The top dog will often stand high up on a rock.  In the dog world, many things a dog does is about status in the pack or which dog has the highest rank in the pack.  Here at Doggie Care Resort as we let the dogs outside to play, the first dog out the door is often the alpha for the day.  That important position is established each time we open the door from our indoor play rooms into our two wonderful, outdoor play yards.  Of course, the real alpha in the yard is us, but we let them think they are more important, that’s okay with us.  It’s funny to watch.  We take dogs for boarding and daycare weighing up to 43 pounds but often you’ll see the tiny four pounder standing up the highest on a rock overlooking all the other canines and attempting to secure his top pack position.  The amazing thing is that often that tiny, 4 lb dog is actually able to be the boss of the yard.  Dogs are so funny and cute.

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This Redmond Puppy is Very Fearful.    Socializing Your Dog, this is the last in a five-part series on Puppy Socializing.

Today a 12-week old, very sweet Pugal came to day care.  It had the softest fur and what is more adorable than the mix of a Pug and a Beagle? But the pup stopped me dead in my tracks for a long look.  What should have been a romping, happy canine youngster was instead a shy, very scared little pup that only wanted to hide and be invisible.  Instantly I knew this pup could not be mixed with the other small dogs romping the yards.  All dogs should be introduced to new dogs slowly but this was a baby and scared to the extreme.  I brought it into a small area in my office where I was working on my computer and where I could encourage it while allowing the poor baby to safely observe me and to peek out and then run back under a chair.

Maddie, my Westie, is so well trained. I’m a trainer and I have worked long hours with him to be my canine host here at Doggie Care Resort.   Many people have heard me tell Maddie “Sweet & Gentle” which means there’s a puppy, a shy dog or a rescue dog here and you must be extra  gentle.  Maddie has raised more puppies and helped more fearful dogs than I can count.  He totally loves puppies and knows exactly what to do.  He rolled over on his back, play bowed and swooshed his rear end toward the puppy in playful, encouraging endeavors. He ran in the opposite direction trying to get the puppy to play.  But the puppy was so fearful that he couldn’t respond. It’s one of the only times another dog didn’t respond to him.

Why was this very young pup so fearful?  The owner told me that at only 10 weeks old she was encouraged to take the puppy for training and socializing in a local Redmond program.  But the puppy was so terrified in class and shook so hard that it could hardly stand.  Several big dogs in class were allowed to bark like crazy, very loudly and non-stop which was stressing out all the other doggie students and all the owners as well.  In each and every class, these same dogs yelled and screamed totally disrupting the energy of the class.  Additionally, full grown, really big dogs romped the classroom barking then sniffing the youngster & terrifying him.  The owner was told to put the puppy out in the middle of the floor and let the pup get used to other dogs. The big dogs pounded the floor around the pup and one very big guy accidentally stepped on him injuring the leg of the pup.   The youngster had diarrhea in the middle of the floor, totally froze and couldn’t move.    Well, I must say there are some really good trainers and then there are some that shouldn’t be training.

Smartly, the owner decided not to finish the class.  She brought the dog to our daycare for socializing.  Well, in analyzing this, it’s clearly obvious that this pup has had some terrifying experiences at a young age and a time when it’s most important that a pup be guarded, feel secure and receive only happy experiences.  Don’t get me wrong.  Young dogs totally need socializing early with other dogs, new situations and different people but there are good ways and bad ways to do it.

But let me first say that most puppies are not fully vaccinated and protected until 12 to 14 weeks old.  Why this young pup was supposedly protected at under nine weeks old is a question indeed.  Vets today are spacing out the shots even on older dogs. At under nine weeks old, how could that pup have that many injections in that short of time?   It is understood why a pup would be pushed to get into a socializing program but that’s a lot of injection for a young pup.

