Wednesday, 17 March 2010
The Yorkie (#3) almost overtook the Golden Retriever as the second most popular dog in the US in 2005. This rugged toy dog is very popular because it has all the admirable attributes of larger dogs but in miniature. The typical Yorkie plays hard and has limitless energy. With persistence a Yorkie can be obedience trained. Some are bright and learn quickly, while others are more obstinate and opinionated. Yorkies get along well with other pets but they can be very possessive of their food and toys. The Yorkshire makes a better pet for older and calmer children. The Yorkshire will bark at strangers, often in a high pitched voice. Early socialization is required so that the dog doesn't become too shrill and to ensure barking is controlled.
All the wonderful things that you can say about a Standard Poodle don't all apply to the Toy or Miniature versions. Toy Poodles (#8) are less than 11 inches at shoulder height but the same American Kennel Club standards apply across all sizes. Toys are generally more sensitive than the Standard and are also more active, louder and less confident. Early socialization and training to curb excessive barking and leg lifting is required. Even though these dogs are very small, they still enjoy lots of playtime and long walks. Toy Poodles will do fine with older considerate children.
The exotic looking Shih Tzu (#9) is one of the sturdiest and most robust of the toy dog breeds. Shih Tzus are intelligent, playful, affectionate, friendly, self confident and outgoing. Shih Tzus make great apartment dogs and companion dogs for the elderly. These charming and personable dogs are devoted to their owners and their families. They make great traveling companions and rarely show any aggressive behavior toward strangers or strange animals. The breed gets along extremely well with older, considerate children.
The Chihuahua (#11) is the smallest of the toy dog breeds. Chihuahuas are intelligent, charming and loving dogs who are devoted to their owners. This breed needs close contact with its family and make great companions. Chihuahuas can have delusions of grandeur and self-confidence and will challenge much larger dogs. Chihuahuas are good with older children if raised with them. Chihuahuas are intelligent and can be trained fairly easily. Some Chihuahuas can be overly insecure and are prone to excessive barking and early socialization and training while a puppy is recommended.
The Pug (#12) is a sturdy small dog that is one of the most popular and largest of the toy dog breeds. This charming, adorable and playful small dog will make you laugh. The Pug is an even tempered, easygoing, pleasant and friendly companion. This sturdy, small dog breed gets along well with children and with other pets although toddlers and small children should be supervised carefully to ensure they don't injure the dog. The Pug doesn't need much training but enjoys the process and is fairly easy to train.
Pomeranians (#14) or "Poms" are one of the smallest toy dog breeds. The Pom is lively, spirited and animated. This breed is a keen-eyed extrovert who is very inquisitive and must check out all activities going on around him. The Pom is a proud and confident, even cocky, toy dog that requires early and thorough socialization with strangers to minimize its tendency to bark. This toy breed is intelligent, eager to learn and takes readily to positive and gentle training methods.
The Maltese is one of the most intelligent and most gentle of all the toy dog breeds. This lively and agile little toy dog loves to play games. This toy breed is cheerful, loving, playful, smart and has lots of personality. Maltese should have early socialization while they are puppies to give them more confidence and overcome their distrust of strangers and minimize their tendency to bark. Maltese enjoy obedience training and some will do well in competitive obedience and agility competitions. This toy breed does fine with older and considerate children.
The Miniature Pinscher or Min Pin is the most active and lively of all the toy dog breeds. Miniature Pinschers are full of energy, alert, loyal, intelligent and very courageous for their size. Min Pins think they are much larger than their toy size and can be aggressive towards other dogs. These toy dogs can be stubborn and need lots of early socialization and obedience training while puppies. The breed does fine with older considerate children and household pets. Outdoors, this toy breed should be on a leash or in a securely fenced yard as they can disappear quickly.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (#31) is a graceful and happy toy spaniel that is larger than its close relative, the English Toy Spaniel. The Cavalier is a gentle, even-tempered, happy and playful small dog. Cavaliers make excellent family dogs who even like to play with small children (always under supervision of course). The Cavalier finds all humans delightful and loves to cuddle in their laps and snuggle in their beds. However, these comfort-loving Spaniels love to run in the yard and chase chipmunks, squirrels, and birds. Cavaliers are easy to train but require early socialization as puppies to overcome their natural timidity.
