Monday, October 31, 2011

5 Ways That Owning A Dog Can Save You Money:

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1. Your Physical Health
Owning a dog could potentially save you thousands of dollars on gym classes and medical bills – it could even save your life. Depending on breed, your dog probably requires a good amount of exercise, and who better to exercise with than you? Even the tiniest of dogs need to be walked, but you can also take your dog with you when you go running, hiking, swimming or biking. This will allow you to get in better shape, lose weight, and lower your blood pressure.
2. Your Emotional Health
In addition to improving your physical health, dogs and other pets have been shown to be great for stress management and relief, which in turn reduces medical expenses for stress-related illnesses and even extends lifespan. Owning an animal can also decrease your level of loneliness, especially if you live by yourself or are home alone often. When my husband left for job training through the week, I loved having my dog around because I never felt alone. Somehow it made me feel more comfortable. There is something uplifting about an animal that loves you unconditionally. Having a dog can greatly improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder or depression, if you are a sufferer.
3. Home Security
I don’t think that anyone would ever break into my house because my dog sounds so vicious. She is actually very sweet and loving, but she gets very excited and protective if a stranger comes to the door. Studies have shown that potential burglars are put off by barking dogs. Home security systems can cost thousands of dollars to install plus monthly fees. Using your dog as your home security system can be a great savings, and help prevent home burglary and break ins.
4. Entertainment
Dogs are a lot of fun! I think my husband and I have more laughs because of our dog than anything else. There are also so many (free) activities that you can do with your dog or because you have a dog. Learning how to train dogs is also a fun, challenging and very rewarding activity.
5. Learning Responsibility
You never know what you can learn from owning a dog or pet, but one of the most valuable lessons is responsibility. Dogs require a lot of care; they need to be fed, walked, played with and trained. It takes discipline and self-motivation, life skills that have applications in all areas of life, including money management. The lessons that you learn from a dog are priceless, and you never know, they might just help you succeed in life and in your career!
How has owning a dog saved you money and added to your life? How much do you think you’ve saved as a result?

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend Re-cap!

What an AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL weekend I had with my family, friends, and Shih Tzu!!!  Here is a quick re-cap. We headed back to Jason's hometown of Rimersburg, PA for the weekend.  The closer we got to Rimersburg, the more it looked as if we entered a snow globe!! Maddie was enjoying the snow and was very attentive watching it fall to the ground.

We also visited with Jason's grandpa who is very ill at the moment. It always amazes me the level of grace and patience dogs have with the elderly. She loved visiting with Jason's grandpa and greeted him with a tail that goes around and around in circles. Grandpa Murray was pretty tired after a day of activity but still managed to pet and talk to Madison. When his hand would get tired and stop petting her, she would stay still for a few minutes and then gently nudge his hand with her head to resume their petting ritual. It warmed my heart in so many ways!

Lastly, we finished up our Sunday with our usual for this time of year, we watched the STEELERS beat the Patriots with good friends of ours! What a game it was! It was so nice catching up and spending some time together.

It was a fun weekend and we are all exhausted! I hope everyone had a great weekend too. I'll be catching up with you all this week with more posts about our furry little friends who are so near and dear to our hearts! <3

The Heimlich Maneuver For Your Dog?

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Whether you’ve taken a course in lifesaving techniques or you’ve only seen the Heimlich Maneuver in movies, you may have wondered if you can use it on dogs. The answer is yes. You can use a modified Heimlich Maneuver on dogs.

Before you attempt to do the Heimlich Maneuver on your dog you should make sure that your dog is actually choking. A dog may simply be having trouble breathing which is not the same as choking. Signs of choking will include ingesting something, followed by pawing at his face with his paw, as though trying to remove it. Your dog may try to cough and act frantically.

If you are certain that your dog is choking then you can try the Heimlich Maneuver, otherwise you could harm him.

Take off any collar or leash that your dog is wearing that could get in the way. Try to check inside his mouth for any objects that you can see. You will have to feel around with your fingers but try not to let yourself be bitten -- your dog may be flexing his jaws and he could accidentally bite you.

