<![CDATA[Country K9 Pet Resort & Spa - Blog]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 13:00:40 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Is Your Dog in Pain?]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 11:00:00 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/is-your-dog-in-pain
The big problem with identifying pain in dogs is twofold.  Firstly, dogs hide pain well. Secondly, they can’t tell us when they are in pain much like infants and small children.  It is up to the dog owner to monitor their actions and body language for clues as to how they are feeling, whether it is about their fears, and interactions with people, and other animals or even pain.
 
Certain things that cause pain can be easily identified; open wounds, broken bones, etc. Stop and think about your own experiences with pain. Would anyone know you are in pain if you didn’t tell them?  Think about issues like:

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Muscle pain
  • Back pain
  • Stiff joints
  • Menstrual pain
  • Dental pain
  • Earaches
In human medicine, 80% of diagnoses are made via a clinical exam [http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1105870], which involves obtaining an in-depth description from the patient of their symptoms. If you are in pain, you will be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0-10 or bases on a facial expression scale.
 
Dogs don’t have the ability to verbally give us this information so we often have to use our own observation skills and our knowledge of our dogs to work out if our dog could be in pain.  Veterinarians now have a way to apply the same type of pain scale from human healthcare to our pets.  Colorado State University has developed a Canine Acute Pain scale (there is also a Feline version) to help categorize and standardize pain assessment.
 
Pain is subjective and still difficult to measure.  It is not uncommon for two dogs to have the same injuries and while one dog will happily wag its tail and act like nothing is wrong, the other will cry in panic and pain.
 
Any medical or illness that causes pain, discomfort or decreased mobility, such as arthritis, dental disease, hypothyroidism, cancer, impaired sight or hearing, or Cushing’s disease, can lead to increased sensitivity and irritability. There can also be increased anxiety about being touched or approached, decreased responsiveness to commands, reduced ability to adapt to change and an increase in aggression; your dog may choose warn and bite rather than move away.
 
If your dogs’ behavior changes, they maybe communicating to you that they are in pain.
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<![CDATA[Reverse Sneezing]]>Sun, 10 Dec 2017 15:15:22 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/reverse-sneezing
Does your dog make gasping and honking sounds? It would be a reverse sneeze.  Reverse sneezing, also called inspiratory paroxysmal respiration, is a fairly common respiratory event in dogs.  It is thought to be caused by irritation or inflammation of the nasal, pharyngeal, or sinus passages. It is prevalent in dogs with shortened snouts along with widening of the hard palate like Pugs and Bulldogs but can happen to any dog.
 
During a reserve sneeze, a dog will suddenly stand still; extend its head and neck with sudden, rapid and repeated inhalations through the nose, followed by snorting or gagging sounds.

Common Causes

Reverse sneezing can be caused by a variety of irritants and dog allergies.  Dust, pollen, mites, viruses, post nasal drip, nasal inflammation, perfumes and cleaners or chemicals are some of the known causes.  Other triggers can include rapid drinking or eating, pulling on leashes and excitement. 

Treatment

If the cause is allergy related, your veterinarian may recommend antihistamines.

Gently massaging your dogs throat may help stop the spasms.  Covering the nostrils is sometimes effective because it makes your dog swallow, which can clear out whatever is causing the irritation.
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<![CDATA[Medical Causes of Aggression in Dogs]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 20:56:15 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/medical-causes-of-aggression-in-dogs

There are certain medical issues which contribute to behavior problems as well as others that are actually instrumental in causing them in dogs. Medical issues should be ruled out when certain factors are involved.  These include obvious problems with a dog’s physical condition (overweight, underweight, excessive shedding, alterations in thirst or appetite, etc.). Behavior problems that occur unusually early in life, especially if the dog is the runt of the litter or problems occurring seemingly out of the blue with no obvious environmental causes could point to a medical problem as well.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces less thyroid hormone than normal.  Obvious signs are increased body weight, lethargy and hair loss.
 
Somewhere between normal (euthyroid) and hypothyroid, are dogs whose thyroid levels are lower than necessary for optimal function but whose levels are still technically within normal range.  In this situation, only one or two obvious signs of hypothyroidism may be present and only subtlety.  This can contribute to anxiety and aggression.

Congenital or Acquired Neurological Problems

If a dog is born with a neurological problem or develops one through injury or illness, its perception and judgment may be affected, causing inappropriate behavior.

               Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a congenital condition in which the fluid filled spaces in the brain (ventricles) become enlarged and the surrounding brain tissue subsequently becomes thinned or compressed. The term “water on the brain” has been used to describe this condition in humans.  The dog breeds most commonly affected are toys and brachycephalics (flat faced dogs).
 
There are few is any signs in mild cases.  However, more severe cases of Hydrocephalus are associated with a variety of neurological signs, sometimes including aggression.  The definite test for Hydrocephalus is a Computed Tomography (CT) scan or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

              Bacterial or Viral Encephalitis

Encephalitis is the inflammation of the brain with several causes and can have a variety of neurological signs which may include aggression.

  • Idiopathic (unknown)
  • Immune-medicated disorders
  • Postvaccinal complications
  • Viral Infections (canine distemper, rabies, parvovirus)
  • Bacterial Infections (anaerobic and aerobic)
  • Fungal Infections (aspergillosis, histoplasmosis, blastomycosis)
  • Parasitic Infections (Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrilchisis)
  • Foreign Bodies
 
Diagnosis is made by observation of clinical signs and through evaluation of the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain and spinal cord.

              Brain Tumors

A tumor is an abnormal growth of cells and may be classified as primary or secondary.  A primary brain tumor originated from cells normally found within the brain and its surrounding membranes.  A secondary brain tumor, is either cancer that has spread to the brain (metastasis) from a primary tumor elsewhere in the body, or is a tumor that affects the brain by extending into brain tissue from an adjacent non-nervous system tissue, for instance bone or nasal cavity.
 
Brain tumors are diagnosed from clinical signs and by specific neurological testing, with or without ancillary diagnostic aids such as CT scans or MRIs.

               Behavioral Seizures

Partial seizures occurring in a region of the brain that controls aggression (hypothalamus or limbic system) can result in sudden unprovoked aggression. Breeds known for this sudden aggression are Springer Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Bull Terriers, Poodles and Golden Retrievers.  Clinical signs of seizure related aggression are:
 
  • A mood change just before the seizure
  • Sudden violent aggression for trivial or no reason
  • Signs of autonomic discharge (salivation, dilated pupils, and evacuation of anal sacs)
  • Aggressive posturing, more or less continuous during an attach lasting several minutes, hours or even days
 
Following an attack, affected dogs often appear depressed and lethargic, unresponsive to commands and may stare at a wall or simply sleep.  Diagnosis is made by observation of clinical signs, Electroencephalogram (EEG) or MRI.
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<![CDATA[What's in Your Dog Food?]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:34:17 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/whats-in-your-dog-food
Most commercial dog food is made with feed (animal) grade ingredients instead of human grade and comes in either dry form or a wet, canned form.  Feed grade ingredients are lower quality than human grade.  Feed grade ingredients have allowances for toxins, such as mold produced mycotoxins that are acceptable in significantly reduced quantities in human grade foods.  Meat “meals” such as “meat and bone meal” and “by-products” come from the rendering process and can contain dead animals from farms, ranches, feedlots, marketing barns, animal shelters and other facilities; and fats, grease and other food waste from restaurants and stores.

Chemicals and Preservatives

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are chemicals added to oils (fats) as preservatives that can be found in pet foods and treats.  BHA is a known carcinogen and reproductive toxin and BHT is also a carcinogen and causes kidney and liver damage in rats.

Ethoxyquin is also a chemical preservative which is illegal to use in human foods in the United States, yet can still legally be added to pet foods.  Human safety data reports Ethoxyquin to be harmful if it is swallowed or directly contacts the skin.  Ethoxyquin often enters dog food through “fish meal” and may not even appear on a dog food label.

Propylene Glycol (PG) is humectant (moistening agent) used as a preservative to soft-moist dog foods and treats.  It is chemically derived from Ethylene Glycol (EG), also known as antifreeze and it touted as non-toxic. PG has been banned from cat food but not dog food.

Drugs

Pentobarbital is an anesthetic used to euthanize animals.  FDA testing of dog foods has confirmed the presence of pentobarbital when dead animals are used as an ingredient in dog food.

