The Wrong Way to Train Your Dog Not to Jump Up on People

Analysis by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker DVM

A misbehavior that is annoying, potentially dangerous, and also quite common in dogs is jumping up on people. It’s so common, in fact, that it feels like a natural canine reaction to the excitement of greeting a favorite human, or at least a human who is known to offer treats!

The person being jumped on is often reluctant to correct the behavior — especially if the dog is small — because, well, it’s nice to receive such a joyful, lavish welcome! However, failing to discourage jumping in your dog can have unforeseen consequences that are difficult to predict as you look down at her happy, fuzzy little face.

Experts generally agree that a dog’s behavior is almost always linked to something his owner, caretaker and/or trainer did or didn’t do at some point in her life. There are three behaviors in particular that most dog parents don’t appreciate but may be unintentionally reinforcing: begging, leash pulling and yes, jumping.

These behaviors have been making pet parents crazy forever, and they seem almost impossible to extinguish — perhaps because it’s actually easier to inadvertently encourage them than to train dogs not to perform them, and once trained, it’s also easy to undo your hard work.

Why Punishment Is Never the Right Approach

I think one of the most difficult concepts for dog parents to grasp when it comes to training their canine companion is that punishment is typically ineffective, and it’s often counterproductive. In other words, you can make your dog’s behavior worse using punitive tactics. As veterinary behaviorist Dr. Valarie Tynes explains:

“When punishment is used incorrectly, it will appear unpredictable and confusing, so many pets become anxious or fearful around the owner that administers the punishment. When punishment is used in an attempt to train an animal that is already afraid or anxious, [the] fear and anxiety are likely to worsen and may lead to aggression.”1

According to Tynes, three important rules must be met for punishment (correction) to be effective:

1.     The punishment must occur every time the unwanted behavior occurs

2.     The punishment must be administered within a second or two of the inappropriate behavior

3.     The punishment must be aversive enough to stop the dog from repeating the unwanted behavior in the future but not be so aversive as to frighten the dog

Unless your dog is physically tethered to you (e.g., you have him on a leash and the leash is attached to you in some manner), it will be extremely difficult to be on top of him when he misbehaves, and within a second or two of his mischief.

In addition, in my experience it’s the rare individual who can deliver “just enough” punishment to train a dog not to repeat the behavior without frightening him, or conversely, without teaching him to simply ignore verbal commands.

In other words, it’s easy to over-deliver or under-deliver punishment. If you allow anger into the equation, it can result in both physical and emotional harm to your dog. The flip side of the coin is punishment that’s so wishy-washy and non-committal the dog learns to simply ignore you. As Tynes points out:

“Meeting all three of these criteria can be difficult. That’s why punishment often fails to solve behavior problems and should not be the first training method of choice. Positive reinforcement training, in which animals are rewarded for appropriate behaviors, is safer and more effective.”

I absolutely agree with this, and can’t stress strongly enough the importance of positive reinforcement behavior training, not only to help your dog become a good canine citizen, but also to preserve and protect trust, and the close and precious bond you share with him.

Punishment Can Backfire With a Jumping Dog

Tynes gives the example of a dog who greets people by jumping up on them, and the owner’s response is to either knee the dog in the chest or kick her when she does it to them. As a result, the dog learns to avoid the owner because the kicking has caused her to be fearful. However, she continues to jump on everyone else.

“Many dogs are highly motivated to greet people by getting close to their faces,” Tynes explains. “In most cases, kneeing or kicking such a dog is less powerful than the dog’s desire to greet people by jumping on them.”

I think this is good information that can further your understanding of your dog’s motivation if he’s also a “jump greeter.” Just as some people greet everyone they meet with a big hug and a kiss, it seems there are dogs who are similarly inspired!

Since not everyone the jumping dog meets responds to her behavior with a knee or a kick (thank goodness), the punishment she receives is intermittent, and therefore ineffective. In addition, there are dogs who don’t perceive being kneed as punishment, but rather reinforcement because they’re receiving attention, albeit negative attention.

Kneeing a jumping dog or worse, kicking her as a form of punishment (or simply to keep her off you) doesn’t teach her a more acceptable behavior to replace the unacceptable one. In addition, you can cause injury to her and/or yourself using your knee or foot against her. And there’s also the issue of unintentionally reinforcing the bad behavior because you’re paying attention to her when she jumps.

A Better Way to Manage Your Jumper

Canine “jump greeters” need a replacement behavior that is equally motivating. Tynes suggests teaching your dog to sit to greet everyone. Sitting becomes the alternative behavior that gets rewarded with petting and/or a food treat.

While he’s being taught to sit to greet people, it’s important to stop reacting when he jumps on you. Turn your back, stand straight, and ignore him. This is the opposite of what he wants (attention) and sends the message that you don’t welcome his exuberant jumping routine.

The goal of positive reinforcement behavior training is to use very small-sized treats (pea sized is good, and you can even use frozen peas if your dog seems to like them) and verbal praise and affection to encourage desired behaviors in your dog.

1.     Come up with short, preferably one-word commands for the behaviors you want to teach your pet. Examples are Come, Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, Off, etc. Make sure all members of your family consistently use exactly the same command for each behavior.

2.     As soon as your dog performs the desired behavior, reward him immediately with a treat and verbal praise. Do this every time he responds appropriately to a command. You want him to connect the behavior he performed with the treat. This of course means you’ll need to have treats on you whenever you give your dog commands in the beginning.

3.     Keep training sessions short and fun. You want your dog to associate good things with obeying your commands. You also want to use training time as an opportunity to deepen your bond with your pet.

4.     Gradually back off the treats and use them only intermittently once your dog has learned a new behavior. Eventually they’ll no longer be necessary, but you should always reward him with verbal praise whenever he obeys a command.

 

5.     Continue to use positive reinforcement to maintain the behaviors you desire. Reward-based training helps create a range of desirable behaviors in your pet, which builds mutual feelings of trust and confidence.

No matter what you’re trying to train your dog to do or not do, consistency is the key to success. If your mind is often elsewhere during interactions with your dog, in an instant you can begin to unravel days, weeks or even months of training.

