Monday, August 14, 2017

Puppy Biting 101

You just brought home a bundle of fuzziness that slept all day, but now this furball is running around, nipping, jumping and biting. OUCH! As a human, our first reaction is to think that this puppy is naughty and going to become an aggressive dog if we don't do something....and fast! Although, yes, biting needs to be dealt with, it does not necessarily mean you have a "bad apple". It means your puppy is in fact a canine. Puppies bite for a number of reasons: They could be teething and the biting action is relieving the itchiness of their teeth coming in. They are also learning how to play. If you watch puppies at a young age play in a pack, they bite. As they get older and their litter mates teach them that biting hurts through a yelp or cry, a puppy soon learns to be gentle. Puppies will also bite to get your attention, and it works! On the flip side, a puppy may bite if they are sick, hurt or just not socialized correctly. It is extremely important to pay attention to your puppy's language to know why they are biting and proceed with the correct course of action.

The First 4 Steps
  1. Proper Socialization: Before you even bring home a puppy, you should do your research to make sure your puppy is getting socialization through the breeder or shelter and is not isolated. This is a big must. Most of a puppy's learning comes from the first few months and what they learn becomes ingrained into their behavior. That's not to say that your puppy is a lost cause if he/she has not been properly socialized. It just means that you will have to work a bit harder in training with patience on your side. Once you bring puppy home, it is important to maintain that socialization by giving puppy playgroups with other puppies as well as humans that are patient and have experience with puppies. 
  2. The Overstimulated Puppy: An over stimulated puppy will become Jaws on Paws. Think of what a human toddler does when tired and overstimulated-- They melt down into a temper tantrum. A puppy does the same thing, but instead they use their teeth. If you recognize that your puppy is overstimulated, please put them in their kennel in a quiet area to rest. Puppies need rest!
  3. Visitors at the Door: If you have a puppy that likes to greet all visitors at the door with jumps and nips, one good way to try to ward off all the love is to place a box of toys outside the door with a little sign that says something like "Puppy in Training! Please help and give Fido a toy when you come in the door". This toy will help keep your puppy's mouth busy on the toy instead of the person. Plus, the sign will warn all upcoming visitors to remain calm upon entering the door and that, yes, you are trying.
  4. Exercise! Giving your puppy proper exercise (mental and physical) in combination with adequate rest, will help puppy not have to release their energy through their teeth. 
How to Handle a Biting Puppy
 If you are playing with your puppy and he/she starts to bite, the first thing to do is STOP. If your hand is in your puppy's mouth, do not try to pull it out. Instead, give a little yelp like "OUCH!",  pause and wait for your puppy to release.  If you try to pull, your puppy will most likely think your are trying to engage in a tug-of-war game and your hand is the object. This equals a not-so-good scenario. Once your puppy has released it's bite, walk away and ignore your puppy. If your puppy continues to trail behind you biting, put he/she in the crate for a time out. Eventually, your puppy will learn that biting does not = playing. Puppies are social animals. Social exile is not something they like. 😢 Always remember to praise, praise, praise your puppy when they are playing gentle!

If you have children in the house, it is especially important to train your children. Make sure you are very strict and consistent about how your children play with puppy. Children need to recognize an over stimulated puppy and take measures to let puppy rest instead of overstimulating the puppy more. Never let your children play aggressively with a puppy and they should not be the object of "chase".... Letting puppy chase the children around the yard, nipping at their butts, ect... This game is a really good way for a child to get bit or knocked down and bit once the puppy is bigger. It's a game that can escalate really quickly and go down hill fast. If your puppy is chasing your children, tell your children to stop running and stop the game. Period.

In closing, the most important thing to remember is that a biting puppy is learning. It is up to us to make sure they are learning the right way and getting socialized with other puppies. Never yell or hit your puppy, but instead use praise and gentleness to teach a puppy the correct behavior.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

6 Must-Haves for the Dog Parent

We started this blog 4-years ago and since then I have been posting quite a bit on Canine health. It's a lot of information! This week, I decided I would consolidate some of the information into 6 "must-haves" for every dog parent. These are things that you should have in your pantry that can help not only your dog, but you as well. It's a win-win situation when two-legged family members and four-legged can share the same health benefits of a product! I have numbered them, but the list is not in numerical importance. Plus, I will have each item connected to a link. This link will give you more information on that specific item if you would like to learn more. Some of these items have a whole plethora of health benefits!

