Breed of the Week: Dalmatian

The Dalmatian is possibly one of the most famous and recognizable breeds in the world. With their signature spots, most people instantly think of ‘101 Dalmatians’ or the dogs working alongside firefighters. Let’s take a closer look at this breeds history, lifestyle and personality quirks!

The Dalmatian was originally known as ‘The Carriage Dog’ in the 1790’s as they were often found in paintings standing next to horse drawn carriages. Even as far back as you can find records on the Dalmatian, you will consistently see that they were always a working breed. When not running alongside and guarding the carriages, people would use the Dalmatian to hunt vermin, as trail hounds, even as circus dogs thanks to their high intelligence and distinctive look! With their natural ease around horses, they would help firefighters get to the fire faster by running ahead and making sure there was a clear path for the horse drawn carriage (obviously this was no longer needed once we had fire trucks!). They would also be used to guard the fire station and alert the fire fighters of anyone breaking in.

With all that intelligence and energy, this breed is best suited for someone with a very active lifestyle. Dalmatians require a lot of exercise as well as mental stimulation every day to be at their happiest. They love to be with their family 24/7 but can be a bit aloof around strangers as they do really bond with ‘their people’. It is a great idea to train your Dalmatian early on basic commands as well as looking at options for agility competitions. These dogs are so naturally active and strong they easily earn high rankings in dog agility competitions or fly ball competitions.

If you are considering adding a Dalmatian to your family, whether a purebred or mixed, make sure to learn all about any health concerns they may be prone to so you can treat any signs or symptoms early on. Dalmatians in particular can be prone to deafness as many breeders will overlook some genetic defects and instead breed only for that perfect Dalmatian look. Dalmatians will also need to relieve themselves more often than other dogs as they actually have a very unique urinary system. For this reason, it is important that their diet is closely monitored and discussed with your vet as nutrition imbalance can easily cause urinary tract disease in this breed. If you ever see your Dalmatian straining to relieve themselves it is best to call your vet right away.

The Dalmatian is undeniably cute and loves to be around their family. They can get along well with young kids if socialized early and monitored during interactions. They make very strong bonds with their family and will protect them from any harm. A perfect day for a Dalmatian would simply be working alongside their owners outside all day. A Dalmatian can be a fantastic addition to the right family, and they will always be ready for whatever the day has for them!

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!

Breed of the Week: Miniature Pinscher

Ever wonder what that tiny Doberman-looking dog was called? It’s the Miniature Pinscher! Or more commonly known, the Min Pin. These little guys pack a lot of personality and energy into a small package. Read on to find out more about these spirited little dogs.

Although the Min Pin usually looks like a miniature version of a Doberman, they actually aren’t related at all! In fact the Miniature Pinscher breed is much older than the Doberman. The Miniature Pinscher was originally bred in Germany several hundred years ago, gaining most of their popularity in 1895 when the Pinscher club was formed. These tiny dogs were developed to rid vermin in German homes.

The Min Pin that we know today usually aren’t hunting for vermin, but they still possess their natural high prey drive. Anything from squirrels, squeaky toys, even leaves blowing in the wind will often gain their attention. Being very determined and strong-willed dogs, once something has their attention, it takes a lot of convincing for them to move on.

Even though the Min Pin has a big personality, they are still tiny little dogs that can get hurt easily if playing too rough with others. Min Pin owners should be extra careful when watching their dog play as they often won’t hold back and with their tiny limbs it can be very easy for a bigger dog to accidentally hurt the Min Pin during play.

If you are considering buying a Miniature Pinscher, get ready for a lot of energy! These guys love to play every minute of the day. If they aren’t given something to do, these curious guys will go exploring and get into anything they can find to keep their busy minds happy. It’s best to have an experienced dog owner as Min Pins are very intelligent and will require a lot of time and training to be satisfied.

Being so naturally tiny, the Miniature Pinscher will require ‘winter wear’ during the colder months. Little booties, sweaters, jackets, it all helps to keep your dog from getting too cold out on his walks in the snow.

These great little dogs love the company of their human companions. Confident, energetic and curious are the best ways to describe the Min Pin. Never underestimate their determination and focus, but instead direct that focus to learning new tricks and you will have an incredibly smart and happy dog!

