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5 Tips to Master Walking Your Dog

It’s Walk Your Dog Month and we couldn’t think of a better way to help celebrate than by sharing expert advice on the subject. Here are 5 helpful tips that will totally transform going for walk with your pup!

Let your dog know that you’re the leader.

Do you ever wonder if you’re walking your dog or are they walking you? To break the habit of being pulled around, start walking in front of your dog. This will take practice at first, but it will let your dog know that you’re the leader and that you’re in control. Also, make it a point for you to go through the door before them. These may seem like subtle details, but they communicate to your pup that you are leading them.

Use a short leash.

The experts always opt for a short leash during a walk. This allows you to have more control of your pup. Having control of your dog during a walk is important to keep them safe but to also guide them.

Let your dog sniff around.

When you take your dog out for walks it’s the only time that they get to explore. When they sniff around they are getting stimulation, which is great for their physical and mental health. Don’t rush the walking process, but allow them to explore their surroundings. Of course, always keep their safety in mind and don’t let them sniff trash, or any leaks.

Make sure that they are properly tagged.

Every time you leave the house with your dog ensure that they’re wearing ID tags. Unfortunately you can’t control everything that happens, and sometimes dogs get lost.

If your dog has a microchip, be sure that the information is up to date. We’ve all heard the stories of dogs being lost for months, or found over a hundred miles away…most of the time those dogs were reunited because of their chip.

Bring treats along with you.

Keeping your dogs attention is tough on a walk. Most dogs are easily distracted, think of the last time your pup saw a squirrel? It can turn into quite the event and end with you losing control of them. To keep this from happening, carry treats with you during a walk. Rewarding your dog for good behavior while walking encourages them to stay near and mind their manners, if you will.

Don’t forget to check out our selection of leashes and harnesses here!

 

 

Tips for Taking Photos of Your Dog

Everybody knows that taking pics of your dog can get tricky. They never want to look at the camera and move around so much that pictures often look like a blurred blob of fur. All we want to do is capture their adorable little faces! Here at Unleashed Life we are no stranger to this! We photograph our pups on almost a weekly basis, and we’ve learned a few things. This post is all about our tips on getting the perfect picture of your precious dog. Read on for more!

Equipment

You don’t need a fancy DSLR to capture a great image (it certainly doesn’t hurt though). We recommend a digital camera that you can manually adjust settings on, but your phone will also get the job done! We firmly believe that it’s all about the person holding the camera and not the camera that makes a great photo.

Practice

Get your dog used to the camera! Let them sniff the camera and get comfortable. The clicking of a camera can be startling to dogs at first, practice taking a lot of photos with them. They will soon realize that the camera doesn’t mean any harm!

Timing

If you’re wanting to get action shots of your pup,  play with your dog beforehand and get them excited! If you’re wanting them to sit still, take the photos after their walk. Most dogs are much more relaxed after coming in from outside.

Take Lots of Pictures

This is a general rule of photography regardless of the subject. If you take lots of photos you increase your likelihood of getting some great images! We always have a ton of throw away images, but it’s worth it to get that one perfect shot.

Turn off the Flash

We recommend amateur photographers turn off their flash. We always try to use natural lighting for our photos for many reasons, which we will discuss in the next tip. Dogs generally do not like bright flashing lights, and the intensity of a flash will ruin a good shot if not properly light.

Use Natural Light

Natural light is so much easier to shoot with. To avoid washed-out pictures, shoot in the mornings or evenings, on slightly overcast days, or in the shade on a bright day. Midday is typically the least favorable time to take photos using natural light. This is because the sun is directly above you and creates intense shadows.

Get On Their Level

Lying on your stomach to take pictures will put your dog more in focus. It will also make your pictures look different than everyone else’s – most people stand over their dog. This is a time to get creative and have fun! If you’re enjoying yourself, your pup will be too!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do Dogs Lick You?

Who doesn’t love some puppy kisses every now and then? Other times, your dog licking you can be annoying and a bad habit for them. But have you ever stopped to think about why your dog enjoys licking you so much? We’ve done the research for you and the reasons might surprise you!

Showing Affection

The first reason your dog licks you is the obvious one – because they love you! Licking for affection causes your dog to release pleasurable endorphins that calm and comfort them, but sometimes it can just get to be too much for people. If you want your dog to stop, ignore them and walk into another room whenever it begins. Eventually they will learn that licking causes you to leave, which isn’t what they want. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt their feelings!

