The Holiday season is upon us, and if you have a Great Dane or especially a puppy, you may be worried about how to dog proof your Christmas tree.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of Fido knocking over my beautiful decorations (and no doubt crushing some ornaments in the process) does NOT appeal to me!!! It is rather odd that we bring live trees into our home. They look beautiful to us, but to our dog, they smell interesting and look like something that needs to be peed on, chewed on, or destroyed.
So what is a Great Dane dog owner like yourself to do? Read this article, of course! We’re Dane owners, and we’ve totally been here. Let’s puppy-proof YOUR Christmas!
Check out this peel & stick Christmas Tree that can safely be used on almost any wall! Use this instead of a 3D Christmas tree if you are tight on space, don’t have time for the mess, or just need to not stress about your dog causing trouble.
Block the Christmas Tree
Sometimes, the best and easiest way to keep your dog away from the Christmas tree is to literally build a fence around it.
We’ve heard through the grapevine that Great Dane owners have tried everything from blocking it with vacuum cleaners (oooh, scary!) to surrounding it with chairs.
Enter the Amazon Basics Dog Pet System, which is 42″ tall (get the largest size!) and can be placed around your Christmas tree to keep your dog from well…making a mess.
This solution is especially great for dogs that like to knock things over, unwrap presents, and remove ornaments from the tree, too!
Train Your Dog to Leave the Christmas Tree Alone
Of course, all of the above solutions might take away from the Holiday magic of a beautiful tree and decorations in your home.
Enter…training. I know, I know – this one does take a little bit of effort but it’s well worth it!
There are two commands that help with keeping dogs away from the Christmas tree (and the Christmas cookies, and the presents…).
Those two commands are:
First, you are going to teach your Great Dane “LEAVE IT”, ideally before the tree comes into your home.
How to Teach “LEAVE-IT” to Great Danes
Hold 3-4 high-value treats in your hand. Allow your dog to sniff your hand but NOT to access the treats. As soon as your dog gets annoyed and moves its nose away from your hand, say “YES” and offer a treat (not from your hand, from a treat pouch).
Now, open your hand with the treats in it, and as soon as your dog lunges to grab them, snap your hand shut.
Wait, once again, for your dog to turn its head away from your hand, then mark with a “YES” and reward the behavior with a treat.
Repeat this process until your dog figures out (usually pretty quickly) that they are rewarded when the leave the treats in your hand (even when your hand is open)!
With practice, you can begin to say “LEAVE IT” and your dog will immediately look you, instead, because “Leave it” and ignoring high-value things results in treats and praise! Start teaching this behavior NOW so that you can apply it to the Christmas Tree.
Now that you can ask your dog to “LEAVE IT” when they approach the tree, you can also install a fail-proof system where your dog lays down on a mat and doesn’t get up until you tell them that they can.
I believe that all Great Danes should know the “PLACE” command. This way, your dog isn’t bugging the tree when you aren’t there to supervise.
Here is a great video from Kikopup on how to teach the “PLACE” or “BED” command.
How to Stop a Dog from Peeing on the Christmas Tree
Of course, you can do all of these things and still have problems with a dog that wants to pee on the Christmas tree.
All of the above solutions will be helpful, with one major additional pro tip.
Allow your puppy to sniff and explore the tree, but make sure that having it in the home is no big deal and seems like just part of your routine! When you lead your young and impressionable puppy this way, they may learn that the tree is just another thing in the environment to ignore.
Puppies are, however, curious and tenacious creatures and in some ways, the Christmas tree may be unsafe for them! They can knock it over or take ornaments off the bottom that are dangerous for them.
You can always make it a point to only decorate the top half of your tree! This way, your puppy cannot grab any ornaments and run. Always supervise your puppy around the Christmas tree!
Christmas Tree Gifts for Dog Lovers
A good old-fashioned Holiday post would be incomplete without mention of our limited-edition Great Dane Christmas tote! Get yours HERE.
What other solutions have you found to dog-proof your Christmas tree?
Great Danes are giant breed dogs and if you’ve spent any time around them, you know they are both “Gentle Giant” and “Giant train-wreck!” If you know, you know. Here are 5 obedience commands every Great Dane should know.
Today’s post is part tongue-in-cheek, part reality, and 100% necessary if you live with a dog that is larger than life!
Because living with a giant-breed dog has its moments, many people lovingly find themselves degrading their dog’s names into a series of nicknames.
Beau = Bozo
Moose – Mooove it
Duke – Doofus Face
Bella – Big Bella
Wren – Wreck it Wren
And so on. Us Dane owners mean well, we really do! So in order to avoid shouting a constant stream of frustrated expletives, it’s important that our big dogs are well-trained. Here are my 5 top obedience commands all Great Dane dogs should know.
Get Out of There!
Remember, Great Danes are NOSY. They want to know what is going on, why it’s happening, and how they can help.
That’s why teaching a solid “OUT” or “WALK AWAY” command to your Great Dane is so important.
“OUT” or “WALK AWAY” means, “get the flip out of there“.
Keep in mind that some people use the term “OUT” to command a dog to drop something or stop in bite work sports, so if that’s you, choose a different word.
By using a calm voice, you can help keep Bozo or Jackass from getting into places they shouldn’t – like the neighbor’s trash cans.
How to teach this:
With your dog on a leash, encourage them to explore something interesting and novel such as a box or toy.
Then say “WALK AWAY” and apply a small amount of leash tension. As soon as your dog turns towards you, say YES and then toss a few treats on the ground. The treats should be behind you so that your dog has to literally walk away from the object to get to them.
Repeat this several times, then practice again another time or day. With time and practice, your Great Dane will understand the command and you’ll be able to give it when needed. For example, when Doofus Face is nosing into the bathroom while you are taking a shower.
Get Off of That!
Jumping is for trampoline parks, and coffee tables are for…coffee.
The “OFF” command literally means “get off”. That could mean anything from “Get off of our guests” and “stop jumping” to “get off of the back of the couch!” or “why are you on the table, again!”.
They believe they fit on laps, love to give kisses, and are likely to have no hesitation about getting on top of crates, tables, or counters.
Great Danes do NOT KNOW HOW BIG THEY ARE.
I repeat. They have no clue and they don’t care, either.
You have to teach OFF. For Great Danes, this particular obedience command is more important than “SIT”. Prove me wrong! If you are ready to learn how to train a great dane not to jump, get on top of things, or hop the fence, read on.
How to teach this:
The trick with this particular command is that to truly practice it, your dog may have to be doing something we don’t want them doing. However, because we don’t want Big Bella practicing the behavior of sitting on top of the counters, it’s best to avoid that situation.
You can replicate it, however, with a towel.
Keep your dog on a leash. Put a towel on the ground and ask your dog to be on it (it’s helpful if your dog knows the “PLACE” command, which we cover below).
Say “OFF” and toss a treat away from the towel. If your dog won’t leave the towel, add a little leash pressure as a tactile communication.
Rinse and repeat. Several times, because dogs need repetition!
With time, you’ll be able to apply the “OFF” obedience command to several things (for example, jumping on a guest or the fence, which should be first practiced while your dog is on a leash. As soon as your dog goes to jump, say “OFF” and toss a treat away from the person or thing that they are jumping on).
Quite Pulling, We’re Not in a Sled Race!
Great Danes that pull, lunge, or display reactivity on a leash are actually pretty dangerous animals. I’m not talking dangerous like a shark, I’m talking dangerous like a FREIGHT TRAIN.
