KIDS & CANINES

Kids and dogs.  Is there a better combination?  Most of the time, no.  So why am I hesitating?  Because you must know your kids, and you must become familiar with dog breeds; that is, the inherent tendencies specific to each breed in order to satisfy a good kid/dog fit.

Some pet parents even think of their dogs as big kids in furry suits. Starting out with a puppy or family-oriented rescue dog is generally the best way to go forward while teaching your new furry family member how best to behave and assimilate into your household.

We’ve come so far from the days when dogs lived outside in dog houses and people didn’t necessarily realize that dogs needed socialization, as they generally are social creatures.

Dogs, for the most part, can understand approximately 200 words. When we choose our words carefully, we’ve formed the bases of inter-species communication: We talk, and the dog responds with a particular action. But then again, your dog needs obedience training just as your child learns, first at home, then at school, how to interact with others and behave properly.

Now I’m going to add another layer of understanding to the mix: child interaction with a dog, particularly a new dog in the household.

“Alpha dog” is a familiar phrase, referring to the pack mentality of dogs, and independently, wolves, who are pack animals as well.  But even as a single dog living in a household, dogs still understand the hierarchy of being pack animals.  There is always one alpha in the household; either the pet parent or pet care-taker or it will be the dog. Tone of voice and body language are most important when establishing dominance. For example: standing taller than your dog, using a louder, more commanding voice when verbally correcting using the word “NO” will help elevate a person to the position of alpha.  Even a child, should learn to do the same. When a child is down on the ground with your puppy, the puppy will consider the child to merely be another canine playmate, and treat the child as such. Jumping on, standing on, biting, nipping, pulling clothes, fighting over toys, growling, barking and inviting actions such as tug of war or chase, are all dog to dog activities that your dog will try to initiate with your child. Something as simple as having your child sit on a small stool when playing with your pup, will enable your child to stand immediately and say  “NO” to the puppy and give the puppy an appropriate dog toy or chew. This is a practice that can be done for 10-15 minutes a few times a day, with adult supervision, of course.

By assuming the role of alpha, the highest-ranking member of the group,  the dog will become more submissive—that is, take commands without creating problems.

Learning the correct way to correct your dog and teaching your child to do the same will help to reduce unwanted behavior especially directed to the weakest member of your family; your child.  Consistency in administering correcting is the key to success.  

A NEW LEASH ON LIFE

Even if you have a large, fenced in, private property, all dogs need to learn to walk on a leash. This is not about training your puppy to “heel” or not to pull, or to walk at your side and sit when you stop walking. Yes, all of that is what I teach as a professional trainer for dogs, but right now, I only want to talk about introducing your puppy to a collar/harness and leash and helping him to learn to accept it and be comfortable with it, and eventually relate it to doing something he likes.

So, where do we begin?  I always recommend starting in the house. Simply put the collar or harness of your choice, on your puppy, and let me wear it in the house under “eyes on” supervision, while you’re playing with him. Distraction is always thought of as a “nuisance” and disruptive when trying to train your pup. But trainer or pet parent introduced positive distractions can be most helpful in some situation. Playing with your puppy, is an extremely helpful distraction when trying to teach him to wear a collar. Squeaky toys, balls and fetch are my favorites.

Once your puppy has adjusted well to wearing the collar or harness, maybe a day or two, attach a 6 foot, thin, lightweight, narrow leash that has a small clip; small being the operative word. If you use a heavy, thick, twisted, rope type leash, it will have a heavier clip, and a heavier clip will pull on the puppy’s neck or make a harness more uncomfortable. 

Now let the puppy drag the leash around while playing fetch or other distracting activity. Periodically, hold the leash in one hand and the toy in the other hand and entice your puppy to follow the toy. (Squeaky toys work great for this.)

