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?aring your home, when you are expecting?p;

            奥h! Weeh! Woof! Woof!? thought of introducing a newly born baby to the resident playful pooch is enough to send most people running for the hills.  However, there are many steps the average parent can do to properly prepare the home for an anticipated baby?rival.   Keep in mind you are dealing with an unpredictable animal and can never fully trust any dog around a baby.  No matter how proven or trustworthy an animal may seem, the potential damage which could occur is too great a risk to take.  In order to create the highest probability for success, outline a realistic and responsible plan focusing on knowledge, leadership, obedience, and management.      

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The first step to teaching your dog is to think like one.  Some simple knowledge will help clarify our four legged friends behaviors and motivations.  Dogs live in a pecking order society.  This society operates under the premise that there are no equals or concept of fairness.  The leaders are the only ones entitled to have initiative and possessions.  This statement seems simple, but ask yourself if you make all the initiatives and control all the possessions.  When a dog comes and places their head in your lap or rubs against your leg.  What do you do? Do you pet them? If so, guess what, you no longer have the initiative.  What essentially happened was the dog came over, said pet me and you obeyed.  Now you are still able to pet your dog, but it must be by your initiative and terms.  Leadership and boundaries are essential to communicate to your dog the distinction between dogs and humans.  Owners must make the difference between people and dogs clear.  This is especially important when bringing a new baby into the home.  In order to have the highest possibility for success you want the dog to already understand the hierarchy of humans within the home.  The distinct order of your hierarchy is irrelevant, the only constant is the dog should be at the bottom.  This division will limit the possibility of dogs being confused and treating any humans like dogs.  

Now that you understand some basic dog culture, now focus on their bodies.  Dogs are primarily non-verbal communicators, and rely on body language as their principle form of communication.  In fact, dogs are eight times better than humans at picking up nonverbal cues.  A good book on dog body language can be a good start to gain some insight into their mind.  Reading the dog?dy language will be useful to help understand your dog?ate of mind during future interactions with the baby and guests.  However, body language and behavior are very complicated and consulting a professional trainer for guidance is suggested.  For example, a wagging tail isn?ways the sign of a happy dog.  Contrarily, a lowered tail isn?ways submissiveness.  There are always exceptions and no exact science on evaluating a dog?havior and motivations.  People should always consider all the information being communicated by dog?dy language and qualify it to the unique situation at hand.    Of course all dogs are different which is again why professional guidance is recommended. 

Before you can start obedience you need to clearly and unequivocally define yourselves as the leader.  As mentioned earlier, the leader amongst dogs is entitled to two things, initiative and possessions.  You can communicate your status as the leader through specific exercises.  The first exercise is reclaiming resting areas in the home.  The resting area in dog culture is a prized possession.  By claiming the resting areas, such as beds and couches, you communicate to the dog their ranking in the home.  The second exercise is pocketing the possessions around the home.  In dog culture you know the leader is the only one entitled to possessions.  Store the doggy toys in a place where you can go get them when you want to play with the dog.  Play is a key opportunity to convey leadership to the dog by defining the terms of the play, and starting and ending it on your terms.  Play will also be a great bonding time to show your pooch you still love?hen the baby is around.  The third exercise is to ration your petting.  The act of over petting is unnatural to dogs and can lead to further problems in the future.  Rather than spending an hour petting your pooch, use your displays of affection as a reward.  For example, when the dog comes to you after you call him, that is a good time to pet his head.  Or when you ask the dog to leave the baby alone and he complies, that is time for a scratch behind the ears.  The fourth exercise is governing distribution of the food.  In dog culture the leader controls the food.  Make the dog earn the food by sitting.  Put the food down and wait a few minutes.  If the dog is not actively eating it after a couple of minutes, pick it up.  This will mirror the behavior of a true alpha dog, as well as minimize the risk of having food and the baby on the floor.  The last exercise is controlling the walks.  If you remain consistent with feeding times then you will know when the dog needs to go out.  Even though tricks like bells at the back door, or the ?ve to go out face? cute they make you a dog walker rather than leader.    These exercises are designed not to recognize canine leadership, more so than implement human authority.  The goal is to communicate via there natural means that the dogs are not the leaders.

Next, you are ready to obtain control of your pooch with basic obedience.  Consult a local professional trainer for help outlining a curriculum appropriate for you.  Obedience is defined as the act of obeying.  Obedience is necessary because it safely allows you to obtain greater control of your pet.  This is beneficial for everyone, however vital when a fragile baby is involved.  The caliber of obedience required around a baby is high and needs to be dependable under distraction.  The most basic type of obedience would be on leash, however, off leash is highly recommended.  Such obedience will provide control over the dog during the initial transition period of the baby entering the home.  Additionally, the obedience will enhance the probability for your child and dog to safely coexist while adjusting to the new routine.  At bare minimum a strong ??lace?d 塶e it?mands should be included in the curriculum.  The ??mand allows you to recall your dog from any situation.  The ?e?mand allows you to safely have your pet rest on a place mat until you release him.  This can be useful for interactions at the door or if you wanted to change the baby?aper on the couch.  Last, the 塶e it?mand allows you to tell the dog to disengage with something.  Whether it is a person or object you can control when and how they interact.

