Posted: Jul 07 2017
There are probably many more benefits to having a dog than you might think!
You'll be more active, healthier and exercise more!
Walking your dog helps you lose or maintain weight, reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and leads to reduced stress. Studies show that people with a dog have lower blood pressure than those who do not.
Apart from the exercise benefits for you and your dog, walking (and socializing) your dog is very important for his well-being, as he learns how to interact with people and other canines.
Need a pickup?
Not having a great day? It happens to the best of us!
Pets, especially dogs, help lift our mood and make us feel less lonely. Studies have shown that oxytocin is boosted in both dog and human when a dog owner stares into his dog's eyes. Oxytocin is one of our body's feel-good chemicals that also plays an important role in social bonding.
Dogs are great stress-busters in all kinds of situations (some unexpected...)
It's widely recognized just how much dogs help in reducing stress levels, whether patting, playing, or simply going for a walk. This is backed up by many reputable studies, and is evidenced in practice by the increasingly widespread use of therapy dogs in a variety of settings.
To help students de-stress at exam time
Dogs are increasingly being used by a growing number of third level institutions in Ireland, UK and USA to help students deal with exam stress.
The use of dogs to help patients in recovery, visit the elderly, etc., has also become widespread due to the clear therapeutic benefits, especially among those with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The use of animal assisted therapy has also proven beneficial, e.g., dogs helping sick children better cope with health issues.
This has been found to apply in the workplace also. A number of studies have shown that dog-friendly workplaces lead to reduced stress, increased productivity, less absenteeism, and improved relationships with co-workers, encouraging team-building. Employers also gain a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining top talent, as increasingly, a pet-friendly policy is a factor for job-seeking millennials.
Dogs are social beings and great ice-breakers, and this rubs off on their owners. People are more likely to stop and talk with other dog lovers when walking their dog. This can help us make friends, connect socially with neighbors, and leave us feeling less isolated, in turn improving psychological well-being and self-esteem.
Dog walking groups
This is a growing trend where dog lovers meet on a regular basis. Most groups are informal, however, some groups are more structured with more organized walks, occasionally involving a small fee or charge. This trend can lead to sharing dog walking/dog sitting as needs arise due to work commitments, travel plans, etc., and can also include dog walking for infirm neighbors.
Health benefits for children
Children in households with dogs are less likely to have allergies. Research shows that living in a home with a dog can result in increased immunity to pet allergies later in life. A study in Science Daily found that children who grow up with dogs in the home have fewer allergies and are less likely to have eczema.
Dogs are good for children in other ways too
It's not just about allergies...
Children with dogs tend to be more empathetic, and also tend to be more popular with their peers and have healthy self-esteem, all of which impact their emotional and social development.
A recently published study by the University of Cambridge adds to increasing evidence that household pets may have a major influence on child development, and could have a positive impact on children's social skills and emotional well-being.
Mental health benefits of dog ownership
Dog owners are less likely to be depressed. Dog owners who have been diagnosed with clinical depression are likely to be less depressed than people in similar situations without a dog. Caring for a dog has been found to help relieve symptoms of depression while encouraging people to be more positive.
Companionship at every stage of life
Pets positively impact feelings of loneliness and isolation and provide companionship across all generations.
Safety and security
Many people, especially those living on their own, the elderly, etc., find great comfort in the physical presence of a dog.
Police departments recognize dogs as one of the most effective deterrents for would-be burglars.
Dogs are for life...not just for Christmas!Choosing a companion that will suit your lifestyle is really important to ensure you can commit to the time and level of care and attention that the dog needs on an everyday basis for the rest of his or her life.
UKUSCAdoggie would like to thank Gerry Molloy, CEO/Founder of WoofAdvisor for submitting this article. If you would like to see more articles like this, please check out the links below and be sure to sign up for their newsletter!
WoofAdvisor is a platform that connects the Accommodation, Hospitality and Pet Sectors with a global community of pet lovers, offering content that is relevant, independent and trusted, providing a resource that takes the uncertainty and stress out of traveling with pets.
Posted: Nov 29 2016
Should you bring your dog along?
We say a big yes to this one! Unless your dog is sick, injured or pregnant, we're sure your pooch will want to go where you go. There are, however, a few things to consider when you're thinking about a pet-friendly vacation...
Some dogs might find travel upsetting - when their routine is disrupted, there might be a tendency to get over-excited or emotionally upset or they might suffer from motion sickness. Will this be a fun trip for your dog? Perhaps not if he winds up staying cooped up in a hotel room while you're in business meetings all day. In these kinds of cases, then maybe looking for the perfect person to look after him while you're away might be the best way forward, and we'll talk about that a little later.