If your dog is a jumper or has other undesirable behaviors and you’re not sure you can deal with it on your own, talk with a positive dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist. You can also find directories of credentialed dog professionals at the following sites:

·         Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (C.C.P.D.T.)

·         International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (I.A.A.B.C.)

·         Karen Pryor Academy

·         Academy for Dog Trainers

·         Pet Professional Guild

 

 

Hoof traction in the winter

By
Geri White comments by Diane Weinmann


Sleet, snow, rain and freezing mud can cause traction problems for horses and humans alike. Here’s how our horses cope, and what we can do to help.


Living in upstate New York, we get very cold temperatures, brutal wind chills and a moderate amount of snow in the winter. We also have to deal with hard frozen ground when there’s no snow, as well as freezing rain, slush mixed with mud, and what many of us call “lava rock” or “moon rock”, when slushy mud freezes solid and every hoof print is frozen in time, leaving a rough textured surface that’s very difficult to navigate. All these conditions cause traction problems for both us and our horses.
Nature’s guidance


Many years ago, when I first started trimming my own horses and didn’t have the experience I do now, my trimming approach was one of routine maintenance. One winter during a brief warm spell, I took the opportunity to trim my horses in more comfortable temperatures.


We had a lot of rain and some melting snow, but about five days later, it all froze solid overnight. It became quite a struggle for us to get to the barn. One of my morning chores was to check the water hole to make sure the spot the horses drink from wasn’t frozen over. I took careful baby steps all the way there, slipping and sliding even while holding onto the fence.


Before I even made it to the end of the fence line to go down the slight incline to the water, my horse, Sage, walked passed me with each of his feet simply sliding forward a little before stopping. He just kept going forward, using this slide-stop, slide-stop motion on each foot. He made it to the water hole, took his drink, and walked back past me again toward the barn area, seemingly without a care.


When I finally made it back to the barn, I took a look at Sage’s feet to see how he was able to navigate the terrain so much better than I did. To my surprise, the bars I had trimmed only days ago had returned to the same length they were before, providing a natural heel caulk. A V-shaped caulk on each heel gave him the traction he needed to navigate the icy terrain. From then on, when I trimmed horses, I started to really pay attention to environmental and seasonal changes as they relate to traction.


I was determined to learn from nature rather than interfere with each horse’s ability to navigate our winter conditions, so I challenged myself by really studying each foot. I mostly left the bars alone or trimmed very little, and backed off on the amount of wall length I removed. Over the course of a couple of trim intervals, I found there was much less growth if I allowed for that bit of extra hoof and bar material for traction. I found a balance that gave most horses what they needed. Of course, there will always be exceptions, as each horse needs to be maintained for his individual needs as well as his environment.


The “self-trimming” domesticated horse in winter conditions
I had an opportunity to observe some horses that lived as feral as any I have seen, apart from wild horses. They were in a large herd living on 100+ acres with fields, streams, steep hills, woods and severe winter conditions. One of them was a three-year-old Appaloosa gelding that I was going to bring home to my own herd. After looking at his feet, and those of the other horses in the herd, it was clear their hooves were quite different from the classic western desert foot (see photos below for comparison).


A visual comparison: Different environments forge and demand different hoof characteristics.
The hoof on the left is from the Appaloosa gelding that was living on a large range with fields, streams, steep hills, woods and severe winter conditions. The hoof on the right was found by a friend and came from a deceased wild horse in Nevada. As you can see, there is quite a difference between the length and definition of the heels, walls and bars on these two feet.

What about snowballs?
I am often asked about snowballs getting stuck in horses’ hooves. For the most part, a horse that lives outside in a large enough environment where he can move in a herd will remove snowballs naturally. Since my horses live in a Paddock Paradise track system, we often see hoof-printed snowballs on the trails as we put out hay and clean up manure.


Where I live and trim, the moisture content in the hoof horn is generally higher in the winter. My thoughts and observations suggest that the extra flexion in the moist hoof horn helps remove packed snow as the horse moves and the hoof mechanism expands and contracts. Movement also creates heat by sending blood through the hoof capsule, which will also assist in removing the snow.
Again, there are always exceptions, especially in horses compromised by hoof pathologies, injuries or lameness issues.

Diane used a Phillip’s screw driver to remove snow balls from her horse’s hoofs when they occurred.  She firmly believes that when you feel a snowball on the hoof you should dismount and walk your horse back to the barn to dislodge the ice ball or do it on trail.  It’s dangerous for a horses legs to let them walk with a snow ball.

Hoof boot studs
For brave souls who don’t mind bundling up and riding in cold and snowy conditions, hoof boot studs save the day. These studs are available through many hoof boot companies. They give a horse the extra traction he needs for safe riding in winter conditions. When you are finished riding, the boots are removed. The studs themselves can be removed from the boots when the season is over. Talk to your hoof care professional about studs for your horse’s boots.

Diane used books for her horses and they worked very well for traction as well as alleviating snow balls.  It was always entertaining for her the first couple of times during the winter season when she’d put the boots on her horse.  Inevitably they always lifted their leg funny almost like they had a weight on it because it was unfamiliar to them and they would forget from year to year.  Once they realized why they were on their feet they were fine with it.

In the early days of the barefoot movement, the focus was on the desert foot as a model. It has its place, but we have to consider that different environments forge and demand different feet. My advice for professionals and owners who trim their own horses would be to challenge yourself, as I did. It took one horse to lead me to rethink my approach. Consider working with nature and the environment by observing how your horse’s hooves respond to changing environmental conditions.

