Monday, May 31, 2010

How Much Exercise Does Your Puppy Need?

Providing your puppy with adequate physical exercise is really important. A puppy's need for physical exercise increases as they get older with the energy peak starting at 9 months. We've all noticed a big difference in Jet in just the past few weeks. Her energy level has really increased and she's only 5 months old. She really needs to get out there running and playing several times a day. I sure don't remember having that much energy.The amount of exercise can vary a lot considering your puppy's breed, size, genetics, and individual personality. A good gauge is what your puppy's parents were like. If your puppy's daddy was a champion herding dog, then that is a pretty good indication that your puppy will have a high drive and high energy level.

Jet is no exception and Jenn knows already that Jet will require more outlets for her energy than me, Bernie or Big Sandy.
Jenn hears people complain a lot about the fact that their puppy is hyper all the time. Usually these are puppies bred to do a certain job that requires a ton of energy and stamina. When puppies don't get to fulfill their instincts or release their natural energy, they get all pent up (see Toilet Paper Madness). The energy has to go somewhere and that usually means acting out, destructive chewing/mouthing, barking, etc. Jenn knows that she has provided Jet with enough exercise when she looks like this:Tired puppies sleep. Tired puppies can't chew your shoes, steal things off the coffee table, or bark for attention. It's your job to figure out how to provide the right amount of exercise that your puppy needs to be happy and healthy.

Photos by Anthony Benson

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Toilet Paper Madness!

Jet has a new game! She waits for someone to leave the hallway bathroom door open and she unfurls the toilet paper roll all over the house at supersonic speed. Totally fun! But Jenn doesn't want to encourage her, so she is taking steps to manage and curtail Jet's toilet paper habits. First, everyone tries to remember to shut the door, so Jet isn't tempted into toilet paper madness when no one is watching. Jenn also put the toilet roll up high, so if Jet does go into the bathroom, she can't unfurl the paper from the holder. Jenn says that should handle things, unless Jet figures out how to open the door by herself (I can tell you that she's tried that already).

Your puppy may need your help in restraining themselves from little habits like Jet's. Good puppy management, supervision, and giving lots of proper toys can help a lot.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jet Goes Sheepherding!

Our puppy Jet got her first lesson in sheepherding! It looks like she had a lot of fun. Jenn says that the herding instructor Claire is very knowledgeable. She gave me my first herding lesson too and she makes learning to herd easy. Check it out!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jenn's Article on TTouch Body Wraps

Jenn is writing a series of article on the Tellington TTouch Method for the Association of Professional Dog Trainer journal, The Chronicle of the Dog. In the first article, Jenn talks about using wraps like the Thundershirt to help dogs calm and settle, reduce anxiety and arousal, and reduce barking. Wraps can be used at home or out in public and especially in dog training classes to help your dog focus. And, most importantly, I got to model wraps for the pictures.You can read the article here.

The series continues with articles on TTouch bodywork and balanced movement exercises coming soon...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tick, Tick, Tick

So by now you know that you have lots of options for holistic prevention and management of fleas and ticks. Here is another really great Whole Dog Journal article about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and how to deal with pests in ways that don't harm you, your pet, or the environment.

Oh my gosh, that thing looks like an alien! They are nasty little things, these ticks. But we are all being more careful this year, after Jenn got diagnosed with Lyme Disease last year. Here are some additional tick tips:

1. It's all about prevention. Use safe products to make you and your pet a non-welcoming host. There are many sprays on the market that don't have to contain DEET to be effective. There is now clothing available from Land's End with repellent in the fabric and good for up to 60 washes.

2. Check you and your pet everyday. Even if you use preventatives, it is still necessary to check all over.

3. If you find a tick, remove it properly. Don't just grab that sucker and pull it out with your fingers. Use tweezers or a tick removal tool, grasp at the head and gently pull out. 4. If you or your pet has had exposure to a tick bite, don't panic. But do watch for signs of Lyme Disease or other tick related illnesses.

5. Unfortunately, it is just not just about Lyme anymore. Co-infections are becoming more common in people and dogs, like babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, bartonella, mycoplasma, STARI, and not to mention Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and anaplasmosis.

These sites provides basic info on the human symptoms of Lyme and other tick related illnesses.

International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society


This site provides information specific to dog symptoms.

Tick Diseases in Dogs

So, keep yourself and your dogs active, protected and checked for ticks over the summer.

You and Me and Fleas

Well, it is that time of year. When the little fleas and ticks really come out and want to take up residence on me. Just this morning, Jenn removed a tick from inside my earflap. Uggh. Is no place safe? Our first topic is fleas. Just look at that thing! Gross. Then we're going to talk about ticks too!Jenn's been concerned about how to keep us all protected without using pesticides that might cause long term health problems. With a 16 year old dog like Big Sandy, whose immunity may be compromised and a four month old puppy with a developing brain like our Jet, we have to be careful that the preventions we use aren't making us sick and don't contain neurotoxins.

Sure, the spot on products seem convenient, but there are also lots of pets getting sick from their use, as seen on ABC News.

Check out this Whole Dog Journal article on the dangers of spot on flea and tick products.

And Jenn has talked with lots of people who use spot on pesticides and still have flea infestations. Yuck! Could fleas and ticks be building immunity to these products? Is that why these companies are always coming out with stronger chemicals? Scary. So we're going to talk about flea control options that are more holistic for pets and for people.

Jenn's approach is based on Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a non-toxic approach to controlling insect populations. What's the number one thing you can do for fleas? Keep the environment inside and outside your home inhospitable to them. So, first we vacuum inside.
It is amazing how this simple task can control the fleas in your home. Jenn also washes our dog beds in the washer/dryer, which keeps the populations down where we sleep. Fleas breed most where animals sleep. Outside, we keep the grass mowed short. Tall grass is a breeding ground for fleas.OK, next Jenn treats all our floor and carpets with FleaBusters powder. It is a super fine Borate powder that gets down in cracks, crevaces, and carpet fiber. With pets out of the house, you spread the stuff around. Let is sit for a bit and vacuum it up. She does this once every two years. That's right, so it is really not a big deal. But if a flea egg, larvae, or adult falls onto the crevices in the floor, it is dessicated by Fleabusters. Poof!
Check out Fleabusters!

Next, we talk about products to spray on that will repel fleas and ticks from jumping on us in the first place. There are several great holistic flea/tick sprays with essential oils. A new product Jenn got is Best Yet, a spray made with cedar oil that repels ticks, fleas, chiggers, and the aptly named no-see-ums. You just spritz it on your dog's feet, chest and belly before going out and about. The best thing about Best Yet, is that Jenn can use it too. She sprays it on her feet, shoes, and pants legs to repel ticks. She can also spray our dog beds and other stuff around the house with it. It smells like cedar chips and feels light (not greasy at all).
Check out Best Yet
Jenn has also used Bug OFF Garlic. This is basically just powdered garlic that you can sprinkle on food. Small amounts of garlic can lots of benefits and can repel nasty critters too.

Check out Bug Off Garlic

Lastly, and I guess it goes without saying, that no matter what critter prevention methods you use, you still have to check yourself and your pets everyday, especially for ticks. The topic of ticks is coming up next...