Overcoming Separation Anxiety

Many dogs have separation anxiety. Separation anxiety in dogs exhibits behavior problems when they’re being left alone at home. This often leads to excessive barking, whining, chewing, house soiling and other types of destructive behavior. If your dog can comfortably spend the night away from you, then it is very likely your dog does not suffer from separation anxiety. However, if he has been throwing tantrums by showing some kind of dramatic anxiety response every time you leave home, your dog probably has it. It is important to understand that dogs behave in such way is not an attempt to seek revenge or punishment for leaving them behind. It is indeed a natural panic response for being away from the owner even for a short period of time.

Separation anxiety is one of the most common complaints of dog owners and in most cases they don’t even realize it. You need to find out whether your dog has separation anxiety so that proper treatments can be given to correct this behavior.

Keep a boring, low-key departure. Long-dramatic farewell will create more anxiety in him. A casual “Goodbye” or “See you later” will do. When you first arrive home, ignore him for a couple of minutes, and then calmly pet him.

Always provide him with lots of exercise and playtime. A tired, well-exercised dog is a happy dog. He will be much more contented to sleep during the day while you’re away. Mental exercises such as training and socializing with other dogs are all great activities for your dog.

Provide your dog with some of his favorite toys and treats so that he will have something to do while you’re gone. Stuff some treats into his toys to keep his mind occupied rather than waiting anxiously for you to come back.

You need to train your dog to be accustomed to your departure. Firstly, leave him for a couple of minutes and then comes back to him. Do not a make fuss over your dog. Repeat this step until he’s not anxious anymore. Then, gradually leave for longer periods of time and comes back. Make sure to practice this over and over again until he gets used to being alone at home.


It Takes a Village to Raise a Puppy

It’s a look everybody’s witnessed – the frazzled face of a new parent who hasn’t slept through the night, hasn’t eaten a decent, sit-down meal, hasn’t enjoyed a long, hot shower in days. It’s one of the most stressful and joyous times of life – there’s a new puppy in the house!

No one expects parents of human babies to “go it alone” while rearing their children. Advice, both welcome and unasked-for, is readily available from a wealth of sources: their own parents, professionals, friends, neighbors, teachers and passers-by. But all too often people are handed a new puppy and waved a fond farewell, without enough information to get through the night.

First-time dog owners can get frustrated and quickly disappointed. Puppies are supposed to be fun, but this adorable bundle of fluff won’t eat, won’t sleep, nips everybody, won’t be housebroken and chews everything except for its toys! What’s a new dog-owner to do?

No one should be embarrassed to ask for help. Adding a new member of the family is stressful and, unless you’re a female dog, you don’t have instinct to tell you how to do things right. Anyway, you don’t really want to carry your puppy around in your mouth by the scruff of its neck, or keep it clean with your tongue. The goal is teaching your puppy how to be a member of your family – not how to be a dog. It knows that part by the time you get it.

The first person you should look to for advice is a veterinarian you know and trust. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations and try to meet the vet before you bring your puppy home. A good veterinarian will even help you plan for your puppy, sharing resources for finding the right breed, a good breeder, and will advise you about what to look for and what to avoid in selecting your pup.

The reputable breeder who sells you your puppy should also be a valuable resource for information. Find out what quirks your breed may have and what to do about them. Some breeds are very independent, others are prone to separation anxiety. If the breeder isn’t willing to answer your questions, maybe you should look elsewhere. A good breeder will want to stay in touch with all of the puppies she produces – even after those pups have reached their “senior” years.

A third line of support for puppy rearing is a local class or club. All puppies should be trained, regardless of size, age or the owner’s experience. If you can, visit a class before you enroll – make sure that the leader’s style is compatible with your own thoughts about training. Is the trainer willing to listen and work with you? Do the students and puppies seem to be having a good time? Is the trainer in control at all times? And is the trainer accessible even after class is over? Many good trainers will allow previous students to participate in an occasional class to “brush up,” on their training.

