August 16, 2012

What Toys to Buy a New Puppy

Filed under: Behavior,Dog Behavior,dog biting,dog toys — Dr. Amber Reed @ 10:00 am

Let’s face it: puppies are adorable. They have little paws, soft fur, and a ton of energy. They will need plenty of toys to keep them busy and out of trouble.

Before you bring home your new puppy, make sure you have a few fun things for your puppy to play with. Here’s what to look for.

First, what he shouldn’t play with.

Puppy toys should not have attachments or points that can break off. If he swallows them he can get very sick, costing you a lot of money! Similarly he should not be playing with string, twist ties, or plastic baggies.

He cannot have your kids’ old toys that are made of rubber or sponge. Think about what toys you give your puppy and whether there is a potential for him to chew off small pieces and swallow them.

Consider a great chew toy.

There are all kinds of chew toys you can purchase for your new puppy. You may choose a harder one – such as a beef bone or a softer one – such as a soft rubber toy – depending on his size. Harder toys are best for older dogs. Younger dogs do enjoy a softer chew toy, but do not give them to older pups. Older, stronger dogs can chew off pieces and swallow them.

Or maybe a stuffed toy?

Puppies love soft, plush stuffed toys. They can easily sink their immature teeth into them and they love to throw them around and even cuddle them.

You may find yourself replacing a stuffed toy often. Throw them out as soon as they start to lose stuffing.

Balls. The old standard.

A ball is an inexpensive and easy way to keep your puppy active. Throw a tennis ball around and play a round of fetch with him. Assuming he knows fetch by then. A tennis ball is the perfect size as it poses no choking risk and is soft enough so he won’t damage any teeth.

Try a rope.

Ropes are great for playing tug-of-war with your puppy. Don’t pull to hard or you can hurt his jaw or neck. Ropes won’t damage sensitive puppy teeth, but they’re strong enough not to break off and cause a choking hazard.

Teething toys are sometimes necessary.

Soon enough your puppy will start teething. It’s uncomfortable for dogs and humans alike, so outfit him with some toys like these to keep him soothed.

  • The puppy Kong. Almost any dog owner can attest to how great the Kong is. The Puppy Kong is made of special rubber that makes it durable and satisfying to chew.
  • The Pet Stages Puppy Cool Teether is frozen to soothe irritated gums. Since it is a plush toy, it is popular for chewing.
  • Nylabone Detnal Dinosaur Flexible Chew. This toy comes in a flavoured dinosaur shape. The chewing action massages gums gently.
  • A frozen dishrag. Dip a clean dish cloth into water and twist it into a long thin shape. Freeze it and give it to your puppy when he needs to chew. It will work to numb is pain and it is very cost-effective.
  • An ice cube. Throw an ice cube into his food bowl and soothe his sore gums.

Keeping your puppy busy with plenty of playtime and toys is the best way to discourage him from chewing dangerous and expensive things like cords, shoes, and furniture. Proper toys that are physically and mentally stimulating save both you and your puppy from a lot of “bad dog” experiences!

June 15, 2010

Best Toys for Your Dog

Filed under: Dog Behavior,dog biting,dog toys — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:59 pm

Best dog toys. Best cat toys.While we all love our dogs, we don’t often give them the credit they deserve for being intelligent beings.  Eating and sleeping seem to be the main concerns of our beloved pets, and yet many dog experts argue that dogs show a range of intelligent behaviors.  For example, dogs can understand gestures, facial expressions, and even words (how else would they understand a “sit” command?).  As such, when choosing toys and treats for your dog, you need to consider the mental and physical health of your dog.  Toys can be fun and challenging and can even reduce inappropriate behaviors like chewing, digging, and excessive barking.

Smart dog toys are designed to keep your dog entertained while you are away and usually involve some kind of puzzle or task.  Take the Cagey Cube as an example.  The developers of this toy feel that the Cagey Cube can help to develop coordination skills and intelligence as your dog tries to get squeaky toys out of the cube.  Likewise, some dog toys are great for providing owners and dogs an opportunity to play together.  Owners can demonstrate how to play with a particular toy that may deliver a treat or some other reward.  These kinds of toys improve bonding and possibly even intelligence.

So, the next time you visit the pet store think carefully about what kind of toys are best for your dog.  A chew toy or plush toys provide limited entertainment and virtually no stimulation.  On the other hand, there are more and more dog toys available on the market that are designed to make your dog think.  Many veterinarians believe that such toys not only improve your dog’s quality of life but can also alleviate stress and anxiety when your dogs are alone.

May 25, 2010

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing

Filed under: Dog Behavior,dog biting — Dr. Amber Reed @ 12:29 am

how to stop a dog from chewingChewing is a natural behavior for dogs that can help them to relax while also promoting good dental health.  As such, it is important to always have good chew toys around the house for your dog.  Still, chewing can also be a serious nuisance for the dog owner because dogs will sometimes chew on anything but chew toys.  In cases where dogs engage in destructive chewing, it is necessary to try some behavioral intervention.

First of all, it’s important to understand that excessive or destructive chewing is not healthy for your dog and may even be a symptom of an anxiety disorder.  In such cases, curbing the chewing is achieved through helping your dog learn stress management techniques.  Most dog owners will want to teach their dogs to comfort themselves when they are alone.  When dogs become too attached to their owners, their anxiety can lead to chewing.  Spend ample quality time with your dog but also ensure that your dog has time alone, even when you are home and be sure to teach your dog that attention is not always available on demand.

Obviously, you’ll also want to introduce your dog to chew toys so that they have the opportunity to chew when necessary.  Puppies will be especially prone to chewing when they are teething but chewing is not a behavior that is limited to young dogs.  Many dog owners can eliminate destructive chewing by combining chew toys with anti-chew sprays.  canine tooth careWhen you notice your dog has a preference for chewing a particular household item, apply the anti-chew spray.  The next time your dog approaches the item give him a firm instruction like “Stop” and then replace the item with a chew toy.  Play with your dog and the chew toy to reinforce his preference for the chew toy.  With consistent praise and behavioral intervention, your dog should stop chewing.

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February 12, 2010

How can I train my dog to stop biting?

Filed under: biting dog,dog bites,dog biting,stop dog biting — Dr. Amber Reed @ 8:42 am

stop dog bitingA biting dog cannot be ignored. Left to continue this anti-social behavior dogs can become more and more aggressive. However, most importantly, serious dog bites are often met by serious consequences as large dogs that bite are sometimes put down. In many cases, your dog might be playing or may be suffering from depression or anxiety but because they don’t really understand the implications of biting, they won’t moderate their own behavior. This is why it is the responsibility of the owner to train dogs not to bite.

The following tips should help you teach your dog not to bite. First of all, you should react loudly and seriously when your dog bites you, even in play. A loud yip or cry of pain, even if feigned, can teach your dog that he has behaved inappropriately. This should startle your dog to release his grip and at this point you can praise your dog for letting go. Hitting your dog or acting aggressively may work in the short term but in the long run this kind of behavior is more likely to encourage biting rather than not.

canine teeth careIf your dog is biting things around the house, like shoes for example, try replacing these biting objects with appropriate alternatives. Buy some chew toys and encourage your dog to replace the shoe with the toy. When he does, be sure to praise him.

Finally, be vigilant about the signs of aggression. If you can recognize early that your dog is likely to bite, you can remove him from the situation. Body tension, erect ears, and snarling are all signs of aggression so when you notice these triggers, ask your dog to sit and stroke him to induce calm. Also, remember to always praise your dog when he demonstrates proper behavior. Reward is the single strongest motivator when it comes to behavioral intervention.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.