Golden Retriever: Friendliest Dogs in the World

Getting a new dog can be a great decision, but sometimes it can be a stressful one to make. In addition to deciding if you want a new pet or have the capacity to take care of it, you also have to consider whether the new dog can get along with people or other animals that are already with the family. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than having to give up a pet because of its temperament, so finding a good fit is essential.

Dog Congeniality

Each dog has a different personality, but each breed has a general disposition that’s common among most of its clan. Choosing a breed that’s predisposed to being calm and gentle is something that will work best for new dog owners, as well as homes with other animals. Fortunately, there’s one breed that fits all these qualifications – golden retrievers.

These dogs have a reputation for snuggling against everything, including their historical rivals – cats. Any goldie owner will be quick to praise their dogs for how well they get along with other dogs, as well as new people.

Puppies Forever

Why does this particular breed have little to no problem in getting close to others, while others bark and bare their teeth at anything that moves? Many dog experts think that this has a lot to do with the history and birth of the breed just over 100 years ago. The golden retriever was first bred in England, specifically to become a human companion and hunting dog. In order to achieve this, the dogs were in constant human contact, where they experienced little threat and could afford to develop a generally trusting nature.

One unforeseen side effect of the breeding process is that golden retrievers have a slower maturity process than other dogs. Most dogs of this breed retain puppy-like behavior until they’re three to four years of age, and there are even some stories of dogs that still act playful well into old age.

Dogs are fun in general, but taking care of a golden retriever is one of the most fulfilling experiences a person can have because of their demeanor. If you want to see this calm and friendly breed in action, contact us today, or pay us a visit. Our pups are always excited to meet new people, and some are even ready to go home to a family of their own.

The Best Traits of a Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States, which isn’t bad for a breed that’s just over a hundred years old. But, the reason people love “goldies” so much goes beyond their smiling face, silky ears, and warm coats, though those are all excellent reasons. Golden retrievers are beloved because their talents can go beyond any owner’s wildest expectations.

Police Dogs

When the Lord of Tweedmouth first thought of creating his own breed of hound, he wanted a reliable hunting dog that was easy to train. The result of that breeding was a dog with one of the most powerful noses among all breeds. This nose makes them excellent bomb sniffers, as well as indispensable members of search and rescue operations.

Everyone’s Best Friend

They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but that is especially true when it comes to golden retrievers. This is the reason they are regulars in K-9 teams, along with German shepherds and beagles. While all of them are exceptional members of the local police force, golden retrievers are often the most agreeable of the three breeds. These dogs crave companionship, they genuinely want to be around people and express affection that goes beyond just trying to score treats.

Golden retrievers aren’t just friendly to people, though; they display the same sociability with other animals, making them good herd dogs. Veterinarians attribute the behavior to the breed’s origins of being constantly around people, and having very little experience in the wild as a breed.

Natural Survivors

While they have a naturally lovable demeanor, golden retrievers are survivors that can use their talents to their fullest in the ruggedness of the wild. If this idea brings to mind the character “Shadow” from the 1993 movie Homeward Bound, it’s not that far off. There’s actually a true story about a Golden Retriever that was able to survive for twenty months in the woods until her owners found her by laying down her favorite blanket, and the breed as a whole possesses amazing survival instincts.

Golden Retrievers are wonderful animals that can do more than just fetch a stick, and deserve all the love they get. If you want a puppy of your own to shower with affection, contact us today. Our litters have documented lineages so you get a happy, healthy pet to add to your family.

Helping Dogs Cope with Separation Anxiety

The routine has become familiar: before you leave for work, your dog barks nonstop; when you come home, he greets you with a burst of energy, follows you around the house and watches you all night. Recently, though, there’s something new. You come home to find your couch and shoes all chewed-up. Your dog jumps onto the couch and stares at you intently, waiting to get a reaction. All these actions may mean your dog is experiencing separation anxiety.

Here are some tips to help ease whatever anxiety your little (or big) pup may be feeling.

1. Take your dog outside for a walk before you leave home.

Your goal is to leave your furry little friend in a quiet, calm manner as you leave for the day or run a quick errand. Start your day by taking your dog for a walk. You may want to use a dog backpack that has extra weight to make the exercise more effective, then let them rest for a while after the walk. Reward them with food and water as they calm down and become submissive.