Food Dyes

Blue 2, Red 40 and Yellow 5 and 6 have been documented to contribute to hypersensitivity reactions (allergic), behavior problems and cancer in humans.  Artificially coloring food appeals to humans and not pets; your dog doesn't care if his/her food is made up of different colored bits.

Rendered Fat

Rendered animal fat provides flavor enhancement for dog food but is a source of microorganisms (Salmonella, etc.) and toxins (heavy metals, etc.).  If moisture penetrates a dry food bag, then harmful bacteria and mold can flourish.

Corn

Corn is used in commercial dog food not because it contributes unique nutritional value, but because it is a carbohydrate and carbohydrates are cheap and vital to the dog food making process.  Corn supplies cheap, empty calories to dog food. Corn allergies in dogs typically affect the dog’s whole body, but the skin is usually the first place that symptoms show.  Symptoms include:
  • Excessive scratching
  • Face rubbing
  • Hair loss
  • Hives
  • Hot spots
  • Irritated skin
  • Persistent ear infections

What to Look For and Avoid

Look for dog food that uses natural preservatives (Vitamin C/E) or no preservatives and is made in the United States.  Avoid dog food that contains corn, meat and grain meals and by-products, Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), Ethoxyquin, Food Dyes, Propylene Glycol (PG) and rendered fat.

A wonderful source for information on dog food is the Dog Food Advisor, which is a public service website designed to help people make a more informed decision when buying dog food. The Dog Food Advisor is privately owned and they are not affiliated in any way with the pet food industry.

Dry Dog Food Reviews

Wet Dog Food Reviews
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<![CDATA[Is Your Dog’s Collar Too Tight?]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 23:27:37 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/is-your-dogs-collar-too-tightPuppies grow quickly and dogs change size throughout their lifetime.  You should check a growing puppy’s collar at least once a week to ensure it isn’t too tight.

If your dog’s collar is too tight, it may dig into and injury the skin or cause choking or gagging.  Left too tight for too long, a collar can become embedded in the skin.
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Hair Loss and Skin Irritation
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Embedded Collar
If the collar is too loose, it may slip over you’re dogs head, slip down too far and risk damaging its throat, or the collar may become snagged on something and cause your dog to choke.

To make sure your dog’s collar isn’t too tight or too loose, follow these easy tips:

  1. The collar should be loose enough to move it around your dog’s neck without you needing to force it to move.  Hold it by the loop where you clip the leash and move the collar around your dog’s neck.  The collar should move with slight resistance.
  2. Place two fingers under your dog’s collar.  If your two fingers fit comfortably, you dog should be comfortable.
  3. Lift the collar up toward your dog’s ears as if you were removing a necklace from your neck.  Gently lift it like you were going to take it off like a necklace.  The collar should fit snug right at your dog’s ears.  If it slides over the ears, it’s too loose. If you can’t life it to their ears without choking, it’s too tight.
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<![CDATA[Matting]]>Tue, 11 Jul 2017 01:33:16 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/matting


A mat refers to densely tangled clumps of fur in a pet’s coat.  Loose and live hair become embedded in large masses.  If your dog scratches or bites the skin or hair it becomes wet and tangled.  Sometimes mats can be combed out, but once matted down to the skin, it is impossible without seriously harming the animal.

Mats can form in both the outer coat as well as the deeper undercoat.  Sometime severe mats form in the undercoat and are unnoticeable because of a heavy outer coat.

Causes

Matting is especially prevalent in long-hair dogs during seasonal shedding if the excessive hairs are not removed.  Regular and frequent grooming, especially brushing, is absolutely necessary to not only prevent mats, but to keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy.  Friction areas such armpits, the neck, and groin are also prone to matting. The neck and body can also become matted from collar and harness wearing.

Dangers

Severe matting can be extremely painful to your dog during brushing. Brushing only causes lives hairs to be pulled out of the skin with excruciating pain.  Matting can cut off blood supply to extremities and deny regular air circulation.  Skin denied fresh air and stimulation from regular brushing becomes quite unhealthy.  It can turn dark pink to red, and open sores are quick to form emitting a foul odor.

Even organic matter, like weeds and stickers, can become embedded in the skin. Mats have been known to contain stool of the pet and even fly larvae that further irritate the skin. Remember, sometimes these mats and their consequences can be completely hidden from view.

