Dogs

  • This Adorable Shih-tzu Dog Has a ‘Human Face’ And We Don't Know What To Think About It
    Posted in: Dogs

    shih tzu dog with a human face

    Yogi is an adorable Shih-tzu dog who’s owner, Chantal Desjardins, never thought he really looked like human at all: “Looking at him normally, I don’t see it!”, she told The Dodo. It was only after sharing Yogi’s photo on Facebook that Chantal heard otherwise. People started noticing something unusual about the way he looks. Then one of Chantal’s friends posted a picture of Yogi on Reddit — and the internet really began weighing in. There’s indeed something undeniably human about little Yogi’s countenance. The piercing gaze of his light almond-shaped eyes, the sense of a strong brow ridge above in his fluff, and those soft pinkish lips all definitely play a part in giving the dog the uncanny look of being part-person. Some people even say that at the first glance it also seems that he is the result of a very successful face swap. What do you think? 

    Via: The Dodo

    Submitted by:

    Tagged: dogs , face , human

  • 3 Dog Training Essentials
    Tips for Dogs and Fire Season
    Posted in: Dogs

    The post Tips for Dogs and Fire Season by Melissa Kauffman appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

    It’s Fall, and California is burning again. I lived in Southern California for many, many years — both of my dogs are from there — and when the Santa Ana winds blow, the fire will come.

    I was watching Live Rescue on A&E last week, where they showed a teenage girl being evacuated as the fire advanced on her house. She was at her father’s house, and he was at work. She didn’t have a cell phone, as I believe her parents took it away for some infraction. Her mother had tried to reach the house but was blocked off by the fire crews. The teenager wanted to bring her three dogs with her, and she and the firefighter gave it a good try. But, the dogs were scared and she couldn’t get all their leashes on. One of the dogs bit the firefighter in his fear. They had to leave the dogs behind. Don’t worry — a neighbor came and got the dogs out of the house and loaded them up in his car until the father came and got them.

    With fire, you don’t have a lot of time, plus your dogs may have to be evacuated by someone they don’t know, and they may be too scared to cooperate. This situation is not uncommon.

    When rescues need rescue

    The City of Riverside Fire Department worked tirelessly to keep the fire from reaching the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center in Riverside, California. Courtesy PAC.

    A few days later, Dogster writer Audrey Pavia sent me some scary fire photos from the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center (formerly the Riverside Humane Society) located in Riverside, California, where she has volunteered. The fire broke out a 2 a.m. on October 31st and spread. The City of Riverside Fire Department worked quickly to contain the fire to keep it from reaching the pets in the adoption center.

    "The charred and burning ground reached all the way up the fences of our play-yard and our Clinic, only a few feet away from our building," says the email the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center in Riverside, California, sent out to its volunteers. Courtesy PAC.

    “The charred and burning ground reached all the way up the fences of our play-yard and our Clinic, only a few feet away from our building,” describes the email the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center in Riverside, California, sent out to its volunteers. Courtesy PAC.

    Members of the community left their houses before dawn, helping the shelter recover by calming the dogs, dropping off food and water, putting together crates and moving furniture and pets. The security gate was damaged along with the fences, sprinklers and irrigation. After going through this emergency, the center reviewed its evacuation plan supplies. It sent out an email requesting help to refresh its disaster supplies, putting a callout for evacsaks and creating an Amazon emergency wish list, which is a great idea.

    What can you do?

