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6 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe on Halloween

 

halloween pumpkin witch dog

It can be very fun for children to dress up as ghouls and goblins. But, dogs don’t understand the concept and can be very fearful of people wearing masks and costumes. And the huge number of children ringing the doorbell yelling “Trick or Treat” can cause excessive barking and put many dogs into sensory overload.

In my early adult years, I had a small dog with a heart murmur that had a heart attack on Halloween and died. The constant activity was too much for him. If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept him away from the stress of all of the noisy activity and immersed him with canine sound therapy.

keeping dogs safe on halloween

1. Keep Your Dog from Turning Into Houdini

Outside of July 4th in the U.S., Halloween is the most popular night for pets to escape their homes. Keep your dog in a quiet back room with some soothing music playing. Or if Buster is near the front door,  make sure he’s on a leash held by another family member. Praising and rewarding him for calm, quiet behavior is also invaluable. It will help inspire him to choose to stay inside. For precautionary measures, it’s best to make sure that all of your pets are wearing IDs.

dogs and halloween

2. Keep All Candy Out of Reach Of Your Pets

Many treats can be harmful for your pets, including chocolate. Laura Cross from Vetstreet tells us, “Sugar-free candy is also a risk, as it may contain xylitol, which can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs.”

keep candy away from dogs on halloween

3. Watch Out for Lit Jack-O-Lanterns

While a small amount of pumpkin is healthy for dogs and cats, consuming an entire raw pumpkin can make them sick. And, if it’s a lighted Jack-O-Lantern, you run the risk of your pet knocking it over and starting a fire. Best to go with the battery operated ones this year.

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4. Pets in Costumes

Some dogs can tolerate wearing costumes. But, many can’t. If your dog wants to get out of his costume, let him. Make sure all costumes are comfortable and that accessories or buttons are not chewable. Gina tolerated her batdog costume because she was very well paid when I put each piece of it on her when we entered the USDAA Cynosport World Games costume contest.

 

5. Tire Her Out

Make sure you get your dog out for a good romp during the day and tire her out. Frequent games of fetch along with some extra training sessions can also help  her be less reactive during the evening festivities.

6. Put Her In A Quiet Room with Soothing Canine Music 

In my early adult years, I had a small dog with a heart murmur that had a heart attack on Halloween and died. The constant activity was too much for him. If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept him away from the stress of all of the noisy activity and immersed him with canine sound therapy.

How do your pets do during Halloween? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

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5 Easy Tips to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

It’s that time of year again… the kids have gone back to school after an action packed summer. It’s been fun for the children, and Buster has been so happy with the extra attention and playtime. Then one day, his world changes. The house is empty and he’s left home alone. Uh oh, does Buster have separation anxiety?

The stress of suddenly being alone may cause behavioral changes… excessive barking, destruction, escaping, pacing, chewing, scratching, and even the inability to lie down and rest.

While there is no evidence showing why some dogs have separation anxiety and some don’t, dogs are naturally social animals. So much so, that behaviorist and author John Bradshaw says, “Surprisingly, most dogs, given the choice, will actually prefer human company to other dog company.”

The ASPCA states,

“When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the dog’s underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the dog experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety.”

What You Can Do to Help Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

1. Mix Up Your Patterns

Dogs are smart. They are constantly studying all of our behaviors, actions, and routines. If you always put on your shoes right before you leave the house for the day, the shoes tell Buster that you are leaving. If picking up your car keys is always a precursor to leaving, Buster may start to panic just at the sight of your keys. Start mixing up your routine. Pick up your keys and start cooking dinner. Put on your shoes and walk to your computer. Do the opposite and put on your shoes, open the door, but don’t leave. The idea is to keep Buster guessing so that he starts to unscramble the patterns you’ve already set in place.

Certified Professional Dog Trainer and behavior specialist Nicole Wilde calls it “The Faux Go”. In her book, Don’t Leave Me! she says, “You’ll be teaching your dog that the door opening and you walking out is nothing to worry about.” Separation Anxiety training protocol by famed dog trainer Victoria Stilwell can be found here.

2. A Little at a Time

If the kids aren’t going back to school for another three weeks, start practicing with very short departures today. If all goes well, start increasing your time, little by little. A human minute may equal a dog hour, so take puppy steps when increasing your time away incrementally.

