I am beside myself with excitement about my first
block blog party advices column today! I have many advices to offer you, but first, mama, Chick and I agreed that we have to have a little bow-wow about something. Many of you dear friends of mine sent me she-mails asking for advices on behavioral issues you are having. I would super very much love to help you with your behaviors (and your dogs’ behaviors), but I am not able.
Wanna know why?
Contrary to what many humans think, we dogs communicate many many informations through our body language. We do it all day long. And we are complex animals with nuanced motivations, feelings, and behaviors. The problem is, many of our persons see us performing a behavior and assume that they understand all of the factors involved. But they are often wrong. Seasoned (and I don’t mean yummy and covered in duck fat and oregano) dog trainers with a focus on behavior issues can deconstruct a behavior by observing us dogs in person — they often see things that our people can’t see. And so offering advices on the interwebs is dangerous. Not only would I be going only on the information that your person provided me (which may or may not be all of it), but I also would not be observing on my own. Oh, and there’s the little issue of me not actually being a dog trainer myself, but only a dog. And even my mama, she is very new to learning how to be a dog trainer and is in no way ready to give advices on your complex behaviors.
So if you are having troubles with barking, growling, hiding, getting over-excited, or general misbehavement, do yourself a favor and ask your person to find a reputable, experienced dog trainer and meet them face-to-face to talk about your troubles. It will be worth the investment. Next week I will give you my advices on how to find a trainer, so stay tuned!
Now, on to this week’s questions!
What fruits and vegetables can dogs eat? Which ones can’t they eat, and why? -Michele & Karley
But if you insist on feeding your dog fruits and vegetables (which my mama does, and honestly, when I get a whole pile of broccoli in my bowl with my kibbles, I always eat all the broccoli first and then the kibbles!), here are some guidelines:
- Apple seeds and seeds of other tree fruits (pears, apricots, peaches, cherries) are danger-mouse to dogs, because they contain cyanide, which is poisonous! All of those fruits themselves are ok, but no seeds, ok?
- Onions are bad not only because we dogs don’t like them, but also they can cause upset tummies, deplete iron stores in the body (contributing to anemia), and kill red blood cells. Yipes!
- Grapes, raisins, and prunes are no good either. Apparently nobody knows why these are so bad, but even in small quantities they can cause kidney failure. Uh, and dad, that goes for raisin bread too, so don’t leave it out on the counter!
- Cooked veggies are more digestible to dogs than raw. This means that your dog will get more nutrients and more calories out of them if they are cooked than raw — though either are fine to feed. Chopped up raw veggies mixed with kibbles are especially good for dogs who are starving all day long. The veggies can help you feel full without making you into a teletubby!
- Fruits and veggies do contain calories, especially fruits and cooked, sugary veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes. So if you start eating them, you might find that your mama reduces your kibbles. Try not to get mad!
- Some fruits are extra magical — bananas and can’t-a-lopes. They are known to stimulate the brain chemicals that promote relaxation. They’re really nice for nervous dogs — but only a couple of tablespoons, ok?
Do you or Chix have any suggestions or porters for teaching “leave it”. I have a very smart pup who is great with sit, down, paw, wait and roll over – but drop it… no chance, especially when it’s a tennis ball. She doesn’t understand we will throw it for her a lot more and quicker if she will let go of it. I try not to tug and pull, I don’t want to encourage her that it is game, and i haven’t found anything more enticing then that ball for her to drop it in exchange. You and Chix are such good pups – what would you suggest we try? Thanks Doodlebug!! Erin & Evie (the tennis ball hog)
Dear Ball Hog,
My brother has been through this. He is a big-time toy hog and never used to want to give mama his tennis ball. Mama thought it was because he was stubborn, but then she learned that in reality, it’s because he was just scared that she was gonna take it away! The more she tried to take it, the more worried he got and the more he didn’t want to give it to her. Mama thought he was being stubborn, but in reality, he was just worrying about his stuff!
So try this — I learned this in my Class On How To Be Basically Obedient: have your mama offer you a ball, and then just pet you on your body for as long as you’re willing to hold on to it. Have her not let you lay down, but instead stand or sit and hold it or chew on it to your little heart’s content. When you drop it, have her just put it back in your mouth. Keep doing that – it will be her new way of saying “I don’t want your ball, Evie, you can keep it whenever you want to!” and you will feel safer knowing that she isn’t trying to steal it — and you may eventually become more willing to share! After practicing that for a while, have her throw it for you — but only after you have dropped the ball yourself. When you bring it back, have her pet on you again until you get tired of holding it and drop it. Etc. It may take some time, but eventually it will get faster, and you will be fetching!
XOXO, Your ball ‘Bug who always shares his ball
My daughter, Aeryn, loves to eat pigs ears. Is it okay to give her a pigs ear every day?
I am no dogtor, but here is what I do know about pig ears. They are downright delicious. But also, they have a very high fat content, which makes them maybe not the best treat for every day. Mama and I don’t know much about whether they are treated with icky chemicals (like rawhides are) or anything like that, but the fat can be hard on a dog’s system, turn you into a tele-tubby, and possibly — from what we’ve heard — cause troubles with your pancreas (whatever that is!). If your mama is looking for an alternative treat, tell her to think about hollow bones stuffed with canned dog foods and frozen. These are yummy and nutritious, and your people can reuse the bones over and over again!
XO, Your Foodie Friend the ‘Bug
I noticed the pups’ beautiful Sirius Republic collars and wanted to purchase one for my very own Honey Bear (Rose). I was wondering which style you prefer and why? I seem to be leaning towards the Limited Slip but wanted to get your opinion. Thank you so much, Jamie
Dear Honey Bear,
What a great question! Tell your mama that she should get not just one beautiful collar, but several. Don’t you need one to match every season at least? And what about holidays? I personally wouldn’t be caught dead without my special patriotic Sirius Republic collar for Texas Independence Day!
As for style, we like the Limited Slip (also called a “Martingale collar”) variety and use it every day for our walks. Here’s what makes it so great: properly fitted, it will tighten around a dog’s neck enough to prevent you from slipping out of it if you’re startled or just trying to get outta there, but will not tighten so much that it chokes you. Also, it’s a nice flat fabric collar so it doesn’t put any pokey things in your neck. And it’s super stylish to boot!
At the training center where mama, Chick and I work, we actually require that all dogs come to class in a Martingale collar or a properly fitted harness. That’s how important we think they are!
Let me know if you need help picking out your fabric, width, and size, mmkay?
XO, Doodlebug the Fashionista
Deer Doodlebug, What is you thinks ’bout dogs wearin’ stuff like glasses and ties and swetters and stuff? I don’t likes it, but it looks like you do. Da hoomins likes it, so can you helps me tell dem dat I would preffers to be nekkid? Kisses and butt sniffs, Mushroom
You not liking to wear glasses and ties and sweaters just means that your person didn’t introduce them right! Whenever our mama surprises us with a new outfit or accessory, she lets us meet it very slowly. We have a long courtship involving some coyness, lots of sniffing, and many treats. Before you know it, we’re fast friends! But I guess not every dog has to like dressing up — what makes us most special is that we’re all different, right?
XO, Your Clothes
Well that’s all the space we have for this week, friends. My brains hurt from using all of their clevers! If I didn’t get to your question this week, I will do my best to get to it next week. If it’s about a behavioral problem though, all I can do is try to help your person find a good trainer, which is better than my advices anyway.
Please keep the questions coming by pee-mail at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com. I can’t wait for your correspondences!
XO, Doodlebug the Very Clever Dog