Adopting a greyhound is a rewarding experience, especially saving one from a shelter after a career in racing. Retired racing greyhounds aren’t necessarily abused in their previous lives, but it’s tough for any dog to adjust to a new setting. Raising a greyhound is much different compared to other breeds, but with a few steps, you and your new pal will be on a road to new friendship in no time.
Know the Language
Like a hunting dog, greyhounds are very closed off from other dogs (except other greys) and are very skeptical of new environments. They’ll likely be on edge when they first come home with you. Most dogs will act jittery and hyper under stress, but greyhounds will freeze and stay motionless when nervous. You can see how this nervous greyhound is acting in this video with dog expert Cesar Millan.
When this happens, give them some space before continuing any sort of training.
Reward the Rights
Greyhounds respond more to positive reinforcement than negative criticism. Instead of scolding your dog when you see it making a mistake, catch it doing something right, and give a reward. The retention of good habits will be much stronger, and the dog will grow a stronger bond when you show it happiness.
Make Training Short
A greyhound doesn’t respond well to repetition. Keep training sessions short — 30 minutes or less — and try to keep practices varied for each one. Sometimes, training tools are an effective way to let the dog learn on its own. Bark collars at Petsafe.net are a humane way to squash any noisy habits without going through repetitive exercises.
Let Him Run
Just because your greyhound’s done racing doesn’t mean it still doesn’t love running. If you’re training you dog to sit, for example, let the reward be chasing the squirrel in the yard or pacing around the butterfly it’s had an eye on. Use your greyhound’s past as a reward while also ensuring it gets the right amount of exercise each day.
At the end of the day, you need to understand that your greyhound is thrown into an entirely new lifestyle and set of surroundings. Success won’t come overnight and losing patience (remember reward versus scolding) only makes the process worse. Have a good time with your dog and learn along the way. Once greyhounds settle into their new environments, their bond with owners is rich and rewarding.
You’ve just spent a load of money on a new automated self-cleaning litter box for your kitty but he won’t go anywhere near it! What gives?
Automatic self-cleaning litter boxes can be very convenient for the owner, but your cat may not appreciate the new litter box. Many cats are cautious about new, unfamiliar items and the fact that the self-cleaning litter box moves on its own can leave some cats terrified!
Therefore, it’s important to introduce the new litter box alongside the old one, with the auto-clean feature turned off to start. Once the cat is familiar with the box and using it consistently for a week or two, you can turn on the self-cleaning feature. Most automated self-cleaning litter boxes come with a timer that lets you decide how long to wait between the time the cat leaves the litter box and the time when it rakes away the waste. Use a long timeframe to start, then gradually reduce the timeframe as the pet becomes more comfortable.
Also, don’t change both the litter box and the litter type simultaneously. Many automated self-cleaning litter boxes require a specific type of litter. So begin by blending the new litter with the old litter in the cat’s old litter box. Gradually switch to the new litter, then introduce the new self-cleaning box.
Remember to place the litter box in an out-of-the-way, low traffic location as most cats prefer privacy while doing their business.
If you’re introducing a new medication or supplement to your pet, remember to do so during normal business hours while your veterinary clinic is open and available to assist in the event that your pet suffers an allergic reaction. For this reason, it’s essential to monitor your pet after giving a new medication.
Pets can have an allergic reaction to a wide range of substances, from flea and tick medications, to health supplements, over-the-counter medications and even medicated shampoos. Many pets can suffer a very acute and potentially deadly allergic reaction, which may include:
• hives and swellings
• swollen face
• swollen paws
• itchy paws
• difficulty breathing
• and muscle tremors
Some cats may also display leg flicking. It’s a motion that they would normally exhibit after stepping out of the litter box to flick a piece of litter off their back foot. But as a symptom of an allergic reaction, the leg flicking occurs in response to no apparent stimuli.
An allergic reaction can also occur due to foods, especially seafood and nuts, and due to insect bites.
So if you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, consider it a medical emergency and bring your pet to the veterinary clinic for an examination and treatment.
Dogs and cats tend to get into a vicious cycle of fleeing and chasing. The cat begins to view the dog as a threatening figure, which spurs the cat to flee and run away when she sees the dog.
But this actually exacerbates the problem and perpetuates the cycle because the act of fleeing activates the dog’s prey drive — his drive to chase perceived prey items. This can also precipitate aggression, as the dog becomes consumed by an instinctual urge to chase down and capture the prey item — your kitty! Over time, the dog and the cat get into a habit of running and chasing, so you’ll need to break the habit and help them start over by building a positive relationship from scratch.
So to break the cycle, it’s important to work with both the dog and the cat. You’ll need two people, one to tend to each animal as you host meet-and-greet sessions. It’s important to promote peaceful co-existence in the same room, while offering lots of praise, treats and other positive reinforcement for non-aggressive behavior. As they become comfortable with each other, they can get closer in proximity and ultimately begin interacting, which will enable them to develop a more positive relationship.
