Saturday, July 22, 2006

Family Reunions

Extended family get togethers are often fraught with highs and lows and can revolve around events (weddings, funerals, graduations, anniversaries) or just time to visit the hometown for the far flung. When out of towners bring their dogs in tow it's always hoped there is a welcome place for the canines to visit too. Prepare your dog for visiting or being visited upon by socializing your dog as often as possible. You might notice your dog is more protective of its home turf, even if only for a few moments, than it might be when going somewhere else. Reinforce what you like with praise, treats, belly rubs and other positives, and manage where it seems to be needed. There's nothing like an unwelcome growl to put a damper on an ol' family reunion. And just like hooking up with adult siblings or cousins, don't assume from one visit or opportunity that might not have gone smoothly, that it's necessarily destiny to be repeated.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Excess Dog Hair Options

Many people desire non shedding or short coated dogs to minimize the trauma of grooming or vacuuming. I have short coated dogs and one dog that requires some grooming. One of my dogs is black with white, one white with black and the other liver and white. I sweep my floors quite regularly (it's very therapeutic) and the color of the hair swept up is always gray. I haven't figured that out yet. But I just had to share an alternative use for all that excess dog hair and some creative uses for the end result.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dogs Days of Summer

Although at least in my neck of the woods it's been unseasonably cool and wet, we are now, by the calendar at least, fully immersed in summer. In fact, there are 79 days until autumn! Fireworks are behind us, and although we can't control for those pesky thunderstorms, we can start thinking of those lazy summer nights, watching for fireflies, sipping lemonade and bantering with neighbors who suddenly seem to be out in force! And of course, just chillin'!

There are more active fun things to do with your dog, too. Daytime activities could include:

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Is it Thunder or Is It Practice Fireworks? Does it Matter?

It's that time of year again. Celebration of this country's independence with bbq's, picnics, reunions, parades and yes, fireworks. Not to mention, well, I have already in previous posts, the plethora of thunderstorms and accompanying weather conditions in at least parts of this country in this still very young summer season.

Now there may be those for whom this time of year evokes warm fuzzy memories or not such great ones but the activity of living through another Independence Day Holiday may be:

Do I or don't I

go to the parade
go to the picnic
go see fireworks
remember to take along my umbrella
remember to take along my bug spray
Other ________

There are those dogs for whom this is no big deal and the biggest thought bubble is whether or not that errant hot dog or even hot dog bun might make it near my oral cavity.

But then there are those dogs for whom this holiday evokes terror, horror, anxiety, dread and massive discomfort. It is for those very dogs this entry exists.

And for those with those dogs I say:
Leave them home. If you can stay with them, and be calm, do so. If you need or want to go out, put them in a quiet place, draw curtains, keep space safe (if your dog is comforted by a crate, crate your dog.) Play soothing music or the tv -- perhaps Animal Planet, maybe Cartoon Network or C-Span. Whatever most comforts the dog.

And be safe, have fun and take stock in the freedom this holiday represents. And don't forget to give your dog a thanks for the interplay of dependence and independence (s)he gives you.