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6 Tips for Successful Housetraining

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It doesn’t matter whether you’re adopting a puppy or an untrained adult dog. As soon as you bring him home, one of the first things you need to do is teach him not to do his business on the floor. For many people, housetraining a dog or puppy can be a daunting prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are six suggestions to help ensure your pooch learns to go potty in the right place.

1. Pick a location

As with real estate, the first decision to make when housetraining a dog is location, location, location.

Start by picking a particular spot in your yard (a place that’s easily accessible for both you and the dog, but away from human traffic).

When taking him outside to do his business, use the same door to go in and out by. Eileen Proctor, dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert, says using the same door lets the dog know that he’s going on a potty break.

Don’t send him outside by himself. Go with him and take him to the approved area. After all, you don’t want him going in your veggie garden or on your patio.

Going for short walks along a familiar route will also encourage your pup to eliminate – just make sure you clean up any solid waste he leaves behind. “Short leash walks not only help with nice leash manners, but the dog will potty multiple times during a walk instead of just going once and returning to the house,” says dog trainer Amy Robinson.

2. Follow a routine

“Get a routine set in stone for the first few weeks,” says Kathryn Smith, who shares her life with several Scotties. “The best investment is a kitchen timer or alarm clock. In the morning, get out of bed, and do not stop at the bathroom, do not brush your teeth, do not turn on the coffee – take the dog out first!”

Make sure the whole family knows the routine. “Use the same cue word each time the dog goes out,” says Eileen. “Everybody has to follow the same script or the dog will be confused and training will take longer.”

3. Praise – never punish

“When he goes (in the right spot), praise him like he’s just won the Pulitzer Prize,” says Eileen. “Always reinforce appropriate behavior and ignore unwanted behavior.”

If your pooch has an accident in the house, never rub his nose in it. He won’t understand what he did wrong and may learn to hide his mistakes rather than ask to go outside. For all accidents, use a cleaner that will penetrate tiny cracks in wood flooring or go all the way to the carpet pad. Never use ammonia; urine and ammonia smell alike to a puppy and he’ll see it as a big red target that says, “Go here!”

“For poop mistakes, one trick is to relocate the mistake, or as I call it, tamper with the evidence,” says Eileen. “Take it outside and put it in the designated area. It will clue the dog in to realize, ‘Oh yeah, I went here before’ so he’ll do it again – where he should.”

4. Monitor access to food and water

“Don’t free feed your dog or give him unlimited access to water,” adds Eileen. “Put your dog on a feeding routine. Regulate the time and quantity of food and water, and that regulates potty breaks. Take up the water bowl a couple of hours before bedtime.” During the housetraining process, a small quantity of water offered frequently is a better idea than a big bowlful. It will keep your dog from getting into the habit of 3am potty breaks.

5. Keep him close

During the housetraining process, keep your pup or dog close by, either with a short leash or by keeping him confined to one area. A crate can be handy for this, as long as he isn’t spending all his time in it. “Two weeks of crate time and leash walking helped housetrain Shadow,” says Cindy Bryan of her year-old rescue dog. “I also made a huge deal of praising him. He had a few accidents at first but now will go to the back door and squeak if he has to go.”

6. Know the signs

What are the signs that your pup or dog needs to go out? “Look for a pause in play, a sit, sniffing or a thoughtful look,” says Amy. If he starts wandering distractedly around and sniffing the floor as if he’s looking for something, it’s time to take him out.

“Housetraining a puppy takes the vigilance of a Navy Seal,” says Amy. “I liken it to potty training a naked toddler. One moment of inattention and the puppy has found a spot to take care of his business. Take comfort in the fact that puppies housetrain faster than toddlers potty train!”

Housetraining is likely the first training experience you will have with your new pup. Make it as pleasant as possible so he’ll look forward to learning more things with you. Know that dogs are eager to please, and that once he’s learned his manners, the rewards of sharing your life with a dog really begin!

As seen in: Animal Wellness Magazine Vol. 16 Issue 2

Solving Cat Behavioural Problems

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A lot of people make mistakes with cats because they think they will behave the same way as dogs. Unlike dogs, however, who form social groups through respect of a pack leader, cats form social groups through the respect of territory.

NEVER hit a cat. Your hands should be associated with affection, not corporal punishment. a bottle that squirts water is much better than a slap to remind a cat not to jump on the kitchen table or claw your sofa. However, you have to squirt the cat with water as soon as he misbehaves; if you wait too long, he may not know what he is being corrected for.