Don’t pull out something unless you can identify what it is. Dogs have small bones that support the back of their tongues and you don’t want to hurt your dog.

If your dog is small and it’s hard for you to reach the object, try holding your dog upside down. This can make an object come loose. If your dog is bigger, try lifting his back legs up and tilting his head down. This may dislodge and object.

You can also try striking your dog on the back, between the shoulder blades, with the palm of your hand. This may dislodge something caught in his throat.

If none of these things work, then you can try the Heimlich Maneuver.

Hold your dog around his waist, with his back to you, in a hug.

Put your fist just beneath his ribs.

Make several small pumps to his abdomen. Three to five pumps is usually enough.

Check his mouth to see if the object is free.

Repeat one or two times if necessary, then get your dog to the closest vet as soon as possible.

Even if you are successful at removing the object you should take your dog to the vet right away. You may have accidentally injured your dog in trying to remove the object.

Remember to use small pumps instead of one big jolt. Unless you have a St. Bernard, that’s usually all you need to do for your dog.

Some shelters and kennel clubs offer pet first aid courses that cover these techniques. It’s a good idea to take one of these courses if you have the chance.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Is Your Dog Too Fat?


Sources indicate that some 40 percent of the pet dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Pfizer Animal Health, one of the leading producers of pet pharmaceuticals in the world, found that veterinarians consider about 47 percent of their patients overweight in the U.S. In the same study, only 17 percent of dog owners believed that their dogs were overweight. It seems as though vets and owners have very different ideas about whether dogs are fit or not.

So, how can you tell if your dog is overweight? Here are a few guidelines:

 Can you find your dog’s ribs? You should be able to feel his ribs but not see them.

 Does your dog have a “tuck-up”? The tuck-up is your dog’s waist and, in almost all breeds, a dog is supposed to have a tuck-up. If your dog forms a straight line from his ribs to his back legs he probably doesn’t have a tuck-up, which means he could be overweight.

 Does your dog have difficulty standing or getting mild exercise? If your dog is out of breath after just 5-10 minutes of moderate exercise then he may be overweight.

 If you allow your dog on furniture, does he have difficulty hopping up on the sofa or other low pieces of furniture? This can be a sign that he’s carrying too much weight.

Some breeds are prone to weight gain, including some of America’s most popular breeds: Labs, Goldens, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, and Shelties will all gain weight quickly if you overfeed them. Some terrier breeds, too, are prone to putting on weight. But any dog will gain weight if you consistently overfeed him.

Many popular dog foods today provide feeding estimates on the side of the bag that are overly generous. If you follow the recommendations on the bags then your dog can quickly begin to gain weight. Remember that the guidelines on the bag are only suggestions. When you start feeding a new food you need to keep a careful eye on your dog to see if he is gaining or losing weight. If your dog begins to put on too much weight you should cut back on the food.

If you have more than one dog your dogs may also be more prone to gain weight. When several dogs live together they tend to eat every bite and even compete for food. They can gain weight much faster than a single dog who may be a pickier eater.

Is your dog aging? If your dog is between five and seven years old then his metabolism may be changing. If you are feeding him the same food he was eating when he was two years old then he may not digest it the same way. He may be packing on more weight from the same amount of food.

Don’t forget to count the treats you feed your dog each day, too. They can add up and cause your dog to gain weight.

Finally, most dogs in the U.S. don’t get enough exercise, which also contributes to weight gain. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise he can start adding weight very quickly.

If you think that your dog may be overweight take a good look at him. Ask your vet for his opinion. You don’t have to change food or do anything drastic. Cutting your dog’s portion slightly and helping him get more exercise will start to show results.

Don’t expect your dog to lose weight rapidly. Rapid weight loss isn’t good for a dog. If your dog only loses a few ounces per week then he will soon be fit. You can do your part to stop canine obesity just by taking a good look at your dog and feeding him appropriately.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are Vitamins Important For Your Dog?