Removing Mats

Throughout the grooming industry, the term “dematting” simply means to rip the mats from the dog’s skin. At Country K9 we will not remove mats in this fashion as it will hurt your pet.  Severe mats, mats down to the skin, will requiring shaving to humanely remove.
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<![CDATA[Declawing a Dog?]]>Fri, 10 Feb 2017 18:35:32 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/declawing-a-dogSo I recently came across someone inquiring about having their dog declawed.  You read that right, DOG!  Aside from the removal of dewclaws due to injury or removal of particular nails due to injury/tumors, I had never heard of declawing a dog.  I was actually quite surprised when I did an internet search that people actual do this so they won’t get scratched or because their dog digs holes or for cosmetic reasons.

Dog Paw Anatomy

Dogs are digitgrade animals.  This means that the weight bearing surface of their limbs is their toes, each with a claw and pad.  A dog’s paws are made up of the following five components:
Photo: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock
The digital and metacarpal pads work as shock absorbers and help protect the bone and joints in the foot.  The carpal pads sort of work like brakes and help a dog navigate slippery or steep slopes.
 
Paw pads have a thick layer of fatty tissue (kind of like whale blubber) that insulates the inner foot tissues from extreme temperatures, as it doesn’t conduct cold as quickly. As a dog’s paw gets cold when it hits the ground, arteries transfer the chilled blood back to the body where it warms up again.
 
The pads also offer protection when walking on rough terrain.  Dogs that are outside a lot and exposed to rough surfaces have thicker, rougher paw skin; dogs that stay in more and walk on smoother surfaces have softer pads.  The pads help dogs distinguish between different types of terrain.
 
The inner layer of skin on the paw has sweat glands that convey perspiration to the outer layer of skin, which helps cool a hot dog and keeps the pads from getting too dry.  Paws can also exude moisture when a dog gets nervous or experiences stress; dogs get sweaty hands, just like people do!

Conclusion

Aside from a valid, serious medical reason, one should not declaw their dog!  Dogs need their claws to provide traction on surfaces when walking or running.  The faster the breed, the more important their claws are. A dog without claws will not be able to walk or balance properly, which could have long term effects on their joints and muscles.
 
If your dog’s nails are scratching you or your furniture, trim your dog’s nails or take them to get them trimmed.
 
If your dog is digging holes in your yard, make sure he/she gets regular exercise so they won’t get bored and dig holes.  If the problem persists, talk to your vet or a dog trainer to correct the behavior.
 
Declawing a dog is not cosmetically pleasing.  Instead take your dog to the spa and have their nails trimmed and painted.
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<![CDATA[Leonberger]]>Tue, 31 Jan 2017 22:02:08 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/leonberger


The Leonberger is one of the oldest breeds originating in Leonberg in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  This gentle giant is a very friendly, bright, playful, patient, loving and family oriented working dog.
According to legend, the Leonberger was purportedly bred to be an elegant dog in the spirit of a lion that would mimic the lion in the town crest.  Heinrich Essig, claimed to have created the Leonberger breed by combining the original stock that made the St. Bernard with white Landseer Newfoundlands and then injecting some Pyrenean Mountain Dogs (Great Pyrenees).
 
World War I almost rendered the breed extinct.  After the war, Karl Stadelmann and Otto Josenhans scoured Germany searching for Leonbergers; they found 25.   In 1922, a group of seven people joined together to form a breeding cooperative which brought about a revival of the breed.
Leonberger’s full coat tends to shed a lot, requiring daily brushing.  They need regular, moderate daily exercise and are rambunctious when they are puppies.  Leonberger’s benefit greatly from consistent, firm, loving socialization and training that will help ensure a mannerly, well rounded, 120 - 170 pound dog.  They are not a dog for the novice owner.
 
Leonberger’s are generally healthy dogs.  Like all large breeds, they can suffer from hip dysplasia which is largely controlled because of the effort of many Leonberger breeders who actively screen their dogs and leave dysplastic specimens out of the gene pool.  Though not common, Leonbergers do inherit and/or develop a number of other diseases; heart problems, Inherited Leonberger Paralysis/Polyneuropathy, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, Osteochondrosi Dissecans, allergies, digestive disorders, cataracts, entropion/ectropion eyelids, progressive retinal atrophy, perianal fistulas, and thyroid disorders.  They have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
 
For additional information on Leonbegers:  http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/leonberger/
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<![CDATA[ When the Time Comes to Let Them Go ]]>Sat, 22 Oct 2016 15:58:56 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/-when-the-time-comes-to-let-them-go
Owning a pet is a wonderful experience. Pets provide us with loyalty, companionship, love and affection, as well as many physical and psychological benefits. Pet owners are found to suffer fewer ailments, such as headaches, colds and hay fever.  The presence of a pet reduces your heart rate and can lower your blood pressure.

