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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

3 Dog Nutrition Myths

If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family or you have recently done so, one thing you need to get right is nutrition. After all, a healthy diet is important for all of us! However, the trouble is that there is a lot of misinformation out there today regarding what you should feed a dog. So, with that being said, in this blog post, we decided to put some of the most common myths to bed. Let’s take a look at these myths in further detail…

A dog’s age doesn't matter when choosing a diet - Feeding your dog a diet that is designed for a certain stage in their life is the preferred option. This will ensure that nutrition-related health risks that are unique to a particular breed or lifestyle are minimized. Life-stage nutrition is the term used to describe the process of feeding your dog a diet that is designed to meet its nutritional needs based on the dog’s physiologic state or specific age. This will ensure your dog has optimal nutritional benefits.

Dogs can only be healthy if fed a raw diet - This is another myth that a lot of people tend to believe today. However, there has been no scientific evidence to prove that raw diets are superior in a nutritional sense for dogs when compared to commercial diets and homemade food. An animal is only healthy if it consumes all of the essential nutrients it needs in the correct proportion.

Dogs should not be fed table scraps - Last but not least, there are lots of different articles online that state you should never feed your dog table scraps. However, table scraps don’t always mean unhealthy food. Of course, you shouldn’t simply throw your last slice of pizza into your dog’s bowl. However, some food scraps are healthy, for example, lightly steamed vegetables, rice, and pasta. 

There are a number of foods that can be given alongside nutritious veterinary supplies. Nevertheless, you do need to educate yourself, as there are also a number of vegetables and fruits that should never be given to dogs because they can cause a range of medical problems. This includes the likes of tomatoes and lemons, as well as other highly acidic fruits, and garlic, onions, avocados, grapes, and raisins.

As you can see, there are a number of myths about dog nutrition, and those mentioned in this blog post are only a mere handful. Hopefully, though, they have helped to give you a better understanding regarding what you should and should not feed your dog. If you are unsure, it is always best to talk to your vet. After all, your dog’s diet will be impacted by a number of different factors, including breed.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Weather Plays a Role in Training Dogs for Detection Work

Bloodhound- Wrinkledpups Daisy Mayham photo by A. Higgins

Weather plays an important role in training dogs, so let's talk a little bit about training your dog in the foul weather conditions. 

When working a search dog one has to work in all weather conditions and all possible situations in order to expose the dog to different environments and scenarios so that the dog and handler is familiar with each event or condition they may encounter in a real incident. This also teaches the dog and handler how to problem solve and work those situations better. 

This is also true with time of day and day of the week. 

People get lost in all types of weather, any time or day and many times the weather is why they are missing, such in floods or tornadoes. Disasters are often weather related so it makes sense to train with your dog in all types of weather plus most dogs do not mind the weather like we do but some do.

I have met many dogs that prefer to stay indoors in bad weather. I had a bloodhound named Yeti who even as a young pup refused to step into the rain. I would open the back door to let her in and she would be against the door standing four feet planted on the door frame. I could never figure out how she did that with four feet and fit in the door when she was grown up she would fall into the house from leaning on the door ! But pull out a harness and leash then out the door she would go to track anything down, rain, snow or hail. 

What matters is how fun we make training or work for the dog because they will go along for the fun of it, especially if they find it interesting.

All weather conditions affect the search scene and how the search will be handled by the dog and handler because of environmental changes that happen to the scent particles  when exposed to different variables. These variables can be temperature, moisture, humidity,wind, terrain  just to name a few. There is a whole science behind scent and weather.  

Keep in mind, you and your dog constantly learn from each incident or training because each incident is different in one way or another, no two are the same.  With scent dogs, no location is the same tomorrow as it was today because scents constantly change and move which is why it is important to work in all weather. 


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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Safety Measures While Keeping Your Pooch Active In Winter

Keeping active in winter is tricky for everyone. For new pet owners, however, keeping their dogs active and fit during the cold season can feel like an impossible challenge if you lack experience. Indeed, despite their natural coat, dogs can feel the cold too. If you’re planning on enjoying the great outdoors, you need to make sure that you can play safely with your dog during wintertime without putting your pet at risk of hypothermia or other cold-related issues. 

What are the precautions you need to take to keep your dog healthy? 

You need to understand that there is a variety of different cold weathers and a variety of dogs, all different in size, coat, strength, and health. Your role as an owner is to find the right balance to keep your pooch active in winter.

