Pet Tips

Basic Dog Commands

You can begin training your puppy as early as nine weeks old. He should learn to wear a leash and collar and start learning basic commands such as sit and down as well as leave it and drop it.

Positive reinforcement works best. Every time your puppy does something right, give him a treat and lots of praise (happy talk). You'll be surprised at how eagerly your puppy will want to please you. If the puppy makes a mistake, don't punish him. Ignore the mistake and repeat the command in a manner that ensures he will comply.

Training should be short and upbeat. Don't give your puppy a chance to become bored - they have short attention span. Take breaks often to play a game or just run around together.

A very useful command is leave it. This is used whenever you want your puppy to stop doing what he's doing. This can save your dog's life. If he's chasing a cat into the street, the leave it command will stop him in his tracks.
To teach this command, you must have your puppy on a leash. Put a piece of food on the ground and walk by it with your dog. As he approaches the food, say leave it and pull him away. The say "good" and give him a scratch or a treat. Practice this with food, toys and anything that interests your puppy.

The drop it command is used when your dog something in his mouth that you want him to let go. 
The best way to teach this is by trading with your puppy. If he's holding one of his toys in his mouth, give him one of his favorite treats and ask him to drop the toy as you offer him the treat. When he drops the toy, give him the treat. Keep doing this often until your puppy will instantly drop on command.

Perhaps the easiest things you can teach your puppy is sit. You can teach him to sit by using a treat lure. Stand in front of your dog holding a treat in one hand. Starting directly above his nose, slowly raise the treat upward and slightly out. As he lifts his head to follow the treat, his rump should drop to the ground. Make sure he keeps his front paws on the ground. Once he is sitting, give him the treat and praise him. When he is consistently sitting with the lure, introduce the sit command. He will associate the action with the command and his compliance with the reward.

Teaching your puppy to come when called can save his life in dangerous situations. 
To teach come you need to have a treat in your hand and call your dog's name and "come" then run in the opposite direction from your dog. Once he starts chasing you, stop and wait for him to catch up with you and then give him the treat while praising him. Keep doing this several times a day for a few weeks until you don't have to run for him to come when you call him.

You can also teach come using a long leash. If your puppy doesn't respond, just pull on the leash gently but firmly. Give him a treat and praise him when he is in front of you.
You have to keep reinforcing what your dog has learned to ensure he retains the training he learned as a puppy. 

             Gardening tips for dog-owners
Dogs can ruin a garden, so here are some tips to make your garden dog-compatible.
The pool
Whether it's a swimming pool, or fish pond, a puppy will drown. Children also drown in swimming pools, so make sure the pool is fenced & securely gated.
The lawn
Some dogs dig holes and lie in them to keep cool. Be prepared to accept this, and remember to provide shade near the house. Dogs like to be near the house. Urine may cause dead patches, so take the dog out often for walks. Dogs and cats eat grass - it helps clean out their stomach. Never use fertiliser, weedkiller, or any chemical on the grass as it may poison the pet.

Paving or mulch
Dogs like to run around the perimeter of their territory and this wears away the grass and soil. You may wish to pave a path anywhere that the dog habitually runs or digs. Bark mulch is an eco-friendly alternative to paving. Cocoa mulch is toxic to pets. Pine needles will hurt the paws.
Flower pots
Planting plants in big containers can prevent dogs from digging them up. You can also place rocks around plants.
Dogs need shade in the garden, so plant a tree or dense bush. You will have to protect the young plant while growing or the dog may break it.
Aloe Vera, or any aloe.
Aloes are a hardy plant that stands up well to dogs. Its spiky leaves & bitter taste protect it. They will survive without watering. Aloe is said to have healing properties for wounds & minor abrasions, but the best use is for discouraging chewing. If your dog is chewing something he shouldn't - his bed, for example - cut a small piece of aloe leaf and rub the juice on the bed. The bitter taste will repulse the dog. You can rub it on the dog's paw if he is chewing his paw.
Insect repellent plants
Insects can bite your dog and annoy him, so plant marigolds and plants that don't attract insects. Remember that some dogs are allergic to bee stings, so consider this when planting flowers.
Dogs may dig up vegetables, even root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. The only solution may be to fence off the veg patch. Few dogs will eat spinach. If a dog uses the vegetable patch as a toilet, humans can get worms from the vegetables.
Plants that are toxic to dogs
Cannabis (Dagga), begonias, holly, mistletoe, snapdragons, potato leaves & stem, tomato leaves and stem, rhubarb leaves, Yesterday-today-tomorrow, grapes, & onions. If you see excessive drooling, vomiting & a vacant look on the dog's face, it may be plant poisoning. If a large quantity is eaten, it can result in coma, and possible death. Seek veterinary advice. Take the plant to the vet for identification.
Enjoy your garden!
With a little planning, you and your dog can enjoy the garden.


Dogs & Kids

Children like to play with dogs, but do supervise this in case either the child or the puppy gets hurt. A toddler may poke a dog in the eye, stand on it, pull its tail or pick it up by the lips. A dog may knock over a tiny tot. The pups nails or tiny teeth may hurt the child. If a dog feels threatened, tormented, frightened, or cornered he will defend himself. 
We need to teach our children how to treat a dog. If we can't train the dog, we can train the child! Training a dog to respect a child can be difficult as the dog may see the child as a playmate or underling, and not "the master."

Children need to be taught never to touch strange dogs, even if they are wagging their tails. Tail-wagging can mean the dog is not sure whether to attack or be friendly. Kids should not even look a strange dog in the eye, as the dog may see this as a challenge. They should never run away from, or past a dog, but walk slowly or stand their ground. Dogs chase runners and fast moving things like bicycles. High pitched screaming or squealing can alarm the dog and make it think it’s under attack. Instead, the children should call the dog and let the dog be the one to approach them. The dog is then showing submission.

 Kids shouldn’t touch a dog’s toy, bone or food, especially when he is eating. They should respect a dog’s privacy when he is in his kennel. Puppies need lots of naps during the day to give their body time to grow.
Train children to use two hands when picking up a puppy. Picking him up by the scruff of the neck will hurt him. Kids must not touch a strange dog, even if it is behind a fence. They must not grab a dog from behind or while sleeping. Don’t give a dog a fright or it may give you a fright! Bitches with puppies are especially fierce in order to defend their young. God has given them this instinct to ensure the survival of the species.  If a dog threatens kids, tell them to throw something like a lunch box or toy to the side of the dog to distract it. (They are not to throw it AT the dog or threaten it). They can protect their face with a bag or jacket.

Once the dog and child understand each other, they will probably become the best of friends. Lonely children can benefit from having a dog to confide in. Dogs keep secrets! Friends may come and go, but the dog always there, and loves us no matter what everyone else thinks of us. A dog can help a child through a stressful change, like moving house or changing school. It gives stability to life. The love that a dog can bestow on a child gives a child a positive self-image, and can help to ward off depression and anxiety. Traumatised children can allow themselves to express love and affection to an animal.

A child who is afraid of the dark may feel reassured if he can take the dog to bed with him (a living Teddy Bear) On the whole, dogs and kids get on very well and it is hoped that the child will learn that a dog can be "man's best friend."

1 comment:

  1. Awesome article!. You have a three topics shared here in your article and I found out they are so important for all the readers. Because of your article, I got inspired to read more articles about dogs and I wish I read an article about vets swale. Thank you for the learning I learned here in your article.