Tag Archives: service dogs

10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Chihuahua


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

The Chihuahua is small, sassy and #12 on our list of most popular dog breeds! Chihuahuas are the tiniest dogs in the world, but they have big personalities and aren’t shy when they have something to say. These adorable pups are a family favorite for their loyalty and love of cuddles, but there’s a lot more to Chihuahuas than their reputations as lap dogs. Read on for 10 facts you need to know about the Chihuahua!

1. They vary in coat length and color.
Chihuahuas come in two varieties: smooth coat and long coat. They also come in a number of different colors and markings. One can look tan and short-haired, while another is red and furry.

2. They’re named after their place of origin.
Chihuahuas come from Mexico, specifically—the state of Chihuahua. Ancient paintings of Mexico display dogs that resemble the Chihuahua as we know it today.

3. They’re one of the oldest dog breeds.
Chihuahuas became registered with the AKC in 1904. They are descended from the Techichi, a breed indigenous to Mexico that existed as early as the 9th Century AD.

4. They live very long lives.
Chihuahuas have one of the longest lifespans of dogs, living 10-18 years on average. Some even go into their 20’s!

5. They like the limelight.

You’ve probably seen this feisty breed on television and in movies. Before her passing in 2009, a Chihuahua named Gidget graced our TV screens with her role as the “Taco Bell Chihuahua.” This same dog also made appearances in Legally Blonde 2 and a GEICO commercial. All those roles from just one Chihuahua!

6. They were once considered sacred.
In the Toltec and Aztec cultures of modern-day Mexico, Chihuahuas were regarded as holy and even mummified with their owners with the belief that they would help their owners reach the afterlife safely (Totally Chihuahuas).

7. Their anatomy is similar to a human baby’s.

Both humans and Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot on the skull called a molera. Unlike humans, however, many Chihuahuas maintain their moleras throughout their lives. Don’t poke a Chihuahua’s head!

8. They have two different head shapes.

Speaking of skulls, Chihuahuas can have one of two different head shapes: deerhead and applehead. Applehead is the breed standard accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

9. They’re big brained.

Relative to their body size, Chihuahuas have the largest brains of any dog breed. Their big brains result in their high intelligence and easy trainability. They can even be trained to be service dogs.

10. They make great watchdogs.
Intensely loyal to their owners, Chihuahuas will act contrary to their small sized bodies by going to great lengths to protect their family members. This includes barking to alert their owners when a stranger comes to the door.

Are you a Chihuahua fan? Tell us why in the comments below!

Why the World Needs Purebred Dogs


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

May 1 is National Purebred Dog Day, a day to appreciate the centuries-old tradition of breeding dogs for specifically valued traits. The day’s founder, Susi Szeremy, writes that each dog breed is “a living legacy of the culture that created it,” and the continuation of purebreds keeps their respective culture’s history alive. While mixed breeds are cool, too, there are good reasons to support purebreds. Read on for the top three reasons why we think the world still needs purebred dogs.

1. They’re predictable.

One big reason why purebreds are valued dogs is their predictability. Because each breed is bred for specific traits, one can expect to find particular physical and behavioral qualities in any one member of the breed. While these traits can vary within individual dogs, you know that if you breed a Chihuahua you’ll be getting a pint-sized pup that fits in your purse, while if you breed a Great Dane, she’ll be even bigger than the Chihuahua the moment she’s born! Moreover, the predictability of purebreds makes them indispensable in the many pup-powered jobs which our communities depend on. In the US alone, ten million people suffer from allergies, many of whom rely on specific allergy-friendly dog breeds to accommodate their health needs. For example, the intelligent and low-shedding Poodle makes a qualified assistant to disabled people with dog allergies. Purebred dogs are our service dogs, police dogs, military dogs and of course, the loving companions that brighten up our homes. They can be specially trained to serve purposes that go above and beyond fetching a bone. Purebred dogs are society’s four-legged superheroes, often trained as early on as birth to fulfill roles such as guiding the blind, sniffing out drugs or explosives in the airport, detecting blood glucose levels in people with diabetes, and the list goes on. Purebred dogs are crucial, irreplaceable members of society who improve the lives of people you know every single day.

