Four Ways to Stop Your Dog’s Destructive Behavior at Home

As dog owners, you probably have experienced just how destructive your pets can be around the house.  They knock things over and bite anything that they can get away with, even when they know they are not supposed to do it.  Even a well trained dog whom have been properly taught not to destroy household items just can’t resist doing it.

“The vast majority of behavior problems that you have with dogs are normal behavior patterns, but inappropriate for the setting in which they’re occurring,” says Daniel Q. Estep, Ph.D., a certified applied animal behaviorist in private practice in Littleton, Colorado.

What that means is that it is perfectly normal for a dog to chew things up, but it just doesn’t mix well when you have your valuable stuff in the same area that the dog resides.  The good news is that pets are quick learners so if you apply the following simple training tips then your dog will soon be off redirecting his ‘chewing energy’ onto something else.

1.  Supply your dog with plenty of toys.  Regardless if your dog is an adult or a puppy, be sure that there is always plenty of toys for them to chew on and play with.  If your dog has plenty of its own chew toys around then it will tend to focus its energy on those toys instead of your belongings.

2.  It is important not to give your dog toys to use, that actually belong to you.  For example, we all love to give the dog our old tennis shoe right?  It seems innocent enough, but think about that for a moment.  You just gave your dog permission to chew and destroy something that belongs to you.  Now how is he going to tell the difference between that shoe and your other belongings in the house?  He is not going to be able to.  In fact, you will confuse him even more.

3.  Be quick to stop any type of unwanted chewing behavior immediately.  Never let an instance go by where you caught your dog chewing up something that he shouldn’t have. If you let the dog get away with it even for just a few times, it will be that much harder to train him in the future.

4.  Create a unique room just for the dog.  Whether it is a full blown room or simply a crate, designating a place that your dog is sent to for disciplining or when you have to leave the house is a great way to help curb his natural instincts to chew up on everything.

Checking Your Dog for Fleas

Your dog should always have regular check-ups to make sure his health is in top shape.  The most important place to look at during these check-ups is on the dog’s skin.  There are several different types of infestations that can occur from parasites like the flea, ticks, lice, etc.

A sure sign that your dog has a skin problem that needs to be addressed is excessive itching and scratching.  There are some simple and easy ways to find out which type of insect is causing the dogs skin to itch, of which we will cover in this article.  The most common and most annoying problem are fleas.

The flea is an extremely common parasite.  This insect not only is troublesome for dogs but also most any other animals can be plagued by them.  Their bites are irritating and they live off the action of sucking the blood from its host.

To make matters worse, a dog may develop a severe allergy from the flea’s saliva.  This allergy can cause them to scratch frantically which makes their skin very sore and even bleed at times.

In order to check to see if there is a flea problem with your dog you can run a fine toothed comb over the dog’s fur.  This simple trick will catch a few of the fleas into the comb so that you can confirm that the problem is indeed fleas.

In order to rid your dog of all fleas and the egg’s that they lay you are going to have to do a lot more than just treat the dog. The first thing that you need to do is to vacuum the carpet thoroughly.  Fleas tend to move towards the edges so pay particular attention to cleaning those sections of your floor.  The dog’s bedding will have to be washed as well.

You are not finished yet!  It is important to spread a powdered household flea killer throughout your carpet and vacuum shortly after.  Do not keep the vacuum bag that you used to vacuum this powder and the dead fleas stored inside the house after use.  You must throw it away to avoid keeping some fleas that may have survived and will lay more eggs in your carpet.

Now it is time to treat your dog.  Most people purchase flea treatment from the store and do this task by themselves but it is advisable to see a vet.  A vet may use any number of particular systems to kill the fleas.  One way is to spray a solution onto the dog coat.  This will keep the dog from having an infestation for months.

A second option that your vet may give you is to either inject an anti-flea drug into their system or your pet can take the drug in tablet form.  This treatment will keep the dog free from fleas for up to one year and totally eradicates the need for  liquid solutions and  powders.

We hope that you have enjoyed this little tip on treating your dog for fleas.  Please check back periodically for additional information to help you better raise your family dog.

Buying an Outdoor Dog House for Your Lab

Many people purchasing a dog house for the first time are a little overwhelmed by all the options out there. What things are really necessary to keep your dog cozy and protected? The very first thing you will need to determine is that you really need an outdoor doghouse at all.

A dog that has always lived inside will not want to move outside, no matter how nice the dog house. Since dogs are very social animals, they will probably find life with you indoors more attractive. While your dog may not move outdoors permanently, many outdoor dog houses can give your dog shelter if they need to spend a short time outdoors.

