10 Tips for Enjoying July 4th with Your Dog!

As a dog trainer at Charlotte’s premiere dog training facility, The Dog Knowledge, I am shocked by the number of families that bring a dog to the 4th of July fireworks. The poor things try to get away from the loud bangs, but they can’t. Some of them look terrified. As a dog trainer, and a therapy dog and service dog trainer, when I see the panic on a dog’s face, it is really sad. With the 4th of July holiday on Friday, we would like to address what we feel as professional dog trainers might be helpful to dog owners to understand how likely their dog perceives this favorite American holiday. All of us at The Dog Knowledge have personal dogs. While we have tried to expose our personal dogs to every noise and situation, as dog training professionals we know the signs to look for to determine our personal dog’s stress level. Fireworks, thunderstorms, cars backfiring, even the crash of a dropped pot are torture to some dogs. A dog that is “sound sensitive” reacts in a fearful manner to loud noises. Some sound sensitive dogs try to hide, others want to climb into their owner’s lap, and still others try to flee, to escape. If you have a sound sensitive dog, you know the agony of his fear. Sound sensitivity is also called being `noise shy’ or `gun shy’. It can be either congenital or environmental. Some noise shy dogs are born that way, while others may undergo a frightening experience connected to a loud noise that thereafter causes them to associate the noise with the fear-producing event. A dog that is less than a year old might be going through their second fear period which happens around 8-10 months of age. While a dog of any age who has never shown signs of being noise sensitive can suddenly develop thunder phobia or fear of loud noises, dogs less than a year old are even more susceptible. As Charlotte’s most knowledgeable dog trainers we agree that the best thing you can do for your dog is to avoid having your dog join in Charlotte’s annual celebration. Regardless of whether a dog is born with sensitivity to loud noises, or experiences something upsetting that he or she then associates with noise, there are some do’s and don’ts to make your dog more comfortable during a noisy event....
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Throw Your Dog a Bone — Literally!

What if I told you that some of your dog’s most onerous behaviors could be corrected by simply “throwing your dog a bone?” That’s right, THROW YOUR DOG A BONE. Understanding Your Dog’s Need to Chew, and how Chewing can Resolve Unwanted Behaviors     As one of four senior dog trainers and behaviorists at The Dog Knowledge, Charlotte’s only People/Pup training and social club, I specialize in service and therapy dog training as well as dog assessments. In other words, when I am not training a service dog, much of my week is spent sitting down with Charlotte families and their dog to help them understand what’s really going on in that canine mind. I see everything from dogs that simply need obedience training to dogs with serious behavioral issues such as aggression and a wide range of compulsive and destructive behaviors. And while all issues can’t be resolved in our 1+ hour sessions, there are some basic things that I repeatedly tell people that are simple things they can do at home to improve their dog’s behavior. One of those simple things is to meet your dog’s inherent need to chew. One of my first questions that I ask a family as I am reading through their written dog behavioral evaluation is: “Do you supply your dog with appropriate, varied and interesting things to satiate his desire to chew as well as providing needed teeth cleaning?” The answer is almost always the same. “Oh yes, my dog has a basket full of toys that he has access to all of the time.” Sometimes, they mention that they provide a hard rubber toy such as a Kong stuffed with peanut butter for their dog to enjoy in his crate. But normally once their puppy is through the teething stage, very little thought, if any is given to his chewing needs. You can search the web and you will find hundreds of articles about things we humans can do to relieve stress. Everything from taking a leisurely evening walk, working in the garden to running a marathon or working out at the gym. A dog’s need to chew goes back since the beginning. In nature, a dog’s life depended on having strong jaws and clean healthy teeth. A dog pack might typically Live out the winter with an elk carcus chewing each day on the meat and frozen bones....
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Your Dog and the 4th of July

As a dog trainer at Charlotte’s premiere dog training facility, The Dog Knowledge, I am shocked by the number of families that bring a dog to the 4th of July fireworks. The poor things try to get away from the loud bangs, but they can’t. Some of them look terrified. As a dog trainer, when I see the panic on a dog’s face, it is really sad. With the 4th of July holiday tomorrow, the certified dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge in Charlotte got together to compile a blog addressing what we felt as professional dog trainers might be helpful to dog owners to understand how likely their dog perceives this favorite American holiday. As dog trainers, we all have personal dogs. While we have tried to expose our personal dogs to every noise and situation, as dog training professionals we know the signs to look for to determine our personal dog’s stress level. Additional we train service dogs and therapy dogs. We realize that these dogs must be exposed to all types of noises before receiving their certification as a service dog or therapy dog. My Christmas Minders who are my demo dogs, do not love loud noises, although they’re not frightened like other dogs. Fireworks, thunderstorms, cars backfiring, even the crash of a dropped pot are torture to some dogs. A dog that is “sound sensitive” reacts in a fearful manner to loud noises. Some sound sensitive dogs try to hide, others want to climb into their owner’s lap, and still others try to flee, to escape. If you have a sound sensitive dog, you know the agony of his fear. Sound sensitivity is also called `noise shy’ or `gun shy.’ It can be either congenital or environmental. Some noise shy dogs are born that way, while others may undergo a frightening experience connected to a loud noise that thereafter causes them to associate the noise with the fear-producing event. A dog that is less than a year old might be going through their second fear period which happens around 8-10 months of age. While a dog of any age who has never shown signs of being noise sensitive can suddenly develop thunder phobia or fear of loud noises, dogs less than a year old are even more susceptible. We agree that the best thing you can do for your dog is to avoid having your...
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PARASITES! The Dog Knowledge Tells You What You Need to Know

