Author Archives: Dr. Jack Stephens

4 Indoor Games To Unleash Fun in Your Dog

A dog sits.

By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Neither rain nor sleet nor blizzard should prevent your dog from engaging in daily play and exercise. When the weather is anything but fetching, play indoors.

The beauty of regular playtime with your canine pal is that it can occur anytime, anywhere. And you both reap many benefits. You get to use this time to reinforce basic obedience cues in a fun setting. Your dog gets a daily dose of activities that enrich him mentally and physically. And the power of purposeful play – indoors and outdoors – bolsters your friendship bond.

Here are four of my favorite dog-people indoor games that unleash fun and fitness:

1. K9 Treasure Hunt. Introduce your dog to a fun canine treasure hunt by first putting him in a sit-stay and showing him a healthy treat. Then place the treat behind a chair while your dog watches you. Go back to him and say, “Find the treasure.” Once your dog understands the concept, pretend to stash treats in several places in a room, but leave the treasure in only one location. Then tell him to “find the treasure.” Praise him when he discovers his tasty prize.

2. I Hide You Seek. This game reinforces the all-important recall cue in your dog. Start by having your dog stay in a room. Then you leave and hide in another room. In an upbeat tone, call out his name and tell him to come and find you. Be sure to heap on praise and treats each time he finds you so he enjoys a great payoff for complying.

3. Hallway fetch. Got a fetch-focused dog? Read More…

3 Tips to Stop Kitty from Ambushing Your Ankles

A kitten with Pets Best pet insurance, leaps in the air, ready to ambush its owner's ankles.By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Far too often, kittens are misunderstood by people. What people may regard as a misdeed, to a fast-growing kitten is a perfectly acceptable behavior. Let’s address a far-too common kitten that can have painful consequences to you and any other person in your home–ambushing ankles. That timid kitten you may have adopted recently may have doubled in size and confidence. And, his inner, innate hunter is surfacing.

The scenario: You walk down the hallway, turn the corner, and e-owww!! Your feisty kitten has been patiently lying in wait. When he spies you approaching, he elevates his back end and wiggles quickly side to side. Then he springs from his hiding spot, wrapping his front claws around your ankle. Ouch!

In order to cease this undesired action, you need to understand your kitten’s mindset. Indoor cats need opportunities to hone their hunting skills. Their ‘prey’ is not the rodents or birds abundant in the great outdoors, but possibly, anything that moves inside the home for him to stalk and attack. Your kitten is simply redirecting the need for natural play toward lucky you. If you only have one cat, this behavior could indicate that he feels deprived of sufficient play time. He is desperately looking for ways to act out his play-prey aggression.

Here are three savvy solutions to tame that tabby tiger of yours.

1. Give him the cold shoulder. Try to ignore him during the attack and walk away. Your reactions (leaping and screaming) only reinforce his need to ambush you. When your kitten is calm, avoid overstimulation by limiting friendly pats and strokes to 10-second intervals and never engage in roughhouse play. And remember to trim the tips of his sharp claws on a regular basis, about every two weeks.

2. Invest in interactive toys like wands with feathers or low-power, low-voltage laser lights made specifically for cats. Schedule at least 5 to 10 minutes twice a day to play with your kitten. This time can also strengthen the friendship bond between you both.Read More…

Dog Breed Guide: Akita

An Akita with pet insurance from Pets Best.

Dr. Marc is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Akita

Height (to base of neck): females 24-26″ males 26-28″

Weight:  females 75-85 lb, males 85-110 lb

Color: Many accepted including brindle, pinto and white

Origin: Japan

Coat: Thick double coat, outer hairs stand out and undercoat is soft and dense.

Life Expectancy: 11-12 years

Energy level: Moderate

Exercise needs: Moderate

Is an Akita the Right Dog Breed for You?

Read More…

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