Making New Doggy Friends

dog friends

Are you looking for a new best friend for your pup? Has he been looking a little bored or lonely lately? Well, if you aren’t looking to add another dog to your family, a great solution is to find new playmates for your pup! We’ve put together our favourite tips on making new doggy friends.

 

Neutral Territory

One of the great things about going to the dog park, is that very rarely will you find dog’s being protective of the dog park itself. When you bring another dog into your home, your dog may feel he needs to protect the home and instead of trying to be friends, he may worry that his home is being threatened by this visitor. Having dogs meet on ‘neutral ground’ takes away those feelings of having to protect or guard the area and makes it much easier for dogs to play together and bond.

 

Similar Minds

When looking for a new best friend for Spot, you may find that your dog often gravitates to playing with certain breeds or certain sizes of dogs. This is not to say that opposites don’t sometimes attract in the dog world; but your border collie may not be having fun playing chase with a pug if the pug can’t keep up! Often times this is most true with highly active breeds such as border collies or dalmatians. They enjoy chasing and being chased….and going really really fast! So if their doggy buddy can’t keep up, you may need to look around for other high energy play times to really tire your dog out and help him get the most out of playtime.

 

Positivity

It can be very beneficial to use positive association when trying to help your dog bond with a new friend. Giving affection or praise after your dog had a long play session with his new buddy, will really enforce the thought of ‘I had a lot of fun today with that new dog and my owner was happy with me! Good things happen when I play with that dog!???. Be careful though to not create any jealousy between the dogs. If they are in the middle of interacting with each other, it may not be the best time to offer a treat as this could cause jealousy in the other dog and he may react aggressively, creating a negative experience. If you are unsure about creating positive associations for your dog, it is best to consult a certified dog behaviourist for advice.

 

With these helpful tips your pooch is sure to become a social butterfly!

Breed of the Week: Vizsla

vizsla

This week we are highlighting a Hungarian sporting dog with endless energy! The Vizsla (pronounced VEE-zh-lah) is a gentle companion, ready to go on any adventure with his owner!

 

The Vizsla is a lean, short-haired dog originating from Hungary in the 1800’s. Some Vizsla enthusiasts believe that the breed was actually created in the 9th century, it is more likely that this isn’t factual, there were many working breeds similar to the Vizsla around that time which is what creates the confusion on how old this breed is. There are several theories as to who are the ancestors of the Vizsla, the popular belief is that the Vizsla was created from the greyhound and Transylvanian hound dog. Also adding to the confusion of this breeds history is that ‘Vizsla’ in Hungarian means ‘Pointer’. So some references to the Vizsla from the 1800’s are actually referring to completely different pointer type dogs.

 

The way humans worked with dogs during the 1800’s was changing in that it was becoming less and less common to have one dog for locating game, another dog to hunt it, another dog to retrieve it. People were looking for efficient dogs that could do all of these tasks and for a wide variety of game (instead of just one or two kinds). Thus, the Vizsla was bred for these tasks, and did them all phenomenally. To add to the Vizsla’s already impressive resume, hunters were wanting this super dog to also be a great companion for the home. The Vizsla really was created with all of these amazing uses and desired traits in mind. At the same time that the Vizsla was becoming popular, Germany had begun creating breeds with the same traits in mind, such as the German long-haired pointer and the Weimeraner. Many Vizsla owners will tell you that the Vizsla is still the most affectionate of all the pointer type breeds to this day.

 

The Vizsla does not require much grooming at all. Regular nail clipping, making sure his teeth and ears stay clean is all you really need to take care of. The Vizsla does not shed too much, just small hairs that can be easily picked up with a roller brush.

 

The Vizsla is a highly active dog and would do better with a large backyard or wide open spaces as opposed to an apartment in the city. They require lots of exercise every day. Lucky for you, they typically get along great with other dogs and can play with their friends at the dog park all day. Being a working dog, Vizsla’s love to have a game with purpose such as fetch or Frisbee. But be sure that your Vizsla does not get possessive over toys. The intensity of some working dogs when not handled correctly can sometimes result in undesirable behaviours (such as protecting or getting aggressive over toys).

 

If you are lucky enough to be able to bring your dog to work every day, the Vizsla may just be the perfect dog for you! Vizsla owners will lovingly describe their Vizlas as ‘Velcro dogs’ as they never leave your side. When you have a Vizsla, you have an extra shadow. Be sure to play confidence building games with your Vizsla and to practise staying calm when coming or going as to not encourage separation anxiety. They generally get along great with strangers and are very gentle with kids. Just as with any breed, you should always socialize your dog early with other dogs, people and animals to help them be confident adult dogs.

 

The Vizsla is a very active dog who loves to go for a run then cuddle up with you on the couch. He will stick to you like Velcro and follow you everywhere you go. One of the most affectionate of the pointer-type breeds, the Vizsla is an amazing companion to the right owner/ family. Ideally they should go to a home with lots of space to run around so they can get out some of their endless energy. The Vizsla is an amazing dog that could win both athlete of the year as well as best cuddle buddy!

Introducing Your New Puppy To Your Adult Dog

Adding a new puppy to your family is an exciting time! And if you’re lucky enough to already own a dog, you may be wondering how they will get along? So we’ve put together some thoughtful tips on how to best introduce your new dog to your adult dog.

