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Tips and Tricks on How to Train a Dog to Walk on and Off a Leash

Training Your Dog to Walk on and off a Leash

No matter what age, breed, or size, it’s important to teach your dog to walk on a leash. Good leash skills and mastery of basic commands are vital for your dog’s safety and your own.

First, the only real distinctions between teaching a puppy or an adult dog to walk on a leash are shorter training sessions for puppy attention spans, and the time it takes for them to get used to the leash, collar and even a harness. Once they’re used to the gear equipment, you can begin to leash train your dog. Puppy training sessions should be conducted in three- to five-minute training sessions a few times each day, and most adult dogs can handle training for 10 minutes, anywhere from two-to-four times a day.

Before You Begin to Train a Dog to Walk on a Leash

Make sure your puppy or dog has an appropriate collar or harness that fits properly to prevent them from slipping out, as well as a suitable leash. A great way to help your pup get used to wearing a collar/harness and leash is to put both on for short periods of time in the house and during playtime. During this exercise, give him/her small treats and praise so he/she learns to love collar-and-leash time since it’s now associated with food and fun. Another thing to determine prior to training is your marker for good behavior. Here are the most common options:

● Get a training clicker so the dog learns to associate the sound with a reward
● Training treats are tiny tidbits to keep your pup interested in earning a reward
● Positive Verbal Reinforcement
.
Your pup dog wants to please you, so consistency in your training commands can help your furry friend quickly understand what you want him to do.

Whichever reward you use, the method can produce the same result. It’s recommended to conduct your first leash training session in a quiet place indoors that’s free of distractions. One of the best exercises to start with is “Sit-Stay-Come” training while still wearing their leash and collar. Even though you are not actually holding the leash and walking your pup just yet, it’s a great first step that allows dogs to associate the reward with wearing the collar and leash, making it more likely for them to listen to these commands while on a walk.

Start out by making the marker sound or offering a training treat, and as soon as your puppy dog
reacts by turning towards you or looking at you, reward him. Trust us, it won’t be
long before they understand the new game!

Keep this exercise going and continue backing away from your pup, make him come to you, then reward him. You can gradually increase the distance, and once he’s mastered coming to you, you can now actually pick up the leash and walk together for a bit before he gets the reward. Remember, puppies have a short attention span, so keep your training sessions short.

Tips & Training Guidelines to Teach Your Dog to Walk on a Leash

Now that your dog has collar-and-leash walking mastered indoors, it’s time to introduce a few more distractions by going outdoors. You can expect challenges and a few mistakes because all the sounds, smells, and sights will be intriguing and new to him. You want him to learn to walk on a leash nicely by your side, without pulling or lunging. Always remember that you are in control. Do not yank or jerk the leash in an attempt for control or drag your dog along with you.

● Be patient and keep your first walks together short. Keep your eyes on your dog so you can anticipate any behavior issues such as lunging at something.

● Use your marker sound to redirect his attention whenever he’s distracted or drifting too far away from the task at hand. Reward him with a treat for following you.

When walking outside with your pup, being proactive and trying to avoid distractions like bicyclists, skateboarders, other dogs, and cars is very important. If you see some improvement , you can increase the distance between you, your dog and whatever is distracting him. If your dog starts lunging at something or pulling in the other direction, stop in your tracks, stand very still and refuse to move until your dog comes back to you. Once he does, make your marker sound again and reward
him.

If barking while distracted is a problem, use the same process as you would if your dog is lunging or pulling — create distance and offer treats before he begins barking. Be consistent, and eventually every time he sees a dog he will know to turn his attention back towards you.

Tips & Training Guidelines to Teach Your Dog to Walk Off-Leash

Let’s say that your dog has mastered walking on the leash. He’s healthy, even-
tempered and non-aggressive. You can trust him to come to you on command. Is it
enough for you to trust him to walk off-leash? The safety of you, your pet, and
others around you is always important to keep in mind, and that’s why we don’t
recommend off-leash walks with your pup. However, there are a few environments
distinctly designed for some off-leash fun in a fenced and controlled area. Working
with your dog to help prepare for these types of environments to ensure your pup
still follows your commands is a great idea. Here are some ways to safely work on off-leash training!