The Papillon (#35) is one of the oldest European toy dog breeds and the French word for butterfly was used to describe this lively toy breed with the erect butterfly ears. The Papillon is a friendly, affectionate and intelligent dog that is much more robust than it appears. The Pap is definitely not a lap dog and is high spirited, active and loves to play outside and go for walks. This breed is very smart and can be trained to be a good agility and obedience dog for competitions. If the Pap is socialized early and trained properly, and not pampered and spoiled, it becomes a confident and outgoing companion who gets along well with older children and pets
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Research has shown that up to 80% of dogs show signs of oral disease by age three.
Most people are aware that their pet needs to be well looked after to try to prevent future healthcare problems. One part of the pet however is often overlooked – the teeth.
Many owners complain that their dog is suffering from bad breath and are keen for a cure. Far fewer are interested in the root causes of bad breath or how to address them, namely proper oral hygiene.
Without proper attention dogs can suffer from damage to the teeth, gums and jaw. In particular toy dogs, with their crowded jaws, are prone to tooth loss.
So what are the signs of dental disease?
If you look at your dog's teeth (especially the molars at the back of the mouth) you may see plaque.
Plaque is a yellowish deposit on the surface of the teeth resulting from a build up of debris and bacteria. It is the same 'furry' substance which we can feel on our own teeth if we go too long without brushing.
If plaque is not removed then over time it builds up and hardens to a brown tartar. Tartar is far harder to remove than plaque and encases the teeth like a coat of cement. Rather than simply being able to be brushed off it needs to be chipped off.
Besides looking unsightly tartar build up contributes to stinky breath and gum disease.
Gum disease, gingivitis, is recognisable by red or inflamed gums rather than salmon pink healthy gums.
As with so many things prevention is better than cure, it is therefore important to try and clean your dog's teeth on a weekly if not daily basis. Where there is significant tartar build up then it is likely your dog's teeth will have to be cleaned under anaesthetic at the vets.
Millan is the Dog Whisperer. He believes that to control a dog you have to think like a dog, act like a dog — and prove to the dog that you are its pack leader. If that means rolling it on to its back, jabbing it in its face, and attaining the near-universal condemnation of dog behaviour experts, then so be it. Tens of thousands of devoted dog owners — and a handful of specially selected troublesome dogs — appreciate his approach, and have tickets to his UK tour to prove it.
A consortium of 26 animal welfare organisations, meanwhile — including the RSPCA, the Australian Veterinary Association, the Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association — has written an open letter ahead of the show, warning that Millan’s methods will lead to “pain and fear”, and are “not only unacceptable from a welfare perspective, but not necessary for the modification of dog behaviour”. Some, privately, say that they will be attending to see if he breaks animal welfare laws.
Millan is used to this criticism and his producers have a standard response letter. “The canine experts, pet shelters and rescue groups around the world that agree enthusiastically with Cesar Millan’s techniques far outnumber Mr Millan’s detractors,” it says.
In any case, Millan is a man with a higher mission. “The goal that God and I have together,” he says, “is the whole world transformed through a dog.”
Divine or not, all that’s important, say his many clients, is that his methods work. Millan has trained Jada Pinkett Smith — Will Smith’s wife — to be pack leader to her rottweilers. The action stars Vin Diesel and Nicholas Cage have been shown how to be alpha males in their own homes. Oprah Winfrey, who previously called dogs “little people with fur”, was chastised for not showing any canine leadership to her dog Sophie. They are all grateful, and highly remunerative, clients. And 2010 is the year that Cesar Millan expands his doggy empire into Britain: starting with a national tour and leading to a British version of his hit TV show,The Dog Whisperer.
