Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trainer Tips- Shedding

As our weather gets warmer, our favorite friends start loosing more and more of their furry coats.  This month's Trainer Tip is a reminder to BRUSH YOUR PUPS.

Now this may sound like a silly reminder, but its not always something we think of.  Or we think, "wow look at all this fur, I should really brush my dog," then forget about doing so 20 minutes later.

The best way I have found to remind myself, is to work in brushing the dogs with my weekly cleaning schedule.  When I am in the process of cleaning the massive amount of pet fur that have collected, I am reminded 10-fold that I should brush the dogs.  This is the perfect reminder for us to pay attention to.  So somewhere in the midst of my cleaning and laundry shores, I take the time to take the pups out for a good brushing.  I also usually bring their ball and we will brush for a bit, then play fetch until they are starting to pant fairly hard, then a little more brushing before we come in.

I also try to get at least two separate times throughout the day where I take them out to brush.  This helps get as much fur off as possible, and helps me feel like I have kept as much of it as possible outside my house.

There are several different types of brushes available.  It is important to pick one that will work best for your dog.  Both my dogs benefit most from what is called a "shedding blade."  Another personal favorite of mine is called the "FURminator."  This thing works magical wonders (as you can see below).  Again, it's going to depend on your dog's breed and type of hair.  It's always good to ask a professional groomer for help and tips on grooming your particular dog's type of fur.

Shedding Blade

FURminator & an example of it's magical powers.

Some other common brushes.

Below are some pictures I took when brushing the other day.  As you can see, Nekita sheds a LOT!  We actually say she doesn't shed, she's our fur machine!

Another Helpful Hint:
Many dogs will get tufts of fur you can actually just pull out.
If you look closely in the above picture, you can see some of the tufts I have pulled
(the thick clumps of fur).
This is VERY helpful.  It's faster than brushing it out.
But be careful, don't pull to the point where your are hurting your dog.
This should be fairly gently and non-invasive for your dog.
As you can see, Nekita was totally relaxed and closed her eyes as I did this.

Look at all that fur floating in the grass.
Nekita loves to be brushed.

Can you see all that fur?  Most of it already blew away.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Breed of the Month--Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

Color:  Rich black and blue, with or without tan markings, shades of gold and brown
Height:  Males:  26 inches/ Females:  24 inches
Weight:  Males:  100-160 lbs/ Females:  75-120 lbs
Life Span:  13-16 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Skin problems, hip dysplasia, and thyroid problems.

Coat:  Double coat.  Sparse undercoat (summer), soft undercoat (winter).  Coarse, thick, long, straight outercoat.
Country of Origin:  Tibet (China)

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

The Tibetan Mastiff is thought to be the ancestor of many of today's mastiff-type dogs, but the breed's true origin is unknown.  In Tibet this dog has been used for centuries to protect homes and villages.  In the 1970s the breed began to establish itself in the United States, due in large part to President Eisenhower receiving two of them as gifts in the 1950s from the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan Mastiff is large and intimidating and take's his guarding job very seriously.  This breed is naturally aloof with strangers and must therefore be consistently socialized.  The Tibetan Mastiff is independent minded, but gentle and affectionate.  Training is essential for this large, powerful breed.  This is a breed of dog that I would not necessarily recommend for first time dog owners.

The Tibetan Mastiff needs space but should not be exercised with too much intensity.  The Tibetan Mastiff's body is slow to mature, and therefore must not be over exercised as a puppy.  An adult Tibetan Mastiff will definitely enjoy his time outdoors and has a coat that resist most types of weather.

The thick double coat of the Tibetan Mastiff requires regular brushing and combing.

The Tibetan Mastiff requires socialization early and often, to make sure his protective instincts do not get out of control.  Training this breed requires patience and respect, as he is an independent thinker.  Using positive reinforcement methods will help keep this breed tuned in to his owner.