Get your puppy a Large ball toy

There’s no reason a new puppy owner has to go it alone. If you have a couple of friends with dogs – ask the one whose dog is a pleasure to be around. The other one – the one whose dog is a maniac – may be able to sympathize with you, but may not be able to help. Ask people whose dogs you admire how they got that way. Ask for help at the local pet store or from the neighbor who has the wonderful dog everybody loves.

You can also find advice, both good and bad, at any hour of the day or night, on the internet. Be careful with it. Use the information thoughtfully; consider the source. If anyone, ever, tells you to do something with your puppy that you’re not comfortable with – don’t do it. Get some alternatives from a trusted source. You are your puppy’s best friend, guardian and advocate. Be safe. Be careful. Have fun.

Why Does My Cat Bite My Hand When I Stroke Her?

You have settled into your favorite armchair, perhaps reading the final chapters of a gripping novel. Suddenly you are aware of the imploring stare of your cat sitting at your feet. You invite her onto your lap. Gently you begin to stroke her and your cat signals her appreciation with an audible purr.

One hand holding your book the other hand continuing to pet your mouser, you again get lost in your novel. All is well in the world with you and with your cat.

Suddenly your cat bites your hand!

Why did kitty do that? Why did she bite the hand that strokes her?

The experts don’t agree on exactly why it is that some cats enjoy being petted, but end up biting. One thing that they do agree on is that when kitty bites at you, it’s a sure sign that she has decided that she’s had enough stroking.

Cats differ in the amount of petting they will accept, and not all cats respond by biting when they have had enough. Some cats simply jump from your lap and saunter off to investigate interests anew. But many cats will nip you and your animal is one of them.

Could you have known that a bite was on its way? Yes, there are often signs that cats give before biting. And, if you had not been so wrapped up in reading your novel, you may have paid heed to your little pets warning.

If kitty’s tail begins to twitch, in a rolling flick, watch out! She’s getting ready to chomp at your hand.

If your cats ears start turning towards the back of her head, or flatten against her head, that’s a warning a bite is coming.

If your cat suddenly becomes restless, or stiffens and stares at your hand, she could be about to nip you.

If you noticed any of these signals, simply stop stroking your cat. Your pet will either stay on your lap or jump down and walk off, whichever happens you don’t get bitten.

What you should not do is punish your cat for biting your hand. That simply does not work. Cats are more likely to identify the punishment with you rather than with their bad cat behavior. If you miss a warning sign and kitty manages to get her jaws around your hand, try to resist the temptation to pull your hand away or push your cat away. Simply freeze. Chances are that your cat will not sink her teeth in, she has got her message across, and you have stopped petting her.

If you try and push your cat away it is likely that she will fight with your hand resulting in skin punctures for you. (An animal bite can become infected quite easily, if your cat does draw blood clean up the wound scrupulously and seek the advice of your doctor.)

Why do some cats behave in this aggressive way? The degree of tolerance to petting may be genetic, or it may be learned behavior. If when your cat was a kitten you allowed her to chew on your hand in play, she learned that biting human hands was an OK thing to do. So, when she feels that she has had enough stroking (she’s the boss remember,) she will bite at your hand to let you know – if you ignore her warning signals.

Some experts recommend the use of healthy tidbits, as a reward, in order to increase the time your cat will tolerate stroking. At the first warning signal offer kitty a treat, continue to stroke your cat gently for a time and offer her another reward. It is said that your cat will learn to connect petting with the tidbits and may, with patience, allow you to pet her for longer periods.


Little Big Bird

A few years ago while sitting on a bench outside my workplace I noticed two birds running around making all kinds of noise. One was much larger than the other was so I assumed that she was the mother trying to feed her young. I couldn’t believe that the small bird, a lovely little sparrow, was jumping up an down trying to put food in the mouth of this ungrateful screeching little big bird who did nothing but keep his mouth open and run around as if he wasn’t getting enough to eat. The mother was exhausted from all this jumping about. I thought I’d give the mother a break and throw some breadcrumbs out there for them to share. Do you think the ‘Baby’ bird would feed itself – NO! It still waited for Mom to jump up and put the morsels in its mouth. If this were the real mother of this monster bird, then I would hate to see the father! I’ve heard of birds laying their eggs in ‘foreign’ nests but the least they could do is pick a surrogate mother their own size!