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There are literally thousands of different vitamin products for dogs sold in the U.S. each year, each of them claiming to be something that can make your dog healthier. On the other hand, dog foods are sold as “complete and balanced,” and “nutritious.” If the dog food we buy for our pets is so nutritious, do we really need to buy extra vitamins?

Dog food comes in all different kinds of quality. Some dog food may be made from food that is not much above the level of road kill. Other dog food is better quality than some of the food that people eat. Some of these foods will have more nutritional content than others.

If you are feeding your dog a high quality food then it’s unlikely that you need to add vitamins or supplements unless your dog has a health issue of some kind that requires something that’s not normally found in dog food.

When you buy dog food in the United States you should look to see if has a label that says it meets AAFCO nutritional standards or meets AAFCO testing standards. AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials and they provide nutritional recommendations for dog food in the United States, To obtain their label a dog food company must show, either through feeding trials or through nutritional data, that their food can provide a complete and balanced diet for a particular set of dogs for six months. The formulation can be for puppies, for pregnant or lactating mother dogs, for adult dogs, and so on. AAFCO provides the minimum guidelines that companies need to meet in order to obtain their label. Many good companies far exceed these guidelines, but if they meet the AAFCO guidelines then you know that they have at least met the basic requirements.

A particular dog food may still be something that you wouldn’t want to feed your dog, but it technically meets the nutritional guidelines if it has the AAFCO label.

So, should you buy poor quality food and spend your money on vitamins? That’s not really a good choice. Should you buy gourmet food for your dog? That’s not always the best choice either. Price isn’t a guarantee that your dog is getting the best food. There are many very expensive dog foods made from organic products which follow the latest fads, and which may be produced by very small companies, but they may be subject to food recalls.

Often the best food for your dog is a good quality food, with good ingredients, made by a well-known company that has a reputation for quality control. It often pays to look for a company that does not have a history of having to recall its pet food products. This may not be the most expensive dog food around but it’s probably a food that you and your dog can rely on.
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Should you add vitamins to a good quality food? If you are concerned about hip dysplasia or if your dog is elderly, then you may want to consider adding glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM to your dog’s diet. Most dog foods do not contain these ingredients, or, if they do, only in very small amounts. There is some evidence to suggest that they may help dogs with arthritis or hip problems.

Otherwise, most good dog foods are supposed to be properly balanced in terms of vitamins. If you begin adding a lot of extra vitamins then you run the risk of throwing off your dog’s body chemistry.

However, if you are cooking for your dog or feeding a raw diet, then you will need to find a good mix of vitamins to add to your dog’s food to make sure that he’s getting all of the vitamins and minerals he needs.

But, for most dogs that eat a kibble or canned food diet, it’s really not necessary to add a lot of vitamins to the diet.

What kind of dog food do you choose for your dog?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Are Rawhide Chews Safe For Your Dog?

Most dogs love to chew on rawhides but you may have heard people questioning whether they are safe or not. It’s a good question.

There have been concerns in recent years because some rawhide products were imported from China and other countries where safety protocols were not followed in manufacturing the rawhides. Salmonella was connected to the rawhides. This was probably more of a hazard to humans handling the rawhides than to your dog, but there were recalls. However, no American-made products were involved.

As far as the safety of allowing your dog to chew on rawhides, there is very little danger involved in allowing a dog to chew on rawhide products. In fact, a major medical school in the U.S. conducted a laboratory test to see if rawhides would harm dogs. Even in dogs which had rawhides three times per day they had no ill effects.

Dogs can chew on rawhide and the parts that they chew pass through their digestive tract without any problem. It’s always possible that they may pull off some small fragment of rawhide and they could choke on it, but the chances of that happening are similar to you choking on a piece of food. Of course it’s possible, but if it happened it would be a fluke. Still, for this reason, it’s always recommended that you should not leave your dog with rawhides to chew on without supervision.

When your dog chews on a piece of rawhide to the point where it is soft and gummy, you may want to take it away from him, at least for a while. You can get him to do something else or give him a fresh rawhide. Some people put these chewed on rawhides up so they can dry out and harden. Then they can give them back to their dog later once they are hard again.

