Quick guide to understanding your dog.

Learn the language of your dog 

A dog communicates through body language. The most important signals are the calming signals They tell us, if a dog feels pressed, stressed, or uncomfortable. These signals include:

  • licking their mouths
  • a smacking sound
  • winking their eyes
  • turning the head to one side
  • pulling the ears back
  • wagging with the tail lowered

If you observe your dog giving any of these signals, consider what is going on in that moment and act accordingly.

For many dogs there is too much going on in their daily lives. A grown dog should sleep around 14 hours a day. A puppy needs about 16-18 hours of daily sleep!

Read more about puppies and exercise here!

Stimulating the body and mind

The stimulation of a dog will to be different according to its  race and age. It can therefore be hard to observe general rules here. Certain activities are, however, more stressful than beneficial.

When you throw something to fetch, it increases the pulse and stresses the dog.

Do not:

  • throw a stick
  • throw a ball
  • play any kind of wild tug of war games

Certain kinds of toys also stress the dog. Dogs have a hearing ability thats is up to 4,5 times what humans do; so a little “squeak” can be really loud for them.

Watch a movie about why fetching should be avoided!

Stop playing with squeaky toys or remove the part of the toy that makes the sound.

The sniffing walk

Always use a harness and a loose leash.

Collars apply unnecessary discomfort and can lead to damage in the neck and throat. The harness should allow the dog free movement in the shoulders and front leg.

This harness is sitting in a correct maner.

If your dog pulls on the leash the constant pressure from the collar will stress the dog even more, which worsens the situation. If you need to have a tight connection with your dog, a harness provides you with a safer grip.

The dog needs a loose leash for it to choose where it wants to sniff. Flex lines are not allowed. By using a flex line your dog feels a constant pressure from a tight leash and it feels restricted throughout the whole walk. Flex lines feel like steel wire and often cause damage to both dogs and humans.

The daily exercise has to be on the dog’s terms. We humans tend to rush and let the dog follow us. Slow down, walk slowly. Give your dog choices. Let it decide, where it wants to sniffle and for how long.

Some dogs are highly sensitive. Even smaller inputs can feel very disturbing. That’s why not all dogs thrive in an environment of much activity and noise.

Not all dogs are happy greeting other dogs.

Read more about meeting other dogs here!

Calm and relaxing activities

Relaxing activities are important for the well-being of your dog.

Intensive sniffling reduces the level of stress. The dog uses its nose; let it feel free to do that as much as possible.

Let your dog search for treats during the walk: throw a fistful of treats over a large area and let your dog calmly search for them. It lowers the pulse and feels good. Searching for treats can also be done at home and is a meaningful and calming way to end the walk.

Calm chewing on a bone or a “kong” is another relaxing and joyous activity for everyone!

Watch a movie about good activities to enjoy with your dog!

The dog’s space 

Give the dog the opportunity to withdraw when you are at home. When it rests, leave it alone and do not disturb it. Family and guests should respect that the dog is not up for endless cuddling and talking to, just because WE want to pet our dog. We also need to teach our children to respect the dog’s withdrawal and its need to be free from social contact.

Little tools for communicating

Our body language says more than a thousand words. If the dog does something you disapprove of, ignore the action and keep QUIET.

The behaviour we want we reward, the behaviour we disapprove of, we ignore.

Obtain a good connection with your dog with a simple tool: use a smacking sound. When the dog looks in your direction, reward it with a treat within three seconds. Right then you give the dog a treat, you reward the correct behaviour.

Learn the hand signal: turn the palm of your hand towards the dog. That is the signal for “it’s okay”. This signal can be used in many situations, when you wish to tell your dog not to worry:

  • When you pass people, dogs and things, that seem to upset it.
  • When the doorbell rings and the dog runs towards the door.
  • When the dog begs or tries to jump up and down.

“Get in the way”: If e.g. a situation of conflict is about to occur, physically move in between your dog and the challenge. Lead your dog away from the situation.

 

Walking in a curve / curving:   When dogs meet in nature, they walk in a curve toward each other.

If meeting other dogs is a challenge for your dog, practice to walk in a curve. You can also cross to the other side of the street.

If contact with other dogs should be practiced, walk in parallels. I.e. you and your dog walk in a parallel with another dog and human. Keep a good distance and practice moving closer gradually.

If you learn to implement these practices/habits in your daily lives, you are offering optimal conditions for your dog’s well-being.

Read the Danish version here!

Don’t lose touch with your pet!

These days an add is running for a glove, that’s meant for grooming your pet.

The glove has spikes that help effectively to remove the hair, and the add says: ”your pet loves it”.

I don’t like the use of gloves like these, neither does your pet.

Yes, a dog needs grooming. How much and how often depends on the breed and it’s need for grooming.

The grooming amount shouldn’t be designed after how much humans are annoyed by the shedding, but after what’s right for the animal.

If you use a glove, you LOSE the sensation with the animal.

