Top 10 Small Dogs for Older Human

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BEST 10 SMALL DOGS FOR OLDER HUMANS

Dogs are wonderful pets and considered to be man’s best friend. Dogs provide companionship other than any animal pet out there. If you are an older human and interested in getting a pet dog, you might struggle a bit taking care of it.

There are different breeds, and not all are suitable for adults. Many breeds are too energetic and require a lot of walks to release their energy. 

There are factors at play that will prevent an older adult from owning a dog. The key here is to find the right type of dog that suits your abilities and lifestyle. 

But do remember that dogs have needs like grooming, walks, healthcare. Adopting a calm and house-trained dog is ideal for seniors. 

Most seniors do better with smaller dogs than big dogs because it’s much easier to take care of. 

In this article are some of the examples of small dog breeds that you could consider adopting.

1. PUG

This is Frankie. He was easy to care for as long as you were on his feeding schedule!!

Pugs are great for seniors. This breed has an excellent temperament and a generally healthy breed. 

Pug requires some little grooming weekly because they quite shed heavily. (Be ready to use a sticky lint roller for your clothes!) But do not worry. Pugs are easy to groom. 

Also, avoid extreme temperatures ( very hot or cold) because it will make your pug sick. Pugs are in the brachycephalic breed (short nose canal).

This breed provides wonderful company to its master, thus making it idle for older adults. 

Since pugs are small, it requires minimal space and will surely live comfortably in small housing space. 

Pugs have a sweet temperament, friendly and affectionate. Overall this breed is generally well behaved and healthy and is perfect for seniors. 

This cute and cuddly breed are awesome companions.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Pugs can live up to 12-15 years depends on how you take care of them
  • Dog Encephalitis 
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
  • Minor Elongated palate 
  • Obesity
  • Skin Infections
  • Allergies
  • Nerve degeneration
  • Hemivertebra

Pugs are a healthy breed, but there are common health issues you might face in the future. 

Caring for a senior pug requires a lot more proper care rather than a puppy. 

2. SHIH TZU

Shih Tzus are a gentle, affectionate, sweet, and energetic breed. This breed thrives on affection and love. 

This breed is usually healthy and requires minimal healthcare maintenance.

This Chinese Dog usually weighs under 15 pounds, has long and silky hair. Shih Tzus are small, thus making it idle for older adults. 

This breed does not shed more often than any breed, but they require grooming and trimming to make them more comfortable and cute. 

This breed also needs to be trained because some are known to have temperament problems. But they are usually friendly and happy with kids. 

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • This breed is one of the longest living dogs. They can live 10-16 years
  • Periodontal disease
  • Renal Dysplasia 
  • Luxating patellas
  • Entropion
  • Arachnoid Cysts
  • Fold Dermatitis

It’s essential to take care of your Shih Tzu before they are diagnosed with critical health issues and will cost you thousands of dollars.

3. PEKINGESE

Micro Tea cup Pekingese

Pekingese are very loyal and affectionate breed. This breed is perfect for seniors because they are small, usually 14 pounds, and loves affection so much. 

Pekingese loves to be petted giving the name as an ultimate lapdog. They require daily brushing. 

This breed is very adaptable and can live just fine whether you have a large house or a small apartment. 

They need training because they tend to bark sometimes and might disturb some of your neighbors. 

This breed is a one-person dog that means they tend to stick to one human, making it perfect for a senior living alone. 

Pekingese is a loyal companion and will make your senior days worthwhile.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • This breed can live up to 12-15 years
  • Prone to dry eye and cherry eye
  • Luxating Patella
  • Pyoderma
  • Heart disease
  • Prone to Dental issues

This dog is the ultimate lapdog, and minimal attention doesn’t bother them at all. 

Though they love napping and staying indoors, they also require some walks and playtime to improve their overall health.

4. CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is easygoing, adaptable, affectionate, quiet, and intelligent. 

This breed is small and typically weighs about 18 pounds at max, and very easy to train. 

This breed requires some grooming, brushing, and an occasional trip to a groomer to maintain its cuteness. 

This dog loves cuddles and snuggles. They are adaptable and are well suited to an apartment or small houses. 

They are very patient compared to the other small breeds that have temperament problems.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Can live up to 9-14 years
  • Prone to heart issues
  • Mitral Valve Disease
  • Luxating Patella
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Cataracts
  • Syringomyelia 

5. CHIHUAHUA

The Chihuahua is the smaller breed of dog in the world that originated from Mexico. 

This dog makes a perfect pet for seniors because they love to stay at home and require minimal walks and exercise. 

Chihuahuas are one of the longest living breeds of dogs. However, they are prone to obesity, so watch out what you feed them. 

Chihuahua weighs only 3-6 pounds, a tiny and alert dog. This breed is a lively and loyal dog and very difficult to housetrain. 

Make sure to train them properly at the early stage.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Can live an outstanding 12-20 years
  • Luxating Patella
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Tracheal Collapse
  • Tooth and Gum Disease
  • Spinal Injuries 
  • Bladder and Kidney Stones

6. FRENCH BULLDOG

French Bulldogs are a lively and cheerful breed. They are a tiny but compact, muscular, and energetic dog. 

This breed tends to lack endurance and often get easily tired. They don’t shed very often, similar to other breeds. 

They require moderate exercise and activity to release their energy and to help them improve their stamina. 

French bulldog typically weighs 19-30 pounds. Their cheerful nature will make seniors’ live more fun and fulfilling.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Can live up to 10-14 years
  • Respiratory System Disorder
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Ear Disorder
  • Hernias

7. POODLE

A poodle is an elegant breed of dog. They are lively, energetic, and intelligent, and among the smartest dog breeds. 

This breed is highly trainable and affectionate to their owners. Poodles require 2-3 times grooming because they don’t shed as much as the other breed. 

An intelligent breed is idle for anyone, including seniors. This breed can be protective or aggressive, so it’s important to train them. Other than that, poodles are a polite and healthy breed.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Can live up to 12-15 years
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Addisons Disease
  • Bloat

8. MALTESE

Maltese is a gentle and lively dog. They love to be around their owner and loves lap naps. 

This breed is fearless despite its small body and cute looks. Maltese is very active and loves playtime and walks but also loves staying indoors with their owner. 

They require grooming to maintain their silky white coat. They usually weigh around 4-7 pounds. 

This dog is easy to handle and train, making it a great companion for seniors. 

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Can live up to 12-15 years
  • Aberrant Cilia
  • Breathing Issues
  • Colitis
  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Congestive Heart Failure

9. POMERANIAN

Pomeranian is a small dog breed that is easy to handle. This breed is lively, smart, and affectionate. 

They love attention and playtime, making them a good choice for adults and seniors who loves cheerful activities. 