Why It’s so Hard to Cut Kitty’s Calories

By Dr. Karen Becker DVM


Estimates are that around 60% of cats in the U.S. are not only overweight, but obese. Owners of obese cats are often advised by their veterinarians to do the obvious — restrict the amount of calories kitty eats. However, this is apparently easier said than done, based on the low rate of compliance.
To try to answer the question of why it’s so difficult for cat parents to comply with recommendations to restrict how much their pets eat, scientists at Nestlé Purina Research set out to determine how much of an effect calorie restriction has on the feeding patterns of cats.
Specifically, “the objective of the present work was to better elucidate the impact of calorie cut-off on individual cat feeding behaviours, as well as on interactions between cats during food anticipation.”1
6% Reduction in Calories Has Dramatic Effect on How Cats Eat
For the study, the researchers assigned 80 domestic cats to two groups (40 per group) that were balanced for sex, age, weight, and body condition score. Cats being cats, several who “couldn’t adjust to their social group” were sent on their way, leaving 38 cats in the test group and 31 in the control group.
All the cats were fed the same commercially available diet on the same schedule. Canned food was the morning offering, kibble was served in the afternoon and overnight, along with very occasional treats. The test group of 38 cats was mildly calorie restricted (6%), which was accomplished by cutting off access to additional food when their allotted calorie intake was reached. All cats were monitored for 9 months, at which point the calorie restriction was ended.
The cats were free fed and typically consumed about 30% of their calories in the morning serving of wet food and 70% in dry food over the remainder of the day. However, the cats in the calorie restricted group quickly changed to rapidly consuming 70% of their calories in the first meal, leaving only 30% of their calories for the rest of the day. The cats in the control group, who continued to be free fed, didn’t change their eating behavior.
“While the control cats’ feeding behaviour remained unchanged throughout the trial, the study cats ate fewer but larger meals, came back faster to the food bowl after each meal, and ate their meals faster on the caloric restriction regimen compared to ad libitum feeding,” explained lead study author Séverine Ligout, PhD, in an interview with International Cat Care.
“However, one month after returning to ad libitum feeding, the study cats’ eating behaviours had returned to their baseline levels, showing that cats were able to readjust their feeding behaviours back to normal.”2
Calorie Restriction Also Increases Conflicts Between Cats
The researchers also observed an increase in conflicts between the calorie-restricted cats just before the first meal of the day. According to the researchers, it is likely linked to higher hunger and food motivation, since the cats have fewer calories to consume and they consume them faster, which leads to a longer period without food between the evening meal and breakfast the next morning.
The higher food motivation undoubtedly creates tension when several cats approach the food bowls for breakfast, leading to an increased likelihood of negative interactions. This behavior has been termed “irritability aggression” in other scientific studies and can be loosely compared to the hunger-driven irritability in humans known as “hangry” (a combination of hungry and angry).
“[The] conflicts consisted of avoidance of each other, one cat displacing another from a location by staring or approaching, lifting a paw in a threatening manner (i.e., as if to swat the other cat with its paw), and some cats actually made contact with another when swatting with their paws,” said Ligout.
“Thus, it looked like cats, just like us, are no strangers to the “hangry” (hungry + angry) feeling of hunger-driven irritability! Although no physical harm occurred during the study period, these interactions have the potential to impact negatively on the cats’ mental wellbeing and therefore welfare during the caloric restriction period, at least at actual feeding times.
These cats were housed in an enriched manner that allowed them to distance themselves from one another using space and physical structures, allowing them to avoid further conflict. In addition, their welfare was continually monitored throughout the study by veterinary professionals.”

Pet Parents Tend to Cave-in to Their ‘Hangry’ Cats
The researchers concluded that restricting the calories cats consume can change their feeding behavior significantly. Specifically, they eat larger meals faster, consuming their daily calorie allotment more quickly, which is outside the normal feline behavior of eating multiple small meals throughout the day.
So, while calorie restriction is a common strategy that humans employ when addressing feline obesity, from the cats’ perspective, it not only results in less food to eat, but also removes their sense of control over certain aspects of food availability and how much to eat.
Given that kitties like to feel in control of their living environment, it makes sense that they get “hangry” when their human attempts to restrict their food intake. According to the researchers, this leads to begging behavior, which then leads to lack of owner compliance.
Carnivores Fed Like Herbivores Results in Metabolic Confusion
Ideally, not allowing cats to free feed and become overweight is always the best advice when it comes to intentionally creating long-lived, disease-free cats. Cats, like other carnivores who remain well-muscled and lean throughout their lives, maintain innate metabolic flexibility when they’re at their ideal body weight and have periods of digestive rest in between meals.
Unlike carnivores, vegan animals (such as cows, goats and horses) need to nibble almost constantly to maintain their metabolic and physiologic wellbeing. The problem is when people feed their cats like goats, creating unhealthy and delicate metabolic butterflies that are prone to all sorts of health problems, especially when dieting.
As cats spend their days nibbling more and more, they can lose their ability to be sensitive to insulin and a variety of other metabolic hormones and end up with an overburdened liver and gallbladder and a sluggish and overworked digestive tract.
Many cats who nibble 24/7 lose their ability to effectively metabolize fatty acids at a normal rate, making them more metabolically fragile and prone to fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) if they skip meals. This is the exact opposite of how nature wired cats to be — resilient, athletic, stealthy hunters who stalk their prey and take long naps in between meals.
As guardians, we often unknowingly fail cats in all sorts of ways. We feed them far too much and far too often and we feed them ultraprocessed, high carb foods, which only fuels the problem. By the time we realize we’ve created hangry addicts, it can be really difficult to switch gears. If you find yourself in this position, working with an integrative feline veterinarian or health coach who can help you map out a strategic, safe and effective plan is the best approach.
Pro Tip: Encourage Hunting Behaviors at Mealtime
The researchers recommend strategies such as puzzle feeders and/or dividing food into multiple smaller meals to help mitigate “hangry” behaviors. This advice makes sense, as wild and feral cats are always on the move in search of their next meal.
Many domesticated cats, on the other hand, are free fed at the same location every day. The more you feed, the less interested your kitty is in “hunting” — which is good exercise — around the house. If the only time you see her in motion is when she’s walking to or from the buffet, she’s getting zero exercise.
My mom adopted two older, obese cats just over a year ago. We weaned them off kibble and onto raw food in a series of small steps and very slowly, so as not to create stress. They were free fed kibble their whole lives (hence the obesity), so first we transitioned them to scheduled feedings: 6 small meals a day. Then after a few weeks we reduced them to 4 meals and then 3 meals a day.
Next we transitioned them from dry to canned food (this took about a month), then weaned them from canned food to cooked commercial food (we used Smalls), then onto raw food. The entire process took over 3 months.
Lastly, we separated their daily food allotments into several small portions at dusk and dawn and placed them in different locations around the house for them to find (we feed them in separate parts of the house while they are “hunting” to make sure they don’t eat each other’s food). I recommend making use of indoor hunting feeders, which encourage natural feline behaviorsand provide mental stimulation as well.
Also consider putting food bowls or the hunting feeders at the bottom and top of as many flights of stairs as you have to encourage muscle-building exercise throughout the day.
A recent study suggesting cats may be healthiest being fed just once a day had many feline fanciers up in arms. If people suddenly cut meals for the majority of indoor, under-exercised, overfed cats all sorts of bad things can happen.
This study demonstrates the behavioral component of “dieting” cats and the correct assumption that the entire process of changing a cat’s food, food volume or feeding schedule is stressful and must be done very slowly (and patiently).

