September 26, 2014
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

Train Your Dog to Walk Off-Leash

Train Your Dog to Walk Off-Leash

Train Your Dog to Walk Off-Leash

The image of a dog running free without a leash might be desirable for owners who wish for their pooches to practice constant obedience. But many areas in the U.S. forbid this activity, and might even penalize pet parents caught in the act.

The Napa Valley Register reported that the city of American Canyon, California, may be implementing a new law that prohibits dogs from being off-leash when with their owners. Its current rules reflect similar stipulations in Napa County, which only require pet parents to have dogs on-leash in city parks. While rural areas may be more appropriate for off-leash activities, it can be dangerous in heavily populated urban environments.

The county’s Animal Control Services department has received roughly 50 dog-related calls in 2014, including 20 for loose dogs in American Canyon alone. There’s one dog park in the city on the east side of Highway 29 near Vallejo, leading to discussions about alternatives for dog owners once the new law is in place. The lack of secondary options could prove troublesome, as pet parents want to have their four-legged friends around other canines.

A proposal for the law is expected to be discussed at the City Council meeting on Oct. 7, 2014. Violators of the rule will be cited and could face a $100 fine.

Training your off-leash dogs
Leashes are smart and safe options for controlling your canine, but letting him run free can be beneficial for both parties. However, there will always be some risks involved with off-leash training. The Whole Dog Journal explained that there’s the chance your pooch’s instincts could take over and lead him toward danger. Sometimes, a dog’s curiosity can get the better of him.

Because of this, it’s important to be thorough when training off-leash dogs. WDJ suggested that owners ditch the leash as early as possible if they want their pooches to succeed. Pet parents often develop physical cues during training, even without noticing it. When they try to make the switch to off-leash, the communication with the dog can fall apart. Starting early gives canines and owners the chance to establish improved cues for roaming freely on a walk in the woods.

As PerfectPaws explained, your dog’s ability to stroll around off-leash is dependent on his or her socialization skills. Owners have to trust that their canines won’t bolt after hearing a loud noise or act aggressively toward another pooch or person. Being unsocialized and skittish can spell disaster for off-leash dogs. The area you live in also has a role to play in allowing your pooch to move around without a long leash attached to his or her collar. Much of the training involves an owner’s willingness to take risks with his or her canine in public areas.

WDJ suggested that the best off-leash training requires a reliable recall, or responding to a “come” command. One of the best methods for this exercise is using treats as rewards for moving toward you. When your canine reaches you, respond with a “Yes,” and toss the treat a short distance away. This encourages your pooch to continually come to you when called. As he or she improves in a low-distraction environment like your living room, you can steadily move to louder and busier areas, such as a dog park, to solidify the off-leash training.

When looking to improve your canine’s obedience, signing up for a PetPlus membership can give you access to countless supplements and supplies that might facilitate training exercises. If you want your pooch to be an off-leash dog, PetPlus is the essential place to find everything you need.

September 25, 2014
by Sam Bourne
1 Comment

Learn How to Understand Dog Moods

Learn How to Better Understand Dog Moods

Learn How to Better Understand Dog Moods

After a long and stressful day at school or work, sitting down on the couch with your dog can improve your mood. Petting his fur and scratching behind his ears helps put a smile on your face, but when’s the last time you asked your pooch how he was feeling?

While you may not be a licensed doggie psychiatrist, new research from the University of Sydney in Australia shows that dogs can be optimistic or pessimistic, according to The Washington Post. Depending on their outlooks, some canines might have a sunnier disposition than other pooches.

The researchers, led by Melissa Starling, Ph.D., from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, trained the dogs to touch a target after hearing one of two tones that were two octaves apart. Hitting the mark would give the canines a drink depending on the tone – one produced milk as a reward and the other dispensed water. As the dogs learned which tones coincided with their preferred beverage, the scientists introduced new sounds that were in-between the milk and water octaves.

According to Starling and her colleagues, optimistic dogs would repeatedly hit the targets in hope of receiving milk. However, other canines would avoid the task altogether and grew distressed from hearing the ambiguous tones. The researchers found that despite the lack of interest in participating, the pessimistic pooches performed well in guide dog training for the disabled. On the other hand, the optimistic canines were more persistent, leading Starling to believe these dogs would be successful at search-and-rescue.

Because they can’t tell you directly, it might be hard to read if your dog is depressed or pessimistic. Therefore, it’s a good idea to learn some of the signs of dog moods.

What’s your dog’s body language saying to you?
The Bark explained that closely watching your canine’s tail might be a viable indicator of his mood. Much like how humans’ brains are divided into cerebral hemispheres, animals demonstrate differences in their “left” and “right” sections. It’s thought that the left deals in approach and energy enrichment, like finding food, and the right pertains to withdrawal and energy expenditure, like running away out of fear.

