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Aggson's Golden Retriever Care Tips

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Important Care Tips

NAIL TRIMMING:
The nails must be kept short for the feet to remain healthy. Long nails interfere with the dog's gait, making walking awkward or painful. They can also break easily. This usually happens at the base of the nail, where blood vessels and nerves are located.

Another problem affecting the dogs whose overgrown nails curl toward the foot, eventually piercing the sensitive pads and causing deep pad infections. These problems can be easily prevented with regular nail care. To begin with, regularly stroke the puppy's feet, gently touching each toe in turn. Allow it to become accustomed to having this delicate part of the body handled, so it won't be apt to panic when you get down to business later.

Unpigmented toes are simple to trim. You should see a small pink triangle extending from the base of the nail narrowing toward the tip. This triangle houses the blood supply and nerves, which you want to avoid when trimming the nail. Position the nail trimmer so that it clearly bypasses the pink area, and proceed to clip. That's all there is to nail trimming.

BRUSHING YOUR DOG'S TEETH:
Despite the popular conception, dog biscuits and bones do not keep the teeth clean and healthy. The teeth should be brushed at least once or twice a week. As with grooming, acclimation is best started early in the puppy's life.

To make toothbrush, fold a square gauze pad loosely around the tip of your index finger. Or you can use a small soft child's toothbrush. Dip the gauze or toothbrush into a mixture of baking soda and water. Next vigorously scrub the outside surfaces of the teeth and message the gums. It is not necessary to brush the interior surfaces of the teeth.

HOUSE BREAKING:
If there is such a thing as a trick to housebreaking a dog, it would have to be always applying the same system, being patient and understanding. This can be a very trying period in a puppies life for both the new owner and the young pup who's trying to do it's best to please.

There are two methods of housebreaking. One is accomplished directly and the other uses paper training as an intermediate stage. Direct housebreaking is preferable by far, but it may be difficult if you do not have ready access to a yard or other place for the dog to use.

To housebreak a dog directly, follow a simple set of rules. The puppy must be allowed frequent access to the outdoors and given a chance to urinate and defecate before being brought back inside. Once inside, you have two options. One is to restrict the puppy to a certain place in the house, such as the kitchen, while you keep a close eye on it. The other is to place the puppy in a comfortable but enclosed living and sleeping crate, until you can supervise its activities. In either case, the puppy will be limited to a small area in which to play and sleep, an area that it will naturally be reluctant to soil.

When accidents happen, mildly chastise the puppy and immediately take it to a familiar outdoor place. Young puppies need to eliminate often, so be sure to go outside frequently in the early days, right after each feeding and any time you suspect there's a need. The necessary outings will eventually be reduced, but control develops slowly.

Many dogs appreciate having a designated space of their own. Certainly it is kind to accomplish housebreaking quickly and efficiently. Most housebreaking problems originate with the softhearted owner who lets an untrained puppy have free run of the house. The puppy then falls into the habit of soiling the floors and furniture, and for years afterward, may be subjected to constant corrections. If you do use a crate, make sure it is big enough. A dog should be able to stand up and turn around in the crate. And never leave a dog in a crate all day. Give your puppy plenty of attention and playtime both inside and outside.

To paper train a dog, begin by covering entire floor of one room with newspapers and contain the puppy to that area. Replace the soiled papers as necessary. After a day or two, leave a small corner of the room bare. If the puppy chooses the bare corner to urinate or defecate, give a mild correction and place the puppy on the newspaper. Only correct the dog if you catch them in the act. Never drag the puppy to the soiled area and then scold it. Dogs are simply not able to understand what you are trying to teach them in that situation. They will not associate the correction with the housebreaking accident. If you cannot catch the puppy in the act, simply clean the mess and be patient with the puppy.

As the puppy grasps the idea of the paper gradually decrease the amount of paper covering the floor until you are left with a papered space equivalent to two full newspaper sheets. Allow the puppy to use that area for a little while as you start reinforcing the idea of eliminating outside. When the puppy seams to understand that the outdoors is the proper place for elimination, remove the papers. Watch carefully for any searching for the papers and take the dog out immediately with a walk outside on a leash.

KEEPING YOUR DOG FIT & TRIM:
Don't be fooled by the myth that if you want your dog to be big and strong, you must feed it lots of food. Each breed has different nutritional requirements. If you're not sure how much food to give you dog, check with a breeder or veterinarian. Table scraps are unhealthy for your dog and may lead to an unbalanced diet.

Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not need variety in their diet. Use the same brand of food every day. If you want to change the brand of dog food you are using, do so gradually. Feed your dog dry food and treats that help reduce plaque.

Just like humans, it is unhealthy for a dog to be overweight. Excess weight endangers the heart, lungs and joints and makes a dog more susceptible to other ailments. An irregular eating schedule can affect your dog's digestive system and ultimately cause chronic digestive disorders. If your dog's feeding schedule is suddenly changed, don't be surprised if it still craves a meal at it's old meal time. Your dog is conditioned to expect a meal at a specific time so biologically it's internal clock still produces a hunger drive. It is important that your dog's water and food bowls are kept in the same place every day. Don't worry about your dog getting hunger pains between meals. Your dog only needs one or two meals daily if it is fed on a regimented schedule and receives a balanced diet. Don't leave your dogs food out longer than 30 minutes in the beginning. If your dog has walked away from it's bowl, it has probably had enough to eat. Then judge how much the dog has eaten and base it's next feeding on that amount. Puppies should be given puppy food for an entire year. Don't let their size fool you. Your puppy still needs the extra nutrition in the puppy food. When switching from puppy formula to adult dog formula do so gradually. 3/4 cup puppy formula to 1/4 cup adult formula for a couple of days then gradually increase the amount of adult formula daily. It may take a couple of weeks before you are completely switched over to the adult formula.

DO'S & DON'TS:
Do - explain to your child that since dogs can't talk like we do, they communicate in different ways, such as facial expressions, body posture or barking. Your child should learn to be sensitive to the dog's behavior.

Do - demonstrate how to interact with the dog. Show the child how to pet the dog nicely, to give the dog some space if it gets anxious, and how not to pull the dog's tail or ears or poke its eyes. Carefully explain that a dog is not a toy.

Do - make sure your dog has basic obedience training. The dog needs to know what is expected of it and you need to establish a form of communication with your pet.

Do - be constant in all teaching endeavors.

Do - supervise all puppy-child interactions. The adult in the household is the responsible party to be sure interactions are fun and mutually respected.

Do - oversee the dog's care and well-being at all times.

Don't - expect any dog to tolerate ear tugging, tail pulling or the like. Intervene if play gets rough or out of hand.

Don't - force responsibility on a child that he or she is not ready for. The dog will suffer the consequences of being neglected, ignored and not properly cared for.

SAFETY TIPS FOR KIDS:
Even a nice dog may try to protect himself with a growl and a nip at certain times. Biting is a dog's natural way of protecting itself.

Hold your hands low and speak softly. Surprising a dog from behind, forcing him into a corner, waiving hands in the air or screaming may overexcite him, causing him to snap in fear or even in play.

LET THE DOG EAT IN PEACE!!!

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