Try this too. If the puppy is confined or if another family member can help, put the puppy’s leash on and walk him to his food bowl at mealtime.  You might be wondering why I don’t mention offering treats to make your puppy walk on a leash. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not use or recommend or condone the constant use of treats to bribe a dog to respond correctly. As a trainer, I’m OK with giving a dog a treat occasionally for good work. However, there are many other healthier, effective and rewarding ways to train, but that’s something I will talk about at another time. If you prefer to give your puppy a treat to encourage walking on leash, I yield to your decision. It’s just not something I prefer to do. What I do prefer to do is use a happy, encouraging tone of voice, call the puppy to come with me and stop a pet him and give him belly rubs and offer him his toy; thereby letting him know he’s doing a good job.

If the puppy is old enough to go outdoors, meaning your veterinarian has advised that it’s OK to take him for walks outside, you might find that the puppy will not walk very far from the front of your house. This is not unusual. In fact, I see this happen quite often. So, try this. Carry your puppy away from your home; let’s say half a block. Put the puppy down and chances are, he will walk home. Take the squeaky toy outside with you and use it to encourage the puppy to walk forward.

If your puppy walks a short distance and then plops himself down on the sidewalk, don’t stand there trying to convince him it’s not a good idea or just laughing. Both enable him to do this even more. I have seen this in action and trust me it doesn’t work. If you can’t use distraction to get him up and walking, bending down on one knee, at leash length, is the friendliest body language you can use when training your puppy. It’s the best way to get a puppy to come to you, or in this case, up and walking to you. Praise him and immediately continue your walk. If all else fails, physically but gently stand him up and restart him.

After walking home is successful, keep walking down the block in the opposite direction and don’t stop at home. As with all training practice, do this for 10-15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

OODLES OF DOODLES

There are at least twenty-five (25) well known breed mixes that end in the word “Poo,” short for Poodle.  You will also be familiar with the term “Doodle.” Again, that indicates that one parent, or at least some percentage of the gene pool, came from a Poodle.

We are all somewhat familiar with many of these mixes, and the list continues to grow.

But why?  Why is the Poodle the “go to” breed to mix with so many other breeds?

Because Poodles are a terrific breed.  They are smart, hypoallergenic, take direction well, they are bred in small, medium and large sizes, sport different coloring, don’t shed and like water, among other things.  So why not?  Why not incorporate the Poodle as the “go to” dog for breeding?  You won’t find much of a dissenting view on that topic.

But why mix this terrific breed with another breed? Do you lose any of the special qualities that make the Poodle stand apart? That goes to the heart of individual taste.  Once a Poodle is bred with another breed, the identifying characteristics of the Poodle are decreased.  Now you have a new look, a new personality trait, and a different fur/hair texture. Plus, you’re no longer getting the typical look of what is known as the French Poodle—only some of its best attributes.  Again, is there a downside?  That falls under the umbrella of “Buyer Beware.”  In other words, do your homework and learn all there is to know about the Poodle mix you are considering before he or she become a permanent member of your household.

Question:  Will a Poodle mix be hypoallergenic?  Only if the other breed that was mixed with the Poodle, is also hypoallergenic.  If the Poodle is mixed with a breed that is not, then it is not guaranteed, and it may lose the full ability to be hypoallergenic.  This is especially true if the breed the Poodle is mixed with, is hyper-allergenic.

The following is an explanation of generation categories used as an indication of the percentage of Poodle in your Poo or Doodle mix.

Breeding Categories according to Breeding Business are as follows:

P = Purebred

F1 = 50% Poodle + 50% purebred of another breed, or Purebred A + Purebred B.  Now at this level the dog starts to lose some of the hypoallergenic protection it enjoyed as a purebred Poodle and takes on some of the characteristics of a different purebred breed.

F1b = 75% Poodle + 25% purebred of another breed or the breeding of a purebred A dog with a purebred B dog. i.e. mother is a B = Labradoodle + father is a Poodle.

F2 Generation

50% Purebred-A
50% Purebred-B

F2 dogs are the offsets resulting from the mating of two F1 hybrids.

Example: A Labradoodle whose mother is a Labradoodle F1 and father a Labradoodle F1.