Yes, even sweet Moose, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, can take you for a ride if he sees a squirrel he wants!
Enter the following commands “HEEL”, “WITH ME”, “EASY”, “TOUCH”, and “LOOK”.
I know what you are saying here. “But Hello Danes people, that’s 5 commands for just this one thing!!!”
Heel – Walk neatly by my side
With Me – Walk nicely near me
Easy – Cool your jets
Touch – Touch your nose to my palm
Look – Make eye contact with me
How to teach this:
Because this is SUCH a broad topic, here are some of our favorite articles. There are many theories out there on how to control a Great Dane; we wouldn’t be Hello Danes if we didn’t share our favorites (and our gripes, too).
As before, good training uses a lot of treats. Here are some of our dog’s favorites:
Sometimes we want our Great Danes to walk by our side. Occasionally, we may even welcome them throwing their entire bodies onto our laps or jumping up onto our shoulders for loving. Other times, we want to watch them run and zoomie all over the place.
That is, of course, until they become an elephant in an antique store.
Enter the “PLACE” command. Think of it like your dog’s charging device. Occasionally, they need to go back on their chargers to rest and stay out of your way.
How to Teach This
Use a mat, towel, elevated cot, or dog bed.
Throw a treat on the mat and say “PLACE”. Your dog will go onto the mat, at which point you will also praise your dog. Then say “FREE” and toss a treat off of the mat.
Gradually add time between your “PLACE” and “FREE” commands, and with practice, you’ll even be able to walk away. Start by taking one step back, then 5, then 10, and so on until you can go out of sight, open the front door, or eat a meal and have your dog stay on the mat until you say the magic word (FREE).
You don’t need to use corrections, pressure, or frustration to teach this! Just be patient and take baby steps.
Hey You, Get Back Here!
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my giant freight train of a dog running amok off-leash and refusing to come when called.
Use the long line and the treats to teach and reward recall (“COME”) several times in several different places. Your dog should be able to come back for a treat, praise, or fun game from 1 foot away or 20 feet away in several environments.
Now, if you did an OOOPS and scolded your dog, even once, for ignoring the word “COME”, I suggest changing that word to something that you can build a fresh positive association with. Examples include “HERE” or “JOIN ME”.
Coming back should ALWAYS be a party and a good time.
At that point, you can layer in an E-Collar, which uses gentle muscle stimulation to replace leash pressure (making it an exceptional backup device for off-leash exploration anywhere you go).
Another reason for a dog’s swallowing may be due to an oral infection, which can cause inflammation and pain. If your dog is pawing at his face or head, this could be a sign that the dog’s mouth and salivary glands need evaluated.
THE SALIVARY GLANDS
In many issues of a dog swallowing or when he keeps licking his lips, it is due to the salivary glands . These are the glands that produce saliva, and if they are not functioning properly, it can lead to a buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. It can also create an environment where bacteria can grow, leading to gingivitis or periodontal disease.
Excessive saliva can be caused by a variety of dental disease, so if your dog starts to constantly lick or swallow repeatedly, it may be time for a dental exam.
DIGESTIVE ISSUES IN YOUR DOG
Sometimes, dog owners notice that if their dog has an upset tummy, their dog licks their lips frequently, has excess saliva, and is continuously swallowing.
Acid reflux can make a dog have trouble swallowing, and can result in the dog licking his lips continuously.
WHAT CAUSES REFLUX?
Some dogs are more prone to reflux, through genetics and breeding. A dog’s behavior is also indicitive of reflux, as anxiety can be a contributing factor of whether your dog experiences gut health issues.
A dog might also experience reflux if they are given a poor diet, if the dog eats grass to excess, or if the dog eats too fast or if the dog swallowed something he was not meant to. Keep in mind dogs consume grass for a variety of reasons, so a dog licking lips and drinking lots of water or eating grass does not necessarily mean acid reflux.
SYMPTOMS ASSOCIATED WITH REFLUX
Other symptoms that may be associated with your dog’s acid reflux include:
Gurgling noises from the stomach
Regurgitation of food or liquid
Licking and swallowing
Dog keeps licking his lips
CHOOSING THE RIGHT DOG FOOD
Dogs, like all living things, need to be on the right diet. Lip licking and continuous swallowing could be a sign that the dog food you are feeding is not right for them.
A dog swallowing an item that he cannot digest is one of the most dangerous issues that pet parents face. An obstruction can take place in any dog, causing major health problems and, in some cases, death.
A foreign object that your dog ingests can cause a blockage in the intestines, or it can puncture the stomach or intestine. If not caught in time, this can be a fatal condition for your dog.
If you think that your dog has swallowed a foreign object, they should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.
If your dog is licking and swallowing more than usual, they may be dehydrated.
To check for dehydration, lift up the skin on the back of your dog’s neck. The skin should snap back into place immediately. If the skin tent stays up, this is a sign of dehydration and could be a reason that your dog constantly licks.
Kidney issues in dogs needs to be treated by a professional, and blood tests should be ran.
Sometimes, pet owners will notice their dog keeps licking and swallowing, but there is no medical reason for it.
In these cases, it is likely that the dog is just thirsty and trying to cool down their body temperature.
Dogs do not sweat like humans do, so they need to lick to help keep them cool.
If your dog is outside in the heat, make sure to provide them with fresh, cool water to drink and a shady spot to rest.
Dogs can overheat quickly, so it is important to keep an eye on them during hot weather.
There are many reasons why a dog would lick their lips or swallow excessively. Most of the time it is due to a digestive issue, but it is best to rule out all other potential causes of lip licking and excessive swallowing.
If you have dogs and notice that one dog keeps licking excessively or continuously swallowing, try working through this list of potential causes to see if you can find a reason. If all other potential causes have been ruled out and your dog is still licking excessively, it is best to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying health conditions.
There’s something uniquely special about Great Danes – they’re big, muscular dogs that are often referred to as the gentle giants of the canine world. But despite their docile appearance, many Great Danes are scared of everything!
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why these dogs might be so fearful and offer some tips for helping them overcome their fears.
Unfortunately, these dogs will also be more prone to bloat, a painful and extremely deadly condition in large and giant breed dogs. There are definitely genetic causes behind fearfulness, bloat, and temperament that need more research.
The environment in which a dog is raised has a tremendous impact on its behavior and fear levels. It is believed that dogs with a genetic predisposition to fearfulness, anxiety, and aggression may be more susceptible to damage caused by these factors.
This is why some dogs can experience traumatic events and still be calm, sweet, and loving while other dogs will become extremely reactive and fearful after a mild but stressful everyday occurrence (such as a veterinary visit or being left home alone).
Great Danes who are exposed to loud noises, sudden movements, or rough handling when they are young may be more likely to become fearful than those who are not. There is a huge difference between positive exposure to things in the environment, and flat-out scaring a puppy for life.
These environmental factors can include anything from thunderstorms to being scolded. For some dogs, hearing a loud car zoom by just once is enough to cause them to fear cars for life.
These dogs may also be more prone to developing separation anxiety and becoming overly attached to their owners, too.
Dogs living in shelters, or who have been rescued from situations such as puppy mills, often come with a multitude of behavioral issues. Some of this is because of the aforementioned genetic link, and some of it is because they weren’t offered the gentle, positive early socialization that they needed in life.