2. Keep it low-key when you leave or arrive home.

It’s important to communicate through voice and body language that leaving and arriving at home is no big deal. This will help them get used to this ordinary, usual event. You may want to train them by leaving the house for five minutes and then returning. Little by little, extend the minutes you are away. Practice this until they are calm whenever you leave the house.

3. Maintain a calm, but assertive attitude.

When leaving the house, make sure to leave behind the guilty, tense, and worried feelings as well. Give your dog assurance that all is well by displaying calmness but also being assertive. These two traits help dogs catch that energy, relieving them of separation anxiety.

4. Get professional advice.

Have you tried it all only to continue coming home to a mess caused by the little furry one? Perhaps it’s time to consult a professional dog trainer for some help.

Help your dog overcome separation anxiety with these tips, but when all else fails contact our experienced dog trainers to help you and your dog create healthy habits. Get in touch with us and we’ll be more than happy to offer you advice in helping your furry friend.

3 Things You Should Stop Doing to Your Dog

It is said that a dog is man’s best friend, but you probably didn’t know some of your behaviors might be making things difficult for your furry companion. Owners have many ways of driving their dogs nuts—and you may not even realize you’re doing these things most of the time. If you want to become a better best friend to your dog, find out your annoying habits and learn how to fix them.

Talking More than Showing

Dogs might be able to give meaning to a few words or commands—such as walk, sit, or stay—and maybe (hopefully) even associate those words with specific actions. They, however, don’t understand human language. You don’t understand their barking and they don’t understand your talking. Because of that they rely on nonverbal cues in our body language to understand what is happening. When you get angry at them, they don’t listen to what you’re saying. They read your facial expression, tone, and body movements—your loud voice, finger pointing, and stance.

Not being cognizant of your body language and nonverbal language could be difficult for your dog to understand. Telling them to “stay,” for example, while leaning towards them and holding out a hand. In body language you’re inviting the dog to come toward you even though verbally you are asking them to stay put.

Hugging

We love to hug our furry friends, but to them a hug might mean something else. We humans evolved to see hugs as a form of expressing our emotions, but dogs haven’t gone through the same evolutionary process. For many species of dogs, placing foreleg or paw on another dog’s back is a sign of dominance. No matter your intentions in hugging them, your pooch is hardwired to see this embrace as an act of dominance over them.

Not Providing Constructive Ways to Release Energy

When your dog starts chewing the carpet or running around the house wreaking havoc and barking, it’s most likely a sign they are getting bored. Most canines aren’t born with the temperament to laze around all day, they are born to be active and play. A dog’s natural instinct is to do something—many species have been bred for centuries just to do specific jobs. When their natural instinct is denied, they become frustrated and that often results in aggressive or unacceptable behavior. Give them something to do and you’ll immediately see an improvement in their behavior.

Of course there might be other things you do that drive them crazy, such as petting their face, not acting like a pack leader, and going for walks without letting them explore. The most important thing to remember is to “listen” to your dogs by observing their behaviors and their body language. Their needs are simple, and satisfying these small things will lead to a happy and harmonious relationship.

Talk to us today for any concerns about dog training, health, and breeding. We’d be glad to help any way we can.

Common Dog Diseases, Illnesses and Conditions

veterinarianLike all pets, dogs are prone to lots of diseases. To keep dogs free from diseases, they should be understood and treated with the assistance of the veterinarian. Some of the common dog diseases are discussed below:

Rabies

Due to current vaccination laws, rabies is becoming a less common dog disease. It is caused by a virus affecting the central nervous system of the dog. Rabies is known to be spread through saliva. There are several stages observed in dogs. In the first stage, the dogs are seen with a behavior change. In the second stage, the dogs become very violent. And in the third stage, body parts of the dogs stop coordinating with each other.

Bloat

This is a serious condition of the dog. The stomach of the dog gets twisted, which is due to overeating. The symptoms of bloat are restlessness and depression combined with dry heaves.