Secondly, when you have dogs that absolutely won’t stop barking, they should be removed from class and receive some private instruction before they can return to class.  Third, there’s a time and a place to leave a puppy down and not pick him up.  Picking up a pup because he’s scared when, in fact, there’s no danger at all….actually communicates to the pup that he should be afraid.  That sounds odd, but it’s true.  However, placing that pup in the middle of huge, actively playing dogs and then having him injured is enough to make that pup afraid for a long time.  It now will take great patience, persistence and a knowledge in training to get this puppy past his fear.   Nevertheless, we can and will do it.  Because the pup is so young, I do believe we’ll have him up and playing with some other sweet dogs in no time.

There’s a lot to be done in raising a puppy.  Try to read some quality books on raising a pup.  If you will email me, I’ll be happy to send you a list of great books. Also, be sure and find a high quality, very knowledgeable trainer.  The trainer can make the difference in your puppy becoming happy and well adjusted or becoming shy, fearful and even a biting dog in later years.  Do some research and be patient, persistent and encouraging with your puppy, they are well worth the effort.

Bow  Wow ….Woof….Woof….Woof and YIPEEEEE

Note Two Weeks Later: Oh my gosh, you should see this same puppy now.  He has been coming twice a week to daycare and with an understanding of his fear & great supervision this adorable youngster is romping with every other playful dog.   It is truly Sweet Success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do Raccoons Attack Dogs?

July 20, 2011

When your own warm, red blood literally runs down your arms and legs as the result of a raccoon attack, it’s a fear you will never forget. Yes, raccoons most definitely attack dogs and people.  About this time every year, I start thinking about one of the most horrific experiences of my life when both my Westie dog, Maddie, and myself were viciously and repeatedly attacked by a raccoon.  Yes, they growl.  Yes, they know how to go for your jugular.  No, your neighbor should not be feeding them.  No, that neighbor should not trust them. Yes, they are cute…..at a distance.   Can a hungry raccoon turn on you?  Absolutely.

Note:  This accounting ends in a very good way.  Read the last paragraph.

Here’s my personal accounting of an attack that changed my life & explains why all dogs boarding with us are highly supervised and safely inside as the evenings approach.  A few years ago in September, I had my Westie, Maddie, out with me for a last-call potty time and we were not in the safe compound but were out by the car getting something. Suddenly he plunged into an attack bark.  Instantaneously, a dark figure dashed out from the dark, brushing against my shin and jumped onto him.  He was on his back screaming with this thing trying to dig into his throat. The dog could not defend himself against this thing.

Without a thought, I grabbed the thing by the back & pulled it off him.  It was a big, very angry and aggressive raccoon.  Instantly it turned it’s attention on me.  Had I taken its dinner away?  I was shrieking at the top of my lungs but no one heard since it was cool and the windows were closed.  Where were the neighbors?  Why didn’t my husband hear me?  No one came to help as it lunged onto my chest & ripped its fangs into my flesh.  I could smell its breath almost in my face and it was growling.  I threw it off, backed up and three more times it jumped on me.  Yes, it had the ability to jump and climb right up me.  My chest, arms & legs were ripped.  Finally neighbors arrived with shovels as weapons but the attack was over.  They said I sounded like a wild animal & knew something really bad was happening.  My clothes were soaked in blood.

No, there isn’t a dog boarding with us ever taken outside the safe compound, not even my own dogs. A lesson learned.  I may be overly protective now, but I don’t think that safety instinct will ever leave me.  Raccoons are in the most populated areas.  Anyway, Maddie, my dog, was fine but I had to go for a series of five rabies shots.  At the Evergreen Hospital Emergency, there were no rabies anti-biotics or vaccine but the nurses found one at another hospital.  Usually the rabies treatments are only at Harborview Hospital.  Rabies is totally lethal; there’s no cure so time is of the essence & it’s a real emergency.  Two nurses at a time came at me at the same time in both the arms and the backside with shots.   But the thing I will never forget is the incredible pain of those long needles going two to six inches into my open bloody wounds in every direction to kill any spreading infections. You say to yourself, “I’m brave; I can take it”; but you can’t.  I’m sure the whole hospital heard my screams of pain.