A single dog attack, a bad experience with a child, or a yank of the leash on the neck can be enough to cause a dog to become fearful of certain people, animals, situations, and environments.
This is not to say we should coddle our dogs and prevent all forms of stress or potential negative experiences!
As a matter of fact, previous studies show that small amounts of stress can actually build confidence. It is important to be aware of our dog’s degree of fear and make sure to provide them with gentle guidance and encouragement when possible, not coddling.
Bad Dog Training Methods
This is one of the most commonly overlooked reasons why Great Danes are often scared of everything. When a dog is trained using punishment, fear, intimidation, or too much physical restraint it can become fearful and anxious.
Positive training techniques should always be used with Great Danes to ensure that their relationship with humans is based on trust and respect.
Even the most gentle, well-tempered dog is susceptible to this.
Communicating to your dog with vocal cues (such as “easy”, “with me”, or “look”) and rewarding that behavior is much more effective than relying on physical restraint and force. Pair this with the gentle on/off pressure from a properly fit prong collar to teach positive loose-leash walking skills.
Finally, dogs have an innate sense of body language that can greatly affect how they interpret a handler’s attitude. If their owner or handler is anxious or fearful, the dog will pick up on those emotions and become anxious as well. It is important to remain calm when handling Great Danes in order to communicate that there is nothing to fear.
A lack of socialization can cause Great Danes to develop fear and anxiety about new people, places, animals, and situations.
Good breeders are using programs such as Puppy Culture and ENS to develop strong and resilient dogs by taking advantage of the early stages of development. Brain development in the first weeks of life is incredible and every experience that the puppy has at that stage can have a significant impact on temperament.
Giving Great Danes a good start in life with responsible breeding, positive training, and proper socialization methods should help prevent them from being scared of everything!
We’ve created a well-loved Great Dane puppy socialization guide for reference. You can view it here:
Your veterinarian can rule out any physical ailments or conditions that could be causing the fear response in your dog. Even something as simple as a change in diet can make a big difference in how a dog looks, feels, acts, and behaves!
Even puppies can be suffering from medical conditions and pain that cause them to be nervous, anxious, timid, frustrated, or aggressive.
Always talk to your veterinarian if your dog isn’t happy, healthy, energetic, and robust.
How do you Calm a Scared Great Dane?
If you have a fearful, timid, or reactive Great Dane, the key is to provide them with positive experiences.
Focus on building trust and strengthening your bond – working through a few simple obedience exercises (or learning new tricks) can be a great way to bond with your pup and give them something to focus their energy on.
Never coddle your dog, either! It’s important to recognize that your pup needs help, but it’s also important to be strong and confident in your leadership.
Many times, by showing confidence and calm indifference yourself, you can naturally deescalate the fear and anxiety that your dog is feeling.
Throw in a little bit of positive reinforcement and with time, your dog can learn that great things and opportunities are all around them. A quality training program can be the difference between a scared and timid pup, to an outgoing and confident dog.
A lot of people believe that a fearful dog can be “cured” with enough love and attention. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Dogs can learn to cope better and develop more confidence over time, but many times the fear is still likely to remain at some level. It’s important to remember that fear was an evolutionary adaptation for our dogs – in the interest of survival, it’s quite normal for them to be cautious of some things!
It’s our job as owners and guardians to help them learn to live with and cope with that fear, rather than trying to “cure” it away.
It’s also important that we stop spreading misinformation. It’s not a “Dane thing” to be fearful, unstable, and flighty.
Don’t Make This Mistake
Showing a dog something that they are scared to elicit a funny (read: fearful) reaction for social media is not cute.
This is extremely poor handling and is wildly unfair to dogs who aren’t sure how to cope with the world in a healthy way.
If you have a scared or anxious dog, know that you are not alone. Many other dog owners share your struggles!
Reach out to your veterinarian, an experienced trainer, and professional resources for help in working with and managing your pup’s behavior. Do some research into positive behavior modification techniques such as B.A.T. 2.0 by Grisha Stewart as well.
It can take time and patience to get to the bottom of why your pup is so scared, but doing so will be better for their health and happiness!
A dog play bow is a friendly gesture that dogs typically use when they want to invite another dog to play. The gesture is made by lowering the front half of the body while keeping the rear end and tail up in the air. This position may also be accompanied by a wagging tail and an enthusiastic expression on the dog’s face.
When dogs bow to each other, they are essentially using a social interaction and inviting each other to play.
A play bow from a dog will usually present with body language of the dog keeping their rear end and tail in the air while lowering their front half down to the ground with their front legs extended. Typically, during play bows, the dog bows so low that it pushes their chest low to the ground which suggests at least a bit of submission towards the other dogs it is playing with. The dog may also have an enthusiastic expression and may be wagging their tail.
A bow from a dog is often considered a friendly gesture and is used when they want to invite another dog to play.
PLAY BOWS WHILE A DOG PLAYS WITH OTHER DOGS
While playing, a dog might use a bow to show their submission to the other dog. This is most likely to happen when the play gets too rough and one of the dogs wants to submit and end the playtime.
A DOG MIGHT USE PLAY BOWS AS A MEANS OF BEGGING FOR FOOD
A dog might also use a bow as a way of begging for food or attention from its owner. Begging bows are different from play bows, as the dog will keep its entire body low to the ground with its head down and its rear end in the air. This is a very different posture from a play bow, which has a more confident and relaxed feel to it.
WHAT DOES IT TELL YOU ABOUT A DOG WHO FREQUENTLY PLAY BOWS?
If you have a pet who loves to play with other dogs and you notice frequently uses the play bow, you can learn a few things about them.
First off, the play bow typically suggests that your dog understands the social hierarchy of dogs or animals.
Maybe your pup is playing with an older pet and understands that his/her energy level is too high for that particular animal. In that case, the play bow suggests your dogs understanding of social hierarchy and is a way of showing an attempt of calming himself down with a play bow.
Additionally, if your dog frequently uses the play bow while playing with other dogs, it’s likely that they are confident and secure in their own skin. This is a good trait to have in a pet!
Lastly, if you see your dog using the play bow frequently, it possibly suggests that your pup is in tune with the different ways of play.
Some dogs get too rough when they play, not understanding or sitting back to watch the way in which other pets might desire to play.
But using a play signal like a play bow allows pets to gain a better understanding of the type of play their furry friend is looking for.
BOWING AS AN INVITATION TO PLAY: HOW TO DO A DOG PLAY BOW
Now that we know a little more about dog bows and what they mean, you might be wondering how to do a play bow with your own pet!
It is possible to play with your pup while you rough house with them in a safe way!
Just make sure to train your dog an ‘enough’ command first so that they are sure to stop when you need them to.
Then, you can wrestle and wrangle them just like another dog might and stay safe the whole time.
When I met my friend Natalie (we have littermates and started this blog together), I was a noisy card-carrying member of the ‘force-free’ dog training club. Both of us were anti-Purina and hated ‘big kibble’, too. I disliked breeders and believed only in rescue. Prong collars and E-Collars? NEVER.
Together, we wanted our blog to be rooted in ethics, not to mention current research, science, and methods.
What surprised me was learning just how much my mind began to change as I researched and shared information from legitimate scientific sources. The more studies I read and the more I learned, the farther I strayed from those original ideas I had about training, food, and breeding.
I have since revoked my membership to the force-free, kibble hating, breeder hating dog club.