The key is to help the cat feel comfortable with the dog so she doesn’t feel inclined to flee; once the cat stops fleeing, the dog typically stops chasing. Therefore, during the meet-and-greet sessions, keep the dog leashed so he can’t give chase. This is the key to helping your dog and cat live together in a peaceful manner!
Acclimating your dog to riding in the car is a fairly straight-forward process which involves taking the dog into the car and rewarding him to create a positive association.
Begin by opening the car doors and letting your dog to inspect the car while it’s stationary. Once your dog is comfortable jumping up into the car with the doors open, you can start sitting in the car with the doors closed. Throughout the process, it’s essential to offer lots of treats, rewards and praise.
Many owners have found they can speed up the process by feeding the dog in the car (while stationary); this enhances the positive association.
The next step is to start turning on the motor while the car is stationary. Once the dog is comfortable with this, you can take super short drives — to the end of the street and back. Then, gradually increase the length of the rides and continue to offer lots of praise.
Also, it’s important to avoid using the car only to take your dog to the veterinary clinic or groomer. This results in a negative association, as the pet views the car as a vehicle that serves to take him to unpleasant places. So take your pet to enjoyable outings at the park, get an ice cream together (Vanilla! No chocolate, of course!) or visit the beach and enjoy your time together!
Don’t forget the doggy seat belt!
Is your dog frightened of thunder?
There’s actually a new garment that’s said to help dogs who are frightened during thunderstorms.
Some pets get extremely distressed during thunderstorms, panting, shivering, vomiting, having bouts of diarrhea, whimpering, hiding, and even self-mutilating due to the intense fear. There are medications to help dogs who are scared of thunder, but they’re not always effective (plus, they take time to work once you’ve dosed the pet).
Counter-conditioning can be effective. It’s a method that involves systematically exposing the pet to recordings of thunder in an effort to help desensitize the dog, but this can be time consuming and it’s not always effective.
But now, there’s a new garment that says it can help dogs who are scared of thunder. The garment is a shirt that’s made of a special material that hugs them, creating a cozy, comforting effect. Pressure garments are also used in children with autism, so it’s a proven therapy that’s known to bring results in humans; it appears the same concept rings true with dogs.
Users say the pressure garments are effective in calming fearful dogs. In fact, this therapeutic effect is also said to help dogs who suffer from anxiety and stress.
One Montana dog owner is rolling in the cash — $500 USD, to be precise. He just received the money in the form of a check from the United States Department of Treasury, after he mailed in fragments of five $100 bills — bills that had gone where the sun doesn’t shine!
It was in April 2012 when Wayne Klinkel’s dog Sundance was left alone in the car with five $100 bills, stowed in a cubby between the front seats. Wayne returned to the car to find Sundance, but no cash. It wasn’t until a few days later that they had a realization: Sundance ate the cash! It’s a situation that most owners dread.
Sundance’s owner did what most owners would do: he waited for his money to come out the other end. He found large portions of two bills. So what about the other three bills? Well, he had to wait until the snow melted at a family member’s Colorado home, where Sundance had relieved himself during a visit (before they realized he’d eaten the money!).
It took lots of dish soap, rubber gloves and plenty of determination, but the pet owner did find more than 51 percent of all five $100 bills — precisely what’s required to get them replaced.
But none of his local banks would accept the bill fragments. So he mailed them to the U.S. Treasury Department. He was prepared to wait months — even years — to receive his check, but it actually arrived in a matter of days.
Lesson learned: Don’t leave Sundance alone with cash!
Are you looking for a way to help your pet unwind? Does your dog have a lot of tension, stress and anxiety? Or is your pet elderly or extremely active?
If so, your pet may benefit from a massage! It may sound like a delightful luxury, but a massage can help your pet relax, thereby relieving the stress, anxiety and tension that can contribute to many behavioral problems. Older pets and extremely active pets can also benefit from a massage, as it helps to soothe those aching muscles, all while improving blood flow, improving lymphatic system drainage, and offering relaxation, even pain relief.
To get started, start by massaging your dogs legs, moving from the paw toward the torso. Use your thumbs to rub in a gentle, circular motion toward the torso. You don’t need to use lots of pressure; gentle is always best. It’s also important to watch your dog’s reaction. Some pets may not like having their feet handled, for instance, which is perfectly okay — it’s supposed to be enjoyable for your pet!
Once you’ve massaged the legs, you can work up the spine, paying special attention to the hips and shoulders. Always work toward the heart and pay special attention to joints and other muscular areas. Think of what hurts and aches the most in your body — your back and joints. The same goes for your dog.
It’s also important to remember to consult your veterinarian if your dog suffers from or is recovering from a musculoskeletal ailment or injury, such as back or joint problems, hip dysplasia, torn ligaments, broken bones, damaged tendons or pulled/strained muscles. Your veterinarian can show you how to perform a massage on any areas that are sensitive due to one of these injuries or conditions.