Tag: Danielle Esposito

Where to pet a dog?

A more informative way to do something most of us don’t think about!

The Dodo recently had an article about petting a dog. I was about to ignore it and then decided to read the article. I am glad I did because The Dodo went to a veterinarian in New York City for the answers.

Here’s the article.

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These Are The Best Places To Pet A Dog, According To A Dog

Your pup will always tell you what’s up 🐶

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO, Published on the 21st July, 2021.

Some dogs love all the pets from all the people, while others can definitely be more finicky.

When it comes to where she’s petted (and who’s petting her), your dog probably has some personal preferences —so it’s important that you learn her boundaries.

Typically, most dogs share safe zones that are OK to pet — as well as areas on their bodies that are totally off-limits.

To help, The Dodo reached out to Dr. Stephanie Austin, a veterinarian at Bond Vet in New York City, who explained the best places to pet a dog — and where to avoid.

Where do dogs love to be petted?

As a general rule of thumb, the neck, chest and shoulders are places that many dogs like to be petted. 

But it’s important to keep in mind that not all dogs are created equal when it comes to where they like to be touched. “For example, some pups love belly scratches or petting on the rump area, while others may be more guarded about those parts of their body,” Dr. Austin told The Dodo. 

How to pet a dog the right way

If you’re not sure what a dog likes or doesn’t like when you first meet her, your best strategy is to let her come to you and sniff your hand. 

“If the dog is friendly and relaxed, try gently petting the neck, chest or shoulders. Don’t reach for their head from above, as this could appear threatening to a dog,” Dr. Austin suggested. 

You can usually tell if a dog is enjoying being petted because she’ll get closer to you, act relaxed and happy and even lean into your hand where you are petting.

“If a dog becomes tense or standoffish, this may be a warning that they aren’t comfortable with the petting,” Dr. Austin said.

Where to not pet a dog

According to Dr. Austin, there are some places — in general — where dogs might be uncomfortable with someone touching.

Questionable spots include:

  • Paws
  • Legs
  • Tail
  • Face

“And even though many pups appreciate a good belly rub, they may also be protective of their belly and the underside of their body,” Dr. Austin said. 

And be wary of any areas on the body that might be particularly sensitive.

“Some dogs may have areas of the body that are sensitive due to underlying health conditions — for example, if a dog’s hips are painful due to arthritis, they might not like someone pressing on or near their hips,” Dr. Austin said.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some dogs just don’t like to be touched by strangers. So if your dog prefers to warm up to people, advocate for her and let others know that she just needs time. Don’t force her to be uncomfortable by accepting unwanted interactions from other pets!

Of course, the best thing you can do when getting to know a dog is to start off slow and check in with her body language. She’ll usually tell you exactly what she’s comfortable with.

And once you figure it out together, your bond will be even stronger!

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Now Jeannie and I are biased because our six dogs love being fondled in so many ways including much of what is cautioned by Dr. Austin. But we certainly agree with the last few word about the bond being even stronger!

This is still good advice because there are so many different personalities with our six dogs and many just have a single dog.

But Dr. Austin’s advice applies to Jeannie and me and we would never be as relaxed when we have visitors. Then the strong advice is to let the dogs chose in their own time when and how to approach the guests.

Signs of anxiety in dogs

Eight signs for you to keep an eye out for!

Now I have republished items about this subject before but not for some time. This article which appeared on The Dodo was thorough in my opinion and, therefore, worthy of a republication.

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These 8 Signs Might Mean Your Dog Has Anxiety

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO, Published on the 21st July, 2021

Have you ever wondered if dogs can get anxiety?

Turns out, dogs totally can. And it’s important that you know what to look out for when trying to figure out if your dog does have anxiety.

According to Dr. Walter Burghardt, Jr., a veterinarian at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, there’s a spectrum of anxiety-related behaviors in dogs, ranging from mild to severe (just like in humans). 

These are some of the most common signs that your dog has anxiety, according to Dr. Burghardt.