No one likes to think about it or talk about it, but just like every other living creature, our pets die.  Every so often I have a conversation with someone about letting their pet go.  Sometimes it’s a client and sometimes it’s a stranger.  Sometimes I bring up the subject because I can see what the owner doesn’t want to see or admit and sometime someone asks me “When do you know it’s time?”

On Friday, October 21, my husband and I found ourselves in our vet’s office, tears’ streaming down our faces asking each other “is it time?” Our 12, almost 13 year old, Josie was having some issues that we attributed to being old.  She was a little stiff and slow getting around and had started suffering from incontinence.  The incontinence was remedied with medication and we thought we dodged a bullet.  Then on the morning on the 21st, she couldn’t get up and stay up.  It was like she was drunk.  She couldn’t control her back legs and now we had the opposite problem of the incontinence, she wasn’t going.  She was alert, but she wasn’t herself.  She either had a spinal tumor or degenerative myelopathy. 
 
There is no cure or successful treatment of either condition.  Any “treatment” would just delay the inevitable.  But the options still ran through my head; Do we go for the neurological consult? How long with it take to get an appointment? Do we try whatever “treatment” the vet had to offer? Do we have them put in a catheter?
 
So as the tears and now snot (yes, I was a mess), continued, I realized that I was doing exactly what so many people do.  At that moment I would have done anything and paid any amount of money to buy more time with Josie.  But at what cost to her?
 
So in the end, you know it’s time to let them go when you realize that keeping them alive is for your benefit and not theirs.
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<![CDATA[Herding Dogs and Herding Behavior]]>Sat, 01 Oct 2016 16:29:15 GMThttp://countryk9pets.com/blog/herding-dogs-and-herding-behaviorPicture




Herding dogs were originally bred as working dogs and have heightened instinctive herding abilities.  Various breed were developed for specific tasks to help people manage domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep.

Today these working dogs not only herd animals, but are used as police dogs, rescue dogs, therapy dogs and any other job suited to their intelligence, agility and willingness to please.

Herding Dogs
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A herding dog, also known as a stock dog or working dog, is a type of pastoral dog that either has been trained in herding or belongs to breeds developed for herding. Their ability to be trained to act on the sound of a whistle or word of command is renowned throughout the world.

Terminology

In Australia, New Zealand and the United States herding dogs are known as working dogs irrespective of their breeding. Some herding breeds work well with any kind of animals; others have been bred for generations to work with specific kinds of animals and have developed physical characteristics or styles of working that enhance their ability to handle these animals. Commonly mustered animals include cattle, sheep, goats and reindeer, although it is not unusual for poultry to be handled by dogs.

The term "herding dog" is sometimes erroneously used to describe livestock guardian dogs, whose primary function is to guard flocks and herds from predation and theft, and they lack the herding instinct. Although herding dogs may guard flocks their primary purpose is to move them; both herding dogs and livestock guardian dogs may be called "sheep dogs".

In general terms when categorizing dog breeds, herding dogs are considered a subcategory of working dogs, but for conformation shows they usually form a separate group.

Australia has the world's largest cattle stations and sheep stations and some of best-known herding dogs, such as the Koolie, Kelpie, Red and Blue Heelers are bred and found there.

Herding Behavior

All herding behavior is modified predatory behavior. Through selective breeding, man has been able to minimize the dog's natural inclination to treat cattle and sheep as prey while simultaneously maintaining the dog's hunting skills, thereby creating an effective herding dog.

Dogs can work other animals in a variety of ways. Some breeds, such as the Australian Cattle Dog, typically nip at the heels of animals (for this reason they are called heelers) and the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi were historically used in a similar fashion in the cattle droves that moved cattle from Wales to the Smithfield Meat Market in London but are rarely used for herding today.