Since then I’ve been reading up on ‘brood parasites’ – that’s what they call these deadbeat mothers who leave it up to other birds to raise their babies. The one most popular in the Americas seems to be the Brown-headed Cowbird which is a pretty big bird in comparison to the sparrow. To help out the sparrow I decided to go into real estate – wild bird real estate that is: bird houses and feeders, plus baths and fountains. This way the sparrow can move in a small holed birdhouse and not worry about a bigger bird coming in and laying its eggs for her to raise. She can bring up her own little sparrows the way nature intended.


Weight Problems In Dogs: Is Your Dog Fat?

People may not be aware of this, but obesity is one of the greatest problems dogs are dealing with these days. Obesity, like humans, is also caused by excessive eating and unhealthy binges. Mostly, this situation is triggered by some environmental factors that when not controlled may just lead to more problems.

Like humans, dogs develop certain diseases too when they are overweight. These diseases will lead to more serious complications including death. So for people who wish to know the repercussions of obesity in dogs, here are some of the known consequences:

1. Arthritis

Obesity in dogs tends to put extra weight on their bones. In turn, the joints and other parts of the dog’s bones develop arthritis.

Excess weight in dogs may also initiate the development of other muscle and joint problems like spinal disc disease, hip dysplasia, and cracks on the joint ligaments.

2. Diabetes

Like humans, dogs can get diabetes too. We all know for a fact that overweight cause diabetes in humans, this can also happen in dogs. This is because the more fat is stored in the dog’s body, the greater its system will generate insulin in order to cope up with its growing mass. Hence, dogs have the tendency to resist too much insulin in the body. The end result is diabetes.

3. Skin problems

Obesity in dogs can cause some skin problems. This is because excess fat deposits are being stored in their skin; hence, their owners are having a hard time grooming them. When dogs lack proper grooming, there is a tendency to accumulate bacteria, dirt, or other elements that could cause harm to your dog’s skin. In the end, they develop rashes, skin ruptures, and infections.

4. Capacity to tolerate heat

With too much fat deposits accumulated in their skin, dogs are more inclined to problems concerning heat tolerance. This is because dogs find it hard to tolerate heat due to the build-up of fats in their skin. That is why most obese dogs are prone to heat stroke especially during summer time.

5. Respiratory problems and other heart diseases

Like humans, obese dogs have also the tendency to develop respiratory problems and heart diseases. This is because the chest cavity is already covered with thick fat deposits. Hence, whenever the dog breathes, the lungs are having a hard time to expand, so does the heart. The problem starts when the heart and the lungs can no longer produce the right amount of oxygen and circulate it within the dog’s body.

6. Gastrointestinal problems

Obesity in dogs causes some problems in their intestines and pancreas. This problem results to inflamed pancreas, which, in reality, is very painful to the dogs and can also cause death among them.

7. Liver problems

Fats are harder to strain and this can pose a great problem to the dog’s liver. Hence, when the liver can no longer function well because of the fat deposits that accumulated in the area, liver problems may occur and may even cause the death of your dogs.

These health problems are indeed life threatening. And so, it depends upon the owner how to combat these problems in order to keep their dogs healthy.

One of the greatest ways in solving weight problems is a strict exercise schedule. So, it is a must that owners should create a healthy exercise schedule for their dogs. This can be done by tagging them for a walk every afternoon or letting him run through a field.

The best thing about this program is that not only the dogs get the chance to exercise but their owners as well. So, it’s a double result with just one purpose.

Next is to create a healthy diet for your dogs. Diet meals are extremely important for dogs so that they can still obtain the necessary nutrients they need in order to stay healthy. This should include the right combination of fiber, meat, vegetables, vitamins, and minerals.

However, dog owners should always keep in mind that when their dogs are taking fiber, more water should be employed so as to prevent constipation.

Alternatively, dog owners should also remember that before incorporating all of these things to your dog, it’s best to consult the veterinarians first. In this way, only the proper methods of dieting for dogs shall be employed.

