5 Fun Facts About The Chihuahua

ChihuahuaOne of the most popular breeds of dog in the world is the Chihuahua. They actually hover around the 20th most popular breed in the US for each year surveyed.

Small and spunkiness are the key features of this breed. They are also known to be loyal to a fault – it’s said a Chihuahua can die of a broken heart if separated from it’s owner.

Here are 5 Fun Facts you may not know about the much loved Chihuahua:

  1. Chihuahuas were originally known as the Arizona Dog, for the predominance along the present day Arizona and Mexico boarder.
  2. Archeologists have found remains of the Chihuahua in dog effigy pots buried deep in ancient Mexican tombs. Scientists have a consensus that the breed may be a descendent of the Techichi breed, who’s remains have been found dating back as far as 300 BCE.
  3. Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog with a average weight around 10lbs. For show dogs, the suggested weight is 6-7lbs. Chihuahua puppies can weigh just a few grams at birth!
  4. The “Taco Bell Dog” served as Taco Bell’s mascot from 1994 to 2002 and is credited with the breed’s popularity explosion over the last two decades. (Bonus Fact: The Taco Bell dog was a female named Gidget.)
  5. Small breed dogs outlive their larger counterparts, but the Chihuahua can live 10-18 years with many living a long and full life of 20 years.

5 Fun Facts About The Chihuahua If you’re considering adding a Chihuahua to your family, here’s a couple things to know about owning the breed:

  • These small dogs are susceptible to serious dental conditions. A program of brushing their teeth early on his a good way to prevent illness or sickness caused by gum and tooth infections
  • Known to be nippy and protective, a good dog training program is required from puppy to adolescent ages.
  • The Chihuahua is highly susceptible to separation anxiety and boredom. Lots of exercise and walking is key to the foundation of managing these conditions. A bored or anxious Chihuahua can also be very “barky” and aggressive towards strangers or other dogs.

 

Orlando Dog Trainer: The Positive Interrupter – A Tool More Powerful Than No

Nobody Likes To Hear No

Many people get frustrated when they can’t seem to communicate with their dogs. Often times they will fall into a cycle of saying, “No” “No” “No” when their dog is doing something they don’t like. Unfortunately, dogs don’t speak English.

Dogs can certainly tell by the tone of your voice that you are displeased. In all likelihood, telling or yelling “No!” over and over will increase stress in your pup. Most likely, Sparky may even tune you out.

This Orlando Dog Trainer Believes In Positivity

Orlando Dog TrainerLet’s do a little Classical Conditioning with your pooch. (Remember Pavlov’s dog?)

For the next few days make a kissing noise and give your dog a really delicious treat-for NO reason.

His behavior is irrelevant. He doesn’t have to look at you. He doesn’t have to sit. He doesn’t have to stop what he is doing.

Just walk up to your dog, make a kissing noise and give him a piece of grilled chicken or chicken hot dog. Make sure it’s something extraordinary, not his normal treat. Do this a dozen times a day for several days.

Happy Results

What you will notice very quickly is that when you make that kissing noise, your dog will swing his head around in anticipation of the really delicious treat. Now you’ve got a “Positive Interrupter” that you can use to get your dog’s attention away from unwanted activities and you can redirect him to something YOU want him to do.

Instead of inducing stress with “No!” You are interrupting him with the positive feelings of your Classically Conditioned kissing noise.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, feel free to call me any time at 321-345-7387 ext 2.

Classical Conditioning: A Foundation Of Dog Training

2014-10-13_1413210572My dog, Chase is a “rescue” dog in the most literal sense of the word, rescue. We learned about Chase when we were just launching Big Paw Pet Care. All we ‘knew’ about him was from a frantic email exchange from a friend; an older German Shepherd Dog with a broken leg, and he had 15-minutes to live.

What we got was a one-year-old possible Australian Cattle Dog mix that had been living on the street with a dislocated toe and a huge fear of diesel trucks.

The Adoption

The exchange went down like a hostage swap in a Hardee’s parking lot halfway between Orlando and Sebring, FL. Chase was 35 pounds of skin and bones and looked like a malnourished coyote even after 10 days of dog-pound food . We found on the ride home, Chase’s fear of all things truck. When we would approach a semi truck driving down the highway, this soon-to-be 53-pound dog would try desperately to crawl under the back of the passenger seat of our Saturn Vue.

After letting Chase acclimate to his new ‘foster’-home, our first plan of attack to work on his fear of trucks was to try and create positive associations. We had to desensitize the poor little street urchin through Classical Conditioning.

What is Classical Conditioning?

Classical ConditioningClassical Conditioning is defined as: In Psychology, a learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired; a response that is at first elicited by the second stimulus is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.