At this point you have some general knowledge, established a solid foundation of leadership, and obtained an obedient canine.  Now it is time to implement a management plan.  Our management plan for preparing the dog should start as early as possible.  One idea is to start wearing some of the products your baby will smell like.  For example, baby oil on your arms, or a specific baby powder.  This way the smells won?em foreign and will relate to you.  Another idea is getting a baby doll which is very life-like.  Springing for the high quality replicas to enhance the similarity between the doll and the real thing during practice is recommended.  The doll should be used in drills with your dog to safely prepare for the baby?rival.  In any type of training you need to practice for the behavior you want your canine to display by placing him in such a situation safely.  So, you need to practice drills with the doll and your pooch that would emulate day to day activities once the baby arrives.   Practicing with the doll will help to ensure good behavior later when it involves the real baby.  For example, doing drills that mirror the routine of feeding the baby or changing diapers is a great idea.  Also, start playing recordings of baby cries in the home to start to desensitize the dog to the noise.  Right before bringing your baby home substitute the pre-recorded cries to your actual baby?y.  Start to get your dog accustomed to wearing a soft and comfortable basket muzzle around the house.  This may be another opportunity to consult with a professional trainer.  The basket style muzzle allows the dog to easily breath, drink, and take treats.  To ensure safety when your pet is around your child keep the dog muzzled and always supervised.  Eventually, the dog may earn the trust to remove the muzzle, but under no circumstances should any size/temperament dog be left unsupervised with a baby or child.  Last, make time in your new schedule to exercise your dog and treat him like a beloved family member. 

Another type of management plan will be to make our pooch?ysiology more people friendly.  Some easy changes start with basic maintenance of your animal.  For example, keeping your dog?ils well trimmed.  This will minimize any injury during any future interactions.  Next, keep the animal up to date with vaccines.  You want to ensure the baby will not be exposed to any additional threats.  Also, consider spaying or neutering your pet.  Not only is it good for the animal?alth, but it usually makes them a bit more manageable and less likely to have problems with aggression.  Last, perform regular fecal exams at your local vet to ensure no other dangers, such as parasites are lurking in the home.  Many parasites living off the dog?dy can be transferred to humans.  Babies are especially at risk due to poor hygiene practices, such as putting items in their mouths or not regularly washing their hands. 

This article should serve as a starting point for you to prepare your home and dog for the arrival of a newborn. By no means is this article the only preparation you need to consider for such an undertaking.  However, it should start you off on the right foot and I hope it will inspire you to consider further creative preparations of your own.  With proper planning, professional assistance, and management there is no reason why your canine and baby can?fely coexist in your home.  



Can Fish Oil help cure an overly aggressive Dog?

New research in the human sector has demonstrated that depressive, impulsive, and aggressive disorders can be exacerbated by deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acid intake.

 The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism examined dozens of these studies to determine if low levels of omega-3s (best source found in fish oil) were related to an increased risk for aggressive and depressive behaviors.  This is what they wrote in their conclusion:  "In human adults and children, clinical studies suggest that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may reduce aggressive, impulsive and depressive behaviors."

So does this research apply to our dogs?

Well, Veterinarians at Italy?iversity of Pavia wondered the same thing.  So what they did was conduct a study on 36 otherwise healthy German Shepherds averaging 5 years of age.

18 of the German Shepherds were chosen for their stable dispositions and the other 18 were chosen for their overly aggressive disposition.

What they found was amazing襠aggressive dogs, compared to normal dogs, had lower levels of omega-3 DHA, which is critical to brain cell membrane function.  Also, the aggressive dogs had higher omega6/omega-3 ratios and lower cholesterol levels which are all associated with depression and aggression in humans.

The Italian researchers concluded, ?gether, our results suggest that low [levels of] omega-3 fatty acids may adversely impact behavior in dogs, resulting in greater propensity to aggression.?  

The researchers suggest the results will encourage rigorous clinical testing of supplemental omega-3s in aggressive dogs.  Since positive effects have already been demonstrated in human studies, there are high hopes that supplementation with a quality omega-3 source, such as pharmaceutical grade fish oil, may reduce aggressive and other impulsive behaviors in the canine! 

Custom Canine has observed the wonderful effects of the fish oil products first hand.  Fish oil has been effective in cases involving: confidence problems, depression, skittishness, and aggression.  Additionally, the physical benefits, such as skin and coat improvements, make this product a must have for the educated consumer.   

Custom Canine recommends that all dogs in our aggression rehab program are supplemented with 2 grams omega-3/day large dogs, and 1 gram/day small dogs.

Custom Canine has been getting encouraging behavioral results consistently, observed through improvements throughout the training programs.

Want to learn more about fish oil? Click HERE

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