Distemper

This is considered to be the worst dog disease worldwide. This proves fatal 80% of the time in puppies and 50% of the time in adult dogs. The common symptoms of this disease are congestion in the chest, coughing, diarrhea, gunky eyes, nasal discharge, etc. At later stages it affects the nervous system of the dogs, leading to paralysis. It is a highly contagious dog disease. It can be transmitted from the feces of the infected dog. This dog disease does not have any cure.

Parvovirus

Parvo is a very contagious disease affecting the intestinal tract of the dogs. It is also said to affect the heart of the dogs. The symptoms of this disease are severe diarrhea, depression and decrease of appetite. The fecal matter of the dog is found to be a different color with blood stains. The symptoms appear within hours of the infestation and can even kill the dog within 2 to 3 days of infection. Hence, it is considered as a deadly disease.

Kennel Cough

This is very common among dogs. It is a kind of respiratory disease. This can be easily treated.

Canine Viral Hepatitis

This disease affects the liver, kidney and the blood vessels of the dogs. The common symptoms are profuse thirst, vomiting, hemorrhages, loss of appetite, etc. This virus, too, spreads through the feces of the dogs.

 Leptospirosis

This disease is caused by bacteria, and even humans get affected by the bacteria. There are several species of bacteria found to produce the disease in dogs. The common symptoms include lethargy, fever, kidney inflammation, clotting of blood and conjunctivitis. In more chronic conditions, it can produce pneumonia, intestinal inflammation and jaundice.

Heartworm

Heartworms are parasites that multiply and grow, causing infection in the chambers of the heart and arteries of the lungs. The symptoms may start with mild cough, fatigue and lethargy. If it is not treated properly, it can lead to congestive heart failure.

Retinal Dysplasia

Abnormal development of the retina is the disorder. This is very common in most of the dog breeds. The minor forms lead to vision problems and the acute forms leads to total blindness in dogs. Cataracts can also accompany with this disorder.

How Important Is Pet Dental Care?

Dental care is an important part of caring for your pet. Just like humans, dogs have teeth that can cause problems if they are not cared for with a proper dental routine. You may have already noticed, but dogs can suffer from bad breath just like humans can.

pet-dental-careYour vet is an important part of this dental care. Ask your vet to show you how to brush your pets’ teeth properly. Your vet knows how to brush their teeth properly so your beloved pet doesn’t get gum disease or any of the other conditions associated with poor oral hygiene. You are going to need to spend some time finding the right toothbrush for your dog. You can use a child’s toothbrush, but it is recommended that you rather buy a special toothbrush for your pet. It will make brushing easier and will be worth the money.

To buy a toothbrush, you can visit your vet or local pet supply store. You might be surprised to see how many variations of pet toothbrushes and toothpastes there are. Ask for help if you are not sure about what kind to get. There are some rules for choosing the best brush for your dog. You need to make sure that the bristles are soft so they don’t damage the dog’s gums. You also need to make sure you choose the right sized brush (just make sure it’s not too big or too small for your dogs mouth). Lastly, check that the handle is big enough for you to comfortably get a grip on the toothbrush.

You cannot use human toothpaste on your dog. Rather, use a special, high-quality toothpaste with ingredients specially formulated for dogs. You need to spend some time choosing your toothpaste, too. Cheaper brands might use ingredients that are harmful to your pet, and there are some common ingredients that can make your pet sick. Read the labels carefully and check that the toothpaste does not contain salt, detergents or enzymes, as these are dangerous for your pet. There is a huge selection at most pet supply stores, so ask for help and read the labels carefully.

Brushing your dogs’ teeth for the first time can be difficult, especially if they are not used to it. This can be avoided by starting when they are puppies, but if it’s too late for that, don’t worry. The key is to be gentle, speak in a soft voice, and do not force the dog. He must learn that it is not a big deal. Start from the back of the mouth and work your way forward in small, circular motions.

If your dog really does not want to allow you to brush his teeth without a fight, you can use a towel first. Try rubbing his teeth so he gets used to the sensation as well as your fingers in his mouth. Speak encouragingly and softly; you can even sing a little tune to calm him down. After a few patient weeks, the dog should allow you to brush his teeth without any hassles.