Your dog needs exercise no matter what

First of all, dogs need to stay exercised to maintain both their mood and their health. Thankfully, your dog’s needs are simple so that going for a walk can act as an exciting exercise for your pet. 

Regardless of the season, you should walk your dog at least twice a day, morning and evening. You can alternate routes and pace to entertain your dog and keep the walk enjoyable. Ultimately, even if you can’t do anything else in winter, going for a walk can be plenty of fun and exercise even in winter.

Be mindful of rain and deep puddles

However, the winter weather can force you to consider safer and more accessible paths to avoid puddles and cold water. Indeed, your dog can suffer from hypothermia if they jump in freezing water. 

You want to make sure that you keep young and excited pooches on a tight leash in winter to stop them from jumping into cold lakes and rivers during your daily walks. It’s a good idea to invest in a waterproof leash to maintain your grip even under the rain! If your dog jumps and swims into the water despite your best efforts, always try to dry her coat as soon as possible.

Protect your pooch

While some dogs have a thick coat such as Siberian Huskies, others tend to have a thin coat and suffer more in the cold, such as Greyhounds. Dogs who are used to cold temperatures and have double-layered coats handle the winter weather much better than others. You can help your dog make the most of your daily walks by investing in a pet-jacket or coat to protect her. You can also prep the paws using balms and sticking to proper grooming techniques. Cleanse your dog’s paws after a walk to remove all the toxic salt and de-icer. You can also use little boots to keep her feet healthy.

Should you adjust the diet?

Last, but not least, there’s no denying that body fat is designed to keep us warm. That being said, it doesn’t mean you can allow your pooch to put on weight in winter. However, you can focus on a vitamin-rich and nutritious diet that provides all the elements your dog needs to maintain her weight during the cold months. Be careful not to overfeed her!

Keeping your dog active in winter is not about the amount of exercise you prepare for her, but how you ensure that the outdoors time remains safe and healthy. From keeping your dog away from cold bodies of water to protecting her paws, beware of the risks of winter!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Pamper Your Pooch With These Seven Suggestions

We humans are biologically built to be selfish. We make a conscious choice to be selfless with our time and our love, but when it comes down to it, we do what we can for survival. Dogs? Dogs will put themselves at risk to save our lives - and sometimes, we don’t deserve it. 

Dogs are the animals in our lives that will do everything to make us happy, from the moment we walk in through the door after work to the moment they beg for a walk, all dogs do is try to make us happy and stay loyal. Dogs are so much more than just pets, too

They are hunters, they are protectors, they are intuitive beasts that can sense more than we know, which is why there are dogs out there that can sniff out illness, drugs and even rescue people from harrowing situations. For all their loyalty and their love, dogs need to be pampered.

Pampering your pooch is so much more than just chucking them a treat every now and then. Our pets get the best attention and loyalty from us, and we have to put the effort in to make our dogs feel as loved as they make us feel. And the best thing is that our dogs love to be pampered as much as we love it. 

They love to know that they’re loved, as they show us every single day just how loved we are. With all of that in mind, here are seven ways that you can spoil your dog and make them happy, enhance their lives and making them feel loved.

Man and Dog Walking in the Mountain

Make Your Treats Homemade.

There’s nothing wrong with the shop bought treats; they’re convenient and they’re sold as products designed for dogs. However, homemade treats? So. Much. Better. You would rather a home cooked roast dinner over a microwaved meal, right? Your dog will agree, too. Baking dog treats at home with these recipes can be so much better nutritionally for your pet. Not only can you make high-quality treats, you can make them as natural as possible. Homemade treats really go down well and you can really see their happiness at your effort.

Doggy Spa Day, Anyone?

Good grooming, that’s all. Dogs are the ones that look forward to a pet, a bath and a brush, and positive grooming experiences can leave your dog feeling amazing. Take your dog to the groomers for a bath, brush and a cut if necessary. You can also hire people to come and make your dog feel relaxed and calm as part of the experience with doggy massage. Pooch spa days are very popular, and you can have your dog feeling secure and reinvigorated whenever you book them in.

Plan A Pooch Vacation.

We love to take our dogs away from home for a while and go for hikes in the forests, wanders in the woodlands and gambols in the green. No one likes to put their dog into boarding if they can avoid it, but there are special dog boarders that is almost like a luxury dog vacation! Pet resorts are a thing, and they get walked group play and one to one time with a professional puppy person. You don’t have to board your pet if you don't want to, because luxury dog carers who live in their own home or who can come to yours exist!

