Why Is My Dog Digging Up My Yard?

This question came in via a viewer and we wanted to answer in publicly.

Sharon from Fairfax, Virginia writes, “I am at my witts end. My beagle Dusty is digging up our yard and nothing I have done to deter him has worked. Help!”

Sharon, I am sorry to hear about your trouble with Dusty (appropriate name for a digger, though).

Dogs dig for a number of reasons.

For some breeds it is essentially bred into the dog. Sometimes it is because they want to cool off when it is hot in the summer. Some dogs even do it as a form of nesting just for their comfort. Other dogs are doing it because they are going after some food or something they smell. Some dogs dig because they really enjoy it. Others dig when they have nothing better to do.

To try to discourage digging, if your dog is digging because it is hot you can take him inside or you can present some kind of cool spots for the dog to hang out in, something shaded, something with shelter. If your dog is digging out of boredom then you need to provide an alternative to the digging method; and if your dog is digging this is when the affirm command of “no” or “stop” is necessary. I prefer to keep those commands separate. Use one in every day situations. Use another when it is something crucial such as that horrible moment if your dog starts taking off towards the road when there is a car coming. You want to use a command that that dog knows cannot be disobeyed so your dog will stop dead in its tracks without being injured.

Hopefully there is a little bit of guidance there that will help with Dusty.

A Simple Approach To Resolve Dog Aggression

More than 4.3 million people every year are bitten by dogs. That is about 2 percent of the population of the United States.

The most common reason (a) you have the reasoning that the dog is an animal and it is going to behave as such. It has natural instincts. It is always, no matter what behavior it is engaged in, good or bad, playing to those instincts.

Now the good thing about dogs, the reason that they are so loved as pets is because they have been bred to be domesticated animals. So that means that one of the dog’s instincts is to try to please. So along with this being a symptom of a dog being a dog there is also (b) which is that dogs have an instinct towards a pack society. Now what this means is that there is a hierarchy of respect that a dog will give other dogs and/or humans according to how the dog perceives you in the hierarchy.

So to make it more clear, if you are clearly an authority figure to that dog it is much less likely to engage in some of the behaviors that we do not appreciate such as dog aggression or the dog biting you. The reason for that is that if you are seen as the authority figure, the alpha of the pack, then your dog would not dare play in a certain manner.

I was recently in Virgina and was talking to a colleague and she mentioned an issue that one of her clients was facing that was driving them to drink something other than water- something that will cause more damage.

The scenario presented was – let’s say there are two members of the household; one has trained the dog from the beginning. There is a certain bond relationship with the dog. Many people now mistake this and say well, the dog loves me but hates my husband, that is why he bites him.

That is not really accurate.

It is somewhat of an oversimplification. It is not so much about love, it is how the dog perceives you versus your husband. Say you have trained the dog from the day you brought it home from the breeder, pet store, shelter, or pound, and you have been constant with this dog. You are the one giving it treats. You are the one responding to its behavior. And let’s say your husband or boyfriend or significant other, whoever it may be, even a friend, encounters the dog and the dog jumps up on the friend or the dog bites the friend. This is someone that the dog just does not perceive as being higher than it in the social standing of your little household pack. So in that case the dog feels more freedom to do certain things.

A perfect example would be let’s say at work you may say you act a certain way with your coworkers who are in the same job as you with the same title or even with someone of a lower job title in your company where you work than you would with your boss or the head of the company. You are going to be much more guarded with your boss, much more careful about everything you do than you would be with the buddy that is in the next office or next cubicle or the desk near the water cooler. The same is true with your dog.

Pet Dental Care Now A Required Course In Veterinary Colleges

The AVMA Council on Education has stated that accredited Veterinary Colleges must now include dentistry as part of the curriculum.

Previously it was frequently only offered as an elective course.

According to the 2019 American Animal Hospital Association Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats: “The concept that a pet is suffering from oral pain, infection, and inflammation that may not be apparent but is affecting their quality of life is a reality that may not always be fully appreciated by the veterinary profession and often not understood by the pet owning public.”

Hopefully this change will lead to an improvement of veterinary dental care. Read the full story here: AVMA

Dog food recall expanded

 A recall covering popular pet food products has been expanded.

The FDA announced today that Sunshine Mills, Inc. is expanding its voluntary recall of certain pet food products made with corn that contained Aflatoxin at levels above FDA’s action levels.

Aflatoxin is a form of mold that has been linked to cancer.

This is an expansion of a previous recall issued on September 2, 2020, after an investigation conducted along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that additional corn-based pet food products produced between April 3, 2020 and April 5, 2020 may contain corn from a single load of corn with elevated levels of aflatoxin.

How a dog’s life affects its personality

It is often said that dogs and their owners come to resemble each other. In terms of how their personalities evolve, research suggests they may indeed follow similar paths.

A study has revealed how dog personalities change over time, with traits appearing to follow distinct trajectories. Similar patterns have previously been observed in people.

A dog’s interest in solving problems, for instance, appears to rise until they reach middle age — about six years old for a border collie, the breed that was studied. It then hits a plateau.