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•  Cats are very attracted to houseplants and many plants are poisonous. If your cat is chewing plants, try spraying them with bitter apple, or put the plants out of reach. We recommend kitty grass so they can have some legitimate greens. If your cat digs in the soil around houseplants, put aluminum foil or gravel around the plant. Putting Popsicle sticks or twigs in the soil may also curb digging.

• “Love bites” may be kind of cute, but they can lead to more serious biting. Cats don’t usually break skin, but they can nip you quite hard at times when they get affectionate. This may sound nutty, but we learned that when a cat bites you, you should howl like a cat in pain. Although skeptical, we tried it, and believe it or not it does work!  **One note of caution: don’t allow other people to tease your cat or encourage biting. Some people like to rub the cat’s belly and get the bite reflex.

• Some cats are street cats before adoption, and may have lunched out of garbage cans, which can cause problems with your cat knocking your bins over. The only remedy is to get garbage cans with lids. Some people even have to hide their garbage cans under sinks in cupboards, or weigh them down with bricks. We haven’t had to go that far, because the lids worked for us.

• Training your kitty to go on a leash will not be as easy as training a dog. However, the leash can be a safe way to let a cat go outdoors. start training your cat to a leash when he’s a kitten, if you can. “It could take a few days to perhaps a week to train a cat to a leash, depending on his personality and how often you try the lessons,” says Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior.

• Around the holidays, cats may smash an ornament and have a shard of glass in their mouth!  We suggest moving ornaments to higher shelves and keeping your cat(s) away from the area with a squirt gun. Here’s an interesting tidbit: cats can develop a vocabulary of about 100 words, so mention the object’s name and guess what? Your cat will take off like a shot!

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The Stink About Air Fresheners

Capture You’ve seen the ads for all those air fresheners, room sprays and scented laundry products with their flowery, pine forest or sea breeze fragrances. They make your home smell nice and fresh, but don’t let those “natural” scents fool you.

Most scented commercial household products contain chemicals that can have a detrimental effect on the physical health of your human family, and especially your animal companions, who are much more sensitive than we are. Some of these chemicals have the potential to cause cancer and brain damage in humans, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re also harmful to dogs and cats.

Two absorption routes A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group tested 43 common chemicals found in household products, including scented ones, and discovered that dogs have higher levels of these substances in their bodies than humans do. How is this possible, when many of these products don’t seem to come into direct contact with your animal? Veterinarian Dr. Gloria Dodd says there are two main ways animals come into contact with fragrance chemicals – by inhaling the fumes or rubbing against your clothes or skin.

“Researchers have found that through inhalation, these chemicals get into the animal’s bloodstream and affect every organ the blood touches,” Dr. Dodd says. “Secondly, the chemicals can get into his system through physical exchange with the person’s skin or clothing.” Take fabric softeners, for instance. The chemicals that leave your clothes feeling so soft and fresh-smelling are released into the air and also stay in your clothes for a long time. So your companion may either inhale the fumes or absorb them through his skin when he snuggles up for a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears. “The chemicals in fabric softeners are pungent and strong smelling – so strong that they require the use of heavy fragrances just to cover up the smell,” adds veterinarian Dr. Deva Khalsa. “Dryer sheets are particularly noxious because they are heated in the dryer and the chemicals are released through dryer vents.”

So is it the smell or the actual chemical that your animal reacts to? According to Dr. Khalsa, inhaling these toxins has basically the same negative effect on an animal as direct skin contact or ingestion. “When you inhale pollens or smoke, you get an allergic reaction,” she says. “Inhaling is just the same as skin contact or ingestion.”

Symptoms and treatment When animals come into contact with synthetic perfumes, their bodies will begin reacting to them. Symptoms to watch out for are sneezing, and nasal and eye discharge. The liver can become toxic, affecting digestion, and immune and musculoskeletal symptoms can also emerge. Chronic disease may result, or the eventual development of cancer or organ failure. Itching is another sure sign of a reaction to the chemicals your companion has come in contact with. Dr. Khalsa adds that gastrointestinal symptoms can also occur, but most veterinarians don’t attribute these signs to toxins and chemicals in the environment.

Symptoms and treatment When animals come into contact with synthetic perfumes, their bodies will begin reacting to them. Symptoms to watch out for are sneezing, and nasal and eye discharge. The liver can become toxic, affecting digestion, and immune and musculoskeletal symptoms can also emerge. Chronic disease may result, or the eventual development of cancer or organ failure. Itching is another sure sign of a reaction to the chemicals your companion has come in contact with. Dr. Khalsa adds that gastrointestinal symptoms can also occur, but most veterinarians don’t attribute these signs to toxins and chemicals in the environment.