    1. If a fire breaks out in your community and there is even the possibility it could reach your home, evacuate your animals immediately. Particularly if you live in a place that fire is a possibility (like certain places in Southern California), ask a friend or relative if they can be your pets’ safe place in case of an evacuation.
    2. Have a pet emergency preparedness checklist/evacuation plan for pets and that every family member knows. Keep a pet go bag, filled with essentials in case you need to leave the house quickly.
    3. Put a pet rescue alert sticker on your front door or window to let firefighters know there are pets in the house. Keep leashes and harnesses in an easy access spot by the door so if the pets are evacuated by a stranger, they can find these things easily. Also, if you are away from home, close the doors in your house (to slow the fire and smoke from spreading), and keep your pets in a place where a firefighter can find them. Always keep collars with tags on your dog and microchip them.
    4. Pet proof the house. Use flameless candles, and prevent your dog from getting to the stove. I actually had a dog turn on the gas knob when he put his paws up on the counter. Cover exposed wires to keep dogs from chewing on them.
    5. Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms and regularly replace batteries. This is just good for everyone in house.
    6. If there is a fire at a rescue or shelter by you, they will need all hands on deck. Volunteer, drop off supplies or donate.

    According to the Red Cross, nearly 1,000 home fires are started each year by pets, and according to protectamerica.com, more than 40,000 pets die from these house fires. This doesn’t take account of all the pets that die from wildfires. So keep yourself and your pet safe, be prepared and be alert.

     

    Read more safety tips on Dogster.com:

    • 5 Reasons Your Dog Should Always Be in a Safety Harness or Secured Carrier in the Car

    • Holiday Safety for Dogs: 9 Tips

    • Hot Car Safety for Dogs: 8 Tips

    Thumbnail image: All images courtesy of Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center and used with permission.

    The post Tips for Dogs and Fire Season by Melissa Kauffman appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

  • How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Cold
    Posted in: Dogs

    The post How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Cold by Dr. Ernie Ward appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

    I had just completed my physical exam and was beginning to discuss my findings when Dr. Google joined us. I was seated across from a smartly dressed, smartphone-wielding young client. As she flashed the screen to show me her list of demands, I noticed a clear drop of liquid reflecting from the nostril of the baby-faced Bichon at my feet. Chloe was 3 years old, fully immunized and a picture of perfect health, until returning from boarding two days earlier. She had developed a cough, runny eyes and nose, and her owner was understandably worried.

    “Most of these antibiotics are available in generic form, and here are the current prices from my preferred online pharmacy.”

    As she read off the medications, costs and shipping times, I continued silently studying Chloe’s breathing. Quiet, deep and regular breathing, despite the pharmaceutical recital to which we were both held captive. I hadn’t heard a cough yet, but I still had a couple of tests to go, something no amount of internet searches and chats could perform.

    “I’m not suggesting Chloe couldn’t have an upper respiratory infection she contracted while boarding. We used to believe Bordetella bronchiseptica, the bacterium associated with ‘kennel cough’ we vaccinate against, was the main culprit. We now understand it involves multiple bacteria and viruses. CIRDC more accurately describes my No. 1 concern for Chloe’s symptoms.”

    Photography ©Natali_Mis | Getty Images

    The truth about CIRDC

    Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) is still erroneously referred to as “canine cold,” “dog flu” or “kennel cough,” although none are correct and cause considerable confusion for dog owners. To complicate matters, most cases never receive a precise diagnosis, and the condition rarely requires antibiotics. This makes treating CIRDC doubly demanding for today’s “insistent-on-instant” pet owners. Some conditions can only be treated with time, a price few are willing to pay these days.

    “There’s something else I’d like to do to determine the extent of Chloe’s condition. So far, I’ve observed a clear nasal and ocular discharge, normal breathing and body temperature, and healthy lung sounds. You said Chloe mainly coughs and sneezes after walking, getting excited or after periods of lying down, and that her appetite and energy levels were basically normal. I’d like to see if she has any congestion in her upper trachea by gently massaging her neck. Many times, if a dog has tracheal inflammation, she’ll exhibit a goose-honk cough after I rub her throat.”

    As I gently massaged Chloe’s upper airway, I noticed her swallow hard a few times and a couple of soft coughs, but no goose-honking.

    “That’s good news. We’ve got a couple of ways to proceed.”