As a science-backed blogger and dog advocate, here are 5 CONTROVERSIAL ways I raise my Danes. From nutrition, to training, to E-Collars, I’m sharing it all!
In the Great Dane community, it’s long been cited that resting before or after meals would prevent bloat.
(Bloat is a deadly condition in large and giant breed dogs where their stomach fills up with gas, fluid, or air. If the stomach flips, the prognosis is grim. This condition is often sudden and may result in death, quickly. There is no known trigger. However, there are known risk factors including genetics, unstable temperaments, and poor gut health).
However, during THIS STUDY at Tufts University, researchers found absolutely no correlation between exercise and bloat. The study indicated that most cases of bloat happen to dogs that are resting, not moving!
There was no correlation of bloat risk to exercise before or after eating, as most dogs bloated in the middle of the night with an empty, gas-filled stomach.
Tufts University Bloat Study
This is not to say that rest will kill a Great Dane. But we need to stop villifying movement and food, too.
There has never been a single study proving that movement caused bloat in dogs or that rest was a legitimate way to keep it from happening. As a matter of fact, bloat rates have increased dramatically in the last 30+ years despite ‘resting’ being cited as a preventative.
I hate to break it to you, but it’s not working.
While it may be smart to take it easy after meals to prevent indigestion or stretching the stomach ligaments out (which CAN lead to an increased risk of bloat over time), movement itself is not likely to be a trigger.
I don’t believe in the false sense of security that this old-school, outdated advice provides.
I Use a Prong Collar
Prong collars look awful. They are metal and pokey, which makes people assume that they work by being extremely painful.
Why is this? Prong collars are built to distribute pressure evenly around the neck. This pressure does not hurt or pinch, but it is uncomfortable.
Coincidentally, the pressure from front-clip “no-pull” harnesses and “gentle leaders” is uncomfortable too. That’s why they work. The difference here is that the prong collar doesn’t rely on restricting movement.
“No-Pull” harnesses restrict shoulder movement and alter the dog’s gait, causing potential damage and pain to the front assembly and joints. “Gentle Leader” type head collars restrict neck and head movement and can potentially damage the eyes, nose, jaw, and spine.
Watch THIS video on YouTube to learn more. ⬅ One of the best parts about this video is that the dog’s body language immediately improves when the trainer removes the harness from her! The harness was causing suppression of her emotion and behavior; a common problem that people don’t notice or care to admit.
The prong collar offers a simple, painless, on-off sensation that solves a LOT of problems for millions of people struggling with their dogs.
Look, these are GIANT breed dogs. Even the most well trained animal is stronger than most humans. Lunging, pulling, and reactivity are dangerous behaviors in Great Danes, and it’s not fair to lock them up for life because we cannot trust them to be polite, calm, and gentle on a leash.
As I mentioned above, I revoked my card to the anti-Purina club. I used to be a rabid hater of all things Purina. As far as I was concerned, Royal Canin was trash, and Hill’s Science Diet? Don’t get me started.
All three of my dogs were struggling in some way or another. Chronic loose stools, swollen paws, itching, heat intolerance. Then one of my dogs became very, very sick. She was lethargic, had become weak, had no muscle tone, and had developed some concerning health problems.
My veterinarian implored me to put her on Hill’s Science Diet or Purina, a suggestion that I thought was appalling and gross. I thought, “She is literally dying, why would I put her on that food and make it worse?”
So I took her bloodwork into Chuck & Don’s and asked a pet store employee to look it over and give me advice.
Read that again. I asked a pet store employee, with no qualifications, to tell me how to treat my dog.
He told me to choose a “high-quality” diet from their shelves, and “steer clear of that nasty Hill’s Science Diet trash“.
In telling me this, he validated my own misguided beliefs, and generated sales. 🚩
It made ME feel good to buy that $90 bag of ‘Holistic Super-Premium” kibble, but it did not make my dog feel good. As a matter of fact, it did nothing for her.
Do you know what did make her feel good and ultimately saved her life? PURINA PRO PLAN.
Many dog food brands use sneaky tricks and marketing tactics including ‘Ingredient Splitting’ to make you think the food has a higher meat content or is healthier. Everything they say is to get you to make a purchase.
The more ‘holistic, natural, and premium’ the kibble seems, the more likely it is that they are better at marketing than they are at making truly nutritious and balanced food.
READ MORE at the Tufts University Petfoodolgy blog. This is the most scientific, modern source for nutrition information and is run by veterinarians with board certifications in nutrition. One of the veterinary nutritionists is even a consultant for BalanceIt, where you can create safe, balanced homemade food recipes for your dog. Everything they say is backed by actual research, and you won’t find an ad, affiliate link, or financial motivation in sight.
My Dogs are E-Collar Trained
Yup. That’s me. Former “Force-Free” dog training fanatic.
All three of my dogs are now E-Collar trained. The “force-free / R+ / Positive ” dog training community HATES E-Collars, and with good reason.
E-Collars are different. They first require that the dog has a good foundation in basic positive obedience.
Then, they use a gentle muscle stimulation that is not aversive or painful. This stimulation is often imperceptible to humans and replaces leash pressure. By replacing leash pressure, we can effectively and safely eliminate physical restraint. This is an incredible innovation for giant breed dogs who are strong and powerful!
By eliminating physical restraint, we eliminate the frustration, safety problems, physical power struggles, and potential damage to the head, neck, and shoulders that can be caused by collars, head collars, harnesses, and long lines.
Because I trained my dogs to respond to very low levels of muscle stimulation, they can be off-leash anywhere that it is safe and legal to do so. They don’t have to drag long lines around, I can trust them to be in my front yard, and they would never, ever dream of bolting, jumping a fence, or leaving our property. If they did, the pressure (not shocks! Pressure, like hitting the end of a long leash) from their E-Collar will remind them to turn around.
When they turn around, the pressure is gone; they are 100% in control of their collars and the sensation that comes from them.
Since E-Collar training my dogs, they have more freedom, more choice, and more enrichment than ever before.
I Let My Dogs be Dogs
What does it mean to let a dog be a dog?
It means letting them get dirty. Allowing them to roll in mud pits, dig holes, crawl through the grass, and explore the world around them to their heart’s content.
Letting a dog be a dog means treating them like dogs, not people or children. Giving them boundaries and saying NO to keep them safe, so that I can tell them YES as much as possible.
It means letting them sniff the ground on walks, or better yet, be allowed to run naturally and freely off-leash as much as possible. That off-leash privilege begins with training, lots of boundaries, and yes, an E-Collar.
All three of my dogs have orthopedic issues related to injuries from before I got them. Two are missing legs, one has a very deformed foot. I do not coddle them. They are allowed to run, play, tumble, struggle, fall, and get up again like any other dog. I take them to training classes. We go hiking. We walk. We play.
With Boundaries, of Course…
Educated dog ownership means never humanizing their emotions.
I have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to teeth, nails, and baths. My dogs get their spa treatments on a regular basis whether they like it or not. This is one place where I don’t let them just ‘be dogs’, because if I did, I would be neglecting needs that aren’t met naturally in the typical suburban home.
We see the veterinarian regularly. I don’t coddle them there but we do make it a good experience – so much so that even my more timid rescue girl will willingly go with the veterinarian and lay down politely for her exams. They step onto the scales because I made it clear that it was not-negotiable.