You should be brushing your dogs’ teeth daily, but if you can’t manage that, once every second day should be fine. It’s important that you start to see your dogs mouth as your own. By doing this, you will ensure that your dogs’ teeth will last well into old age, and, of course, his dog breath will improve.

Dog Identification Tips

According to the American Humane Society, just 15% of dogs in shelters ever find their way home again. Thankfully, the 15% of these loved pooches had identification, enabling shelter personnel to contact and return them to their owners. With such discouraging statistics, it becomes clear how important it is to tag or identify your new puppy.

Even if your dog doesn’t go outside much or is always in your company, you must identify him or her. Windows and doors can be left open, offering your pup a too-tempting escape to the outside world. What should you do to keep your pup safe at home?

There are several ways to ID your pet to prevent against loss or theft. Ideally, implement at least two methods to ensure a safe return should your dog go missing.

dog-with-green-collar

Tattoos and microchips provide permanent ways to identify your dog. Shelters, veterinarians and research laboratories know to look for these keys when animals are brought to their facilities.

Tattoos

This permanent identification system involves tattooing a code onto the dog’s skin, often inside the outer ear or on the inside of its leg. Veterinarians or trained specialists will ink the code for you. You will need to list your dog with one of the many tattoo registry programs around the country.

Microchips

These minuscule electronic chips are embedded under your dog’s skin. Because special scanners are needed to read the information located on the chip, most veterinarians, shelters and research laboratories have these on hand to scan all strays for identification. Several registries offer membership for dogs with microchips.

While tattoos and microchips offer excellent safety measurements at a reasonable cost, the fact is most people don’t know to look for a tattoo or have the means available to scan for microchips. As a result, it’s essential you provide your pup with an ID tag worn on its collar. ID tags are often the first thing searched for when a stray is found by someone.

At a minimum, the tag should list a current phone number. Because people move and phone numbers change often, a second phone number of a trusted friend or family member is also recommended. If space is available, additional information to include is your puppy’s name, your address, and any medical conditions.

Luckily, dog ID tags are not expensive to purchase, so it should be one of the first things you get your dog once you’ve chosen a name.  You can usually find just the right tag, too, that fits your lifestyle and your pet’s personality. Tags come in different materials, such as aluminum, brass, stainless steel or plastic and in a variety of shapes and colors. Today’s glamour pooch can even have his or her own tag made of Swarovski crystals! When it comes to choosing a fun dog ID tag, the choices are limitless.

Whatever methods you use when protecting your pet against loss or theft, please remember to keep the contact information current. Just a few minutes of your time to update registry information or purchase a new dog tag can make all the difference in your beloved dog’s life.

Helping Kids and Pets Develop ‘Pawsitive’ Relationships

child-and-puppyDogs, like children, are part of the family. But no matter what the dog’s temperament, families with young children should take some important safety precautions.

For the children’s safety and the dog’s, it’s crucial that they learn how to play nicely with each other. Here are some suggestions:

  • Choose the right breed and personality. Generally the large breeds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Standard Poodles, are tolerant of kids. Each dog is an individual, so ask the breeder or rescue shelter about the dog’s personality before you purchase or adopt.
  • Understand the pet’s behavior. Pets can become upset by too much stimulation. The Humane Society of the United States recommends teaching your kids to heed warning signs like hissing or lip curling, which indicates the animal wants to be left alone.
  • Teach the kids good manners. They should never disturb the dog while it’s eating, taking a nap, or playing with its favorite toy.
  • Keep your pet calm. Some dogs get very excited and agitated when confronted by lots of kids, and older dogs can be frightened by the high-pitched sounds and quick motions of children playing. A product like Pluto Pet’s Pet Calming Spray may help your dog stay calm no matter how much activity is going on around it. Made from all-natural ingredients, the spray causes no side effects and meets all Food and Drug Administration guidelines for good manufacturing practices.
  • Keep an eye on things. Young children and dogs should always be supervised when together. When your baby starts crawling, keep the dog by your side until it gets used to seeing a tiny human speeding across the floor.
  • Walk together. Children love holding a dog’s leash, but an adult should be there to supervise, according to the People and Dogs Society. A child may not be able to control even the most mild-mannered dog if it is approached by another dog, and children can tug too hard on the collar and leash, injuring the dog.
  • Demonstrate respect. Children should learn which parts of the dog’s body they can touch and pet and how to touch gently. For instance, your dog may love belly rubs and having its head stroked but resent having its feet or tail touched.