If you are uncomfortable with giving your dog rawhides to chew on then you may want to look into Nylabones which are hard bones for chewing made from hard plastic. They also have edible chews in flavors that appeal to dogs. There are many other kinds of bones that satisfy a dog’s urge to chew.
Some people give their dogs pig ears, but if you are at all concerned about salmonella then you may wish to stay away from pig ears and other products that have been chopped off animals. Even with products from the United States there are occasionally recalls.

If you choose rawhide chews for your dog try to look for chews that are dried without chemicals. Look for unbleached chews. And look for chews that are heavy and thick so that they will last longer.

Your dog will almost certainly love rawhide chews so make the chewing experience safe for him.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Start Puppy Training Early

Many people want to start training their puppy right away. One reason for this is because the puppy might be doing things that are less than desirable; another is because it is a great way to bond with each other. Even so, your puppy should have some freedom until it’s about 4 to 6 months old.

Now, just because you’re not formally training your puppy when it is very young does not mean you shouldn’t make an effort to keep it contained in public. It is important to buy a well-fitting collar and leash when you’re going to be in public places.

This is for other people’s benefit as well as your own. You wouldn’t want your puppy to suddenly run out into the middle of a busy street. In fact, you might find that there is a leash law in your area that prohibits letting your dog run free.

When you go to a park or other public place you will want to make sure your puppy is close to you. Your puppy might accidentally bother an older dog, which could result in an accident. On the flipside, your dog might get over excited and accidentally hurt a person or another dog.

Do make sure that your puppy is getting enough time outside and enough exercise. The best thing you can do for a growing puppy is to make sure his bones are going to be strong as well as his lungs. Exercise is the best way to ensure this.

Try for daily exercise, even if you have to cut it short on some days. Another bonus to getting outside and exercising is that your little puppy will start to get used to strangers in public places. This will be important for when he is older. Another fact about getting out is that dogs who are exercised tend to sleep better.

Formal Training

When your puppy is over 4 months old you can begin formal dog training. In fact, it is best to start at this young age because older dogs get stuck in their ways and are a lot harder to train. That doesn’t mean you start out with the hardest training with these young ones, you should start with just ten minutes a day.

Puppies are known for getting tired easily. He won’t be able to stand much training at first. Even so, make sure these sessions are regular. Also, try and make sure the sessions are held at the same time every day. This routine will show you puppy that you are serious about these lessons. An extra trick you can try is to wear the same shoes or jacket so your dog develops associations between that and training sessions.

1. One of the most important skills is to heel. You will need to walk steadily alongside your dog who should be wearing a collar and a leash. Be sure your puppy is on your left side.

2. Slap your thigh and say HEEL every so often

3. Your dog might get distracted or not follow your lead at first. Keep walking and your pup will start to understand.

4. When your dog starts to follow you reward the behavior by petting him and saying that he is a good dog or some other happy exclamation.

5. If you have a stubborn dog that will not cooperate you need to be firm and say HEEL. Again, reward the behavior when it is corrected.

1. Teaching your puppy to sit is a vital skill. To start, have your dog walk by your left side, and then stop.

2. Put the leash in your right hand and pull on the collar.

3. Press down on your dog’s rear end with your left hand, practically forcing your dog to sit.

4. As you press down, be sure to say SIT as your command.

5. Repeat this process and praise your puppy when he completes the action.

6. Continue walking and repeat over again during your ten minute walk

Friday, October 21, 2011

Teach Your Shih Tzu to Stay

Most dogs are smart and want to be obedient. Not giving your Shih Tzu any direction or training is just asking for him to behave in a negative way. “Stay” is a good one to teach and comes in handy in instances where otherwise your Shih Tzu could run off and be hurt or get lost.
Keep an eye on your Shih Tzu and his actions. If your he obeys, you should make eye contact, offer verbal praise and give him a treat in that specific order. An example would be that your Shih Tzu sits - look him in the eye, say “Good boy, that was a good sit” and give him a treat.