Depending on where your travels are taking you and how you're getting there, it's a good idea to make sure you research the location's rules and policies regarding animals, such as quarantine laws and pet transport restrictions. You should also let your hotel know you have Fido in tow and confirm that they do indeed welcome animals. Then, before you go, take a trip to the vet to make sure your dog's fit to travel. having a health certificate stating that he is healthy, able to travel and that all necessary vaccinations are up to date is a great idea. Also, if you've not already done so, it might be a good idea to have him micro chipped just in case he decides to do some of his own sightseeing.
Before the trip, make sure you have all the supplies you're going to need - replacement leashes, lunch boxes for dogs, dog backpacks, water bottles, favorite toys, blankets, canine flotation devices and of course plenty of balls! Everything your dog will need to be happy and safe on his travels.Also, just to be on the safe side, be prepared for every eventuality and locate an emergency veterinarian in the area before your trip. It's a good idea to make sure you have the details with you at all times just in case.
Time to go!
Ok, so you've decided to bring him along - after all, there's just no way you could ever leave your best friend behind! You've done your forward planning and you've made sure your dog's every need is catered for - not just while traveling, but once you reach your destination. You definitely want to make sure that your time together is nice and relaxing.
To crate or not to crate...
Most dogs feel very safe in their crate so it's often a great travel option whether you travel by air or car. It used to be that crating a dog in a car was the only way to prevent him from moving around in a vehicle causing a distraction and preventing him from becoming a projectile if you needed to stop quickly. These days, however, there are some great dog safety harness options that do the job. Sleepypod's Clickit Sport is a great harness for dog travelers and has passed crash testing with flying colors. Definitely worth a look!
If you do decide to go the crate route, it's important to make sure your dog has been exercised prior to the trip and that the crate doesn't have anything inside it that could cause him harm. It's a good idea to keep food and water to a minimum before you leave, just in case, but be sure to give him a well-deserved high-protein small snack when you take a break. A little walk is always a good idea too, but remember, if you do need to leave your dog in the car (something we really don't recommend), make sure it's not warm outside. Even with a window open, a car can soon turn into an oven and cause your dog to become dehydrated or worse.
Be sure to carry water and ice in containers for rest stops. We've got some great travel bowls that will make feeding and watering your pooch on the road a breeze. Window shades on back and side windows are a good idea if you're headed to sunnier climes, and if your dog is prone to car sickness, be sure to ask your veterinarian for suitable remedies.
Taking to the air...
If you're flying with Fido, make sure you talk to the airline in advance so you know exactly what their requirements are - you definitely don't want any last minute surprises! Make sure you find out if they will require a health certificate and which airline approved pet crates they accept for example. If you will be crating your dog, it's always a good idea to make sure he's used to it before the big day! Just like in a car, it's best for dogs to travel on an empty stomach, so don't feed him right before the trip and make sure that, while he does have access to water, it's just enough to keep him hydrated. It's always a good idea to take along your dog's favorite toy or blanket to comfort him and keep him nice and calm. While we don't advocate "drugging" your pooch while he travels, you could always try a little calming spray.
Lots of major hotels have changed their attitude towards animals in recent years and there are so many choices when it comes to dog-friendly hotels and vacation rentals out there! Many of them will even recommend dog-friendly activities you and your furry friend can enjoy together. When it comes to dog parks there are so many options these days - as well as the great outdoor versions, there are now unleashed indoor dog parks in many locations so bad weather doesn't have to curtail your activities. When you arrive at your hotel, it's a good idea to take your dog for a nice, calming walk before going to your room and when you do go in, be sure to check out the space thoroughly so you can alleviate any not so dog-friendly items that might be lying around. If your dog tends to bark, don't leave him alone in your hotel room, but if you do, be sure to let the front desk know.
Dogs do tend to do best with some kind of routine so even though you're away from home, be sure to provide regular walks, playtime, access to fresh water at all times and the same kind of food he's used to eating at home if possible so as not to upset his stomach.
Can't bring Fido along?
Then you need to find the perfect dog sitter!
There are certainly some great options out there these days, but our favorite one is actually having someone you trust come into your home to look after your precious pooch. We used Trusted Housesitters a few years ago and now will never consider anything else. Not only did Simon and Rocky have an amazing time (we have the pictures to prove it!) but we made life-long friends in the process. Read more about our experience in our blog.
Posted: Jun 14 2016
With the Fourth of July right around the corner, it's time to get planning all those fun celebrations, and for so many of us, those fun times must include our dogs! We think that's great, but before you think about steaks for the barbecue and where you're going to launch the fireworks - all those fun activities synonymous with Independence Day, just take a moment to think about how to keep your dog safe as the fun gets underway!