    Most cases of CIRDC will resolve within 10 days without needing prescription medications. In more severe conditions, or when an owner wants to pursue all available testing, we begin by evaluating chest radiographs and blood tests. Some dog owners request cultures of the throat or nasal passages, but current medical guidelines discourage these tests unless an outbreak is occurring or pneumonia develops. Even the most sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays often fail to identify a specific causative agent and are prone to sampling errors and difficulty interpreting normal flora from infectious. In cases involving boarding facilities, I always alert them to be on the lookout for H3N8 or H3N2 canine influenza (CI).

    Treating CIRDC symptoms

    Many dog owners believe antibiotics are needed to treat upper respiratory infections and feel cheated if the veterinarian doesn’t dispense at least one. The fact is that most canine upper respiratory infections are caused or complicated by viruses, rendering antibiotics powerless. If a dog has a fever, decreased appetite or lethargy, then an antibiotic such as doxycycline may be used. I also use a nebulizer in my clinic to jumpstart treatment of these more serious cases. When needed, there are a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications to help reduce excessive coughing.

    In most cases of mild CIRDC, symptomatic treatments are the only treatment required during the first 10 days. I recommend:

    ❅  Using a humidifier, especially at night

    ❅  Keeping your dog in the bathroom when you take a hot shower

    ❅  Applying warm water compresses several times a day to keep the nose and eyes clean of debris

    ❅  Using plain saline nose drops to clear snotty nasal passages

    ❅  Using a walking harness to avoid irritating the neck

    ❅  Trying canned food or dry kibble softened with warm water to enhance palatability and be easier to swallow for dogs experiencing sore throat.

    ❅  For owners interested in natural remedies, I’ve used powdered echinacea root and mushroom extracts with good results.

    Always see your veterinarian

    “So, you’re saying it’s not ‘kennel cough’ and Chloe doesn’t need these medications?”

    “That’s not exactly …”

    “That’s great to hear! You never know what to believe on the internet these days. I feel so much better after you examined her so thoroughly.”

    “Well, that’s great …”

    “If you can tell me where to get this humidifier thingy and those herbal treatments, I’ll be on my way.”

    And with that, Dr. Google was officially off Chloe’s case. I called to check on her three days later, and she was “90% Chloe” according to her owner. By the following week, Chloe was back to her old self.

    If your dog is suffering from runny eyes, stuffy nose or coughing, see your veterinarian at once. “Real” canine influenza and more serious forms of CIRDC can become life-threatening quickly, and prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical. The internet can be both a valuable asset and a confusing distraction for dog owners. There’s no replacing a physical examination and an attentive, experienced veterinarian when it comes to providing the best care for your best friend.

    Thumbnail: ©Wavetop | Getty Images

    About the author:

    Dr. Ernie Ward is an internationally recognized veterinarian known for his innovations in general small-animal practice, long-term medication monitoring, special needs of senior dogs and cats, and pet obesity. He has authored three books and has been a frequent guest on numerous TV programs.

    Read more on dogster.com:

    The post How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Cold by Dr. Ernie Ward appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

  • To Birdie, With Love.
    Posted in: Dogs

    Birdie died this year. We made the decision to let our sweet old girl go on April 4th.

    Birdie had kidney disease for months, but in the final week of March the disease finally began taking its toll on her little 15 year old body. We didn’t want her to suffer, so we said goodbye.

    Just a month before that, our cat Gus died suddenly of congestive heart failure.

    Losing Gus and Birdie back to back was devastating. 2017 was a really hard year.

    birdie back porch

    I’ve wanted to write a loving tribute to Birdie for months.

    Since 2011, I’ve been sharing stories about my life with her on this blog. I felt like I owed it to her to write about her death here. And to write something spectacular, because she deserves that and then some.

    I haven’t been able to do it. Writing about her death makes it feel so real. Like losing her again, on another level. Up until now it just hurt too much to do it.

    And nothing – NOTHING – I write now feels good enough.

    But now the year is coming to an end, I feel like it’s the right time to say goodbye to her here. To wait any longer feels wrong.