There are some dogs, including guard dogs, which will need to spend all their time outdoors. Dog houses for dogs that spend all their time outdoors should be very comfortable and strong. It does not matter how long a dog is used to being outside always make sure you check on him often to make sure he is safe.

A large dog house is not always more comfortable for the dog. This is an important point for those who live where the weather gets cold. A dog house which is exceptionally large will not allow your dog to generate enough heat to warm it up. The best dog house will be just large enough for your dog to turn around comfortably and lay down without touching the sides. The door to the dog house should be large enough to enable your dog to enter it without scrunching down.

The floor of the dog house should be several inches off the ground the keep water runoff and moisture out. Bedding can be made from straw which is changed regularly. If you live where it snows you want a sloped roof to allow the snow to run off. Pressure treated wood contains toxic chemicals and it should not be used for any part of the dog house that your dog comes into contact with. Before you decide that your dog should live outdoors make sure it can handle it. Smaller dogs are usually not built for outdoor life while larger working dogs should be fine.

How to Stop Your Dog from Digging

Your Labrador Retriever is at it again. Paws flailing, dirt flying and all your hard work planting a garden is in danger of being completely undone. You’re wondering if you should have named him “Digger” instead, and are frustrated to think that you might have to hide your lovely garden behind a fence just to protect it from being dug up.

Before you spend thousands on fencing, try the behavioral training route. It won’t be easy since digging comes naturally to dogs. After all, for many thousands of years their ancestors dug dens for themselves to sleep and give birth in, and also found small animals there to eat (and play with) such as mice, gophers and moles.

Is Your Dog Getting Enough Exercise?

The first step is figuring out if there is a special reason for your dog’s digging. While occasional digging is an instinctive behavior, habitual digging can be a sign that he is bored — very, very bored. The solution to this is simple — exercise.

Play with him, take him for walks, or take him along with you on errands. Dogs need mental and physical stimulation just as humans do, and without it they have only a few ways in which to channel their extra energy – and most of those ways are destructive. It’s not as though they can settle in with a deck of cards and play solitaire. You need to help your dog burn off some of that energy.

If your dog is getting plenty of exercise but still digging, look for another reason.

Is Your Dog Trying to Get Out?

Is he fenced in and left alone for too long? Is his pen too small? Or are there always tantalizing sights, sounds and – most of all – smells just out of his reach? If so he is very likely to try to tunnel out. (Some dogs have been bred to be diggers; Terriers and scent hounds such as Beagles, Coonhounds and Basset Hounds especially enjoy digging.) Try to take care of both parts of the problem. If his pen is located such that he can hear and smell activity but not see it, reposition it or add a “window” where he can see what’s going on.

If his pen is too small, consider enlarging it, but even if you do, you should still take him to fields or parks or you own big open back yard and let him run on a regular basis. He needs to stretch those legs. Again, play with him, and let him enjoy your company. Dogs are pack animals and naturally social; a dog who spends too much time alone will become bored and destructive. Then fix the fence by extending it down into the ground and it with concrete. Close up any holes you find.

Is Your Dog On a Scent?

Take a look at the areas where your dog digs. If he digs in several places close together in line, he’s probably got scent of some sort of tunneling creature in its burrow. This is also true if he digs at tree and plant roots. With their super sense of smell, dogs are often on the scent trail of some subterranean beast. Hunting is another instinct in canines.

Is Your Dog Hot?

It could be that your dog is hot, and is just looking for a cool place to lie down. In hot weather, many dogs will scrape away the dirt heated by the sun and flop down in the cooler, loose stuff they’ve unearthed. Does your dog have someplace he can go in the heat to cool down? If not, you need to create one: get a doghouse, open up a space under your deck, or find some other way to leave an area shaded at all times. Leave some water there for him, too.

Other Things You Can Try

What if your dog gets lots of exercise, doesn’t seem bored, and isn’t hot, but he’s still digging? There are several things you can try. First, set up a water sprinkler in the area where he digs, then position yourself near the spigot. When your dog starts his excavation project, turn on the sprinkler. After a few times he will understand that digging causes the sprinkler to go off. And since your dog will think it’s the sprinkler that’s reprimanding him, not his favorite person in all the world, he should stop digging whether you are around or not.

If your dog digs in the same one or two spots, trying putting some of his own feces in the hole. Dogs do not like the smell of their own waste  and will not be inclined to dig through it unless there is a very grand prize below.

Speaking of grand prizes, if all else fails, you may have to set aside a spot where your dog is allowed to dig (but don’t allow it anywhere else). Choose an area and make sure its boundaries are clearly delineated. Bury a toy there, and when your dog finds it, praise him. If he digs anywhere else, obviously, you should not praise him. Continue this until he catches on that he has his own personal sandbox, but that he cannot dig anywhere else. That should keep your garden beautiful for all to see.