Weight Pulling Dogs

In the competitive world of dog sports we know that our customers are always looking for that edge to beat out the competition. A lot of folks are under the assumption or misled that diet and exercise are the only factors involved in improving your dogs. That is only half the truth. Find out how BuffK-9® Dog Supplements can help your dogs gain muscle, strength, endurance, stamina, and recovery that will push your dog to the top of his or her game on top of diet and exercise.
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Why does your weight pull dog need our supplements?

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  • Add lean functional muscle
  • Improve strength
  • Improve recovery time
  • Add raw power and force 

 

 

 

BuffK-9® Endurance & Stamina Booster

  • Improve Endurance & Stamina
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  • Improve physical output
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BuffK-9® all natural dog supplements are beneficial for all working dogs, sporting dogs, pitbulls, bull mastiffs, rottweilers, german shepherds, american bulldogs, hunting dogs, lure coursing dogs, or any type of performance dogs.

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Agility Dog Training And Pit Bull Terriers

Summary:
Spending time training your Pit Bull can be very rewarding and fun for you both. It helps build a stronger bond between dog and owner that is important for the happiness of both parties. There are many different types of training that you can choose to do with your Pit Bull, one such is agility training.

Agility training is the process of teaching your dog to successfully navigate an obstacle course. If the training is successful, your pet should be able to do it by only l…

Article Body:
Spending time training your Pit Bull can be very rewarding and fun for you both. It helps build a stronger bond between dog and owner that is important for the happiness of both parties. There are many different types of training that you can choose to do with your Pit Bull, one such is agility training.

Agility training is the process of teaching your dog to successfully navigate an obstacle course. If the training is successful, your pet should be able to do it by only listening to and obeying your commands. During an event, the dogs are timed and to win must not make any mistakes and must have the fastest time. It takes a lot of practice for a dog to be successful at this, but can be quite fun for both dog and trainer. This activity is especially good for Pit Bulls because it gives them a good outlet for all the extra energy they seem to have.

Most experts recommend not starting agility training until your dog is at least one year old, at least not to enter in a competition before that age. Many owners who train their dogs to participate in these events will purchase their own equipment to have at home, so that they can begin training the dog at an earlier age. Agility training equipment can be quite expensive, so some trainers prefer to build their own equipment. Instructions can be found online and in books that should be available either in your local library or bookstore. Owners should be careful to watch the dog for any signs of injury, because occasionally working on agility training while the puppy is still growing will put a lot of strain on joints and bones that are not fully conditioned yet. It is recommended to have your dog cleared by a veterinarian before beginning any type of agility training.

The dog should also understand and obey basic commands before beginning any other type of training. Any type of training helps dog and owner to build a better relationship with each other, allowing them to work better and better together as time goes on. You should also work through any behavior or aggression issues your Pit Bull may have before considering agility training. The results will be less satisfactory and take longer to achieve if the dog is also working through other issues.

Most Pit Bull owners that are serious about their dog competing in agility competitions will enroll him in a training class, at least to help teach him the basics, then work with the dog on their own to enhance what he has learned. Being in a class will also help your dog work on his socialization, which will make him behave better around other dogs. Pit Bulls tend to want to fight when around other dogs, especially those of the same gender.

The most important thing to remember is no matter what type of training you do with your Pit Bull, you both should enjoy it. Spending time together will help build a better bond, leading to a lasting relationship. Whether you want your dog to compete or not, the benefits for both you and the dog are many.

Agility Builds Confidence in Your Dog

Summary:
Agility training can build up confidence in your dog with lots of encouragement from you, and making it a fun event.  As your dog succeeds in each obstacle, you will see his/her confidence grow.

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Is your dog timid around people or other dogs?  Is your dog sensitive to sounds?  Agility training can provide the environment and structure to build confidence in your dog.  Agility classes are a great place for people to learn about the sport and learn how to train, but the timid dog may take a long time before he is ready to venture from under your chair or off your lap.