2. They help us make scientific advancements.

Purebred dogs help us make advancements in science that enhance our understanding of both humans and other dogs. For example, a recent study discovered a gene found in Dalmatians associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome in dogs. This research not only reveals an important factor of this canine disease, but it may also lead to a breakthrough in research for respiratory disease in humans. This research and others like it would not be possible if not for the uniform traits in purebreds which lend themselves to objective scientific testing.

3. They tell a story of the past.
Each breed tells a unique story form the time and place in history it came from. Perhaps it was the German Shepherd, herding the fields of Germany during the turn of the 20th Century. Or maybe the Yorkshire Terrier, working alongside factory workers during the Industrial Revolution. Each breed has its very own story tell, and believe it or not, these stories are in danger of fading away. There is such a thing as an endangered dog breed, and if it were not for the efforts of responsible breeders, these breeds would not survive.

Breeding purebreds is not just a tradition that provides us with a fun and furry look into the past. Rather, purebred dogs are indispensable to lending a helping hand (or paw) to present day problems such as physical and mental disabilities and health issues. This National Purebred Dog Day, let’s take a moment to look around at the amazing creatures who fill our lives with joy on a daily basis. We hope to have them around for years to come.

Human Health Benefits Related to Dog Ownership


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

You’ve probably heard about all the emotional benefits that come along with having a furry friend – joy, love, companionship, loyalty, compassion. But, what about the physical health benefits? Bet you didn’t know that caring for a dog’s well-being can simultaneously contribute in a positive way to your own well-being. From combating feelings of loneliness to maintaining overall heart health, canines offer some surprising human health benefits worth knowing.

In Sickness and In Health: Dogs Help Build Immunity
In great news for families who are expecting, or have young children, a recent study shows that kids who are introduced to animals early in life have lower chances of developing allergies and tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.

A Pawfect Boost for Loneliness & Depression
Feeling lonesome or down in the dumps? A dog is a wonderful way to help fight isolation or pick you up when you’re feeling sad. In addition to the built-in company and unconditional love a dog brings, activities such as walking the neighborhood or taking your pooch to a dog park encourage socialization with other dog owners. Be prepared to discuss your dog’s breed, background, age and story behind how he got his name. Your four-legged friend is the ultimate ice breaker! Plus, caring for an animal provides a great sense of purpose, which can be crucial for feelings of anxiety or hopelessness.

Must Heart Dogs
Besides helping with matters of the heart, dogs can also positively affect cardiac health. Studies have shown that pet owners have decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels — all of which can minimize the risk of having a heart attack.

A Pawsome Way to Stay Fit
According to a recent study, dog owners were more likely to do mild to moderate physical activity during the week than non-dog owners. Dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to their counterpart’s average of 168 minutes per week, which means dog owners are more likely to get the recommended 30-minute minimum of exercise a day. If you take the reins (i.e., leash), rather than pass off walking duty to someone else, you’ll regularly get to work on your fitness and stamina. Plus, who doesn’t like to have a workout buddy?

Puppertunity to Help Combat ADHD
Dogs have a reputation for helping children and adults feel calm and at ease, which is evident during therapy dog sessions. Thus, dogs can be healing for children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. On another note, dogs can also help ADHD-sufferers with releasing extra energy by providing the child with a pal to run around and play with.

Puplifting Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dogs are a great distraction and therefore help people who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis move around and play more than they normally would, allowing victims to forget the discomfort, even if only for a few minutes.

Trained Service Dogs Warn Before It’s Too Late
For certain diseases, such as diabetes, service dogs can not only be helpful, but rather; save lives. Sufferers of diabetes may not always be able to tell when their blood sugar level is too high or too low.

Trained service dogs have been proven to successfully monitor hypoglycemia warnings through odor cues. Medical detection dogs such as these can lead to fewer 911 calls, less unconscious incidents and greater patient independence. Similarly, some medical detection dogs have been known to even detect cancer in as little as three hours. Scientific studies are currently in progress determining exactly how accurate medical detection dogs can be in relation to discovering cancers. Today, it’s a research area that will continue to be explored and investigated for commercial use.