They usually weigh 3-7 pounds and can fit into your bag. Pomeranians have fluffy coats that should be brushed at least 2-3 times a week to maintain their beautiful shiny coat. 

Pomeranians tend to be loud and energetic, so make sure you train how to behave.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Can live up to 12-16 years
  • Patella Luxation
  • Breathing Issues
  • Collapsed Trachea
  • Reverse Sneezing
  • Hair loss
  • Hypothyroidism           

10. BOSTON TERRIER

Boston Terriers are a perfect breed for seniors. They are a versatile and social dog. They love to be with you all the time. 

This dog is easy to train and well mannered. They are very friendly, making them an idle companion for seniors. 

This breed requires minimal grooming because they have slick short hair. They typically weigh 10-25 pounds. 

These dogs are affectionate and emphatic to their owners. They are the perfect option if you’re living in an apartment.

LIFE SPAN AND HEALTH ISSUES

  • Can live up to 13-15 years
  • Otitis 
  • Colitis
  • Conjuvitis
  • Cherry Eye
  • Dermatitis
  • Corneal Ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Periodontal Disease

Dogs Can Help With Companionship

Pets are a source of companionship, motivation for people. They can relieve depression, stress, and anxiety. 

They help us to live happier and more active. Having a pet in your home can have a calming effect. Dogs are the greatest pet companion a man can have. 

Some studies show that owning a pet dog can ease depression, lower blood pressure, elevate serotonin and dopamine, and fewer visits to their doctor. 

It’s never too late to have a pet dog, even if you are already a senior. Age is not important as long as you can give their needs, especially their health. 

It’s also important to know what breed suits your lifestyle and environment meant. The breed in this list are senior-friendly, have a good temper, and can be trained easily.

Night Time: Can Dogs See in the Dark?

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Can Dogs See in the Dark of Night?

Dog owners are endlessly fascinated by the many abilities their extraordinary companions possess. We also like to compare them to ourselves. The difference between canine and human scenting ability or dog years to human years for example that we compare to. So how about what they see during the night?

Dogs Seeing At Night

How well dogs see in the dark, and what they see, is one of those topics dog lovers often ask about.

According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, vision is the collective summary of:

  • the ability to perceive light and motion
  • visual perspective
  • field of view
  • depth perception
  • visual acuity
  • color vision

Dogs Have Evolved for Night Seeing

The first place to start is to understand what dogs were evolved to do. Their functions of their eyes and how it influences their vision. As natural predators, dogs are (or were) nocturnal hunters. The wild canines that our pet dogs evolved from are “crepuscular,” meaning they are active primarily at dusk and dawn. They needed to be able to spot movement in dim light in order to track and catch their dinner (or breakfast).

The Structure of the Canine Eye

Anatomy of the dog’s eye. Vertical section of the eye and eyelids. Third eyelid and Tapetum lucidum. Schematic diagram. detailed illustration.

To make it possible to navigate in the dark, the canine eye has a larger pupil than a human’s. In the anatomical structure of the eye, the retina has light-sensitive cells, called rods, which help an animal or human see in low light. Dogs have more of these rods than we do. The retina also has cones, and they determine which colors dogs can see.

The topic of color blindness of dogs is equally popular among dog lovers.

An animal’s ability to see in the dark is also influenced by Flicker Fusion Frequency (FFF) (or threshold). This is the frequency at which flickering light no longer appears to flicker (meaning it appears as a constant illumination). Generally speaking, the faster a species moves through its environment, the higher its FFF. But a dog’s secret weapon in their ability to see in the dark is the part of the canine eye called the tapetum lucidum. The tapetum acts as a mirror within the eye, reflecting back the light that enters it, and giving the retina another opportunity to register the light. So, dogs can see in the dark, and other low-light situations, better than humans.

Why Do Dogs’ Eyes Glow in the Dark?

You’ve no doubt seen that eerie, greenish-yellow glowing look of a dog’s eyes when light hits them at night, such as from headlights or a flashlight, and in photos (caused by the camera flash). What you’re seeing comes from the tapetum.

The shiny surface of the tapetum bounces any light that has not been caught by the photosensitive cells back up to the retina, thus giving the photoreceptors a second chance at catching the dim light entering the eye.”

AKC Family Dog columnist Dr. Stanley Coren says, in Psychology Today

But the tapetum actually does even more: it amplifies that light through a phenomenon called fluorescence. This not only adds to the light’s brightness but it also slightly changes the color of the light that is reflected back. The color shift moves the wavelength of the light closer to that to which the rods are most sensitive to and can best detect. And the tapetum reflects up to 130 times more light than the human eye. This is why dogs are five times more sensitive to light that we are.

Most dog breeds have about 250 degrees of field of vision

Adding to dogs’ special ability to see in the dark is their increased field of vision. Compare that to ours, which is about 190 degrees.

“Is this what humans see when they wear glasses?”

What Causes ‘Gas’ in Dogs

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Flatulence: Excess gas inside the stomach and intestines.

Flatus: Gas is expelled from the anus.

Common Cases of ‘Gas’ in Dogs

The most common food sources for the formation of ‘gas’ in dogs are indigestible carbohydrates, especially soluble and boiling fibers, and less digestible meat products. High-quality meat products in particular can cause bad gas due to high levels of indoles, phenols and sulfur derivatives. Here are some dietary supplements, physical conditions, and behavioral patterns that may encourage dog ‘gas’.

Food Allergies

A very high percentage of dogs with allergies or food allergies may have a lot of gas as a symptom. Putting them on a diet that is low in fiber, no novelty or protein intake does not need to happen to stop that problem. It may happen in some cases, but it does not mean that it is the only integer that is causing more than normal gas. 

Beans (The Magical Fruit!)

Soy beans and other bean foods are often suggested as a reason for people and dogs to swell with gases inside the intestines and stomach. However, allowing the intestines to adapt to any given diet — with or without soy — will reduce gas production. Also, a sudden change in diet can increase gas in some dogs.

Getting Into Other Sources

Dogs that enter the garbage can, invade cat food or cat litter-boxes, or roam the local “horse-drawn” pasture are at high risk due to irritation. Be sure to watch what they are getting into.

Table residues

One has to always look at the remains of the table. As an example, some owners should not forget that their dogs may be lactose intolerant, so a piece of cheese can be a source of gas. Vets also recommend that owners avoid giving table scraps. This will also make your dog beg for people food at the table!

Food Management

Try ways to feed healthier meals. Make healthy meals for pets that need to lose weight slowly . Changing the microflora or changing the type and amount of unhealthy foods that enter the large intestine can have an impact. Whenever we change their diet in any way, shape or form, the product will be a change in the GI microflora. We can plan ahead by choosing a change in diet that will bring about positive change rather than opposition to negative change. 