    Many of you read about Birdie’s experience with physical therapy on this blog and I hear from lots of you through email, asking for updates on how Birdie is doing today.

    I haven’t been able to reply to those emails all year. Now you know why.

    birdie swims.jpg

    Thank you for letting me share my life with Birdie with all of you. Losing her has helped me to realize that it’s time for me to bring my writing here to a close too.

    This chapter of my life feels like it’s come to an end. I have loved writing this blog more than you know, even if I haven’t written much here the past couple of years.

    I guess I was avoiding this ending too.

    But I want to honor my girl and this space with a real goodbye.

    I shared a version of what’s written below with friends and family back in April. I thought I could and should write something better for the blog, but I haven’t been able to do that. Maybe I don’t have to.

    Birdie was a straightforward dog. Loving her was not complicated.

    So I’ll keep it simple and true:

    Birdie’s 15 year old body was ready to rest, but we were not ready to let her go. We would gladly take another nine years with her.

    Birdie spent the first six years of her life in a shelter in Arkansas and somehow, in this world overflowing with dogs and people, she found her way to our home, just two months after we moved to Maine.

    That was almost ten years ago.

    Thank you Universe for keeping her safe all of those years until we were ready for her.

    Birdie belonged with us.

    She was the sweetest, gentlest, old soul.

    This is what she loved:

    Taking naps in the sun, rolling in the grass, going on vacation with us in the summer, digging holes to lie in and munching on bugs in the dirt, being our co-pilot in the car, taking walks to smell all the smells, meeting little kids, and having her ears rubbed.

    Not once did she let me forget when it was time for dinner.

    Which was 3pm. On the dot.

    If we weren’t home at that time, we’d drive home laughing and shouting up the road, “We’re coming Bird! Dinner is coming!”

    Birdie barked once every other year, just so we would know she could.

    She mostly snuffled at us. I hope I never forget that sound.

    There are so many details about her body, her personality, our life together. I want to share them all as some sort of public declaration and documentation of how much she was loved.

    But I know I don’t have to do that.  So I’m going to keep those tiny treasures for myself. 

    Birdie was a tough old girl. She lived until the wheels came off her busted little body.

    Our hearts have been broken all year with missing her. 

    Birdie Dog, we love you.

    Thank you for waiting so long for us to find you, so that we could be your family.

    Until we meet again sweet girl.

    birdie sniffs

    Thank you to Almost Home Rescue for bringing Birdie to us. Thank you to her foster family for caring for Birdie. Thank you to the staff at Lone Pine who cared for her for 6 years. Thank you to Gayle for taking care of Birdie’s aches and pains and for holding her head up so she could swim. Thank you to the staff at Pine Point Vet Hospital for taking such good care of Birdie (and me) all the way to the very last moments. Your kindness will never be forgotten. Thank you to everyone who cared about Birdie over the years. Thank you. 

    One last note: This is almost it. I have one more blog to write here at NFADW, so I can share where I’m going in 2018 and how we can stay in touch. So I’ll see you again in this spot once more.

    Lots of love to all of you in this new year.

    –  Jessica

    birdie fence





  • Dug Up at Dogster: November 2019 Dog Events and Premieres
    Posted in: Dogs

    The post Dug Up at Dogster: November 2019 Dog Events and Premieres by Melissa Kauffman appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

    As the weather turns colder, these fun 2019 November events and premieres are just warming up. Don’t see your dog event or premiere on the list? Just email us at dogstermag@belvoir.com and put Dog Events and Premieres in the subject line.

    Check out the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Dogster magazine for dog holiday and weight loss tips.

    Check out the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Dogster magazine for dog holiday and weight loss tips.

    For more dog fun, events, obsessions and products, check out the latest issue of Dogster magazine — in newsstands now or available by subscription.