A timid or shy dog can only learn inside their comfort zone.  So, training must begin where they feel safe and behaviors must be taught in very small increments. Home will probably be the best place to train and have learning take place for your dog.

So, how do you train at home?  You will need guidelines and equipment. There is a multitude of websites that can give you information on agility training.  There are also books and videos that will give details and visual aids and lesson plans for beginners thru expert levels.

There is a variety of equipment that is useful and helpful to have at home.  Equipment recommendations are based on your available space and location of training.  Do you have a large yard that will hold 10 obstacles? Do you have a small yard where you will need setup equipment and then tear down before you can setup again?  Will you be training in your garage or basement, or as some agility addicts, in your living room.

For the timid dogs make sure your equipment is safe and sturdy.  The pause table is a good place to begin your agility training.   A 12” high pause table, with adjustable legs for later use, is a good starting place for all size dogs. Remember with your shy dog, setup your table in an area that is very familiar to your dog.  If your dog barks at anything new, just leave your pause table in your house or yard for several days, let your dog inspect and smell it on his own or with a little coaxing, but don’t push to fast, remember baby steps with the insecure dog.   With treats in a dish or his favorite toy placed on the table encourage your dog to get up on the table.  This may take more than one lesson, be patient.  If your timid dog looses interest in food or toys when you attempt something new, trying holding him and you sit on the table.  If your dog is too big to hold, have him on leash and you sit on the table.  If he backs away coax him, only treat or reward him when he comes to you, never when he’s pulling back away from you or the table.

Eventually, you want your dog to be able to jump on the table with your cue word, “Table”, “Box”, “Kennel”, whatever word you use, Stay on the table as you back away and then Come when you call. Build your distance slowly so that your dog is not pushed to soon.

From Pause Table to Contact Trainer is a nice transition for shy dog.  A Contact Trainer comes in different designs.  We recommend a 3-Piece Contact Trainer that has one mini A-frame side, a Pause Table, and then a mini Dog-walk side.  Your dog can Sit on the table and then be coaxed down the A-frame side or the Dog-walk side.  Just remember with the shy dog, training is done in increments, slowly and comfortably, with a little push to stretch him, but not enough to overwhelm him to cause a shutdown.

You can follow the above techniques introducing new obstacles as your dog is able to succeed.  As your dog succeeds on each new piece of equipment you will see his confidence grow.

Aggression When Another Dog Invades Her Space

Summary:
Dear Adam,

Hi, I have a 3 year-old Australian Cattle Dog. She is a wonderfully obedient dog, canine good citizen certified and everything. She is very obedient and good natured to people, however she is very dominant when it comes to other dogs. Recently I have been having problems with her snapping at other dogs if they come up to her while she is on a leash. This is not a problem if I tell her to sit and the other dog stays a normal distance away. She doesn’t like dogs i…

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Dear Adam,

Hi, I have a 3 year-old Australian Cattle Dog. She is a wonderfully obedient dog, canine good citizen certified and everything. She is very obedient and good natured to people, however she is very dominant when it comes to other dogs. Recently I have been having problems with her snapping at other dogs if they come up to her while she is on a leash. This is not a problem if I tell her to sit and the other dog stays a normal distance away. She doesn’t like dogs invading her space and standing over her (she is only 35 pounds, so most dogs tower over her). I call it her “Napoleon Complex”. I tried to work on the problem by putting a muzzle on her and setting up situations so I can correct her, but she realizes that she is in no position to show the other dog who is boss while muzzled and refrains. We have recently started therapy dog training classes, which she is doing very well in.

Like I said she is a perfect angel around people. In a therapy situation she is unlikely to encourage other dogs on or off leash who will be allowed to be in a position close enough to upset her, however, if some instance did occur, I would feel uncomfortable with her snapping at another dog. In most instances, I can prevent a situation where she would be tempted to snap from occurring, however, there are some instances that can’t be avoided. Do you have any suggestions? I’m debating whether I should discontinue her therapy dog classes.