A calm grooming ritual is a very nice thing to share with your animal.

It gives you a unique opportunity to feel the animal.  You can hereby notice, if something is not right when you calmly go through your pet with a brush and your hands.

You definitely don’t have the same sensation using a glove with spikes.

If you look closely to the video you see a large dog in the beginning being brushed with the glove.

The dog has his ears back and the dog is in pain, not relaxed and enjoying. All calming signals, showing the animal is NOT comfortable with the situation.

Knowing a video sometimes just shows a wee moment in a larger content, I believe animals prefer a human contact with a calm hand and brush.

Stay in touch with your pets, don’t get lost in fancy tricks and “quick fixes”.

 

 

Link for the video add!

 

A puppy shouldn’t be worn out!

By veterinarian Lise Rovsing & Hanne Truelsen from Snudekompagniet!

Are you the happy owner of a new puppy, there are a lot of things to look forward too.

One of the greatest pleasures of owning a dog is the walks that you will experience together. However, it will take a while before this becomes a part of everyday life.

The puppy takes over the house with its energy which will test your patience. This might lead you to think that the puppy needs to be worn out physically and what better way to do this than to take the puppy for a nice long walk?

STOP – a puppy should NOT be taken on long walks or be worn out.

A puppy needs a lot less exercise than you might think. The puppy only needs to go out for short walk to relieve itself.

When the puppy arrives at its new home it is usually between 8-10 weeks old. However the most optimal time to move the puppy from its familiar surroundings is actually when the puppy is between 9-11/12 weeks old!

How much exercise does a puppy need?

During the first month of bringing the puppy home, it only needs to go out for 10-15 minutes a day.

As part of the housebreaking it is natural that the puppy needs to go out many times during the day, which is fine, but it shouldn’t be taken out for walks. The puppy only needs to go out to relief itself and the sniff around in its new surroundings.

A puppy will relieve itself where it feels safe, which is why puppies often relieve themselves inside the house or in the garden. This is also one of the reasons why the puppy shouldn’t be taken for long walks, as it will not relieve itself if you just walk around in different places.

When the puppy is approximately 4 months old you can increase the walks with 5 minutes, which will add up to 20 minutes a day. At 5 months you can increase the walks with another 5 minutes and so on, until you reach 30 minutes a day. A puppy should not walk more than 30 minutes a day until it is fully grown. When a puppy is fully grown depends on the breed.

Let your puppy sniff!

When you take your pup out for a walk it should be on its terms. It’s very important that the dog gets to sniff around as much as needed. This means that you should make as many stops as the dog requires and wait for the dog to finish sniffing.

A puppy shouldn’t be worn out by too much exercise. Too much exercise can make a puppy stressed.

Stress has a lot of consequences for the puppy and can show itself in many disguises.

Typically the puppy will be unfocussed and have trouble relaxing and resting, it will pee excessively, it will hump object, which has nothing to do with its sexuality and it will drink a lot. The puppy will also take longer to learn to be alone at home as well as it will take longer to be housebroken.

If you have a garden, it is easy to let the puppy out several times during the day. Have in mind that even a small trip to the garden, is a major input for the puppy’s brain to process.

Small experiences make a BIG impression!

From a puppy’s point of view, a small experience makes a huge impression, a lot more than you might think!

A puppy should only be exposed to new experiences every three to six days, which ensures the most optimal development of the puppy’s psyche.

Slow down!

Making an effort and giving the puppy time to a just, will give you the best result for a harmonious healthy dog.

We as humans can also benefit from slowing down. If you want to do what’s best for the new family member it’s important to calm household and give the puppy time to a just.

 

Stop displaying sick animals!

These days videos are often shared online.

A bulldog is shown running up a hill.

Halfway up it stops and rolls down the hill. The bulldog gets back up, continues up the hill, only to fall down again.

Some people think that watching the dog tumbling down the hill “is funny”, as if, by it’s own free will, it rolls down the hill.

STOP STOP STOP! Dogs don’t think things are funny! Fun is a manmade property we project onto our animals.

The video does not show normal behaviour for DOGS. The DOGS behaviour is not motivated by it’s own free will.

The dog rolls down the hill for one reason only.

The bulldog is bred “brachycephalic”, which means that the bones in the skull is pressed together in such a way that there is little room for the soft structurea eg. the soft palate.

Many bulldog have narrowing of their airways, which means that the bulldog can have difficulties breathing.

The strain of running up the hill causes the dog to lose conciousness because of the lack of oxygen, it collapses and falls, only to roll down the hill. Shortly after it recovers and tries to run again.

Loss of conciousness by exertion due to a heart condition cannot be ruled out either.

The video shows an alarming tendency in our society: we fail to see the signs of illness in animals and interpret their behaviour as “funny tricks”, when in reality the dog has a serious condition.

This is NOT funny! I hope that we can stop these wrong interpretations, and not let animals poor health entertain us.

An animal are not just lazy!

