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7 Simple Tips for Calming Your Dog During Fireworks

BWP_Gina_Flag_Lisa_Piano_PhotoCredit

July 4th is quickly approaching. It can be a fun holiday for children and adults, but most dogs don’t share their enthusiasm. In fact, almost all people with dogs in the U.S. declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their clinics, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs.

July 5th tends to be the busiest day of the year for shelters. Dogs become Houdini when they hear fireworks and escape from their yards that appear perfectly secure other days of the year.

7 Simple Tips for Calming Your Dog During Fireworks

BWP_GinaStickJoyPhotoCredit

1. Exercise

A tired dog is a happy dog. Take your dog for a big hike early in the day. Play fetch with him. Enjoy some training time together. Tug with her. These are all things that will tire her out before the fireworks begin, so she has less ability to focus on the disturbing noise.

iCalmDog dog home alone

2. Stay home

Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea. Instead, provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. I once had a dog who climbed into the bathtub during windstorms.

Sanchez See no Evil cropped

3. Remove visual stimulation

Keep your windows and curtains closed. Covering their crate and lowering the blinds can also be helpful. Removing visual stimulation has been known to calm dogs.

Gina Peanut Butter Kong

4. Keep them busy

Give your dog something fun to do that is distracting. Dogs enjoy the challenges of food puzzles. Feed him his dinner in a food puzzle. Freeze a kong with his favorite treats in the morning. For dessert, hand him the kong just when the fireworks start. He may even start to associate fireworks with yummy treats.

Please note: a very sound sensitive dog may not even take food when afraid of the noises and may also need the below suggestions…

Sensory Enrichment

Rescue Italian Greyhound Cyrus gets cozy with his iCalmDog

5. Sound Therapy

Canine sound therapy can be a huge help for dogs afraid of fireworks. The rearranged classical compositions of Through a Dog’s Ear have been clinically shown to reduce canine anxiety, including fireworks phobia. Dogs can enjoy the soothing soundtracks on their iCalmDog, CDs, downloads, or streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. As the pianist on the music series, it warms my heart hearing all the ways the music comforts dogs during stressful times.

Halle  even stopped jumping out of 12 foot high windows on July 4th once she discovered canine sound therapy. Some dogs also benefit from desensitization training programs that help them build a positive association to fireworks, such as Fireworks Prep-Pak.

Sanchez Thundershirt

6. Tactile

There are several canine wraps on the market that reportedly help sound phobic dogs. The original Anxiety Wrap was created by professional dog trainer Susan Sharpe, CPDT-KA. The patented design uses acupressure and maintained pressure to reduce stress. Thundershirt is also a wrap for dogs that provides gentle, constant pressure. Many dog lovers use one of these wraps in combination with canine sound therapy.

ThinkstockPhotos-479639911

7. Scent

Calm Aroma Mist can help dogs relax and cope more effectively with loud noises and other stressful situations. Spray Calm Aroma Mist in the room and on your dog’s crate. It’s equally enjoyable and calming for people.

Do you have any additional tips for helping keep dogs calm and safe on this noisy holiday? Thanks for sharing your suggestions in a comment below. And feel free to share how your dogs have responded to fireworks on previous holidays.

Gina and I wish you and your canine household a calm and safe 4th of July!

 

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Win an iCalmDog… Proven Canine Sound Therapy!

iCalmDog 3.0

It was so fascinating reading the results of our first iCalmDog Survey…

Some of the most popular portable uses for iCalmDog:

  • in the car
  • at the vet
  • at agility trials
  • at dog shows
  • while vacationing

Click to view a full summary of survey results.

And, the Facebook pictures and stories are music to my ears…

Want to win an iCalmDog?

Enter a comment below and tell us how iCalmDog 3.0 would help your dogs and where you’d take it. Or, if you prefer to donate it, tell us how your fave rescue org would benefit. You will automatically be entered to win an iCalmDog 3.0 (Standard model) by Through a Dog’s Ear. (Prize value $89.95)

Want bonus points? The barking Border Collie video is going viral on Facebook. View it here and share with your friends and fans. (Remember to post as public so that all Facebook viewers can enjoy it.)