Thank You,
Katie

Dear Katie,

This is really more of a handler sigue. It’s your responsibility to NOT LET other dogs invade her space. Now, you can correct her for the aggression – but at the same time, you must show her that she can trust you, and that you will not let strange dogs from another pack wonder up and get in her face. This is the job of the pack leader – to protect the pack. And you’re not doing your job by letting strangers off the street walk up and get too close. I would recommend a walking stick or a stun gun.

As for the therapy dog training – I would recommend that you continue, but without seeing the dog in person, this will ultimately be a judgement call which you must make for yourself and your dog.

That’s all for now, folks!
Adam

Advice To Using Positive Reinforcement And Rewards To Train Your Dog

Summary:
Training dogs using positive reinforcement and reward training has long been recognized as both highly effective for the owner and a positive experience for the dog.  Positive reinforcement training is so important that it is the only method used to train dangerous animals…

Article Body:
Training dogs using positive reinforcement and reward training has long been recognized as both highly effective for the owner and a positive experience for the dog.  Positive reinforcement training is so important that it is the only method used to train dangerous animals like lions and tigers for work in circuses and in the movie and television industry.

Proponents of positive reinforcement swear by the effectiveness of their techniques, and it is true that the vast majority of dogs respond well to these training methods.

One reason that positive reinforcement training is so effective is that is uses rewards to teach the dog what is expected of it.  When the dog performs the desired behavior, he is provided with a reward, most often in the form of a food treat, but it could be a scratch behind the ears, a rub under the chin or a pat on the head as well.  The important thing is that the dog is rewarded consistently for doing the right thing.

Reward training has become increasingly popular in recent years, but chances are some sort of reward training between humans and dogs has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years.

When understanding what makes reward training so effective, some knowledge of the history of humans and dogs is very helpful.  The earliest dogs were probably wolf pups that were tamed and used by early humans for protection from predators, as alarm systems and later for guarding and herding livestock.

It is possible that the wolf pups that made the best companions were the most easily trained, or it is possible that these early dogs were orphaned or abandoned wolf pups.  Whatever their origin, there is little doubt today that the vast variety of dogs we see today have their origin in the humble wolf.

Wolf packs, like packs of wild dogs, operate on a strict pack hierarchy. Since wolf and dog packs hunt as a group, this type of hierarchy, and the cooperation it brings, is essential to the survival of the species.  Every dog in the pack knows his or her place in the pack, and except in the event of death or injury, the hierarchy, once established, rarely changes.

Every dog, therefore, is hard wired by nature to look to the pack leader for guidance.  The basis of all good dog training, including reward based training, is for the handler to set him or herself up as the pack leader.  The pack leader is more than just the dominant dog, or the one who tells all the subordinates what to do.  More importantly, the pack leader provides leadership and protection, and his or her leadership is vital to the success and survival of the pack.

It is important for the dog to see itself as part of a pack, to recognize the human as the leader of that pack, and to respect his or her authority.  Some dogs are much easier to dominate than others.  If you watch a group of puppies playing for a little while, you will quickly recognize the dominant and submissive personalities.

A dog with a more submissive personality will generally be easier to train using positive reinforcement, since he or she will not want to challenge the handler for leadership.  Even dominant dogs, however, respond very well to positive reinforcement.  There are, in fact, few dogs that do not respond well to positive reinforcement, also known as reward training.

Positive reinforcement is also the best way to retrain a dog that has behavior problems, especially one that has been abused in the past. Getting the respect and trust of an abused dog can be very difficult, and positive reinforcement is better than any other training method at creating this important bond.

No matter what type of dog you are working with, chances are it can be helped with positive reinforcement training methods. Based training methods on respect and trust, rather than on intimidation and fear, is the best way to get the most from any dog.