Pet Parents Tend to Cave-in to Their ‘Hangry’ Cats
The researchers concluded that restricting the calories cats consume can change their feeding behavior significantly. Specifically, they eat larger meals faster, consuming their daily calorie allotment more quickly, which is outside the normal feline behavior of eating multiple small meals throughout the day.
So, while calorie restriction is a common strategy that humans employ when addressing feline obesity, from the cats’ perspective, it not only results in less food to eat, but also removes their sense of control over certain aspects of food availability and how much to eat.
Given that kitties like to feel in control of their living environment, it makes sense that they get “hangry” when their human attempts to restrict their food intake. According to the researchers, this leads to begging behavior, which then leads to lack of owner compliance.
Carnivores Fed Like Herbivores Results in Metabolic Confusion
Ideally, not allowing cats to free feed and become overweight is always the best advice when it comes to intentionally creating long-lived, disease-free cats. Cats, like other carnivores who remain well-muscled and lean throughout their lives, maintain innate metabolic flexibility when they’re at their ideal body weight and have periods of digestive rest in between meals.
Unlike carnivores, vegan animals (such as cows, goats and horses) need to nibble almost constantly to maintain their metabolic and physiologic wellbeing. The problem is when people feed their cats like goats, creating unhealthy and delicate metabolic butterflies that are prone to all sorts of health problems, especially when dieting.
As cats spend their days nibbling more and more, they can lose their ability to be sensitive to insulin and a variety of other metabolic hormones and end up with an overburdened liver and gallbladder and a sluggish and overworked digestive tract.
Many cats who nibble 24/7 lose their ability to effectively metabolize fatty acids at a normal rate, making them more metabolically fragile and prone to fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) if they skip meals. This is the exact opposite of how nature wired cats to be — resilient, athletic, stealthy hunters who stalk their prey and take long naps in between meals.
As guardians, we often unknowingly fail cats in all sorts of ways. We feed them far too much and far too often and we feed them ultraprocessed, high carb foods, which only fuels the problem. By the time we realize we’ve created hangry addicts, it can be really difficult to switch gears. If you find yourself in this position, working with an integrative feline veterinarian or health coach who can help you map out a strategic, safe and effective plan is the best approach.
Pro Tip: Encourage Hunting Behaviors at Mealtime
The researchers recommend strategies such as puzzle feeders and/or dividing food into multiple smaller meals to help mitigate “hangry” behaviors. This advice makes sense, as wild and feral cats are always on the move in search of their next meal.
Many domesticated cats, on the other hand, are free fed at the same location every day. The more you feed, the less interested your kitty is in “hunting” — which is good exercise — around the house. If the only time you see her in motion is when she’s walking to or from the buffet, she’s getting zero exercise.
My mom adopted two older, obese cats just over a year ago. We weaned them off kibble and onto raw food in a series of small steps and very slowly, so as not to create stress. They were free fed kibble their whole lives (hence the obesity), so first we transitioned them to scheduled feedings: 6 small meals a day. Then after a few weeks we reduced them to 4 meals and then 3 meals a day.
Next we transitioned them from dry to canned food (this took about a month), then weaned them from canned food to cooked commercial food (we used Smalls), then onto raw food. The entire process took over 3 months.
Lastly, we separated their daily food allotments into several small portions at dusk and dawn and placed them in different locations around the house for them to find (we feed them in separate parts of the house while they are “hunting” to make sure they don’t eat each other’s food). I recommend making use of indoor hunting feeders, which encourage natural feline behaviorsand provide mental stimulation as well.
Also consider putting food bowls or the hunting feeders at the bottom and top of as many flights of stairs as you have to encourage muscle-building exercise throughout the day.
A recent study suggesting cats may be healthiest being fed just once a day had many feline fanciers up in arms. If people suddenly cut meals for the majority of indoor, under-exercised, overfed cats all sorts of bad things can happen.
This study demonstrates the behavioral component of “dieting” cats and the correct assumption that the entire process of changing a cat’s food, food volume or feeding schedule is stressful and must be done very slowly (and patiently).

The Dog Scoot is not the Dance you want to See!

By Dr. Karen Becker DVM

 

The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of Canine Anal Glands

Your dog’s anal glands or sacs are small and oval-shaped and sit just inside the rectum on either side of the anus at about the 8:00 and 4:00 o’clock positions. They’re located within the muscle of the anal sphincter and the tiny openings to the ducts aren’t easily visible along the anal mucosal junction.

The glands secrete an oily substance with a potent odor that humans perceive as unpleasant, to put it mildly. This fluid may function as a territorial marker in the world of canine communication, allowing dogs to leave personal biochemical information for other dogs to investigate.

When your dog poops, if the stool is of normal consistency, the oily fluid is expelled from the anal glands through tiny ducts and onto the feces. Anal glands empty from the pressure of the stool as it passes through the rectum and anus. This is a useful design of nature, but unfortunately, today’s dogs often have loose stools or irregular bowel movements that don’t provide sufficient pressure against the anal glands during evacuation.

“Scooting,” as the behavior is affectionately called, signals an itchy or irritated backside. Once in a great while, the problem is caused by tapeworms or other parasites in which case there are usually other symptoms such as weight loss, poor coat or skin condition, a distended or painful abdomen, or diarrhea.

You might also see worm segments near your dog’s anus, but other parasites that cause an itchy anus and an irritated rectum are microscopic and require a stool analysis for correct diagnosis.

