Research for yourself what is a healthy portion size for your pet’s food and the quantity/quality of treats. Do you know if your dog is overweight? Do the simple feel test around your pet’s rib cage. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs easily, there is a good chance they are overweight.
2. Go on long walks and change up your route for new smells.
Dogs use their noses more than their eyes, smelling their way around. They smell every shade of green we see. They smell a teaspoon in an Olympic size pool. Show your dog some love by taking them to new places, introducing them to new smells. Your dog will appreciate the fact that she’s got your undivided attention in a cornucopia of smells to delight her senses.
Basically pet fostering involves providing a temporary home for a rescued animal. As a foster family you provide love, attention, and care for the animal in your home while he /she waits to be adopted.
The duration of the animals stay can be anywhere from a couple days to several months and during that time you may assist with training or behavior modification. Any expenses related to the dog’s daily care, food, the shelter or rescue group generally covers veterinary visits, grooming. “ You get to do the fun stuff with the dogs. Love on them, take walks, and play with them.
How do you become a foster family?
Each shelter or rescue group has their own application process, but they all generally include some paperwork and home visit. The shelters look at the space an individual has at home and any other pets, and they talk to the family to make sure everyone is on the same page.
During the application process potential foster families can define the type of dog that will fit best in their life – big or small, active or laid back, even specific breeds. The most important thing is that the dog fits in well in the home.
The Joys and Pitfalls of Fostering
The fostering families get to know the dog in their care and often uncover some behavior problems. Chewing or destructive behaviors and potty training are some common issues foster families tackle. But the most challenging issues may be saying goodbye when the dog is adopted. While there are tips to decrease the chances of becoming too attached, most foster families still feel a connection to the dogs.
The joy of fostering comes from knowing that you are giving a dog a real chance at survival and giving the shelter an opportunity to help one more animal.
Never name the dog. Giving the dog your own name increases the chances of becoming attached.
Put your family and pets first. The foster dog is temporary and while you want to give them the best care possible, the needs of your family and pets should be primary.
Don’t let them sleep on the bed or couch. Do give foster dogs their own space and toys.
Remind yourself that you are preparing the dogs for their forever home.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. You are making a difference.
If your dog enjoys chasing tissues, sweet wrappers and any other type of garbage that crosses his path when out for a walk, take the opportunity to teach him an unusual and helpful trick. Teaching your dog to pick up your discarded wrapping paper is similar to teaching him how to play fetch.
Next time you take your dog for a walk, take some wadded up tissue or paper balls with you. Take him to a wide, open space and throw one paper ball onto the ground.
Command your dog to fetch the paper ball and bring it back to you. If your dog does not yet know how to fetch, start by pointing to the item you want him to bring, and repeat the command. If he does not respond, walk over to the item with a treat in your hand so that your dog will follow you. Guide him towards the item or pick it up and offer it to him until he grasps it in his mouth.
After your dog masters holding the item in his mouth, start moving away from him slowly while commanding him to stay. After you’ve moved back at least 10 feet, call your dog towards you. Give him a treat only if he returns with the item in his mouth. Only ask your dog to fetch your own garbage, avoiding sharp items and harmful chemicals.
The key to effective housetraining requires diligence.
When you find a mess in your house, clean the area thoroughly using an enzyme-based product: (Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, etc.). Any remaining residue will serve as a marker for your dog, indicating that this is a good potty spot.
After you’ve cleaned the area, make it inaccessible in some way—put a chair over it or cover it with aluminum foil.
If you catch your dog “in the act,” do not throw a fit. Take him calmly by the collar and lead him outside. (If your dog is small enough, scoop him up and carry him out.) You do not want to give the dog the impression that you do not approve of him relieving himself.
Reward the dog for finishing up outside with lots of praise and love.
In early puppyhood, puppies need to go out soon after eating, drinking, sleeping, or playing—in short, all the time.
Treat your newly adopted shelter dog like a puppy, regardless of his age.
Don’t put the dog out alone in a fenced yard, instead go out with him.
You can’t let him know he’s making the right choice if you’re not out there with him. Reward him for completing his business and make the reward memorable—a piece of garlic chicken, cheddar cheese, a walk.
Do not take the dog for a walk to do his business. Instead go to your chosen potty area and wait. Once the dog goes to the bathroom, then begin your walk. If the dog doesn’t go within a few minutes, go back in the house and try again in a half hour. Many dogs on walks will hold off as long as they can because they know that once they’ve gone to the bathroom, their owner will turn around and head for home. Instead use the walk as a reward for going in the appointed area.