When dogs feel positive or curious, their tails will wag closer to the right side of their bodies, according to The Bark. Any negative or apprehensive feelings cause canines’ tails to favor the left.

Modern Dog Magazine added that eyes serve as a strong indicator of dog moods. Almond-shaped, relaxed eyes show that he’s calm and docile, ready for a snuggle on the couch. Rounded eyes might mean your dog’s aroused or surprised. But the biggest sign to watch out for is the sclera, also known as the whites of the dog’s eyes. This means your canine is tense and upset, and in need of some serious attention.

Dogs can get sad for a number of reasons, such as being separated from their owners for extended periods of time. When some good-natured petting or play doesn’t do the trick, pet parents can turn to prescription medications to help their furry friends. Thiothixene works to restore the balance of natural substances in the brain, such as dopamine. If your dog exhibits signs of depression, aggression or nervousness, this medication can help treat certain mood disorders.

By joining PetPlus, dog owners can have access to affordable prescription treatments like thiothixene without having to jump through hoops. Signing up allows pet parents to receive free shipping on all orders and an additional 25 percent off veterinary visits at almost 4,000 clinics around the U.S.


September 23, 2014
by Sam Bourne

Woman Breaks Up Dog Fight With Just One Finger


This week, an Australian woman saved her dog from a vicious attack with nothing but her index finger. How?

Well, how you use the finger can make all the difference…

That’s right! In a last-ditch effort to break up the dog fight between an aggressive Staffordshire Terrier and her Jack Russell, a quick-thinking Ann Bendouli attempted to startle and distract the big dog by sticking her finger — you guessed it — right in the dog’s bum.

“She had her upside down and she was shaking. So, I lifted its tail and I put my finger up [there],” said Bendouli to local reporters at Seven News.

And just like that, the once combative canine immediately changed her tune — literally. She let out a strange yelp, let go of the small dog, and presumably went on to contemplate exactly how violated she felt by this unorthodox means of behavior modification.


A simple bop on the nose would have sufficed…

While Ann’s precious pooch still ended up needing over ten stitches as a result of the dog fight, if it wasn’t for her fast-acting and fearless fingers, there is a good chance that the attacking dog would have shaken her little pup to death.

“She is my soul mate and I love her so much. I was so glad that she was actually saved because I would be lost.”

As for who is to blame, that is still up in the air. Barbora Williams, the owner of the probed pooch, says that the Jack Russell was nipping at her dog’s feet and instigating the dog fight.

But regardless of who is at fault, the hero of the day is Ann Bendouli and her daring digit. With a little ingenuity, and about as much physical exertion as it takes to call an elevator, Ann discovered a unique way to shock and subdue an aggressive dog.

Editors note: The results of this strategy have not been replicated, and we do not intend to be the ones to test the model.

Attempt at your own risk (and make sure to carry plenty of hand sanitizer).


Daily Mail — Woman inserts her finger into a dog’s BOTTOM after it attacked her beloved pooch… now her rescue tale has gone viral and she’s fast becoming known as ‘#superstarfinger’


September 22, 2014
by Sam Bourne

Worried About Your Dog’s Eye Health?

Bolster Your Dog's Eye Health with Omega-3s

Tips to Bolster Your Dog’s Eye Health

Just like humans, dogs’ bodies can begin to show signs of wear and tear as they get older. From arthritis in the hips to hearing loss, man’s best friend might require some increased upkeep as he or she ages.

WFAA ABC reported that a veterinarian clinic based in Houston, Texas, is restoring dogs’ eyesight with cataract surgeries. Wilma, a Poodle who’s a patient at the Houston Humane Society, acts as a four-legged employee with the rest of the staff, despite having recently developed cataracts. As a result of the condition, she’s lost vision in both of her eyes.

However, Julie Hempstead, D.V.M., is utilizing new technology to give dogs like Wilma hope. She’s one of a few veterinary ophthalmologists in the area, and performs cataract surgeries on a variety of animals. Following a similar procedure used in humans, Hempstead removes the cataract and inserts a small lens to correct the dogs’ vision.

“[The dog] wakes up, he perks up, and wags his tail – excited to see the owner,” Hempstead said, quoted by the news source. “It’s really neat to be a part of that.”

The cataract procedure typically costs around $2,300 at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, the facility where Hempstead performs surgeries. However, with the right knowledge and preventive measures, owners can improve their dogs’ quality of life and hope to avoid the negative effects of aging.

What are canine cataracts?
According to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, cataracts are the clouding and darkening of the eye lens. Because it functions as the focusing agent in the eye, opacity of the lens can significantly impact the ability to see. Cataracts are typically classified in a number of ways, such as the age that they appear or their severity. These include congenital (present at birth), juvenile (present early in life) and senile (present later in life), while immature (covers most of lens), mature (covers the entire lens) and hypermature (dehydration of the cataract) define the severity of the condition.

