Suddenly, your perfect puppy is a rebel without a clue! She is distracted and hyper, flighty and fearful. She’s barking, lunging and having accidents in the house. Worst of all, she seems to have forgotten every scrap of training.
Welcome to adolescence, that rocky passage from playful puppy to independent adult. It’s all part of growing up. And although it can be tempting to ignore your teenage dog’s bad behaviours, it’s best to face canine adolescence head-on. If left unaddressed, puppy-sized predicaments become grown-up grievances.
What’s going on?
Adolescence is a time of tremendous physical and psychological change for your dog. Although her body may seem full-grown, it isn’t. And her brain is anything but.
Signs of early adolescence usually emerge between seven and 10 months of age, but can appear as early as four months. Most behaviour problems appear between eight and 18 months. Your dog may exhibit uncharacteristic and unpredictable behaviours, such as aggression, fearfulness or reactivity. In addition, you may see regressions in chew-training and housetraining and, well, training in general.
With hormones raging, body changing and brain disengaging, it’s no wonder your dog is acting strangely. As adolescent dogs become sexually aware, fluctuations in hormone levels can cause all sorts of disruptions in thinking. Your dog may become distracted outdoors, roaming widely and ignoring you completely. Adolescent dogs begin flirting with members of the opposite sex. They may also exhibit dog-to-dog aggression.
Males begin lifting their leg and marking their territory. Females mark, too, leaving their scent to attract suitors.
This is when accidents may occur in the house. Not only that, your well-behaved dog may begin mounting other dogs, furniture, stuffed animals or even your house guests’ legs! These symptoms can be more severe with intact dogs – particularly males – but even spayed or neutered dogs experience “brain-strain” as they cope with adolescence. Of course, un-spayed females will experience their first estrus (heat) cycle, and false (or real) pregnancies could follow.
Your adolescent dog’s body is getting bigger and stronger. She might have reached her full height, but she still has some filling out to do. She is gangly and uncoordinated. Growth spurts are still possi-ble, sometimes accompanied by growing pains, especially in larger breeds.
In severe cases, a visit to the vet may be in order. Your dog might be moody or seem uninterested in her favourite activities.
On the other hand, adolescent dogs often have more energy than they know what to do with. Plenty of exercise is necessary, preferably several times per day.
During adolescence, your dog will develop psychologically, too. She will become independent and may begin to question and challenge your authority. “Sit? You want me to sit? Why? What will you do if I don’t?” Remain calm and patient during such episodes. You may need to re-teach behaviours, making it easy and rewarding for your dog to be correct.
Your adolescent dog is also learning her limits with other people and dogs she meets. It is common for fears to arise during this period. Your dog may react with aggressive or submissive behaviours. In both cases, remain calm and unemotional. Resist the urge to punish or coddle, as either will reinforce the behaviour and make it more likely to recur. Ongoing socialization with dogs and people is critical!
Training and socialization
Hopefully, you’ve set a good foundation with your puppy training. Don’t stop now! Training and socialization are essential during adolescence. This is the perfect opportunity to forge a deep and lasting bond with your dog, just when she needs you most. Obedience and dog sport classes are great investments, and both of you will benefit. Employ reward-based training methods and you’ll earn the trust, love and loyalty of your best friend.
Socialization must be ongoing. Provide your dog with an ever-changing variety of friendly dogs and people to socialize with. Vary the route, destination and time of your walks. Be sure to socialize at home; invite people and their well-behaved dogs over to visit. It could be good for your social life, too!
Desensitize your dog to joggers, skateboarders, cyclists, rollerbladers and children running and squealing. Keep your dog leashed and stay well back at first. Reward your dog lavishly for calm behaviour. You must do this before she reacts. In fact, you want to prevent the reaction from happening at all. If you are consistent, you will find your dog becoming more attentive when distractions are present, because she anticipates reward. If your dog makes a mistake and reacts by barking or lunging, remain calm and quickly retreat from the situation. Next time, keep more distance between your dog and the distraction and get the reward in sooner. Remember, if you punish your dog, you will make the problem worse.