Use hashtag #iCalmDog in all social posts and tag @ThroughADogsEar

For additional chances to win, share this giveaway on your social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  Also leave a comment on the barking BC  youtube video. Winners will be chosen by random drawing. The more shares and comments you post, the more opportunities to win!

Already own an iCalmDog 3.0 and want another?  (Did I mention they make great gifts?) Post a review on the model you purchased at iCalmDog.com or on Amazon, if purchased there.

The winner will be announced May 11 in a future blog post. (Make sure you’re a subscriber!) Good luck and remember to use hashtag #iCalmDog so I can easily find all your social shares, posts, and comments!

Please note: Contest is open to Lisa’s blog subscribers. If you purchase an iCalmDog 3.0 before the winner is announced and you win this contest, you can choose to donate your iCalmDog to a rescue or shelter, or we can refund your money. Your choice. Prize value = $89.95

Paws crossed for you and your pups!

 

 

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Win an iCalmDog… It Stopped Border Collie’s Barking in 20 Seconds Flat!

ginafollowsthegoldenroula

I was recently in Arizona with Gina for Cynosport World Agility Games. Highlights were running team with “Gina Follows the Golden Roula”. (The other black dog is Roula.)

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Watching Steeplechase finals under the lights. Man were those Border Collies fast!

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And hanging out with my Ace Dog Sports family.

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The event came on the heels of our recent iCalmDog 3.0 launch. I had been working overtime to bring our newly modified, portable canine music player to market, and I was grateful to be taking frequent naps in the passenger seat during the long 2-day drive. Gina and teammate JoJo were nearby in their crates, quietly listening to iCalmDog 3.0. Good dogs!

Once we arrived, I noticed that all of the stimulation was a bit overwhelming for Gina (for me too, at times). To make matters worse, our crating area was near a non-stop barking Border Collie.

gina-massage

To help her reduce her anxiety and increase concentration and circulation, I signed Gina up for a canine massage with Dr. Cindy DiFranco while iCalmDog played in the background.

During the 5-day trial, I had been leaving Gina’s iCalmDog 3.0 on her crate in-between runs. But, the barking Border Collie in our crating area was driving me (and everyone around me) crazy. So, I asked the BC’s handler if I could bring over my iCalmDog 3.0 to see if the clinically tested music reduced his barking. I have to admit, Nim’s barking was so intense that I wasn’t even sure it would work, but watch the video below to see what happened in 20 seconds flat…

Want a Calm Dog? Just press and play!

iCalmDog 3.0 canine anxiety

(Sanchez not included in prize, but feel free to share his photo!)

How to win an iCalmDog…

Enter a comment below and tell us how iCalmDog 3.0 would help your dogs and where you’d take it. Or, if you prefer to donate it, tell us how your fave rescue org would benefit. You will automatically be entered to win an iCalmDog 3.0 (Standard model) by Through a Dog’s Ear. (Prize value $89.95)

Want bonus points? The barking Border Collie video is starting to go viral on Facebook. View it here and share with your friends and fans. (Remember to post as public so that all Facebook viewers can enjoy it.)

Use hashtag #iCalmDog in all posts and tag @ThroughADogsEar

For additional chances to win, share this giveaway on your social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.  Also leave a comment on the barking BC  youtube video. Winners will be chosen by random drawing. The more shares and comments you post, the more opportunities to win!

Already own an iCalmDog 3.0 and want another?  (Did I mention they make great holiday gifts?) Post a review on the model you purchased at iCalmPet.com or on Amazon, if purchased there.

The winner will be announced by December 14 on a future blog post. Good luck and remember to use hashtag #iCalmDog so I can easily find all your shares, posts, and comments!

Please note: Contest is open to Lisa’s blog subscribers. If you purchase an iCalmDog 3.0 before the winner is announced and you win, you can choose to donate your iCalmDog to a rescue or shelter, or we can refund your money. Your choice. Prize value = $89.95

 

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5 Reasons My 13-Year-Old Dog Still Has Full Hearing Range

Doodle

I grew up with a rather excitable Cocker Spaniel named Doodle. (Yikes, that’s an old photo of us!) When I started playing the piano at age seven, she’d come lay by my pedal foot and fall asleep. Even in her senior years when deaf, as soon as I started playing the piano, Doodle would come from any part of the house and lay down near the piano. She must have loved the vibrations.

byron-edited

Later on, my Golden, Byron (R.I.P.), also lost most of his hearing in his senior years. Since this is so common with older dogs, I just thought that was to be expected.