Chart of an F2 hybrid dog (c) breedingbusiness.com

F2b Generation

75% Purebred-A
25% Purebred-B

These are second-generation backcrossed dogs. Each F2b dog is the offset of an F1 parent and an F1 backcrossed (F1b) parent.

Example: A Labradoodle whose mother is a Labradoodle F1 and father a Labradoodle F1b.

Chart of an F2b hybrid dog (c) breedingbusiness.com

F3 Generation

Offsets coming from the mating of two F2 hybrid parents.

Example: a Labradoodle whose mother is a Labradoodle F2 and father a Labradoodle F2.

Multi Generation

An F3 or higher-generation hybrid dog crossed with an F3 or higher-generation hybrid dog.

 

At this point you might ask, “These categories are complicated. Why do I need to know this?”  The best answer is that it is the doggy equivalent of using Ancestry.com or constructing a family tree.  It gives you better insight into the traits of your dog, as to their temperament, looks and health. 

All breeds, whether purebred or mixes,  have traits inherent to that breed.  It’s merely a way of being informed.  For example: a French Bulldog, a Pug, a Bulldog, to name a few, are what is referred to as brachycephalic dogs.  It goes to the heart of a particular look, whereby these breeds have shortened heads, flat faces and recessed noses.  That special look is however responsible for airway obstruction issues.

If you want the attributes of a Poodle, the more the breed is bred down, the less Poodle attributes will go into the mix.  At the same time, you might be looking for the attributes of another purebred, with the reliance on some percentage of Poodle.  Again: know before you go—that is, before you go to a breeder, pet store, shelter or dog owner to foster or adopt a pet.

 

At the same time, if you are familiar with a mixed Poodle breed and you fall in love with a special puppy/dog; then go for it and enjoy each other for many, happy years to come.

TOILET WATER

Some dogs like to drink out of the toilet bowl. It’s somewhat obvious that the reason is because the water appears to be fresh and cool. If your dog is drinking out of the toilet bowl instead of his water bowl, is the water in your dog’s bowl fresh and cool? When was the last time you washed, really washed your dog’s water bowl or put it in the dishwasher, instead of just spilling out the remaining water and giving the bowl a quick rinse before refilling it? If your dog is drinking out of the toilet bowl after he has finished all the water in his water bowl, why is he consuming so much water? If you are trying to house-train your dog and he is allowed to drink out of the toilet bowl, you have no control over when and how much he is drinking, which leads to when or how much he has to urinate.

Here’s another thing to think about. Does your dog have ACNE? If he does have acne and he drinks from the toilet bowl, you should discuss his drinking habits with your veterinarian.

The internet is filled with articles about how “safe” it is for your dog to drink out of a toilet and that no harm will come to the dog provided the toilet has been cleaned, and the cleaning chemical has been flushed. Any standard toilet cleaning chemical is extremely harmful and is not always removed with one flush.

I want to make my opinion of this perfectly clear. I do NOT approve of a dog drinking out of a toilet bowl. If you took a swab sample from your toilet bowl, especially under the rim, to a lab for testing, you would be shocked at the number of bacteria including the possibility of E-coli, Giardia, Staphylococcus and Salmonella. It is a bad habit that should be replaced by a FRESH bowl of water given daily. Every dog needs more than one(1) water bowl and they should be cleaned daily at the very least. If your dog has a fresh supply of cool water in a clean bowl, there is no reason to drink from the toilet.

Having a fresh bowl of water available, remembering to close the lid on your toilets, use of toilet lid locks and closing the bathroom door as well, will help to eliminate the problem in most cases.  

Additionally, dogs with full coats, long hair and hairy muzzles are picking up any bacteria under the rim of the toilet. Is that dog then sleeping on the couch or your bed? Is he licking your face? Is your child hugging and kissing this dog after he drank out of the toilet? 

Think toilet brush.  That should help you to remember.