    All Month Dog Holiday Observances: Adopt a Senior pet Month, Pet Diabetes Month and Pet Cancer Awareness Month

    November 1, 2019 and November 8, 2019: To Be of Service Movie Premieres

    “To Be of Service” follows as military veterans as they are paired with service dogs and re-visits these new battle buddies over the months to see how this deeply bonded friendship brings a return to independence and love. Directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Josh Aronson and featuring an original song by Jon Bon Jovi.

    This film explores life changes from the introduction of trained service dogs into the lives of military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many veterans’ experience of returning home is wrought with depression and a wrenching disconnect from the world they once knew, and the newly returned men and women struggle to function and return to a normal civilian life. For the lucky ones who are paired with a service dog, the unconditional love and support offered by these highly trained canines become the bedrock for them to re-engage with the outside world and to learn to feel again. To Be Of Service crosses the country to meet veterans just before they are paired with their service dog and learn how profoundly difficult their lives have been. The film follows these military veterans as they are paired with their dog and will re-visit these new battle buddies over the months to see how this deeply bonded friendship brings a return to independence and love for these men and women who have been so traumatized by war. Directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker Josh Aronson and featuring an original song by Jon Bon Jovi. The film will premiere in New York’s on November 1st and in Los Angeles on November 8th.  Check out the trailer here. Look for screenings here.

    November 2, 2019: Springmaid Trail Race & Dog Jog 5K

    Support the Mary Warner Mack Dog Park while putting your and your dog’s best foot and paws forward. The Dog Jog is a 5K, so ensure your pup is in tip-top shape before entering. Music, food and cider will be available, plus free race snacks for runners. Check out the 12-acre dog park open house, too. Top overall dogs get medals. Event held at the 2,100-acre nature preserve Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, SC. Trek over to ascgreenway.org for more.

     

    November 6, 2019: Sniff, the Dog Movie

    See it again after 10 years along with original cast members! Sniff, the Dog Movie, plays at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, CA.

    See it again after 10 years along with original cast members! Sniff, the Dog Movie, plays at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, CA.

    For one night only, this dog-centric movie will be playing at 7 p.m. in the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, CA. Tickets can be bought at the door. Original cast members, at least one original dog and maybe Laurie Lewis will be performing. Stars Amanda Plummer, Richard Huw, Neil Morrissey, Maurice Godin and Mikey & Gabby. The movie originally showed at the Grand Lake exactly 10 years ago. See trailer here.

    November 9, 2019: Canines + Cocktails

    Enjoy an eventing of cocktails in a private hangar operated by Signature Flight Support at the Scottsdale Airport, Scottsdale, AZ, for this annual fundraising event for senior dogs. Contact foreverlovedpets.org

    Enjoy an eventing of cocktails in a private hangar operated by Signature Flight Support at the Scottsdale Airport, Scottsdale, AZ, for this annual fundraising event for senior dogs. Contact foreverlovedpets.org

    Celebrate senior animals with nonprofit Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary for this 7th annual event. Cocktails served from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in a private hangar operated by Signature Flight Support at the Scottsdale Airport, Scottsdale, AZ. At this annual fundraising event, you’ll enjoy a heavy appetizer buffet, cocktails, silent auction, live music, short program and, of course, cuddling with some senior dogs. Contact foreverlovedpets.org

     

    November 9, 2019: Celebration and Blessing of our Animal Companions

    Animals are invited to join and bring their people to Crystal Visions in Asheville, NC, from 10 to 12 pm for this all-faith, non-denominational event. Officiated by Rev. L. Leigh Love and Rose Proud, who will bring in the energy of St. Francis of Assisi for a symbolic, healing and loving blessing of the animals. Bring all well-behaved and leashed/crated pets or their photos (if they cannot attend). The service will include a group as well as individual animal blessings. A Pet Memorial Wall is available to post pictures of departed pets. These pets will be blessed in this event as well as Sunday at the Second Sunday Pet Honoring Memorial Service at Bright Star Studio. For more info, to volunteer or to sign up for a mini Animal Communication Session with Rose Proud or mini Reiki session (Animal or Person) with L. Leigh Love, please contact Bright Star Studio or visit BrightStarStudio.net. For more info on Rose Proud please visit RoseProud.com.