Basic training needs lots of review at this time. A rock-solid Recall or a quick Down could save your dog’s life. A Sit-Stay is an incredibly convenient thing. Do a few quick obedience exercises daily and remember to reward generously with praise, food or play. With consistent training, the memory loss and selective hearing of adolescence will recede and you and your furry friend will enjoy a rich and rewarding relationship.
Swimmer puppies are easy to spot. They crawl around like seals, legs out to their sides, making clumsy, futile attempts to get up. Though the disorder normally self-corrects, another more serious condition can accompany it and lead to complications.
What it is
Swimmer puppy syndrome (SPS) has been described in small breeds like the Dachshund, Yorkshire Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and English Cocker Spaniel. It’s also seen in breeds with large chests and short legs – the Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Basset Hound, and French and English Bulldogs. It seems that no breed is immune to the condition.
SPS isn’t detectable until a litter is two to three weeks old – when puppies start to walk. It can afflict just the forelegs, just the hind legs, or all four legs. At one time, slippery floors were thought to be a cause for SPS. We now know that shiny floors aggravate the problem and prevent weak, unsteady pups from getting up, but it is not a trigger for the condition.
There is no specific test for SPS. Bones and joints are formed correctly. The neurological examination is also normal – the pup has proper reflexes and he feels pain as he should. The pup simply has an inability to get his legs underneath and stand up. It looks like lack of coordination.
A complication common to swimmer puppies is dorsoventral (top to bottom) flattening of the chest. This pectus excavatum (PE) narrows the chest cavity, so much so that these puppies may have trouble filling their lungs. The consequence is that they breathe with their mouths open, and if breathing difficulty is severe, have bluish mucous membranes.
PE is detected by feeling the sternum between the forelegs. The bones ‘cave in’ rather than forming a smooth line. To understand this condition, imagine your breastbone being pushed inward toward your spine (through your chest). PE is confirmed by taking a chest radiograph.
The link between SPS and PE is heavily debated. Some veterinarians and breeders believe that having PE makes the pup prone to SPS because the legs don’t have the leverage to get the pup up. On the other hand, some believe that a pup with SPS, having constant pressure on its chest, falls victim to PE.
If a pup has PE and is asymptomatic (shows no signs), no treatment is required. In this case, the defect is cosmetic only. If breathing is compromised, the condition needs attention. Regular compression of the chest from side to side, and encouraging the puppy to lie on its side, can induce the chest to deepen, correcting the abnormal shape.
If the PE is severe, surgery is needed. The veterinarian applies an external splint that is used to anchor sutures passed around the ribs. These sutures pull the chest out to a normal position. This works because the bottom of each rib is made of cartilage and very pliable at this age.
What you can do
Swimmer puppies that don’t have PE usually self-correct. Some veterinarians suggest hobbling the legs together to prevent a splay-leg stance. Rubbing the paw pads with a toothbrush can increase tactile sensation, supposedly stimulating the nerves and getting the pup to use its legs more forcibly.
Food should be restricted in SPS puppies to prevent excessive weight gain (if the pups are on solid food). Fat puppies always have a harder time getting up. Physiotherapy can also be attempted to boost muscle strength. Move the limbs for 10 minutes four to five times a day.
You should consider the sort of pet you own. In general, says Dr. Heng from The Joyous Vet, breeds with thick fur coats like Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers and Collies shed seriously. This is due in part to humidity-led skin problems like heat stress. That being said, “Short coats like the Jack Russell also shed continuously as their fur growth cycle is short.”
The age of your pet also informs the effort that goes into managing your companion’s fur. Younger pets are more prone to parasites, which leads to skin problems, excessive scratching and shedding. For older pets, the problem tends to be hormonal as their levels go out of whack. Sterilised pets are more prone to such issues.
If there seems to be excessive shedding, look out, anywhere on your pet, for bald patches, intense itchiness (along with heavy-duty scratching), redness, dried skin scabs, severe inflammation and pus production. If you find any of these, the problem is probably an underlying condition that can only be addressed by your vet.
Stress is sometimes a determining factor in the amount of shedding your pet does. Dogs have to be walked regularly or you might find them ripping chunks of fuzz off themselves in sheer boredom.
