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Dog Communication & Language

 

Sure, dogs can learn to recognize human words and singular commands. The number of commands they can learn can sometimes reach into the hundreds with patience and perseverance. Despite this amazing ability, no dog is capable of comprehending the meanings behind complex human sentences; human speech is a secondary form of communication to them.

Using a precise set of visual cues, on the other hand, a dog can speak entire volumes in a fraction of a second! Your dog is telling you what’s on his mind every second of every day- you just need to learn to watch him.

  • Learning dog ques and communication is very helpful in a daycare or dog park environment.
  • All these visual cues (tail wagging, for example) will always be accompanied with other visual cues. Dogs use their entire bodies to send signals and communicate (ears, eye contact, tail, body posture) with every thought, not just one part.

Is this dominant aggressive or submissive, defensive aggression? Hint: Look at the ear position.

Dog Tail

A dog’s tail is like an antenna, a beacon for other dogs to pick up on, and usually the very first thing people notice, probably the best indicator of a dog’s mood. Is the tail wagging rapidly, almost causing the dog’s entire body to vibrate (happy excitement)? Is it point straight backward (interest, focus) or curved upward?

Rigid, highly held tail: Aroused, ready to react

Tail tucked or held tight to body: Submissive, frightened or injured

Neutral or low position: Content, relaxed (can also indicate fatigue)

Wagging rapidly: Excitement

Highly held w/ slow wag: Could indicate imminent action

*What is this dog thinking? Hint: Notice the ear position.

Dog Ears

Not only do they help augment a dog’s hearing, able to rotate in order to face a sound and enhance hearing, a dog’s ears are heavily used in dog communication. Have you ever seen your dog’s ears lie flat against his head? How about standing up rigidly, pointing straight upward?

  • Ears will usually ‘point’ toward whatever the dog is focused on.
  • Various breeds, such as hounds, will have more difficulty manipulating ears that tend to droop.

Neutral Position: Relaxed, content

Pricked, forward: Attentive, playful

Low, flat against head: Submissive

Body Posture

Is your dog standing tall and rigid, staring intently? Or is he crouched, slouching his back in a curve, trying to make himself look smaller? A certain type of body posture will accompany these other signals when displaying one mood or another.

Slouched, low body posture: Submissiveness

Tall, rigid posture: Alert, Dominant

Judging by his tail, body posture and ear position, how is this dog feeling?

  • Direct eye contact can be considered a challenge to a dog’s dominance. This is why your pets will often look away rather than staring you straight in your face.

Conclusion:

Remember, dogs are constantly relaying their feelings and thoughts all of the time! To understand dog communication, you just have to be willing to pay attention.

brown shapes

What is a Temperament Test?

 

Evaluating a dog’s individual temperament through a series of tests, temperament testing measures individual traits like stability, confidence, shyness, friendliness, aggressiveness, protectiveness, play drive, and self-defense instincts.

  • Ensure that your dog breed is the right fit for you and your family!

A Temperament test simulates a casual walk in the park, a natural pet environment where everyday life situations are encountered. The dog experiences visual, auditory and tactile stimuli during this walk, and responses are recorded. How sociable is the dog, and how will it react to strangers or other animals? Is it calm, timid, eager to play with each individual encountered, or aggressively barking at every passerby?

  • Dogs must have completed the series of puppy shots and/or current on vaccinations in order to attend doggie daycare.

Neutral, friendly, and threatening situations are all encountered. The dog’s ability to discern between non-threatening situations and those calling for protective reactions is measured.

Any of these signs will indicate a failure:

  • Unprovoked aggression
  • Extreme anxiety or panic without recovery
  • Strong avoidance

The dog is on a loose six-foot lead, and the hander isn’t allowed to talk to or react to the dog in any way. The temperament testing consists of 5 main categories.

Behavior toward strangers: Measure the dog’s reaction toward strangers in a non-threatening situation.

Reaction to Auditory Stimuli: Measure the dog’s investigative behavior and reaction to auditory stimuli. Big trucks, buses, garbage truck, mail carrier, bicycles, skateboarders, etc.

Reaction to Visual Stimulus: Measure the dog’s reaction to a sudden visual stimulus.

Tactile Stimuli: Measure the dog’s reaction to an unusual or uneven footing.

Self Protective/Aggressive Behavior: These tests measure a dog’s ability to recognize and react to an unusual situation, protective instincts, and ability to recognize threats.

How Breeds Are Judged

All dogs are social pack animals by nature, reactions governed by a sort of instinctual set of ‘rules’ ingrained genetically. Those reactions and temperaments are partly affected by heredity and breeding, but environmental influences have the largest impact by far. Because no one dog is raised the exact same way as another, many dogs of the same breed are tested to achieve an overall estimation.

Watch a Video of the Temperament Test Here!

Dog Communication & Language

Sure, dogs can learn to recognize human words and singular commands. The number of commands they can learn can sometimes reach into the hundreds with patience and perseverance. Despite this amazing ability, no dog is capable of comprehending the meanings behind complex human sentences; human speech is a secondary form of communication to them.