If you decide to begin off-leash training, know it is going to take firm, consistent training and lots of
positive behavior reinforcement. Your dog must stay right by your side or under your
voice control at all times when it is off the leash, even when distractions are
everywhere. Make sure your dog is micro-chipped and ID tags are current. If your dog gets away from you, ID tags and microchips will be your best bet at reunification.

If your dog is ready, the dog park can be an option as a place to practice being off-leash. You can test your voice control commands and his/her response, as well as see how your dog behaves when distractions are everywhere. Your dog should always follow your direction no matter the situation or distraction. If your pup is not responding well and does not maneuver around the dog park by your side while obeying commands, it may be beneficial to practice those commands some more at home on a leash with fewer distractions. If your pup does well at listening to commands at the dog park while sticking by your side, you can allow them to begin exploring interesting smells, running freely, and playing with other dogs in ways they can’t at home or while on-leash, and generally have some fun!

The best part? Your dog can develop more confidence while earning your trust. If you feel it’s appropriate, you can tackle more challenging situations each time, until you’re able to trust your dog and his behavior virtually anywhere it’s appropriate for him to be. Remember, consistent, positive reinforcement punctuated with random treats helps promote good behavior, build skills and good canine citizens.

Finally, if you’re worried about your dog’s weight or fear spoiling him with too many treats, enthusiastic praise (i.e. “Yes!”) is another type of reward for good behavior. You can mix it up so he never knows which he’ll get – food or praise. Both feel good to him because he’s pleasing you, and you are rewarding his good behavior.

We hope this gives you what you need to help begin leash training your furry family member! Happy walking!

Common Signs of Pain in Animals

How to recognize the common signs of pain in animals

It’s not uncommon for pets to get injured. With all the outdoor activities and rough-and-tumble play throughout the day, accidents are certainly unavoidable. While injuries are a source of pain for many animals, health ailments are also responsible for pain and discomfort in pets. Pain commonly causes changes in an animal’s demeanor and often indicates that they are experiencing discomfort. Behaviors like whimpering, anxiety, and other changes are the ways our animals communicate to us that there is something wrong and they need our help.

Dogs and cats have different ways of showing pain, but there is some overlap in the behaviors that these animals display if they’re feeling under the weather. Some of these shared behaviors may include:

  • Decrease or loss of appetite
  • Quiet or submissive behavior
  • Hissing, howling, whimpering or growling
  • Increased and excessive grooming, licking self, biting self, etc.

While there are many similar pain-related behaviors among dogs and cats, here are some symptoms that can often be unique to each animal.

Signs of Dog Pain

Unique to dogs, these indicators can signal that a trip to the vet is in order:

    • Increased aggression. Unlike cats, dogs can display aggression if they aren’t feeling well. Don’t take this behavior personally. Aggression when sick is known as a defense mechanism used to protect against unwanted bothering.

 

  • Restlessness. A dog in pain may not be able to settle down comfortably. If your dog seems agitated and stiff, watch for a limp and lethargy – these can be important clues for recognizing hip pain or arthritis. A dog that arches their back or tends to stretch more than usual may also be indicating back pain or spinal issues.

 

  • Squinting. Dogs with eye pain may react by squinting. Smaller pupils can also be an indication of pain. Corneal ulcers and other eye diseases should be treated immediately to reduce the chances of permanent damage.

Signs of Cat Pain

Often quiet and lackadaisical, it can be hard to know when these creatures are hurting. So how exactly do you know if a cat is in pain? Keep a lookout for these behaviors:

 

  • Hiding. Hiding is one way that cats can ensure that they won’t be bothered. Typically social creatures, a cat that’s in hiding for long periods of time may be a sign of something awry.
  • Hunching posture. A change in posture can signal a cat in pain. Sitting with their paws underneath them, showing disinterest in their surroundings or sitting alone could indicate a number of different health ailments, including abdominal pain, constipation, urinary infections and in some cases an abscess, cancer, pancreatitis, feline panleukopenia, or gastrointestinal obstruction.
  • Trouble using the litter box. Back or hip pain can prevent a cat from crouching in the right position to use the litter box. Feces and urine on the sides of the box may hint that your cat is having some mobility issues.

 

What to do when your dog or cat shows signs of pain

If your pet is exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, it’s best to take them in for a visit with your veterinarian. Even though animals can be masters at masking their injury or ailments, it’s important that you still take your pet to the vet for further examination. There are many options available to treat pain in animals including analgesic medications, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, laser therapy, and therapeutic massage. Your vet can provide insight into what’s happening with your pet, and discuss treatment options. If you suspect your pet may be experiencing pain and discomfort, make an appointment with your vet right away. The team at AZPetVet is available 7 days a week to help you ensure your pet is living their best life, pain free.

