Rebels with Paws: Surviving a Canine's Adolescence

hotdog_face_35267Those weeks of careful monitoring have finally paid off — you're now the proud caretaker of a housebroken pup! But wait, is that a yellow stain partway up the drapes? And after you unclip Rex's leash in the dog run, and he maniacally bounds around for 45 minutes, it still takes a 10-minute game of "catch me if you can" to get him back on-leash to go home. What gives? Your puppy has grown into a teenager.

The Wide World of Spots

From the age of six to 18 months, your dog undergoes adolescence — that gawky stage between puppyhood and adulthood. Physically, your dog has his adult teeth, but he still needs to chew on hard toys. That cottony puppy coat is falling out during one tremendous shedding cycle, allowing the adult coat to grow in. He has almost reached his adult height, but for now is all loose elbows and gangly movement.

And what movement! During adolescence, the domestic canine resembles a perpetual-motion machine that requires superhuman stamina to wear out. It's a good idea to find your pup a friendly pack of other canine adolescents to run with in the safety of an urban dog run or suburban fenced-in yard. If your dog lacks canine friends, send him or her out with your resident human teen to fetch a Frisbee or go jogging.

Read more: Rebels with Paws: Surviving a Canine's Adolescence

Beware of Pet Poisons

What is poisonous?lillies
Here is a quick reference guide to the more common house and garden plants that are toxic to most animals and children. If you have these plants, you need not dispose of them, but they should be kept out of reach from pets and children.

Read more: Beware of Pet Poisons

Guinea Pig Diet

Timothy Hay WebGrass Hay

Grass hay is an important part of a guinea pig's diet and should always be available.  It is good to give a variety of grass hay, as each type of hay provides a slightly different texture and fiber content.

  • Alfalfa Hay - Only give to pregnant, nursing, or young guinea pigs under 6 months of age.  Alfalfa hay is too rich for adult guinea pigs, and in excess can lead to health problems.
  • Botanical Hay - This hay has a great variety of grass and dry flowers, which offers different flavors for guinea pigs to enjoy.
  • Oat Hay - This is a good hay to throw in some variety as it is thicker and harder and helps keep teeth ground down a little.
  • Orchard Grass - This hay has a softer texture, which is nice for bedding as well as food.

Timothy Hay -This grass hay is a favorite for most guinea pigs and is the most available in stores.

Read more: Guinea Pig Diet

Keep Playtime Fun, Safe

Muffy21853606 1 WEBIs your tabby attacking your feet as you walk down the hall? Ahh, the joys of owning a cat. But fear not – there are ways to redirect that behavior.

  • Engage the cat in interactive play throughout its life using stimulating toys. There are a variety of them in Tri-County Humane Society’s store. (All proceeds go back to the animals!) If you’d rather go the DIY route, stuff an old sock with paper and a little cat nip and knot it at the top; use a string to pull the cat toy along in front of your feline friend.
  • Don’t use your fingers or hands as toys, no matter how cute your kitten or cat is! That’s teaching them bad habits.
  • Interactive toys should be locked away with the game is over. Most of them require human supervision to ensure animals don’t ingest certain parts. Plus, if toys “disappear” they keep their allure to the cats.
  • To be most effective, play the interactive games several times a day with the cat. Playing the game right before mealtime works best. Three to 15 minutes per game is a good guideline.
  • Interactive play provides many benefits. But best of all, it’s quality time with your favorite feline.

Source: Information adapted from Jacque Lynn Schultz, CPDT

Stopping Predatory Behavior

Dogs were originally domesticated to take advantage of their hunting ability. The hunting instinct is not uniform among individuals of any given breed; rather, it is usually seen as a range of behavioral tendencies. The most obvious disadvantage of predatory behavior by domestic dogs is the unnecessary injury or death of other animals, including wildlife and other pets.

It also can take on a more sinister form when directed against family members, particularly if these are children and infants. Predatory instincts are most likely to be redirected toward children when an infant begins to crawl and walk. Never leave a child unattended with even the most trusted pet during this critical time.

Several methods have been recommended to control predatory behavior in dogs. Of these, the only method that is effective incorporates two simple approaches:

1. Deny your dog the opportunity to hunt.

  • Prevent opportunities to roam unrestricted or unsupervised outdoors.
  • Construct a fence around your yard if hunting occurs beyond your property. Alternatively, place a pen within your yard, restricting access to prey on your property.
  • Consider attaching your dog’s collar to a long lead (anchored to the ground), as long as the dog is not left there during bad weather or for long periods without supervision.

2. Minimize your dog’s desire to roam and hunt by providing alternative activities.

  • Discourage wild and undisciplined behavior so that your dog is less likely to follow its primitive instincts.
  • Every dog should be walked on a leash at least twice a day.
  • Practice obedience skills daily. This reinforces appropriate and desirable behavior.
  • Set aside time each day to play with your pet, engaging in games that apply obedience skills such as retrieval of objects. More playful interaction of this kind also increases your dog’s intellectual and physical activity.

Source: "Canine and Feline Behavior Problems," Stefanie Schwartz

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