A good Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) supplement is paramount for skin health, particularly Omega 3. While most dry pet foods “claim” to have it in oodles, more often than not, they don’t. This is due to Omega 3′s extreme sensitivity to light and oxidation. EFAs supplementation applies more to dogs than cats, says Dr. Ly form The Animal Recovery Centre. Stress causes internal inflammation and Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory oil. “A large percentage of dogs have an inherited inability to neutralize inflammation caused by stress.”
Dr. Ly also recommends a good multi-vitamin, and zinc supplementation. Dr. Heng adds that Vitamin C, Flaxseed oil and cod liver oil are good, too, although you’ll need to check with your vet for the recommended dosage.
For Dr. Ly, a healthy diet is the panacea to your pet’s woes—or in the case of minimal shedding—yours. To minimise this, a mixture of fresh food and commercial food is ideal. He points to the denaturation of protein in high temperature food processing in some kibble brands. “When food is processed at high temperatures, a lot of the essential amino acids are damaged and a lot of nutrients are completely eliminated. And a lot of the nutrients are completely eliminated. And a lot of the micronutrients including enzymes are not found in processed foods even though a lot of them meet the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) requirements. But these requirements only meet the minimum daily needs of your pet.”
I usually tell people that fresh is good, but raw is even better, says Dr. Ly, who observed that undomesticated animals on a diet of raw prey “look better” than their counterparts in captivity. He also noted that some animals, for example, might be allergic to processed lamb, but when given raw lamb, they do not show signs of allergy.
Make sure your pet’s groomer is professional enough to recognize skin and coat problems. There are groomers out there who are nothing more than glorified shampoo salesmen. A “professional” groomer, says Dr Ly, would also check with the pet’s owner for allergies, past and present. “What I see very often is animals coming in after undergoing grooming, because they break out. They shed even more, they develop skin problems.”
The more humid the weather, the more knots there are in your pet’s fur, the more knots, the more skin problems, which lead to excessive shedding. Regular brushing of your pet helps. Dr. Heng suggests daily brushing in Singapore’s climate. Hiroshi, a groomer with School of Pet Grooming, suggests paying more attention to the neck and back area (where the tail is), because these areas shed more.
Regular grooming might be the single most effective way of keeping fur off your furniture. Use a slicker brush and a shedding comb, go through your dog’s hair until it runs smoothly. For dogs with undercoats, consider using an undercoat rake to pull out loose hairs. Use a dematting rake to untangle the matts. Don’t be worried if you pull out chunks.
Go to the vets’
Regular visits to the vet would be your final defense and safety net to minimise shedding. We will make sure there are no parasites or underlying skin problems, that the shampoo is correct, and that the diet is adequate, says Dr. Ly. “The skin is a reflection of your internal organs, if your pet’s skin is unhealthy, it has internal health problems. What is on the inside will show on the skin first. You should take care of the internal problems first before treating the skin. It’s a sign that your pet has internal problems when it has skin and coat problems.”
Use low-allergen products
A lot of animals with skin and coat problems find perfumes shampoos intolerable. These often exacerbate the condition, so it is advisable to get a low allergen shampoo. Make sure it is not perfumed and harsh chemicals like Sodium Lauyl Sulfate (the foaming agent that is present in most shampoos) are not present. Dr. Ly doesn’t believe in using products for his pets (he has two dogs and a cat) that he would not use on himself. “If I don’t believe in the products, how can I use it on my animal companions? 80 to 90 per cent of the supplements, foods, drugs and shampoos I dispense in my practice are fit for human use.”
Pamper with Pedicures
Your dog’s nails should just about touch the ground when she walks. If her nails are clicking or getting snagged on the floor, it’s time for a pedicure. Ask your veterinarian or a groomer for advice about what types of nail trimmers are best for your dog and how to use them properly.
Snip and Trim
Trim paw hair regularly to avoid painful matting. Simply comb hair out, especially from between the toes, and trim even with the pads.
Clean in Between
Foreign objects can become lodged in your dog’s pads. Check regularly between toes for foxtails, pebbles, small bits of broken glass and other debris. These pesky items can usually be removed with a pair of tweezers.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
A dog’s pads can become cracked and dry. Ask your veterinarian for a good pad moisturizer and use as directed. Avoid human hand moisturizer, as this can soften the pads and lead to injury.
