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What To Do (And Not Do!) In A Dog Fight
When a dog fight suddenly and surprisingly breaks out, it can be an incredibly frightening experience for humans and dogs alike. The sounds made, the teeth bared, the sheer speed by which dog fights usually happen – it’s all very unsettling. Although we don’t like to think about it, it’s important to remember that dog fights can occur anywhere: at the dog park, during a play date in your own yard, even during walks. So it’s advised to be prepared, and to know what works best and doesn’t work best when it comes to breaking up a dog fight. The most important things to remember are to stay calm and not put your hands in the middle of the fight!
Different people have different opinions about what to do to actually break up a fight, but all agree that you should never stick your hands in a dog fight, even if you are trying to break it up. Also, do not pull at your dog’s collar because it’s best to steer clear of the mouth area. Most dog bites occur because a person is trying to break up a dog fight, and the dog will turn around and redirect onto the hand. Please avoid this trap. There are other ways to get separate dogs such as getting a broom or piece of cardboard to stick in the middle of the fight.
Dogs fight for some reason or another, so it is almost never for “no reason” that the fight happens. Often it’s hard to pinpoint what the trigger may have been, but common culprits are battles over food, bones, toys, or prey instincts that kick in when a dog an off-leash dog attacks an on-leash dog. There are some pooches who also just don’t like other canines, and it’s best to know that about your dog so you can stay away from other pups, keeping your own dog and others safe. It can also be very helpful to learn to your dog’s communication signals, and those of other dogs. Dog fights usually happen after a series of signals and warnings that too often we guardians miss.
Last but not least, if you find that your pup is getting into regular scuffles, please consider seeking the help of a certified, professional, positive-reinforcement-based dog trainer nearby who can help you asses and manage the behavior.
Traveling With Pets Guide
What better way to really connect with your furry companion than to vacation together, and you don’t even have to pack an extra bathing suit for your pet. Of course, sometimes we travel with a pet because we must, like during a cross-country move. Whatever the reason, everybody (including your pet) needs to get to where they are going safe and sound. Here are a few tips from our traveling guide.
5 Tips When Traveling With Pets
- Make sure the pet has proper identification.
- Label your pet’s carrier prominently with your name, address, and
- Consider your flight schedule and any time your pet might be outside being moved in and out of the plane.
- Book a direct flight with no layovers.
- Never sedate your pet before a flight without consulting your veterinarian first.
4 Tips to Stop Your Pet’s Destructive Chewing
Puppies most often destroy and chew things out of boredom, frustration or anxiety. There are mild displays of this behavior that are to be expected, especially in kittens, puppies, and young or high energy dogs – like a puppy chewing a shoe, or a dog ripping apart one of her toys. There are also more extreme levels of this behavior, where the pet will hurt himself or do serious damage to doors or other household items. If that’s the case, please consult with a professional pet behaviorist or trainer. In either case, for safety’s sake, keep your pet away from anything they can chew on by containing them and/or keep items out of reach. Crate training, baby gates, or closed doors allow you to create a chew-safe pet area while you train them. The best solution for wire and cord chewers is to completely cover all wires with hard plastic tubing, secure cords out of reach, or keep the pet closed out of those rooms. In addition, for mild to moderate chewers, we have these four helpful tips:
1. Physical Exercise. Many dogs chew because they are bored, and have excess energy and/or anxiety. Chewing is fun and a stress relief for them! You can help eliminate this kind of chewing by giving them more daily exercise. Just like you would do, build up the length and difficulty of your pet’s “workout” which can be any kind of athletic activity – walking, running, biking, hiking, playing ball, running around the yard with a dog friend. Just keep in mind that you will need to maintain the amount of exercise you give them every day pretty much EVERY DAY. Even if its just 10 minutes a day, you’ll need to stick to it. If you take up daily exercise with your pet for a few weeks and then stop, the chewing will very likely return.
2. Mental Exercise. Exercising a pet’s MIND is just as important in warding off chewing boredom as physical exercise. Obedience training, learning new tricks, agility classes, walks in new neighborhoods, visits to friends house, joy rides in the car, window perches, pet TV… many possibilities abound, just use your mind to help your pet use theirs!
3. Provide appropriate chewing items. Many dogs and puppies chew because it is an instinctual desire. Giving them something appropriate and desirable to chew on can eliminate their chewing on things you don’t want them to! There are many commercially produced chew toys to choose from – knowing the strength of your dogs chewing will help you to pick the correct one. Some popular ones include hollow rubber toys which can be stuffed with food and treats and even frozen for many hours of amusement, and fun fill-able balls which the pet must roll around to get the treats out. Another option, with your vet’s approval: big raw fresh uncooked bones (raw so they will not splinter, cooked bones are NOT safe) from the butcher can provide hours of supervised, extremely passionate chewing!
4. Redirection. If you catch your pet chewing on something inappropriate, you can say “no” and offer them one of their chew toys. It can help to have 7 different chew toys, and place out a “new” toy each day, taking up and putting away the “old” toy at the end of the day. Pets just love getting something “new” – its more interesting and therefore keeps their attention for longer. It may take some trial and error to find a chew toy that they like more than what they’ve chosen (your table leg for example). You can make your household items less desirable by spraying them with a pet-safe chew deterrent, closing the pet out of the area with those items, or covering them with tin foil or another not fun to chew cover as a temporary solution to get them in the habit of chewing on their chew toys instead.