Who’s the Top Dog Here? Dealing With Dominant Behavior.

Does your dog think he’s the leader of the pack at your house? Ignoring commands? Pushing through doorways ahead of you? Trying to move you from your favorite resting spot? When it comes to behavior problems, he may be sending you hints that he thinks he’s the top dog, and you’re the underdog.

A dominant dog may not want to hurt anyone, but just wants to be in charge. And though this article refers to the dog as “he,” it could easily be “she.” It could be a big Labrador or a little Chihuahua. Gender and size have little to do with dominance in dogs.

Remember that dogs don’t necessarily think like you and I do. They operate on a system of social behavior inherited from their wild ancestors. This centuries-old system is what keeps order among the family, or the dog pack. Dogs crave the security of knowing where they stand in the pack’s ranking. Once they understand who is in charge, they may feel much more at ease.

Look for the following signs of dominant behavior:

  • Preventing people from petting him on the top of his head.
  • Growling or barking at you during play.
  • Trying to mount or hump people. (Even female dogs may do this)
  • Refusing to release a toy or bone when commanded.
  • “Marking” (peeing on) your personal items.
  • “Mouthing” (not necessarily biting, but placing his teeth on) you.

Trying to correct dominant behavior? An obedience course is the place to start. The obedience training should involve everyone in your family, at least to some degree; consistency is key when it comes to your dog’s discipline, so everyone needs to be on the same page.

In addition to obedience training, here are some ways you can use the language of the dog pack to reinforce the message of who is in charge:

  • Does your dog have a favorite spot? A pet bed or a favorite chair? Stand or sit in that spot for a couple minutes, several times a week.
  • Don’t pet the dog unless he does something praiseworthy.
  • Before the dog’s feeding time, make sure he sees you eating first.
  • Never let the dog get up on furniture without permission.
  • Don’t let the dog sleep on your bed. If you want to let him sleep in your room, he should stay on the floor or in his own dog bed.

Most importantly, be consistent. Over time, your dog will get the message and will learn to enjoy your leadership, and you’ll enjoy your dog more, too.

New store offers pet-owner stimulus plan

A new store offers pet goods at lower pricesFor many families, an economic downturn can result in cancelled vacations or delayed back-to-school shopping sprees. One pet store in Pennsylvania, however, is attempting to stop residents from uneasily asking, "How much is that doggie in the window?"

This Saturday, October 24th, a heavily discounted pet store called Pet Cents will launch its grand opening in the Village Mall Shopping Center in Horsham. The store models itself after the typical pet care retailers, but offers all products at reduced prices. In addition to selling actual pets, Pet Cents markets pet toys, accessories, and both natural and organic foods.

As part of the grand opening, the store will participate in several events throughout the day which will benefit animal shelters and pet owners themselves. Proceeds from a flea market and bake sale held in the morning will be given to local shelters and the Against All Odds Adoption Center. In the afternoon, a car show and pet Halloween costume contest with gift card prizes will aim to keep Pet Cents customers entertained.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that the costs of caring for cats and dogs can range from $670 to $1,580 each year.

A pet airline? When pigs fly!

From up here, some of the passengers look like ants!Pet Airways, an airline service that promotes cautious and comfortable handling of onboard pets, has announced that it will add weekly service to Ft Lauderdale for passengers concerned with in-flight pet care.

In addition to the new Florida route, the airline now serves New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Reuters reports. According to Pet Airways CEO Dan Wiesel, the company was established in July to provide pet owners with assurance that their animals reach their travel destination undisturbed.

A report by the Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service, revealed that "virtually every major airline has been cited and fined for repeatedly mishandling animals." Pet Airways representatives note that lack of oxygen, lack of temperature control and proximity to heated motors have been cited as causes of animal deaths.

Offering certified veterinary technicians that are trained in pet care, Pet Airways claims that pets are supervised before, during and after flights to ensure comfort and safety. Furthermore, Reuters claims that airline policy dictates that animals be held in the aircraft’s main cabin where climate control, temperature, and air circulation present acceptable conditions.

According to company officials, the "Pet Airway goals is to make the pet travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable for both pawsengers and their human families."

Pet CPR: Put your bunny where your mouth is

Are you willing to put your bunny where your mouth is?It’s not unusual, nowadays, for a family to have cake for their cat’s seventh birthday, or put an extra stocking above the fire for the family dog. More and more Americans consider their dog, cats, hamsters and iguanas to be actual members of the family. Consequently, when pet health is an issue, the majority of pet owners say that would consider performing CPR on their beloved animals.

According to an Associated Press poll, 63 percent of dog owners and 53 percent of cat owners said they would be at least somewhat inclined to go mouth-to-snout to revive an endangered pet. Of the poll’s respondents, 65 percent of women said they would perform the emergency procedure, compared to 50 percent of men.

Tammy Parks, a dog-owner who has taken a pet first aid class was among those who wouldn’t delay resuscitating her 15-year-old terrier, Lucy. "It’s not rocket science. The mechanics are the same as humans," she told the Associated Press. "Size is the biggest difference."

Despite the general willingness to help pets, the poll also found that just 20 percent of animal owners have a pet first aid kit in their homes.

The North American Pet Health Insurance Association says that veterinary pet insurance can be used to protect pet health and ensure the financial stability of the pet’s family.

Martha Stewart pioneers line of pet care products

Martha Stewart is establishing a new line of pet care productsThough some pets prefer to spend their days rolling in the mud or chasing squirrels in circles, others would be content parked in front of the mirror or showing off a new sweater and collar to neighborhood rivals. This second set of pets would be delighted to hear that Martha Stewart Living Omnimeida (MSLO), Age Group and pet care provider PetSmart have united to produce and sell a range of pet accessories, beginning in April 2010.

A promoter of pet health, MSLO’s founder Martha Stewart said, "I have always loved having a lot of pets, and consider them members of my family." She added, "It’s very important to me that domestic animals be well fed, well groomed and well cared for, and I have always prided myself on the good health and happiness of my pets.

The new line of products will include pet apparel, collars, leashes, bedding, grooming supplies and toys.

According to the 2009-2012 National Pet Owners Survey, in 2008, consumers spent about $52 million on their pets – a figure that has more than doubled in the past ten years.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals asserts that the costs of caring for cats and dogs can range from $670 to $1,580 each year.

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