Shih Tzu's are sensitive animals. Reprimanding them is usually unproductive. Instead, only offer positive reinforcement when they do good things.

The “stay” command can be taught from three different positions: sitting, laying down or standing. The end goal is to get him to obey the “stay” command from any of these three.

Start with your Shih Tzu on his leash and with you to his right side. Take your hand, palm forward and put it in front of his face, so that he sees it and say the command “stay”. Now step forward on your right foot (not your “heel” foot, which is your left), take a step or two forward and turn back to your Shih Tzu.

Repeat the hand signal and the command “stay” and step back to your starting position at his side. Give him verbal praise for staying (such as “good stay”) and reward him with a treat.

As you progress with the exercise, you should stay facing your Shih Tzu, but not beside him for longer periods of time and then eventually, you should gradually increase the distance away from your dog that you are standing until you are at the end of his leash and standing away from him for a long period of time. Make sure to continue praising and rewarding him for his good efforts.

Remember: This is a very gradual exercise and the distance and length of time you are away from your Shih Tzu should gradually increase.

You may be worried that you Shih Tzu's only motivation for obeying is his treats, but this is not so. Dogs are eager to please their owners. Make sure that for this exercise you are not showing the treat to your Shih Tzu beforehand and you will be fine.

Training is a slow process and as previously mentioned, most Shih Tzu's do not respond well to getting reprimanded. Make sure to “dog proof” your home so that there are less tempting bad situations for your Shih Tzu to get into, but do stick to your guns on the small, important “tricks” you are teaching him. Your Shih Tzu should always be willing to do a “sit” or a “stay” once they’ve learned it and if they aren’t, work the exercise with them more often.

After you feel confident in your Shih Tzu’s ability to “stay” under controlled circumstances, switch up the situation. Have him stay from different positions or in different environments. Allow for distracting variables once you are confident in your Shih Tzu’s training without the distractions in place.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Top 5 Halloween Costumes for your Shih Tzu

Halloween is approaching fast and it's time to get your costume picked out for your furry friend! I've been scouring the internet for the BEST Halloween costumes for your Shih Tzu. Here are my top picks!

Little Stinker Costume

Who doesn't love a "little stinker"?!  Everyone will love how your Shih Tzu looks in this skunk costume. Your Shih Tzu will be the talk of town when your trick or treating with your little ones.

Lil' Lion Costume

LIONS, and tigers, and bears...OH MY!  This fierce Lil' Lion Costume will surely represent the inner tiger in your Shih Tzu!

Prince of Frogs Costume

If you get this Prince of Frogs costume for your Shih Tzu, he will be sure to turn into your prince and possible find his princess!

Honey Bumble Bee Costume

How cute is this little bumble bee?!  Don't miss this opportunity for your Shih-Tzu. It may just buzz right by you!

Fairy Princess Costume

This would be a perfect companion costume for the Prince of Frogs or by itself! Bring it home today for your Princess!!

To find more fun Shih-Tzu Costumeslike these at rock bottom prices stop at Amazon!

Teach Your Shih Tzu To Sit

Teaching your Shih Tzu the command “sit” and the proper response is likely to be the first thing he is taught. Puppies can begin being trained on how to sit as soon as he is comfortable and adjusted to his new home. The command “sit” is a very important lesson to teach your dog and will come in handy many times.

How to train your puppy to sit:

   Everytime your puppy sits on his own, try to remember to say the command “sit”. It may sound silly, but this will teach the dog to connect the command with the action and will help him learn what the command means quicker and more easily in training.

   Keep a treat handy that your puppy likes. Just remember to have it cut into pieces small and easy enough for him to swallow.

   Be sure to stay close to your puppy. A good idea is to sit on the floor beside him so that you and your puppy are on the same level and you are not towering over him, which can be intimidating or threatening. Being close to your dog also allows you to reward him with treats more quickly, which is important to the training process.

   Using the treat, slowly move it over your puppy’s head. Your puppy will smell the treat and his nose will follow the scent. If you are holding the treat in the right place (above and behind your dog’s snout), it will be much easier for your puppy to sit to get his nose closer to the treat.

