Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is My Dog Too Fat? Part 1

A friend with a Shiba Inu recently asked me if I thought the family dog was too fat. Shibas with their offstanding coat can look much wider than they really are. My friend's dog was actually fine.
But it got me thinking on the subject of feeding dogs and specifically feeding them table scraps.
Unless you are actually taking the time to prepare a full balanced diet for your dog, I don't recommend feeding people food. Your dog won't do well with our highly spiced diet and it will tend to make him turn up his nose at his regular balanced food. It's like feeding your child nothing but ice cream and potato chips. After a while you find that you can't get him to eat his peas!
But its fun to give your dog treats so I give mine raw veggies. Carrots, brocolli, cauliflower and even raw potatoes are great choices. And the veggies don't spoil their appetite.
Best Sandy

Friday, April 3, 2009

Small Dog Dominance

Hi Sandy,

Hope you are doing well. I have a question regarding Yoyo and Tony. For some odd reason these two only get along with each other. The problem starts when we have other pet guests they seem to growl and are always on attack mode especially Tony. Tony has a habit of biting strangers at their ankles he has bit UPS deliverymen, my cousin to name a few. I am not very comfortable leaving him alone around children. What can I do to prevent some of his behavior? I cannot watch him 24/7 when I have family members or friends visiting. I loved your website especially the pics.

GJ, Atlanta, GA

Tony's problem is one of dominance and the biting of ankles is basically his effort to herd people around. Guarding the house against other pets is somewhat different; he is protecting his territory. Many Silkys are aggressive towards other dogs, and while this can be toned down, it is against their nature to eliminate it entirely. You are not going to turn an alpha Silky into a cocker spaniel, no matter what you do.

The key here is the word alpha. Tony is demonstrating to you that he feels like your boss. This is not good! Last time I checked, dogs cannot answer the telephone or pay a mortgage. Even though he is not a puppy, Tony needs training to show him that you are his boss, not the other way around. I'm sure there are good obedience classes in your area. You can go on, click on Show Information, then Search By State. Click on Georgia then scroll down the shows to find an obedience club that looks fairly local. The club show page will have names and numbers of officers who can help you find a good local class. Given some good training under his belt, Tony can definitely learn that chewing on ankles is not acceptable behavior, and while I don't see him ever "playing nice" with strange dogs, a well trained Tony with a solid understanding of "DOWN!!" and "STAY!!!" will at least avoid getting killed by an irate big dog who had had enough of his nonsense.

Please keep me posted.

Best, Sandy