Dog Pulling His Toy

Pay For Doggy Day Care

You’re at work all day, and that’s not always fair for your dog. If you spend a lot of time away from your dog, you’re going to have to consider how much interaction they’re getting. Doggy day care can give your pet a chance to get out, run around, train and feel secure and loved while you aren’t there. The socialization is great for them and the constant running around can make them happy and tired for being ready to be at home again. You can even find daycare facilities that will collect and drop off your dog!

Vets, Ahoy!

The dog doesn't like going to the vet. You don't like taking your dog to the vet. However, it’s one of those things that we have to do even when we don’t want to. A part of pampering your dog is to ensure that they are healthy from teeth to toes, and it’s one of the ways that you can spoil your dog. His health is important, as is yours, and you can really help your dog to feel calm and happy purely by making sure that their vet appointments were attended each time.

Backyard Heaven

You have the space, and your dog needs the exercise. If you create a backyard heaven for your dog with a fence to keep them secure, shelter from the elements and a self-filling water dish that your dog can drink from when they want to. You can even add in a little zone where they can dig down and get muddy without ruining the rest of your garden. If you have a cat, and they’d be okay with it, install a doggy door to the house so yours can come and go as he pleases.

Sleeping Time

Your dog is likely to want to sleep on the sofa or up on the bed where you sleep. However, that’s not always okay! You can buy your dog a stylish bed or area to sleep piled with lots of blankets and pillows to make their space comfortable. Older pets with arthritis will always feel appreciative of a heated bed with tons of pillows that’s easy to get in and out of.

Your dog needs to be pampered and all your pet wants is your time and to know he’s loved. Take the time to pamper your pooch and let him know that you care about his well being. Dogs pick up on a lot more than we think, and we should do what we can to show them as much loyalty as possible.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Getting The Basics Right: What You Need To Consider When You Get A Puppy

There is so much you need to think about when you decide and make the commitment to get a pet dog. In theory, this is an additional member of your family unit. Whether you have children or not, they are part of your family, and so you do need to ensure that they are treated this way. It is a big commitment to make. One that requires your love, devotion and attention. 

A puppy especially can be quite demanding, as everything is going to fall on your shoulders in terms of what they learn and their level of care. There are many things you need to be considering now that you are a puppy owner, here are some of the things to think about to help you get started on this new journey.


Think about the level of activity they are going to get

When you first bring your puppy home, the last thing you are probably thinking about is the level of activity they are going to get when it comes to dog walks and such. However, it is only a matter of weeks before your puppy will be allowed out of your home, so it is definitely worth thinking about.

You may want to think about booking puppy training to help you with the basics and start off on the right foot. In terms of walking, they may likely won’t be up to long walks in the fields or hills, so working out a route close to home to build up the stamina will be a good place to start. 

Are they left alone for too long?

The next thing to think about would be how often and for how long they are or are going to be left alone for. Puppy's need love and attention, and will not thrive being left alone for too long. Before you make the commitment you may have already given some thought to this. It could be that you change your routines with working, or call on friends and family to help you by visiting your puppy often. It might be worth taking the time to consider this carefully before making the commitment. It isn’t fair on you or the puppy if it is something that you can’t commit to.

Do they have everything they need?

The next thing you will want to think about is whether or not they have everything they need. A puppy won’t be toilet trained at first, this is something that you are going to need to do yourself. So it may be time to start thinking about toilet pads that can be laid on the floor. You might also want to think about a bed, a designated area for your puppy if you don’t want them sleeping on your bed or with you. It is also going to be a good idea to think about other things such as vet appointments for vaccinations, grooming products, blankets and dog leads.

Are you sure this is right for you?

Finally, the last big question to ask yourself is whether or not this lifestyle change and commitment is right for you and your life right now. It a big decision to make, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Let’s hope reminding you of the basics and what is needed when taking care of a puppy helps you make the right decision for you.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Dos and Don'ts Of Keeping Your Dog Calm

Dogs can get excited or scared for a number of reasons, and being prepared for them is a must if we want to avoid things like awkward situations, excessive barking, mess in the house, chewed up furniture, and other things. Knowing the dos and don'ts of keeping your dog calm will help you to ensure your dog is happy and free from anxiety most of the time, and that you can both live together in harmony.

