Friday, June 28, 2013

Keeping your green dog happy, healthy and safe during the 4th of July weekend!

Can you believe it? It's almost the 4th of July weekend already!

The 4th of July can be a really fun family time for you and your dogs. But as many of my friends share with me, they really dread this holiday because of all the fireworks (and even thunderstorms) that can stress and frighten their dogs.

More dogs get lost and run away on the 4th of July weekend than any other holiday of the year. So it's really important to keep your dog as happy, healthy and safe as possible.

Working with your dog during stressful fireworks and thunderstorms.

When I first came to live with my Mum, I was only 12 weeks old. But the first sign of thunderstorms and fireworks, Mum got out the treats and worked to help me stay calm, focused, playing and engaging with her as all the noise from thunderstorms and fireworks were going on outside.

For those of you who have thunder and firework-phobic dogs, try playing with them during stressful times, utilize clicker training which helps your dog really focus on the task at hand. Keep your voice calm and reassuring, and have a play session with your dog.

If your dog is already very afraid during these times, it's best not to coddle your dog as it can reinforce the behavior of being afraid. But we believe it's ok to be somewhat close to your dog, remaining calm, providing reassuring talk that can help some dogs overcome their fears.

Keeping your dog safe.

One of the most important things Mum has always done, is if I have to go outside to do my business during fireworks weekends, she puts me on leash even in our fenced in yard. You never know when a neighbor will set off a stray firework that could really spook me. We've had friends whose dogs have jumped or break down six foot fences when spooked and get needlessly lost. The same advice also applies to when thunderstorms may be in the area.

And please, please, please, be sure your dog is wearing their id tags inside and outside during stressful times. We've even heard of dogs breaking through windows and getting needlessly lost during the 4th of July weekend.

And if you're thinking of taking your dog to that local 4th of July parade, concert, picnic, community activity or family outing; think carefully! Many time parades include very loud fire and police sirens that go off that can really scare a dog. Local community activities aren't suited for some dogs with all the people, children, flags waving and more. If you suspect that activities may be too stressful for your dog, leave them at home in a safe place and schedule fun play time with them when you return.

Keep your dog safe at all times!

Natural, healthy products that help dogs with their fears.

Desensitization training - Many of our friends have had great success with a variety of products on the market designed to help dogs be calmer and deal with stress more effectively by utilizing recordings of fireworks and thunderstorms. We recommend finding a safe place and starting your training with the volume very low, rewarding for calm behavior and then increasing the volume just a little over time. You may have to provide several sessions over many days and weeks to help your dog become desensitized to these loud noises.

Calm Coats, Thundershirts and Anxiety Wraps - These products are basically clothing for dogs that are snug to their body providing a comforting hug that actually works very well for many dogs in stressful situations.

Calming Sprays - There are a variety of calming products on the market for dogs now, thankfully! Canine Calm has received a lot of positive reviews from a wide variety of dog lovers in helping their dogs cope with the busyness of holiday weekends, the loud bangs of fireworks and even during thunderstorms.
One of our favorites is from our Raise A Green Dog Partner, Earth Heart, Inc. Their

When you've tried everything to help your dog be calm, we highly recommend you consult a professional, including a great trainer. We like trainers that have studied under Karen Pryor; and/or a good holistic veterinarian (you can search for one here).

Here's to a happy, healthy, calm and fun 4th of July!!! We hope you have an amazing holiday weekend!

Photo credits: FastLizard4 and Randy Son of Robert on Flickr

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dogington Post University: Leslie May and Johann The Dog of Raise A Green Dog to present free webinar on June 20th.

Mark your calendars!

June 20th, 6 PM EST, Leslie May and Johann The Dog, hosts of Raise A Green Dog, will present a webinar as part of The Dogington Post's Dogington University Your Dog’s Health Series.

The free series will feature webinars with Dr. Ernie Ward, the featured vet from “The Rachel Ray Show” and also Dr. Shawn Messonnier, the author of the award-winning “The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats” and “The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs.” Other presenters include Linda Tellington-Jones, the creator of The Tellington Method, a system of animal training, healing and communication, and John Clifton, author of “Stop the Shots! : Are Vaccinations Killing Our Pets?”

Leslie May (with an occasional bark from Johann The Dog) will discuss a wide variety of ideas about how you can help your dog be more green and healthy, and help the environment at the same time. From healthier lawn care to composting dog waste, cleaning your home for a healthier dog to how to select dog friendly and eco-friendly products for your dog and your home and much, much more! Leslie and Johann will be talking for about 30 minutes and take about 30 minutes of Q&A.

The webinars are free to the public and you can sign up easily from The Dogington Post website. Be sure and sign up for Leslie's and Johann's webinar to learn how to raise a green dog.
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