Signs your dog is experiencing mild anxiety

She’s lip-licking

A common sign of mild anxiety — or just being plain uncomfortable — lip-licking usually means that your dog feels uncertain about whatever situation she’s in.

She’s yawning more than usual 

Dogs don’t only yawn because they’re tired. If you’re noticing your pup is yawning more than usual, or not anywhere close to bedtime, it could be because she’s feeling anxious.

She’s more inactive (or active) than usual

If you notice your dog is keeping to herself more than usual — or, on the other hand, if she’s more hyper than normal — this could be a sign that she’s feeling anxious and unsure of how to deal with those feelings.

Signs your dog is experiencing moderate anxiety

She’s tucking her tail

If you notice your dog’s tail is tucked, that’s a sign that she could be experiencing a more moderate case of anxiety.

Her ears are flattened

If you see your dog’s ears are pinned back, it could be a sign that she’s experiencing increased anxiety.

Other signs of moderate anxiety include an increased heart rate, respiration and dilated pupils.

Signs your dog is experiencing severe anxiety

She’s trying to escape

If your dog seems to be doing everything she can to escape or get away from a situation, it could mean she’s feeling severely anxious.

She’s hiding

If you’ve noticed your dog is trying to hide from a scary situation, it could be a sign that her anxiety is severe.

She’s being aggressive

If your dog is showing signs of aggressive behavior, it could mean that she’s feeling very fearful or stressed.

Other signs of very severe anxiety could be that your dog freezes, or just doesn’t move at all.

How to help an anxious dog

If your dog is diagnosed with anxiety, her treatment could depend on a few things:

  • The source of the anxiety
  • The intensity and duration of the anxiety
  • How often your dog’s behavior is affected by anxiety

“For more severe and more frequent cases, anxiety is usually treated with one or more medications to help reduce distress and physiological arousal, environmental changes to reduce the distressing characteristics of a scary event, and behavior modification aimed at improving the patient’s confidence in the scary situation,” Dr. Burghardt said.

If your dog is experiencing more mild anxiety, this can usually be treated by desensitizing your dog to the scary situation and working on building your pup’s confidence — all with the help and advice of your vet or dog behaviorist.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from anxiety, contact your vet to see what you can do to help her feel better.

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Now I left out of the post three recommendations “You can also try some tried-and-true tricks to help calm down an anxious dog” (my italics) because I didn’t think you wanted products from Amazon.

But I would love to hear how common it is to have a dog that shows anxiety. Do you want to leave me a comment?

Socialising one’s darling dog!

It is easy for us to consider this a minor issue!

We are so used to having so many dogs and with more than one in a household socialising becomes simple; assuming they all get on with one another.

But many kind people have a single dog and, especially, when someone goes for a new dog then socialising becomes very important.

The Dodo recently had an article about this and it is shared with you all.

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How Can I Socialize My Dog?

Set her up for success 🏆

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO

Published on the 26th April, 2021

Did you just adopt a new dog and now you’re super excited to introduce her to all the awesome people and animals in your life?

While you might want to bring her everywhere you go right away, it’s also important to take the right steps in order to set her up for success — especially when it comes to dog training and socialization skills.

To understand how to socialize your dog, The Dodo reached out Juliana Willems, head trainer at JW Dog Training in Washington, D.C., for some insight.

What does it mean to socialize a dog?

Socialization is the process of helping a dog enjoy and feel comfortable with people, other animals, places, novel objects and environments.

It means bringing your dog out into the world and introducing her to various kinds of people and situations — which helps to make sure she learns how to be a happy, friendly pup (with manners!), and can reduce fear in unknown situations.

It also helps to give your dog the skills she needs to learn about boundaries — meaning she’s not running around and bulldozing other dogs who clearly just want to sleep whenever she’s around them.

What’s the best age to socialize a dog?

According to Willems, the best age to socialize your dog is when she’s a puppy — because there’s a critical socialization window in a dog’s life between 3 and 16 weeks.

“This is the age where puppies are like sponges, soaking up information and using the experiences during this time to determine how they feel about the world later in life,” Willems said. 

Experiences — or a lack of experiences — during this critical socialization window can have a direct impact on a dog’s behavior as an adult.