Using a precise set of visual cues, on the other hand, a dog can speak entire volumes in a fraction of a second! Your dog is telling you what’s on his mind every second of every day- you just need to learn to watch him.

  • Learning dog ques and communication is very helpful in a daycare or dog park environment.
  • All these visual cues (tail wagging, for example) will always be accompanied by other visual cues. Dogs use their entire bodies to send signals and communicate (ears, eye contact, tail, body posture) with every thought, not just one part.

Is this dominant aggressive or submissive, defensive aggression? Hint: Look at the ear position.

Dog Tail

A dog’s tail is like an antenna, a beacon for other dogs to pick up on, and usually the very first thing people notice, probably the best indicator of a dog’s mood. Is the tail wagging rapidly, almost causing the dog’s entire body to vibrate (happy excitement)? Is it point straight backward (interest, focus) or curved upward?

Rigid, highly held tail: Aroused, ready to react

Tail tucked or held tight to the body: Submissive, frightened or injured

Neutral or low position: Content, relaxed (can also indicate fatigue)

Wagging rapidly: Excitement

Highly held w/ slow wag: Could indicate imminent action

*What is this dog thinking? Hint: Notice the ear position.

Dog Ears

Not only do they help augment a dog’s hearing, able to rotate in order to face a sound and enhance hearing, a dog’s ears are heavily used in dog communication. Have you ever seen your dog’s ears lie flat against his head? How about standing up rigidly, pointing straight upward?

  • Ears will usually ‘point’ toward whatever the dog is focused on.
  • Various breeds, such as hounds, will have more difficulty manipulating ears that tend to droop.

Neutral Position: Relaxed, content

Pricked, forward: Attentive, playful

Low, flat against head: Submissive

Body Posture

Is your dog standing tall and rigid, staring intently? Or is he crouched, slouching his back in a curve, trying to make himself look smaller? A certain type of body posture will accompany these other signals when displaying one mood or another.

Slouched, low body posture: Submissiveness

Tall, rigid posture: Alert, Dominant

Judging by his tail, body posture and ear position, how is this dog feeling?

  • Direct eye contact can be considered a challenge to a dog’s dominance. This is why your pets will often look away rather than staring you straight in your face.

Conclusion:

Remember, dogs are constantly relaying their feelings and thoughts all of the time! To understand dog communication, you just have to be willing to pay attention.

dog with a tennis ball

What to Expect in Doggy Daycare

It’s important to be sure your pup has the social skills necessary to get along with other dogs. How does your pup act around others, and are you sure he has what it takes? In most cases, there will be several dogs interacting at doggy daycare.

Ways to Prepare Your Dog Before they Come to Daycare

How sure are you your dog is ready for doggy daycare? Follow the tips below, and you can kiss your doubts goodbye!

Temperament Test & Socialization

Strong socialization is perhaps the single most important aspect to install in your dog before doggy daycare, and might make the difference between pleasant, happy and fun interactions and aggressive fights.Introduce your puppy to other animals, strangers, and children as soon as you can. Try your best to reward these happy experiences with praise and treats! Be sure to show your dog any other creatures he might encounter are good things to enjoy, and not threats to be wary of.

  • The ATTS temperament test is a fantastic way to be sure your pup is ready!

Socialization is a Must

Many ‘old school’ pet owners, especially those with protection animals or many guard dogs, don’t want to desensitize their pets to strangers or other animals. You can’t have a well socialized dog without this. Poorly socialized dogs shouldn’t attend doggy daycare due to the potential risk for other, well socialized dogs.

  • Reward pleasant interactions with treats and praise
  • Introduce your dog to anything he might encounter at doggie daycare, including other animals (dogs, cats), children, even strangers.

Medical History & Vaccinations

Check your pup’s medical history with your vet. Not only are several vaccinations required before daycare facilities will allow your dog around others, they are a great idea for your little one’s health! Does your dog have his vaccinations? Is he microchipped?

Separation Anxiety

A fantastically well behaved dog, always happy when owners are around, might become anxious or even fearful when they are absent for long periods of time. Called ‘Separation Anxiety’, dogs not used to being left alone might behave erratically when their owners leave. It’s important to train your pet to be alone, first leaving him alone for several short durations, slowly increasing your absence. Teach your dog that you didn’t leave him forever, and will always return!

  • Remember, dogs don’t think like humans. What might seem completely rational or irrational to a grown human adult could also seem natural to a dog.
  • Always reward with pleasant things; never punish. Punishment can lead to increased fear.

Crate Training 101: Why Crate Train your Dog?

Crate training should take advantage of your dog’s natural ‘den’ instincts, their place to hide from danger, sleep and even raise a family. If done right, your dog will come to love his crate, entering on a daily basis without being told to at all!

Why Crate Train Your Dog?