3. Tire Her Out

A tired dog will less likely be inclined to tear up the linoleum while you are gone. Get up extra early to go for a long walk. Engage in a good game of retrieve. The amount and length of activity depends on breed, size, and age.

4. Training and Dog Tricks

While exercise and long walks are great at keeping him in shape, he’ll get more tired from mental stimulation combined with exercise. I joke that the more I hike with Gina, the better shape she gets in to prepare for even more physical activity. But, add in some agility training, and she actually gets tired. Don’t have any jumps at home? Try teaching Buster some new dog tricks daily.

5. Let Music Soothe His Fears

Don’t leave Buster home alone. Leave him with his own iPawd. While iCalmDog is the portable solution to canine anxiety, the clinically tested music works just as well at home as when Buster is on the go. Thousands of veterinarians and dog trainers worldwide have recommended the slowed down, simplified, classical compositions. Take a lesson and enjoy a soothing sound bath with your pup.

 

listen-samples-buster-headphones

 

Has your dog experienced separation anxiety? What have you found to help? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

 

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7 Simple Tips for Calming Your Dog During Fireworks

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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

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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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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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Happy Mother’s Day! Love, Fido

Mother’s Day is not the easiest of holidays for me. I have no human children and have never been called “mom.” No one has ever said to me, “Happy Mother’s Day mom, I love you!”But, can we be mothers to species other than humans?

I am the single provider for two dogs, Sanchez and Gina. But, I usually think of them as my companion animals, not my children, even though others may see me as a crazy pet parent, with my children being of the furry sort.

My 85-year-old mother is 3,000 miles away. I am very grateful that she is in good health.  And, even though my dogs are not my children, I am very happy to be spending Mother’s Day with them. Whether I take them for a hike, drive them to the beach, or they sit by my side at an outdoor cafe, they are still my full responsibility.

Lisa Gina Agility Pink

I pride myself with being a very conscientious care-taker for them, providing a very healthy diet, plenty of exercise, daily reward-based dog training, environmental enrichment, a stress-free home environment, participation in dog sports, playtime, and an infinite amount of love. They won’t ever graduate from high school, leave for college and produce offspring. But, when I adopted them, I promised them a forever home. They get room and board with medical and dental for life. I am their provider, care-taker, training partner, agility partner, canine freestyle partner, and human snuggler, even if I am not their mom.

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A study in New Scientist reported that pet dogs rival humans for emotional satisfaction. After playing with their pets, dog owners experienced a burst in a hormone linked to infant care. I honestly have had more experience playing with puppies than taking care of infants, so I can’t compare. But, I do know that my engagement and relationship with my dogs is extremely emotionally satisfying and bonding. It’s not surprising to me that Dr. Rollin McCarty, Director of Research at the Institute of HeartMath, conducted an experiment and found that heart-rhythm entrainment, or synchronization, occurs between people and their dogs.

There are 75.1 million children in the United States. Stats.gov projects that number will increase to over 100 million by the year 2050.  At the end of 2009, The Humane Society reported there were 77.5 million owned dogs in the U.S. and 93.6 million cats. The pet over-population problem is out of control.

Lisa Gina Hike VM

So, this Mother’s Day, I’m going to enjoy being a mom, if only for a day. I’m not going to feel guilty raising good canine citizens instead of good children. I’m going to be proud of my choice to not add to the human over-population and remind myself that I am helping the pet over-population.

 

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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:

AllBark

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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Costumes For Dogs: Yea or Nay?

Gina Batman

In recent years, dogs have become part of our families. There is a wealth of good information readily available about their health and behaviors, they often sleep with us, we take them on our vacations and we might even call ourselves pet parents. But, unlike our human children, they don’t understand the concept of Halloween or dressing in costumes to pretend they are someone else.

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Catwoman & Batman at 2014 Cynosport Costume Contest

Some dogs (and even less cats) can tolerate wearing costumes. Others may even enjoy the extra attention if their costume is comfortable. But, many can’t. They don’t like their paws being touched and put through sleeves, don’t like hats on their head and aren’t comfortable with anything that restricts their natural movement.

Bumblebee Family
My Bumblebee Family

Even so, I have to admit, I do dress my dogs, Sanchez and Gina, in costume every Halloween. I wouldn’t say the enjoy it, but they tolerate it just fine. I make sure they are very well paid with yummy treats when I am dressing them and while they stay in costume (usually for less than 10 minutes). And Gina gets her favorite activity afterwards, a game of tug with me.