However, when Sanchez was a puppy in training for Guide Dogs for the Blind, I started becoming a very sound aware pet parent. It was actually his response to altered classical music that inspired my sound consciousness.

dog hearing range

Throughout his life, I’ve only become more mindful and have taken measures to protect his hearing. I have been more cautious about his sound environment than any previous dog in my care. I even play the grand piano with the lid down, as he loves to lie underneath it, and I sometimes play loud and fast.  He is 13 and 1/2, and I am happy to say that he has shown no signs of any hearing loss. Luck? Maybe, but I don’t think entirely.

5 Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Dog’s Hearing

1. Don’t expose them to loud bands or loud street fairs.

Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear at least twice as high, sometimes all the way up to 55,000 Hz. While it’s great that more events and public places are dog friendly, so often those environments are created for humans. A fundraising party for dogs and their people that benefits your local shelter doesn’t benefit your dog when a loud band is playing. Please be cautious of your dog’s sound environment.

Sanchez Reading Through a Dog's Ear Book

2. Take a sonic inventory.

Sound is like air. We rarely notice these two common elements unless the air suddenly becomes polluted or the sound becomes chaotic. The sonic inventory is recommended by veterinary neurologist Susan Wagner and sound researcher Joshua Leeds, in their book Through a Dog’s Ear, Using Sound to Improve the Health & Behavior of Your Canine Companion. It’s one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment and taking measures to improve it.

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3. Provide simple sounds at home that calm the canine nervous system.

We love our dogs. They are the most adaptable creatures on the planet. So, we just expect them to adjust to our crazy human sound environment. Some do, but many can’t. Sensory confusion leads to over-stimulation and unwanted behaviors. Canine sound therapy helps contribute to a consistent and calm auditory environment. Take a listen with your pup and enjoy a soothing sound bath together.

listen-samples-buster-headphones-red4. Be aware of your dog’s unresolved sensory input.

When it comes to sound, dogs don’t always understand cause and effect. You know when people are in your home yelling at the TV during a sports game that it’s all in good fun. But, it may not be much fun for your dog, who is still trying to orient whether all of those crazy sounds are safe. Put Buster in a back quiet room, listening to music especially designed for dogs. This can not only safeguard his hearing, but also his behavior.

5. Don’t play two sound sources simultaneously.

Remember that your dog’s hearing is much finer than yours, they hear twice as high. One family member may be in the living room blasting the TV, while another is in the kitchen listening to the radio. Your dog is caught in the middle, absorbing both sounds and getting stressed. Try and only have one sound source at a time, playing at a gentle volume.

Those of us who love our pets often assume that our environment is the best for them. However, sometimes it requires a different way of thinking to assess whether what works for us, works for our beloved pets as well.

Are you a sound aware dog lover? Thanks for posting a comment and sharing how you create a peaceful canine household.

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Tail Waggin’ Dog Agility (with video)

LisaGinaPaloAltoJumpPS

My agility addiction started so innocently.

Years ago, when Sanchez was career changed from Guide Dogs for the Blind, I knew I needed to find a new job for him. My guide dog puppy class leader also taught agility, a dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. I just thought it would be a fun activity to enjoy together, never imagining I’d turn into one of those crazy people who set their alarms for 4 am on weekend mornings to drive for hours to an agility trial.

sanchez-leaping

I love Sanchez to no end, but, I have to admit, he wasn’t the best agility partner. He’s always been a dog who marched to his own drum, and that was no exception on the agility field. He often just wanted to make up his own course. But, I just fell in love with the sport as I continued to learn so much about dog behavior and training. (And Sanchez went on to become a fabulous freestyle partner.)

gina-1st-usdaa-trial

When I adopted Gina, I knew she had the temperament, work ethic, and athletic body of an agility dog. Everything about agility is fun with Gina. She tries so hard to please me and is incredibly responsive.

At USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) trials, she’s usually the only Lab entered in the 22″ Championship class. It’s a height dominated by super fast Border Collies.