    November 16 through November 17: The 2019 National Dog Show

    If you can't be there in person, watch the National Dog Show Presented by Purina on its annual Thanksgiving Day broadcast at noon on NBC. Photo courtesy of National Dog Show

    If you can’t be there in person, watch the National Dog Show Presented by Purina on its annual Thanksgiving Day broadcast at noon on NBC. Photo courtesy of National Dog Show.

    Who wins Best in Show at The Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s two benched, all-breed dog shows in Oaks, PA? See Breed, Group and Best-In-Show judging, along with top agility and performance dogs Saturday and Sunday. Each day is a separate and distinct dog show with Breed, Group and Best-In-Show judging. The shows raises money for a variety of canine-related causes. Dog Show weekend is preceded each year by National Dog Show Month in Philadelphia, with the National Dog Show Charity Walk and other canine-focused charity events. Or, watch the National Dog Show Presented by Purina on its annual Thanksgiving Day broadcast at noon on NBC. Further details at nationaldogshow.com.

    Thumbnail/feature image Dog leaves photo © Getty Images

    Read more on Dogster.com:

    • How to Tell if Your Dog Has a Cold

    • Puppy Dog Eyes: A Recent Development

    • Rover’s Guided City Walks

    The post Dug Up at Dogster: November 2019 Dog Events and Premieres by Melissa Kauffman appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

  • Devious Dog Trying To Drown His Human Is Getting Hilariously Memed
    Posted in: Dogs

    funny dog tries to drown human

    Holly Monson was just trying to enjoy a nice day at the lake when she snapped some pics of her dog apparently trying to drown her sister, while clearly showing no remorse about it! In case you’re wondering, everyone is fine, but the internet is meme-ing the situation to shreds and giving the best possible reactions.

    Submitted by:

  • How To Prevent Dog Bites
    Posted in: Dogs

    The post How To Prevent Dog Bites by Victoria Stilwell appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

    The act of aggressing is often reinforced by positive consequences for the aggressor because the threat frequently moves away and leaves the aggressor alone. Threat displays range from a subtle lip lift to a full bite, and while aggressive behavior is important for survival, it is an extremely worrying behavior for dog lovers to live with.

    If your dog has bitten a person or another dog, it is vital that you find what caused the bite and control future situations so your dog is never in a position where he can bite again. Whether your dog has bitten once or has a multiple bite history, your No. 1 priority is to keep your dog comfortable, and other people and animals safe by managing your dog’s environment at all times.

    Management means that your dog is safely contained behind a door, baby gate or crate when visitors come over or that he is never let off the leash when walking outside. These simple safety steps will help until you find a certified positive trainer to work with you and your dog to minimize the chance of a bite happening again. Some of the best positive trainers can be found at positively.com/trainers, or you can take your dog to a board- certified veterinary behaviorist.

    Stress leads to biting

    Stress has a profound influence on aggressive behavior and a significant impact on even the calmest of dogs. While some dogs might shut down when they feel threatened, others will express their discomfort by showing fear-based aggression, which is why many bites happen. Dogs might look like they’re being “nasty” when they aggress, but a bite always serves some kind of important function for the dog at that time. Physically punishing a biting dog or using old school confrontational methods or equipment to “fix” aggressive behavior rarely leads to positive results, and in many cases increases the dog’s stress levels and insecurity, which leads to more bites in the future.

    Stopping the bite

    So how can you stop aggressive behavior? Positive training techniques and methods are very effective in helping dogs cope with domestic life. Once you understand why the behavior is happening, your trainer will create a management plan for safety and a behavior modification plan designed to increase your dog’s confidence and guide him into making better choices. These protocols are much more effective than punishment-based training, both for short- and long-term success, because they give dogs coping skills in different situations and environments, promoting emotional stability.

