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Caissie Canine Instruction: How to Keep your K9 safe this Easter

We begin this week’s “RUFF TAILS” featuring a beautiful Baladi mix named Oscar.

Oscar is a Baladi (street dog) from Cairo, Egypt. He was born on Sept. 15, 2021, and arrived in Canada August 2022. Living on the street, he was his own boss and a wild animal. He was not used to being a pet or being loved.

He came to live with us on Sept. 16, one day after he turned one. He did not know his name, how to play with toys, how to walk on a leash, how to potty train, or even look us in the eyes.

This was our first rescue dog after having raised 3 Shepherd pups, so this was quite overwhelming. Our vet said, “give him 6 months.” Six months later, Oscar is very loving and affectionate. He smiles with his front teeth every time we come in the house. He is super playful and energetic, loves to cuddle, likes to be chased around the house, and loves wrestling with his brother Nash, our 3-year-old white Shepherd. Oscar is very gentle with our cat, Matisse.

Each day gets better, and we are hopeful that he will feel more relaxed and that the trust issues will fade as he continues to change from wild animal to loving canine.

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I learned many years ago that training a dog is only beneficial if it is positive and productive. If you do a training session and it is counterproductive, or worse, doesn’t end well, you would have been best NOT to train at all.

Some dog owners feel they must train at a high frequency and for an extended period. This is only true if the session is productive and engaging for the entire session. I encourage dog owners to keep their sessions short and have your dog always engaged.

There are physical, verbal or behavioural indicators your dog will display if they are not interested in your training session. Physically, you may see signs of your dog purposely not making eye contact with you or venturing off. Your dog may show signs of anxiety/fear by lowering it’s tail or try to escape you.

Verbal indicators to watch for is when your dog begins to bark/whine in frustration or fear. Your dog may also direct vocally towards other persons or dogs in the area.

Behavioural signs that your dog may display, when fed up with the “training session” they show a total loss of interest or engagement, by showing signs of lethargic energy, and lacking the ability to perform a task.

These are clear signs when to “call it a day”. I would rather see dog owners train for short sessions with maximum engagement and fun. Your goal is to have a positive session with a productive ending. Remember, Happy dog, Happy owner!!!

Welcome to Doggie Dialogue

With Easter fast approaching and a wide variety of different celebrations, many of us will be enjoying wonderful foods, possibly candy/chocolates and other goodies.

For our K9’s chocolate is a definite “NO, NO” as it can cause hyperactivity, seizures and an elevated heart rate in both cats and dogs.

Xylitol is toxic as well. Xylitol, also known as “birch sugar,” is a sugar substitute found in most sugar-free treats /candy/gum and even toothpaste.

Xylitol will cause your cat or dog’s blood sugar to drop which can lead to seizures and liver failure.

At Easter time many families may do an Easter Egg Hunt with their children or grandchildren, please do not hide Easter eggs or baskets close to your dog’s bed, food or water bowls.

You do not want to tempt your dog to get into the goodies. Please ensure ALL eggs/candy/ goodies are accounted for or picked up. The Easter “grass” inside the baskets is also toxic to pets if ingested. Please use tissue paper. (Easter lilies are beautiful, but extremely toxic for cats.)

Remember NO table scrapes, as the spices, ingredients, or fat content may cause upset stomach or other health problems for your K9. Grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts are also toxic to both dogs and cats.

Easter should be celebrated and enjoyed by everyone, including our pets. Having your dog/cat retreat to their safe space, “puppy zone” or separate room would be ideal for extra safety, especially if you are hosting.

Have a safe and wonderful long weekend everyone!!!

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