If you suspect your dog may be reacting adversely to any household product, whether it’s scented or not, seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Dr. Dodd recommends seeking out a holistic veterinarian who is familiar with detoxification and support methodologies. “Orthodox veterinarians would only give steroids and antibiotics, which make the health of the animal worse,” she says. Dr. Dodd adds that effective treatment consists of detoxification with homeopathic remedies called nosodes. Support may also be needed for the liver, and respiratory and immune systems, using homeopathy, ortho-molecular supplements and oral oxygen drops.

Preventing exposure In order to make yourself and your home toxin-free, consider switching all cleaning products – scented or otherwise – to those made with all-natural ingredients. Baking soda is great when used in either homemade cleaners or just sprinkled right on the surface to be cleaned. If you have carpets, cornstarch does as good a job as most carpet cleaners. Lemon juice or white vinegar helps remove grease, mildew and hard water stains.

If you want fragrance, add a touch of lavender oil or rose water to your homemade cleaners. You can also buy naturally-scented non-toxic cleaners, room sprays, laundry products and deoderizers. And instead of reaching for a bottle of synthetic perfume, try essential oils such as eucalyptus, jasmine, lavender, rose or sandalwood. Just be sure to use caution with essential oils if you have cats.

At the end of the day, we really don’t need to use synthetic fragrances and scents. As Dr. Dodd so aptly puts it: “Just keep clean – forget the perfume!”

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38 Unexpectedly Brilliant Tips For Dog Owners

1. If you have a hard time brushing your dog’s teeth, squeeze some enzymatic doggie toothpaste onto a Nylabone or rope toy and let your pooch go to town on it.

2. Make your own pill pockets when you need to feed your dog some medicine.

Make your own pill pockets when you need to feed your dog some medicine.
This is a copycat version of the kind made by Greenies.

3. Learn how to make your own chicken jerky.

Learn how to make your own chicken jerky.
It’s a healthier alternative to the store-bought kind. Get the directions here.

4. A carabiner is a quick and easy way to leash your dog.

A carabiner is a quick and easy way to leash your dog.

5. Got a lot of studying to do? Here’s how to read and play with your dog at the same time:

Got a lot of studying to do? Here's how to read and play with your dog at the same time:
Put a rope toy around your foot.

6. Use baking soda to get dog urine out of carpet.

Use baking soda to get dog urine out of carpet.
If you don’t happen to have a product like Nature’s Miracle on hand (maybe you’re traveling or at a friend’s house), pour some baking soda over the spot, let it sit, and then sweep or vacuum it up.

7. Put a ball in your dog’s food bowl if he or she eats too fast.

Put a ball in your dog's food bowl if he or she eats too fast.
They’ll be forced to move the ball around to get to all the food.

8. For a dog who loves to tear apart stuffed animals, make a durable activity ball with a Hol-ee rubber ball, scraps of fabric, and treats.

For a dog who loves to tear apart stuffed animals, make a durable activity ball with a Hol-ee rubber ball, scraps of fabric, and treats.
Once your dog has removed all of the fabric from the ball, you can stuff the scraps right back in!

9. If your dog isn’t feeling well, add some low-sodium chicken broth to the drinking water.

If your dog isn't feeling well, add some low-sodium chicken broth to the drinking water.

10. To remove pet hair from upholstery, dampen a rubber glove and run your gloved hand over it.

To remove pet hair from upholstery, dampen a rubber glove and run your gloved hand over it.
The latex/rubber will attract the hair.

11. Use a teapot to rinse dogs off in the bathtub without getting water and soap in their eyes.

Use a teapot to rinse dogs off in the bathtub without getting water and soap in their eyes.

12. A shower caddy makes a great storage solution for all your doggie stuff.

A shower caddy makes a great storage solution for all your doggie stuff.

13. Use a plastic pitcher to store and dispense dog food.

Use a plastic pitcher to store and dispense dog food.
It takes less time and keeps the food fresher. I use the MUJI rice storage dispenser, which comes with a handy measuring cup.

14. If you’ve got a teething pup who loves destroying cords, spritz bitter apple spray onto a paper towel and wipe the cord with it.

If you've got a teething pup who loves destroying cords, spritz bitter apple spray onto a paper towel and wipe the cord with it.
This covers more surface area and wastes less product than simply spraying the entire thing.

15. Make an ice lick by freezing toys, bones, and chicken broth into a cake mold.

Make an ice lick by freezing toys, bones, and chicken broth into a cake mold.

16. Invest in an escape-prevention harness if you have a small dog and a fenced-in yard.

Invest in an escape-prevention harness if you have a small dog and a fenced-in yard.
A little silly looking, but it’s safer than risking a runaway dog. Buy it here.