Are You Feeding the Right Food?

Researchers call the area “a gray area.” We often think that we are on top of things, but sometimes we are not. We have long been talking about oligosaccharides (carbohydrates (sugars) in that they are indigestible in the stomach and small intestine) that are not eaten by other foods such as soy products. However, when research focused on soy products, they actually found that those oligosaccharides did not appear to be the cause of the deception. 

Researchers take history of dieting carefully and often recommend changes in low-fiber, highly digestible foods. It doesn’t have to be too low, the fiber is just lower than the current diet.

Look at the Ingredients

Be sure to check the ingredients!

Some of the [medicinal] intestinal foods can be helpful. Even if one looks at it carefully, as sometimes the fat content can be very high in each animal. Protein novels or hydrolyzed foods are a good choice because a dog with an upset stomach may have an allergy [or hypersensitivity] as the underlying cause. Some canned foods on sale may contain guar gum or starch resistant to the rule. One has to know exactly what is in the diet. 

Changing What Happens in the Gut

Argument is that solving the TB problem requires the use of a substrate and changing the microflora at the same time. Protein-escape proteins are thought to be one of the major components of clostridial bacteria. Those bacteria often use and/or break them. When that happens the gut has to rearrange how bacteria is used. It is thought that protein maldigestion will cause malodor, but eventually anything that causes fermentation (e.g., soluble fibers) will cause more gas release.

“I’m so bloated. I just need to fart!”

If you are trying to reduce gas, I would definitely prescribe a healthy diet. It is also possible to measure protein in a certain way. It depends on each dog, whether how much the dog has eaten, its status, and whether you are trying to reduce weight of your dog. If protein is a problem, you will want to increase in protein digestion. So, in general, when constipation is a problem, you’ll want food that can be digested easily.

Environmental Management

Reducing the amount of air swallowed can help some dogs. Owners can also look for ways to reduce the stress associated with eating. Allowing a dog to tend to eat in a quiet environment lessens the excitement while eating. Competitive eating is a potential problem, so make sure there are no other dogs around to encourage the dog to eat faster and breathe more.

Slow feeder dog bowls are a great way to slow down your pooch’s eating.

Another way of treating this problem is feeding small, frequent meals. It can reduce the amount of air swallowed by dogs, as well as mixing dry and canned food.

With brachycephalic breeds, surgery to correct conditions such as soft palate or stenotic nares may help reduce aerophagia.

Final Thoughts on ‘Gas’

No matter what the cause, whether it is an eating disorder or a possible GI disease, cheating on dog nutrition can cause real problems for dogs and their owners. If the situation is serious, it can make the dog uncomfortable again.

“I just crop dusted the whole gas station!”

Hopefully pet owners will work with their veterinarian to treat their dog and solve the problem, not lose a dear friend who can’t help free up the thick clouds of polluting gases. Veterinarians who insist on finding a solution help ensure that their patient stays at home and is not sent to a behavioral shelter that they cannot control.

Walking in the Rain With Your Dog

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Does Your Dog Like the Rain?

Some dogs love being outdoors, especially in the rain. They love exploring the world and the next street corner. You might be tired of the same scenery day after day, but your dog doesn’t care about that. Your canine might go through the same street over and over again and they won’t mind, because they focus on the smell.

Sniffing in the Rain

Dog’s most powerful tool is their nose, and they use it to get familiar with space, people, and other animals. Thanks to their ability to sniff, they can find their way home. So, any walk – no matter how short it may be – is a real adventure to your canine. Plus, walks are mandatory to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Exercise

“It’s starting to RAIN!!”

On top of that, walks are a great way to give your dog the exercise they need. Some days are better for a calm stroll than others are.

There are dogs that really love water and won’t mind running in the rain, while there are those who can’t stand a single drop of water on their back.

Some Dogs Dislike the Rain

“Why does it have to be raining?”

They are so against walking in the rain, that they would hold on and miss potty time for hours.

Yet, this isn’t a healthy habit, and your dog should be taught to go out even on rainy days at least for a few minutes to do their business.

Here is how to make walking your dog in the rain a practical and fun experience.

Walking In The Rain Tips

Dog owners know that once you get a dog, you need to do whatever is in your power to keep them happy and healthy. That includes walking in the rain. Therefore, most dog owners will have no issues walking their dogs all year round.

You may love the rain or hate it, but you can’t avoid it as a dog owner. Here is how to stay dry, all year round.

Weather-appropriate Clothing

You shouldn’t avoid rainy days. Yes, rainy days are more challenging when you have a pet, especially if your pet has a white coat like a Pomeranian or White Swiss Shepherd.

“I already took a bath in that mud puddle!”

Although you should think about cleaning their paws and stomach, you shouldn’t forget about your own outfit first.

You shouldn’t get sick. Who would take care of your dog if you can’t leave your home?! Think about that and dress well. Make sure that you invest in weather-appropriate clothing for both you and your dog. There are many models to choose from raincoats and rain boots for your canine. These items are carefully designed to keep them dry and happy.

Plus, they really look adorable with a raincoat on.

“I need a better raincoat. My legs are still getting wet!”

Take Extra Care of Paws

Dog boots are great gear when it’s snowing. Dogs’ paws are sensitive and industrial salt spread on the streets can harm their paws. They may become inflamed, and a strong feeling of irritation can occur, that must be treated with specific medications.

To avoid this, veterinarians recommend using winter/rainy boots when their is snow.

Yet, some owners choose to put boots on their dogs even when it’s raining. Before you decide to do this, know that dogs prefer their paws free of extra clothing.

Coming In From the Rain

Once you return from your walk, make sure that you clean the paws properly and dry them well. It’s best to use a soft cloth. For extra protection and healthier paws, you can shop paw protectors.

For muddy paws, this is an easier alternative.

Think About Visibility

It would be hard to see this woman with her dog!

Rain usually comes with bad weather. The lighting is often non-existing when it rains, plus it can be challenging to see clearly outside your car when heavy rain pours. With that in mind, you should think about visibility. In fact, visibility is one of the most important aspects of walking dogs in rain.

If you and your puppy are protected and easy to spot, you are in fact safe from a potentially unsafe situation. Have at least one cloth item with reflective strips on your gear, to make sure that you are visible in traffic.

For your dog, you can have a light up collar or a vest with reflective straps on.

Make The Walks Short and Sweet When There’s Rain

“I hate this crap!”

Long walks are usually reserved for warmer days of the year, so you don’t have to force them during the rainy ones.

Your dog’s safety and comfort come first, so if there is heavy rain, shorten the walk. It should be long enough until your dog wishes to go inside. It’s usually enough to let them go to the toilet. Then they will be ready to be a couch potato for the rest of the day.