All of which is very impressive for a man who began his career 20 years ago as an illegal immigrant from Mexico, without any English or any money. Millan’s legend — a canine American Dream — is by now familiar to most of the 11 million Americans who watch his TV show. Penniless in California, he found himself in a world of dog beauty clinics and dog birthday parties. Originating from a Mexican village, where he was known to his family as El Perrero (dog boy) this was confusing.
He started walking dogs, handling difficult animals and inevitably, this being LA, gained some extremely powerful clients. It was then that he started to formalise his theory of dog behaviour, which, at its core, is simple: dogs are pack animals, human beings should be the dominant pack member.
“If what you do is say, ‘I’m sorry, baby, Mommy has to go, blah, blah, blah’, the dog only understands that you are in a soft state and he is dominating you,” Millan explains. This is not good for you, or a healthy dog. “If a dog is OK with just love, I would not be in business,” he says. Dogs need discipline, they need to know you are in charge. “Don’t let a dog walk in front of you. You’re the leader.” His fans love this approach, but to conventional animal behavourists it is snake oil.
“Basically, with a smile, he’s going to war with these dogs,” says Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviourist.
If it is a war, then it’s a war fought with the rhetoric of a self-help guide. “Anything that is realistic, if I create it in my mind, it can become reality,” Millan says of his ambitions. He says he likes dogs because “they accept you as who you are . . . but they won’t be around unstable energy.”
On the covers of his books — Be the Pack Leader, Cesar’s Way, A Member of the Family — his grin is so fixed and dazzling, his forehead so tight and tanned, that every picture looks as if it could be the same headshot, Photoshopped into different, soft-focus doggy Utopias.
Alas, however, his is not quite the doggy Utopia it once was. Daddy, the pitbull star of so many of his shows, died last week. The obituary on Millan’s website described him as “one of the most influential pitbull ambassadors the world has ever known”. And for those who might consider the world of pitbull ambassadors to be too rarefied, it adds: “His name is now added to that honourable roster of dogs gone by whose influence is still felt today . . . Rin-Tin-Tin,Lassie.” It is not an idle boast. Beneath are 50 pages of condolences, each containing 50 comments. Some of those commentators will doubtless be watching on Wednesday night, eager to learn from the world’s greatest dog guru.
But Millan must know that the crowd will also contain representatives from Britain’s most-respected animal welfare bodies — watching, with equal keenness, to see if the dog-boy-made- good is breaking the law.
Cesar Millan’s UK Tour, March 3-21: 08444 99 99 55;cesarmillanlive.co.uk
Problem dogs? Try my mother’s poodles
We all know that a selfish parent creates a needy child, an angry parent a chaotic one. And, so it turns out, the same psychology is true of dogs and dog owners. Happy calm people tend to own happy calm animals. My mother, by contrast, owns two anxious poodles — Milo and Oscar — who hate each other: they never obey commands and have no respect for authority. My mother’s last hope was Cesar Millan. He is a short, stocky man with intense eyes and when he walks into the room he is much like a dog himself: sizing up Milo and Oscar, taking in their every move, analysing their relationship with my mother, my mother’s relationship with me. Oscar is snarling at Milo and my mother holds him to reassure him. Millan is having none of it.
“This is the wrong time to give the dog affection,” he says. “You are going to nurture his anxiety. You are going to reinforce it. Dogs don’t know that you are trying to protect them. They only sense the energy, your state of mind. He knows that you are nervous and that’s making him more nervous.”
Millan grew up on a farm in Mexico. There he learnt how to communicate with dogs. He discovered that he could always elicit a calm, submissive and co-operative response from dogs by being confident and being the pack leader. Now 40, he left Mexico as an illegal emigrant for California. He has a ranch in the hills outside Los Angeles and a dog psychology centre. He lives with his wife, Illusion, and sons Cesar Andre, 13, and Calvin, 8. And 30 dogs ranging in size from chihuahuas to American bulldogs.
