Kitten With One Ear Finds Someone Who Saved Her Life, and Follows Her Everywhere She Goes

Clarissa from Texas found a 6-week-old stray in a parking lot, hiding under a car. She stayed with the kitten until help came their way.


Clarissa @vespurr_

The kitten was found with her ear dangling from her head by a thread. She took refuge under a car when she saw people coming to the parking lot. “My boyfriend and I brought her water and food to see if she’d come out,” Clarissa told Love Meow.

With help from two neighbors, both vet techs, they got the kitten out safely and rushed her to an animal hospital.

“It was understood by everyone that the ear had to be removed. Before leaving, they asked if we’d be interested in keeping her if she survived the surgery, and we said yes!”


Clarissa @vespurr_

Vesper made it through the surgery and came home with Clarissa but the road to recovery was longer than they had anticipated. “Five days later, she stopped eating and playing, so we knew something was wrong. We took her back to the vet.”

The kitten tested positive for coccidia (parasites) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), a disease that impairs the cat’s immune system. The kitten wouldn’t have made it alone in the outdoors.


Clarissa @vespurr_

After she returned from the vet, they noticed that Vesper started losing some motor skills and developing a wobbly gait, and it has stayed with her to this day.

Vesper may fall down when she walks, but she picks herself right up and is always in good spirits. “She doesn’t know any different. She plays, jumps and climbs like any other kitten.”


Clarissa @vespurr_

Clarissa takes it day by day with her one-eared kitty and celebrates her every milestone. “If we hadn’t taken her in, she wouldn’t have made it. Every day she lives is a gift and a bonus day,” Clarissa said.

They want to give Vesper the best life possible no matter how long it might be. The sweet little girl is always happy and follows her humans everywhere around the house.


Clarissa @vespurr_

“I’m thankful for every day I wake up and get to see her little baby tiger face staring at me or biting my toes wanting to play.”

When Clarissa tries to work, Vesper comes to “help”.


Clarissa @vespurr_

If Clarissa is in the bathroom, so is Vesper.

The mischievous kitty loves sitting in the laundry while having a little conversation with her human mom.


Clarissa @vespurr_

It’s been a year since Vesper came into their lives.

The little one-eared wonder has grown into a gorgeous cat with two different colored eyes (heterochromia iridum) and a larger-than-life personality.


Clarissa @vespurr_

“She is playful and curious. She wants to be around someone at all times and do what they are doing,” Clarissa told Love Meow.


Clarissa @vespurr_

“She is so strong and never gets down about her situation. She has taught me so much about unconditional love and perseverance,” Clarissa told Love Meow.

“No matter how many times she falls, she doesn’t complain — she just gets right back up.”


Clarissa @vespurr_

Follow Vesper and her adventures on Instagram @vespurr_

Watch Vesper’s journey in this video:

Share this story with your friends.

Related story: Kitten with 4 Ears and One Eye Rescued From Under a House, Finds Someone He Loves

Rescued Kitten Needed a Friend So They Found Him a Brother From Another Mother

A little stray came to the New York City shelter needing a foster home after he was found wandering the streets without a mom.

The kitten named Silva was in poor health with an upper respiratory infection and conjunctivitis. Shelter staff reached out to volunteers, hoping to get him into a foster home so he could start recuperating.


Alyssa Leal @adoptablesnyc

“I received an email from the shelter looking for a foster where he could recoup and gain weight,” Alyssa Leal, a volunteer of the shelter, told Love Meow.

Though her house was full with two other rescued kittens, Alyssa couldn’t say no to the little one in need. She pulled out her crate, headed to the shelter and brought the kitten home.

Over the next two weeks, Silva bounced back from his illness and was looking much better, but the kitten craved companionship, constantly looking for attention from his foster mom or other kittens.

“Silva was separated from the stray kitten that he was found with because of his poor health, and after my other fosters (Jules and Vincent) were adopted, I wasn’t sure how Silva would do by himself again since he absolutely loves kitty company,” Alyssa said.


Alyssa Leal @adoptablesnyc

He started clinging to Alyssa more and more. “It was a sign that he needed a friend.”

Around that time, Alyssa received another email about a 7-week-old kitten who was very timid and needed love. The little bundle of fluff looks like Silva’s brother from another mother.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“Professor Lupin (the kitten) arrived a scared boy huddling in a corner, but after two days of purritos, treats and affection, he was out and about a bit more.”

Lupin hasn’t mastered the art of self-grooming so he needs a little extra help cleaning.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“I set him up in a crate in our living room where he watched Silva play and run around. When they finally met, Silva totally welcomed him in,” Alyssa told Love Meow. “He taught him how to play, run, clean himself all from observing Silva.”