Inside Games When it is Raining

“You better not trick me!”

Since dogs love playing, on rainy days you should focus on indoor games. There are great ways to keep your dog entertained indoors as well.

Be Nice When it Rains

Human: “You just have to potty right there and come back in.” Dog: “I better not get wet!”

As a general rule, you should monitor your dog’s behavior and respect their wish and never force them to stay outside longer than needed.

If your dog is uncomfortable with the conditions, make enough place for their safety and health.

Go to the Dog Park (By Car)

“I love running around with friends in the rain.”

If you want to reduce exposure to the rain as much as possible, you should ride in a car. You can give your dog a ride to the dog park, have fun there, and head home to a dry and warm place.

While in the dog park, you can probably find a sheltered area. It tends to be muddy in the dog park, so bring enough towels to clean your canine before they jump back into the car.

Don’t forget to use a car seat covering when heading to a dog park on a rainy day. These seat covering should trap the hair of dogs that shed a lot, and save your time from washing your car. Coverings are washable and reusable, making them a must-have dog gear.

Beware of Puddles

Dogs love messy areas. In fact, the bigger the puddle, the more fun they will have. To you, drinking out of a muddy puddle can seem disgusting, but for them it’s perfect. To avoid a complete disaster, keep your dog on a short leash when walking past puddles.

Rain brings debris, dirt, and oils and they join the water and end up in stagnant puddles. This can make them very sick and will need to see a veterinarian immediately. In some cases, dogs can contract leptospirosis (an infectious bacteria disease) or other diseases. (There is a vaccine for leptospirosis.)

Keeping Your Car and Home Clean and Dry

As mentioned earlier, always have a towel for paws and body cleaning. You need to dry those paws and legs, and probably the stomach area, properly. If your dog has long hair, you might think about blow-drying if your dog allows it. It’s important to dry your dog as soon as you come home.

Think about house rules. Where can your dog can go when their fur is wet? You should train them not to jump on the couch until they are completely dry. Blocking other areas can be helpful as well, like blocking access to bedrooms.

The Bottom Line

Dogs are happy to spend time with their owners, regardless of the weather. As long as they feel loved and comfortable they won’t mind walking in bad weather.

Walking in the rain shouldn’t become a dramatic problem. It’s all about how well you train your dog.

Take it slow, step by step. Have the right rain gear that your dog is comfortable in. With all that, walking in a rain shouldn’t be an issue.

Walking a dog in rain is a mandatory part of being a responsible dog owner, and getting outdoors is beneficial both for you and your dog. Regular walks are mandatory if you want to have a healthy pet. Enjoy every rainy walk!

Puppy Potty Training At Night

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Should You Wake Your Puppy up to Potty at Night?

“I’m having a pee dream.”

It’s easy for most pet owners to potty train their pups for the daytime. Pet owners usually know the drill. They take the puppy out when they wake up in the morning, once they have eaten, and any other time they start to get a little too sniffy. The main issue starts when night arrives. And you have to remember that puppies are, after all, babies. So are you wondering should I wake my puppy up to pee at night? Then you have to remember that potty training puppies do mean more work and less sleep. This will ultimately pay off when you see that your dog is conducting most of their business outside. So read on to find out why and how you can train your pup for overnight potty sessions.

The Details To Night Time Potty Training

Most pup owners are yet to comprehend the fact that it takes a huge load of work to raise a puppy. You need to carry out the potty training and command training in tandem. In the meantime, you need to ensure that your puppy has enough chew toys so that they leave your shoes alone. Your puppy is a bundle of energy, and if you are still not sure if you should wake your puppy up to pee at night, then be rest assured you need to wake up at night to take them out as part of the potty training.

It’s All About The Age

If you are an owner of a young puppy, then it must be under your serious consideration to take your pup out to pee at night by waking them up. You must know that puppies that are below four months are not well capable of controlling or holding their urine throughout the whole night. At some point in the night, they will get the signal to pee from their bodies. If they aren’t trained, be prepared to find a mess in their crate or on the floor in the morning. So add it to your task list to take your puppy out to pee at least once during the night.

Setting Up The Crate

You should not give in to the urge to get a crate that is too large for your dog. A dog normally does not want to soil the area they sleep in. You should look for a crate that is big enough for them to just turn around in. As they grow bigger, you can get larger crates. This added expense will be worth it when you consider a better experience for the potty training. You need to wait until your dog is completely trained and has grown fully before getting the bigger crate that you always wanted for your dog.

There are some crates that you can buy that has a divider that you can put in while they are small, then take it out when they grow into the crate.

Get Prepared For Bedtime

Ensuring that there are no untoward incidents the whole night with your pup requires more than just setting the alarm. The bedtime needs to be prepared for by taking all the required precautions that warrant an accident-free night. The best practice is to feed dinner to your puppy at least 4 hours before they go to bed and pull up their water a couple of hours before bedtime. To some, it might seem like a cruel practice. But in reality, you will not be dehydrating or starving your puppy.

In fact, if you feed your pup early and pull their water a considerable amount of time before bed, you will be ensuring that your puppy will finish their business well before they go to sleep. To make this happen, you need to take them out right before you put them to bed. So if you are still thinking, should I wake my puppy up to pee at night? Your question can be answered by feeding your pup early.

Set The Alarm for Night Potty Time

The alarm should be set for just after 4 hours of your pup going to bed. You must be sure to follow this, especially for the youngest puppies. You need to get the timing just right enough for your pup to have enough in their body to do their business, but not late enough so that they cannot get out the door. If you notice that the pup has already soiled the area, you need to set the alarm for 3 hours instead of 4 for next time. And if the crate has not been soiled, then set it for 15 minutes later than the previous time.

“HURRY UP!!. I GOTTA GO!!”

By shifting the times around according to the situation, you can reduce the likelihood of a re-occurrence. The main objective of the whole process is to make sure that your pup does not go inside the house under any circumstance, no matter what.

Going To The Night Potty Area

“I’m half awake, but I really needed to potty. Thank you!”

Once your furry friend is up at night, you need to calmly take them to the area that you have designated for potty. Be sure not to do anything that might give them the impression that it is now time to play. Your dog must realize that potty time is for business only, not for playing or anything else, especially if it’s at night since you do want to get some sleep afterward. If they start to sniff around, quickly ask them to go potty. Once your pup has finished doing their business, you should praise them in a calm and quiet manner. Be sure to not let any situation get over-the-top during the alarm potty sessions of nighttime, or none of you will get any sleep afterward.

Going Back To Bed

“Now back to dreaming.”