Tax Day: 7 Surprising Dog-Related Write-Offs


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

Most people dread tax season, full of paperwork and potential money owed. While the majority of pet costs (veterinary, food, grooming, or boarding bills) are not eligible for tax deductions, there are a few exceptions for qualified dog owners. We’ve broken out several IRS-approved dog expenses, which may be considered eligible tax deductions. Keep the following tax-friendly dog scenarios in mind for next year’s filing!

1. Moving Costs
If you’re moving residences and unable to take your dog with you, consider using a professional transportation company to handle the hassle of shipping your dog cross-country. Pet relocation costs are considered above-the-line deductions. The IRS simply requires a filled out worksheet and Forms 1040 and 3903 to complete the claim. The extra work is sure to be worth the savings.

2. Guide, Service or Therapy Dogs
The IRS says that if a guide dog is needed to assist the hearing or visually-impaired, you can write off all costs-associated with the dog’s care, such as the dog’s actual purchase, training, food, grooming and of course, medical expenses. A good rule of thumb is that any expense necessary to keeping the dog healthy enough to perform his service-related responsibilities, may be written off. Similarly, if you have a therapy dog trained or certified to help with treatment of a physical or mental health condition, all costs associated with the dog are approved as medical-related expenses.

3. Working Guard Dogs
If your dog is necessary to your line of work (for example, your Rottweiler or German Shepherd guards your storefront or warehouse inventory), then you may write off the dog’s expenses related to the job. Standard business deduction rules such as keeping track of the hours your dog spends on the job would apply to this scenario. However, as long as you can prove that the money spent on your dog (e.g., food, medical, training) is required to keep him up to guard dog condition and that his presence is necessary to maintaining your livelihood, these costs would qualify as business expenses.

4. Dog Breeders
As an animal breeder, your breeding stock is an essential part of your business and thus you’re allowed to deduct all necessary animal-related expenses from your taxes. The IRS allows you to claim animals held for breeding of at least 12 months as either capital assets or as a part of your regular inventory. By claiming your breeding stock as capital gains, this allows you to depreciate them and ultimately reduces your taxable income. Make sure to use all of the right forms when filing your income taxes and reporting all sales to get all the breaks you’re entitled to.

5. Charitable Donations, Fostering Animals or Regular Volunteer Work
If your love for dogs involves continuous and regular philanthropic work, you could be eligible for related tax write-offs. Perhaps you routinely donate to an animal rescue organization or volunteer at a local shelter. Or, you foster pets for a temporary period of time until they are adopted into permanent homes. Be sure to retain all receipts and records associated with pro-social work and foster pets and be sure to itemize deductions under the charity section of Schedule A.

6. Canine Sports Leaders
Does your dog compete in professional dog shows? If you participate in dog competitions, agility meets or a canine-related income-generating hobby, such as selling portraits of your dog, or lecturing on dog-related topics, unfortunately the income is taxable. However, you may use the hobby’s expenses as write-offs, to offset the hobby’s earnings. Hobby expenses can be itemized under Schedule A, but the total must exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income before it can be deductible. Note that if the pet-related hobby starts to generate income on a regular basis, you should consider turning it into a business, where you could write off even more expenses.

7. Pet Trusts
Not surprisingly to most dog lovers, it’s become accepted practice to include beloved animals in wills and trusts to ensure that whomever takes possession of the pet after death will receive adequate income to pay for the pet’s expenses. Depending on the structure of the trust, dog owners can work with their attorneys to make sure taxes are paid from the trust itself without adding to the beneficiary’s tax liability.

10 Labrador Retriever Facts You Should Know


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed in the country, and it’s no surprise why. We’ve broken down the top reasons why dog owners can’t get enough of the Lab. Disclaimer: You may shortly find yourself yearning to bring home one of these very special dogs after reading these 10 characteristics of Labs:

1. Very Trainable
Bred to follow human cues, Labs are extremely obedient if they receive proper training. In addition to the basic commands of sit, stay and roll-over, Labs can be taught more difficult tasks that require a high level of attention and intelligence.