The two kitties really bonded. Lupin was very shy when he first arrived, but Silva helped him gain confidence each day, taking on the role of a big brother.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“Silva is doing an excellent job of teaching Professor Lupin how to be a kitten!”


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

Despite all the fluff, little Lupin hasn’t reached two pounds. He likes to follow Silva around the house and do everything he does.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

“Now they sleep and play together all day long, as well as with our resident cats,” Alyssa told Love Meow.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

Silva is the happiest kitty he’s ever been with his best friend by his side 24/7.

Their lives as a stray are over, and now they are cuddling each day in the comfort of a loving home.


Alyssa @adoptablesnyc

Share this story with your friends. Follow Alyssa’s foster kitties on Instagram @adoptablesnyc.

Related story: Kitten Saved from Shelter Finds New “Brother” Who Looks Just like Him, He Becomes Very Attached

Kittens So Shy They Stay Huddled Up Together Until Woman Helps Them Trust With Group Hugs

A Good Samaritan spotted a kitten on the road and followed the little one in attempt to find others. To her surprise, she discovered four little bundles of fluff living in a cat colony, in need of help.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

Lorie from Montréal, Canada discovered the kittens and immediately reached out to a local rescue, Chatons Orphelins Montréal (COM), to inquire for help to catch the kittens and get the adult cats spayed and neutered.

Volunteers responded right away and came with humane traps. After waiting for a while, they were able to get all four kittens and their feral cat mama.

“The cat mother went to a TNR (trap-neuter-return) program to be spayed and would be returned to the cat colony that a lady is caring for,” Celine Crom of COM told Love Meow.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

The 9-week-old kittens were taken into the rescue so they could be weaned, socialized and get a chance for a better life. The four felines were completely terrified when they arrived as they hadn’t had any human contact prior.

They were huddled up together the entire time and refused to be taken away from their siblings. “They did not understand what was happening and their hearts were beating out of their chests when we opened the cage,” the rescue added.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

“There are two boys, Tintin (beige) and Charlie (gray and white), and two girls, Rachel (dilute calico) and Luce (beige and white). They are very shy and it takes patience to gain their trust.”

While they were in transport, the kittens stuck together in the carrier, keeping each other comforted. Their foster mom Amandine didn’t have the heart to break them apart, so came up with an idea to help the little ones relax.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

The kittens insisted on staying in a pack of four so Amandine scooped them up and put them in her lap for a big group hug.

Their little hearts were beating fast, but as soon as they were being petted, they felt that surge of love that they’d never felt before, and calmed down.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

After a few intense cuddle sessions, the kittens warmed up to their foster mom and mustered enough courage to venture out a bit to play and explore.

“The kittens are still shy but we are working on making them feel more comfortable with humans,” Celine told Love Meow.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

After some chin scratches, Rachel the calico, the tiniest of the litter, really came around.

“She is now the leader of the crew despite being the runt. She’s the boldest and most curious. We are confident to win her purrs some day.”


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

Now the litter of four have been transferred to a new foster home with Sarah and her three resident cats, Gustave, Effie and Scarlett.

The older kitties took the little youngsters under their wing and helped them adjust to living in a home with humans.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

“Being with other cats that they aren’t afraid of, has helped so much,” Celine told Love Meow.

The feline siblings still stay very close with each other but they have learned to relax and enjoy their new indoor life.


Chatons Orphelins Montréal

Share this story with your friends. Follow updates on these kitties on Facebook.

Related story: Grandpa Cat Waited Months to Cuddle Kittens, Has His Dream Come True

Wildfires and the #1 Surprising Effect on Your Pet

Wildfires have been on our radar as of late with the rampant activity across the West, Pacific Northwest, and Canada. Our pet’s health is a top priority. We want to be able to provide the very best care in the wake of these natural disasters. Smoke inhalation is a disastrous side-effect of Wildfires that often […]

The post Wildfires and the #1 Surprising Effect on Your Pet appeared first on The Trupanion Blog.

6 Signs Your Dog Is Your Firstborn Child

Remember that beautiful moment when you brought home your first bundle of joy? The whole world seemed to change, become smaller, and begin to revolve around your sweet, innocent – dog. Even if you are now the proud parent of a tiny human or two, you’ll never forget your very first pup. The one that first taught you the joy of loving another creature more than you love yourself. Here are 6 signs your dog is your firstborn child…

Image Credit: Flickr | DavideGorla

1. Your dog’s comfort is more important than your own.

Image Credit: Flickr | Natalie Maynor

 

After a long, hard day, you just want to crash, but you find your pooch sprawled adorably across your sheets. It’s these situations that separate the dog owners from the pawrents. While some simply command their dogs off the bed, pawrents contort their bodies into advanced yoga poses in order to preserve the comfort of their pups!