Don't limit vision, including peripheral
Don’t limit vision, including peripheral

If you do dress your pets, make sure:

  • You allow your dog to sniff and investigate the costume before putting it on
  • All costumers are loose fitting and comfortable
  • There are no chewable accessories or buttons
  • Nothing is covering their eyes that limit their vision
  • They are able to get out of their costume if showing signs of stress
  • Your pet is extremely well paid

As you can see in the video below, Sanchez and Gina, are quite enjoying their payment for wearing their bumblebee costumes.

If your dogs are in costume and you are in the vicinity of other dogs, be careful that your dog’s costume doesn’t obscure body behavior other dogs need to read to understand your dog. If your dog is dressed in a big dinosaur suit, another dog may barely recognize him as a dog and can’t observe his natural body language.

Do you dress up your pets for Halloween? If so, how do they respond? Thanks for sharing your stories in a comment below. And feel to include pictures of your dogs on Facebook.

 

Related:
3 Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin for Dogs and Cats
5 Tips for Keeping Dogs Safe on Halloween
Happy Halloween from the Bumblebees

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Playing Piano for Gina on her 5-Year ‘Gotcha Day’

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Five years ago today, I adopted Gina. It’s hard to believe that I once thought she was the dog I never wanted. But, a wise soul once said, “you don’t get the dogs you want, you get the dogs you need.”

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I remain forever grateful for this 44 pound package of pure joy and happiness that entered my life at the perfect time. She reminds me every day to just get out and play, and that is reason enough to be happy.

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In addition to playtime and working together as an agility team, I also cherish quiet moments together. While she’s normally a bundle of energy, she gets very soothed by my piano playing. And, with the launch of iCalmDog 2.0 this week, I’ve also been a bundle of energy and needed the quiet time as much as her.

Gina and I share a special song. When she was in ER a few years back, and I wasn’t sure she was going to survive, we listened to the Skulta Adagio together. It created an experience of closer connection to a dog than I had ever known. I’ll never forget that moment. In the vet clinic, we were listening together on her iCalmDog. Now, when I play it for her on the piano, it reminds me of my deep gratitude for our deep emotional bond. (And you won’t want to miss her reaction at the end of the video.)

If you’d like to also create a similar experience with your dogs, I will be giving a live simulcast of a Canine Classical Concert from my living room in December.  You’ll be able to tune in with your pups from the comfort of your home. Click here for details on my FREE Secret Piano Show (then scroll down). Of course, Sanchez and Gina will be hanging out by the piano too.

Happy “Gotcha Day” Gina. You are such a blessing in my life, and I remain forever grateful for all the gifts you bring me.

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How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Sound Sensitive?

Hear no Evil

As a musician with a discerning ear, I’m ultra sound sensitive. When I enter a restaurant, I make my decision to stay for a meal based as much on the sound environment as the menu and atmosphere. I’ve also been known to go into sensory overload in large crowds with loud music playing.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a pet calming maestro or a sound sensitive human, but I’m always amazed by the number of sound sensitive dogs I meet whose caring, loving people are not aware of their dog’s fear of noises. So, it didn’t surprise me when I read in Applied Animal Behaviour Science about the results of a study by Dr. Rachel Casey at the School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol.

Casey’s objective was to gain insight into how domestic dogs react to noises. Only a quarter of the people reported their dog as ‘fearful’ of noises, yet nearly half of the owners reported at least one behavioral sign typical of fear when exposed to disturbing noises such as fireworks, thunder and gunshots.

Science Daily reported, “This suggests that whilst they are aware of their pet’s behavioural response when exposed to a loud noise, owners do not necessarily recognise this as being indicative of fear or anxiety. This has relevance both for awareness of compromised welfare, and the methodology for surveying such behaviour.”

Hide and seek

The most common behavioral signs reported:

  • Vocalizing
  • Trembling/ Shaking
  • Hiding
  • Seeking people

Other fear signs not often reported because they aren’t typically seen as fear:

  • Decreased activity
  • Salivation
  • Urination
  • Destruction

Dr Rachel Casey said:

“Our results suggest that the characteristics of dogs, their early environment, and exposure to specific loud noises are involved in the development of fear responses to noises. Interestingly, less than a third of owners sought professional advice about treatment for their pet’s response to noises.”

vacuum cleaner

Causes for Noise Phobias:
It’s difficult to pinpoint the causes of noise phobias. In some cases it’s related to breed (herding breeds being notorious for sound phobias), in other situations it’s simply lack of exposure to those sounds as a puppy. And, it’s not unusual for noise anxiety to increase with age, for no apparent reason.