After your dog has finished their business, do not waste any time and take them right back inside the house to their crate. Just part with them with a “good pup” and quickly go back to your own bed. Do not stay back with your dog for any period of time, as this might result in un-training the sleep routine you tried so hard to enforce in the first place. The whole target of the process should be to minimize night time disruption and get the business done as quickly as possible.

Summary of Potty Training at Night

You might be concerned about should I wake my puppy up to pee at night? There is no alternative to waking up at night with your puppy for the night time potty training to be successful. If your puppy is really young, you might need to get up twice every night. But their bladder will grow as they get older. You will come down to waking up once every night soon. And then eventually you will not need to get up at night at all. You have to be patient and persistent throughout this whole process if you want the training to be successful. So follow the tips mentioned in this article to get the best results for potty training.

26 Helpful “Dog Chart” That Owners Should Have Around

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“Dog Chart” to Help You Take Care of Your “Fur Baby”

Scanning through long posts can take hours to find what you are looking for. I’ve found the best chart for each dog problems and questions people regularly have. Go ahead and print these out for guidance and sharing!

1. This dog body language translation chart to help you decode your pup’s many strange behaviors!!!


2. This chart on how much exercise your dog’s breed should get every day.


3. This incredibly insightful chart on how dogs sleep (FACT: Dogs don’t follow a binary sleeping pattern like we do!!!)


4. This adorable chart on where the world’s dog breeds are from originally!!!


5. This graphic on dog breeds and their many varying characteristics


6. Benefits of positive reinforcement training!!!!


7. This chart on how dogs age, with Tom Hanks as the reference, naturally


8. This quick lil’ dog leash etiquette lesson


9. This how-to on the Heimlich maneuver, aka how to help your dog if they’re ever choking on something


10. This potentially lifesaving info on heat stroke


11. This handy-dandy dog barking decoder


12. This infographic on the most common health issues for popular breeds


13. This fascinating chart on wolf-to-dog evolution!!!!!!


14. This VERY important guide on car safety for pupperinos!


15. This brief chart on puppy dog eyes, among other things!


16. This helpful chart on which fruits your dog can and can’t eat


17. And this guide on lots of other safe and not-so-safe foods!


18. Easy-to-digest chart on the different types of service dogs, for anyone who might be a little confused


19. How to do CPR on your dog (in case of emergencies)


20. Which over-the-counter meds should be OK to give to your pup (but be sure to double-check with your vet, just to be safe!)


21. How to *properly* clean your stinky one’s ears


22. This guide on how to train your dog with hand signals


23. Of course, I had to include a tail translation guide!!!


24. Need more info on dog behaviors? How about facial expressions and noises?!


25. This Chew-o-meter for anyone who needs help picking out a new chew for their fur baby!


26. And lastly, this sweet lesson on filling your dog’s “emotional cup”

I hope these simple guides help you build a wonderful bond with your fur baby!

Dog Proofing Your House and Yard

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Not all dog dangers are obvious. Keep your furry friends safe and sound by handling all of these potential hazards.

Everyone who gets a dog soon learns that a certain amount of vigilance goes with pet ownership. Puppies especially can get into everything and escape through the tiniest opening. Some of the better-known dangers are toxic plants and food.

But do you know about the other dangers that might lurk in your home and garden? From the bathroom and laundry room to the office, kitchen, garage and even the great outdoors, there are some expected and unexpected hazards your pet might face.

There is good news. First, a lot of these potential dangers are things your pet will probably ignore. More good news, you can easily take care of most of these potential problems. Some of the rules are simply common sense:

Keep small objects and items that can be easily eaten or swallowed out of their way.

As for other dangers, just look around from your pet’s point of view and see what might be tempting and troublesome. Consider pet-proofing your home to be much like baby-proofing. You’re simply making sure that pets and possible problems don’t mix.

There’s even a bonus to these precautions: a tidier house. Storing things safely away after using them also turns out to be much easier than coaxing them away from a pet determined to destroy them, or even worse, making an emergency trip to the vet. And it will leave you with much more room for you and your pet to play with the things that are safe.

Kitchens

Food is, of course, the most common kitchen-related problem. The best-known problem food is probably chocolate, but other possibly toxic foods include avocados, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic and coffee. Other things to watch out for are sharp knives and little things like twist ties that can easily be swallowed.

You may want to install a door or gate to keep animals out of the kitchen while you’re cooking.

Bathrooms and Laundry Rooms

Some hazards are obvious: cleansers, detergents, fabric softeners, bleach, medications, vitamins and even dental floss can all be dangerous if eaten or swallowed.

Dogs in particular may be tempted to chew on, and potentially swallow, towels and stray socks (and you were blaming the dryer for eating them), which can lead to severe gastrointestinal problems.

“Yuck!!! Get away from the toilet!!”

There are some other dangers in the bathroom and laundry area that you might overlook. In addition to the “yuck” factor, drinking out of the toilet isn’t good for pets, especially if you use chemical cleansers. Sinks and tubs filled with water and left unattended can pose a drowning hazard for small pets.

Washers and dryers can be a tempting spot for a nap and you may not notice them if you put in a load of clothes. Keep the doors on appliances closed.

“I was just taking a nice warm nap.”

Gathering Areas

There generally aren’t too many dangers lurking in these rooms, but there are a few possible trouble spots. The fireplace is a big one. Pets can be harmed by flames and flying ashes. A simple screen is probably all you need.

Owner: “What are you guys doing? Sticking your brother in the fire will not get rid of his grey muzzle!!”

Another overlooked danger is fire-starter sticks. They’re somewhat sweet, and some dogs can’t resist eating them.

Wires and cords can also be a problem. Chewing on a plugged-in cord can electrocute a pet. Tucking cords away or covering them will keep them out of your pet’s way and also will leave your room looking neater.

“I’m going to get tied up with these cords and my long body!”

As a general precaution, put anything you value or anything that’s a chewing or choking hazards out of reach when you’re not around.

  • puzzle pieces
  • small toys
  • and so on

Opened doors and windows are great for letting in fresh air, but not great if they tempt your animal out into a world of cars and other dangers.

“Should I stay or run after that squirrel?”

Be sure that if pets can get out, they’ll be heading into a safe place, such as a fenced yard. Otherwise, screens are a great compromise. You can even find ones that are almost invisible.

Find this on Amazon

Bedrooms 

Can you spot the dangers?

Aside from the danger of a puppy’s chewing on your good shoes, bedrooms are generally fairly benign when it comes to pet danger. But to be on the safe side, keep away

  • jewelry
  • hair clips
  • pins
  • bands

One potential serious hazard, though, is mothballs. They’re toxic, so if you use them, be sure they’re in a place your pet absolutely can’t reach.