    Preventing bites in the first place

    One of the most important ways to prevent your dog from biting is to ensure he has a good canine education as well as a positive social foundation. I teach all my puppy clients to accept “rude” human greeting behavior, because it is virtually impossible to prevent people from invading their personal space to say hello. We are a dog-loving nation and are naturally drawn to touch these incredible animals even when we know we shouldn’t. Children are particularly vulnerable to being bitten and often imitate the behavior of their parents, caregivers and guardians.

    Dog bite prevention therefore puts the focus on human education. Every child and adult needs to know what body language to look for, how to greet a new dog appropriately and some important points to remember:

    ✔ Avoid kissing a dog on the nose

    ✔ Watch out for signals that a dog is uncomfortable such as avoidance, lip licking and yawning

    ✔ Do not hug a strange dog or a dog that you do not know very well

    ✔ Do not reach out to touch a dog uninvited

    ✔ And, if you are told it is OK to pet a dog, allow him to come into your personal space rather than invading his. Building a general awareness helps keep everyone safe and comfortable.

    High or low threshold

    Most dogs can be helped with a behavior modification plan, but if your dog has a long bite history and a very low threshold for aggressive response, or if bite incidents have become more severe and frequent, a positive outcome might be harder to achieve. If the aggressive behavior cannot be successfully redirected or has become more unpredictable and is occurring in many different environments or situations, there is less likelihood of success.

    If bite injuries have caused slight bruising or minimal wounds, the behavior has only recently begun and your dog has a higher stress threshold, which makes an aggressive response more predictable, manageable and avoidable, the prognosis is much better.

    Make sure that your dog has a full medical checkup to ensure that aggressive behavior is not linked to pain or some other medical problem. Teaching your dog appropriate life skills and allowing your dog positive social experiences will help build his confidence and emotional stability.

    Every dog’s well-being should be taken into account, especially when out in public. Every handler needs to be aware of and advocate for their dog’s unique needs. This will not only help prevent dog bites but will also help guardians successfully manage their dog’s future if a bite has already occurred.


    Using a muzzle

    Muzzles are vital safety tools. However, they can also cause untold amounts of stress for dogs that are not used to wearing them. The sudden restriction of facial movement and confinement of the mouth can cause panic in the calmest of dogs, as their primary method of defense is taken away. Not only that, certain muzzles can restrict breathing, making it hard for dogs to breathe normally and to cool themselves down.

    Teaching any dog to wear a muzzle should be a slow, careful process, as it is especially important to do things right, particularly with dogs who are nervous or do not like being handled around the mouth or face. Don’t make the common mistake of only putting the muzzle on when your dog is in a situation or environment that makes him uncomfortable — in the presence of strangers or when there are loud noises, for example. The key to successful acclimation is to pair the muzzle with good things and fun experiences, rather than the muzzle becoming a predictor of “bad” or “scary” experiences. Once that is done, the muzzle can be worn when needed.

    Thumbnail: ©alexei_tm | Getty Images

    About the author:

    Victoria Stilwell, dog trainer, TV personality, author and public speaker, is best known as the star of the TV series It’s Me or the Dog, through which she reaches audiences in more than 100 countries. Appearing frequently in the media, she’s widely recognized as a leader in the field of animal behavior, is editor-in-chief of positively.com, CEO of the VSPDT network of licensed trainers and the founder of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior — the leader in dog trainer education. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter at @victorias.

    Learn more about dog behavior and training at dogster.com:

    The post How To Prevent Dog Bites by Victoria Stilwell appeared first on Dogster. Copying over entire articles infringes on copyright laws. You may not be aware of it, but all of these articles were assigned, contracted and paid for, so they aren’t considered public domain. However, we appreciate that you like the article and would love it if you continued sharing just the first paragraph of an article, then linking out to the rest of the piece on Dogster.com.

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