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

 

What Dog Diseases can be Transmitted to Humans?

Don’t let your dog’s disease drag you down

A dog is man’s best friend, offering comfort, support, and even a floppy ear when no one else will listen. There are definite health benefits associated with owning a dog, from helping to lower blood pressure to staving off depression. But despite the abundant health benefits of having a dog, what happens if they’re sick? In some cases, a sick dog can be just as infectious as a sick human!

With all the rough and tumble play your dog experiences outdoors, there’s no surprise they carry germs back into the house. There are indeed, some dog germs can infect humans – which are known as zoonotic diseases. A zoonotic disease is a disease that is spread from animals to humans. These illnesses can be passed through waste, saliva, or even buried in the fur or dander of your four-legged friend. Direct contact with an infected pet can spread the infection, resulting in uncomfortable and sometimes, in rare cases, life-threatening symptoms. Here are a few diseases that can be transmitted from dogs to humans.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Dogs carrying ticks in their coats can bring these nasty creatures into the house. Baby ticks are the size of poppy seeds and can be hard to spot even in short-haired pets. Carrying bacteria and other infectious agents, a bite from an infected tick can cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever in humans with weakened immune systems. The symptoms are quite similar to the flu, with patients citing fevers, chills, aches, and even a rash on the body.

Roundworm

Shed into feces which contaminate the soil, roundworm is very common parasite among dogs and humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 14 percent of the U.S. population has been infected with Toxocara, which stems from roundworm larvae. People ages 20 and below are at higher risk of infection from roundworm if they own a dog. Roundworm symptoms can vary from minor coughing to fever and inflammation of the liver or even blindness.

Dog Hookworms

Similar to roundworms, dog hookworms are spread by contact with soil contaminated with infected feces. It may be especially challenging to identify contaminated ground where feces might be obscured. Infected persons may notice abdominal cramping, nausea, blood in stools, and an irritating rash.

Rabies

Rabies is the most well-known potential transmission between dogs and humans. In the United States, this viral disease is typically spread by wild animals or unvaccinated domestic pets. Here in Arizona, rabies vaccinations and licensing are required for all dogs.

Prevention

While some zoonotic diseases and their consequences can be serious, this doesn’t mean you should worry constantly. There are a few simple things you can do to help prevent these diseases:

Proper preventative care: Schedule regular preventative care appointments with your veterinarian, and keep your pet up-to-date on their annual fecal tests and vaccinations to best protect both you and your pup from these diseases – plus to put your mind at ease. Your veterinarian can also talk about different parasite preventatives to help protect against fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites.

Wash your hands: It’s always a good idea to wash your hands after interacting with your dog. You never know what they might be nibbling on when you’re not looking. This is especially important for young children in the household.

Scoop the poop: Making sure your yard is as clean as possible can reduce the risk of infections and limit the spread of parasites and bacteria.

Knowledge and prevention can go a long way towards keeping everyone in your family (including your pup) happy and healthy!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

 

 

Dogs and Boating Safety for Summer Outings

From puppy life vests to safety kits, here are a few ways to keep your dogs safe on boat trips

Check Your State Laws

While federal law does not outline specific regulations regarding dogs on boats, certain local laws may restrict dogs at particular boat landings or parks, and set temperature cutoffs for taking your animal outdoors. With sometimes unbearable summertime heat, under Arizona law, pet owners are required to provide clean water and shade for pets outdoors. This means finding a covered, comfortable area on the boat where your dog has plenty of room to cool down. Dogs are significantly prone to heatstroke and need to stay hydrated, so it’s important to know the signs. More information on heat stroke in pets.

Invest in a Dog Life Jacket or Vest

Do dogs need life jackets to be on a boat? While state law requires a life jacket for everyone on board a vessel, it doesn’t specifically mention dogs. Your pet is a member of your family, however, so why wouldn’t you protect them, too? It’s tempting to take a shortcut and order a life vest online to save time and money. Problem is — dogs come in so many shapes, weights, and sizes, you’d be better served by making a trip to a sporting goods store or pet store to test it out for size and fit. 