So what happens if you adopt an older dog outside of the socialization window?

Unless you adopt a puppy who’s 4 months old or younger, Willems said that the dog you’re bringing home is well outside the critical socialization period.

“What this means is you won’t be able to undo what did or didn’t happen during that window when they were a puppy,” Willems said. “That being said, a goal with newly adopted rescue dogs is always to introduce them to new people, animals, places and activities in a positive way.”

Of course, there’s a good chance your pup was already socialized, especially if she was living happily with a foster family before she went up for adoption. But no matter what stage she’s in socially, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of what to look out for.

As with puppies, being exposed to people, animals and places isn’t enough if you’re hoping to get your pup to truly love and be comfortable with these experiences. You should be paying attention to how she’s reacting to these situations as well.

According to Willems, simple exposure without looking at if your dog is having fun, feeling comfortable and enjoying herself leaves the door open for a negative experience.

That means it’s important you don’t overwhelm your dog by going to too many new places — or meeting too many new people — when she first comes home.

How to socialize your dog

According to Willems, the best way to socialize a new rescue dog is to go at her pace, use treats and always pay attention to body language.

“When you let your new rescue dog approach situations at their pace — allowing them to approach or retreat when they need to — you’re giving them choice in the interaction and you’re decreasing the chances that your dog will feel overwhelmed and scared,” Willems said. 

And make sure you have some of your dog’s favorite treats ready to go during the process!

If you give your dog high-value treats when she meets new people or new animals or goes somewhere new, you’re increasing the chances that she ends up really liking those experiences. Why? Because she’s learning that new people, animals or places equal tasty treats!

While you’re keeping her happy with yummy treats, make sure you’re also paying attention to how she might be feeling in this new situation — and always give her the opportunity to take a breather if she needs one.

She should always have the option to leave a new situation if she’s uncomfortable — especially when it comes to meeting new people and dogs.

How can you tell if your dog’s uncomfortable?

According to Willems, your best bet is to look at your pup’s body language — and it’s helpful to be able to understand what certain signals mean.

Obvious ones include:

  • A tucked tail
  • Trying to move away
  • Avoiding interactions
  • Growling or barking

More subtle stress signals include: 

  • Lip licking
  • Yawning
  • Ears back
  • Stiffening

If your dog exhibits stress signals like these, it’s important you advocate for her and move her out of the situation.

What should you do if your dog’s uncomfortable?

If you find yourself in a situation that’s making your dog uncomfortable, you’ll want to get her some relief by moving away — and you can also try adding something your dog loves to the equation. 

“The most effective tool here is high-value treats — something squishy and stinky that your dog really enjoys,” Willems suggested. 

Keep in mind, though, that you won’t want to give your pup a high-value treat or toy around a dog she isn’t comfortable with, to avoid sparking any possessive aggression.

Take your time — and socialize her slowly

It’s definitely worth it to put in the work with your new dog to help her get comfortable with her new life — but make sure to resist the urge to take her to tons of new places or introduce her to a bunch of new people or animals right away.

Aggressive behaviors are rooted in fear, so all the more reason to be very intentional, patient and positive in your socialization practice to help your dog learn their world with you is not a scary place!” Willems said.

Your new dog has been through so many changes — so let her decompress and get acclimated to her new home, routine and family.

All those couch snuggles will be worth it.

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I don’t know about you but I found this article very useful and very informative. Now many books have been written on the subject and the odd blogpost or twenty.

But I hope that some readers found it informative. It would be lovely to hear from you if you are one of those people.

This heat wave

It has broken records here in Southern Oregon.

We had a high of 112 deg F. (44.4 deg C.) here in Merlin on the 27th June, 2021. That is hot in anyone’s language.

Fortunately first thing in the morning it was cooler, down in the low 60’s (F), and our dogs were alright with that. But in the afternoon it was too hot for them.

So it seemed like a good idea to republish an article from The Dodo about walking your dog in this heat.

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How Hot Is Too Hot To Walk My Dog?

