Helping Hands!

Photo by Michelle Pritchow

Kudos to Enumclaw High School for supporting a “Student Puppy Sitters” program!  These amazing students help those wonderful people who raise and train dogs for many national service dog programs.  But who helps them when they need a break?  Enter the student puppy sitters.  Not only does it provide respite for the dog training families during the school year, but it adds an extra dimension of socialization and training for those puppies and invaluable experiences for the teens involved in the program.  Read all about our Washington and other programs here.

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Who’s Bad?

Most of the time if there’s a behavior problem, you can pretty much guarantee that we humans are the reason.  Dogs aren’t born inherently bad, mischievous and curious yes, but not really bad. In our house, this little cutie to the left is quite the sassy girl.  Cedar tends to be vocal and when asked a question she always has an opinion.  I started when she was very young, asking her at morning feedings if she was hungry.  Of course she barked a reply.  Because it was not discouraged, she sasses me constantly at feeding times if I’m not getting the bowls ready fast enough.  That’s on me and, at the tender age of almost 11, I would be hard put to discourage that behavior now.  Sadly it has become part of our meal time ritual and I will miss it desperately when she is no longer with us.  That’s a minor misbehavior and is only really annoying if someone is trying to talk to me or I’m trying to listen to something on the TV.  However, there are other behaviors much less tolerated in our house and these need to be nipped in the bud if your dog exhibits them.  Here’s a great list of 5 bad behaviors that you can make sure not to instill in your pet and how to curb them if it’s too late.

Slobber

You’ve heard the sayings:
“A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s.”
“Dog saliva heals wounds”
Well these do have some truth, but dogs and humans have different kinds of bacteria in their mouths and some are the same.  Dogs have about 600 different bacteria in their mouths while we humans have around 615.   When it comes to disease, it is less risky to get kissed by your dog than a human when it comes to transferring illness.  The only exception is, a dog that eats a raw diet can transmit salmonella to their human if it is present.  If you want to know everything there is to know about licking, and dog saliva, take a look at this article and don’t skimp on the brushing.  Cripes now I want to go brush my teeth and theirs.

Bathing Beauty

I rotate my shampoo use to keep build up down, so I have several different kinds – most of them good quality salon types.  When I was grooming for a show this last week, I looked at the shelf above the deep sink and, low and behold, the dogs have almost as many as I do.  What’s up with that you say?  Why not save money and use yours?  That’s a great big DON’T by the way.  Did you know dogs not only have fewer skin layers than we do – 3-5 as opposed to 10-15 – but their skin Ph is higher than ours – more neutral – so using your shampoo on them would really mess up the acid mantle among other things.  Here’s a really good article about the whys and wherefores if you want to research it, but basically, use the dog shampoo on the dog and protect their sensitive skin.

Danger In Your Back Yard?

If you live in one of the dozen western states that is home to the Water Hemlock, please keep your dogs away.  A simple nature walk can turn deadly in a second if your pet ingests this plant.  The tiny white flowers bloom in June and July, depending on elevation.  The tubers are the most poisonous but the leaves and stems can be lethal as well.  The plant has a strong carrot like smell which may be attractive to your dog.  A dog poisoned with water hemlock will present with nervousness  and pupil dilatation. This will progress to twitching, drooling, convulsions and seizures.  Even if a tiny amount is eaten and the dog survives the toxic effects, they are often left with permanent heart or skeletal muscle damage.  If you suspect your pet has eaten even just a small amount, induce vomiting immediately and get them to a vet.  Moral of this story, keep an eye on your surroundings when you take those walks.

Lean And Mean

As a Dachshund breeder, I constantly try to educate puppy buyers about keeping their pup lean.  All dogs should maintain a healthy weight, but Dachshunds have the added disadvantage of the long back and short legs that can make extra weight a greater health risk.  Statistics show that about 54% of dogs in the US are overweight.  People tend to care for their pets by overfeeding them with “love”.  Last year I published a  post about how having a dog can get us humans in better shape, but how about them?  There are a whole batch of diseases you can help your dog avoid if you just keep their weight in check.  To learn more, read this article and please, take it to heart.  You will be doing your pet a huge favor.

Beat The Heat

  Last August I posted about the how fast the temperature  can rise in cars with the summer heat.  I can’t believe we are still reading (and seeing on the news) about people who are just not using there brains when it comes to this issue.  Hot cars aren’t the only problems we encounter as part of the summer temperature changes.  Keep in mind that humidity, hydration and exercise are just a few things that should also be monitored when it comes to your pet’s summer health.  And don’t forget about summer storms and possible power outages – are you prepared?  Here are Six Tips for Summer Safety.  Stay cool amigos.