He warns us against humanising the dog: “Dogs don’t live intellectually. Humans live in four worlds: intellectual, instinctual, emotional and spiritual. Dogs live only in instinctual.”
He encourages us to be what he calls the “leader of our own pack” , to find our inner dog and walk it. What he seems to be saying is that there are no problem dogs, just problem people. But in front of me are two problem poodles and a mother struggling with her inner canine. Oscar is afraid of going down the stairs, so he simply whines at the top and has to be carried down.
Millan thinks it’s possible that a human being can transfer fears and phobias to the dog. “A dog will mirror how you feel: phobias, depression, anxiety. Dogs are afraid of what the humans are afraid of, it’s not so much the stairs as the human projecting.”
Millan takes Oscar on his lead down the stairs and then he does it again without his lead. In minutes Oscar is cured because Millan doesn’t have fear of stairs and Millan is a leader of the pack. He tells us that powerful people who control everything at work are often reluctant to be domineering at home. “CEOs have worked hard all day. When they come home they want to be loved. But as they take off the hat of leaders and put on the hat of love, it means the dog will do what it wants.”
All very well, but some dogs are difficult. “Their self-esteem is on the floor. It can take months to build it. It is easier to rehabilitate an aggressive dog than a fearful dog. An aggressive dog has good self-esteem and I can redirect aggression by rollerblading with them or putting them on a treadmill. Moving forward makes you happy. Depression keeps you in one place. Depression doesn’t exist in the animal world, only in the human.”
Having sized up the situation, he recommends that we buy a doggy treadmill for Oscar and Milo so that they can run off their energy. My mother is nodding appreciatively, but I’m sceptical. Millan asks my mother to take the dogs for a walk, but the second the leads are out, the dogs start growling and snapping. “Let me do that,” Millan says. He drops the leads on the floor. Oscar and Milo register shock: nobody is going for a walk. The dogs quieten down. Millan slips the leads on effortlessly.
Then my mother has a go. Oscar immediately panics. She attempts to pet him, but Millan tells her not to “reinforce his anxiousness”. “The ritual of putting on a lead shouldn’t be this hard. By dropping the leads we are breaking the pattern. You must constantly correct them when they misbehave.” He concedes that separation anxiety is a difficult problem between dogs and their owners. “It’s in their DNA: you must stay with the family. They are pack animals. You have to teach them that it’s OK not to be together all the time. Exercise plays a big role here because it is easier for a dog to stay on his own and sleep when he is tired.”
Millan departs with two golden rules: don’t nurture a dog in an unbalanced state of mind. And get a treadmill. A month later, what have the dogs learnt? They don’t yet have a treadmill, but my mother has mastered the Cesar art of putting on their leads and has learnt to control her anxiety in their presence. It turns out Millan is a mother whisperer too.
From The Times:
Dog owners face a new pet “tax” in a government initiative to tackle the menace of dangerous dogs.
Compulsory microchipping of every dog — which would cost owners an average £30 — is included in a consultation report published today.
It also suggests that the six million dog owners in Britain should be covered by third-party insurance to cover injuries to victims of dog attacks.
In an attempt to give greater protection from “weapon” or status dogs, owners of unruly dogs would be subject to new antisocial behaviour orders, already dubbed “Dogbos”. These dog control orders would make it unlawful for a dog to be out of control in any place, public or private.
According to the report from Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, and Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, police or council wardens would have powers to issue these orders, similar to fixed-penalty notices. They may require a dog to be fenced in, neutered, muzzled or kept on a lead, and for an owner to attend a dog handling course. Any breaches could lead to prosecution, a fine, or even prison if animal cruelty were involved. The worst owners would be banned for life from keeping a dog and unruly animals would be destroyed.
Ministers have decided that recent incidents, including the death in November of four-year-old John Paul Massey, from Liverpool, who was savaged by the family’s pitbull terrier, and a 12-fold increase in dog-fighting reported by the RSPCA, has necessitated a review of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
There is also alarm at figures showing that an average of 100 people a week need hospital treatment for dog attacks. The number in 1997-98 was 3,079, compared with 5,221 last year.
