Category Archives: Training & Behavior

The Low Down on Mellow Dogs for Mellow People

Mellow dogs are great for mellow people.

The world of dog breeds is amazing. Canine companions come in every shape, size, and color, with different personalities to match. And whether you’re interested in a furry companion for your kids, a protective guard dog, or a running partner for yourself, chances are you can find a breed personality that matches your lifestyle.

What about another trait that many people are looking for? Mellowness (or calmness) in dogs is a highly desired trait, especially for families with children or elderly people. And, according to the American Kennel Club, there are several breeds out there with that particular characteristic.

West Park Animal Hospital explores the wide, wonderful world of mellow dogs…

Mellow Dogs: Breeds and Basics

Bulldog – The bulldog is a bit too big to be a lapdog, but he would like to be! Mellow and laid back, the bulldog is a good choice for those who are wanting a dog happy to laze around inside. They do need regular walks to prevent obesity, but a jogger this dog is not. They are known as great family dogs due to their tendency to bond with children.

Mastiff – Mastiffs of all types (Bull, English, Neapolitan) don’t need a great deal of exercise and are gentle, sweet tempered dogs. They are considered to be great family dogs but will need thoughtful socialization and training in order to behave properly around children and other dogs, as they sometimes don’t know their own strength.

Great Dane – In spite of their size, Great Danes are known as couch potatoes, and even great apartment dogs. Mellow and gentle, their loving nature has helped coin the phrase “gentle giants”. They also make great family pets.

Saint Bernard – Friendly and patient, the Saint Bernard is another of the mellow dog breeds. Their large size and hairy coat mean they need regular grooming to stay healthy. They have the reputation of being happy to go with the flow, so to speak.

Greyhound – As a sighthound, or coursing breed, you may think of greyhounds as hyperactive runners, but nothing could be further from the truth. The greyhound is a calm dog and happy to lounge around the house all day. They do need exercise opportunities to (safely) run full out, but at home are generally mild and placid.

Pug – Who doesn’t love a pug? These mellow dogs are even tempered and calm, and they fit into almost any household. It’s easy to see why they’ve been companion dogs to humans since ancient times.

Bernese Mountain Dog – Their calm, confident natures made Bernese Mountain Dogs ideal for farm work, including pulling carts to market and driving dairy cattle. Their gentle and easygoing manner again make them a good family dog. They have a strong need to be near their people.

Xoloitzcuintli – Known as the Mexican hairless dog, the “Xolo” is a relatively little-known breed. These dogs are described as loyal, calm and alert. The Xolo is also known to make an excellent companion dog. The breed was used as a healer, as it’s warm skin was put to use in remote Mexican and Central American villages to remedy ailments such as rheumatism, insomnia, and asthma.

Mellow dogs abound, it seems! Each breed is different, and of course each individual dog has his or her own personality traits within the breed. Research is a wonderful place to start, but can’t substitute for in person visits with a potential new dog for your family. Remember too that every dog does need daily exercise to be their healthiest.

The following ideas are not exhaustive, and if you would like more ideas about a great breed for your family, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are experts in breed knowledge, and have the opportunity to see and work with many different breed of dog throughout the year. We’re here to help!

One Day at a Time: Training Tips for Blind and Deaf Pets

Training blind and deaf pets isn't hard and can improve their quality of life!

Finding out your pet is losing their hearing or vision can be a devastating blow to any pet owner. Concerns regarding care and quality of life are common, and many pet owners also wonder how they’ll maintain their pet’s obedience skills if they can no longer see or hear.

The team at West Park Animal Hospital wants to assure you that training blind and deaf pets doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few adjustments and plenty of loving compassion, your special pet can still reap all the benefits of obedience training.

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Can Clicker Training Change Your Dog’s Life? Quite Simply, Yes.

Clicker training dogs is a great dog behavior system

Dogs usually know when they’ve done something wrong, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could convey to them exactly when they’ve done something right? With clicker training, your dog has a chance to learn the right ways to do things because you tell them. With the unique sound of a handheld clicker, there’s no second-guessing. Instead, you train your dog to remember the positive actions or behaviors that please you.