Oddly, it’s not the rabies shots that cause the pain, it’s the anti-biotic shots that cause a burn & pain you can’t describe and you probably will never experience, hopefully.  Rabies shots are NOT painful and they are taken in the arm, not the stomach.  Of course, this was reported to the Health Dept. which said there hasn’t been a case of rabies in raccoons here in 60 years but one still has to have the five-shot rabies series just in case.  The East Coast Raccoons are full of rabies but not here. Rabies are in Coyotes and bats here in the Northwest Seattle area.  They said that raccoons here seem to be  turning more aggressive towards people and animals.   If you have them in your yard, you can capture them in a cage unharmed and release them in another location but be careful since when the cage door is opened, they are known to turn back on you and attack.  They are smart.

The only way you can tell if an animal has rabies is to cut open the brain.                                                                                                But first, you have to get the suspect animal that took the bite.

Sure, go ahead and feed those darling Raccoons, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Hungry mothers with babies are the ones you really need to watch.  When they have grown to expect food from you and you forget to put it out that one time is when they can get angry.    You’re always fine until in one split second you aren’t safe anymore.

Well, this has ended in a good way. The good news is that we haven’t even seen a Raccoon in our area for many years now.  Our neighbors own property running the whole length of our property and got a huge Labador Retriever named “Big Boy” who runs their entire property.  Not only are the Raccoons afraid to enter his territory, we don’t even see squirrels anymore.

 

 

 

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Dog Scent Search & Object Recall is the rage of the country and it’s here for Bellevue, Redmond, Seattle & Woodinville dogs.
Doggie Care Resort’s professional trainers may be the only ones in the Belleuve & Seattle area teaching this wonderful class at our Academy of Dog Training Adventures. Big dogs, small dogs, the young & older dogs all love Search & Recall.

* Test & Improve Your Dog’s IQ
* Improve your dog’s:  Memory * Observation * Problem Solving
* Scent Tracking:  Watch your amazing Fido find your cell phone
* Enhance your dog’s learning ability & employ all of his senses
* Increase canine investigation skills, stamina & intelligence
* Educate & release canine skills to indicate
* Learn interpretation of expressions & signals
* Exercise & fun for your dog and for you

In the wild, dogs used to hunt, track, work & they loved it. Today, they sit around waiting for the owner while even the most pampered pet of the fanciest breed retains the skills of their ancestors. To be successful, all classes are based on rewards and encouragement.  Every dog loves it because every dog has the joy of learning and being rewarded and encouraged.  Owners love it too as they watch the canine “lights turn on” as their dog figures out puzzles, solves problems & mysteries and enjoys the adventures.  The canine eyes sparkle and the tails start wagging.

A canine brain that is not being challenged or used becomes dull and stagnant similar to the human brain.  If your dog is sitting around watching you watch TV, snooze in a chair, mow the lawn or make dinner, he is bored.  Even if you take him for regular walks, it isn’t enough nor the right kind of stimulation for his intelligent canine brain. With Scent Search & Object Recall you will watch your dog’s IQ grow.  A truly happy dog is one who has a job and is working.

Scent Search & Object Recall is good for every breed of dog from the biggest dog to the smallest dog.  Dogs should be at least six months old.  Many exercises, if used throughout your dog’s life, will strengthen a dog’s mind especially for “Dogs Over Age 6″.

Dogs involved in Search & Recall literally will pull their owners out of the car to get started in class. See our training classes.

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Here is our article as featured in the Woodinville Weekly Newspaper July 13, 2011, located near Belleuve & Seattle

As you pack the suitcases for that needed vacation, did you suddenly notice that Fido, your dog, has jumped into one of the suitcases? Climbing into your suitcase is Fido’s way of saying, “Hey, don’t forget your special dog”.  Being the responsible pet owner, most likely you are considering Fido’s doggie vacation in a quality boarding faciltiy while you are away. Possibly one of the very best facilities for Fido’s needed exercise & happiness is one that is cage free and kennel free.

But how do you select a top-quality dog boarding accommodation? Always take your dog and go look at a couple of facilities before selecting a place.  Here are the top things to consider in determining a superb dog boarding facility:

* First, take a critical look to make sure the facility is picked up and clean. Does the facility use anti-bacterial solutions to kill viruses and other germs?