I missed half of the season while nursing an injury (mine, not hers), and I was down to the wire to qualify for USDAA Nationals (Cynosport). I had two more weekends left and needed to run a clean Grand Prix run.

We had one of the best runs of our career on the first weekend. EXCEPT… her happy waggin’ tail slowly brought down a bar just after clearing it. (It’s a Lab thing!) It was the 3rd to last obstacle. After heavily rewarding my dog and playing ball with her, I had a total meltdown. I started to convince myself that I just wasn’t supposed to go to Nationals, for some unknown reason. Maybe, I just wasn’t cut out for it.

But, it wasn’t over yet. I still had one more weekend.

The pressure was really on. Western Regionals on Labor Day Weekend ended the qualifying period. We had two chances for clean Grand Prix runs, the local qualifier and regional qualifier.

Agility Western Regionals

WE DID IT!!! We ran clean for both!

The full honest truth is what I posted on Facebook… I almost never post my agility runs on my personal profile. I watch all the agility runs by fabulous handlers and fast dogs, and I’m very inspired to watch and learn, and I love them, but it doesn’t inspire me to share my runs with Gina. I watch our runs and it’s too easy to notice all the things I could have done better.

After posting, a comment came in from a frequent member of the world team that reminded me what truly is important about agility…

Yep, our tails were waggin!

Having missed so much of the season, I’m thrilled we qualified for USDAA Cynosport World Games and honored to have made Grand Prix finals at Western Regionals.  And, I have to admit, it was even more fun to add my own piano playing from my concert repertoire to the agility video below. (Yep, sometimes I play fast music in addition to calming music for dogs.)

Yea, Cynosport World Games here we come!!! If you live near Scottsdale, AZ, we’ll be there November 9 – 13, 2016. Come watch. It’s a free spectator sport, and you’ll be blown away watching all the fast, happy dogs run with their 2-legged partners.

gina-with-winning-in-mind

We’re setting our goals and gearing up for a good time. It’s an indescribable feeling running a course in total sync with your canine partner.

Main Photo: Ian Coggins

 

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7 Tips for Calming Your Dog During Fireworks

BWP_Gina_Flag_Lisa_Piano_PhotoCredit

July 4th is quickly approaching. It can be a fun holiday for children and adults, but most dogs don’t share their enthusiasm. In fact, almost all people with dogs in the U.S. declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their clinics, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs.

July 5th tends to be the busiest day of the year for shelters. Dogs become Houdini when they hear fireworks and escape from their yards that appear perfectly secure other days of the year.

7 Calming Tips for Calming Your Dog During Fireworks

BWP_GinaStickJoyPhotoCredit

1. Exercise

A tired dog is a happy dog. Take your dog for a big hike early in the day. Play fetch with him. Enjoy some training time together. Tug with her. These are all things that will tire her out before the fireworks begin, so she has less ability to focus on the disturbing noise.

iCalmDog dog home alone

2. Stay home

Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. Bringing your dogs to a fireworks display is never a good idea. Instead, provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, dogs often prefer small enclosed areas. I once had a dog who climbed into the bathtub during windstorms.

Sanchez See no Evil cropped

3. Remove visual stimulation

Keep your windows and curtains closed. Covering their crate and lowering the blinds can also be helpful. Removing visual stimulation has been known to calm dogs.

Gina Peanut Butter Kong

4. Keep them busy

Give your dog something fun to do that is distracting. Dogs enjoy the challenges of food puzzles. Feed him his dinner in a food puzzle. Freeze a kong with his favorite treats in the morning. For dessert, hand him the kong just when the fireworks start. He may even start to associate fireworks with yummy treats.

Please note: a very sound sensitive dog may not even take food when afraid of the noises and may also need the below suggestions…

Sensory Enrichment

Rescued Italian Greyhound Cyrus listens to his iCalmDog, or is it his iPawd?