Areas With Odds and Ends

Everyday objects such as these can all cause problems if chewed or swallowed:

  • batteries
  • buttons
  • coins (especially pennies)
  • paper clips
  • rubber bands

If you’re into crafts, be sure sharp objects, including needles, are out of reach. Plastic bags and plastic wrap can cause suffocation.

Garages and Basements

These are storage areas for lots of things including things that can be a problem if your pets get into them. The simple solution is to keep things either high up or in a closed cabinet like:

  • pesticides
  • gasoline
  • solvents
  • antifreeze
  • coolants
  • oils
  • screws
  • nuts
  • bolts
  • nails

If you live in a snowy climate, be aware that de-icing compounds may also contain dangerous chemicals, so look for ones that are safe for pets.

The Great Outdoors

“I thought you said you needed help with gardening!”

Just as food in the kitchen can be a problem for pets, so can plants in the garden. There are many number of plants that can cause problems. See what plants are toxic.

Garden chemicals can cause problems for pets.

  • Compost
  • cocoa-based mulches
  • pesticides
  • insecticides
  • fertilizers
  • other garden chemicals

Your first line of defense is keeping things stored away safely and out of reach.

Traditional snail and slug bait is also toxic. If you need to keep your vegetables and other plants safe from these marauders, look for barrier methods or pet-friendly bait formulations.

Balconies

Balconies may seem safe, but it’s easy for small pets to slip through the railings or get stuck halfway. Of course, it also would be hard to resist railings, even if your dog could get over or around it.

“I’m stuck!! Put down the camera and help me!”

Be sure latticework is in good repair as well, so pets won’t get stuck or crawl into spaces where they shouldn’t go.

Fire Pits and Barbecues

Just as fireplaces can be a danger indoors, ashes and flames from fire pits and barbecues can be hazardous. Keep an eye on both the fire and your pets, and if you’re barbecuing, keep the lighter fluid out of reach.

“Well, if nobody is tending to the meat, I might as well eat it!”

Pools and Ponds

“Help!!! I can’t fecking swim!!!”

Chemicals are an obvious source of trouble if pets drink from pools and spas, but there are other dangers as well. Even if pets can swim, they can still drown in pools and spas if they can’t get out. Long, low steps may help, but your best approach is to keep pets away from the water, either with covers or fencing or by keeping them inside unless accompanied.

As with pools and spas, ponds might pose a problem if a pet falls in and can’t get out. A sloping side to a pond will provide better footing and give your pond a more natural look.

Ponds are also prone to forming algae, which may be toxic by itself or because of the chemicals added to destroy it.


Yes I know that dog proofing your house and yard sounds like a lot of trouble to go through, but we want to make sure our fur babies are taken care of!!

40 Pics of Stretchy Dog Skin Cuteness

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40 Stretchy Dogs With Extra Skin ‘Squish’ And Extra Cuteness

You Can’t Resist a Dog With Squishy Cheeks

Dogs are known for a lot of qualities. They are loyal, affectionate, obedient, and very intelligent. But the most prominent thing is that they are extremely cute. Nobody can deny that. Dogs are adorable inside and out. If you have a dog around you and you are stressed out, the stress won’t stay for long. Dogs are everyone’s favorite because they know exactly how to cheer someone up. Be it their hilarious shenanigans or their adorable stretched skin faces. Everything works for us.

Just Have to Squish Cheeks

When you find something really cute, you end up squishing its cheeks because it is irresistible. So a lot of dogs get their skin flaps and scruffs stretched by their humans as a sign of love and affection. Scroll down below to see 40 adorable dogs with stretchy skin. And don’t worry, none of them are in pain. They all love it.


1. This poor pup is probably wondering why they are dreaming about their lips getting stuck.

2. The Shibu Stretch!

3. “Very funny guys. I know I have huge cheeks!”

4. “No matter how much you stretch my face, my tongue will not go back inside!”

5. “Stop! You’re making me self conscious of my extra skin!”

6. “I would look way cooler if you didn’t hold out my jaws like wings.”

7. “Yes, I have extra cheek skin. Am I going to get a treat soon?”

8. “Yeth hooman, I have a big thmile!”

9. “I look like a lizard!”

10. “I saved some bread for you. Thorry, it might be a little soggy!”

11. “Stretch all you want. You won’t get rid of my wrinkles!”

12. “Is this what they call a face lift!”

13. “I look so handsome with a big smile.”

14. “I keep telling you my lips get in the way!”

15. “Doctor, can you give me a facelift?”

Taking Care of Dog’s Skin and Winkles

The PDSA had an interview where they explained how to take care of a dog’s sagging skin, winkles and folds. “Dogs have an area on the back of their necks called the scruff where the skin is a little more loosely attached to the body than in other areas. Sometimes, you can feel it moving as you stroke or scratch your dog, but it still has the same nerves and stretch sensitivity as the rest of the skin. It’s important not to pull on any part of your dog’s skin as over stretching their skin can be really painful, just like it would be for a person. This also applies to the scruff of the neck,” PDSA vet Anna explained.

Scruffs

Unlike cats, we should not pick up dogs from the scruffs of their necks. “Instead, if you need to pick up your dog, support them under their chest and back legs to carry them. If they’re a bigger dog, try using a big blanket or a board with the help of a friend or family member if you need to lift them for any reason. Find out more on our first aid guide,” she shared.

Loose Skin Breeds

Shar Peis, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers, and Basset Hounds have naturally loose skin, but other dogs can also develop scruffs and wrinkles due to weight gain. “People often think of skin folds on a dog’s face, but they can also be found in other places, especially if a dog is overweight, for example around their tail, back end or at the tops of their legs.”

Skin Folds

It is essential to clean a dog’s skin folds as they cam develop skin fold dermatitis, which is a terrible infection that affects the “pockets” between skin folds. “The skin in the folds is often very warm and damp, so yeast and bacteria that live on the skin naturally can overgrow, leading to irritated, red, and smelly skin which is itchy and uncomfortable for your dog. If left untreated, skin fold dermatitis can result in ulcers and sores in the folds which can be very painful.”

How to Clean Skin Folds

You can clean your dog’s skin folds by using cooled boiled water, or apply salt water using cotton wool pads. “Be especially careful when cleaning folds near your dog’s eyes. If your dog finds this really uncomfortable, there could be a problem or infection in one of the folds so it’s best to get them checked by your vet. It’s important not to use any other products (such as creams or shampoos) on the skin folds unless you’ve been advised to by your vet—in many cases these can make any irritation or itching worse,” the vet warned.

Brush your dog to maintain a healthy coat. “If they are dirty or muddy, it’s best to just use water to wash them. There are plenty of pet shampoos on the market and these are suitable for most pets, but using them too regularly can lead to dry skin or skin irritation, especially if your pet’s skin is sensitive or they have a skin problem,” she warned. “There are prescription, medicated shampoos available which can help some skin conditions, ask your vet for advice to find out what’s best for your pet.” If you don’t trust them, just use water.

