family dog

Cats & Dogs: Enemies or Best Friends?

dog&catIn honor of the new film Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, which opened this past weekend in theaters across the country, DogTails is tackling the fascinating relationship between America’s most popular pets.  For every story of a dog who loves cats, there are even more stories of dogs who love fighting with cats.

In honor of this love-hate relationship, we have compiled the following tips to help all the brave animal lovers who share their homes with a dog and a cat.  Follow these tips, and you can help keep the peace between your two furry best friends.

The most important rule of introducing a new dog to your cat (and vice versa) is to take it slow.  When it comes to a dog and a cat’s first meeting, do not just open the door and let them chase each other.  Instead, let the two animals slowly move closer to each other, while maintaining control of them at all times.  As a result, it is best to have another person help with the introductions, so that both animals can be quickly pulled away if necessary.

As always, treats are helpful to encourage good behavior in your dog.  Ask the dog to look away from the cat and look at you.  If he complies, give him a treat – he is doing very well!  If he does not comply, continue working with the dog to calm him down and divert his attention away from the animal. Toys and treats and words of praise are all helpful here.

The ultimate goal is to allow the dog and cat to interact without chasing and lunging.  Some dogs will need more guidance and training than others – it depends on the dog’s breed and history.  Also, you will want to muzzle larger or more aggressive dogs when they are first introduced to smaller animals like cats, to ensure that no one gets hurt.

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Dog Days of Summer Reading List

dogbookA trip to the beach is not just a chance to soak up some sun and dig your feet in the sand; it is also a place where you can relax and finally catch up on your pleasure reading.  Even if you are not headed to the beach, these books are a good addition to your summer reading list.

While individual tastes in books may differ, the DogWatch Hidden Fence team loves good beach reads, especially those that feature our favorite subject – dogs!  So for this week, we are sharing with you our favorite dog-themed books.  Check out our list below, and visit our own Amazon store to purchase any or all of the titles!

The Dogs of Babel, by Carolyn Parkinson

A tragic yet redemptive tale of love and loss, Parkinson’s novel is a best-seller and a New York Times Notable Book.  The book centers on Paul, a linguistics professor who is mourning the recent death of his wife Lexy.  Lexy’s death was ruled an accident, but Paul is suspicious.  To find out the truth, he attempts to train his Rhodesian Ridgeback Lorelai – the only witness to his wife’s death – to speak.   This emotional mystery is sure to draw you in and keep you engrossed until after the sun sets.

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Doggy Paddle: Pool and Beach Safety Tips for Dogs

You have been waiting for months, and it’s finally time to dive in!  Beach and pool season is upon us, and chances are you’ll be enjoying one of these cooling-off options this summer.

But remember, there’s no need to leave the dog at home!  DogWatch Hidden Fences has compiled another batch of summer tips, this time focusing on water safety for dogs.  While the issue of water safety for dogs is very serious, we know that with careful planning, training and attention, you and your dog can stay cool and have a blast this summer.  Let’s start with the basics…

Swimming Lessons

All dogs can swim, right?  Not exactly.  Some dogs, like Portuguese water dogs and retrievers, are terrific natural swimmers, while others, especially short and/or stout dogs like bulldogs, basset hounds, corgis and pugs, have a much harder time than others.  Regardless of breed, all dogs should be gradually introduced to water rather than simply being tossed in unattended.

According to the ASPCA, swim lessons should start as early as possible, preferably when the dog is a still a puppy.  Even if this is not possible, proper training is still key to ensuring that your dog is safe and reacts positively to water.

This video of Ruby the Dogue de Bordeaux learning to swim provides a great lesson plan for dogs. Dog trainers suggest that you get in the water first, and slowly encourage your dog to follow you in, one step at a time. Take your time and give the dog lots of praise and encouragement. Having a dog friend around can also help: your dog may follow her friend into the water if she sees her go in safely.

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You Got A New Puppy–Now What?

puppy in basketBy now you might be asking yourself the question many new dog owners ask in the first few weeks—Did the puppy come with a manual? And, you might be wondering if everyone in the family is helping out the way they promised, when they begged, “Please!”

There’s nothing quite like puppy love or the family dog. That being said—new puppies require cooperation, and having everyone on the same page.

From the get go, puppies necessitate a well thought out plan. Everything from: a house-training schedule; deciding on crate or no crate; knowing what vaccinations are required; identifying common household items which should be kept far, far away from your curious puppy; checking-out healthy puppy food choices; and most importantly, scheduling appointments with a Veterinarian.

Dog owners often say that it’s their Veterinarian and clinic staff who serve as the go-to people for all kinds of puppy/dog care and safety-related questions.

You’ll soon discover your dog won’t be the only one making new friends. People will be stopping you on the street to ask, “Puppy? How old?”

Even though your puppy didn’t come with a manual, you’ll find lots of great books at your local library, bookstore and online. Puppies For Dummies by Sarah Hodgson is a great resource. Check-out her cheat sheet here.

And, keep reading, Dog Tails. We have a great editorial calendar ahead.

photo credit: Ollie Crafoord flickr