PICA- AN EATING DISORDER

Pica, pronounced Py ka, is defined as “an abnormal craving to eat items not normally eaten.” Merriam Webster Dictionary.  This is a condition seen in kids as well as dogs. 

As our articles are predominately centered around dogs, in conjunction with their families, we will stick with PICA in dogs. 

A dog suffering from PICA will just about eat anything he or she craves.
It’s easier to control what your dog eats inside the home, than what might be picked up outside the home. Sometimes life with your dog, just like life with any living being, can be made easier with compromise. If your dog likes underwear, for instance, then a high hamper with a hard-to-pry-open lid will help to stop that behavior. Keeping items out of reach, be it golf balls, eye glasses, paper towels, or even cat litter, might take some extra time, patience and creative planning.  But it can be accomplished. However, the craving to eat “inedible” items will still be present and your dog will hunt for other things to satisfy the need unless you take further action and visit your veterinarian for help.

Walking outside, if your dog suffers from PICA, opens the playing field for even more items, particularly if you use an extender leash.  I’ve worked with dogs that eat discarded garbage in the street, paper towels, rabbit feces, small broken off tree branches, mulch, candy wrappers, and paper wrapping from fast food. Some will even eat the feces of other dogs as well as their own. Another reason to always pick-up after your dog.

Most of the above-mentioned items will cause medical harm to your dog’s digestive system.  Some may be so serious that a surgery becomes the only treatment.

Any pet parent with a dog that exhibits such behavior, should seek the care and advice of a veterinarian.

What about dogs that eat their own feces?  Well, there is a name for that too.  It’s called coprophagy or coprophagia. There are many reasons for this unwanted behavior. Just to mention a few; 1. A puppy who learns this from their natural mother who eats feces from her puppies to keep the whelping bed clean. 2. A puppy from a pet shop or mill, kept in a kennel and eats, sleeps, drinks, plays, urinate and defecates in that kennel without much time outside of it. 3. Nutritional needs like deficiencies or hunger from under-feeding or parasites. 4.  Boredom, stress, need of attention or even getting rid of evidence to avoid punishment.  

As always, we advise you to take your dog to the vet and have a full check-up, one that includes urine and blood analysis to determine the exact cause. A Board Certified Veterinarian Behaviorist may also be necessary.

TO FEED GRAIN FREE OR NOT TO FEED GRAIN FREE

This article has been written and produced online for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as advice.  It is a compilation of facts gathered from research, as well as interviews with various veterinarians.

Here’s something you won’t hear every day: If you hear an eerie, mournful, wailing sound; don’t think it’s a dog, think it’s a wolf on the TV. Our furry family members can’t emit sounds like that because wolfs’ skulls evolved into modern dogs’ skulls approximately 33,000 years ago, according to Pennsylvania State University’s George Perry, an expert in the study of such.  That timeline coincides with the Daily Mail’s, Science Tech information that states that our Earth was inhabited by not just two human species, but three: Neanderthal, Denisovans and modern man.  The first two groups were believed to have become extinct partially because of the existence of modern man, as well as the modern dog. Why 33,000 years ago Homo Erectus died out to be replaced by modern man. However, the differences are staggering.

So, when you see that (yes, we’ve all seen it) commercial about how our dogs are descendants of wolves, you have the answer: “Yes, they are—uh, like 33,000 years ago!  With that information at hand (paw), we can now examine the reasoning that goes into a decision to feed our dogs a wolf-healthy diet.  Let’s face it; a major percentage of the dog population today are house pets that could never survive in the wild. Not so with wolves. If not for reserves and zoos, wolves do survive in the wild.

Here’s another conundrum: Should we feed our dogs a grain-free or grain inclusive diet?

Please know that diets that eliminate grains such as: quinoa, wheat, millet, corn, oats, rice, barley and rye, merely substitute those ingredients with other ingredients.  Those substitutes are most often: sweet potatoes, pumpkin, tapioca, parsnip, butternut squash, fruit, peas and spinach leaves.  Those products aren’t necessarily healthier than the grains.