Advice On Adopting A Pitbull

I purchased your book about 5 months ago, and I was hoping that might would “entitle” me to some advice. First, let me say that I’m very satisfied with my purchase. Not only does it give advice on specific techniques, but, more importantly, it explains the foundation of all training–timing, motivation, consistency–allowing the dog owner to better understand the training process. Also, it does a very good job of explaining that dogs are pack animals–and will t…

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Dear Adam:

I purchased your book about 5 months ago, and I was hoping that might would “entitle” me to some advice. First, let me say that I’m very satisfied with my purchase. Not only does it give advice on specific techniques, but, more importantly, it explains the foundation of all training–timing, motivation, consistency–allowing the dog owner to better understand the training process. Also, it does a very good job of explaining that dogs are pack animals–and will test the alpha’s leadership at various times (in my case, all the time)–and how that factors into training. Finally, I like your common sense approach, e.g., “stay” is a double command, if the dog’s not supposed to break a sit or down without the release command, why do we need to tell it to stay.

My question is not about dog training, however, but about breeds of dogs. Specifically, APBTs [American Pit Bull Terriers] and AmStaffs [American Staffordshire Terriers]. The AKC does not recognize the APBT as a breed, however, many dog fanciers recognize the two as separate breeds even though they share a common origin and look very similar. Or, if not separate breeds, two “strains” of the same breed, the AmStaff being bred for “show” and the APBT being bred for “performance” – meaning the gameness of the original dogs has largely been bred out of AmStaffs, but still remains in APBTs. I’d like to hear your take on this subject since you own and have owned APBTs or mixes thereof.

The reason I ask is that I’m considering getting an AmStaff or a Staff Bull Terrier. My wife and I currently own a Dalmatian, however, so I’m a bit concerned about the two getting along, especially when I’m not around. Should I stay away from these breeds? I’ve had one breeder tell me they should be fine if the Staff is introduced as a puppy, while another told me never to leave them together alone. What would be your recommendation (I realize all dogs are individuals and may possess different traits than others of the same breed)?

Thanks,
Ryan Fehlig

Dear Ryan:

Thanks for the kind words. You’ve asked an excellent question!

I love the bull breeds, personally. And while everything you’ve stated is pretty much “right on the money,” … I would suggest that if you decide to adopt one of these breeds you make sure that:

1. The dog you’re adopting is the opposite sex of the dog you already own.

2. If the new dog is a male, then neuter him before he hits sexual maturity. (Before 1 year of age.)

3. If the other dog is a male, then definitely neuter him. (Although this will not be a “cure-all” it may help somewhat.)

It’s true… many of the dogs in this breed seem to have a genetic basis for dog aggression. I don’t think that they come out of the womb being dog aggressive, but rather that they have temperament characteristics that tend to make them more dog aggressive. (i.e., dominance and a strong defensive nature).

As for the difference between the APBT and the AmStaff, the difference is largely one of registration. (AKC vs. UKC). And yes, the AKC version has been bred with more of an emphasis on conformation (like all AKC breeds).

If I were to adopt another bull breed, it would likely be the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (the smallest of the “pit bull” breeds). I like the idea of having a big dog in a small package. But to be honest, I’m really tired of the media stigma that this breed has received. And in real life terms, this means having a dog that you can never really take off leash at a park – not because the dog is dangerous or untrained – but rather because people are so darn afraid of what the media has led them to believe about this breed, that they snatch up their children and run screaming from the park.

On the upside, this stigma can work in your favor, too. Most criminals know that a “pit bull” is the type of dog that you don’t want living in the house that you’re about to rob.

On a personal note, there was a character who let his Rottweiler run off leash at the park I used to train at. This dog had a bad attitude and was a very dominant-aggressive dog. The owner was under the impression that his dog was trained. He’d give multiple commands, such as, ‘Ranger come, come, come, come,’… but all Ranger would do is engage my clients’ dogs and try to initiate a dog fight.