How to keep those little paws safe 🐾

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO

Published on the 20th August, 2020

Have you ever felt like it was just too hot outside to walk your dog?

To make sure you’re keeping your dog safe — and his paws free from burns or irritation — it’s important to know how to tell when it actually is too dangerous to take your dog on a walk.

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Jessica Romine, a veterinarian at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Southfield, Michigan, to get some answers and tips to make sure your walks are always safe — and fun — for you and your pup.

How to test if it’s too hot out to walk your dog

According to Dr. Romine, there’s a simple test you can do to check if it’s too hot out to walk — and all you need is your hand.

“A good rule of thumb is to place your hand on the sidewalk or asphalt for 5 seconds; if it becomes uncomfortable to the touch, it is probably also uncomfortable for your dog to walk on,” Dr. Romine told The Dodo.

Signs your dog is uncomfortable

If you do need to take a walk on a hot day — or if it starts to heat up after you’ve already left home — keep a close eye on your pup.

“Dogs can suffer burns from very hot surfaces, usually in direct sunlight,” Dr. Romine said.

Signs to look out for include your dog starting to slow down or limp, or not wanting to keep walking.

If this happens, Dr. Romine recommends “checking their paw pads for tenderness, redness, or erosions and try[ing] to get them into the grass or at least shade.”

Tips for walking your dog in the heat

If you live in an area where hot concrete is unavoidable, you can try a paw wax to protect your pup’s paws. If you’d like to try one, Musher’s Secret Paw Wax is highly recommended by one of The Dodo’s editors, who uses it on her own pup.

“If you dog tolerates them, they are a fine option,” Dr. Romine said about protective products, “but remember that prolonged contact can still cause damage, and dogs still need to be monitored for signs of overheating.”

So in general, try to stick to the grass or at least the shade on your summer walks — and going out in the morning or evenings, when most surfaces aren’t in direct sun, will be much more comfortable for your dog.

(We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.)

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I must say that is a good piece of advice about placing one’s hand on the sidewalk.

We are lucky here because there is only grass to play on but not everyone is so fortunate.

Our dear Brandy!

My dog is a follower.

This post just might be of concern for you.

I have posted another article from The Dodo.

Because while 95% of the time this is a loving trait it is possible that the other 5% is an issue; your dog suffers from anxiety.

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Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?

The cutest little stalker 😅
By DANIELLE ESPOSITO
PUBLISHED ON 9/11/2020

Have you ever noticed that no matter what room you go into, your dog will eventually follow along and sprawl out — seemingly watching your every move?

While it might make your heart happily flutter when you find your dog constantly right behind you, you might also wonder why that is.

That’s why The Dodo reached out to Dr. Andrea Tu, medical director at Behavior Vets NYC, to find out a little bit more.

“Your dog may follow you everywhere simply because they like you and want to spend time with you!” Dr. Tu said.

That’s the simple answer in most cases: Dogs are pack animals and tend to feel more comfortable when their pack — aka YOU, gahh how cute — is around them.

But there can be times when the behavior might be more serious than your dog’s natural pack mentality.

“If your dog truly is like your shadow and acts like he or she is attached to you by a bungee cord, this may be indicative of an anxiety condition,” Dr. Tu said.

According to Dr. Tu, there are other anxiety signs that tend to be missed. “Other signs of anxiety that are often missed include excessive air licking, especially when there is no food around, and yawning, especially when the dog is not tired or not at times when your dog would be sleeping,” she explained.

So while there’s a good chance your pup following you around is just out of love, Dr. Tu recommends that if you are concerned, you should speak to your veterinarian — or a veterinary behaviorist — to rule out a behavior condition that may need treating.

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Our little Sweeny suffers from an anxiety issue and if he was the only dog we had then we would have a problem.

But because he mixes so well with all the other dogs it is more or less under control.

Gorgeous Sweeny!

Pedy in front of Sweeny. Picture taken October, 2016.

Overnight, as in last night, we were in for some heavy rain and the next few days see the arrival of Winter. Ah well, it was good while it lasted and it lasted for some considerable time.

Doggie love?

We humans love to be loved and, especially, by our dogs.