To some extent, I believe that the ‘force-free’ and ‘fear-free’ movement is harmful. Dogs who never face stress don’t learn to cope with it either, and it’s not uncommon for frustration, reactivity and fear to increase with those methods.
Dogs are not babies. We don’t have to coddle them or remove every single stress from their lives. Being isolated and restrained in the name of avoiding all forms of stress is no life for a dog at all. That said, we don’t have to be jerks to them, either! Force and harsh physical handling are not cool. Find some middle ground.
Because I have high expectations of them, they are happier, calmer, friendlier, and stronger as a result!
Bonus: I Keep My Dogs LEAN
If I had a dollar for every person who asked me if my dogs were starving, I’d be rich. They are not starving. They are covered in muscle and have tons of energy. Starving dogs can’t say the same.
We are SO used to seeing overweight dogs, that a healthy-weight dog covered in muscle can appear alarmingly thin. Our perception has been skewed.
Danes are a lean breed. They take forever to mature, too. This photo is of my intact male at around age 2. He still has some filling out to do here, but not in terms of fat! His head, chest, and hips continued to broaden from this point on.
If you want to reduce cancer risk, keep your dog lean! That’s step one.
I really could add a 7th item to this list about spaying and neutering, but I’ll stop here and save it for another day 🙂
Dog tail in between legs: dog tails tell the story of how they feel. If your dog’s tail is in between their legs, this usually means they are feeling scared or submissive.
Sometimes, a dog will also tuck their tail if they are in pain. If you see your dog with their tail in between their legs, take note of their body language and try to comfort them if possible.
One of the most common ways that dogs communicate is through their tails. When a dog’s tail is held low and between their legs, it usually means they are feeling scared or submissive. This is often seen when a new dog meets another dog for the first time, or when they are being scolded by their owner.
So, how can you determine what canine body language means what and whether your dog’s tail is something to be alarmed at?
DOG TAIL IN BETWEEN LEGS: RED FLAG OR NOT A BIG DEAL?
A dog with a tail between their legs is usually a sign for something. But, what is it a sign for?
That is the biggest question for dog owners.
A dog’s tail position is one of the biggest giveaway’s to how they are feeling.
Traditionally, pet owners have always thought that if a dog is feeling happy, their tail will be high up in the air and wagging back and forth. If they are feeling scared or submissive, their tail will be low to the ground and between their legs.
However, pet experts have researched tail behavior in many different dog breeds and allowed us to learn more about our canine companion in relation to the ‘tale’ that the dog tail tells.
WHAT DOES A DOG TUCKING ITS TAIL BETWEEN THEIR LEGS USUALLY MEAN?
Typically, a dog’s tail position tucked between their legs, a lowered tail, or a tail tucked slightly below their body means that the dog is feeling insecure.
The dog might have been frightened by other dogs or experiencing an unfamiliar environment. The tail between their legs is a distinct body language from your furry friend that the dog is showing submission, fear, anxiety, or feeling uncomfortable.
As a dog owner, if you see your dog with their tail between their legs, have a look at the environment around you and see if you can determine what it might be to cause your dog’s tail to tuck under their hind legs. You might be surprised at how tail positions can help you understand your dog better.
HOW CAN WE GET TO KNOW OUR DOG BETTER BY UNDERSTANDING THEIR TAILS?
The many dog tail positions have a lot to speak to dog owners about.
A dog’s tail tells it’s owner whether it is feeling ashamed, whether it is enjoying it’s new environment, and can even be clues as to a dog’s behavior.
DOG BODY LANGUAGE AND TAILS
A TUCKED TAIL: A dog’s tail tucked typically is a classic example of dogs who are showing fear, submission, or a general discomfort.
A WAGGING TAIL: A wagging tail does not always mean a happy dog. In fact, a dog could be wagging its tail because it is feeling threatened or even aggressive. If you see a dog with its tail high in the air and stiff, this is usually a sign that the dog is feeling dominant or aggressive.
A TALL BUT NOT STIFF TAIL: A dog tail that is held slightly upward but not stiff or outward might be representing a dog who is feeling confident and alert.
A HAPPY AND LOW TAIL WAG: A dog wagging its tail low to the ground and in a relaxed manner is usually a good sign that the dog is feeling content and happy.
A SUDDEN TAIL TUCKED: A dog that suddenly tucks its tail can be a sign that they are about to do something mis
A LIMBER TAIL: A tail that is hanging limply or appear to be broken can be a sign of pain or injury in your furry friend If you see your dog with a limp tail, it’s best to take them to the vet right away as Limber Tail Syndrome can be very painful.
Dogs communicate a lot through their tails, and as a pet owner, it’s important to be able to understand what your dog is trying to communicate with their dog wags and tail tucks.
Not all dog breeds will have the same ‘rules’ of dog tail communication.
For example, there is a big difference in tails between a dog bred for hunting, like a Labrador Retriever, and a dog bred for herding, like an Australian Cattle Dog.
Dogs that were bred for hunting typically have tails that are used as a rudder when swimming and help them to change directions quickly when running after prey. This is why many hunting dogs have tails that are long, strong, and thick.
On the other hand, dogs that were bred for herding typically have tails that are shorter so that they do not get in the way when running and working. Additionally, herding dogs often have docked tails, which is when the tail is shortened surgically, in order to avoid injury while working.
Other dogs, like terrier breeds, were bred to work underground in dens and burrows. For these dogs, having a long tail would be more of a hindrance than a help. This is why many terrier breeds have naturally short tails or docked tails.
French Bulldogs will have a tail that is naturally short due to their genetics, while a Poodle’s tail will be curly due to years of breeding.
Knowing the difference in dog tails can help you understand why your dog wags their tail the way they do and can also be helpful in deciphering what your dog is trying to communicate.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics of dog tail communication, let’s take a look at some of the different tail positions and what they might mean.
If your dog’s tail is wagging back and forth rapidly, this usually means they are happy and content.
If your dog’s tail is tucked under their hind legs, this usually means they are feeling threatened or aggressive.
If your dog’s tail is stiff and held up high in the air, it usually means they are feeling dominant or confident.
If your dog’s tail is hanging limply, this might be a sign that they are in pain or injured and you should take them to the vet right away.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG HAS IT’S TAIL TUCKED AROUND OTHER DOGS
If you notice your dog has his or her tail tucked around other dogs, it could or could not be a problem.
Do you think that your dog is afraid? Do you think your dog is experiencing anxiety? If you think so, then you might want to make some changes so that your dog feels confident around its canine friends.
If you don’t think that your dog is afraid or anxious, then it’s possible that they are just being polite. In the canine world, it’s considered rude to go nose-to-nose with another dog, so they may be showing a tail slightly tucked as a behavior when they are around many dogs or in a new environment as a way of keeping bad behavior at bay.
It is not inherently a bad behavior for dogs to have tails between their legs, so keep that in mind when determining whether their tail is implicative of something that you might need to make changes to.
MY DOG HAS THEIR TAIL TUCKED BETWEEN THEIR LEGS WHEN NEW PEOPLE COME OVER
If your dog tucks their tail between their legs when they have house guests, the odds are they might be showing behavior that is signaling some fear of new people.
Look for different signs of anxiety to determine if your dog has social anxiety when others come over such as cowering, hiding, or pacing. If your dog is displaying any of these behaviors in addition to tail tucking, then it’s likely that they are feeling overwhelmed and might benefit from some behavior modification training to help them feel more comfortable around visitors.
