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Training Tips


Cool Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat

As summer approaches, we need to take precautions to ensure our furry family members enjoy this season as much as we do.

Remember that dogs and cats are not as well equipped to participate in activities during hot, humid weather as we are. Except through the pads of their feet, dogs and cats are unable to sweat as a method to cool themselves down in hot weather. They cool off by panting. Think of wearing a fur coat in 85 degree temperatures and not being able to sweat. Another factor to consider in hot weather is that your pet’s normal temperature is around 101 degrees. They start out with a higher temperature than we do, and so will more quickly overheat.

You must never leave your dog in a parked car. When the outside temperature is 85 degrees, the interior of a car even with windows partially open can reach a temperature of 102 in 10 minutes and 120 within 30 minutes. At 120 degrees your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or death.

If you suspect your pet is suffering from heatstroke, use cool water, not cold to bring their temperature down and get them to the vet immediately. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, fever, dizziness, lack of co-ordination, drooling, vomiting, deep red tongue, and seizures.

Think of your pet’s situation like you were in it. Once the temperature rises above 85 degrees, take your pet inside, or take advantage of water based fun. If you and your pet are out on the water, make sure they are wearing a well-fitted personal flotation device. Provide plenty of fresh water for him to drink to avoid dehydration. Drinking salt water may cause your dog health problems and will contribute to dehydration.

Try walking or running with your dog early in the day or late in the evening. Always provide plenty of cool fresh water for all of your pets as you would for yourself. Enjoy summer with your pets. Keep everyone hydrated and cool, and enjoy many adventures together!

Important Safety Tips to Keep Your Newborn Baby and Beloved Pet Safe

On April 22, a 3-day-old infant was killed by the family dog in the Mira Mesa section of San Diego in a freak accident. The baby's mother, who was holding the child in her bed, coughed suddenly, causing the family's Staffordshire Terrier, who was also on the bed, to react by biting the infant, inflicting fatal wounds. The dog was later put down by Animal Control. While tragic, this incident highlights the importance of taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of both the baby and the dog. The Educated Pet offers these critical steps toward preventing injury to your newborn and keeping your family pet out of danger, as well:

1. Take the time early on to participate in a good quality dog obedience course.

2. Teach your dog how to respond around children.

3. Crate train your dog so that he has a safe zone when you have visitors.

4. Get a life size doll and carry it around the house with you. Teach the dog that he is to lie down and stay when anyone has the doll in their arms or lap.

5. Practice walking the dog with your stroller with the doll in it. This is more complicated than it looks and it’s better to practice without your baby.

6. Get the baby’s room set up as early as possible and allow your dog to adjust to the change.

7. Have a friend make a tape of the noises their baby makes and play it frequently for your dog.

8. Use the baby products (oils, powders, lotions), that you intend to use for the baby on yourself so the dog associates the smell with you.

9. Before you bring baby home have your spouse bring home an item of clothing that the baby has worn so the dog becomes familiar with the baby’s scent.

10. When you bring baby home have someone that the dog trusts be there to help you. The other person should hold the baby while you go in to greet the dog. Once the dog has greeted you then introduce him to the baby, allow him to sniff and greet gently.

11. When you are dealing with the baby do not exclude your dog. Allow him to be in the room in a down stay, just like you practiced with the doll.

12. Remember that you may have a lot more visitors than usual during the initial homecoming period. Your dog may feel protective towards you or the baby, or may just become stressed by the unusual amount of company. This is where your crate training becomes valuable. If you see that your dog is becoming stressed, put him in his crate in another room and let him relax for a couple of hours.

13. Never leave baby and dog alone!!!

10 Reasons Not to Use a Retractable Leash

While popular among dog owners, retractable leashes present unintended opportunities for injury to both the animal on the leash and other dogs it may come in contact with. Injuries to humans can also result. The Educated Pet lists these 10 reasons to avoid using retractable leashes with your dog:

1.  The length of retractable leashes, some of which can extend up to 26 feet, allows dogs to get far enough away from their humans that a situation can quickly turn dangerous. A dog on a retractable leash is often able to run into the middle of the street, for example, or make uninvited contact with other dogs or people.

2.  In the above scenario, or one in which your pet is being approached by an aggressive dog, it is nearly impossible to get control of the situation if the need arises. It's much easier to regain control of – or protect -- a dog at the end of a six-foot standard flat leash than it is if he's 20 or so feet away at the end of what amounts to a thin string.

3.  The thin cord of a retractable leash can break – especially when a powerful dog is on the other end of it. If a strong, good-sized dog takes off at full speed, the cord can snap. Not only can that put the dog and whatever he may be chasing in danger, but also the cord can snap back and injure the human at the other end.

4.  If a dog walker gets tangled up in the cord of a retractable leash, or grabs it in an attempt to reel in their dog, it can result in burns, cuts, and even amputation. In addition, many people have been pulled right off their feet by a dog that reaches the end of the leash and keeps going. This can result in bruises, "road rash," broken bones, and worse.

5.  Dogs have also received terrible injuries as a result of the sudden jerk on their neck that occurs when they run out the leash, including neck wounds, lacerated tracheas, and injuries to the spine.

6.  Retractable leashes allow dogs more freedom to pull at the end of them, which can look like aggression to another dog who may decide to "fight back."

7.  The handles of retractable leashes are bulky and can be easily pulled out of human hands, resulting in a runaway dog.

8.  Along those same lines, many dogs – especially fearful ones – are terrorized by the sound of a dropped retractable leash handle and may take off running, which is dangerous enough. To make matters worse, the object of the poor dog's fear is then "chasing" her, and if the leash is retracting as she runs, the handle is gaining ground on her – she can't escape it. Even if this scenario ultimately ends without physical harm to the dog (or anyone else), it can create lingering fear in the dog not only of leashes, but also of being walked.

9.  Retractable leashes, like most retractable devices, have a tendency to malfunction over time, either refusing to extend, refusing to retract, or unspooling at will.

10.  Retractable leashes are an especially bad idea for dogs that haven't been trained to walk politely on a regular leash. By their very nature, retractables train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.

If your dog is well trained, gentle mannered and smart enough to master a regular leash and a retractable leash without being confused, you could be one of the rare guardians that can walk your pooch on any kind of leash without increasing risks to either one of you.