Well, after I adopted Forbes (an APBT-mix that looks like one big muscle and is about as wide as a Mack truck) and started keeping him in a down-stay while I worked with my clients’ dogs… Ranger’s owner suddenly started keeping their dog on a much shorter leash. If he didn’t attach his dog to a leash as soon as he saw me enter the park, then he’d definitely run to grab his dog THE VERY INSTANT that he saw that Ranger wasn’t going to immediately turn and come when called.

I guess that’s what you call motivation, eh?

Yes… it’s probably a macho thing. But IF there is a stigma, then you might as well use it to your advantage to encourage reckless dog owners with untrained dogs to keep their mutts on-leash.

That’s all for now, folks!
Adam

Advanced Dog Training Points For Conditioning Your Dog

Summary:
Akeisha wrote to me with some very good questions. I’ve included her letter (and my responses) below:

Hi,

It’s Akeisha again.

I do see what you mean if it is on all the time the dog will soon forget it is on and then will behave regardless. Ok, so the dog never wears a buckle collar again? This is what irks me. I want to be able to control the dog regardless of what collar is on not just the pinch or it could be no collar at all and the dog still behaves. What if the…

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Akeisha wrote to me with some very good questions. I’ve included her letter (and my responses) below:

Hi,

It’s Akeisha again.

I do see what you mean if it is on all the time the dog will soon forget it is on and then will behave regardless. Ok, so the dog never wears a buckle collar again? This is what irks me. I want to be able to control the dog regardless of what collar is on not just the pinch or it could be no collar at all and the dog still behaves. What if the owner for some reason takes off the collar then they put the buckle collar on for ID but then forget the pinch collar? Then there is no control.

[Adam Replies] WRONG! The dog gets conditioned. Take off the collar for awhile. Doesn’t matter.

Do you ever in the training go back to the buckle collar after months of what you recommend with a dog that is happy with doing the commands?

[Adam Replies] Yes, the dog does the command because he is happy and he likes it. But eventually, there will be something that tempts him. This is where conditioning comes in.

Think of it like this: You’ve lived in the same house for 10 years, right? You get up in the middle of the night and you reach for the light switch that is to the LEFT of the door. Pretty soon, you get conditioned to reach out to the LEFT of the door.

One day you travel and stay in a hotel. You wake up in the middle of the night and reach out to the LEFT of the door for the switch… even though you cognitively saw that the switch is on the RIGHT.

In fact, you may wake up for several nights– perhaps even weeks or months– and still reach out to the LEFT, even though the switch is now on the right. Some people will continue reaching to the LEFT for the rest of their lives. Some will begin reaching to the right.

Those people need to be reinforced. Get it?

Motivational corrections if on the right dog won’t frighten them or make them hate you I know but aren’t there other ways except using the collar that will eventually be established thought training that will allow you to take the collar off and have control?

[Adam Replies] Yeah, this way you can take the collar off and have control, ONCE THE DOG IS CONDITIONED. But eventually you’ll have to go back and reinforce, for most dogs. And definitely if you start expecting to work the dog around new distractions that it’s never been proofed around, such as chickens if the dog has never seen chickens.

Look, I don’t make the rules. The dog is not a robot that you can suddenly say, “He’s done” and expect him to act consistently for the rest of his life. Like any relationship you have with another person, boundaries need to be established and maintained. The dog is like your wife or husband… they will eventually test you. :)

Last question, how can the dog not realize the don’t have it on since it feels a lot different than the buckle? Its like my id around my neck at school I have gotten used to it but I do realize when it is off? Just for the record I have no problem with pinches, many members in my 4-H club use them and they work great on the right dog.

[Adam Replies] Because the way you should be using the pinch collar is that the dog (since he has limited reason and logic) does not KNOW that it is the pinch collar that allows you to give him good corrections. But it’s more than the pinch collar. If I put the dog in a number of small yards, with no collar on … and I’m able to chase him down and make him come back to me, if he doesn’t come when I call… then the dog will learn THE UNDERLYING PREMISE that I can make him do it, if he doesn’t. So, the pinch collar and the long line make my job easier, but ultimately, the dog knows (or he thinks at least) that I am a man of my word and when I tell him to do something: If he doesn’t do it, I’m going to make him do it. And his life will be a lot more fun if he does it willingly. So the dog starts to extrapolate this principle to other commands, too.