If your dog only has their tail slightly tucked when new people come over and they are not displaying any other signs of anxiety, then it is likely that they are just being polite and no action needs to be taken.
In either case, if you are concerned about your dog’s behavior around new people, it never hurts to consult with a professional dog trainer or veterinarian to get their opinion and help you create a plan to make your furry friend feel more comfortable.
Now that you know a little bit more about dog tails and their positions, you can start to decipher what your dog is trying to tell you.
Remember, every dog is different and will communicate differently, so it’s important to get to know your furry friend and what their unique tail wags mean. With a little time and patience, you’ll be reading your dog’s tail like a pro in no time!
Whale eyes happen in a dog’s eye when the white part of the eye, called the sclera, becomes more visible. This happens when the dog’s third eyelid (nictitating membrane) partially covers the eye. Whale eye can also happen when a dog’s head is turned away from you, and you can see the whites of their eyes.
When a dog exhibits whale eye, it’s often a sign that they are feeling uncomfortable or threatened. It can also be a sign that a dog is about to bite, although not all dogs who show whale eye will bite.
WHY DOES WHALE EYE HAPPEN IN DOGS?
There are many reasons why a dog might exhibit whale eye.
Dogs communicate fear, stress, worry, or feelings of being upset or tense with their body language.
Dog body language can be tricky to figure out, but if humans educate themselves on what dog body language is trying to convey, they can identify whale eyes as well as other signals of fear or stress more easily.
COMMON REASONS YOUR DOG MAY BE SCARED OR TENSE
If you notice your dog feeling stressed out more often than relaxed, it’s time to evaluate the reasons why they may feel threatened.
Dogs fear a variety of different things, but some common triggers for a fearful dog include:
Other humans / strangers
A person they might not know well
A child who they don’t know / kids who are not respecting boundaries
Many dogs will show signs of being stressed far before their owners will notice, so it is crucial to pay attention to your dog and their behavior to determine whether they are uncomfortable.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DOG IS SHOWING SIGNS OF BEING ANXIOUS?
Whale eyes are just one way that an anxious dog might show fear.
There are many other forms of body language in a dog that you can pay close attention to when looking for signs of an anxious dog.
WHY DOES WHALE EYE GIVE US SO MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT OUR DOG?
Whale eyes in dogs helps us to better understand the way in which a dog sees the world.
Whale eyes in dogs is a sign of many things, some of which may be stress related.
If your dog has whale eye, and you notice a ‘whale eye look’, you might notice the whites of his eyes are visible, and his third eyelid may be partially covering the eye. The dog’s head might be turned away from you, so you can see the whites of their eyes.
WHY DOES WHALE EYE IN DOGS MEAN THE DOG IS SCARED?
The reason that true whale eye happens in dogs is because the dog is paying attention in an extreme way, they are attentive to whatever is happening and the whites of his eyes have become extremely large and wide, making the colored part seem smaller. The dog’s attention is zeroed in on whatever it might be that they are nervous of.
The dog will most likely turn its head towards the current situation, or try to walk away. When the dog relaxes, the fearful whale eye will most likely go away.
SIDE EYE VS. WHALE EYE
Dogs with whale eyes often have a scared or worried expression.
Dogs with side eyes often have a predatory or aggressive expression.
It is important to be able to distinguish between the two, as they can mean very different things.
A PREDATORY STARE vs A FEARFUL STARE
A fearful stare is when a dog’s pupils are dilated, and they are trying to make themselves as small as possible. A predatory stare is when a dog’s pupils are constricted, and they are making themselves look as big as possible.
A fearful dog will have their ears back, possible closed mouth with lip licking, their tail between their legs, and they may be shaking. A predatory dog will have their ears up and forward, their mouth open with teeth showing, and their tail may be wagging.
HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR DOG WHO IS DEMONSTRATING WHALE EYES?
Nobody wants their dog to experience stress.
Luckily, there are things we can do to treat anxiety in a dog. If you notice whale eyes or other signs of dog communication of anxiety, you can work on helping your pup with a few simple solutions.
FIND THE CAUSE OF THE DOG BEING NERVOUS
The first step is to find out what is causing your dog stress or anxiety.
Is it a particular person? Other dogs? The car? Once you have determined the trigger, you can begin working on a plan to help your dog feel more comfortable.
AVOID THE SITUATION THAT IS TRIGGERING YOUR PUP
If your dog is anxious around other dogs, try to avoid situations where he will be around them. If the trigger is the car, then don’t take him for car rides until you have worked on helping him feel more comfortable.
USE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
When your dog is not displaying signs of uncomfortability or anxiety, provide him with positive reinforcement in the form of treats, petting, or verbal praise. Using a treat or their favorite food, you can help your pup to understand that the situation is a positive one. This will help him to associate good things with the situation that is causing him stress.
Most importantly, remember to be patient and understanding with your dog. They are not purposely trying to stress you out, and with a little love and patience, you can help them to overcome their anxiety.
Many dogs will show anxiety to their human with behavior signals. A frightened dog will have red flags over its entire body. But, humans often overlook these signals in their dogs because us humans don’t always know what to look for.
When dog owners become educated on what a stressed out dog looks like, they can solve conflicts with their dog before the conflict even begins.
So, it makes sense to become more in tune with dog body language and behavior so that you can understand what your dog is trying to tell you.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON STRESS SIGNALS IN DOGS
Although many dogs show their anxiety in stressful situations in different ways, most dogs will demonstrate these signals in some common behavior.
Sniffing the ground– A dog shows nerves when they can’t seem to escape a situation and starts sniffing the ground as a means to escape the current situation.
Whale eyes– A dog’s eyes will get big and round when they are stressed. The whites of their eyes will be more prominent as their pupils dilate.
Lip licking– When a dog licks their lips excessively, it’s a sure sign that they are stressed.
Shaking– A dog that is shaking or trembling is trying to release the built up anxiety they are feeling.
Panting– Dogs will start to pant when they are feeling anxious or stressed.
Head turning– A head turn is often a dogs way of attempting to remove their entire body from a situation. This dog is turning away in order to show peaceful intentions, but demonstrate to their social groups that they are uncomfortable with the current situation.
Freezing– When a dog is feeling scared or threatened, they may “freeze” in place as a survival mechanism.
Nose licking– Dogs will often lick their nose when they are unsure of a situation.
Tail tucking– A dog that is tucking its tail is feeling scared.
Play Bowing– A play bow can be a calming signal when a dog is around other dogs that it might not feel comfortable with. A play bow is used when a dog may try to show other dogs that it does not want to fight.
Walking Slowly / Slow Movements– Moving slowly can be a dogs way of showing that it is not a threat and does not want to fight.
All of these signals are your dog’s way of communicating with you that it is feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to be able to recognize these signs so that you can help your furry friend feel more comfortable in stressful situations.
When a dog yawns, it might be trying to calm another dog that is getting too excited. Nose licking can also be a calming signal, and it’s often seen when two dogs are greeting each other. If a dog starts panting heavily, it might be a sign of stress or anxiety.
Lip licking can also be an anxious behavior, as the dog is trying to soothe itself by licking its own lips. Tail wagging can mean different things depending on the context. If the tail is held high and wagged stiffly, it may be a sign of aggression. However, if the tail is wagged loosely with a relaxed body, it usually indicates happiness.
Dogs also use eye contact to communicate. Their gaze can convey a range of emotions, from love and affection to fear and aggression. By understanding these common stress signals in dogs, we can better interpret their behavior and respond in a way that will help to keep them calm and comfortable.