2. Can Doggie Paddle
Natural-born swimmers, Labs were bred to jump into icy waters and help fishermen retrieve nets, fish and equipment. The extra skin (webbing) around their toes makes for natural paddles and their water resistant coat keeps them warm and dry in the water. Lastly, the Lab’s long round tail, often called an “otter tail,” moves back and forth in water like a ship rudder, making the Lab the Michael Phelps of dogs.

3. Easy-to-Manage Coat
Labs are short-haired, so you don’t need to brush them often, with the exception of during molting season. You also don’t need to bathe the Lab often as the natural oils in their skin serve as protection from outside irritants. In fact, it’s recommended to bathe Labs only 3-4 times per year.

4. Great with Kids
Want a nice, well-mannered family dog? The Lab is one of the best dogs for children of all ages. Labs are kind, good-natured, friendly, laid-back and affectionate. However, as puppies they can be rambunctious and unknowingly play a little rough. The good news is with a little bit of training (and maturity), they will respond well.

5. Athletic Sports Dogs
Part of the AKC-classified sporting group, Labs are willing to retrieve just about anything. Thus, if you’re interested in a breed to accompany you in hunting or fishing, Labs are a prime choice.

6. Selfless Helpers
Labs also make incredible service and therapy dogs. If you or someone in your family has a disability or illness that requires canine assistance, the Lab is a great option. Their intelligence and trainability, coupled with their readiness to please and affectionate streak make for a perfect combination. Labs are known for their ability to lead the blind, act as hearing dogs, and perform law enforcement and military work.

7. Active, Energetic Dogs
As you can tell from this article so far, Labs love exercise and are perfect companions to the active owner who loves the outdoors and daily walks. Whether playing a game of fetch, hiking, swimming, or fishing, Labs are in their element when they’re outdoors, and are not for your average couch potato.

8. Nose for Security
Labs are highly protective of their family members and home, so they make for effective watch dogs. If you’re interested in a dog who will bark at an intruder, the Lab is a great choice. Because Labs are considered “working dogs,” they are often trained to be professional security dogs.

9. Healthy with Long Lifespan
While every dog is different (just as humans are), some generalizations can be made for the healthiness of the breed. Labs are expected to live for at least 10 years, and have an average lifespan of 12 years. Thus, if they’re taken good care of, they’ll be around for lots of memories to be made.

10. Affordable
Although the Labrador Retriever is a purebred, the breed is only #18 on the list of most expensive breeds factoring in all medical costs. That said, it’s worth assessing expected expenses to make sure the Lab (or any other breed) is within your budget.

Getting to Know Guide Dogs


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

Guide dogs, also known as seeing eye dogs, are special pooches that help the blind navigate their world. Guide Dogs of America provides blind and visually impaired people with guide dogs free of charge in North America. Now that deserves a “round of a-paws.” Let’s get to know more about these paw-some pups and how they perform heroic acts every day.

History
The first school for training service animals, including seeing eye dogs, was established in Germany during World War I to assist veterans blinded in war. Outside of Germany, interest in service dogs did not become widespread until the mid-1900’s. The first guide dogs were German Shepherds, appropriately coming from the service dog school’s country of origin. In 1929, Nashville resident Morris Frank succeeded in convincing Americans to grant people with service animals access to public transportation, hotels and other open public areas. By Federal law, blind people with service dogs are now allowed to go anywhere the general public is allowed, including restaurants, hospitals, stores, airplanes and taxis.

Breeds
The dog breeds used in guide dog service are chosen for their easy trainability and sound temperaments. The most common breeds selected as guide dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds, but other breeds have also been known to be good choices, such as Labradoodles, Standard Poodles, Collies, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Havanese and Vizslas.

Training
Many guide dogs are trained from birth for the special task of aiding the visually impaired. Dogs who start training at birth take about 18 months to complete their program (DGP for Pets). Just like all domesticated dogs, guide dogs must first learn housetraining and basic obedience before receiving additional guide dog training. After about one year, the guide dog meets her partner and they train together for two weeks.

The guide dog recipient is just as responsible in training as the dog. It is the responsibility of the visually impaired person to use his or her senses to judge whether or not it is safe to cross the street, for example, but the guide dog may refute the action if she deems it hazardous. The dog’s intentional refusal of a command is called “intelligent disobedience.”

