Archive for the 'Bully Sticks' Category

September 2, 2008

 We were once a society that viewed animals as their own individual species. Today, our world is quickly changing into one which views domestic animals as individual members of our human family. It is no wonder that we often relate to our domestic animals in human psychology or behavioral terms. Yet, can we really draw parallels between their behavior and ours?

In nature when different species cohabitate together, each animal species continues to retain their instinctive and species-specific behavior. For example, a variety of animals live together on the same safari plains but each species behaves very differently. This is what makes a giraffe behave differently from a zebra even though they are neighbors. Among many other things, they have different mating rituals and different ways to communicate with each other. Likewise, our domestic animals are clever enough to learn our means of communicating with them (sit, stay, come, hand signals, etc) yet they will continue to retain their canine or feline behavior.

In some wild wolf packs, the only members of the pack that are allowed to mate are the alpha female and the alpha male and mating between subordinates is discouraged. The goal is to have enough resources and care for the pups and ultimately, the entire pack. “Humping” behavior in dogs serves two purposes. The first is the obvious need to reproduce. The second purpose behind such behavior is to exert dominance onto another dog. A dog will only tolerate this mounting behavior if he/she views that the dog doing the mounting is above him/her in rank. This subordinate dog can be of either sex, which is why it is not uncommon to see a male dog humping another male dog.

Like us, domestic dogs relate to us as members of their family. In other words, they think of us as members of their dog pack. If and when a dog humps you or another human being, they are essentially communicating the fact that they think they are dominant to you. In the event that you allow such humping behavior, you are agreeing that you are subordinate. Therefore, humping is most definitely not a behavior that you should encourage your dog to do to humans. You as a human should have a higher rank than your dog and because of that, you are also in the position to discourage and prevent him from humping other dogs or humans. By doing do so, you, as his leader, are not allowing him to be dominant over them. When you practice leadership with your dog, it definitely makes for a better time if your friends or their pets come over to your house to visit.

The question is how do we eliminate the humping behavior? Male and female dogs alike display humping behavior, although the incidence is higher in male dogs. The hormone, testosterone, increases sexual behavior and promotes humping, thus neutering/spaying your dog as early as 6 months to a year old helps to decrease the incidence of such undesirable behavior because the hormone producing organs are removed. In addition, neutering/spaying is useful because helps to prevent testicular, prostate, or ovarian cancer. Moreover, it is good practice as a responsible owner to neuter/spay your dog to keep the numbers of stray or unwanted animals to a minimum. Another good remedy would be trying to keep the dog occupied, maybe by giving him a dog treat like bully sticks.

Still, some owners may find that their dogs hump despite neutering/spaying. The use of a simple and firm “No!” and telling your dog to go away from the object or redirecting their behavior into a sit/stay away from the object would be appropriate. What you don’t want to do is to pet your dog, give him/her a chew toy, or anything that might give him/her the impression that you’re rewarding the behavior.

As we humans try to humanize dog behavior, there are some people who feel that they should provide their dog with a means of sexual activity. In fact, humans and perhaps even dolphins are two of the very few animal species that are known to mate for pleasure. Mating for pleasure is not true for dogs, so don’t feel bad when you say “No!” and disallow your dog to hump. All you are doing is showing leadership and telling your dog that no one is allowed to be the boss but you. Think about it this way: you are also bridging the gap between humans and dogs by instilling in your dog good social behavior by informing him that it is not socially acceptable for dogs to hump humans or any other object in sight.

Dewclaws in Dogs

Author: gibbywmu
September 2, 2008


Many dog owners often ask their veterinarian whether their dog’s dewclaws should be removed. There are several situations in which removal is advantageous, and owners should consider their dog’s lifestyle when making such a decision.

Dogs are a digitigrade species, meaning that they walk on their digits. A dog’s paw has four digits that make contact with the ground and on almost every front paw and occasionally on the back ones, there is an inside digit higher up that does not make ground contact. This digit is the dewclaw, a vestigial structure that is non-functional or has some function in some breeds. Most dogs have dewclaws on their front paws only, and it is rare to find them on their back paws. However in several breeds, such as the Great Pyrenees and Briards, rear dewclaws are common and included in the breed standard. The Great Pyrenees even has a double dewclaw, an inherited trait called polydactyly, so that there are two bony digits instead of one.