Let’s get clickin’!

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What to do if a Service Dog Approaches You Without Their Owner

If a service dog approaches you without its owner, there may be trouble.

Nowadays, most people know general guidelines when it comes to service dog etiquette. Refraining from petting a service dog while they’re working is an important rule, along with knowing that legitimate service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners nearly everywhere.  

However, one topic that’s rarely discussed is the very real possibility that one of these animals may approach you without their owner. Knowing what this means and how to respond appropriately may mean the difference between life and death for a service dog handler.

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Running with Your Dog: Tips for Safety and Fun

Running with your dog is great pet exerciseWhether you’re a serious or casual runner, having an exercise partner can make running more enjoyable and motivate you to get out there, even when you don’t feel like it. Your loyal canine companion can make an excellent running buddy, and regular exercise and companionship lead to a variety of wonderful benefits for both you and your pet.

Your team at West Park Animal Hospital is always on the lookout for ways to encourage safe and fun exercise for all of our sweet patients. We applaud you for your interest in running with your dog, and encourage you to keep the following safety precautions in mind before you hit the pavement or trail together. Continue reading

Dog Tricks 101: Fun, Useful, and Simple Ways to Engage Your Pooch

dog tricksThere’s no denying the benefits of dog training. Properly trained and socialized dogs are happier and safer overall, and are easier and more fun to be around than an untrained pooch. Dog tricks can complement and improve a dog’s command of obedience an, and in many cases can be useful and fun for humans too!

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The Problem with Fake Service Animals

fake service animalsModern pets enjoy lives their ancestors would hardly recognize. Not only do we provide them with the best in nutrition and medical care, we also have a respect for animals that has grown considerably in recent decades. Studies show that most pet owners now consider their four-legged companions family members.

Indeed, pets are wonderful additions to our homes and families. But what happens when the desire to include our fur babies in every aspect of our daily lives leads to problems?

It’s easy to purchase a service animal vest online and hop on a plane or walk into a restaurant with your pet these days. Unfortunately, the rise in these fake service animals has significant costs to those who truly depend upon an animal for their independence and, in many cases, their lives.

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The Confounding Logic of a Hoarding Dog

hoarding dogHave you ever lifted up your couch only to find a giant collection of bones, treats, or toys that dates back many, many months? What about shining a light on the dark corner in the back of your closet to reveal a veritable mini-mountain of kibble? You’re not alone. In fact, many people have a hoarding dog, but they either haven’t discovered it yet or they simply don’t know what to do. It may seem like we’re making up this wack-a-doo dog behavior, but this real canine conduct has possibly sound logic behind it.

Why Does My Dog Hoard?

Dogs have various behaviors that root all the way back to their wild ancestors. Before they became our natural best friends, dogs didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. To be sure, many dogs either starved or ate questionable meals every few days or so. As a result, when wild dogs got a big pay day, they either buried or hid it to nibble on over the course of several days. Among other animals that continue this behavior today, foxes are also well known to hoard.

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Why Your Pet is Scared of the Vacuum Cleaner and What You Can Do About It

Few modern housekeeping tools are as highly valued as the vacuum cleaner, especially for pet owners dealing with fur on the carpet, floors, and furniture. However, when a pet runs in fear, barks, hides, or quivers when the trusty vacuum is pulled out, it can be upsetting, to say the least. Having a pet who’s scared of the vacuum is a perplexing problem, but fortunately, there are strategies that can help owners keep their pets calm.

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Potty Mouth: Why do Pets Drink From the Toilet?

toilet drinkingToilets and pets are never a combo you want to encounter; however, seeing a pet take a sip of toilet water is a common scene. Drinking from the toilet seems like a pretty disgusting way to stay hydrated – particularly when you offer your pet multiple bowls of fresh water around the home.

So, what’s with this obsession? Why do pets drink from the toilet, and is it safe? The team at West Park sets out to address this unsavory attraction to the “toilet bowl beverage.”

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