Hope I am not being irritating I just like to know why certain trainers value certain methods over others since I love competing in obedience with my dog.

[Adam Replies] Keep training.

That’s all for now, folks!
Adam

Adopting A Protection Dog

Summary:
Mackie writes:

My good friend who is a dog trainer offered me his 5 year old Belgian Malinois for adoption. He is trained as a protection dog so he can guard his master, bite on command, release the bite on command, stay until released and others. He has a trophy as third placer in Level 1 protection in a protection dog competition. I have two dogs at present: A one year-old and a nine month-old Labrador… both are females, obedience trained and not neutered.

I would l…

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Mackie writes:

My good friend who is a dog trainer offered me his 5 year old Belgian Malinois for adoption. He is trained as a protection dog so he can guard his master, bite on command, release the bite on command, stay until released and others. He has a trophy as third placer in Level 1 protection in a protection dog competition. I have two dogs at present: A one year-old and a nine month-old Labrador… both are females, obedience trained and not neutered.

I would like to adopt him and I know I can take care of him. Will he accept me after being my friend’s favorite dog for 5 years? My friend assured me that he can transfer the loyalty of the dog to me. He is a fierce dog when in competition but a very quiet dog when outside the training ring. In fact my friend brings the dog with him all the time and I know of several occasions that the dog is off leash. He is giving him up because he wants to replace him with a younger dog.

Should I take him up on his offer?

Dear Mackie:

Yes… the dog will transfer his loyalty to you.

Here are two major issues you should consider before adopting this dog:

1. The Belgian Malinois (especially one that is bred and trained for bite work and protection dog sports) will require a lot of work ON YOUR PART to learn how to handle this dog. You’re going to need a lot of training… one-on-one style… to successfully integrate this dog into your life. It’s like driving a Ferrari or a race car. The car already runs great, but if you don’t learn the right way to drive it, you’ll end up killing yourself. And just because you already know how to drive a Subaru doesn’t cut it… we’re talking Ferrari, here. And the Belgian Malinois is a Ferrari with the tricked out Turbo engine.

2. The breed is an extremely HIGH DRIVE breed. This dog needs TONS of exercise and mental stimulation. TONS. Please take the time to recognize that adopting this dog will be a major responsibility.

If you decide to do it, and you are successful, you’ll have an amazing companion. The breed is quite healthy and you can be content in knowing that you own a KING OF KINGS as far as working dogs are concerned.

Part of me has always wanted what you’re thinking about getting. But my lifestyle and dedication to the exercise and training requirements are something I do not have at this current point in my life.

P.S. Make sure that the dog isn’t dog aggressive before you decide to take ownership.

That’s all for now, folks!
Adam

Adopting A Dog

Summary:
Explains how to go about adopting a new dog and what to do when you get your new dog home.

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If you have been thinking of getting a new dog, have you considered all the options available to you? The obvious choice people make, when considering a new dog is to go to a specialized dog breeder. A good dog breeder will be able to sell you a puppy that has been checked for genetic problems, diseases etc and will very often provide you with a high quality pedigree dog that should be free from problems that plague a lot of dogs.

This is ideal for a lot of people but of course will come at a price. There is an alternative – adopting a puppy or adult dog.

There are lots of dogs that are without homes at animal shelters or humane societies. These animals are often a victim of circumstance. Either an owner has died, or an elderly person cannot cope any more. Sadly through no fault of their own, they have ended up homeless. Adopting a dog, may be a great way to offer a loving home to one of these dogs.

A lot of people are concerned that they may end up with an unhealthy dog, or a dog that may be aggressive by getting one from a shelter. Most animal shelters will check a dog for good health and good temperament, so if there are any problems you will be told about them. Also, a lot of shelters offer in-house training to increase the chances of a dog finding a new home. Which is great for everybody!