Some breeds require these dewclaws because they are believed to help them in their line of work. For example, the Great Pyrenees is a livestock guardian dog and the terrain they work on is rough and uneven. The double dewclaws placed low on their rear legs act as functional digits to help them gain stability. However, in other breeds of dogs that do have a rear dewclaw, it is often hanging loose and susceptible to being torn off. This is the main reason why it is sometimes recommended to remove the rear dewclaws, especially if the dog is going to be running outdoors in the bush.

Some breeders have their puppies’ dewclaws removed at 3-5 days of age. At this age, the dewclaw is adhered very loosely so it is very easy to remove. The veterinarian will clamp at the base of the dewclaw at the joint and this is often enough to allow for manual removal. Surgical glue or sutures are then used to close the wound and prevent bleeding, although there is little bleeding associated with this procedure. If the breeder has decided to allow the dewclaws to remain, you will need to make a decision around the time of your puppy’s spay or neuter as to whether the dewclaws should be removed. Factors to consider are where your dog will be spending his/her time outdoors, if your dog has rear dewclaws and the degree of adherence of the dewclaws. Any dewclaw loosely adhered should be removed, regardless of whether the dog will be in nature or walking on city sidewalks since loose dewclaws can catch onto anything and cause significant pain.

Veterinarians prefer to remove dewclaws during the spay/neuter because the dog will already be under general anesthesia so it eliminates the risks associated with another anesthesia. If you are considering showing your dog in the ring, it is advisable to consult the breed standard of the kennel club you are associated with. Most state that removal is optional though there are a few breeds where dewclaws are required and some in which dewclaw removal is mandatory.

Many dog owners often leave the front dewclaws for the reason that they are usually held close to the paw so need not be removed. However, this does not mean that they should be forgotten. They are easily missed due to their location and it doesn’t help if the dog has long hair which covers it! Dewclaws should be trimmed during routine nail trims. This is especially important because these claws cannot be worn down due to the fact that they do not make ground contact. If left, the claw grows in a curly fashion, which may be uncomfortable or even painful because the claw may dig into the skin. It also makes trimming extremely difficult.

If your dog has dewclaws, you may wish to consult with your veterinarian as to whether they should be removed, taking into consideration your dog’s lifestyle ie. hunting, showing etc. Dewclaws not removed should be maintained during the routine nail trim to prevent overgrowth of the claw.

If taking your dog to the vet to get his/her dewclaws removed, always be sure when they get home to get them a nice treat to chew on, like bully sticks.  This is sure to take their mind off of things!

Clicker Training

Author: gibbywmu
August 14, 2008


Clicker Training – What is a Clicker ?A clicker is a small handheld noisemaker that makes a distinct “click” when it is pressed. Clicker training is a subset or restricted application of OPERANT CONDITIONING.

Clicker training is merely a tool that is used in operant conditioning. A clicker has also been called a bridge or a marker. Clicker training has been successfully used in animal training over the last couple of decades. Over 140 different species have been successfully “clicker trained”. Many of the animals you have seen in movies/theatrical appearances or commercials have been clicker trained.

To put it very basically, whenever an animal performs a desired action, the handler should immediately click with a hand held clicker, then deliver a reward the animal desires (such as a tasty treat like bully sticks). The animal will associate the click as a marker that clues the animal when it does a specific action, they will get a reward.

Dog Phobias: Treatment

Author: gibbywmu
July 21, 2008

Dog Phobia

The main objective of treatment of a phobia is to teach the animals that the stimulus it is frightened of can be associated with something good, such as a reward.  This is often easier said than done, requiring persistence and patience.   The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must not reinforce fearful behaviour by petting, reassuring, or rewarding the animal (by giving him dog treats like bully sticks).

The approach to any type of fear is the same in principle.  The first step to treatment is to identify what the stimulus is and when it occurs.  When the trigger has been identified, attempt to avoid all encounters with this if possible.  If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, start your training at a time of year where they are less likely to occur, such as the winter.  The next step is to desensitize the animal and teach relaxation in the presence of the stimulus.  This must be done slowly and systematically.  If the dog is fearful of unfamiliar people, ask a friend to help with training.  Place the dog in a crate and ask the friend to enter the room but keep a great enough distance that the dog remains calm.  Reward the dog for good behaviour with food or affection.  The unfamiliar person can attempt to desensitize the dog by throwing food from a distance, avoiding eye contact, and approaching sideways.  Gradually, over the course of several training sessions, ask the friend to approach closer each time to a distance in which the dog can remain calm.  Remember to only reward calm, relaxed behaviour and not to reinforce inappropriate reactions.  The animal should slowly learn to associate the stimulus with good things, such as treats, resulting in a less fearful response.  