Other breeds, notably the Border Collie, get in front of the animals and use what is called strong eye to stare down the animals; [5] they are known as headers. The headers or fetching dogs keep livestock in a group. They consistently go to the front or head of the animals to turn or stop the animal's movement. The heelers or driving dogs keep pushing the animals forward. Typically, they stay behind the herd. The Australian Kelpie and Australian Koolie use both these methods and also run along the backs of sheep so are said to head, heel, and back. Other types such as the Australian Shepherd, English Shepherd and Welsh Sheepdog are moderate to lose eyed, working more independently. The New Zealand Huntaway uses its loud, deep bark to muster mobs of sheep. German Shepherd Dogs and Briards are historically tending dogs, who act as a "living fence," guiding large flocks of sheep to graze while preventing them from eating valuable crops and wandering onto roads.

Herding instincts and trainability can be measured when introducing a dog to livestock or at noncompetitive herding tests. Individuals exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.

Basic Herding Dog Commands

  • Come-bye or just bye - go to the left of the stock, or clockwise around them.
  • Away to me, or just away or 'way - go to the right of the stock, or counterclockwise around them.
  • Stand - stop, although when said gently may also mean just to slow down.
  • Wait, (lie) down or sit - stop.
  • Steady or take time - slow down.
  • Cast - gather the stock into a group. Good working dogs will cast over a large area.
  • Find - search for stock. A good dog will hold the stock until the shepherd arrives. Some will bark when the stock have been located.
  • Get out or get back - move away from the stock. Used when the dog is working too close to the stock, potentially causing the stock stress. Occasionally used as a reprimand.
  • Hold - keep stock where they are.
  • Bark or speak up - bark at stock. Useful when more force is needed, and usually essential for working cattle and sheep.
  • Look back - return for a missed animal.
  • In here - go through a gap in the flock. Used when separating stock.
  • Walk up, walk on or just walk - move in closer to the stock.
  • That'll do - stop working and return to handler.
  • Hey's of shame - just repeat hey... that's all thank you.

These commands may be indicated by a hand movement, whistle or voice. There are many other commands that are also used when working stock and in general use away from stock. Herding dog commands are generally taught using livestock as the modus operandi. Urban owners without access to livestock are able to teach basic commands through herding games.

These are not the only commands used: there are many variations. When whistles are used, each dog usually has a different set of commands to avoid confusion when more than one dog is being worked at one time.

Herding Dogs as Pets

Herding dogs are often chosen as family pets. The collie breeds including the Bearded Collie and Border Collie are well known. Although they make good family dogs and show dogs they are at their best when they have a job to do. These dogs have been bred as working dogs and need to be active. They retain their herding instincts and may sometimes nip at people's heels or bump them in an effort to 'herd' their family, and may need to be trained not to do so.[1] Their activity level and intelligence makes them excellent canine athletes. The Shetland Sheepdog, Rough Collie, Smooth Collie and Old English Sheepdog are more popular as family companion dogs.

Herding Breeds

Signs of Herding Behavior

The herding behavior is modified from the predatory instinct, to hunt and prey on other animals. Instincts don’t go away and if a herding dog’s needs aren’t met, they can show up in inappropriate places.  If your dog is constantly trying to control your movements, round up the kids while they are playing (especially squealing children), or move the cats around in an orderly manner, your dog is displaying herding behavior.

Tips

  • Stay calm the moment your dog starts pushing you around.  Avoid laughing, running away or yelling, because this reinforces the behavior; your dog might think you’re playing a game.
  • Leash your dog when you walk with them until you’re confident you’re got their herding behavior under control.  The leash will allow you to maintain control over your dog so they can’t take off and start chasing and herding people or animals.
  • Enforce obedience training so you can control your dog’s actions.  Teach them basic commands such as “sit” and “stay”.
  • Provide your dog with other ways to satisfy their urge to herd.  Play games, such as fetch and tug.  Command your dog to “sit” before throwing the ball when playing fetch.  This teaches your dog self-control and satisfies their urge to chase moving things.  Tug gives your dog’s mouth a workout and provides them with an outlet to bit and nip.
  • Keep your dog busy and entertained so they are less likely to resort to herding.  Provide mental stimulation; food stuffed toys and obedience training sessions with rewards.  Take your dog on doggie play dates so they meet other people and dogs and can improve their socializing skills.  Take your dogs on walks for physical stimulation.
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