COMMON STRESS TRIGGERS FOR DOGS
Dogs can have some unusual fears. Maybe your dog is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, or perhaps he’s terrified of going for car rides. But there are some more common triggers that can cause stress in dogs.
One of the most common triggers is changes in routine. If you usually take your dog for a walk in the morning, but one day you have to leave for work early and can’t take him, he may become anxious. Dogs can also be stressed by changes in their environment, such as a move to a new house or the arrival of a new baby in the family.
Loud noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, can also be stressful for dogs. You may notice your dog giving off more calming signals on the 4th of July than other normal and quieter days.
Unfortunately, you might notice your dog is afraid of people or kids. They might use signals like tail tucking or retreating when you have small kids nearby them, or they might bark when strangers walk by your house. Socialization is important for puppies, so if your dog didn’t have a lot of exposure to different people and situations when he was younger, he may be more fearful as an adult.
For some, it might be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of your dog’s fear. Maybe they are using dog calming signals more often than usual, but you can’t seem to figure out why. In these cases, it’s possible that your dog is just feeling stressed in general. Dogs can have bad days too!
If you notice your dog is displaying any of these common stress signals, try to remove him from the stressful situation if possible. Crate training is a fantastic way to help your dog remain calm, feel safe and secure, and reduce stress in general. If you can’t remove your dog from the situation, try to provide some distractions, like a Kong toy filled with peanut butter or dog treats.
And always remember to consult with your veterinarian if you think your dog may be suffering from anxiety or stress.
WHAT IS A CALMING SIGNAL IN DOGS?
Dog’s use calming signals to show that they are feeling stressed, anxious, or uncomfortable. Yawning, sniffing the ground, and lip licking are all examples of calming signals.
These signals are your dog’s way of communicating with you that it is feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to be able to recognize a dog’s calming signals as they are many dog’s only communication system.
ARE THE USE OF CALMING SIGNALS IN DOGS A GOOD THING OR BAD THING?
When dogs use calming signals, the dog is attempting to show humans and other dogs that it is not a threat and does not want to fight. Play bowing is a good example of this, as the dog is essentially saying “I come in peace!”
While the use of calming signals is generally a good thing, it’s important to be aware that some dogs may use them excessively out of fear or anxiety.
When your dog sees an approaching dog and you notice lip licks, whole body shaking, or other dog calming signals that are implicative of fear, it is crucial that you take note of their anxiety of unfamiliar dogs before it turns into aggressive behaviors.
A DOG DISPLAYING CALMING SIGNALS WHEN IT FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE
Dogs communicate their feelings and moods through their body language. calming signals are one way that dogs do this. When a dog feels uncomfortable, they may use calming signals to try to defuse the situation and make themselves feel better.
Common calming signals include licking their lips, averting their gaze, and yawning. If you see a dog doing any of these things, it’s important to give them space and not try to force them to interact with you or other dogs. By respecting a dog’s calming signals, you can help to prevent potential aggressive situations from occurring.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU NOTICE A DOG DISPLAYING SIGNS OF STRESS
Dogs communicate their emotional state through a combination of facial expressions, body language, and vocalizations. When a dog is experiencing stress, they may display some or all of the following signs: rapid breathing, panting, drooling, yawning, lip licking, pinning their ears back, wide eyes, tense muscles, and a stiff posture. Dogs may also try to get away from the source of their stress by pacing, shaking off, or hiding.
If you notice your dog displaying any of these signs of stress, it’s important to take action to help them relax.
HAVE A LOOK AT YOUR DOG’S ENVIRONMENT
First, take a close look at their environment.
Are there any potential dangers that could be causing them to feel stressed? For example, is there another dog in the area that they don’t get along with? If so, try to remove your dog from the situation.
HOW ARE YOU INTERACTING WITH YOUR DOG?
Secondly, think about how you’re interacting with your dog. Are you being too forceful or demanding? Dogs can sometimes pick up on our own stress levels, so it’s important to remain calm and relaxed around them.
PROVIDE PLENTY OF REST AND RELAXATION TO DECOMPRESS FOR YOUR DOG
Finally, make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to rest and relax in their own space. A tired dog is often a stressed dog, so provide them with a cozy bed and some quiet time each day. By taking these steps, you can help your furry friend stay calm and relaxed in even the most stressful situations.
WHY DO DOGS PANT WHEN THEY ARE STRESSED?
Just like a dog begins showing calming signals at the onset of other stressful situations, panting is one way that many dogs can try to relieve their stress.
Panting is a normal, physiological response that helps to regulate a dog’s body temperature. However, when a dog pants excessively, it can be a sign that they are feeling overheated or stressed.
If you notice your dog panting more than usual, take a close look at their environment and make sure they are not in a situation that is too hot or humid. If the temperature seems fine, then try to provide them with some calm, relaxing time to see if their panting subsides.
You can also try attending training classes together or going for walks in new places. In any social situation, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s body language and be aware of potential signs of stress.
If you see any signs that your dog is uncomfortable, make sure to remove him from the situation and provide a calm environment for him to relax in. Remember, socializing your dog doesn’t just benefit him – it also helps you create a stronger bond and a better relationship with your furry friend.
HIRING A TRAINER TO HELP YOUR DOG
If you notice your dog gets anxiety when another dog approaches, they are making intense eye contact with your neighbor when they cross paths, or you are seeing sweaty paws when you have guests visit, it could be time to hire a dog trainer to help you navigate these signals.
Dog trainers who are qualified in behavior have the skills to help you understand what your dog is trying to communicate and how you can better manage the situation.
A professional trainer can also offer guidance on how to socialize your dog and provide helpful tips on preventative measures you can take to reduce stress in your dog’s life.
IS YOUR DOG DISPLAYING BEHAVIOR THAT SHOWS THEY ARE NERVOUS OR STRESSED?
All of this evidence points to the fact that we need to be very aware of our dogs’ stress levels and take steps to reduce them.
Dogs communicate their stress primarily through body language, so it’s important for us as their guardians to be able to read these signals. If you see your dog displaying any of the signs of stress listed above, it’s crucial to remove him from the situation immediately.
You can also help reduce your dog’s overall stress by providing plenty of exercise, training, and socialization.
The Dexas Petware Mudbuster Portable Dog Paw Cleaner was built for your dog’s muddy paws that you just can’t get clean fast enough as they barge back into your house from a (wet) afternoon adventure. But, does it actually work?
I put the dexas mudbuster to the test with my large dogs as well as with my tiny dog to see if this paw washer was really worth the hype.
WHAT IS A DEXAS PETWARE MUDBUSTER PORTABLE DOG PAW CLEANER?
Have you ever taken your dog for a walk, only to come home and realize your pup’s paws were absolutely disgusting?
And it always seems to be directly after I have vacuumed or mopped.
I don’t know about you- but I have 3 Great Danes (and one little who seems to like tagging along). Incase you’re as bad at math as I am- that is 16 dog paws. It’s nearly impossible to keep my dog’s paws clean.
So, as we entered into the wet, winter season, I wanted to find a muddy paw cleaner that actually works, and that is when I saw the mud buster and decided to give it a try.
MUDBUSTER PAW CLEANER
The Dexas Mudbuster Portable Dog Paw Grooming Tool is a ‘paw plunger’ with thick silicone bristles inside meant to gently loosen mud for easy gleaning of dogs paws.