Skin Care

“Many owners worry about their pet’s skin, and sometimes it can be hard to know if your dog has a skin problem. All dogs will lick or scratch now and then and in many cases, it’s nothing to worry about—it’s just part of them grooming their coat. However, if your dog is itching all the time, is making their skin red, they’re losing lots of fur, they have a rash or bumpy skin or you think they may have a wound or infection, it’s best to contact your vet for advice,” Anna said.

Skin Conditions

“There are many causes of skin conditions, from allergies and wounds to fleas, mites, and infections. Some dogs will have a skin problem just once in their lifetime, but for many, skin issues need life-long management or treatment. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to help keep your dog comfortable and happy, including medication, special diets, and supplements. The key thing is to get help for your dog early—most skin problems get worse over time and become more difficult to treat.”

Lumps

If you see any irregular lumps forming on your dog’s skin, check with a vet. “They will be able to check the lump and discuss the next options for your pet. Although many owners worry that a new lump could be cancer, there are actually many different causes for lumps and many of these can be treated and won’t lead to more serious problems for your pet. However, it’s better to get any lumps or bumps checked sooner rather than later, especially if they have come up quickly, seem red or painful, or are causing issues for your dog.”

16. “You’ve turned me into a stingray!”

17. Happy face flaps!

18. “My smile goes all the way to my eyes.”

19. Face Smoosh VS. Flying face.

20. “Are you checking to make sure I took that pill?”

21. “Any tighter and I won’t be able to open my eyes!”

22. “Are you telling me I have big cheeks?”

23. “My face can stretch really wide!”

24. “You better be careful stretching my cheekers.”

25. “Why do I look like a quokka?”

26. “I can also stretch my tongue!”

27. “You’ve stretched so much, my ears are gone!”

28. Whose got a big smile!

29. “I believe I can fly!”

30. “My face is going to stay like this if you keep stretching.”

31. “I can fit a lot in my cheeks for later!”

32. How to make a heart faced pug!

33. “This is so humiliating. I don’t go stretching out your extra skin.”

34. I believe this might be a pillow!

35. “I look like a goofy polar bear.”

36. “That’s what happens when you lose so much fat.”

37. “That’s what I call a French smoosh!”

38. “I didn’t know I had wings on my face!”

39. “Why do you love my face to look derpy?”

40. “I’ll always be your little chipmunk.”

Tried Stretching Your Own Dog’s Cheekers?

Did seeing these images make you want to stretch your dog’s cheeks too? Have you tried this on them?

How to Communicate With Your Dog

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When communicating with our dogs, it’s not just what we say. It’s how we say it and more importantly, what we do. They observe our visual and verbal cues and both cues need to be sending the same message. We become more aware of the signals we send to our dogs and how they perceive them. We can cut down the number of everyday frustrations and communicate more clearly to our dogs.

The Dog Head Tilt

Does your dog ever give you a blank stare when you ask them to follow a simple cue such as “sit”? Do you want your dog to play with you, and you do everything to get their attention. Do they don’t seem to get it. There are fascinating studies about how best to communicate with our dogs and why cues and signals. How they are given can enhance how our dogs to understand us.

How Dogs Interpret Communication With Humans

Let’s start with how dogs might interpret signals to play with us. In a paper, Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans?” lead researcher Nicola Rooney, University of Bristol in the UK, wanted to know what play signals are the most successful.

So they filmed 21 dog/owner pairs playing—or at least, attempting to play. In what could surely have been billed as a comedy. Owners patted the floor, barked, bowed, shuffled their feet, slapped their thighs, crawled on all fours. Anything to get their dogs to romp with them.

The researchers videotaped the sessions and meticulously catalogued, recorded and identified common actions used by owners to solicit play. They then tested to see which signals actually worked.

Bowing in a human version of a dog play-bow, as well as lunging while verbally encouraging the dog, usually elicited play.

Other gestures like:

  • tickling the dog as though they were a human infant
  • or stamping one’s feet as though dislodging last week’s dried mud from hiking boots

That just earned blank looks. And surprisingly, patting the floor and clapping were less than 50 percent successful. What’s more, while barking at, kissing or picking up the little pooches probably brought on laughs from the researchers. Most dogs failed to find these actions amusing.

“I thought humans were suppose to be smart and the alpha.”

As interesting as these findings were, the real message—one that stayed with me—was what came next. Upon analyzing the data, the researchers found that some actions tended to instigate play while others resulted in silent stares. The frequency with which the owners used the signals was unrelated to their success. In other words, owners tended to use unsuccessful gestures even after they were demonstrated not to work. And there I had it, scientific proof: Dogs are smarter than humans!

Dogs Learn By Trial-And-Error

Well, at least in some ways dogs top human because dogs are champions at trial-and-error learning. They have all day to try things out and see what works.

“Please pay attention to me.”

For instance, want to play fetch when your people aren’t interested? Grab a tennis ball and drop it at your human’s feet. Then bark until they finally pick it up and toss it. Getting the silent treatment? Bark longer and louder—you’ll eventually get a response. Or, choose the right time, like when your human’s on the phone. That’s when they’ll do anything to get you to shut up.

While dogs are masters of this style of learning, we humans are hindered by our much-vaunted cognitive abilities. Armed with the wonderful capacity to observe and imitate, we copy the behaviors we see, whether they work or not. Clouded by our preconceptions of the techniques we’re supposed to use, we forget to stop and evaluate whether our actions or methods actually work.

This might seem like fun and games when it’s just us dancing around trying to get our dogs to play. At worst, when our pooch refuses to romp, we attribute it to them not being in the mood. But when it comes to something more important (like coming when called or sitting on command) a dog’s failure to perform can result in them being labeled “stubborn” or “stupid”. Because what else could it be?

Dogs Learn Visual Vs. Verbal Cues Better

Well, according to a series of research studies by Daniel Mills (veterinarian and researcher in Behavioral Studies and Animal Welfare at the UK’s University of Lincoln). With play signals, much poor performance could be attributed to dogs’ inability to decipher our signals. It turns out that even if our dog responds to our commands some of the time, they may not know what they mean as well as we think they do.

According to Mills, a number of factors determine how well our dogs perceive the message we intend to give. One is whether the signal is verbal or visual. We humans are used to communicating by talking. Mills’ research indicates that this may not be the best mode of communication with dogs. In an experiment to test which signal type takes precedence, Mills and his colleagues trained dogs to respond to a verbal right and left cue as well as a visual pointing cue for the same behaviors. To guard against bias that could be created by the order of teaching, half of the dogs were initially trained using verbal cues and the other half, using visual cues.