 

Remove Your Adult Dog’s Personal Belongings: During the first meeting between your new pup and your adult dog, try to remove items your adult dog may feel protective of, this could include toys, blankets, food, etc. To your current dog, you are bringing in a complete stranger and he doesn’t really know why. So it is a good idea to take away items your dog feels a connection to, to prevent any incidents such as, the puppy trying to play with one of the adult dog’s toys, or getting a bit too close to the food dish. This will help keep their first meeting running smoothly when the adult dog doesn’t feel he needs to guard his things. Some dogs may feel they also need to protect their house, so instead of bringing the puppy into the house to meet, you can set up their first meeting in a ‘neutral’ area such as the park.

Supervise: It is critical to watch all interactions between your new puppy and your adult dog, not only for their first meeting but for several weeks after that. Puppies are still learning about the world around them, including their doggy manners. There is no doubt that the new puppy will step out of bounds once in a while with the adult dog; you want to be there when it happens so that you can not only observe how your adult dog reacts (his tolerance level), but also correct your puppy and say ‘no’ to communicate that whatever he was doing was not appropriate. It may take weeks or months for you to feel fully comfortable with them left alone together, but it will definitely pay off in the long run when you can watch your dogs play and cuddle together.

 

Be Realistic: Understand that some dogs may get along right way, while others may take much longer to bond. Be prepared for the relationship between your adult dog and the new puppy to grow gradually over time; and if they do happen to love each other at first sight, even better! It is also important to be honest with your current dog’s behaviour. Have you seen him interact with puppies before? Has he ever shown aggression to another dog, and under what circumstance? If you are at all concerned that you aren’t prepared for their first meeting, find a reputable dog trainer or behaviourist for their first interactions. Not only do you get the wisdom and knowledge from an expert, you also gain that extra confidence that your pets will have the best first meeting possible to set them on course for a great relationship.

 

The most important tip of all, relax! Have a positive attitude and it will rub off on your dogs! Enjoy their first interactions with each other and look forward to years of happiness with your pets!

Buy From a Breeder or Adopt From a Rescue?

 

There is a much discussed debate amongst pet owners & enthusiasts of whether to get a dog from a registered breeder or from a shelter/ rescue. Everyone seems to have a very strong opinion on this subject so to make the right decision for you, it is important to look at the positives and negatives to both sides.

 

Buying from a registered breeder

The major benefit to buying from a breeder is you know exactly what you are getting. You can meet the parents (and even learn about grandparents!) of your potential puppy. You will also be receiving the puppy with all of their pedigree papers, genetic health testing and some of their puppy vaccinations already completed. A good breeder will tell you what specifically he/she breeds for in terms of health and temperament. Some people believe that buying a puppy from a breeder will really help you ‘mold’ your perfect pet as they go home with you at about 8 weeks so they will grow up with you and your family. Being from a registered breeder who specifically breeds only one kind of dog, you are able to really research exactly what breed is perfect for your family and being a purebred dog you will get only that breed.

One of the downsides to buying from a breeder is that purebred dogs on average have more health problems compared to that of mixed breeds. Also keep in mind how much work a puppy is. An 8 week old puppy means you will have a full-time job of introducing your dog to the world, socializing, training, bonding. Of course, getting any dog (including from a shelter) will be a lot of work, but that work feels like it’s doubled when you have a puppy.

 

Adopting from a rescue or shelter

The most obvious benefit from going to a rescue, you are saving a life. Not only that, you are actually saving two lives; the dog you are adopting and the space it opens up for another misfortunate dog to come into the rescue and get a chance at being rehomed.

Most of the dogs you will see at shelters will be mixed breeds (sometimes unidentifiable!) and typically mixed breed dogs have better health compared to purebred dogs. But if your heart really is set on a purebred dog, they do sometimes appear in rescues too! There are also many shelters dedicated to saving various purebred dogs. With a quick internet search, you can easily find rescues dedicated to rehoming many breeds such as pugs, greyhounds, even poodles! Most of the dogs in shelters are out of their puppy days and are fully potty-trained which is wonderful to not have to worry about. Many shelters will let you ‘foster to adopt’ so you can truly see if the dog is a good match for you and your family before committing to such a huge life change. And if you find out later on that there are some behavioural issues with the dog you’ve adopted, you can always reach out to the rescue you adopted from to get advice or recommendations for a reputable dog trainer. When you compare the costs involved in buying from a breeder vs adopting from a rescue, adopting is definitely more cost effective. Shelters will take care of costs such as up to date vaccinations, spay/neuter and microchipping before you take your new dog home. When adopting from a rescue you get the pleasure of learning all about your potential dog’s personality first as many of the staff have worked with and gotten to know the dog’s behaviours and quirks.

Keep in mind, when adopting from a rescue, as the dogs are typically mixed breeds, you may not know exactly what to expect. You can only do your best guess as to what breeds make up your dog, and then research those breeds. The biggest worry many people have when adopting a dog is the potential for behavioural issues. Although these behaviour issues may arise, keep in mind than even a purebred puppy from a breeder is not immune to having some undesirable behaviours too. It is all about how you bond and train your dog. Sometimes a mixed breed dog from a rescue will have some quirks, but you are not alone, as previously stated, you can always reach out to the rescue for help.

 

Whether adopting from a rescue or buying from a breeder, make sure you and your family are 100% ready for the responsibility of a dog and have fully considered how it will change your lives.