Believe us, we do understand that any celebration is better with a dog, but nonetheless, it has to be said that it just might be better for Fido to pass this time. Many dogs are terrified by fireworks and we're sure he'll manage to convince some of the revelers to share their party foods with him which can be a big problem. Many foods associated with barbecues can be toxic to a dog so you want to pay close attention to what he's getting into. Onions, avocado and grapes, for example, are all dangerous and while we may be tempted to "treat" him to a morsel from the grill, we might be causing a stomach upset and a visit to the vet that could easily have been avoided.
If you do decide to play it safe and keep you dog at home, make sure he's comfortable before you head out. It's best to secure him in a room in your home, rather than in the yard, just in case he decides to leap a fence and try and find you. Be sure and block out any commotion that might occur, such as the loud noise of fireworks, by closing the drapes and playing some nice soothing music.
If, however, you really must take your dog along, be sure to keep an eye on him at all times, not just around the food, but also, be careful that he doesn't come into contact with things like insect repellent and sunscreen. Doggies have their own versions of these items - products designed for human use can be deadly if ingested.
It's also a good idea to make sure your dog has adequate identification on him just in case the unthinkable happens and you do lose track of him. Of course permanent microchip identification is best, but dog id tags will also play a big part in finding him if he does become scared and runs off.
Have a great Fourth everyone and be sure to send us some of your photos!
No Dog is Beyond Hope, No Behavior is UN-trainable and No Dog Should be Euthanized Young for Non-Health Issues...
Posted: Dec 15 2015
As I write this article, it is hard to keep from crying and I must admit I have let a stray tear or two fall upon the keyboard as my heart pours into these words. This is a subject that is very emotional for me and is one of the reasons that I started my Rescue Project, The Cleveland Dog Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. According to the ASPCA website:
"Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats). Nearly half of these are young animals owned for less than one year and relinquished because of behavior problems."
Think about that for just a second, as hard as it might be. Millions of dogs every year are killed due to fixable behavior issues. I have no delusions of legislation being introduced enforcing some kind of standard of re-homing, surrendering or euthanizing your dog. In my vision of a perfect world, there is a necessary amount of training and testing that all dogs must go through before euthanasia is even considered and then only when it is determined that a very rare case of idiopathic aggression, a chemical or hormone imbalance is at play. When such factors don't exist, then euthanasia just shouldn't be on the table! Unfortunately, the dog world is currently overrun with two types of extremist and even within the training community, it is difficult to get people to agree on training methods, even ones that have been proven to work time and time again. That being said, I will not let this article turn into a diatribe on dog training methods, suffice to say that as a whole, the dog community is pretty volatile, with opposing opinions, bickering, hate and distrust at the forefront. The current atmosphere is highly unproductive with a frustrating cocktail of lack of progression and a never ending cycle of debate.
Today I drove Luna, a beautiful Husky, 129 miles to her forever home. A month and a half ago, Luna had an appointment to be put to sleep at Bartels Pet Hospital, but because of my relationship with the veterinarian and the owner's knowledge of my skill set in Aggressive Dog Training and Rehabilitation, she contacted me first. My mission at the Cleveland Dog Rescue is to take in dogs set to be euthanized for behavior problems, train them, find the right homes and families that will continue to work with them and re-home the dogs with a commitment to continue to support and dogs and new owners for the lifetime of the dog. This is a bitter sweet process because a big part of my training philosophy is building a relationship with your dog based on love, trust and also respect, which invariably is left out of of dog-human relationship. As I work with and bond with these dogs, they become close and dear to my heart. I start to imagine the what ifs...every dog at my facility would be dead, or if they were "lucky", caught up in the "system" of being re-homed and returned from shelter to rescue until eventually being put to sleep. As I ponder the horrible fate that would have overtaken dogs like my precious Luna girl, my mind drifts to the countless other dogs that I've never met and my heart begins to break...
Dog training and behavior modification is a simple yet tedious process. At the root of the issue is stopping a dog from self-reinforcing a behavior, meaning in order for you to teach a dog that the target behavior is not allowed, you must find a way to stop him from doing it. A dog that is allowed to jump on you, despite what some mainstream internet dog trainers will tell you, will never stop jumping on you just because you ignore him. Mainly because jumping is a self-reinforcing behavior. A dog does not NEED your attention to enjoy jumping on you. By ignoring him, yeah, it may not be as enjoyable for him, but I guarantee, he is still having a blast clawing up your back! The same is true for aggression, anxiety and any other aspect of behavior. The simple part...in order to stop a dog's behavior, you must not allow him or her to continue to do it. The tedious part...how to stop the dog's behavior.