* Second, observe the other dogs currently boarding. Are they barking wildly, panting in the corner, drooling, crouching with ears horizontal & tails tucked under in submissive postures, hiding behind bushes and looking stressed and fearful?  Or are they happily coming up to look at you, tongues hanging out from playing and tails wagging?  It is unavoidable that there may be one stressed dog among many, but the great majority should have either mellow, content eyes or eyes that sparkle from excitement plus doggie facial expressions that resemble happy smiles.

* Make sure there are clean, dry indoor playrooms as well as secure outdoor areas for the dogs to have supervised play, pal around together, romp and exercise. Find a place that allows the dogs to have sunshine & fresh air and that allows the dogs inside or outside as the weather dictates. All dogs and especially older dogs should always have access to warm, dry beds indoors.

* Next, almost no one ever asks about this very important item:  Ask to look at the dog’s eating bowls.  They should be stainless steel and cleanly washed after each use.  How are the dogs fed? The answer usually will be that the dogs are divided when being fed. But ask how they are divided to ensure that dogs get their own food. At DoggieCare Resort, the only time dogs are caged is at meal times when they are put into individual x-pens with the doors shut which guarantees the dogs their their own food. Subsequent to meals, the dogs are let out again.  Is there a separate refrigerator for dog food? How do they handle raw dog food which if allowed to thaw and left out can hold Salmonella?

* Ask to look at the sleeping quarters. Each dog should receive a fresh & sterilized bed.  All washing machines should be for canine sterilizing only and not for humans. Dog toys should be washed as well.

* Ask if current vet reports showing dogs are current in all shots are required. All dogs should be neutered and spayed.  Especially in a kennel free facility like at Doggie Care Resort, make certain there is a policy for the facility not to accept canine bullies or aggressive dogs that may bite. Understand that some dogs may not be well trained or well socialized, but these are not the same as truly aggressive or attacking dogs that could put other dogs in jeopardy.

* Evaluate the dog’s living areas. Are they warm for winter & cooled in the heat? Analyze the outdoor play areas. Are toxic chemicals used to kill weeds and slugs or is the area organic?  Are there poisonous plants such as Castor Beans or Wofsbane (both seriously toxic to dogs as well as other plants).

* Check the facility. Are there double gates so dogs can’t escape? Are the fences in good shape and is there a barrier below the fence line in case dogs dig to get free. There should be brick or fencing material about one to two feet down below the fence line. Check the supervision, are the staff trained? Are there numerous bowls of fresh drinking water? How long has the facility been is business? Do they have forms for you to complete? Will they take your dog to a vet if your dog gets sick or has an emergency? Ask questions. Are the owners hobby caretakers or are they professional and knowledgeable about dogs?

After vacation when you pick up your dog, look at his face and posture. your dog will tell you whether he has had a good time and was treated with patience, love and kindness.

 

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Isn’t that a wonderful new puppy you have there?   He follows you around obediently and is such a snuggle bug and is totally adorable.

Six months later you might instead be unable to walk bare foot on the floor around the puppy’s area for fear of stepping in something wet since his incontinent behavior is driving you nuts.  Wasn’t he supposed to be totally potty trained in a month?  And this rambunctious youngster chewed the wooden leg of your good table, unbelievable!  This morning when you called him, was it your imagination or did he run the other way?

You have tried to be the perfect mom to this fur boy.  You have spent hours cleaning up after him, kept him inside and protected him from your sister’s sweet, little puppy who wants to play too rough. You know another puppy playing too rough can’t be healthy for your dog, right?  Now he hides when that puppy comes to visit and he actually growled at that pup. What in the world is wrong?  Did you get the wrong puppy? Do you even want to keep this dirty, naughty dog?

Nearly all puppies can be wonderful if the owners know what to do.  Unfortunately, between five to six million puppies and adult dogs are euthanized every year as a direct result of human error plus a lack of socializing and proper training.