Scooting can signal a problem like a perianal tumor or irritation caused by diarrhea or a perineal yeast infection, but most often the reason is an anal gland issue. Your dog is dragging or scooting her bottom across the floor to try to relieve the discomfort of inflamed, infected or impacted anal gland(s).

Impactions, Infections, Abscesses, and Tumors

When a dog’s anal sacs malfunction, it’s most commonly a problem of impaction. This occurs when the oily substance builds up in the glands and thickens and isn’t expressed, resulting in enlargement and irritation of the glands. Anal gland infections are usually bacterial in nature and cause irritation and inflammation. As the infection progresses, pus accumulates within the anal gland.

An anal gland abscess is the result of an unaddressed anal gland infection. The abscess will continue to grow in size until it eventually ruptures. My recommendation for these extreme cases is to infuse the anal glands with ozonated olive oil or silver sulfadiazine (diluted with colloidal silver).

Anal gland tumors, classified as adenocarcinomas, are usually malignant. Occasionally anal gland tumors cause elevations in blood calcium levels, which can result in significant organ damage, including kidney failure.

Other contributors to anal gland problems can include obesity where there is insufficient muscle tone and excess fatty tissue, certain skin disorders, and infections. But in my experience, the three most common causes of anal gland problems in dogs are diet resulting in loose stools, trauma to the glands, or the position of the glands.

Cleaning Up Your Dog’s Diet

The unnecessary carbohydrates found in commercial pet food are allergenic and inflammatory, especially to your dog’s digestive system. The last part of your dog’s digestive tract is her rectum, anus and anal glands, which tend to be excellent indicators of food-related irritation.

If your dog is experiencing recurrent anal gland issues it means there’s systemic inflammation present and the first thing you should do is address the most logical causes of inflammation, the first step being food. Eliminate excess inflammatory foods from her diet, including all sources of grains and legumes. Stop feeding any food that contains corn, potato, legumes, oatmeal, wheat, rice or soy.

I also recommend ordering a NutriScan test to identify food sensitivities, followed by a novel diet depending on the results of the scan. When a dog is having a reaction to something in her diet, her body needs a break from that food. After determining her food intolerance(s), my recommendation is to introduce a novel diet to promote healing. This means transitioning her to a different food she isn’t sensitive to made up of ingredients her body isn’t familiar with.

Unfortunately, many dog foods claiming to contain “novel proteins,” don’t. In addition, pet food mislabeling is a widespread problem, so if you’re planning to go with a commercially available processed novel diet, be aware it will almost undoubtedly contain ingredients you’re trying to avoid.

The very safest approach, especially for the first few months, is homecooked meals that allow you to control virtually everything that goes into your dog’s mouth. Second best is a human-grade commercially available fresh food containing an uncommon protein, produced by a company you trust.

A common reason for sudden anal gland issues is an episode of acute diarrhea. If there is suddenly no pressure from firm feces to expel the contents of the glands, secretions can accumulate quickly, leading to scooting.

If your dog’s poop is frequently unformed, soft, or watery, her anal sacs aren’t consistently getting the firm pressure they need to empty on a daily basis and recurrent scooting may be seen. Feeding a nutritionally optimal, species-specific diet will address both food sensitivities and intermittent poor stool consistency.

Adding probiotics, fiber (for example, 100% canned pumpkin or slippery elm powder) and digestive enzymes to her diet can also assist in creating consistently firm stools. Address an episode of loose stools immediately with these suggestions and a bland meal to correct the bowel imbalance before it creates anal gland issues.

If your dog has regular episodes of diarrhea, you need to investigate the root cause as soon as possible. The most common reason pets have poop issues are problems with their food. You can find an in-depth discussion of food sensitivities and the havoc they can wreak on your pet’s health here.

Has There Been Trauma to the Anal Glands?

Many injuries to dogs’ anal sacs are caused by well-meaning but misguided groomers, veterinarians, and even pet parents. Many groomers are in the habit of expressing the anal glands of every dog they groom, as a part of “included services,” along with cleaning ears and trimming nails.

Routine expression of healthy anal glands is unnecessary, unpleasant for both dog and human, and potentially harmful, so if you take your pet to a groomer, make sure to mention that no anal gland expression is necessary. Over time, regular manhandling of these little sacs can interfere with their ability to function as nature intended.

Some veterinarians offer anal sac expression as an included service for pets who are being anesthetized for some other procedure. In addition, many veterinarians immediately express the anal glands if the owner mentions their dog scoots now and then. This approach doesn’t identify or address the cause of the problem, only the symptom.

And then there are dog parents who feel it’s in their pet’s best interest to express their anal sacs on a regular basis. Just as manually draining other glands in your pet’s body is unthinkable, expressing healthy anal glands can create problems.

If your dog is having recurrent or chronic anal sac issues, it’s important to identify the root cause rather than repetitively treating the symptom by manually expressing the glands.

The anal sacs are delicate little organs that can be easily injured through squeezing and pinching. They were designed to function optimally without assistance. Trauma to the glands causes tissue damage and inflammation, which in turn causes swelling. Swollen glands can obstruct the exit duct through which the fluid is expressed. If blocked secretions build up and thicken in the glands, it can lead to impaction and anal gland infection.

Sometimes, the Problem Is Structural

Certain dogs have anal sacs that are located very deep inside their rectums. As stool collects in the colon, the pressure should cause the glands to empty. But if a dog’s anal glands aren’t adjacent to where the greatest amount of pressure builds in her large intestine, they won’t express properly.

This is a situation that may require surgery to correct because the location of the glands is dictated by genetics.

Final Thoughts

If your four-legged family member is having anal gland issues, your veterinarian should investigate thoroughly to determine the cause of the problem rather than just treating it symptomatically by manually expressing the glands.

It’s important to try to re-establish the tone and health of malfunctioning glands using a combination of dietary adjustments, homeopathic remedies, and natural GI anti-inflammatories. Sometimes manually infusing the glands with natural lubricants or herbal preparations can help return them to normal function.

The goal should be to resolve the underlying cause and return your pet’s anal glands to self-sufficiency. If your dog doesn’t have anal gland issues, I recommend telling both your groomer and your veterinarian to leave these little glands completely alone to avoid problems down the road.