As Alice in Wonderland once said, “curiouser and curiouser.” But at least we are armed with facts that will help us to make an informed decision about dog-friendly diets.

It seems that Alice might have been onto something.  We are curious about many things—even confused by some.  Why? Because there are so many conflicting reports about the same topic.  Which piece of advice is the one to follow?

Sorting it out requires an understanding of the terms that have become linked to one another.  Grains—gluten—carbs. That’s not to say, grains equal gluten, equals carbs.

Yes, grains are carbs.  But a grain-free diet is not a carb-free diet.  Sweet potatoes, for example, is a carb. Wheat, barley and rye are the grains those afflicted with celiac disease need to avoid.  Celiac disease is a troubling condition, more so for humans, than for dogs.  However, and having said that, those grains can cause gastrointestinal discomfort for sensitive canines, as well as some troublesome skin conditions.

And, what about starchy carbohydrates?  Starches are known to add bulk and weight. Do we want that for our dogs? Whole grains are carbs too, but not the kind that add weight.

The American Kennel Club reminds us of the horrifying event that sickened and killed numerous dogs back in 2007 when pet food from China was contaminated with industrial chemicals.  It was determined that the grains did not sicken the dogs, but the chemical infusion into the grains.

Additionally, the AKC states that, “10% of people have gluten related illnesses and that may be the same with dogs.”  If you accept this fact, then your dog wouldn’t benefit from a gluten-free diet.  Further, the AKC states that dogs have ten key genes that are different from wolves that enable them to utilize grains. The best advice here is to trust the advice of a vet you have confidence in.

In this article we present the facts and allow you to draw your own conclusion—a conclusion that best serves the best interest for the well-being and long life of your dog. And always remember: whatever you feed your dog, be sure to add a little serving of love.

TAKE YOUR DOG OUT OF THE ELIZABETHAN ERA

Once a fashion statement, the Elizabethan collar has taken on a new meaning and a new purpose It looked uncomfortable, ridiculous and impractical when the Queen wore it. Also called the E-collar, for short, I’m referring to a collar designed to prevent a dog from being able to lick or bite a wound or surgical suture. I’m not referring to an Electric (shock) collar.

If your dog has ever had the unpleasant experience of wearing an Elizabethan collar made of clear plastic that resembles a lamp shade, you know how difficult it is for your dog to eat, drink, or do many of his normal activities because the collar extends passed his nose and additionally, he can only see straight ahead. It’s also bulky and clumsy and the poor dog is probably banging into walls and can’t find a comfortable position to sleep. Sometimes they walk with their head down and the collar scraping along the floor if they are sniffing the ground or trying to pick something up. If your dog is in a crate, the use of a cone shape Elizabethan collar can make it almost impossible for your dog to turn around.

So, here to model for us, is Wolf, wearing an inflatable collar that serves the same purpose yet allows for normal activities. In addition to the one shown in the photo, there are other versions that are padded and even shaped like the pedals of a flower, allowing for comfort and mobility, and will not hamper eating or drinking out of a bowl.  Playing with a ball or chew toy is business as usual.

Chances are that if your dog is given an Elizabethan collar by your veterinary office it will be the hard-plastic lamp shade type. However, most veterinarians would have no objection to the use of a more comfortable collar as long as it offers the needed protection against your dog disturbing a wound, sutured surgical procedure or bandage during the recovery and healing time. All the alternative collars are available in your favorite pet super-store or on-line and are reasonably priced. Your dog will thank you for it.

TUG OF WAR

Tug of war is defined as a sport which pits two teams of equal strength against each other to obtain the same thing. So, is it a good idea or bad idea to play tug of war with your dog?

You’ll find pros and cons, and different opinions like any subject you research online. There will be those who think tug of war helps your dog to burn off energy just like walking or running. Not sure I can see how this could be true, considering that the dog is basically standing in place, pulling something with its teeth. These “founts of information” will tell you how misunderstood the activity of tug of war is and that it’s old school to consider tug of war to be an aggression inspiring game.  But if you read further into these resources of information, they will explain that there are definite rules to follow like; making sure your dog understands and will comply with the command to sit, take it and drop it. Will your dog do that?