2. You refer to your pup as your “son” or “daughter”.

Image Credit: Flickr | Yasmapaz & Ace_Heart

 

If you regale coworkers, friends, baristas and perfect strangers with stories of little Howard’s first haircut or trip to the beach, you may be a proud parent – or a doting pawrent! If your dog is your firstborn, you want to share every experience with the people around you. Surely they are fascinated by Susie’s remarkable potty training progress…right?

3. You are a “helicopter pawrent”.

Image Source: Kelly Hunter via Flickr

Is your home decked out with padded corners, cabinet locks, and outlet protectors? Do you insist on inspecting each blade of grass or inch of pavement before your pooch places a precious paw there? Congratulations, you are a helicopter pawrent! But don’t worry, it gets better with time and experience. By the time you have your second dog – or first child – you won’t bat an eye when he puts a dirty toy in his mouth! With that said, there’s no shame in embracing the mantra, “safety first!”

4. Your pooch eats better than you do.

Image Credit: Flickr | Bazzadarambler

 

You read dog food labels for fun and have tried out several homemade recipes for your little bundle of fur. A healthy diet is imperative for a thriving dog, and you are determined to ensure she eats like a queen – even if it means you have to eat like a broke college student!

5. Instead of selfies, your phone is jammed with snaps of your dog.

Image Credit: Flickr | Eli Christman/Richmond Animal League

 

Do you have to swipe until your finger is sore to locate a photo that doesn’t feature your dog? Have you given up selfies in exchange for “besties” – photos of you with your four-legged BFF? Some may call it obsessive, but every new pawrent does it! There’s no shame in being proud of your fur kid or wanting to share your joy with the world! So what if your dog has more Twitter followers than you?

6. Your social life revolves around your pup.

Image Credit: Flickr | Phil Denton

 

Gone are the days when you’d head out to the bar after work. There’s a furry little life depending on you now! Instead of Saturday nights on the town, you spend them on the couch with your pup. “Sorry, I have plans with my dog” has become your new mantra, and your friends have all but forgotten your face.

If you identify with at least 4 of these signs, you are definitely a doting dog pawrent. But don’t worry, you’re in good company!

 

The post 6 Signs Your Dog Is Your Firstborn Child appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

10 Most Common Health Problems In Large Breed Dogs

While no breed is immune to health problems, some have more than others and, most importantly, they have different kinds. The major health problems commonly found in large breed dogs are different than those found in small breeds, so it’s important to know what you’re up against should you decide to go with with a large breed. Here we’ll discuss some of the most common problems large breeds are susceptible to.

#1 – Hip Dysplasia

shutterstock_41147368
Hip dysplasia seen in X-ray of a 14 month old Hovawart.

Hip dysplasia is an orthopedic condition in which the hip joints don’t fit correctly into or are located outside of the hip joint, depending on the severity of the condition. Although it’s unknown what exactly causes hip dysplasia, large breed dogs are at a higher risk for the disorder. While some dogs live normal, healthy lives with bad hips, others need surgery to even allow them to walk around. Fortunately, there is testing for canine hip dysplasia and breeders are working hard to eliminate the disease.

#2 – Elbow Dysplasia

shutterstock_171729416
Severe canine elbow dysplasia seen in X-ray.

Just like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia happens more often in large breed dogs than it does in smaller ones. Dogs can live normal lives with elbow dysplasia, or may need surgery to allow them to live without pain. Although elbow dysplasia is the result of various abnormalities in the development in the elbow joint, it’s still unknown what exactly causes the disorder. There are tests to rule out unhealthy breeding stock, however, and breeders are consciously working towards eliminating the disease. 

#3 – Panosteitis

8092361274_acda12d5b9_z
Photo by Jinx McCombs via Flickr.

Panosteitis, or Pano, is a type of bone inflammation often found in growing dogs in large breeds. It typically happens before the puppy is 1 year of age and appears as sudden pain and lameness in one or more legs. Interestingly, Pano can jump from leg to leg with one getting better while another gets worse. It’s unknown what causes Pano, but speculation leaves professionals to believe that it has to do with rapid growth and high-protein foods often fed to large breed puppies. 

 

#4 – Bloat & Torsion

shutterstock_256443874

Bloat happens when the stomach fills with air, while torsion is when the stomach actually flips over on itself. This condition, known as Gastic Dilatation-Volvolvus, is an emergency situation as it is very shortly life-threatening. While the causes of GDV are still unknown, the condition does arise in large, deep-chested breeds far more than smaller dogs. If you own a large breed, it is very important to recognize the signs of GDV so you can get you dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. 