   As soon as the puppy’s bottom hits the floor say “sit” and give him a small treat. The timing on this is very important to his training - the dog must associate the action with the command and doing the action in accordance with the word as something being worthy of a reward.

   Do not only reward your puppy with the treat, but with praise as well. Show him (with your body language) and tell him how proud of him you are and how happy with him you are.

   Repeat these exercises 3-5 times. Anymore than that and it might get boring for your puppy.

   Once you have worked this exercise for a while, the next step is to work on getting him to sit while you are standing. Also, another step forward is to see if you can get him to react to simply the command “sit” without the treat tricking him into doing it. Be sure to sing his praises when he does it. You should never react in a disappointed manner when training.

This exercise should be pretty easily picked up by your puppy. In a couple days, he should be responding to the command “sit”. You have the option of taking it a step further by getting your dog to sit next to you, which will come in handy for his “heel” training.

To go even further, you should begin working on the sit exercise in different and new situations. The ideal goal is that your dog should be willing to sit for you in any situation, no matter how tempting outside distractions are. Try to always work on the sit command in new situations, which is practicing to get your dog to always listen to your commands, no matter where you are or what is going on.

Not only will teaching your dog how to sit come in handy, but it will also strength your bond with your puppy. Your puppy wants to please you and make you happy and enjoys bonding with you- at training or at play. Training will help him to learn his name and help him to learn to listen to you as his master. The puppy will be confident in himself and his owner and will love being your dog.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Doggy Day Care for Your Dog

In the busy world of today, things are different than they were in decades past. Men and women often both have 40 hour a week careers, people stay single for longer and longer, married couples sometimes don’t plan on ever having children. The classic nuclear family structure has been shaken and shattered. Being that oftentimes there is no one in the family who stays home all day, our dogs are left to their own devices.
Being gone from the home for 8 hours a day might not be a big deal to your dog, but it could potentially be brutal. Some animals are fine on their own and can entertain themselves or just nap all day. However, some animals get lonely, restless or even destructive when they are forced to be alone all day long.

One potentially good option for those of us that are forced away from home 5 days and 40 hours a week is doggy day care. Doggy day care is much similar to day care for children. You can drop your dog off early before work where he will be able to socialize with other dogs during the day, run around, play and have a good time without having to be stuck at home while you are away.

Several things should be taken into consideration before placing your pet into a doggy day care.

Is your dog up to date on all his shots? Any reputable doggy day care will ask you for a copy of your animal’s shot records. These should be up to date and you will be turned away if your animal is missing any vaccines. This is to prevent the potential spread of any disease your animal or another’s animal may have.

Do you live in a big city? Most big cities have plenty of doggy day care options available to you, and are easily findable via any internet search engine. If you don’t live in a big city, you may have a harder time finding a doggy day care center close to you and this may affect your morning or evening commute if you are dropping off and picking up your animal daily.

Does your dog like other dogs? Any dog being considered for placement in doggy day care should be friendly and open when playing with other dogs, as there will be plenty there for him to socialize with. If your dog has not been socialized, you should consider exposing him to other dogs in a dog park situation where he can get used to playing with them before dropping him off in a doggy day care.

Does your budget allow for doggy day care? While doggy day care can be an excellent resource, it can also get costly. Prices can range from $15 to $40 depending on your location and the type of day care you want to place your animal in. Multiply that by 5 days a week and doggy day care has just gotten pretty pricey. If your budget is limiting, you may consider only taking your dog to day care once a week or a couple of times a month to cut on costs but at the same time allow your dog something fun to look forward to.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Simple and Effective Puppy Potty Training

Getting a new puppy is incredibly exciting.  Even so, you are likely to have many questions about how to care for the lively pup.  One of the biggest and most important is how to potty train your puppy.
First, realize that potting training a dog has many similarities to potty training a toddler.  You will have to work very hard to teach them.  Throughout your teaching you can expect to find some messes, but your puppy will also bring you a lot of happiness.  It will all be worth it in the end.

