Yes, I know it’s a little late to be posting these, but here are Jasper’s Valentine’s day cards! They were just too cute not to post here!! Please ”Like” his Facebook page, too. You can either like his page via the Facebook widget on the right column of my blog, or visit him at www.facebook.com/Jasperthepitbull.

vc6 vc5 vc4 vc3 vc1 VC2


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Breed Profile: Dachshund

Weasel, a sweet little Dachshund. Pictured here at five months. I love this little guy!

Weasel, a sweet little Dachshund. Pictured here at five months. I love this little guy!

The Dachshund 

Size: up to 8 inches (minis are up to 6 inches)
Weight: up to 32 pounds (minis up to 11 lbs)
Coat types: Smooth, Long, or wired (rare)
Colors: Wide variety 
Life span: 12-15 years

Dachshunds are very lively little dogs!  They are very curious and brave, and they make good watchdogs.  Although categorized in the hound group, they have many characteristics of a terrier. They were bred to hunt badgers, hares, and stoats, and they were designed to be excellent diggers to dig their prey out. Despite their size, these brave dogs are very versatile, and they are not afraid of taking on foxes and otters as well.  

Dachshunds are very friendly, and make loving companions. They are ideal for apartment and country living, as they require regular to moderate exercise. They make excellent company, and are very obedient when trained. 

They require quick brushings on a regular basis and a bath when necessary, but it is extremely important to thoroughly dry them off afterwards. Their floppy ears need to be checked for mites, which are common in long-eared dogs, but they are easily cured. 

These dogs have surprisingly a lot of stamina, and love long or short walks and playtime outside. Jumping (any type of jumping) is discouraged due to their short legs and long back. Jumping will eventually lead to spinal problems, so be careful and do not let your dachshund do much, if any, jumping. They can easily become overweight, which is also added strain on their back, so take care to feed and exercise properly.

These little dogs have big, loving personalities, and they are such fun, lively little creatures!

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Dealing with Separation Anxiety

baby thorUnfortunately, it is not uncommon for your dog to display the signs of separation anxiety, and sometimes people will give their dog away because of it. Separation anxiety is when a dog becomes stressed when they are left alone. To relive the stress, most of the dogs become destructive and will chew, dig, scratch at doors and windows, go to the bathroom in the house, and basically do all it takes to get out to their owner. Dogs with separation anxiety can be very destructive when left alone, but there are some things you can do for your dog to help him understand you are not abandoning him for good.

For minor cases of separation anxiety, there are several things you can do for your dog. When you leave and when you come back home, don’t make a big deal about it. Let your dog calm down before you leave and after you get home by ignoring him fo a few minutes. When he has calmed himself down, pet him calmly as to not get him excited again. Also, you can leave an old piece of clothing that smells like you with your dog. For some dogs, the smell of their owner calms them, and they will snuggle with the clothing and sleep until their owner comes back. There are also over-the-counter calming products for dogs, and some people swear by how well they work.  Another good way to teach your dog that you will come back when you leave is to establish a safety cue. Decide on a word and/or action to use every time you leave that will let your dog know you’ll be back. You can teach him this by giving him the cue, leaving for a minute or so, then coming back. With repetition and extending the length of time you go out the door, your dog will understand the point you are trying to get across; you are coming back to him.

For more severe problems, you might consider leaving your dog in a room with a window, some of your clothes, and some interactive toys. Crating will not help your dog, and in most cases, it makes the separation anxiety worse. Teaching him a safety cue can also help, and the calming products might benefit as well.

Most of the time, getting another dog, crating, and punishing the dog doesn’t help. In fact, it makes it worse in most cases. Another product that my or may not work for your dog is the Thundershirt. Visit their website to learn more about the calming Thundershirt.

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Did you know…

Here are some more interesting things to know about dogs.

  1. Dachshunds were originally bred to fight badgers in their dens
  2. A puppy is born blind, deaf, and toothless
  3.  A dog can locate the source of a sound in 1/600 of a second and can hear sounds four times farther away than a human can
  4. On average, a dog can run 15 mph, but the greyhound and whippet run 45 and 35 mph, respectively
  5. A person standing still 300 yards away is almost invisible to a dog, but it can easily identify its owner standing a mile away if the owner is waving his arms
  6. Dogs can smell  1,000 times better than humans. We have 5 million smell-detecting cells, dogs have more than 220 million
  7. Dogs understand an average of 200 human words, and many signals and motions
  8. In 2003, a lost dachshund was found in the belly of a large catfish
  9. Pocket beagles are only 9” high
  10. The beagle and collie are the world’s noisiest dogs
  11. 30% of Dalmatians are deaf in one or both ears
  12. Border collies are said to be the smartest breed, and Afghan hounds the least intelligent
  13. An adult dog has 42 teeth
  14. Dogs don’t like storms. Their ears amplify the sound, causing pain.
  15. Dogs were the first domesticated animal
  16. In ancient times, the Chinese thought the chow’s tongue was blue because they licked the sky 


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Training Your Dog


When owning a dog, it is important to teach them everything they need to know to live peacefully with other people. Your dog needs to know what he can and can not do, and he needs to know that you are in charge of him and he needs to listen to you, not the other way around. The key to owning a well-behaved dog lies in the way you train him. Your training needs to be effective, so here are some tips on how to train your dog effectively.