The best way to go about adopting a dog is to pay a visit to your nearest animal shelter. Explain to the staff there, what kind of dog would suit you and your family. Bear in mind that if you have very small children, getting a large dog may not be a good idea. Similarly if you have an apartment, maybe think about getting a small dog that doesn’t require vast amounts of exercise. A bit of forethought before you arrive will make finding the perfect dog for you that much easier.

When you bring your new dog home, try and imagine things from her perspective. Your new dog has probably been through a lot in the past so bringing her to yet another new home may well be overwhelming. The best thing to do is keep her on a leash at first, and gradually introduce her to your home letting her sniff each room until she has got a feel for her new surroundings. Also take her to relieve her bladder outside if she has been on a long car journey with you.
Once she has settled down, allow her to walk freely off the leash inside your home (not outside off the leash yet). This will give her a chance to find ‘her’ spot. By this I mean her favorite place. We all have a favorite spot where we like to go, dogs are no different. If you have bought a new dog bed or blanket for your new arrival, this may be the place to put it. She will naturally go to that spot so having a comfy new bed there will help her settle in.

Your new dog may be very quiet for the first few days but don’t worry, this is part of the settling in process. After a short while your dog will be a fully settled in new member of the family.

Adopting from an animal shelter is a great way to get a new companion and a great way to make a new and happy future for your dog.

Adding Essential Fatty Acids To Your Pets Diet

Summary:
Many pet food diets are lacking in essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6). These are important fats that are used to promote healthy cardiovascular, digestive, and skin functions. They also help control weight gain and work to prevent many diseases and disorders. Find out more about EFA’s and why your dog’s diet should include them

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Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are a requirement in everyone’s diet, for both human and animal. However, the body cannot produce EFAs on its own, so it must be added to the diet each day. The two most commonly known fatty acids are omega 3 (linoleic acid) and omega 6 (alpha-linoleic acid). The diets of our pets, like people, tend to include more omega 6 fatty acids rather than omega 3. This is an imbalance that needs to be improved upon.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential as they help with the proper formation of cell membranes, cardiovascular functions, nourish the lining of the digestive tract, and work to keep your pet’s skin and coat smooth, soft and shiny. Another essential function of omega 3 fatty acids is that they work to reduce inflammatory problems in the body. If you find your pet’s coat is dull and brittle or if he/she tends to have dry skin and scratch a lot, it may be due to a lack of this particular fatty acid.

There are different types of essential fatty acid supplements that are available, however which kind you choose to supplement your dog or cat’s diet can be a bit of a dilemma.

Pure plant oils such as flax oil, evening primrose oil, safflower oil or a blend of plant oils is a good alternative to fish omega-3 fats. These should be “cold-pressed” oils, as opposed to oils that are typically extracted with chemical solvents. The problem with plant oils is that animals have a harder time converting the fatty acids to a form best used by the animal’s system.

Fish oils, such as salmon oil, halibut liver oil, or cod liver oil are more easily converted and used by an animal’s body. The downside is that fish oils often contain deadly toxins, including high levels of dangerous PCBs, dioxins and detectable levels of mercury. Farmed salmon is the worst for contamination and contains less omega 3 acids than wild salmon. At present nearly 30% of all fish are farmed, with salmon being in the 90% farmed range. As well, farmed salmon are often carriers of disease and parasites. When supplementing your pet’s diet with fish oils, choose oils that come from wild sources, not farmed.

There are also blended fish and plant oil supplements available. These often include a mixture of salmon or cod liver oil and flax, safflower or other such oils that provide a mixture of 3 to 4 parts omega 3 oils to 1 part omega 6 oils. Giving your animal a combination fish/plant supplement may be a good alternative to consider, as they should contain fewer toxins since they are not strictly fish oils, yet still should be better assimilated by the animal’s body than straight plant oils.