Even though it’s hard work to train a puppy, the methods themselves are not difficult.  There are some proven secrets that dog trainers and owners in the know use all the time.

  1. You will need to get a crate or kennel to start.  Your puppy will not go to the bathroom where their bed is due to natural instincts.
  2. Do not put anything in the bottom of the crate, like towels, paper, etc.
  3. When you are away you should keep the puppy in their crate for safety reasons
  4. Now, to get down to business you can expect your puppy to go potty within 30 minutes of eating.  Of course, you will get to know their bathroom schedule as you get to know them better.
  5. There will be times when you come into the room and catch your puppy about to go to the bathroom.  When this happens you should take them outside right away.  The more often you get them to associate the grass with going to the bathroom, the better.
  6. If your puppy makes a mistake you should not hit or spank them.  They are not currently doing anything bad; they just do not realize what is “good” yet. 
  7. You don’t want your puppy going potty on puppy pads or newspaper in your home.  You want the grass to be their preference.
  8. This process may take between four to six months.  It seems long now, but you’ll be impressed with the results along the way if you are diligent enough.
Potty training your puppy can be a very nerve wracking experience.  Just keep in mind that you love your puppy very much and that it will be worth it in the end. As long as you are consistent in your methods you will have a potty-trained puppy in no time.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Keep Your Shih Tzu Busy and Prevent Household Damage

Is your Shih Tzu chewing up everything he/she sees?  If so, you’re probably desperate for a solution.  You’re definitely not alone either.  There are many people that come home to find their flowerbeds have been dug up and their shoes torn apart.

You can stop this problem so put any doubts out of your mind now.  It’s important to understand why your Shih Tzu is a chewing or digging.  This usually happens because they are bored.  Perhaps you are frequently away from your home or are very busy.

Some people will want to consider getting a playmate for the Shih Tzu.  This can keep them busy even when you’re not there to play.  Be careful though because the plan may backfire.  You might find that you have twice the holes and destruction!

Better yet, you should make sure your Shih Tzu has something to do.  You might place special treats around your yard and give out special toys as entertainment.  It’s not hard to find things that will entice your Shih Tzu right away from doing something bad.

You can get dog toys in many different places.  Some locations even have inexpensive dog toys that won’t set you too far back in your bank account.  Do keep in mind that the toy must be large and durable enough to prevent a choking hazard.  Most dog toys are made this way so you should not substitute dog toys with another kind of toy not made for dogs unless you’re sure it’s safe.

Some Shih Tzu’s are rougher than others so you should make sure it will stand strong against your dog’s teeth.  You might wan to invest a little more money getting a tough toy instead of a cheap one that will fall apart.  It is also dangerous in that smaller pieces could get stuck in your dog’s throat or stomach.

To make things even more enticing you can purchase dog toys that allow you to put a treat inside.  The task of getting the treat out will occupy your dog for a nice long while.  If it’s hot outside you might want to consider getting the kind of dog treat you freeze.  Your dog will enjoy playing with it until it unfreezes.

If money is an issue you can tie two large socks together to make a nice chew and tug of war toy for your Shih Tzu.  These are great and the dog won’t even notice the difference.  The only trouble is that they will need someone to play tug of war with so it might not work as well when you’re not home.

To keep your Shih Tzu truly interested you might want to switch the toys up every now and then.  That way the toys will seem fresh and they won’t get bored as easily.  You can even put something like vegemite on the toys to make them twice as interesting. 

All it takes is some careful planning on your part and you can ensure that they will always have something to do.  Even if you can’t be there with them for certain parts of the day they will be able to have a good time and stay out of trouble.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shih Tzu Training Basic Guide

CONGRATULATIONS on getting your Shih Tzu!!  Getting a new dog is incredibly exciting.  A dog is a true companion who will always stick by your side.  Getting them to that point isn’t always easy, however.  You will not only need to feed and groom your Shih Tzu, you will also have to train your Shih Tzu to be disciplined.