Cataracts are one of the most common eye problems in dogs. However, it shouldn’t be confused with nuclear sclerosis, which is a hardening of the lens that normally occurs in aging dogs. When this happens, the eye turns a shade of blue similar to cataracts, but doesn’t affect the dog’s vision.

Healthy Pets explained that most dogs inherit cataracts through their gene pools, and they can develop at any age. The condition is more prevalent in purebred dogs than mixed breeds, with some breeds being increasingly susceptible to cataracts, such as Poodles, Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds and Labrador retrievers. If you suspect your pooch has cataracts, plan a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

How to maintain eye health
The Whole Dog Journal suggested that while injuries and age can affect the prevalence of eye problems, inadequate nutrition may also be a factor. Cataracts may accompany immune disorders and chronic diseases such as diabetes, leading to the suggestion that the proper diet can stave off the development of cataracts.

The source explained that increasing your dog’s intake of omega-3 fatty acids can lower intraocular pressure and decrease symptoms of hypertension. Joining PetPlus grants pet parents access to Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet Soft Gels at a conveniently discounted price. The supplement is an excellent source of EPA and DHA, two of the most beneficial fatty acids that support optimal canine health.

The Pet Soft Gels are derived from wild anchovies and sardines from the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru. Its small capsules are perfect for canine consumption and are easy to take with you on the go. Sign up for PetPlus today and keep your dog’s eye health in top shape.

September 19, 2014
by Sam Bourne

Hero Dogs and the Lives They Save

Hero Dogs and The Lives They Save

Hero Dogs and The Lives They Save

While canines can be perfectly content living a predominantly sedentary lifestyle, some pooches have gained fame for notable careers.

The “Today” show reported that eight finalists for the Hero Dog of the Year award stopped by its offices for a brief highlight. Organized by the American Humane Association, the annual prize is given to pooches who do more than just deliver unconditional love – they’re dog heroes saving and helping people. This year’s candidates include canines from all sorts of backgrounds, such as the military, search and rescue, law enforcement and therapy.

Some of the standouts included JJ Krawczyk, Chaney and Xena the Warrior Puppy.

JJ was a shelter dog at Eyes Ears Nose and Paws when she was paired with a 5-year-old girl from North Carolina named Kaelyn Krawczyk, who has a rare disorder called mastocytosis. Her life-threatening reactions to the environment, which can cause hives and intense itching, can be triggered with little to no warning. However, JJ is able to sniff out the trouble and alert Kaelyn’s parents of the danger.

Chaney retired from the U.S. Marines in 2013, and also happens to be a Labrador retriever. Now 8 years old and living in Lansing, Michigan, the pooch completed multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a bomb-sniffing dog. Together with Cpl. Matt Hatala, his former handler, Chaney volunteers for Retrieving Freedom, which trains service dogs for children with autism and disabled veterans.

Lastly, Xena the Warrior Puppy battled back from an abusive start in September 2012 to be adopted by Linda Hickey and her family in March 2013. She immediately connected with Jonny, an 8-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism and had been closed off from others. Xena’s presence transformed him into a chatterbox and changed the household as a whole.

What can Fido do besides fetch?
While you may be content training your family dog to complete basic sit and stay commands, you can strive for more with your pooch. Humans aren’t the only ones capable of working, as there are many jobs that canines are perfect for, which turn them into heroes every day.

Here are three of the top positions your dog can try out.

  1. Herding: Smart Recruiters explained that some dogs are instinctively adept at herding. If your canine constantly runs around the local park, trying to round up the other dogs by barking and moving in circles, he may be perfectly suited for the job. Herding pooches help control livestock on farms, such as sheep and cattle. They’ve been known to gather up to hundreds of animals at a time to lead back to the enclosure.
  2. Law enforcement: According to Main Street, the versatility of dogs’ noses makes them more than capable of detecting illicit substances. Working with the police as a K-9 unit or narcotics partner can be a viable option for your pooch. Many of these positions are populated with tough breeds like German shepherds who are trained to take down fleeing or attacking suspects.
  3. Hunting: Many breeds are suited to accompany hunters on long trips into the woods for ducks and quail. Smart Recruiters suggested that hounds, terriers and dachshunds are the most popular types of dogs for hunting and tracking animals. They’re trained extensively to hone their senses of sight, hearing and retrieval to serve as perfect counterparts to humans. With the right temperament, they can carry prey back to hunters without chewing them.

Dogs can be trained for a variety of careers that might land them on the AHA’s list of hero dogs. Joining PetPlus gives owners access to discounted supplements and accessories that facilitate exercises and training. Sign up today and start saving immediately!