Safety: Puppies are kind of like toddlers in a way. If left alone they can wreak havoc, chewing on electrical cords, furniture, bedding, putting absolutely anything in there mouths (causing a huge choking hazard), crawling into tight spaces, and pretty much anything else you can think of. For their safety if not the tendency to cause household damage, puppies require constant supervision.

Author’s Note: I can remember a story of a young puppy crawling into a potato chip bag and suffocating while the owner was at work. This was a needless death, and could have easily been prevented if the owner would have just crated the pup!

Dog crates are useful tools for many reasons, but safety is probably the most important. When you can’t be home to keep a watchful eye, long hours at work for example, the dog crate is your friend!

Potty Training: No one wants their dogs to relieve themselves all over the house. Potty training is extremely important for any dog owner, and one of the first things they work on! Believe it or not, the dog crate is a pretty useful tool here.

No matter how well you train your puppy or when you begin, his bladder is small and he will need to go often. Very young pups are still developing mentally, and won’t pick up on potty training as fast. That being said, there are two things to remember:

  1. Dogs won’t eliminate in small, confined places if at all possible.
  2. Dogs won’t eliminate where they sleep if at all possible.

For these reasons, the dog crate is an extremely useful potty training tool (as long as the dog is given enough potty breaks)!

  • Puppies will need to be let out frequently due to their developing bodies and small bladders.

Emergencies: In the event of natural disasters or emergencies, dogs tend to become stressed and anxious. They can become so anxious, their automatic ‘flight’ instinct will kick in and they will flee. This can easily mean running from the house and getting lost.

Excess chewing or household destruction is also a sign of anxiety and stress. This might not bode well for furniture!

In these cases, your dog crate will not only help calm your pet, offering a familiar place of solitude to settle down, but keep him safe from harm.

Crate Training Advice

Never use your dog crate as a punishment. Your pet might easily come to fear it and refuse to enter! You want your dog to view his crate as his own little ‘den’.

Try to slowly introduce the crate over time, as opposed to automatically beginning with a nine-hour work day. Sudden long crating periods while the owner is absent can easily increase anxiety!

Don’t bother or try to play with your dog while he is in the dog crate. His crate should act like his own little escape from the world!

 

Flying Your Dog To Hawaii

Bringing your Dog to Hawaii: What it Takes

So, you’re considering taking your pup to Hawaii with you? What a great choice! Have you talked this over with your veterinarian? Before you hop on a plane, there are several steps you’ll need to take:

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are important, not only for the health of your dog but other animals too. Your pup might be completely healthy, but how can you be sure the others you might see are? Not everyone might be as concerned with the health of their pet; the risk isn’t worth it! Just because not everything is legally mandated doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
Rabies is the one you can’t skip out on. In order to travel to Hawaii, your dog must have been vaccinated for Rabies at least twice in his lifetime, those vaccinations no more than 90 days apart. You’ll need two original copies of the vaccination certificates.

Puppies

Due to the minimum requirements, puppies need to be at least 10 weeks of age before they can travel to Hawaii. Don’t worry if your pup is too young! A 120 day quarantine is usually required for those that can’t meet the requirements.

Microchip

In order to enter Hawaii, a pet needs to be microchipped. Your veterinarian will provide a certificate stating both the microchip number, and the fact that it was able to be scanned (which you’ll need).

Blood Titer Test

As a laboratory test measuring the existence and level of antibodies to disease in blood, a Blood Titer Test is both an important and necessity method of preventing the spread of disease. The blood test needs to be done  not more than 36 months and not less than 120 days prior to arrival in Hawaii. Your veterinarian will need to scan your pet’s microchip prior to the blood test.
A licensed veterinarian will need to complete a veterinary certificate for Hawaii, in English, in order to allow pet travel. The document must be an original, created not more than 14 days prior to your pet entering Hawaii.

Quarantine

Hawaiian law requires dogs and cats not able to meet requirements for a ‘5 day or less’ quarantine program to be quarantined for up to 120 days upon arrival in Hawaii. Pets arriving from the  British Isles, Australia, Guam and New Zealand might not be required to enter quarantine. 

Air Travel

Pets may enter through Honolulu International Airport between the hours of 8am and 9pm. From there, the pet will be taken to the airport quarantine center, which is also where you can pick up your pet. Pets can also enter through the neighbor airports of Kahului, Kona, or Lihue as long as arrangements are made in advance.

Airlines

Depending on your airline, pet policy might differ. It’s important to verify that policy in advance. Hawaiian Airlines does allow both dogs and cats, as well as some household birds with an additional fee.
According to US law, no domestic airline can refuse travel to licensed service animals, and requirements will differ for obvious reasons (no one can reasonably be asked to quarantine an animal vital for their daily well being). Even so, they’ll need to complete pre-shipment requirements, and you’ll need to provide licensure.
Of course, all of this is subject to change, but you can visit The Department Of Hawai’i FAQ Page for more up to date details!
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