#5 – Dilated Cardiomyopathy

shutterstock_223996249

Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a very serious heart condition in which the heart becomes inflamed and doesn’t function properly. This diseases causes the chambers of the heart to increase in size while the walls of the heart are stretched too thin. There is no cure for Dilated Cardiomyopathy and affected dogs will need careful attention and medication their entire lives. However, there are special tests available for breeders to rule out breeding dogs with this disease so they can eliminate it in future generations of their large breed dogs. 

 

#6 – Aortic Stenosis

5830118982_94997b6000_z
Photo by El Coleccionista de Instant via Flickr.

Aortic Stenosis is a serious heart disease in which the area just above the aortic valve becomes narrow, obstructing blood flow. While dogs with mild Aortic Stenosis may live normal lives, dogs with severe cases are at a high risk of sudden collapse and death. The disease is hereditary, particularly in large breed dogs, and can be seen on cardiac evaluations by veterinarians, so breeders can eliminate these dogs from their breeding programs and ensure healthy animals in the future. 

 

#7 – Spondylolitheses

shutterstock_164940638

Spondylolitheses, also known as Wobblers, is a malformation of cervical vertebrae that cause weakness and unsteady gait in dogs. There are a number of different ways Wobblers can develop, but the disease is hereditary and found very often in some large breed dogs. Unfortunately, the disease is progressively and the dogs will soon lose the ability to move around normally. Treatment can be either medication to control progression or surgery to correct the spinal malformation, but in either case the prognosis is guarded. 

 

#8 – Cruciate Ligament Tears

shutterstock_150238397

Cruciate ligament tears are typically the result of trauma due to excessive activity or sudden movements. Large breed dogs are more susceptible to the injury. They have heavier bodies and sharp turns or poor lands from jumping can cause a twisting of the legs and tear the ligaments. It’s important to exercise your dogs carefully. Make sure they’re in good shape before training or competing in any dog sports. An overweight dog is more likely to be injured than one at a healthy weight. 

#9 – Cherry Eye

shutterstock_219435886

Cherry Eye is a condition most often found in Mastiffs, but it does occur in other large breed dogs too. It’s a condition in which the third eyelid protrudes from the eye. It forms a mass that becomes increasingly more irritated and inflamed. If left untreated, the condition can become painful and infected, causing a variety of other eye conditions. Luckily, if caught early enough, Cherry Eye can be treated without surgery.

 

#10 – Arthritis

shutterstock_241589413

While all dogs can and do develop arthritis as they age, certain diseases and injuries can increase the chances. Large breed dogs are more susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia and cruciate ligament tears. This makes them more likely to develop painful arthritis at a younger age. Larger dogs also age faster, causing arthritis to come on sooner. 

The major health problems commonly found in large breed dogs are different than those found in small breeds. See this article on the 10 Most Common Health Concerns For Small Breed Dogs.

The post 10 Most Common Health Problems In Large Breed Dogs appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

iHeartDogs Partners With Audible To Help Feed Hungry Shelter Dogs

We love our dogs, and in a perfect world, we’d spend every waking moment with them. But knowing that our dogs are comfy and cozy while we are away grants us peace of mind. The perfect little bed, a bowl full of their favorite chow, a basket overflowing of toys…but what else can we do to make things just right in our absence?

Think about it: what is the most soothing sound to your dog’s ears? A human’s voice! This is why Audible has gone to the dogs–giving your dog an opportunity to rely on a human’s voice while dog moms and dads are off at work, running errands, or at places were Fido can’t tag along.

This ingenious idea to keep our pups at peace while we’re away came as a result of an independent academic study in 2015, which discovered that audiobooks outperformed music when it came to reducing anxiety and stress in canine participants. Audible then decided to dig deeper into this interesting revelation, conducting a study on 100 lucky dog participants in partnership with Cesar Millan’s Dog Psychology Center in Santa Clarita, California.

What did they find? Well, 76% of those dogs tested showed a noticeable increase in calm and relaxed behavior when listening to audiobooks. Who knew that something so simple as a human’s voice while you’re away could keep dogs mellow and at ease? Thus Audible for Dogs was formed to give dog parents like you a chance to keep your pup happy when you can’t be near. A calm, soothing voice to keep your dog’s mind relaxed in your absence. Who knew something so simple could make such a positive impact on your dog’s mental state?

“Dogs are social animals, so they need to engage with someone and the purpose of Audible for Dogs is to make dogs feel there is someone with them. The person performing the audiobook is actually keeping your dog calm and taking the dog to a resting state, acting as an extension of you” — Cesar Millan

As many dog owners–especially those rescue dog owners–know, dogs who deal with anxiety when their human is away go through a lot. When they are mentally stressed in their human’s absence, they can find themselves in trouble or act out to help ease their worries. And then there are those breeds that are naturally prone to separation anxiety… which can make for a fretful combo when you combine the two.

