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How to Keep Your Dog Happy & Healthy in the Winter

When the snow starts to fall, it can mean lots of fun for our furry friends. Whether your dog loves the winter or not, it’s important to keep them safe through the cold months. Check out these five tips for how to keep your dog happy and healthy in the winter!

Protect the Paws

You wouldn’t walk around in the snow barefoot – but your dog does. Dog paws are a little more tolerant to cold than human feet, but they still need to be protected. Dry, cold weather exposes paw pads to cracking and peeling, and ice melt can cause cuts and burning.

Protect the paws with booties, especially in extreme cold. If your dog won’t tolerate booties, try petroleum jelly on the bottom of the pads. Always do a paw inspection when after coming back inside and wipe off any ice melt or salt.

Make A New Bathroom

Some dogs love snow but, for some, it can be a drag. For smaller dogs especially, deep snow poses a serious navigational challenge – and that can make going to the bathroom nearly impossible. Help your dog during potty time by digging a small path through the snow. You can also create an indoor bathroom by laying out pee pads in a laundry room or bathroom. Making sure your dog uses the bathroom will help prevent things like bladder and kidney issues.

Cozy Up

For those cold days and nights, sometimes it’s nice to stay cuddled up inside with your pup. Provide cozy, warm, safe places for your dog to relax by putting down warm, accessible bedding. Avoid using space heaters and never leave your dog alone with a space heater – they can cause serious burns.

Safety First

When you do go outside with your dog, practice safety first! Use a shorter lead than you would in the summer and always used a fixed, non-retractable variety to prevent slipping and sliding. If you’re around frozen lakes, ponds, or rivers, keep your dog away unless they are cleared for human weight. Dogs can easily fall through ice.

Get Lots of Exercise

Just because the days are shorter doesn’t mean your dog doesn’t need exercise. Regular activity will keep your dog fit, healthy, and stimulated, so it’s important to keep playing throughout the whole winter season. Try playing fetch in the snow to get fresh air and sun or, if you can’t go outside, set up an obstacle course with cushions in your living room.

Keeping your dog happy and healthy in the winter might seem like a challenge, but with these simple tips it can be easy.You can also try taking him to training courses to freshen up on his skills! Argos Dog Training offers beginner to advanced dog training courses in Boston. Get in contact with us today to learn more! 

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What is Your Dog Trying to Tell You?

Even though dogs never say a word, they’re able to say a whole lot. Besides their bark, dogs communicate with us through body language – their mouths, ears, tails, and posture tell a story about how they’re feeling and what they need. But unless you’re already an expert, learning to read this body language can be tricky.

So, when your dog is wagging his tail differently or giving you a strange look, what is he trying to tell you? Read on below to learn about some of the most common dog body language and what it means.

Posture

The way your dog stands and moves can tell you a ton about their mood. For instance, a dog perched on its hind legs and looking up at you or cocking its head to the side is attentive and ready to interact. When your dog “takes a bow” and stretches into their front legs, that means they’re ready to play! These and other relaxed signs, like rolling onto the back, show trust, playfulness, and confidence.

Other postures to look for are a pointed or directed stance, which means your dog had probably found something they’re interested in. A curved or arched back can mean your dog is stressed out or fearful, so make sure to pay attention and fix the situation.

Face

Just like posture, your dog communicates a lot from facial expressions. Soft, squinty eyes, floppy ears, and a slightly open mouth mean that your dog is relaxed and playful. There are a lot of subtle signs that can have much different meanings, though. 

When your dog licks their lips or yawns a lot, that could mean that they’re stressed out or anxious. Your dog might also look away from you or only look at you from the corner of their eyes. These signs might be subtle – but your dog is trying to let you know that the situation is a little too stressful for them!

Tail

Most people think that a wagging tail always means a happy dog – but that’s not always the case. If your dog is wagging their tail quickly and widely side-to-side, that probably means they’re pretty excited about something! But if your dog is wagging their tail slowly, they might just be checking out their environment.