Trying to Tell You Something

The Second reason is communication. Dogs lick other dogs to tell them all sorts of things: everything from “I’m hungry” to “I submit to you” to “Let’s be friends.” They do this with people as well, but we’re typically not as good at interpreting the message. If your dog is licking you with intensity, take a look around and see if something is amiss. Maybe the water bowl is empty or they need to go outside.

Cleaning Themselves

A third reason your dog may lick you and themselves is to keep up hygiene. We all know dogs often lick to clean themselves, just like cats. Pay close attention, though, because excessive anal cleaning can indicate that the glands need to be expressed.

To Heal

Did you know that dog saliva contains enzymes that kill bacteria? Neither did we! If your pup licks himself it could be to rid of dead tissue or to clean dirt from wounds. Be careful though, some dogs can’t help themselves and may lick so much that wounds actually reopen or cause serious irritation. It’s basically the equivalent to us not being able to stop scratching mosquito bites.

Nervousness, Compulsion, or Anxiety

Excessive licking can be noticed when you see your dog compulsively licking the same area over and over. This may be a time to seek medical help from a vet. Normally licking is a healthy stress reliever, but there are small chances that something deeper may be going on. It’s always better to play it safe when it comes to your pets health.

They Like Our Taste

The last reason your dog licks you is simple – they like the way you taste. Your skin contains smells and tastes caused my pheromones that are unique to you. The taste of your skin comforts your dog. They may also be enjoying the saltiness of our skin.

 

 

 

The Story of the Mayflower Dogs

In September, 1620, a group of religious separatists boarded the Mayflower and began a 66 day trip from England to the New World. But the 102 humans were not the only passengers aboard the small ship — record shows that two dogs joined the pilgrims on their historic journey across the Atlantic.

The first mention of these two early canine settlers appeared in the 17th century publication “Mourt’s Relation,” a document describing the lives of America’s early colonizers.

Pilgrim John Goodman, a 25-year-old Mayflower passenger, brought his Mastiff and English Springer Spaniel along for the voyage. Though the names of these dogs were not recorded, they have been recognized in history for helping the pilgrims establish their settlement on Cape Cod.

Goodman’s dogs became essential members of the settlement, providing protection and accompanying their owner on hunts.

One January day Goodman and fellow pilgrim Peter Browne took a team of men into the wilderness to collect materials for thatch roofing. Around noon that day, Goodman and Browne took the dogs further out into the brush. Hours passed, and the team lost sight of Goodman and Browne. Alarmed, they went back to the village and gathered a search party, but it seemed the men were lost.

As it grew dark, Goodman, Browne, and the two dogs gathered close together for warmth. It was cold and snowy, and the men had wandered a full five miles off course. Throughout the night, they heard roaring in the distance that the men took to be lions. They held the dogs close to them to keep them from running towards the dangerous beasts.

The following morning, with the help of his dogs, Goodman and his companion tracked their way back towards their village. They reached the camp around nightfall, half-frozen and hungry. Without the Mastiff or Spaniel, the men likely would not have survived the night. Neither of the pilgrims had dressed for the weather, and Goodman’s toes were so frost-bitten that his boots had to be cut from his feet by a fellow villager.

Sadly, due to illness, Goodman did not survive that first winter in the New World, but his dogs were cared for by the remaining pilgrims. While it is unclear whether or not Goodman’s dogs were present at the first Thanksgiving that following November, painter of United States history, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, included the English Springer Spaniel in his depiction of the pilgrims’ famous meal with the native Wampanoag tribe.

Source: Dogtime.com 

5 Things You May Not Know About Military Dogs

All of us here at Unleashed Life want to share our sincerest gratitude to those who have had a part in preserving our freedom and protecting our nation, past and present. The sacrifices brave men and women have made and continue to make will never be forgotten. The topic of Veteran’s Day also brings up the dogs who have served our country in the military. We’d like to share some facts about these special canines today.

1. Dogs have been in the military during every major US conflict, but not officially recognized until WWII.

Sergeant Stubby of the 102nd Infantry, Yankee Division went from mascot to hero during WWI after being smuggled into battle by Private J. Robert Conway. Stubby went on to detect enemy gas, bark out warnings when rival troops were near and locate the wounded on the battlefield. By the start of WWII, the military had recognized the value canine soldiers could bring and began using them primarily for recon. Stubby forged the way for all canine soldiers who followed and remains a symbol of military bravery and heroism to this day.