Splash, CEO of iHeartDogs, is a senior husky who once lived a life on the streets before she got lucky with her human family. For her, Audible has been a dream come true. Now she can hear a human’s voice when her family is away, to help keep her mind calm… so she won’t resort to those naughty dog behaviors as a means to cope with her separation anxiety.

Are you ready to see for yourself what other dog owners are now swearing by? Audible for Dogs promises you a free 30 day trial so that you and your dog can test it out. Sign-up is easy, and you even get two free books to start! That’s one book for you, and one book for your dog.

And because we care about all dogs, for every single sign-up our iHeartDogs fans complete, we will donate 10 meals to hungry shelter pups waiting to find their forever families. Now, that’s music to a human’s ears.

The post iHeartDogs Partners With Audible To Help Feed Hungry Shelter Dogs appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

100 Denver Dogs Close Out Pool Season With A Splash

The Parks and Recreation Department of Denver, Colorado closed out the city’s pool season this weekend with more than 100 water-loving pups!

The fourth annual “Dog-A-Pool-Ooza” event welcomed pawrents to bring their fur kids for an end-of-summer splash at Cook Park pool before it is drained, cleaned and winterized.

“It’s a fun way to cap off the whole summer and really just kind of end on a bang,” recreation director Leslie Pickard told Fox 31. “We know Denver loves its dogs, so we’re really just trying to get people out, and get them engaging with recreation in a different way.”

10 other pools in addition to Cook Park closed this past Sunday, many of them staffed by students who have headed back to school for the fall.

Those who missed out on Dog-A-Pool-Ooza will have one last chance to join in the fun with another event at Berkeley Park pool on September 2. It’s just $5 per dog!

The sun is still out! Do you have a dog that loves water? If your dog doesn’t sink like a stone and you’re thinking about hitting the beach or the pool before the summer is over, check out this post on water safety before your pup dives in!

 

H/T & Featured Screenshot via Fox 31 Denver

The post 100 Denver Dogs Close Out Pool Season With A Splash appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

The Most Popular Dog Name In Every U.S. State

The name you choose for your furry best friend is a very personal decision. Some pet parents choose the monicker of a beloved celebrity or fictional character. Others simply pick something short, snappy and cute.

With endless options, it may surprise you to learn that many U.S. states share the same top dog names. In fact, according to a roundup from HomeAdvisor, only seven states have a unique name as their number one.

Using data obtained from Packdog.com – a social media site for dog lovers – the folks at HomeAdvisor determined America’s favorite breeds, whether certain breeds were more likely to receive particular names, and the most popular names across the country.

Find out more about your state’s top dog name below!

Name: Lucy

Most Popular in: Alabama, Alaska, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

In Alabama, Lucy is the most popular name for dogs and cats. It is also quite popular among Beagle owners across the country.

Name: Charlie

Most Popular in: Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington

Charlie has been a favorite on the list of the country’s top dog names for four years running, and is commonly bestowed upon Golden Retrievers.

Name: Bella

Most Popular in: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia

Bella is the number one dog name in the country, scoring the top spot in 18 states. It’s probably no coincidence it means “beautiful” in Italian and Latin.

Name: Zoe

Most Popular in: Colorado, Rhode Island and Vermont

Zoe is an ancient Greek name meaning “life” in English. No wonder it’s popular among the active, outdoorsy folks in Colorado, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Name: Maka

Most Popular in: Hawaii

Maka means “Beloved” or “Favorite one” and is short for many common Hawaiian names including Maka Koe, Maka Le`a, and Mâkaha – perfect monickers for man’s best friend!

 Name: Lola

Most Popular in: Iowa

Lola is the favored choice among the Hawkeyes of Iowa. It is also a popular name for Labrador Retrievers, which may explain why it made Rover.com‘s list of “Best Big Dog Names for Large Breed Dogs in 2018.”

Name: Max

Most Popular in: Nebraska

The name Max is popular among Lab and German Shepherd owners – which just so happen to be the two most popular breeds in Nebraska!

Name: Stella

Most Popular in: New Mexico

Stella is the Latin name for “Star,” making it the perfect name choice for dogs living in the “Land of Enchantment.”

Name: Jack

Most Popular in: North Dakota

Pups named Jack are most likely to be Labs – America’s most popular breed – or Jack Russell Terriers (surprise, surprise).

Name: Molly

Most Popular in: Maryland & West Virginia

According to Vet Street Molly is popular among Dachshund, Beagle, Golden Retriever, and of course, Lab parents.

Name: Cooper

Most Popular in: Oklahoma

Dogs named Cooper are most likely to be Golden or Labrador Retrievers. Like many other states, Labs are the top choice among Oklahoma dog pawrents.

Name: Lily

Most Popular in: South Carolina

Lily is a popular name for Chihuahuas – the second most popular breed in the entire country.