So, for healthier and happier dogs, give them the best love and care you can give plus a great dietary regimen. As they say, a healthy do is a happy dog.

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Whale Watching in Puget Sound: See Orcas, Seals, Eagles and More Aboard a Whale Watch Boat

Visitors to the Puget Sound region can book whale and wildlife watching cruises from several communities in British Columbia and Washington State. Though there are many variances between operators, there some similarities as well.

Type of Boats and Amenities on Board

Whale and wildlife tour companies use every kind of water craft imaginable, including small, open boats, kayaks and inflatables. However, the majority of the operators use stable, all-weather boats that can carry ten to thirty passengers. Most boats are heated, have comfortable seating, and a head (toilet) on board.

What Can Participants Expect to See During Whale Watch Cruises?

Resident pods of orca whales frequent Puget Sound from Seattle north through the Inside Passage. These animals are well-known to whale watch operators, and often appear in fairly predictable locations. Seals, porpoises, and sea lions are frequently spotted, as are eagles, herons, deer, and a variety of waterfowl including loons and puffins. In addition to orca whales, minke, gray, and humpback whales are sometimes seen.

Naturalists on Board

Whale watch naturalists make the trips enjoyable and informative. Naturalists help passengers spot wildlife, provide information about the geology, biology, and botany of the region, and answer questions.

Duration of a Whale Watch Cruise

Most operators offer day cruises that vary in length from 4 to 6 hours. Most cruises depart either mid-morning or early afternoon and return to port by late afternoon. Departure times are fixed, but return times are approximate due to the distances traveled, weather conditions, and the presence of wildlife.

What Does a Cruise Cost?

Costs vary, but most cruises run between $60 to $80 dollars US for adults, with discounts for children. Some operators also offer discounts to large groups who book in advance. This year, due to rising fuel prices, many companies are adding a fuel surcharge of $2 to $4 to ticket prices.

Children on Board

For safety and the comfort of other passengers, some whale watch operators prohibit children under the age of six, while others welcome families with young children. Generally, whale watch boats are comfortable, but confined, and without child-focused entertainment or food service, so parents need to determine whether this activity is appropriate for their child’s age and activity needs.

How to Find a Whale Watch Operator

In the US whale watch businesses operate from the US mainland, the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands. In Canada tours leave from Victoria, Vancouver, and several of the Gulf Islands. To find a cruise in the US, begin by visiting the GoNorthwest web site. In Canada by going to the British Columbia web site.

How to Teach a Dog to Sit

Will Your Dog Just Not Stop Standing? Teach Him to Sit in One Day!

Find out what motivates your dog. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a few pieces of their kibble, a ball or a treat broken up. If you are using food motivation, pick things that are in small pieces or that you can break into small pieces. That way they cat eat it fast and keep training. You don’t want to be waiting for them to eat their treat because this is disrupting your training time.

Once you have their motivation, stand in front of your dog. They can be in any position: sitting, standing, laying down etc. You should be facing them. Say their name and sit. while holding their treat in front of their face and slowly moving it up over their head.

Your dog will do one of two things. He will either lift his head and follow the treat until his rear hits the floor. As SOON as the rear end touches the floor, give him that treat! The second thing he might do is just keep backing up! If he does this you can treat him and easily teach him the command “back” which can be handy for getting dogs away from visitors or away from the door when the mail man comes. Back to sit, if your dog is backing up, take hold of his collar to stop him, use your other hand to touch his rear just above his tail and pet down to the backs of his “knees” and push his knees in. This will cause his back legs to buckle causing him to sit! Again, as SOON as the rear touches the ground, treat!

Let your dog play with his ball or toy for a minute or eat his treat. Pet him and give him lots of verbal praise at this time also. Now you will probably have his undivided attention. Repeat steps 2 and 3 at least 5 times. Wait an hour or so and go back and do steps 2 and 3 again at least 5 times.

