Splish Splash.. Does a Dog Need a Bath?

Splish Splash.. Does a Dog Need a Bath?


New puppy owners often ask how often their pup should be bathed.  Humans like CLEAN dogs, but how much is too much, when it comes to bathing?  The answer depends on a number of factors.  

How dirty does your pup get during an average day/week/month?  If you take your pup to wet, muddy areas to romp, a bath might be necessary more often.  

What type of coat does your dog have?  Puppies and dogs with non-shedding, curly coats can develop mats close to the skin resulting in the need for a very close haircut next time they visit the groomer.  Bathing and using a conditioning rinse, followed by a comb-out or full brushing can help keep mats from developing between grooms.

How healthy is your dog’s skin?  Dogs with sensitive skin sometimes benefit from a soothing oatmeal bath; however, some dogs with dry skin, allergies or other skin issues cannot tolerate bathing as often as owners would like.

Movies: "Fast Five"

Movies:  "Fast Five"

With the arrival of “Fast Five” in movie theaters, I declare the summer movie season officially open.  


This continuation of the “Fast and Furious” franchise delivers all the rock-’em-sock-’em mayhem summer audiences are presumably looking for, while borrowing plot points from the far more sophisticated “Oceans Eleven” series.  Still, it’s a rousing action pic set in exotic Rio de Janeiro, which makes for a different point of view, I guess.


Why Does My Dog DO that? This week’s topic: Poop-Eating

Why Does My Dog DO that?  This week’s topic:  Poop-Eating

About one in ten dogs engage in coprophagia, or poop eating.  To us humans, it’s a disgusting habit that we do NOT want our dogs engaging in.  There are many theories about WHY dogs do eat feces, their own or that of other dogs.  A deficiency in their diet, boredom and lack of mental and/or physical stimulation are all on the list but no one is truly sure what’s at the bottom of this pesky behavior.  The behavior is most common in dogs under one year of age, so it crops up a lot here at my puppy nursery school. I'm less concerned with WHY a pup is seeking out poop to eat, and focus on HOW to stop the behavior.   In this setting, there are a few things I do to “teach” the pups NOT to do it as well as discourage the behavior from becoming a habit.  

First and foremost, I keep the playground clean and free from poop to the extent humanly possible.

Riding In Cars With Dogs

Riding In Cars With Dogs

As the weather warms, I’m seeing more and more dogs hanging out of car windows, ears blowing in the breeze.  While this harbinger of spring might make us smile at first, the truth is that we dog owners are taking unnecessary risks when we allow our dogs to ride unrestrained in our cars -- at any time.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m as guilty as the rest of the dog-owning population who’ve at one time or another simply opened their car doors and allowed their dogs to jump in before hitting the road.

Why Does My Dog DO that? This week’s topic: Play Behaviors

Why Does My Dog DO that?  This week’s topic:  Play Behaviors

This morning when Dexter Puggle entered the school playground, he stood still with his back legs slightly apart and allowed his pals (about eight of them) to gather all around his body and sniff him all over.  His tail was up and wagging yet the hair along his back was beginning to stand up slightly.  Dexter, in my opinion, was practicing some excellent social behavior.  He was giving the dogs already on the scene a chance to sniff him and figure out who he was and what he was all about.  Though Dexter is a very busy, energetic dog, he was savvy enough to wait a few moments until introductions were completed before charging off into play.  His stance was neutral and nonthreatening, yet the piloerection (that’s the scientific name for a dog’s hair standing up along his back) indicated that he was a bit unsure and perhaps slightly nervous.

There are a host of play behaviors your dog uses or attempts to use to communicate with potential playmates.

Why does my dog DO that? Marking Behavior in Dogs

Why does my dog DO that?  Marking Behavior in Dogs

 This is the first in a series of blogs regarding curious and often misunderstood behavior in family dogs. 

This morning in the play yard, I witnessed one of my female dog students, a two-year-old Mini-Aussie, scuff both her paws on the ground upon entering the yard.  Afterward, she sniffed around the fire hydrant (every dog play yard needs one, right?) and then lifted her leg and peed on it!  She spotted another dog pooping and went over and sprayed some urine there as well.  Just like that, another topic for my weekly dog blog was born!

Because so many dogs spend time in the play yard, it triggers marking behavior in many of my students.  It’s not uncommon for a dog, male OR female, to spend a few moments sniffing and squirting this and that on arrival.  Dogs have a very keen sense of smell.  They identify the scent of every animal that’s been in “their” territory since they were last here.

Talking "At" Your Dog...

Talking "At" Your Dog...


 Humans are naturally conversational, chatty beings. Dogs aren't. In fact, your puppy has little to no idea what you're saying. In his/her lifetime, a pup will develop the word knowledge of a two-year-old child. So....talking "at" your dog is somewhat of a waste of time, and maybe even a hinderance to his/her important early training. 

Puppies DO pick up on and respond to tone of voice. A deep, stern voice is best for correcting your pup. I use the sound, "uh uh!" when a pup has made a mistake, and follow that with a command such as, "no bark!" As soon as the pup is quiet, I switch to a higher, sing-songy voice and give a short statement of positive praise. In this example, I would say, "Good quiet!"  Praise in a high/sweet voice goes a loooong way.

Remember that your new pup doesn't know his or her name or the word "come" or any other command for that matter.