 

H/T to HomeAdvisor

The post The Most Popular Dog Name In Every U.S. State appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

The First 10 Lessons To Teach Your New Puppy

Advertisement

With their satiny soft ears, perfectly plump paw pads, and irresistible puppy dog eyes, falling in love with your new puppy is easy. What you teach your new puppy, however, is a different story.

Countless cute puppies grow up to be adult dogs with unmanageable behavior problems, and animal shelters are filled with dogs that were surrendered because no one took the time to train them. If you want your puppy to grow into the adult dog you’ve always wanted, training should be a top priority. Puppies are never too young to learn, and your training sessions should start the day you bring your new family member home.

Here are the first 10 lessons to teach your new puppy to get your relationship started on the right paw.

1. Potty Training

For the sake of your flooring, potty training should be first on the agenda of things to teach your new puppy. You’ll need to consider your living situation and your puppy’s vaccination schedule before getting started, but potty training a dog always depends on the same three steps.

First, show your puppy to their designated potty spot. Say something like, “Go potty,” and reward them when they do their business.

The second thing you’ll need to know is what to do when your pup makes a mistake—which they inevitably will. If you catch your puppy lifting a leg or taking a squat on the carpet, calmly interrupt them and lead them outside to their potty spot. If you don’t catch them in the act and only find the stinky evidence of their crime, there’s unfortunately nothing to do but grab the carpet cleaner. Scolding them after the fact or rubbing their nose in the mess won’t do you any good—in fact, it’ll seriously damage your budding bond.

Finally, keep your expectations in check. It’s generally understood puppies can only “hold it” for as many hours as they are months old. That means your two-month-old pup will need to go to the bathroom every two hours.

2. Appropriate Playing

A puppy that play bites can be cute, but the older they get, the worse the problem will be. To set your pup up for success, teach your new puppy appropriate play starting during your first play session. If they play with their teeth or claws, immediately stop playing and say something like, “Ouch!” in a startled tone of voice.

They won’t learn the “no teeth” lesson on the first try, but if you’re consistent, they’ll eventually connect the dots and realize if they bite, the fun is over. Dr. Becker with Mercola Healthy Pets also reminds pet owners that rough punishment is never the answer to training a puppy. She says,

“Whatever you do, don’t try to manage your puppy’s aggressive behavior by acting aggressively yourself. It’s never appropriate or productive to hit or shake a puppy, or grab his muzzle.”

3. Focus

Your puppy’s train of thought probably goes something like this, “Oh, look, that hooman is talking to me. That’s a nice hooman, I wonder what—SQUIRREL!” It’s adorable, but it’s not ideal for training. Without first establishing focus, all future training sessions will both start and stop in frustration.

The first lesson to teach your new puppy to focus is the “look at me” game. The rules are simple; when your puppy willingly looks at you, they get a treat. You can wave your hands or click your tongue to get their attention, but don’t touch them. When you first start playing, your puppy only needs to look at you for a second to earn their reward. But as you keep going, make them pay attention to you for longer before doling out the good stuff.


The post The First 10 Lessons To Teach Your New Puppy appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

10 Simple Tricks To Tire Out Your Active Dog

Does an hour-long walk give your dog more energy instead of tiring him out? Some dogs seem to have endless amounts of energy. If you don’t want them bouncing around your house or becoming destructive, you need to find a way to tire them out. Walking around your neighborhood can get boring for both of you after a while. What can you do? Here are 10 simples tricks to tire out your active dog.

#1 – Use a flirt pole

You’ve probably seen this type of toy used for cats. It’s a plush toy attached to a string attached to a stick, and it looks like a fishing pole. Now, there are beefed up versions that are tough enough for dogs to play with. Use a flirt pole so your active dog can practice his hunting skills by pouncing and leaping on the toy as you move it around.

#2 – Play fetch

You may think of fetch as throwing a ball as far as your arm can muster, but fetch can be much more than that. If you live in a home with multiple levels, toss a ball or toy down the stairs and make your dog bring it back up the stairs to you. Outside, use a frisbee or a ball chucker, both of which can make your dog run further returning the item to you.

#3 – Set up an obstacle course in your home

You can use couch cushions, toys, hula hoops, and furniture to create an obstacle course in your home and teach your active dog how to navigate it. An obstacle course helps tire out your dog’s mind as well as his body. That makes this a particularly effective method of tiring out your dog.

#4 – Teach new tricks

It’s a lie that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs love to learn, and the concentration required for them to learn a new trick wears out their mind and body. This may include starting your fur child in a dog sport like agility or flyball, where your dog is physically and mentally engaged.

#5 – Play tug of war

Some dogs love tug of war. This one has an added bonus of being a great strengthening workout for you, too!