Deep Paw Massage
Similar to giving a human hand massage, a paw massage will relax your dog and promote better circulation. Start by rubbing between the pads on the bottom of the paw, and then rub between each toe. Your dog will be forever grateful for the extra TLC!
Slow and Steady
If you’re about to begin a new exercise program with your dog, start off slow. Paws may become sensitive, chaffed or cracked, particularly when starting your dog out on hikes and runs.
Apply First Aid
It’s not unusual for dogs to suffer cuts or other wounds from accidentally stepping on glass, debris or other objects. Wounds that are smaller than a half inch in diameter can be cleaned with an antibacterial wash and wrapped with a light bandage. For deeper paw cuts, see the vet for treatment.
Imagine stepping barefoot onto hot pavement. Ouch! It is important to remember your dog’s paws feel heat extremes, too. To prevent burns and blisters, avoid walking your dog on hot pavement or sand. Signs include blisters, loose flaps of skin and red, ulcerated patches. For minor burns, apply antibacterial wash and cover the paw with a loose bandage. For serious burns, visit your vet immediately.
Winter is hard on everyone’s skin, even your dog’s! Bitter cold can cause chapping and cracking. Rock salt and chemical ice melters can cause sores, infection and blistering. Toxic chemicals can also be ingested by your dog when he licks his paws. After outdoor walks, wash your dog’s paws in warm water to rinse away salt and chemicals. You may wish to apply Vaseline, a great salt barrier, to the foot pads before each walk—or make sure your dog wears doggie booties.
To reduce the risk of injury, keep your home and yard clear of pointy bits and pieces. Be conscious to avoid hazards such as broken glass and other debris when walking your dog. And keep this simple tip in mind—if you wouldn’t like to walk on it barefoot, neither will your dog!
Dogs and cats can stop eating for a lot of reasons, including fever, pain, or stress. If your notice your pet’s appetite has decreased or been absent for more than 24 hours, you should take it to see a vet. While a decreased appetite and lack of activity are very vague symptoms, should they persist, it would be paramount to visit the veterinarian.
Cats typically suffer more dire consequences when they stop eating, and can quickly develop fatty liver, which is a potentially fatal disease. This is especially applicable to overweight cats as excessive accumulation of fat in the liver can cause liver failure. A cat that stops eating should see a vet promptly because fatty liver can be treated.
If your dog stops eating, he could be being fussy about his food, but if this behaviour persists, something could be wrong and action should be taken.
Many things can cause lethargy in pets, including major problems, such as heart disease. A pet whose lethargy cannot be pinned on an obvious reason, such as from a good workout in the park, may need to visit the vet, especially of other symptoms arise, such as change in exercise tolerance, weakness, collapse, or loss of consciousness.
However, a pet that vomits, especially several times a day, is lethargic, and lacks appetite needs immediate veterinary attention. It is especially imperative you take your pet to see a vet if you find blood in its vomit or if it is throwing up digested blood. Possible causes include gastric ulcers and swallowing foreign objects. Many veterinarians have reported treating dogs and cats that have swallowed sharp bones, knives, socks, fish hooks, and children’s toys just to name a few.
Vomiting or diarrhea can stem from many other causes such as gastrointestinal illnesses or parasitic infections that include hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, or giardia. Note that blood in your pet’s stool also indicates something very wrong and your pet should be taken to the vet.
To prevent human exposure to parasites, owners should regularly deworm their pets. This is especially important if anyone in the household has a weakened immune system, such as AIDS, or if small children play in areas where pets defecate.
[Adapted from www.pawnation.com]
From Amy D. Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including “PETiQuette: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multipet Household” and “Complete Care for Your Aging Dog.”
People who love dogs want to understand canine communication. But growls mixed with tail wags can be confusing. Though people rely on words, dog talk combines vocalizations, body language and smells. Here are 12 ways canines communicate.
1. Barking is used during play and defense — and to get attention. Barks signal conflicted feelings — “I like you, but I’m not sure,” or “I want to play, but I shouldn’t.” Barking also serves as a canine alarm to alert the dog’s family of anything unusual — a sound, trespassing squirrel or your wearing a hat.
