Watch Tip: Dog Park Tips & Warnings

Posted on April 16th, 2012 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoDog parks have become extremely popular with dog owners for a variety of different reasons, including exercise, opportunities for socializing dogs, and just plain canine fun.  But there are problems to consider, and precautions to be taken, so that “fun” trip to the dog park doesn’t turn into a tragedy.   Following are ten tips and warnings to take heed of, and to distribute to any dog parents you may know!

1.         Do your research first.

Check out the dog park before taking your dog for his or her first outing.  Whether it’s Fido’s first time at this particular park, or visiting a park away from home, it pays to know the “lay of the land” before the first outing, and see what amenities are available (drinking water? separate play areas for small and large dogs?).  Know what the rules of the park are – they will have signs posted, and often a website that goes over the rules in more detail. Read the rest of this entry »

Are you looking for a great present for a new pet parent? Pick up a copy of Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right. Dr. Sophia Yin has written a book with lots of excellent advice for first time pet parents as well as those of us who have spent more time with puppies than we can remember.

Yin has done a top notch job of taking us through the pups’ developmental stages and showing the best way to move them through their socialization to become the best possible companions. The directions are very thorough with many helpful pictures.

What I really appreciate about Perfect Puppy in 7 Days is Yin’s attitude towards puppies as individuals. These are not “one-size-fits-all” directions. Instead, Yin explains how dogs develop and learn. This info helps us to tailor the training for the behavior, not the age,

There is something for everyone to learn from Yin’s book. Even the most experienced dog lover can pick up tips but Perfect Puppy in 7 Days should be in every puppy starter kit.

Watch Tip: Learn Dog Body Language

Posted on August 13th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip Logo Watch Tip for the week of Aug. 14

Learn how to read dog body language to make better decisions when interacting with dogs in daily life. Your dog’s eyes, mouth, lips, ears, hair, tail, posture and vocalizations all offer important clues to your dog’s emotional state, and they work together to provide a complete picture. Be a knowledgeable observer of dog behavior. This line of study is extremely interesting and rewarding to dog lovers and is guaranteed to enrich life with your dog. Start today!

Imagine knowing how to react to these situations safely…

  • You are walking through a busy city neighborhood and a large unfamiliar collarless dog bounces up to you.
  • You visit a neighbor’s home and their crouching dog growls at you in the foyer.
  • Your dog trots up to an unfamiliar dog in the dog park and that dog stares at your dog, one paw raised.

Did you know that a wagging tail does not automatically mean friendliness? That yawning does not mean the dog is sleepy? That raised hackles does not always indicate aggression? Much of the common wisdom we hear about dogs is simply untrue. Dog language is complex; they are a very social species with evolved communication skills. Study dog body language using the publications listed below. Observe dogs and their owners at vet clinics, events, training classes, and try to predict what will happen next. Exchange thoughts of your observances with others; the storytelling will entertain you both for hours!

Get a start online:
View Jean Donaldson’s video series on dog body language. (Click on “All” to see the list of 7.)
Read the ASPCA’s article on canine body language.
Read Best Friend’s Sherry Woodward’s article on Dog Body Language.

Patricia B. McConnell has published the book “For The Love of A Dog; Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend.” This is a must-read for students of dog body language. You’ll enjoy the photos comparing dog expressions with similar human expressions. Her book “The Other End of the Leash” is another treasure.

“The Whole Dog Journal” Vol. 14 No. 8 features an article by Pat Miller, “Listening By Looking.”  An abbreviated version is available online but the complete article is packed with photos. Get a copy or better yet a subscription. This is a publication that no serious dog lover should be without.

You might have heard about “being the pack leader” as a strategy to gain obedience from your dog. Be aware that the dominance model of dog behavior (based on the social hierarchies of wolves) has been called into question. Dogs are very different from wolves. Read more here: Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animal from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.