 

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3 Remedies for Upset Stomach in Dogs

Diane Weinmann's HOPE

Katherine Smith, DVM, CVA, CVSMT

 When you have an upset stomach, you probably reach for ginger ale or crackers to settle your tummy. But what should you do when your dog’s stomach is out of sorts?

Here’s some information about the causes and symptoms of upset stomach in dogs and tips for how to make your pup feel better with natural remedies. 

Common Causes of Upset Stomach in Dogs

There are many reasons your dog may have an upset stomach, though there’s one common cause: they ate something they shouldn’t have, says Kathy Backus, DVM, at Holistic Veterinary Services in Kaysville, Utah.

“Dogs are curious like kids; they’re always putting things in their mouth,” she says. “Vomiting and diarrhea are signs that a dog’s body is trying to expel something that shouldn’t be in their system. In a healthy dog, it’s a protective mechanism of the body that’s totally normal.”

These are…

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Eight Annual Rainbow Bridge Sept 15

A loss of a pet can be heart-breaking.  Many wish they had a way to honor and remember that relationship.  The eighth annual Rainbow Bridge Walk on Sunday, September 15, provides an opportunity for pet owners who have lost a pet to come and pay tribute to their pets and the love they shared.

Mike Kovack, Medina County Auditor, is sponsoring the event at Buckeye Woods Park, 6335 Wedgewood Rd. (State Route 162) in Lafayette Township in Medina, with registration starting at 12:30 pm and the program starting at 1 pm.  Admission is free.

“We encourage anyone who has recently lost a pet to attend the walk,” said Kovack.  “Each year over 100 people who have suffered the loss of a beloved pet have found this ceremony to be a powerful benefit.”

The walk over the bridge at the park symbolizes the pet’s walk to a wonderful new home after it passes away and awaits its reunion with its owner.  

“It is comforting for attendees to be with others who understand the loss,” said Char Arthur, founder and coordinator of the Rainbow Bridge Walk. 

Attendees should feel free to bring other pets, but they should be on a non-retractable leash at all times. The event features a short memorial service, a pet blessing, various remembrance activities and a one-mile Tribute Walk. 

This year’s sponsors are All Creatures Vet Clinic, Animal Medical Centre, Awesome Paws, Barberton Animal Clinic – Wadsworth, Biegel’s Plumbing, Excellence in Eye Care, Medina Vet Clinic, Metropolitan Animal Hospital, Tender Loving Care.

For more information, to complete the requested registration form, to submit an online tribute, or view a video of the event, please log on to www.rainbowbridgewalk.com.

Contact: Beth Kilchenman 

Phone: 330-725-9756

Email: bkilchenman@medinaco.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Why do Dogs Hide their Bones?

 

 

Dogs descended from wild canids. According to a study published in Science in November 2013, our dogs derived from a wolf population in Europe that has since become extinct. Early dogs never knew where their next meal would come from so the stashing behavior evolved. Their sensitive noses would lead them back to the hiding places when they wanted a snack. Any food item that is in excess of hunger at the time is a surplus that must be saved and not wasted.

Because of their ancestral background, burying or hiding bones and other items is a typical dog behavior, like sniffing and tail-wagging.  Just like the wolf that they decended from, their behavior is instinctual and goes back millions of years. It’s a food-saving technique that all dogs today are born having an instinct for, just as their wolf ancestors were. Before being domesticated, this was often a necessary behavior for dogs/wolves to ensure that they’d have adequate nutrition at times when food was scarce.

Even today, canines in the wild (such as foxes) will kill a small animal, feed on it until only the bones remain, then bury the bones to hide them from other animals looking for food. If their next hunt isn’t successful, they can return to the hiding spot and feed on the leftover bones from the previous hunt. The marrow from bones is rich in nutrients and will usually be sufficient nourishment until the next successful hunting expedition.

You might wonder why dogs may also hide their plastic chew toys, which obviously have no nutritional value. The reason is that, initially, dogs don’t realize that the toy is not food, and their instincts lead them to hide the toy when they’re not chewing on it, hoarding it as if it were spare food. A difference between domesticated and wild canines is that domesticated dogs don’t generally retrieve items they’ve hidden or buried, since they are consistently fed and don’t need to return for the hidden item.

The first time I witnessed this hiding the food trait in my dog is when I gave him a marrow bone outside.  He only held it for a minute in his mouth, went to the base of a large tree and began to dig a hole.  Since he is not a digger by nature (not destructive to the flower beds or yard) I watched, fascinated, as he dug his hole and drop his bone in.  He immediately used his nose to cover it up, pushing the dirt back over the bone.  He then came right back to where I was sitting on the patio, obviously pleased with himself and wanted to be petted.  I brushed all the dirt from his nose and said “Well I guess that was a waste of money”!  Since then, he has performed this ritual twice so I don’t give him those kind of bones outside anymore—however, it was highly entertaining!

 

 

 

Dog With These 2 Undesirable Behaviors?

By Dr. Becker and comments by Diane Weinmann

faith-on-couch

I think one of the most difficult concepts for dog parents to grasp when it comes to training their canine companion is that punishment is typically ineffective, and it’s often counterproductive. In other words, you can make your dog’s behavior worse using punitive tactics. As veterinary behaviorist Dr. Valarie Tynes explains:

“When punishment is used incorrectly, it will appear unpredictable and confusing, so many pets become anxious or fearful around the owner that administers the punishment.

When punishment is used in an attempt to train an animal that is already afraid or anxious, [the] fear and anxiety are likely to worsen and may lead to aggression“.1

According to Tynes, three important rules must be met for punishment (correction) to be effective:

1. The punishment must occur every time the unwanted behavior occurs

2. The punishment must be administered within a second or two of the inappropriate behavior

3. The punishment must be aversive enough to stop the dog from repeating the unwanted behavior in the future but not be so aversive as to frighten the dog

Unless your dog is physically tethered to you (e.g., you have him on a leash and the leash is attached to you in some manner), it will be extremely difficult to be on top of him when he misbehaves, and within a second or two of his mischief.

In addition, in my experience it’s the rare individual who can deliver “just enough” punishment to train a dog not to repeat the behavior without frightening him, or conversely, without teaching him to simply ignore verbal commands.