Here they are:
  1. Organic Raw Honey can help with wound recovery, digestions, immune support, allergies and skin issues. Plus it tastes really good and has an abundance of vitamins, minerals, is anti-microbial, anti-fungal.... you get the point.
  2. Aloe Vera: I don't have a link to this product, but I should! When I talk about Aloe Vera, I'm not talking about the bright green (or blue) stuff that comes from Walgreens. I'm talking about the plant. The stuff that is 100% pure. You can use the inner gel of this plant to help relieve skin irritations or cuts. A tiny bit of Aloe Juice can also help relieve constipation when ingested.
  3. Lavender Essential Oil: Before applying essential oils, they should always be diluted accordingly... and even more diluted for canines. Essential oils should also be canine safe and therapeutic grade. Some oils that can be used on humans cannot be used on dogs. Lavender oil is generally regarded as one of the super safe oils and can be diffused or applied topically to calm a nervous dog. To apply topically, dilute accordingly and massage behind the dog's neck and ears. You can concoct your own linen spray to spray down your dog's bedding (or bandana). Last, use lavender oil as a flea repellent by mixing vinegar, water and a couple drops of lavender. Spray on your dog before going outside.
  4. Stinging Nettle: Unless you are crazy like me and grow your own stinging nettles, it's best to just buy the tea at your local natural grocer. Or buy online. Harvesting stinging nettles can be quite tricky. BUT, stinging nettles is considered one of the "super foods" that is jam packed full of nutrients and has a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Used as a rinse, it can help with itchy, dry skin and bug bites.
  5. Coconut Oil is again, one of those use for anything and everything products. It can help with digestion, oral health, balance insulin, immune support, promote a healthy skin and coat... the list goes on and on. 
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar can be used for cooling hot spots and rashes, it repels fleas and ticks, promotes a healthy circulation, can be used as a natural ear cleaner, supports a healthy urinary tract and digestion. 
Always remember to do your research on the proper way to use these products and don't over do it! A little goes a long way in canine (and human) health. Moderation is key. Having these products on hand and promoting a healthy diet with exercise is a great way to minimize the trips to the vet and keep your furry friend healthy and happy. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kennel Cough

It seems that an outbreak of Kennel Cough has hit the Bozeman, MT area and has dog owners (and daycares) in quite the panic. Kennel cough is often called "Bordetalla" after the bacteria Bordetalla bronciseptica, which dogs can get vaccinated. BUT Kennel Cough, aka infectious tracheobronchitis, is actually a term for an infection in the trachea and bronchial tubes that can be caused by bacteria or virus. This infection is highly contagious and has an incubation period of about 5-10 days after exposure. It usually diminishes after the first 5 days, but can linger for up to 10-20 days. Infected dogs can remain contagious for up to 14 weeks even after symptoms disappear. The classic symptom of Kennel Cough is a forceful, persistent cough. Infected dogs may also exhibit sneezing, runny nose and eye discharge.

Luckily, here at Bark City, we have not had any cases of Kennel Cough in our daycare. We would like to keep it that way! In order to try our very best, we have taken the following measures:

1) Our facility is set up with 3 different air circulation systems (one for the standard side, one for the enrichment program, and one for the training room). We will not be letting dogs from the two different programs mix (standard will just stay with standard, enrichment will stay on that side and the training room we will be using as a quarantine room for possible coughing. Since this is an air born virus hopefully this will help eliminate the possibility of it spreading.
2) If your dog coughs even just once, your dog will be pulled out and put in the training room. You will be called and asked to please pick up your dog. Boarders, if no one is available to pick up your dog, they will stay in that room (and of course given potty breaks) for at least 24hrs. If they cough more than once they will need to see a vet and will need to stay in quarantine for the remainder of their stay.
3) We do spray down and disinfect all of our yards twice a day and disinfect all indoor space daily.
4) We will be offering complementary coconut oil or goats milk to all boarders if the owners wish. These two things  help support the immune system. We also sell these products and are adding a Bone Broth mix onto our shelves if you would like to purchase and take home with you. 😊

5) We are diffusing a mixture of Canine safe essential oils that are known to help support the respiratory tract.
6) Employees will be disinfecting hands and feet if dealing with a coughing dog before handling another dog.

What you can do:
1) If your dog coughs (even just once) please keep it away from all dogs for at least 24hrs to make sure it doesn't turn into something more.
2) If your dogs develops a cough call your vet asap and follow their instructions.
3) Stay away from all dog parks and dog populated areas that you are not sure if there has been a coughing dog there or not.
4) Call and report any coughing to us or the facility your dog stayed at so they can watch the other dogs in their care.
5) Let us know if your dog stayed at another facility so we know if it has been exposed to the virus or not.

Please remember, boarding and daycare facilities are not the only place that your dog can get a virus (neighbor dogs, friends dogs, dog walking on the street, dog parks, pet sitters, hiking trails ect). If your dog gets sick, keep them away from all dogs for at least 10 days after the last symptom showed and contact your vet to get the official "OK" before socializing your dog with other canines. For more information, you can follow the below links: