Dogs in Hot Weather

PLEASE think of and for your dog: keep them cool. They wear fur coats 24/7!

*Let your dog lie in shade under trees on cool ground or on a tiled floor indoors.

*Hose him off and let him cool or soak in a paddling pool filled with cold water (it will heat up if it’s in the sun, of course).

*Put ice cubes in the water bowl or give one or two to chew on.

*Make sure that he has a constant supply of fresh water available at all times.

*Walk your dog early morning or late evening in the coolest part of the day.

*Pavements can get hot enough to burn your dog’s pads, which is very painful and can leave them permanently damaged.

**NEVER PUT A WET TOWEL ON A DOG – IT ACTS LIKE A SAUNA TRAPPING AIR BETWEEN THE FUR AND WET TOWEL

Try this:  when you next reach your destination, turn the air conditioning off and wait in your car for one minute with the windows closed in full sunshine.  You will stifle, but just imagine being powerless to open the door and get out, or even open a window and you will know what I mean. I now have a brief chat about dogs in hot weather during all my classes and on all behavioural visits, because what I think is basic dog care (and common sense) may well not cross some owners’ minds….

Dogs lose body heat through their pads and by panting. They do not sweat through their skin as we humans do, because they have no pores in the skin to release heat.

Keep your dog safe – keep him out of the sun – keep him at home and don’t take him out in the car unless essential – give him fresh, cool water to drink – take him to his vet if he shows any sign of dehydration or discomfort/lethargy/super fast panting or other signs of distress.

Why Does My Dog: Spin around when greeting me?

Dog spinning / greeting

Do you return home to a dog that spins in circles, jumps up and generally gets very boisterous? It’s a classic example of we humans interpreting such behaviour as the dog being very happy to see us. We emotionally reinforce the behaviour with a show of  happiness and joy that the dog has missed us. We may have bags of shopping, our best clothes on and really not want our dog to get so excited, but by us giving positive reinforcement indicates that we like the dog’s behaviour, so that it becomes a habit.

In real terms, bouncing all over the place indicates that the pent up energy stored during your absence is being released in boisterous, over-excited behaviour. The jumping up on you gives them a sense of control over you, effectively reinforcing control over you now that you have come home.

The best response is to ignore the dog until it calms down, simply saying “hello” serves our need to communicate with our dog – we don’t want to hurt his feelings! Effectively, you’re just saying: “There’s nothing to be so excited about. Calm down and relax.”

 

 

Why Does My Dog: Seem reluctant to go out walking on lead?

Q            Alfie, my collie, seems to be reluctant to go out walking on lead now. He’s 5 years old and used to get really excited when it was time to go for our regular walks. I take him out for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. We used to go to the park, but he was attacked (not seriously) by another dog and since then we have been road walking on lead. Sometimes I have to use treats to coax him to go out. I have had him checked by the vet and he is in good health.

 

A            Collies are high-energy dogs and need lots of exercise as well as mental stimulation. Alfie was happy to go to the park with you, but since he had a bad experience there you (and he) obviously want to avoid a repetition of the incident. Quite often when we take our dogs out for a walk from home, we go the same route so often that it becomes monotonous. Dogs can become bored with treading the same paths, just as we do and need a bit of variety to satisfy their natural instincts. Collies are working dogs and are happy to work from dawn to dusk, so a domestic pet collie needs to be motivated and use up its energy. The outings need to be fun and challenging for you both. Simply by taking different routes introduces more interest and new smells. Practice basic training skills during the walk and maybe find a few other parks where you can play and interact together. A short car journey to new places may be all that is required to rekindle Alfie’s enthusiasm to go out.

It is worth pointing out that if we, as dog owners, do the same things and go the same places day in day out, we too become bored and this transmits to our dogs. Try to introduce new games, teach him to find his ball or a toy that you hide – don’t forget that dogs can find things at all levels so don’t always hide the toy on the ground. Dogs can easily pick up the scent of a toy if it is in a tree or on a fence, for example.

Keep the walks short at first so that you finish with Alfie still wanting more. Instead of him being bored and lethargic, motivate him to want to do things with you. Structured lead walking is an essential ingredient of good dog behaviour, but so too is allowing the dog to run and play. Once a dog knows your rules and boundaries, he will respond with enthusiasm, because if he works well for you, you will want to build your relationship and have even more fun together.

Why Does My Dog: Get So Boisterous?

Q            My puppy Jack Russell is very boisterous and goes mad when I put a collar and lead on her. She’s ten weeks old and bites me when I pick her up. Perhaps I got the wrong breed? Will she always be so aggressive?

 

A            Our approach to puppies of any breed is generally the cause of them biting us. They’re cute and cuddly, so we want to show our affection and give them everything we think they need to make them happy and love us. It’s a sad situation when puppies bite their adoring owners, but all is not lost. I would suggest that you take a step back and let her see that biting you won’t work. It’s her way of trying to control you, just as she would have done with her siblings in the litter. Handling/touching a dog is reward in itself; it is in fact our primary means of giving acknowledgement, praise and affection. It’s really high value to a dog and if we give attention that is not earned we are falling into the trap of reducing our status in the dog’s mind. Expect your puppy to earn everything: her meals, cuddles, playtime etc. Ask her to “sit”, “come” or give you her immediate attention. That will put a higher value on you and what you give her.

Essex Dog Academy offers a puppy home visit that will help you solve any problems you may be experiencing with your puppy, so call Sue today to book – it will make a world of difference to you and your puppy!