Strengthening The Bond With Your Dog

One of the greatest benefits of owning a dog is the unconditional love. Dogs bring so much happiness into our lives. It is so important to keep that wonderful loving relationship strong between you and your pet and there are many great benefits to keeping that friendship strong!

When you interact with your dog, whether it be going for a walk, doing a training session, or playing in the backyard, you are strengthening your bond. You learn to read their body language better and they learn the same about you! Hanging out with your furry best bud is a great way to spend the day, but did you know it also helps your mental state? There have been numerous studies proving that pet owners have significantly lower stress levels compared to non-pet owners. Lower stress results in less risk for stroke and cardiovascular issues.

The emotional bond that we make with our pets, also greatly helps with depression and anxiety. This is partly due to the fact that dogs need to get outside daily! Which means we have to go out into the world and explore with them. Being out and about, getting some fresh air and sunlight is a great mood booster for both dogs and humans!

So with all these great benefits, how should you be bonding with your dog? It can be as simple as going for a walk; but make sure you are alert and attentive to your dog during the walk! This is the part that most owners forget. Watch your dog reacting to different objects on your walk and when he looks back at you for direction, tell him ‘good boy’ so he knows you are focused on him. During your walk, take spontaneous breaks to have your dog sit, lie down or give paw, whatever tricks you’d like! This shows your dog you aren’t interested in everything else going on around you two, you are interested in him, and it will help your dog to also pay more attention to you.

There are so many ways you can help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.  Some examples are playing fetch, going for a hike, exploring new places together or even training your dog on agility equipment! Even something as simple as cuddling with your pet helps to improve your bond as most dogs are very responsive to touch and it’s a great way to communicate to your dog your affection. Or consider teaching your dog a new trick! If he already knows all his basic commands, think of something new! Teach him the name of one of his toys so he can go grab it when asked. Learning new tricks will not only help you two bond, but also keep your dog mentally satisfied as he is challenged with a new problem he has to figure out through the help of your communication.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to just have fun and enjoy the time you are spending with your dog! Dogs are easily able to identify when a human is being sincere or not so make sure you really are doing something fun together! Whether you two are practising for a dog agility competition or having a lazy afternoon cuddling on the couch, enjoying each other’s company will help to reinforce your bond.

Breed of the Week: English Bulldog

This week’s featured breed is the lovable English Bulldog! Commonly known to be the comic relief wherever they go. They can be couch potatoes one moment, then running laps at full speed the next! A wonderful breed that can always put a smile on your face with their antics.

Originally developed in England, in the 13th century, English Bulldogs were bred for bull-baiting & guarding. It is believed that they were crossbred from Mastiffs brought over from Asia and the Pug, and through years of specific breeding, we were able to have Mastiff type dogs that were shorter and lower to the ground for better grip and balance, as well as a powerful jaw and determination to lock on to their target and not let go. The Bulldogs were responsible to keep the bulls under control and butchers believed that when bulls were baited before slaughter, that the meat would be more nutritious.

The English Bulldogs you see today are much friendlier and are certainly not put into a ring to fight anymore! But they still have similar characteristics their ancestors had. Today, the English bulldog is known to be a very stubborn breed that will not give up easily if they really want something. This can sometimes make it difficult for training, but don’t worry, they are very food motivated! They love to spend most of the day on the couch with their family, but once in a while they will get a short burst of high energy and need to run laps around the backyard!

Their coat is fairly easy to maintain. Being short-haired, they won’t require hair trimming, but they do still need regular brushing. With that famous wrinkly face, don’t forget to wipe in between the folds of their face to keep it clean otherwise they can easily get infected. Some English bulldog owners will find that their little bully needs their face and under tail wiped daily, while others only need it 1-2 times a week.

English Bulldogs have quite the personality. They will make you laugh on a daily basis and love hanging out with their family. It’s no wonder they are one of the most popular breeds in North America! They easily adapt to living in a home or an apartment, as long as they are with you! The English bulldog is suitable for someone who already has some dog experience due to their stubbornness and may be difficult to train. But with the right owner, they will bring joy and laughter every single day!

Breed of the Week: Basset Hound

The wonderfully cute, short-legged, droopy-faced Basset Hound! This adorable breed just melts your heart with their goofy demeanour, but don’t underestimate them! This breed is as hard-working as they come and always determined to follow their nose!