Think Pavlov’s dog. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. A short version of what Pavlov did: Pavlov would ring a bell immediately before giving his dog food. He found after repeatedly pairing these two stimuli that when he would ring the bell, his dog would salivate even without the presentation of food.

Putting Theory To Work

With this in mind, Chase and I loaded up in the car with a stash of chicken hotdog bits and went out hunting down diesel trucks and semis. Every time we neared a truck, I would quickly start flipping little pieces of hotdogs into the back seat. It helped that Chase was extremely food motivated. Chase would squirm and get as far away and a low as possible when we got too close. But, it didn’t matter. As long as we were in the presence of trucks, hotdogs would fall from the sky.

Unexpected Result

A few short weeks later, as I was stopped at a stoplight and distracted with my own thoughts, I noticed Chase standing with his front paws on the center console. As I turned to him, I noticed a semi-truck directly next to us. In my blissfully unaware state, I had failed to see the truck pull up beside us.

But Chase didn’t. Chase knew that the truck meant something. In his mind, he was saying, “Hey, where are my hotdogs? Hotdogs should be falling from the sky!”

We successfully modified the association Chase had with trucks from one of fear to one of pleasure. Trucks no longer meant terror. Trucks meant something delicious.

Windermere Dog Walkers Warn Pee Pads Cause Problems

Every morning I, like everyone else, scroll through Facebook to check up on family, friends and (sadly) catch a bit of news. With each view comes the obligatory ad or two for products you may or may not have heard about already. This morning an ad for PeePooPads.com scrolled through my feed. Pee Poo Pads promise to “save you money, protect your floors and make house training a breeze”.

The ad also stated that Pee Poo Pads are cheaper than dog walkers. But are they? [Read more…]

Walk With Your Dog: Help Yourself

walking with your dogWhen I was in the Air Force, we had to wear boots for work. I had never worn boots before. I left the Air Force after my first hitch. One thing I noticed immediately was my ankles had become very weak. My boots had been supporting my ankles for years and therefore my muscles hadn’t had to support my natural body movement. [Read more…]

Does My Dog Understand Me?

Does your dog know what you say when you say it? That’s the question posed by Jon Hanson, Ph.D. He introduces us to Chaser, a border collie who’s owner has taught her more than 1000 words. That’s as much as a preschooler!

But does she really know what is being asked of her? Watch now:

What is obvious is that with after standing by our sides for thousands of years, dogs have really figured us out. From our tone of speech, to facial cues and posture, a dog knows what we’re really saying, without saying it.

Can I Make My Dog Understand Me?

Like children, dogs can learn words and basic commands through positive reinforcement. I’m proud to say my golden retriever can go potty on command – that’s #1 AND #2, thank you very much!

Have you had success training your dog to be as smart as Chaser? Share in the comments below now!

3 Reasons To Avoid Rawhide

In our Pet Tech First Aid and CPR course we cover many aspects of your pets daily life to promote a safe, healthy environment for your pet. During our section on choking management, the discussion inevitably turns to chew toys and treats. As pet sitters, we encounter all types of products visiting our clients at their homes. Some are relatively safe when used with supervision, others are dangerous from the outset and should be avoided. 
 
The one item that always falls into the danger category, even under close supervision, is rawhide. 
 
What Exactly Is Rawhide? 
 

pet sitter“Rawhide treats come from the inner layer of cow or horse hides. During manufacturing, the hides are cleaned and cut or ground. Then they’re pressed into chewable dog treats of different shapes and sizes. To make them more appealing for dogs, some rawhide treats contain beef, chicken, or liver flavorings.” (Source: Pet WebMD: http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/rawhide-good-or-bad-for-your-dog)

 
Why Avoid Rawhide? 
 
1. Choking: Chunks of soggy, yet firm hunks of rawhide can easily be swallowed by your dog. These flat pieces of semi-rigid, processed flesh can swell when they become wet with saliva. They can lodge in your dogs throat, blocking airways and cause choking. In most instances of choking by a dog, the cause most often is rawhide (more than handballs, small tennis balls and other chew toys).
 
2. Turn Stomachs Into Knots: Some dogs, especially puppies, cannot digest rawhide. Being a processed form of animal skin, it doesn’t remotely resemble the organic nature of prey food that a dogs body is able to digest. Moreover, some dogs are allergic to rawhide and may vomit or have loose stools after consuming it. And going back to point one, if your dog is able to swallow a piece of rawhide, but vomits, it doesn’t mean it won’t become a choking hazard on the way back up. 
 