Do: Know Your Dog’s Triggers

Pay attention to what your dog’s triggers are. They may not like large groups of other dogs, so they act out at the dog park. Perhaps they hate it when you leave the house, and get terrible separation anxiety. Whatever your dog’s triggers are, pay attention and come up with a plan to help them. Usually, this means exposing them to what they are afraid of just a little bit in a way that you can control, to show them that the world is not ending.

Don’t: Throw Your Dog Into The Deep End

If you think repeated exposure to what your dog hates will help, you’re wrong. This could lead to a deeply depressed, anxious, and timid dog. You want your dog to be happy. Just because they may eventually get used to you leaving them for hours and hours on end, doesn’t mean it’s ok to do so or fair on them.


Do: Consider Various Methods To Keep Your Dog Calm

There are so many options out there that could help you to keep your dog calm, depending on what you’re looking for and what the situations is. A Thundershirt, for instance, can wrap tightly around your dog and will help to ease anxiety when there is a storm, or fireworks are being let off. CBD treats every day can help to keep their anxiety on an even keel and make them far happier - just make sure you choose the right treats and give them the correct amount. Then, there are options like anxious pet therapy. Dog massage, soothing music - the list goes on. You’re going to need to pay attention to what works for your dog in certain situations.

Don’t: Get Angry With Your Dog Or Punish Them

This is not the time to get angry with your dog or punish them. They cannot help feeling anxious or scared. Imagine being a dog and not really having any idea about the world around you. When you hear loud noises, it would seem obvious that you think something bad is going to happen. When you leave, it won’t always be obvious to them that you’re going to be back in an hour. This is why you absolutely must stay patient. Do your best to train them from when they are very young, and this will make it easier for them as they age. Training an older dog is possible, but it can be a little more difficult to get them out of bad habits that they may have picked up.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Training Your Dog to Protect Your Child

Dogs tend to be loyal creatures by nature and will generally protect any member of the family if they spot a threat. However, it can be wise to train them specifically to protect a child, which is not quite the same as their usual training. The earlier you start to train them the better, but even dogs that have passed the puppy stage can still be trained for this important task.

Your dog is already a valuable member of your family and he sees you as his pack with the children being the cubs. Training them to protect the cubs can take a few weeks, sometimes a little longer. Once they know what to do though, they will never forget it and will guard your children always.

The Basics

Before you can train your dog to be a child protector they have to know the basic commands. They should sit, walk, some, stay, be quiet or bark at your command. They should also be allowed to interact with other people and dogs so that they learn to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys.

Leather dog collars with a leash, some treats for when they do well and a place to train are the best way to get started. The only other you will need is a lot of patience.

Using The Leash

From when he is a young pup you should take your dog a walk to get him used to you being in control. Let him be fussed by people you know are safe, but with strangers give a slight tug on the leash and hold him back. Dogs have a sense about who is good and bad and they will very soon start barking at someone they are not too keen on.

Over time, the dog will react differently with various people and will automatically go into protection mode if they do not like someone that approaches you. When you see this happening it is time to let your child take the leash and the dog will very soon learn that it is them they need to protect. This protection will become a habit that happens automatically if your children are playing outside, for instance.

Getting Them To Bark

Your dog has to be fully socially trained before you can train them to protect your child. Take them out into a lot of different environments where they will meet different people, other animals and experience new sights and sounds. They need to obey your commands no matter what distractions there are.

Most dogs will bark as a stranger approaches. Let him bark 2 or 3 times and then give a tug on his leash and tell him ‘quiet’. When he does as he is told give him a treat and he will soon learn when he should bark and when he should be quiet.

Next move onto the child holding the leash and giving the ‘quiet’ command and when he starts to obey your child, let them give him the treat.

After using either of these methods you will know that your child is always safe when your dog is around.

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
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Welcome UK and Worldwide Visitors

Welcome UK and worldwide visitors and friends to Family Disaster Dogs online! Although I'm an American author and dog professional the worldwide web has given me the opportunity to connect with some wonderful folks who have contributed pictures for my books. The "Start Mantrailing" book features RRI K9 North Scotland trained Search and Rescue Dog "Amber" on the cover and her teammates training in the book, plus American dogs using my training methods. A portion of sales of the Start Mantrailing book or copies were donated to RRI North Scotland. The children's picture book "My Puppy Can Find Me" has my daughter and bloodhound as illustrations by UK cartoonist Scotty King. You can find the books on Amazon UK or use the contact page to order from me. When you click the links will take you to your own county pages of this site.

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