If you think training is unnatural, think again. Even in the wild, dogs crave leadership and direction; that is the whole reason why packs are formed. Even if you only have two dogs, one will always be in charge of the other. You must be the leader of your dogs, and you must show them how they are to behave. Do not let your dog control you, and do not allow him to be the boss of anything. You must make it clear that you are the leader, and he is not.  The best way to train your dog is to star when he is young. Think about how you want him to behave when he grows up, and begin teaching him as early as possible. Remember, socialization with both people and other animals is one of the most important things your dog can learn, so do not neglect this lesson.

For success in training, you must understand how a dog learns. A dog learns by the consequence of his behavior and what he did. For example, if you tell your dog to sit and he listens, he is rewarded, thus reinforcing this good behavior. When you reward your dog for doing something good, he will be more eager to obey and get that reward. On the other hand, if your dog is sleeping in your bed and you tell him to move but he ignores you, something needs to be done. You tell him ”off”, but he still doesn’t listen, and when you try to move him he growls. Do not back away and do not let him stay on that bed. If you quickly back off, he thinks, “I am alpha, therefore, I say this is my bed and not yours!” and he has won. That will lead to serious aggression problems if you let him win. Instead, don’t back off. Tell him to get off that bed in a firm voice and move him off. He needs to know that is your bed, not his. When he does something bad, let him know. Don’t let it slide, he needs to know what happens when he is bad. Hitting or abusing your dog is NEVER the answer to your problem!!

Be consistent in your training, and be sure to use positive and negative reinforcement. Keep training sessions short and fun so your dog is eager to learn, and doesn’t become bored or distracted. Using treats is a good way to train your dog, but be sure you use them properly and only reward him when he does something good. If your dog loves to play, throw the ball when he obeys. Dogs love to be rewarded, and most will try their hardest to please their owner.

If you have any questions, leave a comment! Happy training!


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Behavior Problems: Chewing

DSCN4210Many dogs have their own bad habits, and some of which can easily be broken. A common problem with dogs is the fact they love to chew. This is a normal behavior for dogs; they have been chewing bones and sticks since they were created in the wild. Some dogs chew more than others, and some can chew for hours on end. As long as your dog is chewing something that is meant to be chewed, let him chew it! Chewing helps clean a dog’s teeth, which keeps their mouths clean and free of dental diseases. On the other hand, if your dog is chewing everything in sight, like shoes, pillows, furniture, and so on… here are some tips to help break your dog’s naughty habits of chewing your stuff.

For puppies, keep the things your puppy might chew out of his or her reach. Put all shoes in a closet and keep the closet shut. Give your pup a selection of toys that (s)he can chew, and you can even toss a few into the freezer for a couple of hours. The cold chew toys are usually a favorite for puppies because it nubs their teething gums and relieves the pain of new teeth coming through. Make sure you teach your puppy what things (s)he can and can not chew at a young age. Most puppies grow out of chewing once their adult teeth have settled in, but in some cases, they will chew for their entire lives.
Jasper chewing his bone.

Once a dog is a year old or older, he/she should be well out of their chewing phase. For the adult chewer, here are some reasons why he chews, and how you can prevent it.

Many dogs who chew as adults chew out of anxiety or boredom. When a dog is alone, he will look for something to keep himself occupied while his owner is gone or simply not giving the dog 100% of their attention 24/7 (which no owner can).  If your dog chews his own toys, that’s good. It might aggravate you, because he keeps destroying everything you buy him, but if you hadn’t given him toys, he could have chewed something valuable… your stuff! Providing your dog with strong toys and bones can save your stuff and keep your dog happy.

On the other hand, some dogs will not chew their own belongings, but rather they prefer yours! To the dog, chewing his owner’s things is more appealing and calms his anxiety because of one major factor: it smells of his human! Your scent is familiar to your dog, therefore making him feel less lonesome when you’re gone. Some people might think, “Oh, I’ll just give him my old shoes (or anything you don’t need anymore) so it will keep him busy and save the rest of my stuff.” Truth is, this is actually a very bad idea, and will lead to even more chewing problems. Your dog will not know you are giving him something old that you don’t need anymore, he will think, “Oh! Look! My person just gave me something that is theirs! That must mean I can chew it! Yay! Oh, look! Another thing that belongs to my person! Well, (s)he gave me this to chew, so I don’t think (s)he’d mind if I played with this! Or this!” Your dog will think that since you gave him an old shoe (or whatever you decided to give him), that it is ok to chew all the other shoes. Never allow your dog to chew something that is yours. It will lead him to chewing your new stuff, too. Dogs don’t care if something is new or old, if you let them chew something of yours once, they will try to chew it over and over again.

