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Archive for December, 2009

How to pick a puppy from a litter

We are finally getting our new puppy soon. They were born just a few days before Christmas. As they get older we will look for certain things in the personalities of the puppies to decide which is the best for our family.

When picking a new puppy from a litter you want to avoid the ones who are overly shy or who might be overly aggressive or dominant with the other puppies. Just watching them interact while you sit on the floor should tell you quite a bit about them. If the puppy is a singleton (the only puppy) then avoid getting that dog unless the breeder has put it with other dogs and puppies for appropriate socialization.

Now, all puppies in a litter will bite and jump, this is normal. One thing I like to do is squeal a bit when they bite and watch the reaction. If they are overly scared or they get more aggressive, that can tell you a bit about their personality.

Take the puppies you are interested in to a new area by themselves, love on them and then put them down. I prefer puppies who are more interested in me, but who like to explore some. If the puppy wont leave your side, that might be an issue too.

Finally I watch their tails. If its high or mid level that’s better than if its tucked between their legs which could mean they are scared.

None of this is an exact science, and a good breeder will help you. Picking a puppy from a litter is difficult but in the end if you went to a good quality breeder it shouldn’t be hard. Just don’t be tempted to bring home two if you can’t decide!

Rawhides for dogs

It was Christmas morning, and my mom came over with gifts for all, including our dog Nitro. He loves food, and he loves to chew. He immediately tore into his gift which was a nice big rawhide. He’s never had one in his life, so he was excited.

He sat down with his rawhide which was made in the USA. I do not recommend buying rawhides from other countries as you dont know what they use for a preservative – I have heard it can have levels of arsenic. I haven’t verified if that is true. In about an hour, the rawhide was gone. I knew that meant troubl, he would likely have some upset tummy issues later that day and sure enough he did.

My recommendation on raw hides is they are OK every once in a while, buy only the ones from the USA (made in the USA) and watch your dog. They can get stuck in their throats. I take away the end pieces. My preference is to only give your dog raw bones or my favorite – deer antlers. You can purchase deer antlers at They last a long time and are well worth the money!

Anal Gland Disease in Dogs

Anal gland problems are just no fun for anyone. They are sacs that in normal animals get expressed naturally when they go potty or when they are frightened. If you have a dog with this issue, you will see signs like sniffing, scooting, and biting or licking the rear area. Its a very unpleasant odor.

When you see the first signs of this issue I recommend you get to your vet or groomer to have the anal glands expressed. This is typically included in the grooming fee but can be around $15 at the vet. I do not recommend trying to do this yourself, its messy and if done wrong can cause problems.

We have a dog with anal gland disease and he is on a high quality food but it has low fiber content. Since he has allergies its hard to find a higher fiber food for him. We are going to try supplementing with veggies or bananas. When you do this you have to add it slowly to their diet as you don’t want to cause an upset stomach. Hopefully it will help our poor doggie! If not the next step may be a raw diet. Check back and I’ll post an update.

Hyper Dog

Its been a busy week before Christmas and poor Nitro has had much attention. We also had a bit of a rain / ice storm so its been kind of yucky outside and I haven’t been up for walking him. I suppose I’m a bad doggie mom!

Second to exercise is always dog training for wearing out your dog. I have a few things I like to do. The first is jump training. If you are doing agility or obedience you already know how to train this. If not, i get a low jump (so they dont have to over jump and hurt themselves) – you can use a broom stick on some cinder blocks. Toss treats over the jump and say “over”.

Another game to play is the come / recall game. I stand in a long hallway and toss food through my legs yelling here and get it! That works wonders to get a dog racing back and forth.

You can even do the recall / come game with a few people in the house, just make sure everyone has some food to reward the dog with.

Lastly, I opt for a chew bone of some kind. I personally feed raw bones which is great for their teeth but you want to find organic kinds or a raw food distributor. This can last for hours with my boy and man is he exhausted by the time that is done!

Cesar Milan – a bully?

I’m not a fan. Lets just put that out in front. I think Cesar is a bully with dogs. He man handles them, forces them physically and doesn’t seem to do much of operant dog training. In fact he even says he isn’t a dog trainer but he is a dog psychologist – whatever that is. But I think this last article I read just took the cake for me.

As far as I know, in the US we have freedom of speech. Apparently he is threatening to sue organizations that speak out against him. I think this says a lot of things about the character of this group. Instead of working with these groups to create some sort of bridge, he is going at them with such force, much like with the dogs he works with.

I am completely appalled at this and it simply backs my original belief and dislike for this person and his dog training. Hopefully I wont get threatened with a law suit for posting my opinion.