5. Sound Therapy

Canine sound therapy can be a huge help for dogs afraid of fireworks. The rearranged classical compositions of Through a Dog’s Ear have been clinically shown to reduce canine anxiety, including fireworks phobia. As the pianist on the music series, it warms my heart hearing all the ways the music comforts dogs during stressful times.

listen-samples-buster-headphones

Halle  even stopped jumping out of 12 foot high windows on July 4th once she discovered canine sound therapy. Some dogs also benefit from desensitization training programs that help them build a positive association to fireworks. We offer a variety of Fireworks Prep calming tools.

Sanchez Thundershirt

6. Tactile

There are two canine wraps on the market that reportedly help sound phobic dogs. The original Anxiety Wrap was created by professional dog trainer Susan Sharpe, CPDT-KA. The patented design uses acupressure and maintained pressure to reduce stress. Thundershirt is also a wrap for dogs that provides gentle, constant pressure. Many dog lovers use one of these wraps in combination with canine sound therapy.

ThinkstockPhotos-479639911

7. Scent

Calm Aroma Mist can help dogs relax and cope more effectively with loud noises and other stressful situations. Spray Calm Aroma Mist in the room and on your dog’s crate. It’s equally enjoyable and calming for people.

Lisa and Sanchez July 4

Do you have any additional tips for helping keep dogs calm and safe on this noisy holiday? Thanks for sharing your suggestions in a comment below. And feel free to share how your dogs have responded to fireworks on previous holidays.

Sanchez, Gina and I wish you and your canine household a calm and safe 4th of July!

 

 

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Do You Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday or Gotcha Day?

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According to a study by the Purina Pet Institute, 43 percent of dog owners celebrate birthdays, while 29 percent celebrate their cat’s birthdays.

In contrast, an article in Psychology Today by Stanley Coren, PhD, referred to an online survey by Kelton Research. Of 1,000 people tested,

  • 81 percent of dog parents know their pets’ birthdays
  • 77 percent have celebrated their pets’ birthday by buying them a birthday present

And, according to Nationwide Pet Insurance, $50 billion a year is spent on gifts for our pets. Wow!

Personally, I’ve always celebrated all of my dogs’ birthdays or “Gotcha Days”. I remember every one to this day. There is no big birthday cake, but I always honor the occasion in some special way. It usually involves a new toy, treats, fun training, and extra time enjoying a hike or other outdoor activity with my birthday dog.

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Last month, Sanchez turned 13 on May 17th. Today, June 7th, is Gina’s 7th birthday.

I also celebrate Gina’s “Gotcha Day” on October 14. I adopted her from Guide Dogs for the Blind when she was 16 months old, and it’s a day I’ll never forget.

Dogs don’t understand anything about dates, so they don’t really care about their birthday. Nevertheless, it’s my way of honoring them as family members. Sanchez and Gina do so much to enrich my life. It’s my way of enriching theirs.

No matter how many birthdays, it’s always too few. Most of all, celebrating their birthdays reminds me to be grateful for every day of their lives.

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With a 13-year-old dog, I’m aware that time is precious, and every day is a gift. I’ll never know how many more memories we’ll create together.

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And, that feeling is even transferred to my 7-year-old. Gina is such a blessing in my life. She’s my reminder to be happy for no reason. If she’s moving, her tail is wagging. So, I vote to wag with her this birthday and party on!

Happy Birthday sweet Gina!

I love you to the moon and back.

Do you celebrate your dog’s birthday? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

 

Photo Credit: Viviana Guzman

 

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8 Steps to Enriching Your Senior Dog’s Life

8 steps senior dogs

I can hardly believe that my yellow Labrador, Sanchez, is now 13 years old. I count my blessings that he is in good health and still enjoys our twice daily walks. But, I’m also aware that he can’t keep up to his activity level from even a year ago, let alone in his prime. I’m always looking for ways to provide mental stimulation to his environment without physically taxing his body.

1. Alone Time Together
It’s not always easy having a multi-dog household. But, it’s important to make a priority of having time alone with your pets daily. Since Sanchez was an only dog for the first seven years of his life, he particularly appreciates this. Walks do take longer (walking Gina separately), but it’s well worth the time when I see Sanchez’s smile of contentment.

2. Keep Training
Dogs love to learn, no matter their age. I still spend time training every night with Sanchez. If it gets late, he starts whining and begging for his training time with me. The bonding time is precious and it stimulates him to keep learning and being challenged. He has no complaints about his yummy rewards either. Dog training should always be fun for both 4- and 2-leggeds. Get creative with your senior pup. Because you can teach an old dog new tricks.