And so what does it mean when we say socialize your puppy early?  What is early? There is a window of time that is the best for socializing your dog and it depends a lot on the actual dog, the breed and the individual personality.  But it’s generally agreed the best time to socialize the pup is between 4 and 20 weeks old.  This, also, is the time when your pup may not be fully vaccine protected so it presents a dilemma and use caution. But here’s the problem in not socializing your dog at this time:  Whatever is presented as safe to your dog during this time will be safe for his lifetime.  Whatever is not presented during this time can be feared or cause anxiety for his lifetime. Why is this a problem? [click to continue…]

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This is the second article in a series about socializing puppies.  Before reading this article, please read:    Socialize & Train Puppies Early, Tip One

Last week the nicest family with a three-month-old puppy came to visit us at Doggie Care Resort.  This couple had two young teenage girls that were incredibly well behaved.  The family was checking to see if they would like Doggie Care Resort enough to leave their dog for boarding with us while they went on vacation.   When they arrived, the dog was wearing a warm sweater and was wrapped in a blanket. The wife was hugging the dog as though the dog’s very life was in serious jeopardy.

I asked if the pup had all her shots and then looked at the vet record.  Yep, good job, the dog had all her shots.  So I asked them to put the dog on the ground and take the leash off the dog so she could meet and greet my wonderfully socialized dog, Maddie.  The family looked wildly at each other.  Four pairs of eyes looked bewildered and totally afraid for their baby puppy.  They said their dog had never been around other dogs.  In fact, this puppy had never even been outside of their home.   At such a young age, this three-month old puppy required their protection so they thought. [click to continue…]

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What does it mean anyway when we say a puppy must be socialized?

Basically, it boils down to several things:  Socializing means both allowing and assisting your dog in learning about the many aspects of the world around him within a mode of positive experiences and healthful adjustment for the dog.

Socializing means allowing your puppy to be a dog and not treating him like a human.  It’s protecting him from fearful circumstances or things while still allowing him to explore. It’s taking ample time to gently introduce your puppy to new people, places, other dogs, circumstances and things while making sure your pup is safe and knows he is secure.    So much of this is all about what the owner does since the dog is quite helpless when it comes to taking himself for a ride in the car or going to the pet store to select tasty morels. Your dog often will mirror the way they are treated by you.

A puppy who is not socialized may lead a life never understanding the sheer joy of romping with another dog.  Yes, a dog will love their human but he also loves and needs other dogs.  Without being introduced to the world around him, a dog can live a life of shyness, fear or even outright aggression.  Most dogs bite out of fear and not because they are a mean dog. Quite a number of non-socialized dogs are euthanized because people reject them.    A particular example of an non-socialized dog comes to mind. [click to continue…]

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“Socialize Young Puppies Early” is a series of five articles. Please read all articles starting with this basic article.  Be sure to see the bottom of this article for pictures of the oganic gardens where the dogs play.  They are award winning gardens.

Waiting until a puppy is 16 weeks old to start teaching the facts of life is waiting too long.   Like little thirsty sponges, puppies are rapidly soaking up information even when they are only a few weeks old.  The younger the pup receives information into his little computer brain, the better.  And the younger they learn, the easier it is to teach them.

One of the biggest and most common mistakes I hear from people bringing in puppies to our boarding, day care and training are the following words:  “Well, my little puppy is eight months old, going on nine months now and I guess it’s about time for us to think about socializing him and teaching him the facts of life”.   I try not to gasp too loudly.  Here are the facts:   At only eight months old and depending on the breed, most dogs are no longer puppies but are entering their adolescent or juvenille stage.  No, it’s not too late for socializing, but what have you been waiting for anyway?   You have already missed the most crucial socializing period of your dog’s young life and you will never know how important that period was now. But yes, yes, start socializing your dog immediately even if he is eight months or older.  Here is why: [click to continue…]

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Young puppies leaving their mothers too early can have serious consequences as the pups gain maturity. We have stated a number of times that puppies should not be taken away from their mothers before eight weeks of age, but why?  Remember, dogs age quickly.  Within only 14 days of life, puppies enter what is called the Transitional Stage whereby the pups move from being infants to toddlers. Within two to three weeks their eyes open and teeth may start to form as they enter the world of new sights, sounds, smells and tastes.  But what happens then? [click to continue…]

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