“Look at the “lazy” animal”!

So called ”funny” videos of dogs and cats are all over the internet such as a dog crawling out of bed, a dog that grunts and snores loudly, a dog which walks or runs in a “funny” manner, a cat that ”dances” or is used for entertainment.

The videos are followed by funny remarks and are shared amongst thousands of people, who find amusement in watch the animals in distress.

Dogs and cats are not lazy – it’s a trade assigned by humans.

The cause of the animals so called ”laziness” is often serious health problems.

The grunting and snoring dog has severe problem with narrowing of the airways, restricting it of air, which makes it grunt and snore.

The dog with a”funny” gait, has severe problem with its legs, which causes the dog extreme pain when trying to walk normally.

It is never funny to see animals suffer.

If everyone would just learn the language of the animals then maybe the humor would have a change of character.

Se den danske version af denne artikel her!

Dogs DO NOT experience guilt!

It’s not fun to watch a dog being scared!

First things first: Dogs DO NOT experience guilt. Guilt is a human trade, we as humans mistakenly impose our animals.

A video has been circulating the internet, which has also been shared by Ekstra Bladet and several other medias around the world..

The video shows a man pointing an object which has been chewed on at two dogs. He asks the dogs in a very threatening manner, who of them has chewed on the object.

One of the dogs turns away from the man. The man continues, moving towards the dogs with the object. One of the dogs creeps up to the other dog and hides its head.

This is apparently a situation that many people find amusing.

The poor dog is obviously very scared of the man and is showing all the signs of submissive behaviour.

Dogs use submissive behavior to show friendliness, when feeling threatened.

Picture 1: The dog turns its face and putting its ears back, which is submissive behavior.

Picture 2: The dog turns away from the man, which is submissive behavior and a sign of friendliness.

Picture 3: The object is getting closer. The dog is withdrawing itself and attempting to turn away from the man.

It is a very stressful situation for a dog to be spoken to in such a manner and at the same time being confronted with an object as if it was being thrown at it.

The dog is displaying amazing behavior. Instead of trying to defend itself and its friend, the dog is using its body language telling the man to stop threatening them.

I don’t think that it’s fun to watch a dog being scared. It makes me sad that this is the sort of video that brings amusement to some people. It clearly shows that a lot of people don’t know the dogs language and therefor misinterprets different behavior in our pets as ”funny”.

This is NOT amusing in any way!

I think that it’s very unsettling that a media such as Ekstra Bladet is exhibiting humans’ inability to read dog behavior and therefor having fun at the expense of a very scared dog.

Read the Danish version of the article here!

No, not all dogs need to greet!

Written by: Veterinarian Lise Rovsing (Dyreklinikken Artemis) & Hanne Truelsen (Snudekompagniet)

Most dog owners are familiar with the following scenario:

You are walking your dog wearing harness and on its leash. Suddenly an unfamiliar dog comes running towards you.

From a far the owner shouts:” don’t worry, my dog is friendly”!

A second later, the two dogs are at each other’s throats, and you are forced to drag your dog away from the other dog. After a few minutes the owner of the other dog comes and collects his/her dog.

It is a common misconception that all dogs, should be able to interact with each other.

Dogs are racists, whom often like their own breed.

Not all dogs have been socialized since puppyhood. Some might have had bad experiences which make meeting other dogs a trial.

RESPECT that you do not know the story behind all dogs. If an owner has his/her dog on a leash, there is usually a reason why. The owner is showing responsibility, leaving the leash on the dog, knowing that the dog isn’t comfortable with unfamiliar dogs.

The notion that all dogs should be able to interact with each other, is outdated. The more we can learn about animal behavior, and the better we get to know our own dog and learn what it’s comfortable with, only then do we know when to put on the leash, and when to walk away from a potential conflict.

It should always be respected, when a dog owner expresses that the dog does not want to greet.

If everyone showed the same curtesy, many conflicts could be avoided.

Remember these guidelines on your next dog walk!

  • It is okay if your dog, DOESN’T love all other dogs! As long as you, take your precautions.
  • It is okay to put your dog on the leash, if you sense trouble. Dogs don’t always figure it out themselves.
  • It is okay if your dog is a ’racist’. Dogs ARE racists’ and know the difference between breeds.
  • It is okay to cross the road, if your dog sees another dog it’s not comfortable with. It’s always better to avoid conflict.
  • It is okay to place yourself between the dogs, if they start to play too rough. They don’t have to “figure it out for themselves”.
  • It is okay to take your dog out for short walks. Dogs shouldn’t just be “worn out” physically.
  • If your dog growls because it’s uncomfortable, remove it from the situation. It doesn’t mean that your dog is aggressive it means your dog has a language, which you understand.
  • It is okay not to scold your dog aloud for doing something it’s not supposed to, as long as you praise correct behavior!

All of the above is based on dogs’ language.

Learn your dog’s language by reading and understanding its signals, by doing this you are one step closer to a good life with your dog.