In other words, it’s easy to over-deliver or under-deliver punishment. If you allow anger into the equation, it can result in both physical and emotional harm to your dog. The flip side of the coin is punishment that’s so wishy-washy and non-committal the dog learns to simply ignore you. As Tynes points out:

“Meeting all three of these criteria can be difficult. That’s why punishment often fails to solve behavior problems and should not be the first training method of choice. Positive reinforcement training, in which animals are rewarded for appropriate behaviors, is safer and more effective.”

I absolutely agree with this, and can’t stress strongly enough the importance of positive reinforcement behavior training, not only to help your dog become a good canine citizen, but also to preserve and protect the close and priceless bond you share with him. 

 

Diane’s theory is catch them doing something good and reward them for that!  I love this method and it really makes you pay attention to your pet and how many times they are displaying good behavior vs bad.  So make time each day to catch them doing something good then praise and reward them for it showing them in your mind what they are doing that is so wonderful!  This could be as simple as being good while you eat dinner, laying down next to the cat without tormenting him, not jumping on someone, or coming when called.

Why Punishment Fails, Example No. 1: Couch-Loving Dog

Tynes offers two examples of why punishment usually doesn’t work. In the first, a dog who isn’t allowed on the couch is routinely found there by her owner, who reacts by yelling and waving a rolled-up newspaper at the dog each time the behavior occurs.

The dog’s response is to get off the couch when she’s yelled at, only to return when her owner isn’t around. As Tynes points out, because the dog still gets on the couch when the owner is away, she’s being rewarded some of the time for her undesirable behavior.

Remember rule No. 1 above? “The punishment must occur every time the unwanted behavior occurs.” In this case, it’s not possible for the couch-surfing canine’s owner to be there to deliver punishment each and every time the behavior occurs, so the punishment doesn’t solve the problem long-term.

I’d venture to guess the vast majority of dog parents are in a similar predicament. Most people lead busy lives, and it’s simply not possible to keep an eye on the dog 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

In addition, punitive tactics delivered repeatedly have a way of escalating, because the dog parent grows increasingly frustrated that the punishment isn’t working. If the severity of the punishment increases, the dog may grow fearful of her owner, or a feistier dog may respond with growling or snapping.

Why Punishment Fails, Example No. 2: Jumping Dog

In Tynes’ second example, a dog greets people by jumping on them, and the owners’ response is to either knee the dog in the chest or kick him when he does it to them. As a result, the dog now avoids the husband because the kicking has caused him to be fearful. However, he still jumps on everyone else. As Tynes explains:

“Many dogs are highly motivated to greet people by getting close to their faces. In most cases, kneeing or kicking such a dog is less powerful than the dog’s desire to greet people by jumping on them.”

I think this is good information that can further your understanding of your dog’s motivation if he’s also a “jump greeter.” You know how some people greet everyone they meet with a big hug and a kiss? Seems there are dogs who are similarly inspired!

Back to the dog in the example — since not everyone he meets responds to his jumping with a knee or a kick (thank goodness), the punishment doesn’t meet rule No. 2 above: “The punishment must be administered within a second or two of the inappropriate behavior.”

It also doesn’t meet rule No. 3: “The punishment must be aversive enough to stop the dog from repeating the unwanted behavior in the future but not be so aversive as to frighten the dog.”

According to Tynes, this dog doesn’t always perceive kneeing as punishment, but rather often views it as reinforcement for his behavior because he’s getting attention (negative though it may be).

A Better Approach to Reclaiming the Couch

In the first example of the couch-loving dog, Tynes suggests blocking the dog’s access to the furniture whenever she’s home and unsupervised. A couple of options are crate training or confining her to another room in the house.

However, physically separating the dog from her beloved couch won’t teach her to stay off it, so I would suggest the crate or the separate room only while her owner is helping her learn what to do instead of getting up on the furniture.

Positive reinforcement behavior training is about showing your dog what you want her to do instead of the behavior you don’t want her to do. In this instance, the owner will need both a deterrent and an alternative behavior to teach.

An effective deterrent makes it uncomfortable for the dog to lie on the couch. Examples: a plastic cover over the couch (most dogs don’t like plastic), or one of those rubber carpet runners with the spikey side up.

Teaching the alternative behavior involves placing a comfy dog bed close to the couch, encouraging her with treats to lie down in it, and rewarding her each time she does. Once the dog learns to associate discomfort with the couch, and a yummy treat with lying in her own bed, the couch-surfing behavior should be gradually extinguished.

A Better Approach to Extinguishing Jumping Behavior

Kneeing a jumping dog or worse, kicking him as a form of punishment (or simply to keep him off you) is another example in which the dog isn’t learning a more acceptable behavior to replace the unacceptable one. In addition, you can cause injury to the dog and/or yourself using your knee or foot against him.

And there’s also the issue of unintentionally reinforcing the bad behavior because you’re paying attention to him when he jumps. This dog needs a replacement behavior that is equally motivating. Tynes suggests teaching him to sit to greet everyone. Sitting becomes the alternative behavior that gets rewarded with petting and/or a food treat.

While he’s being taught to sit to greet people, it’s important to stop reacting when he jumps on you. Turn your back, stand straight and ignore him. This is the opposite of what he wants (attention) and sends the message that you don’t welcome his exuberant jumping routine.

Positive Reinforcement Dog Training in 5 Simple Steps

The goal of positive reinforcement behavior training is to use very small-sized treats (pea-sized is good, and you can even use frozen peas if your dog seems to like them) and verbal praise and affection to encourage desired behaviors in your dog.

1. Come up with short, preferably one-word commands for the behaviors you want to teach your pet. Examples are Come, Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, Off, etc. Make sure all members of your family consistently use exactly the same command for each behavior.

2. As soon as your dog performs the desired behavior, reward him immediately with a treat and verbal praise. Do this every time he responds appropriately to a command. You want him to connect the behavior he performed with the treat. This of course means you’ll need to have treats on you whenever you give your dog commands in the beginning.

3. Keep training sessions short and fun. You want your dog to associate good things with obeying your commands. You also want to use training time as an opportunity to deepen your bond with your pet.