2. They are trained in bomb, weapon and drug detection, tracking, and to attack the enemy.

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX has been training sentry dogs since 1958. Today, more than 1,000 dogs are trained at any given time by a staff of 125 from all branches of military service. The complex training techniques are designed to utilize the dogs’ natural gifts for focus and aggression to their advantage. German Shepherds and Labradors can detect weapons, bombs, gases and drugs more accurately than any available military equipment.

3. They are extremely valuable, and not just for their service.

A fully trained bomb detection dog is likely worth over $150,000. But really, these animals are priceless. With an average of 98% accuracy in their detection skills, the peace of mind they provide to the troops is immeasurable.

4. They can get PTSD.

Just like their human brothers and sisters in arms, pup soldiers are susceptible to the horrors of PTSD. War dogs experience severe emotional trauma during deployment, and for some it becomes too much. Gunner, a Marine bomb sniffing dog became so skittish and unpredictable during active duty that he was declared “surplus” by the military and released from service. Gunner was adopted by the family of Corporal Jason Dunham.

5. Only about 50% make it through training.

They must be free of physical issues like hip dysplasia and be highly reward motivated. Trainers at Lackland use mostly toys like Kongs that can be hidden to represent bombs, but treats are also utilized. Suitable dogs for military service must also be able to attack on command. These strict guidelines mean over half of the dogs in training do not get sent to combat.

 

 

 

 

National Vet Tech Week

National Veterinary Technician Week is upon us once again. From October 23rd-29th is the time where we shine a spotlight on the people who keep our pets healthy and happy! Though we are thankful everyday for the work that vet techs do, this is a special week where we show them our appreciation a little more.

Keeping our furry family members (we’re talking about pets, not uncle Stuart) healthy is not an easy task. Most veterinary technicians are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! They have a special dedication to animals and spend their lives trying to make the lives of pets better.

Check out this list of blog posts dedicated to the health of your pets and send a special thank you to your vet!

Keeping Paws Healthy in the Cold

Protecting Your Dog During the Winter

Tips to Alleviate Storm Phobia for Dogs

Bringing Home a New Dog? Follow These Helpful Tips

Getting Your Dog Through Tick Season

Learning Your Dog’s Body Language – What are they really trying to say?

5 Ways to Help Your Dog Age Gracefully

Proper Puppy Feeding Rules

Ear Infections In Dogs

 

 

How Does the Moon Affect Your Dog?

While many theories associated with the moon remain mostly a myth, some strange animal patterns and behaviour have been linked to the lunar cycle. A variety of rationalisations explain these effects, but the question is how exactly do the different lunar phases of the moon affect our pets and what does it mean?

Full Moon

The full moon increases the psyche of both animals and humans with noticeable intensity. Studies and statistics have shown that during the full moon phase animals tend to be restless and often get themselves into trouble keeping animal control and veterinary staff very busy. Dogs and wolves howl; birds become agitated and disoriented while cats hide!

New Moon

Animals tend to naturally tune into the New Moon phase, meaning unlike the Full Moon, it’s a time to chill even though it can be a challenge because their senses and sensitivity is heightened during this phase.

Super Moon

This phase is when an alignment of the Sun, Moon and the Earth occurs and it is also during this phase when the Moon is closest to Earth – the power of the electromagnetic fields during this phase interacts with the magnetic field of animals increasing their ability to feel stress around them. This is part of their survival instincts to stay away from danger.

Waning Moon

The Waning Moon is a time when sensitive animals will tune into instincts and know it is time to hunt, gather and nest in order to protect their family and prepare for the future. The Waning Moon slowly reduces activity over time to prepare animals for the next, more restful, phase but for the most part this is a time for action, work and preparation.

Waxing Moon

Animals use this phase as an interval to slow down – sleeping and staying calm during this phase unlike the other action-oriented lunar phases

Dog Loving Companies That Give Back

We love that more and more businesses are interested in giving back to their communities. We also love that there are companies who specifically give back to causes supporting dogs in need. Here are 10 of these companies that you can be sure your money goes to a good cause when you shop with them!

Amazon

Thanks to the AmazonSmile program, you can purchase products through their website and hand-select a dog rescue to receive a portion of the proceeds. Over 2,100 rescues and humane societies participate in AmazonSmile. You click. They give.

Subaru

In the last six years alone, Subaru has donated over $9.2 million to the ASPCA as a part of their Share The Love partnership with the popular humane society.

Build-A-Bear

Build-A-Bear proudly supports a number of good causes, including the USO and Make-A-Wish, but they’re very modest about their generous donations to dog rescues across the country. While they might not like to brag about it, shelters such as 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, Danbury Animal Welfare Society, Red Rover, and Oregon Greyhound Adoption are incredibly grateful.