3. There Is WHAT In Rawhide?: Rawhide is not a food, but a highly produced byproduct of the food industry. And the details can be downright gruesome: 
 
Removing the hair from hides often involves a highly toxic recipe: sodium sulphide liming. A standard practice is to procure rawhide in the “split lime state” as by-products from tanneries, facilities that top the list of U.S. Superfund sites. In the post-tannery stage, hides are washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide. And that’s just one step.
Other poisonous residues that may show up in rawhide include arsenic and formaldehyde. Even dog skin is a possibility. [sic] Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” (Source: http://thebark.com/content/dangers-rawhide-dog-chew-toys)
 
 
A Better Chew “Toy”
 
The fact is for dog owners, you need to supply your pet with something to chew or else you’ll end up with chewed furniture and chewed shoes. Unfortunately there’s not one perfect solution for all pets and pet owners. So we recommend several items for dogs who need to satisfy the need for chewing: 
 
pet sitter1. KONG brand chew products (unstuffed) 
2. Nylabone brand chew products can be safe as long as you select the size appropriate for your dog and they are not consuming pieces bigger than a grain of rice
3. Deer/Elk Antlers or Raw Beef Bones: Depending on your comfort level with raw bones, both beef bones or antlers can be a long-lasting product for your dogs to chew. However, some dogs have been known to break teeth on these types of products, so check with your vet on your dogs dental condition before offering these to him. 
4. Bully Sticks are an all natural, safe alternative to rawhides. 
 
It’s important that you never leave your dog by themselves when chewing a chew toy or bone. Supervision is always required. Additionally, after each chew session you should wash the item with hot water, and a mild soap, as you would your pet’s food dishes, to avoid bacterial growth and contamination. 
 
For more advice on safe pet products or advice, feel free to call us anytime at 321-345-PETS (7387)

Adorable Howling Husky

This is Einstien. He’s a few weeks old and just found his boy-boy howl.

And he’s about the cutest thing you’ll see today:

The only think scary about this howl is how adorable it is!

Pit Bull Puppy and Baby Love Snuggling

A Viral Video of a Pit Bull Puppy and Baby Melts Hearts

Pit Bull Puppy and Baby

Snuggle Buddies Eisleigh and Clyde

No doubt by now you’ve seen the video of a 10 week old pit bull puppy named Clyde cozying up to a 10-month old baby named Eisleigh. If so, you’re probably still clearing the lump from your throat and making excuses for the happy tears forming in your eyes.

Eisleigh’s mom, Brandi, says the two have been inseparable since they brought Clyde home. Brandi’s Instagram account has gained lots of new followers with her adorable pictures of Eisleigh and Clyde’s cuddle adventures. But nothing has proven as popular as this video.

The video has already earned over a 2 million views on YouTube and is still climbing. So, take a moment to share this post with your pet loving friends and let them see what real puppy love is all about.

Leash Training Your Dog in 3 Simple Steps

dog walkingDog walks are the single most important part of your dog’s daily regime. If you are not walking your dog, you probably realize you have a dog with some behavioral problems. Easily, the number one reason most people do not walk their dog regularly is due to a dog’s poor leash manners.

If you find yourself saying “I want to take him on walks, but he pulls so bad”, don’t worry your not alone. But keep in mind, if your dog pulls on leash it’s not because he’s a bad dog. It’s because he was trained to walk that way.

Don’t worry. We can start improving your dog walks by leash training your dog in 3 easy steps.

dog collarBefore we start, make sure you have the right equipment. You should be using a flat collar with a martingale hoop and a 6 foot leash. If you use certain types of harnesses, retractable leashes or other trendy sort of dog walking equipment you are probably just making your dogs reaction on leash worse by encouraging pulling. (More on that in a future blog.)

Alright, lets get started:

  1. leash pullingStop: When your dog begins pulling you on leash, stop. Don’t allow your dog to pull you. By allowing him to take you where he wants, you are reinforcing his pulling. Instead just stop, don’t move.
  2. Encourage: Now that your dog has stopped moving forward, it’s time to redirect him back the way you just came. Lean over to get his attention, call his name and encourage him with a “come” or “lets go”. Wait for him to react to your call. Don’t yell or become frustrated. It’s going to take some time.
  3. Reward: Once your dog has turned his attention to you, begin walking in the opposite direction you were just being pulled. Watch for your dog to reach your side, by your hip and reward him with praise like “GOOD!” or “YES!”. Then present him with a reward.

Pro Tip: Make sure your dog’s reward or treat is not being held out in front of your dog. Keep it in a treat pouch until you’ve marked the good behavior with “GOOD!” or “YES!”. Holding out the treat too soon turns that reward into a bribe. 

When you’ve completed Steps 1, 2 and 3 continue walking and if your dog gets ahead of you or begins pulling, repeat the steps again. This process will take several times to complete so don’t expect your dog’s

If you find that your dog’s attention is being diverted by other dogs or cars on your walk, practice in your backyard or in your home. Then move outside.