Convinced? I wasn’t either. But heres a video incase you still don’t understand how it’s supposed to fix your dog’s paw.
I have larger dogs than most, so I purchased the Large Dexas Mudbuster Portable Paw Washer- but it also comes in a medium mudbuster and a small for smaller dogs.
However, I think that medium sized dogs would be able to use both the medium size paw washer as well as the large, but it would depend on your dog’s paw size on whether they would work better with the medium or large mudbuster.
So ANYWAYS- I closed my computer, gathered all 16 dogs- I mean 16 dog paws, and we went out in search of some dirty water, dirt, mud, or messes.
(Side note: why is it that whenever you’re looking for mud or dirt, it seems nonexistent?)
EXPERIMENT STEP PART 1: FIND MUD AND LATHER THOSE CLEAN FEET
Well, the Dexas Mudbuster portable dog is making some large claims here- so I had to bust back with some even larger dirt.
We headed out to put the mud buster to the test.
A DIRTY PAW (OR 16)
Once we found some dirt, I let my dogs do what they do best. They played, they ran, they dug and they got those paws dirty.
MMMM…. Nothing better than muddy paws. Photo evidence of my Great Danes living their BEST DAY EVER below…
Then, we set off to show those paws who was boss.
GETTING THE DOG PAW CLEANER READY TO CLEAN THE DOG’S PAWS
The paw cleaner is pretty simple. All you need is to the following:
A Dexas Mudbuster Paw Washer
Some warm water
Possibly a few drops of doggie shampoo or soap (depending on how dirty your dog is)
Something to towel dry your dog after (depending on where you buy your paw cleaner- some of them come with a little towel to wipe dry your dog after you clean their paw)
A dirty dog (that one comes separately) but if you need one- feel free to come take mine.
FILLING THE PAW WASHER WITH WARM WATER TO CLEAN MY DOG’S DIRTY FEET
When you are ready to clean your dog, go ahead and fill the Dexas Mudbuster Portable dog paw washer with some warm water.
I would say that the largest size Dexas mudbuster holds about 1-2 cups of water inside.
Fill her up and get your dog ready to stick their muddy paw inside.
WASHING THE MUD OFF MY DOG’S PAWS
Once the Dexas Mudbuster is ready to go- it’s time to clean those muddy paws.
Taking one paw at a time, put your dog’s paw inside. Remember that the Mud buster features thick silicone bristles inside, so you don’t really have to do much scrubbing.
Just simply move the dog paw around in a slight motion so that the soft bristles begin to remove dirt and other debris from the dog paw.
Once you are sure that the paws touched the external silicone brush enough to result in some clean paws, remove the dog paw and have a look at your results.
WHAT I NOTICED RIGHT OFF THE BAT
When I took the first dog paw to the Dexas Mudbuster Portable dog paw cleaner, I was actually way more impressed than I thought I was going to be.
The silicone brushes on the inside of the Dexas Mudbuster Portable dog paw washer actually DID make a dent on the cleanliness of my dog and it’s paw.
Her muddy paw, although not ‘sanitized’ per say, was cleansed of all visible dirt/grime/mud and after a quick paw dry with a cloth, I felt comfortable with her walking into the house and knew she wouldn’t be tracking in paw prints. (After I did the same with the other paws)
But, I then faced a bit of an obstacle. Read on…
THE WATER EXPERIMENT:GETTING CLEAN AND DIRTY WATER CHANGED OVER
I wanted to really understand just how much the dog paw washer was helping, so I decided to check out the mudbuster to see how dirty the water was after cleansing just one paw.
As you can see it was PRETTY GROSS.
So, I am unsure of if I am supposed to continue using the gross dirty water on every single one of my dogs paws (I’m aware I have more than the average amount of paws living in my home) or if I am/should empty it out between every single dog paw.
I guess the determining factor would be whether or whether not a dog paw caused the water to be too dirty to the point that it might affect the further easy cleaning of the future paws.
HOW LONG DOES THE MUDBUSTER DOG PAW CLEANER TAKE TO CLEAN PAWS
Well, I can guarantee you are not more lazy than me!
Well, just kidding. But, I do NOT like spending time on unnecessary things.
I’ve used paw wipes before- and by the time we’re through, the entire bag of wipes is in the trash, the paws are still dirty and it’s an hour later.
So, it was really important to me to find a paw cleaner that myself and other pet parents can use not only effectively but also quickly.
I think this has to be one of (if not the single) quickest of all dog paw washers I have ever used.
I had all 16 paws cleaned within just 10 minutes, which may not seem fast to you- but to me: ten minutes = fast and easy cleaning for 4 dirty dogs and their paws.
NEXT STEP: CLEANING THE MUDBUSTER DOG PAW CLEANER
I was NOT able to find any information on whether the dog paw cleaner itself was dishwasher safe. I did find some Amazon reviews stating that they stuck the cup portion of their dog paw cleaner into the top rack of the dishwasher- but not confirmed whether or not that would be safe for the silicone bristles.
I simply just took some soap and rinsed it out in the sink. Seemed to work just fine and I did not want to take the risk of having the bristles unroll or melt.
DO I LIKE THE MUDBUSTER DOG PAW CLEANER?
In the end, I did not expect to say this, but I really did like the Mudbuster dog paw cleaner.
With 4 dogs, 4 messes everywhere we go, and a really small house- I sometimes feel like I’m going to spend my entire day and life cleaning.
However, the large was perfectly sized to clean my dogs paws and it was easy to use.
It’s an easy to grip tumbler that would be easy to throw in a backpack or in your car to keep your car free of mud or dirt stains as well.
The silicone bristles are stronger than I felt they would be but still soft on their feet and left no scratches.
Overall, I felt that this product was significantly better and easier than even the best wipes I have found in the past.
PRO TIP: DOG ALLERGIES
I read once that if your dog is struggling with environmental contact allergies, one of the most simple things you can do is to rinse their feet every time you come inside from a walk.
Well, when my Great Dane, Birdie, was having a few issues with her paws irritating her last summer I set out on the mission to do so.
Seems easy enough right? Wrong, because nothing is as easy as it sounds.
It actually was pretty challenging to get her feet rinsed every single time we came inside because I didn’t want to just toss the concoction I was making for her little foot rinse/soak every time we used it, but the tub of water I was using was getting pretty gross after the repeat uses.
This is when the Mudbuster dog paw cleaner came in clutch because it allowed me to quickly rinse her feet without any water spilling everywhere or her getting her feet gross.
With the mudbuster, I think it would make it easier for dog owners to add things like aloe vera or a hypoallergenic soap to the mixture and quickly rinse allergens off of their dogs feet after a walk outside. Most dogs should have their feet cleaned regularly, but dogs with allergies it really does help to do it after every single time they come in contact with seasonal allergies like grass.
IN THE END
To conclude, I really liked the Mudbuster dog paw cleaner and I would definitely recommend it to other pet parents who are looking for an easy and effective way to clean their dogs feet.
I think it’s a great size, easy to use, and doesn’t take up a lot of space which is important in my small house.
If you have a lot of dogs or big dogs, I think this would be an especially great tool to have because it’s big enough to accommodate multiple feet at once. (I think works great for medium dogs or small as well)
It’s also affordable which is important for pet parents on a budget.
I hope you found this review helpful and that it gave you some insight into whether or not to purchase this item.