Their curiosity about novel objects and situations peaks at the age of three then starts to decline. How sociable they are — measured by their reaction to a friendly stranger — remains constant throughout their lives.

Dogs’ brains ‘not hardwired’ to respond to human faces

Dog owners might love their pet’s endearing puppy dog eyes and cute furry features, but it turns out the doggy brain is just as excited by the back of our heads as the front.

For despite having of owners, researchers have found that unlike humans, dogs do not have brain regions that respond specifically to faces.

“It’s amazing dogs do so well when it comes to reading emotions and identify from faces, despite the fact that they seem not to have a brain designed for having a focus on [them],” said Dr Attila Andics, co-author of the study from Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary.

New Study Reveals a Dog’s Heart Rate Increases When Their Owner Simply Says ‘I Love You’

When a dog licks your face, jumps into your lap, or barks like a banshee when you come through the front door, it simply means they’re crazy about you.

But did you know that your dog’s heartbeat actually soars when you tell them, “I love you?”

Well, according to a recent study conducted by the folks at Canine Cottages, that well may be the case.

After equipping a quartet of test pups with heart rate monitors, the dogs were guided through a series of scenarios over the course of seven days to see how they’d react to a variety of stimuli.

The tracking data revealed the four dogs averaged a resting heart rate of 67 beats per Minute.

Jennifer Aniston Reveals Her adorable new rescue dog who ‘stole her heart’

Jennifer Aniston just got an adorable new furry friend. She recently rescued a dog.  The Friends actress proudly showcased her new pooch – named Lord Chesterfield – to her Instagram followers on Sunday morning. 

In the video, Jennifer can be seen creeping up to her new pet, when he takes a snooze with a bone in his mouth. ‘Chesterfield, have you fallen asleep with a bone in your mouth? I think you have,’ she whispered. 

Jennifer wrote in the caption: ‘Hi! I’d like to introduce to you the newest member of our 🐾 family….this is (a very tired) Lord Chesterfield ❤️. He stole my heart immediately.  ‘A HUGE thank you to @wagmorpets for the incredible work you do. Grateful you take such great care of these rescues and find them their forever homes.’ 

We wish best of luck to Jennifer for getting new cute pet.

4 Common Aging Dog Problems You Should Know About

While every dog is an individual, a few age-related maladies seem to strike many of them. You should of course discuss how they affect your dog – and the best approach to treating them – with your veterinarian, but knowing a little bit about what you’re dealing with before you go in is helpful.

Here are a few old-dog problems, along with some things you can do to help:

1. Stiffness: Your veterinarian can help you determine if the stiffness is because of temporary muscle soreness – say from overdoing it – or the onset of arthritis. Many dogs are worse in cold weather and first thing in the morning. Arthritis is common in older dogs, and while no cure exists, treatments are available that can make your pet’s life comfortable. Your veterinarian may prescribe buffered aspirin, food supplements, or anti-inflammatory medications, all of which your pet may need to take for the rest of her life. For your part, you need to be sure that your pet is not overweight and is kept consistently, but not strenuously, active.

2. Decline of the senses: Deaf and blind dogs do just fine, as long as you do your part to keep them out of any danger their disabilities may cause. Blindness, in particular, is a problem dogs adjust to with an ease that stuns their owners. But consider the following: Dogs don’t have to read the newspaper, they don’t care about TV, and they count on you to read the ingredients label on a bag of kibble. Sight isn’t their primary sense anyway; they put much greater stock in their sense of smell. After they learn the layout of the land, they rarely bump into things (as long as you don’t keep moving the furniture). Handicapped pets should never be allowed off-leash on walks, because they can’t see danger and cannot hear your warnings.

Even if your older dog is blind, there may be something that you can do. Ask your veterinarian for a referral to a specialist like a veterinary ophthalmologist. Problems such as cataracts may be treatable with medications and surgery.

3. Incontinence: There are many inquiries all of the time from frustrated owners wondering why their older dogs are no longer house-trained – and how they can get them back on track. The first rule of any sudden-onset behavior problem is to make sure that it’s not a health problem, and we can think of no case where this rule is more true than with an older dog who’s suddenly urinating in the house. Your pet could have an infection or, if she’s an older spayed female, she may be suffering from the loss of muscle tone related to a decrease in her hormone levels. Both are treatable; see your veterinarian. At a certain age, a little dribbling of urine is practically inevitable, especially while your older dog is sleeping.

4. Lumps and bumps: Benign fatty tumors are common in older dogs, and the vast majority are nothing to worry about. Benign tumors are round and soft, with well-defined edges. You can usually get your fingers nearly around them, and they don’t seem well-anchored. Showing them to your veterinarian for a more complete evaluation is important, and you should inform her of any changes in size or shape, especially if they happen rapidly. Your veterinarian may be concerned enough about the size, appearance, or location of a mass to suggest its removal and a biopsy; most bumps, however, are left alone. The best time to check for lumps and bumps? During regular grooming, weekly, at least. Run your hand over every inch of your dog, and don’t forget to talk sweetly – she’ll think it’s petting.