If your dog is holding its tail between its legs, that could mean that it feels scared or threatened.

Things to Watch For

As you can see, dogs like to give lots of signals about how they’re feeling – if you know what to look for. Make sure you pay attention to your dog’s body language, especially if they seem nervous, stressed, or uncomfortable.

If your dog shows an aggressive or stressed out posture and starts to growl, bare their teeth, nip at the air, or stare intently, pay attention! These are important warning signs that could mean your dog feels really threatened and might act aggressively.

Practice Makes Perfect

Getting to know a dog’s body language takes time and practice. At Argos Dog Training, we can help you learn how to read your dog’s behavior – and improve it. With our expertise obedience training, we can help your dog learn better behaviors in all kinds of environments. Check out our dog training courses in Boston here, and get in contact with us today to get started! 

 

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5 Halloween Safety Tips for Dogs

In just a few short days Halloween will be here. While it’s hard to believe the year has gone by so quickly, you’re probably too busy focusing on your costume to think about that! Many pet owners want their pooch to get in on the Halloween festivities too. Sharing the fun is fine but doing so safely is vital. Follow these tips to keep your dog safe on Halloween. 

Keep Them Close

Halloween has a bad reputation for higher rates of animal abuse. It’s heartbreaking to think about, but it’s true. Don’t leave your dog outside alone around Halloween time because they are vulnerable to teasing, ridicule, and much worse from those who celebrate Halloween in a not so civil way. If you want your dog outside with you, keep them on a leash at all times. 

Don’t Share Halloween Treats

Any Halloween candy you or your children get needs to be kept away from the dog. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and even the treats that don’t contain chocolate aren’t designed with a dog’s digestive tract in mind. Instead of sharing candy with your dog, purchase them a special dog treat to mark the occasion! 

Choose Mindful Costumes

Dressing your dog up is fine, but you have to be mindful when choosing their costume. Look for a costume that fits them well without covering any part of their mouth, eyes, or ears. It should be loose enough to allow them full range of motion too. You should always let them try to costume out before Halloween to get them more acquainted with it. 

Update Their ID

This is a great time to update the information on your dog’s tags. Make sure your address, name, and phone number are all easily visible and correct with the current information. That way if your dog does get away from you, they’ll be able to make their way back home. 

Keep Pumpkins Out of Reach

Carved pumpkins are a must-have on Halloween, but not for dogs. Keep your jack-o-lanterns out of reach from your dog. It only takes a second for one to tip over and injure or catch your pet on fire. For added safety, use battery-operated candles rather than a real flame. 

Keeping your pet safe this Halloween is as easy as taking a few extra precautions before the big night. Make sure all members of your household are familiar with these tips and understand why they’re so important!

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Tips to Socializing Your Puppy

Adding a puppy to the family is often one of the most exciting times in anyone’s life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the new puppy snuggles and fun of having a new friend, but it’s important to remember the responsibility you have as his owner! In addition to teaching him training commands such as come, stay, sit, and rollover, another important part of what he’ll need to learn is socialization skills. Teaching him to properly interact with other dogs and humans is crucial to ensure he’ll be a happy and well-adjusted puppy. It’ll prevent him from developing fears such as riding in a car, being scared of children, acting inappropriately around house guests, etc. Proper socializing skills will help develop him into a well-mannered companion! Check out our tips to learn how you can help him in learning this important skill. 

When to Socialize 

Between the period of 7 weeks to 4 months old, your puppy goes threw a socialization period that will shape his personality and how he reacts to the outside environment as an adult. Taking advantage of this highly impressionable time is key. Exposing him to as many new places, situations, and people as possible during this time will open up his mind and make a big difference in how he’ll react in the future. 

How to Socialize 

Introduce him to new things: As a puppy, everything is new! Allowing him to explore, and introducing him to as many new sights, sounds, and smells as possible is key. Bring him to all different places, such as the beach, the playground, the woods, and let him take in the scents and sights. Allow him to meet children, seniors, boys, girls, babies, and all different types of people. Let him play with other dogs, cats, and beyond. The more you introduce him to as a puppy, the better of he’ll be! 