Reform is supported by the Conservatives Liberal Democratics and new powers are expected within a year.
At present the law bans ownership, sale, trade and advertising of the pitbull terrier, Japanese tosa, Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasiliero, but does not apply to dogs in private homes and gardens. The aim is to tackle any dog behaving in a dangerous or threatening way in a public or private place.
The extension to private homes and premises has delighted the Communication Workers’ Union, which has been campaigning for years to highlight the number of postmen bitten by dogs, some 92 a week at present.
Most pet insurance includes third party cover. Petplan, Britain’s biggest pet insurer with 40 per cent of the market, said typical monthly prices were £25.23 for a Japanese akito, £24.75 for a Staffordshire bull terrier, £24.75 for a labrador, £22.85 for a chihuahua and £16.73 for a Jack Russell. This includes basic annual cover of £4,000 for vet’s bills and up to £1 million in third party liability and legal fees.
The cause has particular resonance for Mr Johnson, a former postman, who was bitten twice on his rounds and saved from a third attack by a pregnant woman who rushed to his rescue.
Discussions about new powers included animal welfare groups, police and local government. There is concern that owners who already microchip and insure their pets may be hit by red tape or higher bills while irresponsible owners would ignore the law.
The RSPCA, Kennel Club and Dogs’ Trust favour repeal of the ban on certain breeds and for legislation to concentrate on “the deed not the breed”.
But some local authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers believe that the proscribed list of dogs should be extended to include all bull breed types, including Staffordshire bull terriers and the Japanese akita.
Mr Johnson said: “People have a fundamental right to feel safe. The vast majority of dog owners are responsible, but some people keep dogs for the sole purpose of intimidating others. It is this sort of behaviour that we are determined to stop.”
Why owning a dog is good for you
They boost happiness hormones and compensate for family breakdown – no wonder dog ownership is soaring
Nail care is one of the areas all too often overlooked by dog owners. While some dogs will never need their nails trimmed they are the exception to the rule, most will need their nails trimmed every month or so.
Overgrown nails can cause significant problems, they can curl into the dog's paw pads causing infected sores as well as permanently distorting the shape of the dog's foot leading to problems walking. Additionally, the longer the nail is the longer the quick is, so if you don't cut your dog's nails for a long time you will need to reduce their length gradually.
So how should you trim your dog's nails without causing pain and discomfort?
The key is to avoid cutting the sensitive quick which contains the nail's blood supply and nerve. In dogs with white nails the quick is visible as a pink line, by trimming the excess nail just below the quick you should be able to avoid any discomfort. For dogs with black nails where you can't see the quick the best approach is to take small slivers of nail off at a time until you see a black dot appear in the middle of the nail. By doing this you minimise the likelihood of cutting the quick and hurting your dog.
Sometimes, despite your best intentions, you will cause the nail to bleed. In this case the best remedy is to apply some styptic powder (available from pet shops) and pressure to stop the bleeding. While there may seem to be a lot of blood you needn't worry too much - your dog is not going to bleed to death because of a cut quick. (Do keep an eye on the nail however to make sure that it heals without getting infected, this is rare but can happen.)
A good indication that it is time to trim your dog’s nails is when you hear them tapping on hard surfaces. However, the more often you trim your dog's nails, the easier the process will become.
It is important that this time you spend with your dog is not a struggle. Be patient.
A dog's nail clipping can be a stressful event for him, especially if someone has
cut the quick before. Dogs tend to remember that painful incident. So, if your
dog is not used to having his nails trimmed or is frightened, simply begin slowly
and hold his toes firmly for 15-30 seconds during practice sessions. You can then
progress from holding his toes to actually trimming them.
With time and patience, you and your dog will become accustomed to the clipping
Below is a helpful illustration showing the structure of the nail and the correct
way to cut it: