Category: Useful Articles on Pets

Attention Seeking Dogs

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Attention-seeking behaviour in dogs are often shown in puppyhood initially, when care soliciting from a parent and the need to play and interact with littermates is quite normal of course.
But once they are grown up more and have established more adult relationships with their owners, as well as other dogs, jumping up, pawing, barking or dropping a toy into a lap uninvited and other demands for interaction are not always seen as being cute or fun all the time. However, such demands are often nonetheless inevitably rewarded with the owner’s full attention – a cuddle, a game, and verbal chat in that voice we reserve for babies and puppies and so these behaviours are reinforced, learned and maintained perhaps long after they should have naturally been lost or used more sparingly in social encounters by dogs when older!
Dogs value human attention throughout their lives – especially from their owners, on whom they dote, but clearly also need to learn to become more functionally independent and less constantly dependent on us. There’s nothing wrong with giving attention to our dogs, of course. After all, what’s the point of having a dog if you’re going to spend the entire time ignoring your best friend?! But if you reward behaviour in a puppy continuously and don’t help him to learn to be less dependent on direct contact when he is in your company and to develop his own independent interests, all that attention demanding can become a real nuisance when he’s fully grown, and does nothing to help him develop into a more restrained and contented adult.
For example, if an eight-week-old Newfoundland pup jumps up at you for attention or when you feed him, it’s all pretty harmless. But if that same dog as a three-year-old heavy hairy monster jumps up, he could easily dangerously floor a child or elderly person, or even a strong adult. Equally in a smaller dog, nudging or pawing for your attention as a pup can start off as being very cute but if your adult dog does it over and over again, whenever you are busy and unable to give him attention, it can become very annoying indeed.
In all cases, giving the demanding dog the attention he’s seeking will stop the behaviour only briefly. The moment you turn your focus to something else, it will be repeated again… and again. Pushing your dog away or giving any other negative response, even telling him off, will be equally unsuccessful, as it all still involves giving him some attention. From a dog’s viewpoint, anything is better than nothing, so even such negative attention is valued.
The key, then, is to ignore the attention-seeking, and to reward good manners instead. So if he nudges you for a pat or uses another attention-seeking behaviour, ignore him. Don’t look at him, speak to him or touch him. Completely ignore him and get up calmly and walk away if he persists (as he often will, initially). Instead, when he is quietly undemanding – perhaps busy with a chew toy, or watching the world go by in his bed, call him to you and give him a fuss. This establishes that lots of attention is available but mainly at your behest, not his.
Safety must come first, of course. If your dog’s attention-seeking involves stealing something forbidden and running off with it, assess any dangers. Dogs learn what will quickly get us leaping from our seats, eager to chase them for their prize. Generally, the more prized or dangerous the object, the more intense our reaction – and the dog will soon learn seek out such objects again in the future! If your dog has run off with something that could harm him, you have to remove the item from him. But make sure it doesn’t happen again by keeping all scissors, remote controls, shoes and other ‘stealable’ items out of reach if your dog seeks attention through theft! That way, you won’t reinforce the behaviour by ‘playing’ chase!
Do be aware that nuisance attention-seeking will generally get worse before it gets better when you try to treat it. If you ignore your dog when previously you’ve given him your attention for a particular behaviour, your dog will become frustrated as to why he is no longer able to elicit what he thought was a predictable response from you. So he’ll do what he knows more intensively and nudge harder, or bark louder, or jump higher to get your attention. Be strong and ignore all his attempts, or walk away as required or you’ll soon be back to square one!
If the nuisance attention seeking continues despite your best efforts, do seek professional help from a behaviourist via a veterinary referral. It could be that there is an underlying reason for the behaviour, such as intense insecurity, which will need delicate handling and a broader approach to your dog’s social husbandry.

By Michelle Liew

Dog Pregnancy

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Dog Pregnancy Stages Of Your Dog’s Pregnancy

Dog Pregnancy Time Line – In Heat

To understand dog pregnancy, you should first get a general comprehension of how her body works. Your dog will experience a heat cycle before she is able to get pregnant. Veterinarians suggest that you do not breed her during her first heat period unless it happens after she is 1 year old. Any earlier would stunt the growth of your young female.

Most dogs go into heat 2 times a year, but it is common to skip one on occasion. While in heat she will be able to breed with more than the one male. She will be in heat for 3 weeks and her cycle will arrive every 6-9 months.

The first thing you will recognize when your dog goes into heat is a swollen vulva and bloody discharge. Eggs are not released yet in this phase of her heat cycle. Male dogs will be chemically drawn to her more than ever before. She still will not show a major interest in them, until this 6-11 day stage comes to an end.

In the second stage of heat she is actually fertile. Her posture will transform to a stance that invites procreation. Her bleeding will change from light pink to a golden sand color. Her vulva will remain swollen but is softer than before. The most common duration for this stage is 5-9 days but has been known to go on for nearly 20 days for different dogs. Once this stage is finished she will no longer be inviting male attention.

Signs of Dog Pregnancy

Early signs of dog pregnancy include a decreased appetite, a sudden decrease in activity, nipple growth, and behavioral changes. The decreased appetite is similar to a human’s morning sickness. If she feels exhausted more than normal, is far more affectionate than her regular behavior or just wants to be left alone, it is because of the hormonal changes triggered by her pregnancy. The tissue and glands underneath her nipples will swell to make room for her baby’s milk. Her pregnancy will last between 60-64 days.
After the first few weeks her appetite will reappear and she will rapidly start gaining weight. Her abdomen will thicken and be firm to the touch. Smaller breeds look larger when pregnant than bigger breeds because they have less room to carry all of their puppies. You will be able to feel the puppy movement during the last week of her pregnancy because that is when the babies are getting into position for birth. Don’t be surprised to see several drops of milk leaking from her nipples prior to the labor.

You should have prepared her with a whelping box by now. Any location comfortably designated for her nesting needs is good enough to be her whelping area. You can use old blankets or towels to make a soft environment for the babies to be born into. With no whelping box, your female may shred your couch, or invade your closet, to make her own nest.

Dog Pregnancy – Giving Birth

Take her temperature periodically. It is normally 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you see it drop into the 97-99 degrees range, and notice it has been the same consistently for 2 readings taken 12 hours apart, this is when you can be sure the delivery will happen within the next 24 hours.
Her labor will go through 3 clear stages. The third stage is repeated with the birth of each puppy:

Stage One: She will appear restless and have anxiety. She will often separate herself from any attention. No food will interest her, not even her favorite treats. Take her out to go to the bathroom because it may be her last chance before delivery.

Stage Two: Her contractions will have begun. A green sac of fluid will protrude from her vulva. The puppies will start to appear either headfirst or rear first. Both are normal positions for dogs to be born in. Do not be alarmed to see them quiet and listless directly after birth. Leave her alone to stand or pace, as she needs to. The mother’s instincts will cause her to open the sac, and lick the pups to clean them. She will sever the umbilical cord herself, but sometime you may interject if the natural process takes too long. The sac should always be removed immediately if it remained unbroken during the delivery. You may clean the puppies by rubbing them gently with a fresh cloth. Keep rubbing to stimulate their circulation. The mother’s tongue or your rubs are what gets them to start squirming and crying.

If the mother struggles with a puppy that becomes lodged then you can try to assist the birth by grasping the puppy with a clean clothe. Firmly exert steady traction but do not jerk or pull suddenly. If you have any questions then call your vet right away.

Stage Three: Her resting period will last a few hours as her mild contractions fade away. If she delivered two pups closer together than her comfort level allowed, then her contractions will

take longer to end.
By Michelle Liew