3. Give Him Attention in Creative Ways
Gina is a high-drive dog. We spend a lot of time in agility training, along with retrieving and tugging at home.  While it helps alleviate her pent up energy, Sanchez used to look neglected when she was getting the extra attention. So, I started sneaking him small treats while tugging with her. At night time, I often play ball with her inside, having her run down and up the stairs, chasing and retrieving the ball. I include Sanchez in the game by discreetly tossing him small treats while she’s running back up to me to deliver the ball. It not only makes him feel included, but it also engages his senses as his nose has to search for the tossed treat.

4. Reward. Reward. Reward.
In the video above, I am training both of my dogs together. Even though Gina is doing all the physical activity, Sanchez is getting equally paid for staying calm and still while she jumps over and goes under him. Good boy, Sanchez!

5. Pay Attention to New Behaviors
It’s not unusual for senior dogs to develop anxiety issues later in life that seemingly come out of nowhere. They can include sound phobias, separation anxiety or resource guarding. There are some that I just accept, such as tearing tissue out of the bathroom waste basket. I call it his puppy behavior returned. I just make sure that I don’t put anything in the trash that could be harmful when chewed. Other behaviors will only get worse if ignored, such as separation anxiety or food resource guarding. Ignored, they will only escalate.Tips for Separation Anxiety are here.

6. Keep The Safe Physical Activity
Sanchez and I used to enjoy musical freestyle classes. He would weave between my legs, spin and jump on my arm on cue. While that would be too taxing on his body now, we have kept in what is safe for him. He still loves to “go back,” lift his left and right paw on cue, and show off his “downward dog.”  Of course, he is well paid for his behavior.

7. Engage The Senses
National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW™) is the official sanctioning and organizing body for the sport of K9 Nose Work. It is a growing popular sport, and it’s great for dogs of all ages. K9 Nose Work is built on scent work where dogs use their nose to search for their prize. Sanchez loved his K9 Nose Work class. Now, at home, I put pieces of liver into a mixed variety of cardboard boxes. He is told to “find” the liver. Boy, does his tail ever wag when he is searching!

Sanchez upside down iCalmDog

8. Canine Sound Therapy
Most senior dogs don’t have the same tolerance for noise they used to in their youth. The immune system of a senior dog is often heavily taxed. A natural reaction is to self-limit the amount of auditory or visual stimulation coming into the system. That is why senior dogs will often shut down in overstimulating sound environments. Music to Comfort Your Elderly Canine has also been helpful for pain management with senior dogs and night-time restlessness. As you can see Sanchez loves his iCalmDog. The Elderly Canine pet tunes playing on it provided great comfort for Sanchez (and me) when he was recovering from a slipped disc in his neck.

What enrichment activities have benefited your senior dogs? Thanks for adding your stories in a comment below.

And, if you missed Sanchez’s 13th birthday May 17, here is a short video clip I put together of wonderful memories together.

Sanchez’s 13th Birthday

 

 

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6 Ways to Love Your Dog on National Love Your Pet Day

BWP_SanchezCloselisaSmilesBackground

Earlier this week, I dropped off my senior dog, Sanchez, at the vet for dental surgery. I had a hard time saying goodbye to him, but I was comforted when I was able to leave him with his own iCalmDog, playing music especially designed to comfort elderly dogs. When I asked the nurse if she would make sure his music went with him everywhere—both pre- and post-surgery—she said, “Sure. It’s so sweet that you really love your dog so much.”

February 20th is National Love Your Pet Day, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what that means. While it’s really National Love Your Dog Day everyday in my canine household, there are infinite ways of showing your pet you love them. Here are just a few of my suggestions:

1. Speak their language

Dogs are constantly watching our body language so they can understand us. It’s confusing to them when we don’t understand what they are communicating with their body language. To communicate clearly with your dog, it’s important that you become fluent in their species behavior. For example, did you know that dogs see with their noses?