Getting Started

If you take the time to discipline your Shih Tzu now you will have fewer problems down the line.  Before you get into the meat of the dog training you will definitely need to house train him/her.  You will not get very far in your pet and owner relationship if your Shih Tzu wets all over your home!

Housebreaking a pet is a great accomplishment that can be met by using the right training methods.  Don’t stop there like many other pet owners do.  You need to do additional obedience training since it will show your Shih Tzu that you are in charge as well as create a strong bond between the two of you.

Obedience Training

There are many different methods of obedience training.  The variations you choose will depend on what you expect the end result to be.  If you will be happy with having a housebroken, leash-trained, and obedient dog who responds to simple commands you can stop there.
If you want to have an incredibly well-rounded and obedient dog you will want to continue on with the training.  You might be amazed to find that the following behaviors can be modified using dog-training techniques:

  • Barking
  • Whining
  • Digging
  • Growling
  • Chewing
  • Aggression
While you might have thought that those are just things you have to deal with when you own a Shih Tzu, there is a way to eliminate them.  If you want to have a completely stress free life with your Shih Tzu then you will incorporate these into your dog training.  It will take a lot of hard work but the results are well worth the effort.

Training Shih Tzu Puppies

If you want to make the most of your dog training efforts you should start when they are in the puppy stage.  You can start training them right away and there is no reason to wait until they are six months old to do so.  It is simply a matter of using the right techniques for Shih Tzu's that age.

You owe it to your Shih Tzu and yourself to invest in the best dog training materials.  There are great websites, books, e-books and more all dedicated to training your Shih Tzu.  If you are very serious about dog training or don’t have the time to do it yourself you should hire a professional.  You can ask your Shih Tzu’s veterinarian for recommendations to find the perfect trainer for you and your Shih Tzu.

Professional Trainers

There are some things to keep in mind when searching for a professional trainer.  You do not need one that specializes in the breed of your dog.  All breeds are trainable creatures; of course some will be better than others.

There are trainers who offer group classes as well as private in-home lessons and board and train programs.  Pick the training program that is best for you.

Shih-Tzu Training on Your Own

If you decide to train on your own you need to find the very best materials to do so.  There is no sense in trying to train by the seat of your pants if you have no idea what you are doing. 

The Shih-Tzu is an alert, lively, little dog. Happy and hardy, packed with character. The gentle loyal Shih-Tzu makes friends easily and responds well to consistent patient training. They make a very alert watch dog. Courageous and clever. Playful and spunky, this affectionate little dog likes to be with people and are generally good with other pets. Some can be difficult to housebreak. The Shih Tzu needs all of the humans in the house to be pack leader, with the rules of the house made consistently clear. Owners who allow their dogs to take over may find them to be snappish if they are surprised or peeved. Because of this dogs small size and it's adorable face, they commonly develop Small Dog Syndrome, human induced behaviors where the dog believes he is the boss of humans. This causes a varying degree of behavioral issues, such as, but not limited to separation anxiety, guarding, growling, snapping, and even biting. They may become untrustworthy with children and sometimes adults, as they try and tell the humans what THEY want THEM to do. They will be obstinate as they take their stand and defend their top position in the pack. They may bark obsessively as they try and TELL you what they want. These behaviors are NOT Shih Tzu traits, but rather behaviors brought on by the way they are treated by people around them. Give this dog rules, and limits to what they are and are not allowed to do. Be their firm, stable, consistent pack leader. Take them for daily pack walks to burn mental and physical energy. Their temperament will improve for the better, and you will bring out the sweet, trustworthy dog in them.

Purchase or read high quality materials that come recommended to you.  It is possible to train your dog by yourself, but it will be much easier and better with the help of an experienced trainer.

The Right Attitude

  If you adopt the right attitude you will be well on your way to having a disciplined, responsive Shih Tzu.

You’ll find that you grow closer than you ever thought possible to your Shih Tzu.  Dog training is a great way to cement your relationship and enjoy each other’s company.  Teach your Shih Tzu that you are in charge, but love him/her unconditionally and you will get a lot of respect in return.