Some sources say that it’s important to win the game in order to teach your dog to respect you and your authority. Right here, is where we’re going straight to the “Who is Alpha?” thing.

Internet research will yield data that goes further to state, engaging in the game of “tug of war” should only be played by a human that will win! This tells me that this enlightening advice suggests, not only should the human and canine be of equal strength, as the definition of tug of war suggests, but the human must be powerful enough and determined enough to not allow the canine to ever gain control. Can you do that? Clearly this is not a kid and dog activity. 

The second important rule comes into play after the game is over and you win every round. Instructions dictate that you immediately put the tug of war object away, reinforcing your dog’s understanding, that you are in charge.  Let me know how works out.

So, what does Jenna have to say about all this? Well, it seems like a lot of effort and a lot of rules to follow with very little benefit and much detriment.  Dogs are not people too and people are not dogs. We are supposed to be smarter and we are supposed to set the bar. Children are scratched and bitten by dogs often because they play with the dog on the ground and the child is perceived by the dog to be another puppy. Pulling an object from a dog’s mouth will only validate and encourage the behavior of NOT giving an object to you and snapping to regain its grasp should you happen to get possession of it. No, I don’t believe that tug of war will make your dog aggressive. But, I do believe that it can encourage aggression and at the very least, it does enable your dog to act out any negative, unwanted behaviors like growling, guarding resources, baring teeth, inappropriate chewing/destroying items, and establishing dominance; all of which are undesirable and require professional training to eliminate.

Inciting a dog to grab and pull an item from your hand goes against all my better judgement and years of training family dogs to be members of the family, that can be trusted to interact appropriately, gently and lovingly with all other members of the family.  It worries me that if there are children in the household, a child will touch one of the dog’s toys and the dog will snap at the child. This is referred to as guarding resources. Additionally, like me, you may have large breed dogs and small or toy breed dogs. My large breed dogs were always taught to be gentle with the smaller dogs and never take toys away from them.

Puppies should be taught at an early age to “drop it” or “give”.  Fetch or ball are safe and fun games to play with your dog and your dog will benefit from the exercise. Any nipping or biting should be discouraged and corrected with proper training methods as soon as they begin.

FEMALE DOGS HAVING “ACCIDENTS”…OR IS IT SOMETHING ELSE?

Attention Ladies: Listen Up—that means you, lady dogs and of course, we welcome all pet parents of female dogs to read along.

We here at Murphdog & Company recognize that some “accidents” are not the result of you misbehaving.  In fact, you might need to see your vet; and the sooner the better.

How do we know? Because we dedicate ourselves to knowing all about dogs. There are definite signs that some “accidents” happen that are caused by an irritation, or inflammation; especially when a female dog is no longer a puppy, perhaps 8-9 months old or older and starts peeing in the house.

Q: Are you peeing more than one time when you go out to do your business?

If the answer is “yes” than we have to check that off as a “sign.”

Q: How about peeing in the house in front of your pet parent? 

We don’t want anyone to mistake this for an attention-grabbing trick.

Q: Are you immediately peeing inside the house after returning from your walk outside?

Aha.  Another check mark in the “yes” column.

Q: How about licking that private area down there (vets call it the vulva)? That is a definite sign that you need to see your vet.

Q: Is there a noticeable odor? 

Q: Do you notice that other dogs are attracted by the odor and start to sniff around you?

Q: Are you stretching out one leg because you are feeling uncomfortable?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions we don’t want you to be upset.  But it is something that must be taken care of by your vet.  You might need an antibiotic to rid yourself of this problem, because it is probable that you have a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Pet Parents: If your dog is walked in a dog park, easy entry of germs that can cause inflammation or irritation and a UTI can happen; as female dogs squat to pee.

If your dog recently had a vet check-up, you can bring a urine sample over to the vet for testing without your dog being present.  All you need is a teaspoon of urine, placed in an unused container, like Tupperware.  You can also get a free, sterile, testing container from your vet’s office.

Pet Parents know that their precious pets need advocates to speak up for them, as they cannot speak up for themselves.  And the list above “speaks” to the heart of a matter that is uncomfortable for your dog and cannot be left untreated.

So please look for these signs and take your dog for a check-up, and make sure that you tell your vet what you’ve noticed.  Your vet will prescribe a medication that will make your pet comfortable again, and the silver living is: no more “accidents.”

SNIFF THIS…A DOG WITH A JOB

Cancer sniffing dogs are able to sniff out cancer with an average of 98% accuracy. Using their keen sense of smell to help save lives, dogs can be trained to sniff a person’s skin (a mole) and detect the presence of a melanoma. Sniffing human urine can detect bladder and prostate cancer. Smelling human breath can detect bladder and kidney cancer. Many purebreds are being trained to use their superior sense of smell to detect ovarian cancer and breast cancer.

Our best friends are hard at work helping to protect us, just as we’ve learned to do the same for them.

This latest additions to our awesome working dogs, are the AASD, Allergy Alert Service Dogs. These dogs are trained to sniff out and find foods with allergens; the most common one being peanuts, as well as even the slightest smell of peanut dust in the air or on an object. These awesome dogs have changed the life of children and adults in ways we could not even imagine, as we take so much for granted.

GSD or German Shepherds in particular, as well as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Vislas and Malinois are trained for search and rescue, sniffing out bombs and drugs, and simpler more benign jobs like detecting bedbugs and termites.

Golden Retrievers are a favorite breed used as therapy dogs, search and rescue, and guide dogs for the blind.

The Basset Hound is second to the Blood Hound for search and rescue.

Dogs Trained to Help with Anxiety

There are websites out there offering “certificates” for dogs, for a price, that are presented to the airlines, so that the dog can sit with the pet parent on the flight.

Though each pet parent may sing the praises of their dog, and love them to pieces, it still does not qualify the dog for anxiety control, if anxiety is a major, ruling factor in a person’s life.

 For that to be accomplished, there are certain guidelines that need to be followed.

It goes without saying that caring for the dog responsibly, and the dog reciprocating with unconditional love puts both the dog and the dog parent on the right track.  But those suffering from debilitating anxiety, will find that that is not enough. ESA, an emotional support animal should be able to recognize a panic attack and help calm the person. Though not categorized as a full-service dog, the emotional support animal should be able to get help for the pet parent in distress, look for and retrieve medication, even if the dog is required to look through different rooms in search of what is needed.  This all requires special training. 

Balance Dogs

Balance dogs are those trained to help brace a person suffering from MS and other neurological disorders that interfere with fluid, motion and balance difficulties. A calmer, less high energy dog, of no less than medium stature can work with such a patient.

Reliance upon the knowledge that this dog is on the job, watching over the patient/pet parent is all comforting, as it greatly reduces falls and facilitates everyday living—improving the quality of life.

Dogs for Seniors

Dogs geared for a senior is again a dog that does not have high energy—thereby, exhausting the senior pet parent.  There are many breed choices for a dog that provides unconditional love and loyalty but will be happy to snooze when the senior pet parent does. One such breed is the French Bulldog.

Dogs have been notably responsible for helping to eliminate loneliness and depression, lowering high blood pressure and stress, elevating good moods, reducing heart attacks and anxiety orders and increasing exercise and social activities like walking and meeting people.

All of the above, as well as so much more, highlights how magnificent our dogs are and just how much we’ve come to depend upon them; not just for companionship, as important as that is, but for specially needed situations that help “get us through.”

We, at Murphdog, welcome our readers to please share their own stories with us about how their dogs help with a special situation.  We will publish those stories that will help the largest readership, and thereby, help those that need information about how dogs can help those in need. Please email to Murphy@murphdogandcompany.net