The prognosis for successful treatment is dependent on several factors, including age, duration of the fearful behaviour, and the owner’s diligence with training.  Generally, the younger the age of onset and the longer the duration, the less chance there is of correcting the behaviour.  That is not to say, however, that correction is impossible.  Again, it is important to be able to recognize the triggers and be patient throughout the training process.  With appropriate training, an animal can learn to be relaxed in the presence of previously frightening situations.


Author: gibbywmu
July 19, 2008

 Flea control has reached new levels in recent years. Today, there are products on the market that you can treat your pet with once a month that will help keep those annoying little jumpers away. Insect growth regulators, or IGRs, are safe and act like flea hormones to interrupt the life cycle of the flea, preventing them from maturing into adult fleas. Lufenuron is one example of an IGR. It inhibits flea egg production, but doesn’t kill adult fleas, so flea bites can still occur. Others, such as imidacloprid and fipronil kill adult fleas, and the latter works on ticks as well. Depending on the product used, you may be giving your pet a pill, spraying his coat or applying a liquid substance to one area of his skin; the substance will spread to cover his body. These treatments are available only from your veterinarian and are given once a month. Be very careful to use the products as directed; some may be effective for dogs, but toxic to cats. Consult with your veterinarian before implementing any flea control program.

Now that you’re armored with some information, you can help your pet win the war against fleas….and always remember to reward your pet after any sort of flea treatment, so give him bully sticks to make him feel better!

Grooming Man’s Best Friend

Author: gibbywmu
July 18, 2008
Shaggy Dog

 Proper grooming for your dog does not only have aesthetic purposes but also adds to your pet’s holistic growth – physical and psychological. Since dog hair can interlace due to dirt and grime in the coat forming mats and tangles, they would need to be groomed to keep proper hygiene. Plus grooming generates more bonding time with your pet, creating a stronger relationship.

It is best to train your dog to be groomed at an early age. But, an untrained dog can still be taught to accept all the attention. Train your pet to get used to his body parts being handled and brushed, and if you are having trouble, always be sure to reward him afterwards by giving him dog treats, like bully sticks

You need not go to a professional groomer, but if you don’t have the time or the interest to groom your dog, be sure to select a groomer that handles the animals gently.

July 9, 2008

Summer Heat
Temperatures are soaring into the 90s and 100s and such intense heat is not only dangerous for humans but for pets as well. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) offers a few tips to protect pets during summer heat waves.

Cars are potential death traps during the hot summer months because inside temperatures can quickly climb to more than 120 degrees Farenheit on even a mild sunny day. It’s best to leave your pet at home while running errands during hot weather. Give them a dog treat to chew on, like bully sticks to keepy them busy while you’re gone.

If your pet lives outdoors, make sure there is adequate shelter for protection from the midday sun and heat. Outdoor kennels should be well-ventilated and in a shaded area. There should always be some shade for the pet to get out of the sun.
Also, make sure there is plenty of fresh drinking water available to your pet. The bowl should be placed in a shaded area where it cannot be heated by the sun.
Exercise is important, but overexertion during hot weather commonly causes heat stress. Avoid excessive exercise during hot days.
And, keep your pet well-groomed. Long hair and hair mats may need to be clipped to help cool the animal.


Avoiding Dog Bites

Author: gibbywmu
June 26, 2008

dog bites

The Humane Society of the United States and the United States Postal Service offer these tips on preventing dog bites.

How can I avoid being bitten by a dog?

  1. Never approach a strange dog, especially one who’s tied up or confined behind a fence or in a car.
  2. Don’t pet a dog, even your own, without letting him or her see and sniff you first.
  3. Never turn your back to a dog and run away. A dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch fleeing prey.
  4. Don’t disturb a dog while he or she is sleeping, eating (dog food or dog treats, like bully sticks), chewing on a toy or caring for puppies.
  5. Be cautious around strange dogs. Always assume that a dog who doesn’t know you may see you as an intruder or as a threat.

What should I do if I think a dog may attack?

  1. Never scream and run. Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog
  2. Remain motionless with your hands at your sides until the dog loses interest in you, then slowly back away until he or she is out of site.
  3. If the dog does attack, “feed” him or her your jacket, purse, or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
  4. If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.