Prevent accidents by managing the dog’s environment.
When you’re home, tether the dog to your waist. You’ll be certain to notice when the dog needs to go out. If you choose not to tether the dog, you must actively supervise. Dogs tend to relieve themselves in low-traffic areas—behind the couch, under the dining room table. Don’t allow the dog out of your sight, even for a moment. If you are not home, use a crate to encourage your dog to “hold it.”
When you’re out, either use a crate or a puppy-proof a room to minimize the chance of damage. Until the dog has gone three months without an accident, do not leave him unattended or unconfined.
Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Halloween can be a downright nightmare.
1. Tricks/ no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
2. Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
5. Dressing in a costume for some pets can be very stressful. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au natural or donning a festive bandana/festive collar.
6. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets. We recommend sitting outside on your porch during peak trick or treating hours to avoid all the door knocking and doorbell ringing that puts your dog on high alert.
7. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside. Seeing kids in costumes can be confusing. And having the doorbell ring constantly can cause stress.
8. MOST IMPORTANT TIP: IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.
First, understand barking happens for a wide range of reasons. Some dogs may happily bark while they play. Others will bark out of excitement when people come to the door. Still others will fearfully bark at any new environmental stimulus they see (whether it’s a person, another animal, or an inanimate object). Some dogs relieve stress by barking. Others will bark because they are bored. All types of barking tend to have the same result for the humans…we get frustrated and annoyed if it goes on too long. Understanding the reason for the barking is critical to helping the dog.
Second, based on the reason for the barking, begin to implement some management options. There is no one size fits all when it comes to managing barking. What will work for one dog, may not work for another. You will need to experiment to see what works best for your dog. Here are a few methods to get you started.
Distract and redirect the dog –This works especially well if your dog is frustrated or bored. Provide an alternative behavior such as coming to you to get pieces of chicken or steak, playing an interactive puzzle game, or chewing on a stuffed Kong toy. The goal here is to give the dog something else to do.
Manage the environment – Practice makes perfect. Barking is one behavior we don’t want the dog to perfect. Set up the environment to prevent barking. Cover the windows so your dog can’t see out of them, or move him to another room when delivery people come by. Anticipate the times your dog might bark and break the cycle before it starts.
Homeopathic remedies – Essential oils and Bach Flower essences can have a calming effect on many dogs. For dogs who are stressed or over-stimulated, you might try Bach Rescue Remedy in the water bowl, or lavender essential oil placed on a towel or bedding. You can also try a diffuser with dog-appeasing pheromones, such as Comfort Zone®.
The New Fall TV Season has begun. Here is your Commercial Break Homework!
Let the Games Begin!
To start these games, you’ll need a comfortable chair or couch in front of your TV, and a container of bite size treats. These can be your dog’s kibble or they can be special treats used just for training. Then, sit back and turn on your favorite 30–60 minute TV show.
During the actual television show
Teach your dog to stare at you. Completely ignore your dog. Just watch TV. When he looks at you for any reason, say “YES” and toss him a treat. Then be quiet and ignore him again. Repeat this throughout the show. The “YES” is merely telling the dog that he just did something rewardable. If you prefer, you can use a clicker in place of the “YES.” By the end of the show you should find that your dog is staring at you with much greater frequency. If he gets really good, start having him hold the stare for three seconds before you say “YES” and toss the treat.
During the commercial breaks
You have approximately 2 minutes to train!
Option 1:Teach your dog to sit.
Get up and grab your dog’s favorite toy. Be as crazy as possible and get your dog as excited as possible. Then ask your dog to sit while holding the toy just above his head (not so high that he jumps, but not so low that he grabs it from your hand). As soon as the dog sits, say “YES” and throw the toy. Repeat as many times as you can during the commercial.
Option 2: Teach your dog to stay.
(Alternative training if your dog already knows how to sit)
Ask your dog to sit and then ask him stay. Take three steps backwards and then (assuming your dog is still sitting), say “YES” and throw a treat over your dog’s head (so that he has to move away from you to get the treat). Repeat as many times as possible during the commercial break. If that gets easy, make things more challenging with these alternatives:
Turn your back on the dog and take three steps away while your dog is staying
Walk back to the couch and sit down while the dog is staying
Walk around the corner of the room (out of sight) for 5 seconds while the dog is staying
During the time it takes you to watch a 30–60 minute TV show, you and your dog will get in a great deal of practice. For families watching TV together, let each family member take a turn. Once your dog has mastered these behaviors, start working on down, or begin adding distractions to make things more challenging. You’ll have a well-mannered dog before you know it!