What to Do to Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer – and What NOT to Do

protect your pet from the heatKeeping your dog cool during the summertime is difficult yet very important. The most important thing to remember is having plenty of fresh, cold water available for your pup. Whether it is just for playing in the back yard or going on a long hike, be sure to keep fresh, cold water available and accessible for them. When you are out on the go, bring a collapsible water bowl or a squirt bottle. Give your dog small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure to have enough cool water with you to last the entire time you’re gone. If your dog starts panting excessively, get your dog shade and more water right away.

Similarly, an easy way to keep your dog cool while spending summer outside is to play in the water. A wet dog is a cool dog. You can play with your pooch in sprinklers, pools, and lakes. Swimming can help lower your dog’s body temperature and help them stay cool while having fun.

While there are things you can do to keep them cool, there are also things you should NEVER do. The biggest rule is to never leave your dog in a parked car, even with the windows cracked. Even on milder days, temperatures inside your car can quickly rise to dangerous and life-threatening levels. The CDC says that cars parked in direct sunlight can reach internal temperatures up to 131ºF-172ºF when it is 80ºF-100ºF outside. These temperatures are extremely dangerous, and your dog should never be subjected to it.

Also, avoid being outside with your dog during the midday heat. It is ok to be outside with your dog on mild, overcast days with low humidity. However, if it is sunny, 80º and high humidity, it is better to avoid the midday heat. On days like these, go early in the morning or later in the evening when it is not as hot. It is important to remember the danger of asphalt during the summer. Asphalt can get extremely hot in direct sun. Put your hand on the pavement to test the temperature. If it is too hot for your hand, it is too hot for your dog. You can also pour some water on the pavement. If it steams, it is way too hot. You can buy booties for your dog, so their feet are not on pavement, but it is easiest to avoid it all together. It is best to find trails. Because they aren’t hard surfaces and typically shaded, they’re less likely to cause injury.

During the summer, it is very important to know the signs of heatstroke in dogs. Pay attention to your dog’s behavior, body language, and more. Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, excessive salivating, obvious discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, and seizures. If you notice any of these symptoms, get your dog to a cooler environment as soon as possible and calling your veterinarian for further instructions. You can use a thermometer to check their body temperature. If it is above 104º, it is time to get them out of the sun and decrease the level of activity. 104º is not dangerous, but it is the threshold to where it could become dangerous. When your dog’s temperature stays elevated, even after stopping activity and getting out of the heat, this is a sign that you need to intervene and call your vet. Please feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868 with any questions.

 

9 Dog Training Tips

dog training tipsEvery puppy needs training, and sometimes it is hard to know what is best for your dog! With these tips, training can be fun and efficient!

1. Choose your Dog’s Name!

While this step may not seem to affect training, short names with strong endings are easier for your dog to pick up while training. These include Jasper, Jack, and Ginger. If your dog is an older dog when you begin training, they are probably used to their name. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change it. If your new pal is coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may even represent a fresh start. Dogs are very adaptable to new situations. If you decide to give them a new name, use it consistently and soon enough your pup will respond to it. Whatever you choose to name your dog, be sure to associate it with fun, pleasant experiences as much as possible, rather than negative ones. Ideally, your dog should think of their name in the same was they think of other fun things like walks and dinnertime!

2. Decide on the House Rules

This tip is like number one. Before your pup comes home, decide what is and is not allowed! This can include whether they are allowed on the bed or the furniture. Are parts of the house off limits? Will they have their own chair at the dining table? Setting the rules and expectations early can avoid confusion, for both you and your dog.

3. Help your Dog Relax

When your dog gets home, give them a warm hot-water bottle and put a ticking clock near their sleeping area. This will imitate the heat and heartbeat of litter mates and will soothe your puppy in their new environment. This tip may be even more important for a new dog that previously lived in a busy, loud shelter, particularly if they’ve had a rough time early in life. Whatever you can do to help your new pet get comfortable in their forever home will be good for both of you.

4. Reward Good Behavior

Training is based on rewarding good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use toys, love, praise, and treats of course. Let them know when they are getting it right. Similarly, never reward bad behavior. It will only confuse them.

5. Teach your Dog to Come When Called

The first command you teach your dog should be to come. Get down on their level and tell your pup to come using their name. When they do, get excited and use lots of positive reinforcement. Next time, try the “come” command when they are distracted with food or a toy. As your puppy gets older, you’ll continue to see the benefits of perfecting this command.

6. Train on “Dog Time”

Puppies and dogs live in the moment. Two minutes after they have done something, they’ve forgotten about it. When your pup is doing something bad, use your chosen training technique right away so they have a chance to make the association between the behavior and the correction. Consistent repetition will reinforce what they’ve learned.