I am certain that all of the people who read Learning from Dogs on a regular basis are dog lovers and, just as important, your love for your dogs means that they in turn love you.

But unfortunately not everyone thinks of dogs in such a beautiful manner. For example, not far from here on Hugo Rd are a group of dogs, 4 or 5 I think, that I cycle past, and they live in outside kennels.

If you are an uncertain owner or a new owner you may want to understand more about your dog’s behaviour, or more accurately, whether your dog loves you. This article on The Dodo explains this very well.

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Does My Dog Love Me?

How to tell what those happy wiggles really mean ❤️️

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO
PUBLISHED ON 8/19/2020

Humans loveeee love. Which means we want the people — or animals — we love to show us they love us back.

But it’s sometimes hard for us to tell whether or not our dogs truly, deeply, madly love us — especially if you’re a new pet owner.

Who doesn’t want to feel all warm, fuzzy and loved by our pets?

To help you get that confirmation you’re looking for, The Dodo turned to Dr. Vanessa Spano, a veterinarian at Behavior Vets in New York City, to understand how dogs show their love.

“It is so important to understand your pets’ body language, as that is their way of communicating with us,” Dr. Spano said.

Here are some of the most common ways to tell that your dog, in fact, abso-freakin’-lutely loves you.

Your dog has a relaxed, wiggly body

“When interacting with your dog, body language signs to look out for that may indicate comfort and positivity include a relaxed body (or wiggly body during times of excitement, like play or you coming home), soft, forward ears and soft, rounded eyes,” Dr. Spano said.

He wiggles his eyebrows at you

You read that right! Doggos in love are known to raise their eyebrows when they see their owner. In fact, a 2013 Japanese study used a high-speed camera to record dogs’ faces when their humans walked into the room. It found that dogs raised their eyebrows when they saw their owners, but not when strangers walked in. *happy cry*

He wants your attention

“It is also a good sign if your dog is soliciting attention from you, such as with a play bow,” Dr. Spano said.

This can also be seen when he brings you one of his favorite toys.

He leans against you

A dog will lean on humans for a few different reasons — sometimes it’s because he’s anxious or he wants you to do something — but it’s also a sign of affection. And regardless — even if your dog is leaning against you because he’s nervous — it still indicates that he thinks of you as someone who can protect him and keep him safe.

Confusing body language to look out for

According to Dr. Spano, there are some things dogs do that humans typically consider to be signs of affection, but aren’t always.

“Confusing signs include wagging tails and exposed bellies,” Dr. Spano said. “A dog wagging his tail simply means he is aroused by the situation. This can be a good thing, but not necessarily; it depends on the context of the situation.”

This means that it’s good to notice the situations that cause each of your dog’s behaviors and begin to build an understanding of your individual dog’s moods.

For example, maybe you notice your dog always wags her tail when you walk into a room — you can equate that situation with her being happy in those moments. On the other hand, maybe you’ve also noticed she wags her tail just a bit stiffer when she sees a strange dog, and it’s almost always followed by raising her hair and growling. While she is wagging her tail in both of these situations, it’s not the same kind of tail wag.

“Similarly, a dog showing his belly may be asking for belly rubs, but it can also indicate fear,” Dr. Spano said. “Dogs do have the capability of trusting and loving you, but depending on their own fears, stress level and past experiences, it may take some time.”

So in general, look for those relaxed and wiggly bodies to know how happy your dog is to see you. Other behaviors you’ll learn over time — and it’ll just help your bond grow even stronger since you’ll be the only one who can truly detect your dog’s moods and emotions.

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Yes, it certainly takes time to really get to know a dog. Although one might think that having a number of dogs in the household makes it easier, and generally that is the case, even in a largish group one can have tensions that exist between a couple of the dogs. Knowing both dogs as well as you can enables one to adjust things so that the tension no longer exists or it becomes a very rare event.

But it is rare and, luckily, loving dogs is the normal!

I will close with a photograph of dear Oliver who is one of the most loving dogs I have come across.

Oliver. Taken at home, 17th May, 2020.