Here are a few tips on choosing the best dog life jacket for your furry friend; and remember, taking the time to get one that fits properly could save your pet’s life! 

    • Get a life vest with a handle. A handle ensures you can fish your four-legged friend out of the water if they go overboard. 
    • Look for a  D-ring. The D-ring allows you to attach a leash to your dog’s newest life jacket.
    • Know the difference. While they may seem similar, life jackets and vests are two different products. A life jacket acts as a full-body harness that provides better floatation and visibility. Life vests provide less coverage for your dog, but they also allow your dog more mobility in the water. If your pup is a strong swimmer, this is certainly one good option.

Once they’re tricked out in a heavy-duty accessory, your dog might need a friendly little nudge to encourage them to wear the look properly. One great tip is to introduce the dog to wearing the life vest before you go on the boat. That way, your pet won’t be overwhelmed by too many new things happening at once.

Another necessity is a restraint to ensure your pooch doesn’t fall overboard. Opt for a harness, rather than a collar, so the movement of the boat doesn’t pull your dog by the neck. Harnesses can typically fit under or over a life jacket. If your dog’s jacket has a D-ring, it’s best just to attach your leash straight to the jacket, so you avoid the hassle of too much equipment. 

Make a Test Run

Not all dogs are going to be comfortable on a boat, so it’s wise to keep the first outing a short one.  Allow your dog to get acclimated to the boat BEFORE you head for water, or while you are still docked. Once you’re on the water, watch your dog carefully for signs of sea/motion sickness. Symptoms of motion sickness can include: 

  • Inactivity
  • Listlessness
  • Uneasiness
  • Yawning or panting
  • Whining
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting (even on an empty stomach)

It’s safe to say that bringing your pet along for the boat ride can be a great time – so long as you follow these few safety tips to ensure you and your pet enjoy the water. If you have any suggestions on how to keep your dog safe while boating, leave them in the comments below! 

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke in Your Pet, How to Avoid, and Steps of Recovery

Preventing and Recognizing Heat Stroke in Your Pets

Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is a real danger for pets and people.
Hyperthermia occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises dangerously
above normal, putting them at risk for multiple organ failure or death.
Unlike humans, who have sweat glands all over our bodies, cats and dogs
have very few sweat glands – they’re located in places such as their feet and
noses. As summer rolls around and temperatures continue to rise, you’ll
notice your pets panting more to regulate their body heat.

Since our beloved pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than us, we need
to be aware of the signs and symptoms so we can keep our furry friends safe.
Early recognition, and treatment of heat stroke can improve your pet’s
chances of making a quick recovery. Symptoms of heat stroke in pets include:

  • Excessive panting
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive drooling
  • Reddened gums
  • Reduced or no urine production
  • Rapid/irregular heart rate
  • Vomiting blood/black, tarry stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in mental status (i.e., confusion and dizziness)
  • Seizures/muscle tremors
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated/drunken gait or movement
  • Unconsciousness/Cardiopulmonary Arrest (heart and breathing stop)

Seek Treatment for A Full Recovery

At the first sign of overheating, it’s essential to take steps to cool your pet
down gradually. Do NOT use ice or frigid water as it can cause shock and
other undesirable reactions. Here are some measures to take if you suspect
your animal is suffering from heat stroke:
1. Remove your animal from the heat immediately. Take your animal
inside or find some shade to allow them to cool off.

2. Spray your pet with cool water or wrap them in cold, wet towels and
use a fan for convection cooling.

3. Evaporative cooling can also be used by swabbing isopropyl alcohol on
foot pads, groin and under the forelegs.

4. MOST importantly, seek veterinary care and guidance as soon as
possible!

Even if your furry friend seems to be feeling better and starts acting normal
again, it is still crucial to take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary
clinic. Vets will be able to determine the severity of the heat stroke and
provide the appropriate medical treatment. This can include medication,
cooling procedures, supplemental oxygen, and blood tests. Additional
monitoring may be required to ensure your beloved pet is back in tip-top
health.

Unfortunately, since our pets can’t communicate their exact feelings to us, we
need to be alert and aware of all of the signs of heat stroke in dogs and cats.
In case of an emergency, we need to be knowledgeable about the steps to
take for pet heat stroke recovery. Once we educate ourselves on the
symptoms, we can have a fun and safe summer with our furry companions.