Then there are the dogs who like to chew one and only one thing. This could be anything, but it is the one thing your dog chews. He might do this simply because he likes the texture, size, and smell of that object, and he will return to it because it is his favorite thing in the world. If you don’t do anything about it the first time he chews it, he will always return because his smell will be left behind, and it will turn into his possession. In this case, the only thing to do is use a dog repellant or some type of action-reaction situation. For example, fill a soda can with noisy coins, or fill a bag with noisy cans, and place it above the object where your dog can’t see it. Tie a string to it, then tie the other end to the object your dog is trying to take. When your dog takes the item, the stuff will come crashing to the ground. This could scare your dog a bit, and make him not want to go near that object ever again.

For all chewers, the best thing you can do is provide them with a selection of toys. Kong toys and Buster cubes are some of the strongest toys for dogs, so you might look into those. If you catch your dog chewing your stuff, try telling him “No” in a firm voice, take whatever he is chewing away, and replace it with one of his toys. This might not always work, but with repetition, your dog might eventually get the point, chewing his owner’s things is bad!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you learned some useful info about chewing. Feel free to comment and share your solutions or questions, or if you have a problem you would like to know more about, feel free to comment what the next Behavior Problems post should be about.


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Breed Profile: The Whippet

Whippet (photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whippet)


Whippet (photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whippet)


The Whippet

Size: 18-22 inches tall
Weight: 19-22 pounds on average
Life span: 12-15 years
Color: any

Most whippets are extremely calm and docile dogs. They love to hunt, therefore a majority of whippets need to be leashed when outside a fenced area. They love people and love to go for long jogs with their owners. Most whippets are well-behaved indoors, and they like to keep themselves clean. They require short brushing sessions on a regular basis, and a bath when necessary. These dogs can be high-strung at times, so they like to have a large area to run and play, but they will adapt well to urban living.  They enjoy running and long walks daily, and do not make good watch dogs. The whippet can quickly reach speeds of 35 mph when running!

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Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts about dogs. Did you know this stuff? 

  • Dogs have sweat glands between their toes.
  • Dogs have three eyelids.
  • A dog’s shoulder blades are NOT attached to the rest of its skeleton for greater flexibility.
  • French poodles originated in Germany.
  • The Taco Bell chihuahua is a rescue dog named Gidget.
  • Dalmatians are completely white at birth.
  • The Basenji is said to be the world’s only barkless dog.
  • When you smile, some dogs take it as a sign of aggression
  • The first sense a puppy develops is touch
  • Over eighteen muscles move a dog’s ear
  • Nose prints can be used to identify a dog. They are as unique as fingerprints!
  • Dogs see color, just as a colorblind human sees color also
  • Petting dogs can lower your blood pressure.
  • The most popular breed of dog in the U.S., Britain, and Canada is the Labrador Retriever
  • Dogs have about 1.700 tastebuds, compared to a cat’s 473.


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Human Foods: What Can My Dog Have?


Lola guarding her watermelon

Lola guarding her watermelon

Most people feed their dogs treats, and some even like to feed them human foods like fruits, veggies, and even some processed foods. While it is ok for us to eat these foods, often times people don’t know what is and what isn’t harmful to dogs. Or maybe even your dog gets in to something he wasn’t supposed to, and you don’t know if he or she will be ok. When owning a dog, they can get in to all sorts of trouble, and eating toxic foods is common. Here are some foods to avoid and foods that are OK for your canine companion. For a detailed explanation on why some of these foods are toxic, click here. For a list on toxic plants, click here.

Some Foods to Avoid:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Any form of caffeine
  • Avocados
  • Nuts (with the exception of the legume, peanut)
  • Alcohol
  • All human medicines (with the exception of aspirin. Ask your vet for the proper dosage.)
  • Yeast dough
  • Grapes
  • Raisins 
  • Bones from chicken, turkey, steaks, etc. Do not feed any bone that splinters.
  • Chives
  • Garlic (small amounts ok)
  • Onion
  • Gum
  • Sugary foods
  • Milk  can cause diarrhea 
  • Salty foods like chips and pretzels
  • Pits or seeds from any fruit or veggie
  • Tomato stems and leaves
  • Candy
  • Rhubarb
  • Potato leaves and stems
  • Hops
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard and Mustard seeds

Some Foods They Can Have:

  • Yogurt
  • Flax
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Green beans
  • Eggs
  • Apples
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Squash
  • Meat
  • Liver
  • Pineapple
  • Peas
  • Cottage cheese
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Corn
  • Parsley
  • Cheese 
  • Carrots
  • Cooked Pasta
  • Apricots (without pits)
  • Berries
  • Bread
  • Melons
  • Honey
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Peaches

Remember to always be careful when feeding your dog human food. If you are unsure if something is toxic to your dog, play it safe and avoid that food or do some research. 

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Here are some cute pictures to get this blog started!

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