After being involved in animals for over twenty years, I recognize that in the United States, we have a huge problem with unneutered pets. The problem isn’t just that they aren’t neutered–it’s that their owners don’t understand the consequences of having an intact dog.
I’m not talking about the pet overpopulation problem. Neutering all male dogs would affect the overpopulation problem, but many other valid reasons exist to neuter.
Most pet owners I’ve talked to about neutering feel that their dog “deserves love” or “should get some” or, if male, unconsciously reach in the general direction of their crotch, thinking about having things cut off. The fact that a product called Neuticles even exist tells us a lot about the human element.
A few weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to attend a dog show again. I used to show my Labradors in conformation and obedience, and even dabbled in agility and working certificate tests. My son and his father are allergic to dogs, and neither can live with them in the house. It was a heartbreaking necessity to place my pets.
I miss this part of my life, so I went along to hang with the old crowd. The Ann Arbor Kennel Club put on the event, and over a thousand dogs entered the show. The show is held outdoors, under a large tent, with smaller breeds inside. As I was standing under the tent, they handed me a leash to hold, with the warning that “Walker is naughty.”
I stood under this tent, with this “naughty” dog, and began thinking about the huge divide in “naughty” between breeders and pet owners. This “naughty” dog occasionally pulls on his leash or tries to play with other dogs. He was engaged with me and my requests of him, and actively looked for direction.
Wouldn’t you love for your definition of “naughty” to include those behaviors? “Wants my attention.” “Occasionally checks out other dogs.” “Mostly stands around waiting for something to happen.” We’re standing under a tent, with hundreds of other dogs, and can’t hear any barking. No dog fights. Every dog in the place behaves, except one little English Springer puppy that doesn’t want to be brushed.
I was amazed by this realization.
Dog crates are often seen as a “necessary evil.” Many pet owners feel squeamish about locking up a beloved companion, especially for hours when the pet is alone. I’m here to assure you that a dog crate is not only helpful, but nearly necessary for helping your dog maintain a positive relationship with the human world.
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You just love your dog. He’s smart, funny, and energetic. But you work a 9 to 5, and every day he destroys the house. Garbage everywhere. Scratches at the windows. Pillows de-stuffed. You don’t want to know what he did to your daughter’s stuffed bunny.
Some destructive dogs suffer from separation anxiety, but before assuming your dog suffers from a medical condition, he may just be bored.
Think about it. He sits at home, alone, for 9-10 hours straight. He has a few toys, but they don’t really do anything without a friend. He can’t play tug by himself, or keep-away, or fetch. So, he entertains himself with what’s available.
Implement just a few of our boredom-busting tips, and soon he’ll be too tired to destroy the house.
A few weeks ago, I posted this great article about Baby-Proofing your Dog. Dog safety is hugely important for me, because even though we can’t have dogs due to allergies, everyone else in our social circle has at least one or two.
Dog safety doesn’t just come from the dog, it’s super important to teach your kids how to behave around dogs. Your children will have friends and acquaintances with dogs. They will play in the same parks as people with dogs, and they will meet dogs all the time.
Did your dog bite someone? Are you worried about what’s going to happen to your dog next, and how to get through this without losing your dog or your home? I’m going to tell you what to do when your dog bites someone, and how to help your dog stay alive.
Dogs go missing every day. Maybe someone left the gate open, maybe your dog panicked after a thunderstorm. These steps will help you find your dog as soon as possible, and hopefully will find him safe and sound.
With the Fourth of July right around the corner, everyone is focusing on fireworks and parades and some good barbecue.
What many families aren’t thinking about this week is their dog’s safety. Unfortunately, many pets will run away this weekend in a complete panic. Today, I want to talk about some great ways to keep your dog calm this week, as well as during other stressful events (like thunder storms.)
I’ve done the car-sick dog thing. It sucks, because I know the dog wants to go somewhere, but I hate taking him because…ick. Don’t fear, though! Car sickness isn’t a permanent condition. Most dogs can be cured with just a little help.
Can you vacation with your dogs? Totally. Lots of major hotels allow dogs, and it’s cheaper than boarding. Remember our 7 Golden Rules for Vacationing with Dogs.