At The Dog Knowledge, Charlotte’s premier dog training facility, we realize that there is a lot of confusion regarding parasite preventatives.  While pet owners often feel that they are protecting their dog with their monthly heartworm pill, as Charlotte’s most respected dog trainers we feel strongly that ALL dogs should have a monthly flea and tick topical application in addition to their oral heart worm preventative. In areas such as the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland where there is so much natural vegetation around the bay area, it was standard advice from the area vets to apply topical flea and tick preventative to your dog every 3 weeks during peak summer months. As Charlotte’s most acclaimed year round dog training, boarding and daycare center we noticed last summer that even when the topical solution was applied monthly, it began to lose its potency by the end of the third week.  This had a lot to do with the mild winter and possible natural immunity that the fleas and ticks had developed.  Unfortunately we have had another very mild winter and are already seeing evidence of fleas and ticks.  Please don’t forget to invest in a good topical solution and be sure that you apply it 3 days prior to bathing your dog and don’t bathe your dog for 3 days after the application. Regular examinations and preventive medications can help protect your dogs from fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites like roundworms and hookworms. As professional dog trainers and behaviorists, we know that a dog with the irritation of flea and tick bites can lead to unwanted behavior. DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET UNPROTECTED FROM THESE PREDATORS: Ticks and Fleas Ticks and fleas are blood-drinking parasites that can also cause serious illness in pets. Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and cause allergies. You can sometimes see ticks or fleas on your pet, but for the most part, they are very difficult to find. A monthly medication can control them. Heartworms Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, and they can infect dogs and cats. Even indoor pets aren’t completely safe from heartworms, since 25% of heartworm infected cats live completely indoors. Heartworms can damage the lungs and heart, and can even cause death. Fortunately, heartworm preventive medications can protect your pets from these dangerous parasites. Intestinal Parasites Hookworms, roundworms, and other intestinal parasites can harm pets....
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The Monster in the Closet

The Dog Knowledge has taken a bit of a break from blogging — we’ve got lots of dogs to train! But now we return to you with a chilling tale… Have you ever tried to think like your dog?  Go ahead, put yourself in his place for a moment and think about: THE MONSTER IN THE CLOSET Yes, monster!  At least once a week the dreaded monster that lives in the closet of every American household wakes up from a long sleep and roars into action.  The dreaded monster huffs and puffs, seemingly screaming its way through every room in the house, sucking up any creature in its way. After roaring through the entire house scaring the dog, the cat and every impressionable being around, the monster finally makes its way back to the closet and goes back to a peaceful sleep.  But your dog knows that the monster isn’t gone.  He’s only asleep, resting up, preparing for another attack, another day… So now, if you put yourself in your dog’s place, you can begin to understand why your dog is afraid of something as innocuous as the vacuum cleaner. And added to your poor dog’s fear of The Monster In The Closet, chances are, when he was a puppy, the first time you brought the vacuum cleaner out and watched him bark and possibly attack, the entire family thought this harmless scene was so cute that they filmed it and put it on YouTube.  The dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge, Charlotte’s premier dog training center, recently pulled up assorted YouTube videos of puppies being confronted with the vacuum cleaner. There were dozens of clips showing Mom or Dad purposely teasing the dog by pushing the vacuum back and forth as the puppy jumped and barked and everyone had a great laugh at the puppy’s expense. But puppies grow up to be young dogs and after a while the family tires of the young dog attacking the vacuum.  So when it comes time for dog training, they complain that the dog is afraid of the vacuum and couldn’t a trainer teach the dog to ignore this necessary family appliance?  And often, this fear of the vacuum is transferred over to other appliances such as blenders, toasters, garbage disposals or anything else that roars into action. The dog trainers at The Dog Knowledge use the vacuum cleaner “fix” as...
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