By this time, your dog will probably know how to sit. Just because he knows one day doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice another day. Keep him motivated by changing treats of doggie toys. Make him sit before feeding and sit to get pet. This will become all the encouragement he needs to obey you. Use this same technique to teach them to lay down and to come. In no time at all you will have an obedient and happy dog!

Bulldog Grooming

Bulldog grooming is beneficial in a whole number of ways. One of the best aspects of grooming is the mood of a bulldog afterwards! A well-groomed pet is often a happy pet. After all, don't most of us feel better when we look our best?

Of course, catering to a puppy's vanity is only one of the many benefits of bulldog grooming. Grooming is also a great way to spend time with your pet while engaging in a constructive activity at the same time. While dogs might be resistant to grooming at first, many of them grow to enjoy it as time goes on. What's better than quality hours spent with an adoring human companion?

Health Benefits of Bulldog Grooming

Bulldog grooming can also go a long way towards protecting your dog from bothersome fleas and ticks. A good grooming session after a bulldog has spent a day outdoors can rid your dog of any unwanted guests. Fleas and ticks can be a great annoyance to your pet, and must be dealt with on a consistent basis to prevent any unnecessary annoyances.

Grooming can also prevent mites from gaining a foothold in a dog's ear passages. These mites can cause great damage to a bulldog's ear canals. Cleaning out your dog's ears with a safe, gentle solution can keep mites from multiplying. If mites are left to their own devices, itching and even eardrum damage can result.

Dog Training Books

Dog trainers and dog training books are both extremely helpful to new dog owners teaching dog obedience. Resources like these offer a lot of insight into communicating effectively with canines. You learn about your dog's body language and ways to be assertive without being aggressive. Most dog training utilizes knowledge of a canine's natural instincts to be effective.

What You'll Learn from Dog Training Books

If you are a new dog owner, or planning on becoming one shortly, you may wish to enroll in a dog obedience training class. These classes are taught by experienced dog trainers, who teach commands and ways to establish your role as the boss. After learning the basics in a class, you may want to look into dog training books for more help teaching other commands and tricks.

What you'll notice in dog training books is that training relies on a dog's instincts. Dog house training relies on the fact that dogs instinctively like to keep their living areas free of waste. Dog crate training is effective because dogs instinctively control their bowels and bladder when temporarily confined in a small space. Dog training books also teach you how to redirect natural behaviors toward more acceptable outlets.

For instance, dogs naturally enjoy chewing on things out of boredom, to relieve stress, or when they are lonely. Many dog owners leave their dogs home alone and return to find things like shoes, purses, newspapers, or furniture destroyed from dog chewing. However, this behavior can be prevented if you train the dog early on with toys. Keep the dog's living quarters limited to one area in the beginning, offer plenty of toys, and remove property dear to you. Each time the dog chews on the toys, offer him praise and affection. This is how you can eventually redirect behavior and reward him for behavior that satisfies you!

Have You Lost Your Dog? Tips to Get Your Pet Home Quickly

No one likes losing a family pet. It can be devastating to realize that your family dog has run away or is lost. Many times you come home to realize that something simple like the gate not being shut properly has led to your pet becoming lost. The panic sets in and you hope that you will see your dog again. There are some techniques that you can use that will help your dog come back home more quickly.

The first thing that you should do as a preventative measure is to try to contact your local pet organization. This could be something like a humane society or the local animal shelter. Typically these services get lost pets when people find them as it's a good place to drop them off. If they have a good description of your pet and know your number, you will be notified if they find your pet. This helps you get your dog back more quickly.

Typically your dog will be running around the neighborhood with the intention of coming back home later. When you start off on your neighborhood search, be sure that you grab something that your dog loves like a squeaky toy. This sounds can be heard far away and will notify your pet that you are close by.

When you are doing the neighborhood search, try to ask those around if they have seen an animal that fits the description of your pet. This doesn't have to be every neighbor. Everyone once in awhile ask those who are outside if they saw your pet that day. This can help narrow down the search area.

If you haven't found the pet in the initial day that he or she has run away, turn to the internet. Use local community services to put up posts of your missing pet. This could a community website or even the local Craigslist site for your area.