Testing Ways To Communicate

Then they tested the dogs by placing a treat-holding container on either side of the subject. One box on the right and one on the left. When they gave the “left” cue, the dog got the food reward if they ran to the box on the left. If they ran to the wrong box, they received no reward. Once dogs consistently responded correctly to verbal and visual cues alone, the cues were given together, with a twist. The researchers gave a verbal signal for one direction and a visual signal for the other to see which one the dogs would follow.

For anyone whose dog competes seriously in agility, the results were a no-brainer. The dogs consistently followed the visual pointing cue and ignored the verbal cue. This dynamic plays out on every agility course. A dog will usually go where the handler’s body is pointing rather than where the handler might be verbally trying to send them.

Giving Dogs Mixed Signals

This bias toward the visual as opposed to the verbal can pose problems for dogs even in everyday life. Mills says, “This simple example emphasizes that when training dogs, we have to realize that dogs may be reading signals we’re not aware of”. So when your voice tells the dog to do one thing but your body tells them to another, they’re not being stubborn. They may just be reading a different message than the one you think you’re sending.

“I’m not sure what you’re trying to tell me. Am I supposed to be doing something?”

Even when we’re purposefully sending visual commands to our dogs, such as in the obedience trial ring or field trials or other long-distance work, there’s more to the signal than we might think. Says Mills, “In a similar study, we looked at the dog’s response to different visual right-and-left cues. We compared eye movement and head movement to the right or left with pointing right or left, but keeping the eyes and head looking forward”. Using six dogs, they found that dogs found the hidden food source faster when the two signals were presented together. Which, Mills says, suggests that “Dogs are taking in the whole picture of what’s going on”. That is, they don’t look at our hands or our head, they look at our entire body. As a result, if all signals are not consistent, dog can become confused.

Pronunciation Matters To Dogs

Do these studies mean we should scrap verbal commands altogether and focus on the visual signals? Obviously, dogs can learn verbal commands, because we use them all the time and some dogs respond correctly on a regular basis. But perhaps even those who respond don’t know the cues as well as we think. Mills and his colleagues performed a series of studies to test this, too. First, they tested slight variations in the commands to see if dogs recognized them as the same words. They taught dogs to stand and stay. Then, from five feet away, the trainer gave either a “come” command or a “sit” command.

“Are you speaking proper English?”

Once the dogs were reliable about responding correctly, the researchers changed the command words slightly. In place of “sit,” they used “chit,” “sat” and “sik,” and in place of “come,” they used “tum,” “keem” and “kufe”. The results? In general, dogs did not respond as well to the similar-sounding words. Taken from another viewpoint, they were able to recognize that the similar-sounding words were not the same as the commands they had learned. This sounds like no big deal. But, Mills says, “From a practical point of view, due to slight differences in how handlers pronounce words, obedient response to one handler’s commands won’t necessarily transfer to another unless the phonemic characteristics are mimicked.”

Do Dogs Respond To Recorded Cues?

“No matter how many times I listen, I still don’t understand.”

You might think you could get around this by tape-recording the command and just playing it back. Mills found that dogs don’t respond to tape-recordings as though they were a real-time human voice. In yet another experiment, a “come” or “sit” command was given in one of four conditions:

  • from a person sitting in a chair
  • from the same person wearing sunglasses to prevent visual cues
  • both conditions
  • command from tape recorder behind the person

Mills reports, “Dogs made many more errors when the tape recorder was used.”

“Slow down. I’m trying to read your lips.”

Such errors could be attributed to the dogs distinguishing a difference between the tape-recorded and live voice command. Another hypothesis is that dogs also rely on lip movement or some other indication that the human is speaking to them. In fact, in a fifth variation, the handler uttered the “come” or “sit” cue while looking away from the dogs. They again made many errors, indicating that orientation of the handler is important.

By now, it should be clear: Be aware of visual signals, as they may override the verbal commands. Make sure all of your signals mean the same thing. Your message may look more like a dubbed version of Godzilla than a clear-cut cue. When you do use verbal cues, make sure everyone says them exactly the same way. Also you can train your dog that slight variations mean the same thing. And if you plan on your dog responding correctly to your verbal commands when you’re out of sight or facing away, you’ll have to specifically train them to do so.

Communicate: Emotional Expression of Cues Count to Dogs

And that’s not the end of it. Turns out that the emotional content of your message is important too. Mills’ group trained dogs to reliably come or sit when a handler was standing five feet away behind a screen. Then they tested to see how dogs responded to different emotional contents. The commands were uttered in a neutral tone; a happy tone, with the inflection ascending; an angry version, with the tone descending; and a gloomy version, in which the handler sighed first. Dogs responded more predictably when the tone was positive. When the command was said in an angry or gloomy manner, there was more variation in their responses.

Communicate Clearly

So what’s the take-home message? The one your pooch is dying for you to learn? Here it is: Perhaps when your dog gives you a blank stare after you utter a command you think they know, they have a good reason. Because when communicating with our pets, it’s not just what we say. It’s how we say it and whether our visual and verbal cues are sending the same message. We become more aware of the signals we send to our dogs and how they perceive them. We can cut down the number of everyday frustrations and open clearer lines of communication with our four-legged friends.

Paws: Is Your Dog Left Or Right Pawed?

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Does Your Dog Use Their Right or Left Paws?

If you are cooped up indoors right now, you might be looking for ways to keep your dog engaged! May we suggest some brain games using your dog’s paws?

Here is a super easy one to help you discover if your dog is right pawed or left pawed: 

  1. Fill a small wobbly toy (maybe a kong) with some yummy treats and leave it in front of your dog.
  2. Give your dog a release command indicating that they can go play with the toy.
  3. Observe from a short distance away, and keep a count of how many touches they make with each paw.
  4. You can stop counting when they have touched it at least 20 times.

Did your dog touch the toy with their right paw more frequently, or their left? Or was it about even … meaning they are ambi-dexterous?

What does paw preference tell us?

Studies have shown that ambidextrous dogs are great problem solvers, while dogs who show a paw preference (whether left or right) are explorers who love new experiences. 

By asking our dogs to use their paws, we also ask them to use their brains. Dogs use all parts of their brain all the time, but some areas get recruited more depending on what they needs are and this is reflected in their behaviors.

Playing Games With Chloe

I like to play the game “Which Hand” is the treat in. She has to choose which hand is holding the treat. At first, I would just hurry and put the treat in a hand and hold it out to her to choose. I made her figure out that I wanted her to use her paws. She would instantly smell and choose the correct hand with her left paw. Then I later put the treat behind my back and switched the treat around so both hands smelled of the treat. She usually smells both hands and you can see the wheels in her brain trying to choose which hand. She still usually gets it correct always using her left paw!