Tag Archives: Terrier

Reigning in Dogs with Wanderlust


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We’ve all seen the infamous “Lost Dog” posters from distraught owners longing to see their furry loved one again. Unfortunately, having a dog run away is a reality many dog-owners face at one point or another. But if your dog bolts from the home, then it might take some extra training to keep him from getting hurt, stolen or worse. Your pup belongs home and safe in your loving arms.

Understanding the Behavior
We all know that dogs like to run. But, why? Is your warm, loving home not good enough? On the contrary, the problem typically has nothing to do with the owner, but rather with the dog’s own natural instincts. Dogs may run away for a number of reasons including boredom, predatory drive or distraction. For example, a dog left alone in the yard for hours without anyone to play with might escape out of boredom, curious of what the outside world has to offer. Like humans, dogs are creatures with social needs, and thus might seek out social stimulation if that need cannot be fulfilled at home. A dog ready to mate, especially a male, un-neutered dog, is prone to roaming as well. After all, he’s got to spread those doggy genes somehow! Lastly, another common reason dogs run away is they have too much energy to contain. Oftentimes owners leave their dogs alone in the yard thinking that they’re doing them a favor, but really, without a companion, dogs will soon grow bored. Especially for dogs who require exercise, being alone in the yard can be frustrating and therefore, a jog around the block can be a much more attractive option. Keep a watchful eye on breeds that are especially prone to wanderlust, including the Siberian Husky, Afghan Hound, terriers, Basset Hound, Great Pyrenees, Puggle, Weimaraner, Schnauzer, Vizsla, shepherds, Alaskan Malamute, Dachshund, Samoyed and Beagle.

Corrective Training
For the owners whose dogs have a taste for wanderlust, there is hope and help. One of the easiest ways to stop your dog from running away is to identify the cause of the behavior. Is he bored or lonely? Then, schedule plenty of playtime every day (the duration depends on the breed, individual personality and physical needs of the dog) and give him tasks to keep mentally and physically alert. Hormonal? Have him neutered to reduce the urge to roam for mating. Or, if your dog is female, have her spayed so that she doesn’t attract male dogs while in heat. Too much energy? Make sure your dog gets the appropriate amount of daily exercise for his type. The following tips can further help your dog stay safe:

• Train your dog to not leave without permission by holding him on a leash and repeatedly giving him the “sit-stay” command when you open the gate or door.
• Take your dog on visits to a local dog park to give him the socialization he needs, both with dogs and other humans.
• Secure your yard with a high fence or gate (ensure the fence extends a few feet underground if you have a digger such as a Husky).
• Make home an ideal place for your dog to be, with his own designated comfort spots and a bowl of clean water throughout the day.
• If you must leave him alone, give your dog a few toys to keep him busy, rotating them periodically to give the impression of something new and exciting every time. Or even better, drop him off at a trusted friend’s house or doggy daycare if you’re away from the house for extended periods of time.
• Finally, do not punish your dog once he returns from his excursion. This will only teach him to dread rather than look forward to his return home.

Having a dog that constantly runs away can be a real cause for anxiety in owners, and it’s not something that can be changed overnight. But, rest assured that with consistent training and positive reinforcement, your dog will see you as a loving parent and his home as a comfort zone, from whom he wouldn’t want to stray.

The 411 on Hot Spots


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Does your dog itch, scratch and lick himself so often in certain places that the affected areas become red, hot, irritated, or even bloody and scabbed? This ailment, also known as “hot spots” or “moist eczema,” is caused by a variety of factors such as bites, poor grooming, skin infections, stress or boredom, but is quite often the result of environmental allergies.

Allergens in the air such as dust or pollen often consistent with a change in seasons, increase a dog’s histamine levels, which set off uncomfortable itching that the dog tries to self-remedy by scratching, licking and biting. Not to be ignored, environmental allergies, also known as “atopic dermatitis” typically occur post puppy-hood after a dog is one years old, and become progressively worse over a dog’s lifespan.

Hot spots can not only be quite painful and irritating for dogs, but are also upsetting for the owner who has to watch and listen to a dog licking, scratching and inflicting self-trauma. Hot spots can severely affect the quality of the dog’s life and if left untreated, the hot spots will only worsen and develop into bacterial infection sites due to the combination of an open wound and surrounding moistness.

Certain breeds are more susceptible to hot spots, including Retrievers, Terriers, Boxers, Dalmatians, Bulldogs, Shepherds, Beagles and Irish Setters.

Medication Treatments for Relief:

Antihistamine Medication – Similar to treatment offered to humans who suffer from allergies, an antihistamine such as Benadryl or Claritin can be helpful as a first line of defense, at least for temporary relief. Remember to consult with your vet regarding the appropriate dosage for your dog based on weight. Unfortunately, these medications can often lose effectiveness if used too often and only work on 30% of dogs.

Steroid Medication – The next option, if an antihistamine isn’t doing the trick, is to discuss corticosteroid medications with your vet. A stronger Rx, these meds are often effective, but you must be careful with continued use, as they can present possible severe and permanent side effects.

