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Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

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Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

The post Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

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Tracking the working dogs of 9/11

A study of search and rescue dogs showed little difference in longevity or cause of death between dogs at the disaster site and dogs in a control group.

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Socialization in the world of COVID

With many of us staying home these days, many people have considered getting a puppy. Of course, the very first question that comes to mind is, “How will I socialize them?  Will they become shy or aggressive if they are unable to directly interact with strangers?”

I recently acquired a puppy and I have found some huge advantages to raising a puppy under quarantine! Not only do I have a new little buddy to keep me busy at home, but I have also discovered that I don’t have to worry about shielding him from overly enthusiastic people who are bound and determined to pet my puppy, regardless of his opinion (or mine!) on the matter.

Let’s start by re-defining socialization as exposure rather than interaction. People often think of socialization as being interactions with new dogs and people. Unfortunately, plenty of dogs end up so well socialized that they make a nuisance of themselves. They’re hyper greeters who cannot function if they are not allowed to interact with every dog and person they see. No greeting? They scream, whine, and pull frantically on their leashes towards the object of their desire – and show lots of frustration at being held back. And if you think about it, we taught them to do it by encouraging interactions with every dog and person they encountered!

However, they don’t typically do this with horses, cars, or loud noises, mostly because we don’t socialize our puppies to these things the way we do with people and dogs. Specifically, there is no expectation of interaction with the other. Instead, we use patience, and allow the dog’s natural curiosity and ability to gather information from a distance to allow them to habituate and feel safe at their own pace.

This is exactly how socialization should happen with everything – people and dogs included. Using this approach, think about exposing your young dog or puppy to a variety of confidence-building situations that will serve them well for life, but without a need for direct interaction. 

As a guide to this plan, think about your dog’s senses: what does your dog see, hear, feel, smell, and taste?

What does your dog see? Take them places you need to go and sit in the car with your dog to watch the world go by! Watch the people entering the grocery store, the dogs walking around the block, the trees and birds and animals – whatever you know that your dog might encounter as an adult is fair game. Sitting in your car with your dog can be a fantastic way to experience the visual world.

What does your dog hear? The vacuum! The leaf blowers! The fan in the window! Be sure the sound is far enough away that the dog makes a positive association; we don’t want to scare them.  It’s always okay to comfort your dog or move further away if they appear worried or distressed – same as you would with a toddler who was nervous of a sight or sound.  

What does your dog feel? Consider surfaces that your dog might be exposed to. Put down towels, tarps, and empty boxes to let your dog explore! Hide treats in, on, and around those surfaces to add to the fun  When you leave your house for exercise, make a point of walking over asphalt, cement, grass, and dirt. In all cases, you’ll want to make the experience fun and playful for your dog, so be generous with your personal play and praise as you navigate new surfaces.

What does your dog taste? Try out a variety of treats and foods for your dog! Give them interactive toys filled with their own food – not only does it keep them busy while you do other things, but it also exposes their mouth to both different textures of toys as well as the food itself.

As far as people and dogs, well, this is a great time to allow your dog to observe without interacting so they can gain confidence in the presence of other people and dogs without feeling the need to be petted by every random stranger. You may also find it quite helpful to cheerfully call out friendly greetings to people who pass you on the street. That allows your dog a chance to observe your comfort with the stranger and begin to use you as a source of information; if mom says it’s okay, then it must be okay!

Remember, exposure with a positive outcome is what matters, and that positive outcome can come from you. Simultaneously, you can set up simple puzzles and activities at home or in your garden to allow your dog to use all of their senses to get to know the world.

Your ultimate goal with socialization should be a dog who shows confidence in a variety of situations, and acceptance of the presence of random people without necessarily needing to visit. This approach to socialization emphasizes exposure over interaction, and may well work better for you now than at any other time! Your softer or more fragile dog will not be assaulted by overly enthusiastic friends and neighbors who often frighten much more than socialize, and your overly enthusiastic puppy won’t have that behavior reinforced by every random person encountered on the street. 

On balance, this is a good time for many people to consider adding to their canine family, but a few adaptations are necessary with our current restrictions. Focus on exposing all of your dog’s senses to new possibilities to allow that growing brain as many positive experiences as possible.  

When you have the occasional opportunity to allow your dog to interact with new people, go ahead and take it, but that does not need to be the focus of your socialization efforts. As long as your dog is able to observe the world, including the people within it, you’re likely to end up with a stable and well-adjusted adult who is comfortable in the world, but who has a strong preference for you as the primary playmate.

The post Socialization in the world of COVID appeared first on Denise Fenzi's Blog.

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Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

The post Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

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#VanLife With Dogs

living in van with dogs

Hello I’m Noël,

I’m a first generation American, born and raised in California. Growing up in a multi-generational family, I was encouraged to embody a deep-seated value for diverse expressions of what it means to be “outdoorsy”—and ever since I could walk, I’ve spent all my free time romping in the mountains. To this day, you’ll often find me somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, on the trail or driving along the backroads with my partner and our two rescue mutts (Fin and Lhotse) in tow. I live part-time in my self-designed converted campervan, named Francis Ford Campola, and call the Bay Area my basecamp. Read more about vanlife with dogs.

The difference between a dog lover and
    a dog owner
Is like the difference between bacon
And bacon-flavored

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Meet Ryder

Ryder sleeps much now that he’s a senior, but he still loves to hike the nearby fields and woods. When he gets home, he’ll run through the house and happily fall asleep on his sofa.

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Meet Murray

Murray was named after a lake and he loves swimming and sunbathing there. He wants hugs all day, every day and smiles the most when he is with his person.

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Is Petting the Key to Helping Shelter Dogs Cope?

More than walking them—petting shelter dogs is critical for their well-being
Petting and walking shelter dogs.

Petting dogs is one of the great joys of life! The benefits of this simple yet beautiful action are well-known. For people, it can lower blood pressure and the levels of stress hormones (such as cortisol) and raise the levels of various neurotransmitters that elevate our mood. It’s not a magic pill, but it sure feels like one sometimes.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

The post Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

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