7. Discourage Jumping Right Away

Puppies love to jump up in greeting, and some adults have learned bad habits. When your puppy or dog jumps on a person, don’t reprimand them; just turn your back on them, ignore the behavior and wait until they settle down before giving positive reinforcement. Never encourage jumping behavior by patting or praising your dog when they’re in a “jumping up” position.

8. Say No to Biting and Nipping

Instead of scolding your new pet, a great way to discourage your mouthy canine is to pretend you’re in a lot of pain when they bite or nip you – a sharp, loud yell should work. Most dogs are so surprised that they stop immediately. If verbal cues don’t work, try trading your hand or pant leg for a chew toy. This swap can also work when a puppy discovers the joys of chewing on your favorite shoes. They tend to prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, interrupt the biting behavior and respond by ignoring them.

9. End Training Sessions on a Positive Note

Your pup has worked hard to please you throughout their training. Leave them with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, or five minutes of play. This almost guarantees that they will show up at their next training session with their tail wagging and ready to work!

We hope you find these tips useful. For any other questions about training your new pup, or anything else, please contact us today!

 

You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

you can teach an old dog new tricksWe have all heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Not true! Yes, you can!

Most people associate training with young puppies, but the reality is that dogs are able to learn at any age. Surprisingly, adult dogs are often easier to train than younger puppies because they have more self-control. Whether you just adopted an adult dog, or your older pet needs to learn some new tricks, training offers mental stimulation and keeps your dog’s mind sharp. It is important that you be patient when training both adult dogs and puppies. If you have just brought an adult dog to your home, allow the dog time to adjust. Adult dogs have their own histories that may make them nervous about new surroundings. Don’t give up on the dog after only a few days. Adult dogs may need a period of adjustment which can take anywhere from a few days up to a month. Once the dog realizes that they have found their forever home, it will soon settle into being a part of the family.

Similar to housetraining a puppy, you should use a crate when housetraining an adult dog. You cannot assume that an adult dog is housetrained so you should keep it in a crate when you are not able to supervise it. When you release your dog from the crate, take your dog immediately to the place outside where you want your dog to relieve himself. If it does not relieve itself, re-crate your dog and try again later. Be sure that your crate is large enough and strong enough for your dog to fit comfortably. Your dog should be able to stand up, move around, and stretch out without difficulty. Soft-sided crates are often too flimsy to stand up to the needs of an adult dog so the best option is usually a metal crate that can be folded for easy transportation. Be sure to provide your crated dog with water, soft blankets, and chew toys as well as enough attention, exercise, and outdoor time so your dog can relieve itself.

If your dog is new to crates, introduce the concept slowly. Entice your dog to enter the crate by offering food and keep it in the crate for only a few minutes at first. Be sure to avoid using the crate as a form of punishment or leaving your dog isolated in its crate for long periods. The housetraining process usually goes by quicker for older dogs as they have more control over their bladders and bowels than young puppies do.

Whether you just brought your adult dog home, or your adult dog needs some training, an obedience class is a great place to do it. Obedience classes allows you and your dog to learn basic commands, such as lying down and walking on a loose leash. Even if your dog has never had any obedience training in the past, your adult dog will benefit from the class. Obedience classes also allow your dog to socialize with other dogs and people. You will be able to see how it reacts to other dogs and strangers and gives you the comfort of having a safe environment and a professional dog trainer on stand-by to offer advice.

If you bring an adult dog into your home, they may do things that they were allowed to do in their previous home that you do not want them to do in your home such as jumping on guests or lying on the furniture. To help your dog learn the rules of your house and more importantly, retrain them, be sure to start teaching the rules to your adult dog as soon as possible. The “Nothing in Life is Free” (NILF) dog training method is an effective way to teach your dog self-control. It requires that your dog behave appropriately before getting a desired treat, walk, or positive attention. Lastly, it is important that everyone in the household is on the same page. When different members of the family have different expectations on behavior, commands, and expectations, it can be confusing for the dog. When everyone agrees on appropriate behaviors and uses the same commands and rewards, your dog will learn faster and retain the training longer.

Most often, new owners of adult dogs do not know the experiences that the dog has had with training in the past. Positive reinforcement methods are the best bet for training. Using treats and plenty of praise is an effective method for training dogs of all ages and breeds. Keep things fun and upbeat instead of punishing your adult dog. It is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. It may take some work at the beginning, but teaching your dog the basic commands and working on solving behavior problems from day one means that your dog will soon settle into being a happy and healthy part of your home.

We are here to help you regardless of the age of your pet. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact our office!