Gina my bed

2. Be consistent

Dogs thrive and build confidence with structure and consistency in their environment. Some are so sensitive to the slightest change. Our lives are filled with variables; try and be as unswerving as possible with your pet’s schedule, feeding time, and rules. It’s up to you whether you invite Buster into your bed. But, if he’s allowed sometimes and scolded other times, he’ll not understand why you’re upset and could easily shut down because of confusion.

3. Do some training every day

Dogs trained with positive reinforcement thrive, and it’s fun for 2- and 4-leggeds alike. It not only is a way to show love to your dog, but builds a healthy bond and  just might be the best part of her day. Sanchez and Gina, cry for their training time with me very night. And, it really is never too late to teach an old dog a new trick, as you can see in the video above.

Sanchez head in bed

4. Let them be themselves

You may have just adopted a Golden Retriever because you love the breed, and you want one with the same behavior traits of the senior Golden you recently lost. But your new Golden might have an entirely different personality. Understand and accept his difference in personality. We don’t always get the dog we want, but we always get the one we need. Their different personality might just be exactly what is best for you right now.

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5. Be conscious of their sound environment

Most dogs are much more aware of their sound environment than the 2-leggeds in the household.  The sound of the TV in one room and a radio playing in another is enough to make Buster go a little bonkers. And, cheering loudly for your favorite football team may be stressful enough to make Buster bark wildly. Always provide a safe, quiet room for your pets as an option. Better yet if you play some music especially designed for their species. Just remember that dogs will sometimes tolerate anything (even if it’s not good for them) just to be near you. So, if Buster doesn’t leave the room when you blast your music, you might just want to turn down the volume for his benefit (as well as yours).

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6. Be still together

Other species do a much better job at being present than humans. Let your pets teach you how to be still and enjoy that precious time together. If your dog is physically affectionate, cuddle up together. Just be present and mindful. You’ll cherish these moments of doing nothing together for years to come.

How do you show your pet you love them? Thanks for adding your thoughts in a comment below. (Also, just an update that Sanchez is doing great post dental surgery!)

Main Photo Credit: Mark Hothusen

 

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When Dogs Bring Us The Best News!

SacBeePhotoWithDogs

Sometimes the best things in life happen through synchronicity. In my world, those things often involve dogs.

I am an Airbnb host, and over the Christmas holiday my guest was a senior reporter for the Sacramento Bee. When visiting my home, it’s pretty obvious that my life is all about music and dogs. She inquired about my career as a canine music expert and mentioned it would make a great story. Within a week, she sent over a reporter and photographer/ videographer. It culminated in a very fun interview with Sammy Caiola and photo/video recording session with Manny Crisostomo.

Click here to watch the video and read the article:

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SacBee Highlights

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I was thrilled that my dogs were the stars of the video. Gina may have stolen the show on this one, but Sanchez is turning 13 years old in a few months, and I’m so grateful for every video of him. When Through a Dog’s Ear launched in 2008 with our first CD and book on The CBS Early Show, he became our mascot. He was present at numerous press interviews, always eager to be in front of the camera. It’s heartwarming for me to see him now greet photographers, journalists, and videographers with the same enthusiasm he had as a young pup.

Also in the news…

‘Fear Free’ Veterinarians Aim To Reduce Stress For Pets

As luck would have it, the launch of iCalmCat in January, collided with some additional incoming press. I couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Associated Press released an article about creating Fear-Free Veterinary Clinics. The article received massive global coverage ~ ABC News, Huffington Post, CBS, Israeli News, etc. Words can’t express how much it means that Through a Dog’s Ear & Through a Cat’s Ear is part of the Fear-Free Veterinary Clinic initiative. I am beyond thrilled that Dr. Marty Becker is championing this project so near and dear to my heart.

The “Fear-Free” movement was started by Dr. Marty Becker, known as “America’s Vet.” In addition to being the Chief Veterinary Correspondent for the American Humane Association, he is a man with a big heart, committed to helping animals everywhere. You may have also seen him on Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by him in New York City a year ago. (video below)

In regard to Fear Free Veterinary Visits, Dr. Becker suggests the following two veterinary practices:

1) At every moment of truth, ask yourself or the team, “If the pet could talk…what would she say right now?”
2) Take the pet out of petrified… and put pets back into practices.

Great additional suggestions here for creating a fear free clinic, many you can share with your vet.

 

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