Sound Associations:
Dogs are very quick to build associations. Fido may cower when you take out your camera with a flash. But, it only appears that he’s afraid of the camera. He actually may be afraid of the sound of the flash, as it could remind him of lightening during a thunderstorm.

Helping Sound Sensitive Dogs:
Become aware of your home sound environment and any sound environment your dog enters. Take a Sonic Inventory (click here for guidelines) and lower the volume on all home appliances. 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 one way of becoming aware of the noise in your pet’s environment and take measures to improve it.

Dog is listening music

Provide a healthy sound environment that is pleasant for the 4- and 2-leggeds in your household. Listen to sound samples of species specific music for both dogs and cats. Invite your 4-legged friends in for a listen. Notice their behavior. Do they move closer to the sound source or away from it?
Note: If you are playing the music on a computer, it’s always best to play through external speakers with good sound quality. We have found that it does make a difference for Fido and Fluffy.

Do you have a sound sensitive dog or cat? What has helped them? Thanks for sharing your experiences in a comment below.

 

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5 Ways to Nurture Your Dog on National Spoil Your Dog Day

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We bring dogs into our human world because we love them with our hearts and souls. We ask them to adjust. Some do, many can’t. As responsible pet parents, it’s up to us to provide ways to help make our crazy human world more manageable for them.

Today is National Spoil Your Dog Day. While there are an infinite number of ways to spoil your dog, here are my suggestions for creating a well-balanced dog. I don’t regard any of these as spoiling Buster, just treating him with respect. Our dogs spend so much of their time observing us and fitting into our world, it’s equally important that we provide them the same appreciation.

As humans, we have the option to take care of ourselves by practicing yoga, drinking green tea and meditating.There are ways that we can provide similar nurturing experiences for our dogs. Recent research shows that stressed dogs live shorter lives. Now you can think of pampering as extending their lives.

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1. Silent Meditation Walk

Have you ever walked with your dog in total silence? When I do this with Sanchez and Gina, it inspires me to be more observant of them and connect with them in a way that I don’t through verbal communication. It’s very interesting just trying to observe the world from their point of view. Try it while following your dog’s cues. He may just want to stop and sniff to his heart’s content. Taking in the scents gives him all sorts of information and provides enrichment for him. And non-verbal communication between the two of you often creates an even deeper bond.

More Dog Cookies

2. D.I.Y. Dog Treats

Whether your dog fancies Pumpkin Squeaks or Banana “Mutt” cookies, it’s easy making your own dog treats. Buster will be taking in all the delightful smells, and you’ll be saving money on store bought treats. Best to use all organic ingredients, and make sure the peanut butter doesn’t include xylitol, which is often lethal for dogs.

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3. Enroll in a Sport Together

If you have an athletic dog, she might love dog agility. It’s a team sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off leash, and treats and toys are used in training, but not in competition. Any breed can do it, no matter the size. Best to make sure they are in good physical shape first. Other fun, popular sports and activities include dock diving, canine freestyle, disc dogs, fly ball, lure coursing, tracking and nose-work. Find one that your dog loves and you will be amazed how much fun you’ll be having together.

4. Environmental Enrichment

Providing environmental enrichment helps stimulate Buster’s mind. There are a variety of ways to enhance a dog’s environment. Many often help dogs with behavior challenges, and they can relieve boredom. Examples include food puzzles, music designed to calm the canine nervous system, calming aroma sprays, rotating their toys, and teaching them new tricks.

Massage

5. Canine Massage

Dogs reduce our stress. Canine massage is a way of giving back to them so that we reduce theirs. Veterinarian Narda Robinson, Director at Colorado State University’s Center for Comparative and Integrative Pain Medicine, teaches classes on canine massage. She believes that when administered with science knowledge, canine massage can help dogs recover from injuries, illness and stress.

How do you spoil your dogs and show respect for them? Thanks for sharing your suggestions in a comment below.

 

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