#6 – Hide their treats, use treat-dispensing balls, or use food puzzle toys

Make your dog work for his food and treats. Hide your dog’s food and treats around your home, in different places every day to keep him busy. Some dogs love chasing a treat-dispensing ball around the house, tiring them out with no effort on your part after you’ve filled the ball. Intelligent dogs love the challenge of figuring out how to get treats out of a puzzle toy.

#7 – Go to the dog park

Many dogs love to play with other dogs. A trip to the dog park can be a great chance for your dog to run free, make new friends, and wear himself out. The dog park isn’t the right option for everybody, so consider making play dates with one or two dogs that your dog likes in a fenced-in backyard.

#8 – Have them chase bubbles

Children love blowing bubbles and dogs love chasing things. Having your child blow bubbles with your active dog can be great fun for both of them!

#9 – Play with a hose

For water-loving dogs, playing with the water from a garden hose can be great fun. If you have human kids, they can put on swimsuits and join in the fun.

#10 – Go hiking

A hike through the woods, around a lake, or up the side of a mountain is much harder physically and more interesting mentally for your dog than a walk around the neighborhood. You can choose a fairly flat path that isn’t more difficult than your typical route around the neighborhood. The sights and smells will still be different and more engaging for your pup.

(H/T: Puppy Leaks, Cesar’s Way, Chewy)

The post 10 Simple Tricks To Tire Out Your Active Dog appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

10 Simple Tricks To Tire Out Your Active Dog

Does an hour-long walk give your dog more energy instead of tiring him out? Some dogs seem to have endless amounts of energy. If you don’t want them bouncing around your house or becoming destructive, you need to find a way to tire them out. Walking around your neighborhood can get boring for both of you after a while. What can you do? Here are 10 simples tricks to tire out your active dog.

#1 – Use a flirt pole

You’ve probably seen this type of toy used for cats. It’s a plush toy attached to a string attached to a stick, and it looks like a fishing pole. Now, there are beefed up versions that are tough enough for dogs to play with. Use a flirt pole so your active dog can practice his hunting skills by pouncing and leaping on the toy as you move it around.

#2 – Play fetch

You may think of fetch as throwing a ball as far as your arm can muster, but fetch can be much more than that. If you live in a home with multiple levels, toss a ball or toy down the stairs and make your dog bring it back up the stairs to you. Outside, use a frisbee or a ball chucker, both of which can make your dog run further returning the item to you.

#3 – Set up an obstacle course in your home

You can use couch cushions, toys, hula hoops, and furniture to create an obstacle course in your home and teach your active dog how to navigate it. An obstacle course helps tire out your dog’s mind as well as his body. That makes this a particularly effective method of tiring out your dog.

#4 – Teach new tricks

It’s a lie that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs love to learn, and the concentration required for them to learn a new trick wears out their mind and body. This may include starting your fur child in a dog sport like agility or flyball, where your dog is physically and mentally engaged.

#5 – Play tug of war

Some dogs love tug of war. This one has an added bonus of being a great strengthening workout for you, too!

#6 – Hide their treats, use treat-dispensing balls, or use food puzzle toys

Make your dog work for his food and treats. Hide your dog’s food and treats around your home, in different places every day to keep him busy. Some dogs love chasing a treat-dispensing ball around the house, tiring them out with no effort on your part after you’ve filled the ball. Intelligent dogs love the challenge of figuring out how to get treats out of a puzzle toy.

#7 – Go to the dog park

Many dogs love to play with other dogs. A trip to the dog park can be a great chance for your dog to run free, make new friends, and wear himself out. The dog park isn’t the right option for everybody, so consider making play dates with one or two dogs that your dog likes in a fenced-in backyard.

#8 – Have them chase bubbles

Children love blowing bubbles and dogs love chasing things. Having your child blow bubbles with your active dog can be great fun for both of them!

#9 – Play with a hose

For water-loving dogs, playing with the water from a garden hose can be great fun. If you have human kids, they can put on swimsuits and join in the fun.

#10 – Go hiking

A hike through the woods, around a lake, or up the side of a mountain is much harder physically and more interesting mentally for your dog than a walk around the neighborhood. You can choose a fairly flat path that isn’t more difficult than your typical route around the neighborhood. The sights and smells will still be different and more engaging for your pup.

(H/T: Puppy Leaks, Cesar’s Way, Chewy)

The post 10 Simple Tricks To Tire Out Your Active Dog appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.

How To Help Your Dog Be More Comfortable With Body Handling

Belly rubs and head scratches are one thing, but not every dog is comfortable with body handling. All that poking and prodding puts them on edge, and it can lead to fearful and sometimes aggressive reactions. Having their teeth brushed, nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and bodies examined is necessary for their health, but good luck explaining that to your dog. Being comfortable with body handling doesn’t come naturally to dogs, and it’s a dog owner’s responsibility to help their pooch through it.

