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5 Tips for Training Your Puppy

Posted on: April 18th, 2014 by

lady training a puppy to sit

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 dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

It’s never too early to learn— especially for your puppy.

Learning should always be fun and engaging. After all, puppies aren’t born with perfect manners. They need to be taught appropriate behaviors by you and a professional dog trainer.

Get your training off on the right paw by heeding this message: Out with the word, “No” and in with the word, “Yes.” Accentuate the positive in puppy training. The “yes” can be verbal or conveyed by using a clicker to reinforce a desired behavior. Break down a new trick or behavior into baby steps and focus on teaching one step at a time. Be patient and you will see positive results.

Here are five key tricks every puppy should learn:

Sit

Hold a treat in front of your puppy’s nose and motion up and back at a 45-degree angle. Your puppy will follow the treat, bending her head back until she sits. Say yes or click and then treat. Repeat this a few times. Next, show her the treat, but don’t lure her with it. Wait until she sits on her own, then click and treat. Repeat this until she immediately sits every time you show her a treat.

Leave it

Hold an object in front of you, in the palm of your hand. When your puppy reaches for the object, close your hand and pull away and say, “Leave it.” Repeat this step until your puppy stops reaching for the object. Now, place the object on the floor. If your puppy reaches for it, cover it with your foot or hand. When your puppy consistently leaves the object alone, add the cue, “Leave it” just before you present the object. As soon as she backs off, click and say, “Leave it.”

Lie Down

Start with your puppy sitting. Hold a treat in front of her nose, and motion with it straight down to the floor between her paws. She most likely will follow the treat to the floor, lying down as she does. As soon as she is lying down, click and treat.

Stay

Use this in conjunction with the “sit” command. As your puppy sits, hold your open palm in front of her face and say, “Jazzy, stay” while you hold the leash your other hand. When she stays for a few seconds, say, “Good stay” and treat. Repeat a few times. Gradually, extend the time your puppy stays.

Come

Turn training into play time by using the classic children’s game of hide and seek to reinforce the “come” command. Practice this game inside your house.  Have someone hold your puppy while you hide in the house. Then call your puppy by saying, “Jazzy, come!” You may need to repeat her name a few times until she reaches you. Click and treat. This is a fun way to teach the “Come” command, and it also teaches persistence in your puppy’s search for you—definitely a good command to know in case you and your puppy get separated outdoors.

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6 Easter Foods to Avoid Sharing with Pets

Posted on: April 16th, 2014 by

An English bulldog wearing bunny ears stares at an Easter basket of candy.Easter is coming up, and much of the day is spent around food, including baskets full of goodies. You may be wondering if you should share your Easter dinner with your pet. While some traditional Easter foods are non-toxic to dogs and cats, they can still cause an upset stomach and lead to diarrhea and vomiting. Here’s a list of commonly consumed foods at Easter and whether or not to share them with your pet.

1. Ham

Easter ham is perhaps the most traditional part of Easter dinner. Ham is high in calories and fat which can cause diarrhea in dogs and cats and also lead to life-threatening pancreatitis in dogs. High calorie foods also cause weight gain in pets. Just 3 ounces of ham is over 25% of the daily calories needed in a 25 pound dog.

2. Mashed Potatoes

Although potatoes are typically harmless in dogs, make sure that your mashed potatoes are not made with any onions or garlic which are toxic to dogs. The butter and milk that are added to mashed potatoes can cause diarrhea in your pets because dogs are often lactose intolerant and cats can be as well.

3. Green Beans

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Breed Guide: Great Dane

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 by

Great DaneDr. Fiona is a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency

About the Great Dane

Height (to base of neck): female 28-32″, male 30-34″

Weight: female: 100-130 lbs, male: 120-200 lbs

Color: There are six accepted coat colors: fawn, brindle, blue, black, harlequin and mantle.

Origin: Germany

Coat: Short

Life Expectancy: 6-8 years

Energy level: Moderate

Exercise needs: Low to moderate

Is a Great Dane the Right Dog Breed for You?

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5 Rules Cats Live By

Posted on: April 11th, 2014 by

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

Whether you just adopted a frisky kitten or a calm adult cat, you can improve the communication with your feline by recognizing how cats think. As important as it is to give consistent verbal and non-verbal cues to your feline, it is vital to also embrace their view of sharing a home with you.

Here are five important feline characteristics to recognize:

1. Cats prefer set routines. They like to wake up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, and expect you home at a certain time. They quickly learn your daily schedule and adapt accordingly. That may partially explain why some cats wake their people up a few minutes before their alarm clocks chime.

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6 Tips to Stop Severe Bleeding in Dogs

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by

An American bulldog gets a wound wrapped on his leg.

By Arden Moore, a certified pet first aid/CPR instructor with Pet Tech, a hands-on training program. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

Dogs can suffer severe injuries where they start profusely bleeding for a variety of reasons. For instance, your dog may get bitten by another animal, step on broken glass, or get their nail caught and ripped. So you need to know how to act quickly to stop the flowing blood.

April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month – a good reminder to enroll in a veterinarian-approved pet first aid class. In a pet emergency, minutes count. Knowing what to do – and what not to do – can make the big difference in saving your dog’s life. The purpose of pet first aid is to stabilize and immobilize a pet safely until he can receive proper treatment by a veterinarian.

First, note that there are three types of bleeding:

  • Capillary, characterized by superficial blood oozing, such as from a nick in the tip of the ear or clipping a toenail to close to the quick.
  • Venous, characterized by a slower flow of dark-red blood. This is the oxygen depleted blood going back to the heart.
  • Arterial, characterized by spurting, bright red blood. This is the most serious type of bleeding as a dog who loses more than 30 percent of blood volume in a matter of minutes can develop serious shock.

To keep yourself safe and to administer to your dog who has a serious bleeding wound, follow these six steps:

1. Muzzle your dog to prevent being bitten; dogs who are frightened or in pain will often act out of instinct- even the nicest dog may bite when scared. Keep a muzzle in your pet first-aid kit and one in your car. You can use nylon leashes or large triangle bandage to wrap around your dog’s muzzle to still allow him to breathe but not to bite.

2. Apply direct pressure on the wound by using sterile gauze pads. If gauze pads are not available, use a clean t-shirt or towel.

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