4. Gradually back off the treats and use them only intermittently once your dog has learned a new behavior. Eventually they’ll no longer be necessary, but you should always reward your dog with verbal praise whenever he obeys a command.

5. Continue to use positive reinforcement to maintain the behaviors you desire. Reward-based training helps create a range of desirable behaviors in your pet, which builds mutual feelings of trust and confidence.

If your dog is displaying undesirable behavior and you’re not sure you can deal with it on your own, talk with your veterinarian, a positive dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist.  Additionally you can call me, Diane Weinmann, an animal communicator, to talk with your pet about the expectations of their behavior.

 Dog and Hand

Shock Wave Therapy for Pets

By Dr. Becker

shock-therapy

Recently a team of researchers at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo, Brazil, studied the effects of radial extracorporeal shockwave treatment (rESWT) on dogs with hip osteoarthritis (OA).1 The study involved 30 dogs with bilateral hip OA (arthritis in both hips).

The dogs underwent three weekly shockwave treatment sessions on day one of the study, day eight and day 16. Their progress was evaluated using a special pressure walkway that allowed the researchers to measure peak vertical force, vertical impulse and symmetry.

The researchers also evaluated the dogs using a blinded visual analog scale. In addition, the dogs’ owners provided input on their pets’ level of physical activity, and the researchers collected follow-up data 30, 60 and 90 days after the first shockwave treatment.

At the end of the study, all three measures (peak vertical force, vertical impulse and symmetry) in the treated dogs had improved. The visual analog scale scores also indicated improvement in the dogs’ pain and lameness, and their owners reported improved physical activity levels and quality of life as well.

The study authors concluded that shockwave therapy has beneficial effects in dogs with hip OA. Further studies are needed to determine an ideal treatment protocol.

These study results confirm the conclusions reached in a 2007 Austrian study in which similar significant improvement in the same measures was seen in a group of 18 dogs with hip OA.2

Shockwave Therapy Explained

Many people hear the word “shockwave” and immediately think of an electrical jolt. But the shockwaves used in veterinary rESWT are high-energy sound waves (acoustic energy) that are directed to a target treatment area on an animal’s body.

The shockwaves trigger the body’s own repair mechanisms, which speeds healing and provides long-term improvement.

The technology uses electrohydraulic technology to generate shockwaves. The high-intensity sound waves interact with the tissues of the body, leading to a beneficial effects including:

  • Development of new blood vessels
  • Reversal of chronic inflammation
  • Stimulation of collagen
  • Dissolution of calcium build-up

This activity creates an optimal healing environment, and as the damaged area returns to normal, pain is alleviated and functionality is restored.

When shockwave therapy is applied to areas of non-healing tissue, it may trigger release of acute cytokines that stimulate healing. Accompanying pain relief may be the result of increased serotonin activity in the dorsal horn (located in the spinal cord).

Conditions Successfully Treated With rESWT

In addition to osteoarthritis, shockwave therapy can be beneficial in treating a variety of other disorders in canine companions, including:

✓ Hip and elbow dysplasia ✓ Painful scar tissue
✓ Degenerative joint disease ✓ Chronic back pain
Spondylosis Lick granuloma
✓ Tendon and ligament injuries ✓ Sesamoiditis (chronic inflammation of bones in the foot)
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease ✓ Chronic wound care
✓ Non-healing fractures ✓ Trigger points
✓ Delayed healing fractures ✓ Acupressure points

Additional Study Results of rESWT in Dogs

  • Of four dogs treated for non-healing fractures, three had significant improvement in bone healing following rESWT treatment.3
  • In a study of dogs with distal radial fracture non-unions (a break near the bottom of the front limb, just above the wrist joint), all dogs that received rESWT showed complete bone healing after 12 weeks, while no dogs in the control group achieved complete bony union.4
  • In a study of dogs with lameness resulting from soft tissue shoulder conditions, 88 percent showed improvement after shockwave therapy, with no surgical intervention.5
  • rESWT was also shown to significantly reduce distal ligament thickening in dogs with inflammation of knee joints following surgery for a CCL rupture.6
  • Shockwave therapy has proved beneficial in promoting the development of new blood vessels at the bone-tendon interface of the Achilles tendon in dogs.7

Currently, there are only unpublished case reports on shockwave therapy for treating chronic wounds in small animals. However, based on its mechanism of action, rESWT may prove valuable in managing skin flaps and difficult and chronic wounds.

What to Expect During and After rESWT Therapy

The equipment used in rESWT can be loud, and the treatment can be uncomfortable, so some animals require sedation. Since shockwave therapy is often used in combination with surgery, some patients may already be anesthetized at the time of treatment.

Treatment time depends on the strength of the shockwaves and the number of locations being treated. A common dose is 800 pulses per joint, which can be accomplished in under four minutes. Animals normally begin to experience pain relief within about 24 hours of treatment. Depending on the condition being treated, other types of pain management may be necessary as well.

When treating musculoskeletal conditions, therapy is recommended every two to three weeks for one to three treatments or until symptom improvement or resolution is achieved. Wounds are usually treated once a week for as many weeks as necessary. With arthritis patients, rESWT is typically repeated every six to 12 months as needed. Shockwave therapy should be used in conjunction with physical rehabilitation to return patients to full activity.

 

shock-wave-therapy

Do you know how to Bandage your Horse?

Diane Weinmann's HOPE

There are right and wrong ways to bandage horses’ limbs, no matter the wrap’s purpose

By Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM

wrap-polos-on-horse

At some point nearly every horse, from the fine-boned, flashy Arabian halter horse to the cowboy’s sturdy, no-frills roping mount, will sport a wrap or bandage on one or more legs. Just because we see bandages around the barn frequently doesn’t mean bandaging and wrapping are easy, and that bandages and wraps are interchangeable and always appropriate. Before you reach for the nearest roll of Vetrap or grab that splint boot out of your tack trunk, look at some of the basic principles behind bandaging or wrapping equine limbs.

Owners commonly apply bandages to shield recent wounds or tendon or -ligament injuries, to protect during shipping or performance, and to prevent fluid accumulation in the limb (“stocking up”) during stall rest. Reid Hanson, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, ACVECC, professor of equine surgery…

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