With their amazing sense of smell, it’s no wonder the Basset Hound was bred to be a hunting dog. Some people believe Basset Hounds were actually created from ‘dwarf’ dogs of other hunting breeds such as Bloodhounds. The shorter pups were bred for many years to eventually give us what we recognise today as the Basset Hound. The breed was taught to hunt in both packs as well as alone so they easily get along with other new dogs and very rarely show signs of dog aggression. Having such short legs does make them a bit slower than most dogs, which is perfect for their masters who are hunting on foot as they are more likely to catch up to the dog when they are on a scent.

Basset Hounds are still a popular companion choice for hunters today. Their sense of smell is a very close second to the Bloodhound.

Not only for avid hunters anymore, this breed makes a wonderful companion and family dog. They are typically extremely friendly dogs that love life and love everyone! The Basset Hound absolutely loves to play, but be careful with this breed at off leash dog parks! Their great sense of smell will often have them forgetting about the rest of the world (including you calling them to come back!). Recall is definitely something you will have to train and manage throughout your Basset Hounds life. It is a great idea to teach them games that use their brain and sense of smell such as ‘search and rescue’.

If you are considering bringing a Basset Hound into your family, keep in mind that being a natural hunter, they will make you aware of every single squirrel on your walk! Sometimes they will alert you with that big bellowing howl (which they do not always limit to outdoors). Basset Hounds like to be couch potatoes when they aren’t chasing down a scent, so make sure to include enough daily exercise as they will easily become overweight (also very food motivated!). Just as with other short-legged breeds, make sure they aren’t jumping or doing too many stairs as this can put a lot of strain on their joints and back, causing future health problems.

The Basset Hound is a great breed for individuals or families. They easily adapt to many different lifestyles. They have a true love for life and will surely make their owners lives brighter too.

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.

Staying Cool in the Summer Heat

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Keeping your pups cool during the hot summer months can be critical to their health and happiness. We’ve put together some easy tips to make sure you and your furry friends can stay cool while still having summer fun!

 

#1: Bring water with you

It is so important for your dog to stay hydrated when you two are out enjoying the sun. Make sure you always have a bottle of water handy. There are also many portable water dishes you can buy at pet stores that will easily collapse so you can store it in your pocket or bag. Make sure to offer fresh water to your dog every 15-20 min or so (use your best judgement with the heat). You can also bring along frozen ‘pupsicles’ to keep your dog cool! Mix together some dog-friendly foods such as peanut butter, banana and yogurt. Freeze solid and bring along as a cool treat! But remember, even with delicious ‘pupsicles’ your dog will still require access to fresh water.

#2: Limit time outside if your dog is short-nosed (Brachycephalic)

If your dog has a short nose (ex., Pug, English bulldog, French bulldog, Mastiff, etc.), it is critical that they don’t spend too much time in the heat. These breeds overheat much faster compared to longer nosed breeds and they have a much higher risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Make sure these dogs have access to water at all times, have access to plenty of shade that they can cool down in, and on days with heat warnings, it may be best to keep them inside for most of the day where it is air conditioned. For all dog breeds (not just short nosed) it is sometimes better to leave them at home instead of giving them a long walk or hike in the summer heat.

#3: Do not leave dogs in a hot car

Most people are aware of the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. The temperature inside the car will be even hotter than the outside heat. When the weather is 70???F outside, after just 30min in the car it can feel like 104???F. If you must bring your dog in the car and leave him while running errands, see if a friend is available to come along with you. That way someone can keep your dog company while you run into the store and back, as well as you can leave the car running for the air conditioning. Always try to plan ahead so that you will not be in a situation that your dog has to sit in a hot car.

#4: Learn to recognise the signs of an overheated dog

It is always a great idea to learn more about your dog’s health and well-being. Taking a pet first aid course and learning to recognise when your dog isn’t quite acting themselves is all part of being the most responsible pet owner you can be. Some of the signs to watch out for are; excessive panting, dry nose, lack of appetite, wobbly or shaky when walking around. If your dog is suddenly experiencing one or more of these symptoms, give them time to cool off immediately. If symptoms don’t improve, call your vet and they can advise you if your dog needs immediate attention.

 

Having fun with your pup is easy! Now staying safe and healthy in the heat will be too!