Should You Be Training Your Dog For Better Body Handling?

There are some confident canines that learn to tolerate certain kinds of body handling, but no matter their comfort level, training a dog to cope with body handling is always a good idea. VetStreet tells pet owners the best time to start is during the puppy stage. By introducing the concept of positive touch early on, you set your puppy up for a future of relaxed vet visits and easy grooming sessions. But even if your dog is past their puppy prime, it’s not too late to start.

Every dog is different, and they all deal with body handling in their own way. Some are only slightly uncomfortable and will subtly slide away from you, and others are deeply afraid. These are the dogs that run and hide every time they see the nail clippers. Some deal with the stress of being handled by shutting down, and others lash out with aggression. Either way, you can train them to accept handling like you train them to do everything else.

Where to Start

Your dog’s stress level when being handled will determine how you move forward. If they’re only mildly uncomfortable with a specific grooming task, you might be able to sail through the training steps in a matter of days. But if your pup is seriously stressed about being handled in uncomfortable ways, prepare yourself for a long road. Rushing the process or pushing your dog too far will only make matters worse, and it’s especially important to go slowly with dogs with histories of abuse or aggression. It might be months or years until your dog is completely comfortable with being poked and prodded, but training is always worth the effort.

Steps to Success

1. Choose a time when your dog is already relaxed. Never chase them down or drag them over to you, but instead, approach them calmly. If they run away after using their doggy intuition to read your mind, you’ll have to try again later. To start, you won’t need any nail clippers or tooth brushes that might spook your pup, and they should think you’re coming over simply to say hello.

2. Your first lesson in positive body handling is all about cementing the idea that being touched is a good thing. You can do this through praise or by handing over a favorite toy, but most pet owners find the best success when they use high-value treats. An average dog biscuit won’t work; choose something extra yummy that your dog will only get during these body handling lessons.

3. Start the process by touching your dog in an area they’re already comfortable with. Try their shoulder or spine if you’re not sure where to start. Touch them, praise them, and hand out your high-value treat. Do this a few times until your dog starts expecting the treat every time you touch them.

4. Changing a dog’s negative association with handling is all about desensitization conditioning. It’s taking small steps to gradually reach a bigger goal. If you skip steps or move too fast, your dog will be more traumatized than when you started. Let them take the lead and be prepared to go their pace. Canine Behavior Counseling says,

“For this systematic desensitization program to work,  you must always stay below a dog’s “threshold”–this is the point where your dog’s fear is so high, he is shutting off the thinking part of his brain.”

5. The trick to staying below your dog’s fear threshold is understanding their body language. Growling and whining are obvious signs of discomfort, but there are also more subtle signs of stress to look out for. If your dog is panting heavily, drooling excessively, shaking, yawning, or licking their lips, it’s time to pull back. Continuing to push them will reinforce their fear.

6. Once your dog is comfortable with being touched in the first spot, try repeating the treat process while touching a different area. You want each additional spot to be slightly harder for the dog to deal with, but don’t jump to the big problem areas too fast. For some dogs, someone touching their paws is the worst thing in the world. If that’s the case, paw touching won’t come until after the dog is comfortable being touched everywhere else. Try touching their knee and then their foreleg before inching closer to their paws. You won’t get to your dog’s biggest “problem area” on your first day of training, but the goal is to work your way that direction.

6. As your dog’s confidence improves, you can also move from a simple touch to minor handling. After they’re comfortable with you touching their ear, lift it up and move it around. You can also lift their lips to check out their teeth and spread their paws as if you’re cutting their nails. Take everything in small steps and try to think about what your dog will experience when they’re at the vet or the groomer’s. Now’s your time to prepare them for those future scenarios.

Things to Remember

Regardless of what kind of comfort zone you’re working with, always keep these training sessions short and sweet. Ten minutes is long enough, and you can work your way up to doing multiple sessions a day. Go at your dog’s pace, and while it can be frustrating, never let them see your impatience.

Working with your dog on body handling every day will help them in the long run, but you can’t avoid vet visits and grooming sessions until your dog is ready. One of the most important parts of this training is making sure unavoidable handling doesn’t ruin the progress your dog has already made. If your pup desperately needs their nails trimmed, but you haven’t reached that level in their training, hire a professional with experience working with anxious dogs. Don’t do it yourself because you don’t want your dog making a negative association between you and the clippers. It will take time and patience, but you and your dog will both be better off once they’re more comfortable with body handling.

Sources: VetStreetCanine Behavior Counseling

The post How To Help Your Dog Be More Comfortable With Body Handling appeared first on iHeartDogs.com.