Immunotherapy – Many veterinarians will say allergy shots are the only effective method to stop the progression of allergies. Similar to the skin testing performed on humans, a veterinarian will inject various allergens into the dog’s skin to test which cause reactions, and to which degree. The allergens are then mixed together to formulate the injection, which over time and if performed consistently, will desensitize your dog’s immune system. It’s recommended to start young as the older the dog gets, the less effective the treatment can be.

Immune-Suppressants – This option should only be explored if immunotherapy is not showing positive results or improvement. Immune modulator drugs suppress the immune system so that it does not respond to harmless allergens. However, these medications can cause side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea, and present an increased risk of infection from other illnesses.

Sublingual Immunotherapy – This is an alternative to allergy shots, if you’re concerned your dog may have a negative or aggressive reaction to an injection. With this treatment, the medication is administered by squeezing into their mouth.

Please know that each option should be thoroughly discussed and weighed with your veterinarian as treatments will vary based on the dog’s breed, size, and medical history.

Non-Medication Treatments for Relief:

Keep Your Dog’s Paws Clean – As a preventative measure, it doesn’t hurt to manually remove potential allergens from your dog’s paws after walks or hikes by washing or wiping thoroughly.

Use Medicated Shampoo – For bathing, ask your vet dermatologist for a recommendation on a specially-formulated shampoo designed to control inflammation on skin.

Try Supplements – Certain dietary pills with fatty acids such as biotin and Omega-3s are supposed to suppress itching and improve coat health.

Avoid Products with Known Allergens – If you’ve done a skin testing for your dog and are able to isolate certain allergens, take care with buying food or skincare free of those allergens.

Bathe Often and Follow Flea Control Regimen – A regularly groomed dog taking consistent flea prevention medication will have less risk of fleas and other irritants, which can cause hot spots.

Offer A Stress-Free Environment – Make sure your dog gets regular exercise and opportunities for play to relieve boredom.

Use a Temporary E-collar – While annoying for your dog, an Elizabethan collar or cone can be effective for stopping the itching and allowing the hot spot to heal.

Tips to Curb a Dog that Digs


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He’s done it again! Fido’s dug a hole right in the middle of your freshly-pruned row of Petunias. Digging can be one of the most frustrating doggy behaviors, as well as one of the hardest to stop. Below are some pointers to keep your dog’s destructive habit from digging a hole into your brain.

Step 1: Identify the Causes

There are many possible causes of a dog’s digging that go beyond their simple enjoyment of the act. Once you identify the reason (or reasons) for your dog’s digging, it will be much easier to come up with a solution. A few of the fascinating causes for digging include:

• Entertainment—If you’ve seen the wide, gleaming smile of a dog digging a hole in the backyard, you know he has no qualms about tearing apart your garden; digging is just plain fun.
• Temperature Control—In the hot summer months, your dog might find a hole in the ground the perfect spot to cool down. Similarly, getting into a hole he’s dug can offer him more warmth when it’s cold out than staying above ground.
• Escape—High fences or gates aren’t always enough to keep a rebellious dog with a taste for wanderlust contained. Your dog may be trying to get away, at least for a little while.
• Hormones—Both male and female dogs may try to dig their way out of the yard in order to sniff out a mate.
• Burying Objects—Dogs dig to save food, bones and other prized possessions for later while keeping them hidden away from others.
• Natural Instinct—Some dog breeds like to dig more than others; it’s just in their nature. Thick-coated dogs such as Siberian Huskies and Chow Chows might dig to escape the heat, while earth dogs such as Terriers and Dachshunds were bred to do the very thing that gets under your skin—or lawn.

Step 2: Breaking the Habit

While there are no foolproof solutions to a dog’s digging, there are measures you can take to lessen the behavior. Depending on the cause for the digging, the appropriate solution may vary.

• Keep Him Busy—If your dog resorts to digging as a form of entertainment, he may not be getting the proper attention at home. Prevent boredom in your pup by scheduling daily playtime and exercise.
• Keep It Cool—If your dog is digging because he is hot or because of physical discomfort or distress, make sure you pay attention to him and provide him with what he needs to stay cool and comfortable.
• Get Him “Fixed”—Spaying or neutering makes a dog less likely to wander in search of a mate. Coupled with regular exercise, this can solve escapism, as well as curb hormonal instincts.
• Limit Treats—To get your dog to stop burying his food, don’t give him more than he will finish. If you see him trying to stash a treat for later, quickly take it out of his mouth before he has a chance to bury it. If he reacts aggressively to this gesture, it’s a sign your dog needs immediate professional help.
• Compromise—There’s not much you can do to stop a dog from digging if it’s his natural-born instinct. If he’s digging for temperature control, you can trim his fur in the summer or give him a sweater in the winter. But what if he’s a Terrier with digging in his blood? In this case, it may be best to designate a single spot in the yard where he can dig, rather than him digging holes all over the place.

Step 3: Reward, Reward, Reward

When training your dog, one of the best ways to get your desired outcome is to reward positive behavior. This is called positive reinforcement, and is often more effective than punishment. The same goes for training your dog to stop digging. Instead of scolding your dog for digging, reward him with praise and treats for obeying commands, reacting calmly or digging in the right spot. Hopefully, both you and Fido will dig the end result.