Make it Positive: The most important thing to remember when doing these new things with your puppy is making it a positive experience! It’s natural that he may be a little scared and apprehensive with new things, but encouraging him that it’s safe and acting excited will help him. Dogs have a great sense for reading our emotions, and if his owner is excited about it, he will be too! 

Involve Other Family Members: Since you’re trying to introduce your puppy to as many new things as possible and build his confidence, it’ll also help to have other people take part in this socialization process. If he realizes that you’ll always be there when experiencing something new, he may start to rely on you as his “safe space.” Teaching him that he may experience these things no matter who he’s with will be helpful. 

Puppy Training Classes 

As a new puppy owner, it can be overwhelming to teach your dog all these new skills on your own! Leaning on the help of a professional can be highly beneficial for you both. At Argos Dog Training, we offer group and private training sessions to help your dog learn socialization skills, among many other commands. Check out our training programs, and contact us today to get started! 

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Teaching Your Dog to Ride in the Car

We all love our dogs and want them to be with us wherever we go, even if it means taking them on a car ride. Although some dogs love to ride in the car, others tend to feel anxious, vomit, whine, or drool. There are several reasons, such as a past traumatic experience, motion sickness, or anxiety. Also, dogs can feel uneasy if they know they are going to the vet. Wouldn’t it be great if your dog can go from anxious to calm in the car? It would benefit everyone, allowing your dog to be your trusty co-pilot. We will discuss ways to teach your dog to ride in the car so everyone can have a pleasant experience.

Your Dog Can Learn to Love the Car

With desensitization and counter-conditioning, you can teach your dog to love the car. For instance, gradually introduce your dog to the car. Also, condition the dog to have a positive reaction and not negative by associating the car with fun things happening inside or near the car.  If your dog has severe reactions, sit with your dog in the driveway. You can have your dog in the backseat if it cannot handle being in the passenger seat. The primary purpose of this is to find your dog’s comfort zone. 

Enticing your dog with treats and toys can make the car ride more fun for the dog as you associate its favorite activities to the car. However, you’re moving too fast if the dog stops playing or eating. Restart the process if this occurs. Whatever you do, move at a comfortable pace for your dog and have patience. Don’t forget to safely secure your dog once the vehicle is on the move, so incorporate a crate, harness, or seat belt into your routine. Before you know it, your dog will learn to love the car! 

Your Dog and the Joy of Riding in the Car

After your dog is comfortable and learns to love the car, now it’s time to start moving. At first, start with small distances and where your dog is familiar with, like in front of the driveway. During the drive, encourage and praise your dog, letting them know they are doing a good job. Give them treats and reward them. 

Then, start going to places like the park or anywhere your dog can have some fun. They will soon associate the car with awesome activities that they enjoy and love. Of course, trips to the vet can still be stressful but add some balance, and your dog will enjoy riding in the car. If there are any issues, there’s nothing like a tasty treat to make your dog happy!

Motion Sickness Prevention

Despite puppies experiencing motion sickness more than adult dogs, some dogs don’t grow out of it. Luckily, there are ways to prevent motion sickness for dogs which include:

  • Decreasing stress in your dog by having them active 20 minutes before the car ride.
  • Keep your car cool.
  • Make sure there’s fresh air; lower the windows.
  • A few hours before a trip, limit water and food consumption.
  • Use dog pheromones in the car, available as a spray, collar, or diffuser; suitable for younger dogs and adult dogs. 
  • Ask a vet about medication for motion sickness or anxiety and see if it’s appropriate for your dog. 

Get Help From a Trainer

With enough time and effort, your dog will love to ride in the car! If you are having any problems, contact a professional who can train your dog to ride in the car. Our trainers at Argos Dog Training will be glad to assist and provide you some tips! 

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