstrong pooch a spritz of water from a spray bottle can work too.
9) GIVE HIM THE CAN. Taking a pop can, drink it first, than put pennies or small stones in the can and seal the can opening with tape. When you catch your dog digging throw the can towards him (NOT AT HIM) to startle him.
10) GIVE HIM A DISTRACTION. Once your dog obeys your command to stop digging, praise him immediately. Then get him involved with another activity, like fetching a ball or chewing a favorite toy. This will teach him that there’s something that is interesting to do other than digging.
11) POO POO. Some say to put your dog’s feces in the hole your dog just dug and cover it up again.
12) GIVE HIM A HOLE TO CALL HIS OWN. Experts admit there are some dogs that love digging so much they just won’t quit. In these cases it’s best to provide an outlet for the digging or it will be a constant battle. Give the dig-meister his own digging pit. . . a comfortable shaded area about three feet wide, six feet long and two feet deep. While your pooch is watching, loosen up the soil… you can even add sand if the dirt is excessively hard.. .and bury a few of his toys an inch or two down. Then encourage him to dig. You may have to get down on your hands and knees and paw at the dirt yourself…your neighbors may think you’re crazy…but that’s okay. Once your dog joins you, tell him “Dig… dig… dig… dig!” Then bury his toys a little deeper and encourage him to dig some more. Eventually, all you’ll have to say is “Dig!” and he’ll run to his pit for a happy dirt-fest.
Grooming is essential for your dog’s well being. By periodically grooming your dog the following can be achieved:
- Your dog will be receiving quality time from you. Again you are asserting your control and leader dog status.
- Your dog will look better and therefore you will feel better about him.
- There will be less hair around the house, you’ve groomed some of it away. If you have a longhaired or fringed breed dog, you are preventing mats from forming.
- Each time you groom, you will check your dog’s total health and become aware of changes if he’s ill. You’ll have the upper hand on fleas, mites, growths, skin, eye and ear problems that may be developing.
- By cutting your dog’s nails you get rid of that annoying “click” on the floors.
Choose a container to keep your dog grooming supplies in. They’ll be there when you need them.
Choose the brush best suited to your dog’s coat. If you haven’t groomed your dog before, start slowly and brush firmly and gently for only a few seconds on his sides and back. Don’t try for the sensitive areas in the beginning. These areas are feet, ears, anal, and tail. These areas are important to groom but the dog needs to be settled before you do them.
Start handling his feet, check under his tail, check his teeth, his ears and examine his eyes firmly but gently to get him desensitized to these ticklish areas.
Clip only the hook like projection. If there are white nails the quick is easier to see. Always have “Quick Stop” or something similar to help stop any bleeding if you do cut into the quick.
The hair between your dog’s toes should be removed occasionally. This hair traps snow and ice, burrs, mud, tar, sap, you name it! If left between the pads, this matted mess can become infected causing your dog difficulty in walking.
You can have your dog professionally groomed or bathe him yourself in your bathtub or backyard. Use only a shampoo made for dogs. If it is warm, towel dry him thoroughly and let him air dry outside. Brush him during this drying out time to remove any loosened hair. If it is too chilly, towel dry him thoroughly and dry the damp coat with a hand-held dryer. Dry out his ears, making sure not to go too deep. If you notice a smelly brownish discharge, have the vet examine your dog for any ear problems.
FEEDING FOR A LONGER LIFE
*M R Kelly-Nestle Purina PetCare Research
The Purina Lifespan study evaluated the effects of 25% diet restriction on aging and longevity of a group of 48 Labrador Retrievers. At 8 weeks old, puppies were paired by gender and weight and randomly assigned to either the control or restricted food groups. These dogs were followed out for their entire lives with yearly radiographs and other measurements of their level of health. In all, 100,000 data points were collected for the 48 dogs.
What did they learn? LESS IS MORE! Even slightly obese dogs have an increased incidence and severity of musculoskeletal disease. The median lifespan for the diet restricted group (who were described as slightly to moderately overweight based on their body condition score) was 1.8 years greater than that of the overweight group. By age 5, 70% of the overweight dogs had arthritis of the hips and shoulders as opposed to 10% of the restricted diet dogs. .
Obesity is the number ONE health problem in dogs. Diet restriction is the only nutritional intervention shown to extend lifespan in all species. Not surprisingly, based on the Body Condition Score (BCS), 70% of owners called their dogs “Ideal”, but greater than 70% of the experts called them overweight. A BCS score of 5 is considered ideal with the ribs easily palpable, waist behind ribs observable from above and an evident abdominal tuck up. In the lifespan study, a BCS of 4.5 (on the thin side of ideal) as opposed to a BCS of 6 (a little excess fat on the ribs, not much of a waist) extended the dog’s lifespan by nearly 2 years.