Lush

This cosmetic company has a special line of hand and body lotions it calls Charity Pots. One Charity Pot in particular directly supports the Beagle Freedom Project, a rescue operation which specifically rescues dogs from laboratory testing.

Vans

Vans has collaborated with the ASPCA on several products to celebrate and promote the adoption of cats and dogs everywhere! So, these fresh kicks look good AND support animal welfare.

Ben & Jerry’s

Put another check on our list of dog-friendly office places! Ben & Jerry’s even profiles their office dogs (called K9-5ers) on their website, but they do more than that. Several Ben & Jerry’s headquarters use their legendary Free Cone Day as an adoption event to make sure local shelters find forever homes for dogs in need.

Bissell

These makers of home care products such as vacuum cleaners, mops, and various stain removal products also run the Bissell Pet Foundation, which finds homes for pets in need. The purchase of every Bissell product results in a donation to the Bissell Pet Foundation.

 

 

Answers to the Most Googled Dog Questions

It’s tough to remember the world before Google. Even this blog writer barely recalls a time without it. Today’s technological advances are great and having answers literally at our fingertips provides us with endless information. So we asked ourselves, “What are the most googled dog questions?” and we found out that we weren’t the only ones that were curious. Check it out…

1. How long are dogs pregnant?

Good question. This is the most searched question on Google regarding dogs, and we didn’t know the answer either. The answer: about 63 days!

2. Was Goofy a dog?

This is a bit silly, but very important. Of course Goofy was a dog! What on earth else is he mistaken for so often that people have to google this? In this case we’re left with more questions than answers.

3. Why does my dog lick me?

This is one of those questions that doesn’t have one simple answer. Maybe he just likes kisses and is being affectionate. Or it could be a sign of submission. Perhaps you just taste good. There are many possible answers and if you’re curious about this, perhaps your own Google search is in order.

4. How can you tell how old a dog is?

Here’s another question without a straightforward answer. You might be able to distinguish an older dog from a younger one because of gray hairs on his muzzle or paws. We say this is a question best answered by your vet.

5. What happens when a dog eats chocolate?

Chocolate contains stimulants called methylxanthines, specifically theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals can wreak havoc on your dog’s metabolic processes, resulting in chocolate toxicity. All dogs react differently to chocolate based on their own individual sensitivity, but chocolate is still at the top of the list to keep away from your pooch.

6. How to stop a dog from barking?

First off, barking is a totally natural behavior from a dog. They bark for many reasons, and not all of those reasons are negative. A few training tactics will help your dog know when to keep from barking.

7. Can you put Neosporin on a dog?

We always say contact your veterinarian with any health questions first. That being said, a well equipped doggy first aid kit should include an antibiotic cream such as Neosporin. This comes in handy for keeping infections out of minor cuts and scratches.

 8. How much Benadryl can I give my dog?

Again, questions like these should be directed to your vet. Anyone else does not know your dog’s health as well and therefore cannot give a certain answer. We feel much better leaving this one up to the vets rather than Google.

 

Presidents Love Their Dogs

It doesn’t matter what your political stance is, when it comes to dogs we can all agree that presidents sure do love their four legged companions. Dogs have been part of the White House environment for more than 130 years, from George Washington to Barack Obama. Check out a brief pictorial history of some of our favorite White House dogs below…

George Washington and his American Foxhounds. Washington famously had over 30 dogs. He got creative with their names including Drunkard, Tipler, and Tipsy. We see a theme going on there…

Warren G. Harding and Laddie Boy, the Airedale Terrier who often sat in on meetings in his own designated chair!

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Fala, the Scottish Terrier that starred in Hollywood films and was an honorary army private.

John F. Kennedy and his dogs Shannon, Charlie, Clipper, and Wolf. The Kennedy’s loved their dogs, so much so that they built a special play area near the West Wing.

President Lyndon B. Johnson and his rescue dog, Yuki. Yuki was found by Johnson’s daughter at a gas station.

Gerald Ford and Liberty, his golden retriever. Rumor has it that Ford had a special signal he used to get Liberty to wag his tail when the President wanted to cut meetings short in the Oval Office.

President George H. W. Bush owned a springer spaniel named Millie.

Bill Clinton took suggestions from the public for the naming of his adopted Labrador Retriever. He eventually chose the name Buddy.

George W. Bush owned a Scottish terrier, named Barney.

Barack Obama and Bo. The Portuguese water dog was a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy and his wife.

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