Meeting a Working Guide Dog Team

If you encounter a visually impaired person with a guide dog, you should treat this person as you would any other stranger on the street and respect boundaries. Do not pet, feed or talk to a guide dog without asking for the owner’s permission first. While they may be irresistibly cute, guide dogs are at work and should not be distracted. After all, the owner depends on his or her guide dog to be vigilant of dangers.

Guide dogs are special service dogs that have helped aid the blind for decades. Their ability to learn techniques above and beyond basic training techniques in order to devotedly assist their partner is truly remarkable. We never cease to be amazed at what dogs can do in our everyday lives.

A Spotlight on Service Dogs


Warning: sprintf() expects at least 1 parameter, 0 given in /home/wp_r3zcif/puppyspotcontent.com/content/wp-content/themes/Purebred-Breeders/content.php on line 69

A service dog is a dog trained specifically to assist people with disabilities such as visual impairment, hearing loss, mobility impairment, mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or health conditions such as diabetes.

It may not be that surprising to many dog lovers that on top of the all the amazing benefits the average pet dog provides, certain dogs have the capability to provide life-changing services for owners in need. More than just pets, service dogs are technically “working dogs.” To honor these incredible animals, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about service dogs, including which breeds are most suitable for service training, the process for a dog to become certified, and how you can get involved in service animal organizations.

Common Service Breeds
service-thumbnailThe breeds that tend to take well to service-based training are German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Border Collies. Yet, there are also other breeds that are best for specific disabilities. For instance, smaller breeds such as Setters and Shiba Inus are often used for seizure assistance. In general, small breeds are better suited for conditions that require medical alerts; but for mobility or balance issues, larger, stronger breeds are necessary.

Physical Assessment
The first step in evaluating whether a dog is a good candidate for service, is to schedule a nose-to-tail examination by a licensed veterinarian. If a dog has a condition like arthritis for example, he would not be considered a good candidate as the condition could inhibit him from performing his duties and add unnecessary strain to his body. Service dogs should all be neutered or spayed so they are not in heat while working. Age is also a factor as dogs should be at least 6 months old and past the puppy stage.

Personality Evaluation
Disposition and temperament are crucial factors in determining whether a dog is capable of becoming an effective service dog. A neutral personality that isn’t too active or too passive is the easiest personality type to train for service duties. A dog who is pretty even-tempered, rather than aggressive or overly submissive, is likely to be a great fit.

Sourcing A Reputable Trainer
Training a service animal requires a lot of expertise, patience and of course a tailored program customized to the illness or condition the dog is being trained to assist. While there is no required certification in the United States, the service dog training community has created self-regulated, minimum standards of which all trainers should meet. While anyone can learn to train their pet, it’s highly recommended to seek out a professional when it comes to service-based training. A professional trainer will put in the time (often hundreds of hours over 6 months to a year) and focus on “proofing,” which is the art of tuning out distractions and always being on command.

Public Testing
Intermittently throughout and certainly towards the end of the service-training program, professional trainers will take the soon-to-be service dogs into public environments and essentially test the dogs’ skills. Often equipped with a video camera, the trainers will test the dogs’ public conduct, including expectations such as only urinating and defecating on command, curbed excitement, no display of aggression and reduced hyperactivity.

Graduation and Registration
Once a dog successfully completes a service-dog training course, it’s the responsibility of the owner or trainer to register the dog with a reputable service organization such as the United States Service Dog Registry. Because service dogs are self-regulated in the U.S., it’s imperative that owners are diligent in completing the paperwork and registering their animal. A public record of a dog’s service training is helpful for any situation where the dog may be questioned or as evidence in the case of any sort of altercation. Remember, the dog just graduated an intensive program; it’s the least us humans can do!

Finding a Human Match In Need
Similar to trainer resources, there are plenty of places to find people in need of service animals. Remember, public accommodations for service dogs are only made if they’re accompanying a disabled individual.

Whether you have a dog you’re interested in training and donating to become a service animal, or you or someone you know is in need of a service dog, we hope you’ve found this information helpful. It truly is incredible that in addition to providing unconditional love, dogs can provide humans life-saving care.