2. Whines, whimpers and yelps are nonthreatening communication. These sounds telegraph fear, pain, submission and sometimes frustration. Dogs also whine and whimper to beg attention or treats from humans.
3. Growls are closed-lipped warnings to keep your distance, and can be soft or loud. Growls are defensive or offensive depending on whether the dog is frightened or hostile. However, growls are also used during play, which can be confusing, though looking at other dog body language can help you know that the growls aren’t real.
4. Snarls are growls with teeth displayed and threaten attack.
5. Howls express loneliness and are used to call the family together. Northern breeds like malamutes howl more than other breeds, while some hunting hounds use baying as a joyful variation of the howl.
6. Body positions indicate your dog’s emotional state and intent. Confident dogs stand with erect posture, nearly on tiptoe to impress other dogs. Aggressive dogs lean forward, while fearful dogs lean backward. Dogs cry uncle by crouching as low as possible or exposing the tummy. Urinating when crouched before the aggressor is the dog’s ultimate sign of deference.
7. Fur is smooth in relaxed dogs. Fluffing the fur along the ridge of his back — the hackles — makes a dog look bigger and more impressive. Both fearful and aggressive dogs raise their hackles.
8. Ear position indicates mood. When held high and facing forward, the dog is interested and possibly aggressive. The ears flatten against the head by degrees depending on how fearful or submissive the dog feels.
9. Eyes convey intent. Droopy eyelids indicate pleasure, while alert dogs hold eyes wide open. An unblinking stare is a challenge, while averting the eyes shows canine submission. The pupils of a dog’s eyes indicate aggression and imminent attack when they suddenly dilate.
10. Mouths hide or reveal teeth to communicate. Lifting lips vertically to show the canines — fang teeth — is a threat that indicates aggression, defense or fear. Lips pulled back horizontally to show more teeth is a submissive grin used to diffuse threat. A flicking tongue signals intent to lick — an appeasement gesture if aimed at the face. The relaxed, happy dog’s mouth is held half open with lolling tongue.
11. Tails beckon you closer or warn away. A relaxed tail curves down and back up in a gentle U, and increased interest makes the tail go higher. Dominant and confident dogs hold their tails high, and wag rapidly in tight, sharp arcs. An aggressive dog signals imminent attack with tail high, often tightly arched over his back with just the end jerking quickly back and forth. A low-held tail indicates submission, and dogs show deference by wagging in loose, wide, low arcs that often include hip wags. A tail tucked between the legs signals submission and fear and is the doggie equivalent of hiding his face, since it prevents butt sniffing from other dogs.
12. Urine marking is used by both male and female dogs, and has social and sexual significance. It takes very little urine to send a pee-mail. Even when he runs out of urine, a dog may continue to lift his leg as a visual signal to any dogs watching.
Understanding canine vocabulary improves your loving relationship with dogs. Pets with curled or missing tails or floppy or cropped ears develop variations on this vocabulary, just like people who speak the same language may have different regional accents.
Amy D. Shojai also appears on Animal Planet’s “Cats-101″ and “Dogs-101″ and lives in North Texas with a senior citizen Siamese and a smart-aleck German shepherd fluent in doggerel. Read her blog on Red Room.
[Taken from thedailyinquirer.net]
A photo of a white puppy pegged to a clothesline was posted on social networking site Facebook, from which it received a huge outcry from both netizens and animal lovers. A young Filipino, Jerzon Senador, had posted this picture up, and in response to the public outrage the photo had garnered, he boasted that he would not be jailed.
Animal activists, including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), are hoping that the boy would be prosecuted for his blatant act of cruelty. The teenager has since removed the image from his Facebook site and has written an apology. It read, “I hope you could forgive me and I promise it would never happen again.”
Netizens have refused to forgive him, and his apology has prompted a whole host of Facebook pages expressing their outrage against this teen. In the meantime, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has launched an investigation into the case.