How to Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated

Bored dogs cause problems. If you don’t keep your dog’s mind stimulated, chances are that he’ll find activities to stimulate his mind himself, and you won’t like those activities.

A dog that is mentally stimulated on a daily basis is a happy dog, and happy dogs don’t cause dog problems.

Cover-Shots-51Here’s a quick list of how to keep your dog mentally stimulated:

          1. Exercise. Lots of exercise. If you can incorporate exercise with another activity, such as playing, “find the ball,” or doing some agility exercises, then that’s even better.
          2. Brain teaser toys. I’ll be adding some of these to our website store later next week. There are a number of cool toys that actually challenge your dog’s mind. For example, one of the more popular ones is the “Buster Cube,” a plastic cube that releases a pellet of food every third or fourth time the Cube is rolled over.
          3. Small rituals done at the same time of day, every day. For example: feeding time, grooming, walks, “cookie” time, car trips around town, etc.
          4. Dogs like to work. Teach your dog to bring in the newspaper, carry mail back from the mailbox, or to walk out with you when you take the trash out. (Whenever I go through the drive-thru window at McDonald’s, Forbes, my dog, gets to carry the trash bag to the trash receptacle when we’re finished. Sound silly, right? But the dog loves it!)
          5. Do obedience training with your dog. Obedience training requires your dog to use his brain and think. Knowing that he will be praised for making the right decision and corrected for making the wrong decision (and allowed the opportunity to make the right decision again) instills a sense of responsibility in your dog and demands that he use his noggin. Remember: Dogs are bred to work. They’ve been blessed with super-human instincts and drives, and they need an outlet for those drives.

Intestinal Parasites in Dogs

puppy-at-vetDogs and cats often fall victim to several common intestinal parasites known as worms. There are a large number of different types of intestinal worms, but dogs are most commonly affected by tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. These parasites live in the digestive tract (most commonly in the intestines) where they feed on nutrients, robbing the dog of the nutrition it takes in. Worm infestations can cause a variety of undesirable symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and a generally poor appearance.

How Do Dogs Get Worms?

There are a number of ways that a dog can wind up with an infestation of any of these types of intestinal parasites. An animal infested with any of these types of worms may pass the worms’ eggs in its feces. This is a strong argument for picking up after your pet as often as possible and not allowing your dog to eat feces (something dogs will do) whenever you can. Tapeworm eggs can be spread by fleas. Fleas eat the eggs (quite a delicacy to a flea) and then pass them to a dog when biting it. Some roundworms will lie dormant in the body of a pregnant dog and activate just before it gives birth. The activated worms make their way into the intestines of the unborn puppies where they will thrive after the pups are born.

Detecting Worms in Dogs

Worm infestations can be difficult to detect. While some worms may be passed in the feces, betraying their presence, it is uncommon. If a dog is displaying symptoms that may indicate the presence of worms, a vet should be consulted. A stool sample will be examined for the presence of worm eggs (these are microscopic) and a medication called a “wormer” will be prescribed. Stool samples are often collected as part of a routine dog physical examination in order to check for the presence of worms. In the case of tapeworms, discarded tapeworm segments may be visible in the dog’s feces, attached to the fur around the anus, or under the tail. To the naked eye, these may look like small bits of white rice.

Treating Dogs for Worms

When a dog is found to have an infestation of worms, it should be prescribed a wormer immediately by a vet. Depending on the severity of the infestation, the type of worms, and the likelihood of re-infestation, the treatment may need to be repeated one or several times. There are over-the-counter wormers available, but most vets do not recommend them, because they are necessarily weaker and may not kill all types of worms and their eggs.

Intestinal worms can cause numerous health problems for dogs, up to and including death in extreme cases. Taking measures to prevent infestation, detect it as quickly as possible, and treat it accordingly can help keep your dog safe from these harmful parasites.