A Pet Is Part Of The Family

Author: gibbywmu
June 17, 2008

Family Dog

A Pet is Part of the Family and has the following rights.

1.  We have the right to be full members of your family. We thrive on social interaction, praise, and love.

2.  We have the right to stimulation. We need new games, new toys, new experiences, and new smells to be happy.

3.  We have the right to regular exercise. Without it, we could become hyper, sluggish…or fat.

4.  We have the right to have fun. We enjoy acting like clowns now and then; don’t expect us to be predictable all the time.

5.  We have the right to quality health care. Please stay good friends with our vet!

6.  We have the right to a good diet. Like some people, we don’t know what’s best for us. We depend on you to give us healthy food and treats (like bully sticks).

7.  We have the right not to be rejected because of your expectations that we be great show dogs, watchdogs, hunters, or baby-sitters.

8.  We have the right to receive proper training. Otherwise, our good relationship could be marred by confusion and strife and we could become dangerous to ourselves and others.

9.  We have the right to guidance and correction based on understanding and compassion, rather than abuse.

10.  We have the right to live with dignity…and to die with dignity when the time comes.

Dangerous Toys

Author: gibbywmu
June 4, 2008

dangerous toys

Fluffy may love her ball of yarn, and Rover may chase after that darn stick all day, but pet owners must be cautious when offering toys to their pets. Many household items that become pet toys, either with or without your knowledge, can be dangerous-even fatal-to your furry or feathered friend. If not used in the appropriate manner, some store-bought pet toys, too, can cause problems.
Pet owners should take note of the following potential toy hazards:

Sticks and bones can splinter and cause choking or vomiting, or they can perforate the mouth, throat or intestine. Hard bones can easily damage teeth. Instead, use hard, non-splintering chew toys to play fetch or to allow your pet to gnaw.

Soft, latex toys can be shredded by a chewing pet. If the toy includes a squeaking mechanism, the squeaker can be easily swallowed or cause choking.
Superballs can cause intestinal obstruction if ingested. Other types of balls, such as tennis balls or handballs, may be too small for the pet playing with them and cause choking.

Towels, socks, underwear and other similar clothing or materials can be swallowed by a rambunctious pet, causing intestinal obstruction.

Some dogs like to chew on or eat rocks-bad idea! Rocks can cause broken teeth and serious intestinal obstruction if swallowed.

Be careful if you offer your pet rawhides, as these can also cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, and some are preserved with arsenic, which is toxic to pets. Instead, offer them other long lasting, healthier chews, such as bully sticks.

Some cats enjoy hiding out in plastic bags, but if they get their head stuck in the handles and panic, choking or suffocating could occur.

String, yarn, feathers and rubber bands often offer enticing play for cats, but these can be swallowed whole, possibly lodging in the intestinal tract and causing blockage. If only partially swallowed, this, too, can result in severe problems. For instance, one end of the string can wrap around the cat’s tongue while the rest of the string is swallowed. If you ever see your kitty with string (or a similar object) caught in its mouth, NEVER try to pull it out. If the string is lodged internally, pulling it can cut the cat’s intestines, killing him. Instead, see your veterinarian immediately.

Be aware of sharp objects that can cut skin, feet, eyes or ears.

For birds, bells can be problematic. Most medium-sized or larger parrots can take apart a bell and choke on the clapper.

         – Leather, if not specially tanned, can be toxic to birds.

         – Paint and wood preservatives can also be toxic to your feathered friend.

“Probably the most common hazards are toys that are inappropriately sized for the pet,” says Dr. Jennifer Zablotny, an AAHA veterinarian. “Generally, the toy is too small for the size of the pet and can be destroyed and cause choking.” If you notice anything unusual about your pet’s behavior or health, call your veterinarian right away. If a toy or part of a toy is swallowed, signs of problems (like intestinal upset or blockage) may occur within minutes or hours; other times, you may not notice anything unusual for days. The obstruction may pass through with no more signs than vomiting or diarrhea. Or it may cause blockage, in which case your pet may be constipated or not want to eat. In any case, if you even suspect that your pet has swallowed a foreign object, call the veterinarian immediately.

Used appropriately and with common sense, many household and store-bought pet toys can provide hours of entertainment and exercise for your pet. It’s a good idea, however, to supervise your pet during play. Not only will this minimize the chance of accidents happening, but you’ll also be providing your pet with quality time spent with his or her favorite toy-YOU!