Source: Puppy left hanging on a clothes line The Straits Times 17 June 2011
Chasing is an instinctive behavior in dogs. they just love to chase and be chased. Dogs love going after cats, joggers, bicycles, cars, other canines and almost anything that moves. Moving objects stimulate dogs to chase. If your dog is a herding breed, then your his nature to herd the moving object is even greater.
Until you have learned to control your pooch’s chasing instincts, do not let him off-leash. It’s dangerous for him and the person or animal he is targeting. Before exposing your furkid to a situation where he will do that, you must train him in a controlled setting. It is important that you set up a situation where your dog can concentrate and understand the behaviour you want.
Start the training sessions indoors in your own home. Put him on leash and stand with him at one end of a room or hallway. Wave a tennis ball in front of him but don’t allow him to touch it. Roll or toss it across the room or down the hall and tell him ‘OFF’. If he starts to go after it, command “OFF!” and give him a firm tug on the leash.
It’s extremely important that you do not allow him to touch the ball or he will think that the word ‘OFF’ means for him to chase and get the ball. Practice this several times a day until he gets the message that “OFF” means “Don’t chase”. When he gets it right, praise him profusely and give him a special treat.
When he learns this, repeat it in different rooms of your house. When it’s clear that he really understands the meaning of ‘OFF’, try it without holding onto his leash.
Leave his leash on, dragging on the floor so you can grab it or step on it quickly should he forget what ‘OFF’ means. When he has mastered this, try it completely off-leash, but still in your own home and yard.
Try to practice with a jogger. Enlist the help of a friend to pose as one. Stand with your dog on leash and have your friend jog by repeatedly while you repeat the “OFF”. Be sure your dog performs perfectly on leash before you try this off-leash.
If Fido is chasing cars, ask your friend to help you train you dog. Again, repeat the “OFF” exercise as your friend repeatedly drives by. Be sure your canine friend is perfect on-leash before you try it off-leash. It’s important that you practice this in a controlled situation. You must know that the driver is aware of the training so he can stop the car should you lose control.
Practice with him daily and with every opportunity that arises. Praise him profusely every time you say the command “OFF” and he obeys. If he disobeys, give a strong tug on the leash, command “OFF!” and give him more practice. If Fido has a strong predisposition to chase, it is your responsibility to be alert for his safety and others. If you feel you cannot pay attention to the environment around you when you’re with the him, simply do not let him off leash.
Want to prepare a tasty and nutritious meal for your adorable pooches? Time to put your aprons on as Executive Chef Low Hoe Kiat conducts a mini cooking class for all participants!
Chef Low Hoe Kiat
Som Thai’s Executive Chef, Low Hoe Kiat, 39, is a well-versed chef who is able to prepare various types of delectable cuisine from Thai, Chinese to Western food. With up to 20 years of experience, the chef perfected his craft working at several fine-dining establishments in the hotel industry. He certainly believes in selecting the freshest ingredients for all his dishes and presenting only the best food to his customers.
Previously from Flourishing Court Restaurant (Temasek Club) as a Sous Chef, Chef Kiat meticulously oversees the operations of the restaurant, the poolside as well as the banquet production. He pays attention even to the little details. Following on, he progressed on as a Senior Sous Chef at Le Meridien Hotel Singapore by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Group. Since then, he undertook greater responsibilities by managing the food operation of the hotel such as being involved in food production, purchasing and training.
After accumulating many years of experience, he is now working in Som Thai as an Executive Chef. Since February 2011, he has been working with his team of Thai chefs, establishing excellent relationship with one another. Together, they are continuously creating new dishes to please the ever-changing taste-buds of the customers.
Date: 29 October 2011, Saturday
Time: 2.30pm to 5pm
Venue: 11 Unity Street #01-27/28 Robertson Walk, Som Thai Restaurant
Cooking Demonstration (edible for dogs & people):
1.Braised Beef with Sweet Potatoes and Snow Peas, served with Brown Rice
2.Stir-fried Minced Chicken and Chicken Peas, served with Carrot Rice
Registration Fee includes:
Buffet spread for attendees including dishes for dogs
A copy of Epicure magazine (worth $8)
A 6-month subscription to Pets Magazine (worth $15 off the newsstands)
*DOGS ARE WELCOME!