The concept of the dog “yielding space” is such a great way to teach you how to be assertive rather than aggressive with your dog. Your dog is a social, pack-dwelling animal. Your household is his pack. All pack or herd dwelling animals thrive best within a relatively stable hierarchy of status with some members being more dominant and others assuming a submissive role. Your dog wants to gain as much status within the pack as he possibly can for the very simple reason that status bestows perquisites. Status is not achieved within the pack by aggression, but by submission, with the lower-ranking animal yielding to the higher-ranking animal’s ritualistic display of authority. Your dog will be a much better pet, as well as a safer pet, if you will do a number of things to keep him from assuming increasingly higher rungs on the dominance ladder.
Pack-and herd-dwelling animals maintain status in a number of ways. One is to control the use of space by other animals. You’re going to start controlling space by teaching your dog to yield to you on command and by your body position. Teaching this also has the added value of allowing you to walk into your home with both arms loaded with packages. You will not use food treats in the teaching of this exercise. Have your dog standing in front of you on a loose leash. (This is for control only.) You will not use the leash to move your dog’s body. Lean into your dog. Leaning your torso toward the dog seems to be recognized by them as a status-related gesture. Say the word ” MOVE” and move toward him with tiny shuffling steps. Keep moving in your intended direction. DO NOT step around him, as this will bestow status on him. As soon as he moves, tell him ” GOOD” keep moving until he moves out of your way. Do this several times every day.
This same principle, and this identical action, can be used with dogs that jump on people; after all, these dogs are not respecting peoples’ space. But use the word “OFF” instead of move.
Keeping Pets Safe From Thieves
There has been an alarming rise in dog thefts and pet owners should be vigilant.
Here are a few tips to protect your dog from being stolen:
Never leave your dog unattended in a parked car or tied outside a store while you run inside, even it it’s just for a minute. It takes only seconds for a thief to steal your dog.
- Never leave your dog alone outside – even in a fenced yard.
- Keep your dog on a leash when you go for a walk. When your dog strays from your protection, he becomes an easy target for thieves.
- Make sure your dog wears a collar and identification tag at all times.
- If you suspect your dog has been stolen:
- Immediately call the police and animal control in the area where your dog was last seen
- Have identifying information, such as photos and an accurate written description, ready to use to give to the authorities and for fliers
We here at Tri Cities Dog Training Club urge you to remain alert to protect your dogs from theft. Remember…the safest place for your pets is with you.
Learning to Train Your Dog
CLIMBING THE LEARNING LADDER
Most dogs go through three separate steps when learning trained (i.e. artificial) behaviors. When the trainer first introduces food (or any other external stimulus), the dog has absolutely no idea why it’s there. At first he simply thinks. “Oh, she’s feeding me. How nice!” he does not connect the food with the specific behavior he has offered. The food is simply a happy chance find and it appears out of the blue for no reason at all. In the second step, the dog begins to connect food with something he does, but he responds only when the food is actually present. He has not yet grasped the concept that he has the power to produce the food by his own behavior. It is the presence of food that causes the specific behavior that the dog offers.
The goal is to have the dog arrive at the third and final step – the step at which the connection between the food and the behavior becomes reversed, and the dog begins to understand that it is actually his behavior that produces the food. The dog must realize, “Oh, she’s feeding me because I sat”. Dogs do not progress automatically from one step to the next, and many a good training program has floundered due to the reluctance or the inability of the trainer to move from the second to the third step. The trainer must stop enticing the dog with food, and start withholding it until after the dog offers the behavior.
Trainers need to distinguish between these three steps and move as quickly as possible from the first through the second to the third. There are certain ways you can reinforce him for doing what you ask, such as a pat and a heartfelt, “Good boy!” at the end of an exercise successfully completed.
Therefore, a sound training program uses reinforcement instead of enticement. This is critical! Certainly you want your dog to believe that all sorts of pleasurable things will happen if he comes when you call, but that is quite different from having a dog that comes only when you wave a piece of food at him.
As teachers, we want to help our dogs understand what to do and to offer those behaviors with confidence, even if reinforcement is not immediately available. To achieve this, we need to have a plan of action that clearly communicates to our dogs the behaviors we wish them to perform. The following is a suggested plan for teaching something simple like the sit.
SET PRECISE GOALS
You should have a mental picture of exactly what you want before beginning to teach it. If the dog is going to learn how to sit it is best that he learn how to do it correctly from the start. No repeats of commands. Tell him to sit, and if he does not… give your dog a one second delay and then help him to sit. We want the dog to learn to sit on the first command only. You want the dog to maintain a happy and energetic attitude while he performs this, or any, exercise.
IDENTIFY THE COMPONENTS OF THE EXERCISE
Now that you have a picture of the ideal sit, take that picture and break it into its essential components. The best trainers break a whole exercise down into manageable chunks for the dog to master, clearly communicate what movements the dog must make in performing each chunk, and motivate the dog to joyfully offer that behavior when asked.
Once you have set your goals and broken the exercise down into manageable chunks, you can now start training.
Plants That Could Hurt Your Pet
Eating these plants could be fatal to your pet
Mushrooms (certain ones)
Peach Kernels (pits)
Poison Ivy& Sumac
Rhubarb – blade
Star of Bethlehem
Spring brings warm weather and heralds the age-old battle of good versus evil…
The fight to keep your dog free of the mighty flea.