Staying on track with our jumping example, there is a group of so called dog trainers out there who advise their client to rely on just a physical correction. That is if the dog jumps on you, they may advise sticking out your knee to knee the dog or they may even suggest an electronic or pinch collar. This might well stop the unwanted behavior, but it won't product the desired result in that the dog may not jump on you if you rely only on punishment because it fears what happens when it does, but it will most definitely continue to jump on all your guests, your spouse or your kids. Remember this is also the case with issues such as aggression. If you just correct your dog for growling at you, he may never growl at you again, but he will certainly continue to exhibit aggression, possibly on a more severe scale with other people. Relying on PUNISHMENT does not build the relationship you want with your dog for many reasons! On the outside, the dog my be seen to obey, but overall, relying only on correction leads to an anxious dog who doesn't understand why he is being corrected, who never learns what he should do, and there's a high possibility of him shutting down, or worse, ultimately developing further aggression issues.
How do I teach my dog not to jump on me or other people, you ask? That's simple! As I already mentioned, don't let your dog do it! As humans, we have deductive reasoning and multi-process thinking. We are able to manipulate our environment, surroundings and circumstances to put the dog in a situation where he cannot jump. For example, if we leave our dog in a gated area or if we are using a crate as a training too, we can have the dog securely away when we are gone or too busy to attend to him or her. When we arrive home and are ready to interact with our furry friend, we can easily stroll over to where he is safe, happy and securely relaxing, put a LEASH on him, and then interact with him in a calm manner. This is only initially of course. What you are doing is establishing a routine of calm greetings...dogs are all about routine - most of your pets probably do the same thing everyday at the same time when you think about it! You have to change that routine, but more importantly, you have to show a dog what you want them to do, not what you don't want them to do. This is a philosophy I call Decisions not Dominance. Of course there is much more to dog training than that, especially when aggression and anxiety are involved, and it would be foolish and unprofessional of me to give blanket advice in a blog without talking to YOU, the owner. However, every dog issue can be handled, from severe aggression to separation anxiety, by building a relationship with your dog built on love, trust and respect. Teaching them what you want them to do, not what you don't want them to do and being fair in your reinforcements. No dog should have to die because they cannot be handled or controlled, no dog should lose it's home because the owner's can't figure out how to make it stop barking or chewing the sofa. As a professional and dog enthusiast, I declare it is time for a change - it's time we stand up for what has been proven to work EVERY TIME and cast off what has proven not to work. Dogs are dying...it isn't fair, it isn't right and it's 100% preventable!!
On a closing note, I would like to include my contact information in case anyone reading this would like to contact me with questions about their dogs. If you're in the Cleveland, Ohio area and are interested in dog training or in a FaceTime or Skype session or simply want to ask me a question, please contact me. If you would like to help Cleveland Dog Rescue to rescue more dogs, please consider donating.
Have a Pawfect Day and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Twitter: @Pawfessor Dan
Daniel Makara is a Cynologist and Dog Behavior Consultant based in Cleveland, Ohio.
Posted: Dec 07 2015
As the cold weather hits, many of us smile at the dogs we meet on the street, secretly thinking to ourselves how embarrassed their owners should feel taking their canine companions out looking so silly...that is the dogs, not the people! Yet we do wonder if we should protect our own pooch from the dipping temps.
Yes, of course!
And the answer is yes, we really should consider a dog coat for those oh so cold winter walks!
As our dogs get older, just like humans, they do tend to feel the cold more, so just as we bundle up on a cold day, we should make sure our dogs do too. Puppies and dogs who are not quite as healthy as they should be tend to feel the cold more than usual, so it's definitely a good idea to think about suitable protection for them also.
You also need to consider your dog's breed...many dogs can cope with the cold well if nature has equipped them with a nice thick heavy coat, but shorthaired breeds or dogs with no undercoat could really do with a little help! Toy dogs, and those that are more slender, are particularly susceptible to cold, so will really benefit from a nice warm dog coat. Be sure to take cues from your dog...if he's shivering, then maybe it's time for a coat!
So much choice!!
But what type of coat to buy? Well, there are all kinds of excellent choices out there, suitable for all kinds of weather conditions. Waterproof dog coats are always a good idea and there are many different fabrics and styles from which to choose. UKUSCAdoggie has scoured the globe to bring you the best quality coats available, so you're sure to find something to suit your dog's character. We are particularly partial to our designer, Mary Click's designs and Bobby and Doggie Design have some excellent choices too. Those of you in colder, more snowy climes, might consider a more robust coat such as the Hurtta. Whatever the weather, we've got you covered!
Be sure and enjoy this fun season, but keep warm!!