17. Run a dryer sheet over your dog’s fur when there’s a storm — chances are, they aren’t freaked out about the storm but the static electricity built up in their fur.

Run a dryer sheet over your dog's fur when there's a storm — chances are, they aren't freaked out about the storm but the static electricity built up in their fur.
According to Martha, this should work at least 50% of the time.

18. On a hot summer day, fill up an inflatable pool with water and ice.

On a hot summer day, fill up an inflatable pool with water and ice.

19. Make a dog-walking station for the entryway if you have more than one dog.

Make a dog-walking station for the entryway if you have more than one dog.
See how this is done here.

20. Dilute your dog shampoo to make it last longer and easier to apply.

4you-withlove.com Fill the bottom of an empty shampoo bottle about ¼ inch. Fill up the rest slowly with warm water.

21. If you have a small dog, cutting up a lamb roll into tiny pieces is a cost-effective way to make healthy, bite-sized training treats.

If you have a small dog, cutting up a lamb roll into tiny pieces is a cost-effective way to make healthy, bite-sized training treats.
A 1 lb. roll costs $6.98. Cut it up into the desired size, store most of it in a ziplock bag in the freezer, and leave the rest on the counter for immediate use.

22. Make your own hammock-style car seat cover.

Make your own hammock-style car seat cover.
The hammock style keeps the dog from getting hurt if he or she falls during any sudden stops or starts. Get the pattern here.

23. Print out and keep this handy chart of what foods your dog should NOT be given.

Print out and keep this handy chart of what foods your dog should NOT be given.

24. Make your own flea shampoo.

Make your own flea shampoo.
1 cup Dawn, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 quart of warm water. Massage in and let it sit for five minutes. According to one testimonial, “The fleas just floated in the water and died and best of all little Libby did not have any reactions at all to the process.”

25. For easy tick removal, apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball and swab the tick with the cotton ball for a few seconds.

For easy tick removal, apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball and swab the tick with the cotton ball for a few seconds.
The tick should come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you remove it.

26. Remove pet hair from carpet with a squeegee.

Remove pet hair from carpet with a squeegee.

27. An inexpensive and easy summer treat for dogs: Cut up apples in chicken broth and freeze in an ice cube tray.

An inexpensive and easy summer treat for dogs: Cut up apples in chicken broth and freeze in an ice cube tray.

28. If you have an older dog with tooth troubles, add a little water or chicken broth to his or her kibble and microwave for 20-30 seconds.

If you have an older dog with tooth troubles, add a little water or chicken broth to his or her kibble and microwave for 20-30 seconds.
This softens the kibble and makes the food much easier to chew.

29. Teach your dog to file his or her own nails by attaching sandpaper to a piece of wood.

Teach your dog to file his or her own nails by attaching sandpaper to a piece of wood.
Apparently, dogs can be trained to use a scratching posts just like cats! Get the directions for how to build a giant dog nail file here.

30. Read your dog’s body language.

Read your dog's body language.

31. Sprinkle parsley on your dog’s food for fresher breath.

Sprinkle parsley on your dog's food for fresher breath.

32. Here’s an ingenious leash that has a built-in waste-bag dispenser and a compartment for keys, cards, phone, and treats.

Here's an ingenious leash that has a built-in waste-bag dispenser and a compartment for keys, cards, phone, and treats.
$39.99 from Fozzy Dog.

33. Instead of buying special Kong stuffing, stuff a Kong with cheese cubes and place in the microwave for five seconds.

Instead of buying special Kong stuffing, stuff a Kong with cheese cubes and place in the microwave for five seconds.
The cheese will melt just enough to stick to the inside of the Kong.

34. Turn an empty pancake-syrup bottle into a portable squirt-able water bottle.

Turn an empty pancake-syrup bottle into a portable squirtable water bottle.
Use a carabiner to attach it to a belt loop for a long hike.

35. It’s certainly unpleasant to take your dog outside when it’s snowing or raining, but don’t forget that dogs’ paws are just as sensitive to heat as human skin.

It's certainly unpleasant to take your dog outside when it's snowing or raining, but don't forget that dogs' paws are just as sensitive to heat as human skin.
On hot summer days, walk your dogs before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. — or walk them only in shady or grassy/dirt areas.

36. Have an extra kitchen drawer? Use it as a dog food holder.

Have an extra kitchen drawer? Use it as a dog food holder.

37. Print out this guide and bring it with you when dog food/treat shopping.

Print out this guide and bring it with you when dog food/treat shopping.

38. Possibly the best use of old jeans ever: a lap pillow.

Possibly the best use of old jeans ever: a lap pillow.
Stuff an old pair of jeans with stuffing to simulate a human lap that smells just like you!

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