If dogs could talk, perhaps their most common complaint in the spring and summer would be about the intense itching caused by the common flea. Constant attacks by these blood-sucking creatures can make the most fearless dog scratch, chew and gnaw at his skin and coat.
Aside from annoying you and your dog, fleas also can transmit disease, pass on tapeworms and cause anemia, especially in vulnerable puppies and older dogs.
Measuring only 1/10-inch long, these wingless brown parasites exist in more than 2,200 varieties. Interestingly, the flea prefers your dog (and any other viable host) only during the parasite’s adult life, which lasts from six months to a year.
Female fleas lay as many as 24 eggs each day, eggs that often roll off your dog and fall under floorboards and carpets, in the crevices of your couch and everywhere in between. After about a week, these eggs hatch into hungry flea larvae. Weeks to months later, the larvae retreat into cocoons, where they can wait for as long as a year before emerging as adult fleas. When they come out, they leap onto your dog, where they continue the cycle of life by feeding, mating and, of course, laying more eggs.
According to veterinarians, to rid your dog (and your household) of fleas, you need to target every popular “hangout”…your dog, your cat, your house and your yard. Watch for any obvious signs of fleas. Scratching, biting and gnawing, plus evidence of flea “dirt” between the dog’s back legs or in his armpits, are telltale indications of uninvited guests. To check out your pet, stand him in the tub and vigorously rub your hands through his fur. If little black dots fall to the tub floor, they’re probably either fleas or their dried-blood excrement. If the dirt turns red when you add a little water, you know you’ve got problems.
If you observe your dog constantly biting and gnawing himself or you can actually see fleas jumping off of him, you’ve got a full-blown infestation. But if he bites only a few times a day, you may be able to nip the flea in the bud. Though most owners think dogs chew at themselves to stop a biting flea, in fact, dogs are trying to relieve the discomfort caused by the skin inflammation from previous flea bites.
To help fight fleas, one thing to do is to “deactivate” your dog by trying to make him less attractive to fleas. Talk to your veterinarian and find out what they recommend. They may advise you to use one or a combination of the following treatments.
- Flea birth control. Since these control measures are fairly new to the marketplace, ask your veterinarian for their advice about safe, effective flea-killing products that help break the life cycle of the flea by preventing eggs from hatching.
- Flea and tick shampoos, rinses, dips and sprays. These products generally are effective, but they tend to wear off quickly and must be reapplied. A note of caution: Don’t overuse shampoos, rinses and dips. They can dry out your dog’s skin. However, you can apply powders and sprays more liberally, some as often as once a day. In any case, talk to your veterinarian about specific products. There are many different shampoos, dips and rinses out there with varying degrees of quality and strength.
- Flea combs and collars. Combing out fleas is only a temporary remedy because many determined fleas can remain on your dog’s coat. Collars can be effective on some small dogs. But typically, they’re no match for fleas.
- Debugging your home. Meticulous and frequent cleaning and vacuuming are key to reducing the flea population in your house. Wash and change your pet’s bedding regularly. If possible, dispose of the vacuum-cleaner bag after each use and remove from the house.
Use a commercial fogger for whole-house coverage or a house hold spray to treat furniture, floorboards and your pet’s favorite spots.
- Guarding your yard. As you would with an in-home spray, use an outdoor insecticide to treat areas in your yard where your dog spends most of his time.
As with all insecticides… please be sure to read the lable carefully,
and talk with your veterinarian for best results.
Few relationships are as strong and uncomplicated as the human-pet bond…unconditional love and acceptance in its purest form. The inevitable loss of a pet is a heartbreaking experience.
So how do you cope? Experts agree that the grieving process is just as necessary for the loss of a beloved animal as it is for a human friend. Our society tends to sympathize with children who lose a pet but is often insensitive toward adults who suffer the same loss. “It was just a dog. You can get another one,” is the sympathy offered, but it isn’t that simple. Grief for human loss and grief for pet loss are not significantly different in quality and intensity.
Recognizing the need for grief counseling, some veterinary colleges have set up hot lines. If normal feelings of loss persist longer than a few weeks, ask your veterinarian or local animal shelter for help. Support groups may be available through hospitals or humane societies.
TELLING THE KIDS
Breaking the news to your children about the death of a pet is tough. Kids often ask frank questions. And your answers should always be honest and empathetic. Here are some tips:
- Explain that no living thing lasts forever and that death is simply a natural part of life. This may be a child’s first experience with death, and you have the opportunity here to turn it into an important lesson in coping.
- Show your own emotions so your child understands that talking and crying about the loss are normal reactions.
- Avoid euphemisms such as “we are putting Muffy to sleep,” so you don’t create an unhealthy association between sleep and death.
- Read a book or story to comfort your child. A book such as Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant (Blue Press, 1995) may be able to help your child envision dog afterlife.
Plan a ceremony for your pet. Collect photos, write poetry and gather together with family members to share special memories and grieve.
Should you consider getting another dog right away? Although it may promote healing in some people, it’s not the answer for everyone. If you do get a puppy or a new dog, sometimes a different breed is a good choice to minimize “replacement” feelings.