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Q: House Training Tips 

A: Early on (8-12 weeks) your puppy will need to go potty frequently. After eating, after napping, after playing, after drinking… you get the idea. Take your puppy out at least once per hour during the day. A good rule of thumb is that most puppies can hold it for one hour per month of age, so a two month old pup should be able to hold it for two hours, a three month old pup for three hours, and so on. 

Here are some tips to make housetraining a breeze!

1) Feeding Schedule/Potty Schedule- First, get your puppy on a feeding schedule. Three meals a day until four months old is recommended. The added benefit of a feeding schedule is that what goes in on time, comes out on time. Rather than leaving food out all day for your pup to nibble on, feed them at set times and take them out for a potty break immediately after each meal. Take your puppy out at least 8 times per day.

2) Crate training - Crate training is the second component of your housetraining program. Dog naturally dislike potting where they sleep. The crate quickly becomes your pup’s new den, and a place they don’t want to soil. It's important that your puppy's crate is not too large for him. If it is, he will potty in the back of the crate and hang out in the front portion. If you buy a large crate, be sure it has a divider panel to make it smaller until the pup grows larger. During the night, and anytime your pup is unattended, he/she should be in the crate. Be sure not to leave your puppy in the crate for longer than 3-4 hours at a stretch and be sure he’s getting plenty of exercise and playtime when he’s out.

3) Umbilical cord training - Whenever your pup is out of his crate, but you are not directly interacting with him (i.e.: you’re on the computer, watching TV, making dinner, etc.) he should be attached to you by a short leash. This prevents the puppy from wandering off to another part of the house and leaving you a nasty surprise. It also allows you to learn your pup’s individual signals that he needs to go. These signals may include sniffing, circling, whining, staring at you, etc. Watch for these cues and when you see them, scoop your puppy up and take him directly to his designated potty spot. When he potties, praise lavishly.

4) Management - Don’t allow your new pup freedom to roam at will around the house until he is potty trained. Most dogs are reliable by about six months old. If you make a mistake, and leave him loose in the house, and he leaves you a mess, DON’T SCOLD THE PUPPY! He does not understand why you are angry. If you didn’t witness the accident, SAY NOTHING. If you catch the pup in the act, clap your hands to interrupt the behavior, then quickly scoop him up and take him directly to his potty spot.


10 Steps to a Super Dog!

By Bernadette Pflug , Certified Pet Dog Trainer
As printed in the Louisville Times / Superior Observer 2007

1) SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE – I believe with every dog, half of what you get is genetic, and the other half is what you make of it. Picking the right puppy, whose parents are sound in both body and mind will save you a lot of headaches from the get go. What happens with the puppy from then, is up to you. One of the key factors to having a calm and well adjusted adult dog, is socializing it early and often. This means making sure your pup is introduced to lots of different people, places and other dogs before reaching four months old. This is when the key socialization window begins to close. Things he hasn’t been exposed to by then could cause fear, shyness, or aggression later in life.

2) LEADERSHIP – Dogs are pack animals. By adopting a dog, you have made him part of your pack or family. In order to lead your dog, you must attain his respect through leadership. Leadership is an attitude, a state of mind. It’s not about strength or harshness. Leaders are fair, kind & consistent teachers. Be sure you are clear with your dog on your expectations. Require him to use some self control. Be sure he’s not pushy, bossy, or demanding. A good leader makes sound decisions, allowing your dog to just be a dog.

3) EXERCISE – Most dogs in America, along with many of their people, are not getting adequate exercise. Our dog’s closest ancestor, the wolf, travels great distances each day hunting for their food, while many pet dogs spend their days as glorified lawn ornaments. Your dog needs exercise! A minimum of two 30-minute walks a day. Many dogs need and want even more. Take up speed walking, jogging, hiking, snow shoeing, skijoring, or Frisbee. Your dog will love you for it and as a side benefit, destructive behaviors like digging holes in the yard or chewing on the sofa will often disappear. A tired dog is a good dog.

4) MENTAL STIMULATION – Along with exercise, a busy mind is one of the best ways to prevent problem behaviors in dogs. Rather than feeding your dog his breakfast from a bowl, give it to him in a food puzzle like a Buster Cube or a Kong packed full of frozen canned dog food. He’ll spend the next couple of hours working for his breakfast, rather than getting into trouble.

5) TRAINING – Training is medicine for so many problems. It provides exercise, mental stimulation and improves your leadership with your dog all at once. Sign up for a training class so your dog has a solid understanding of how to walk nicely on a leash, sit, down, come, stay, and leave-it. These foundation behaviors will give you the control you need to build a satisfying relationship with your dog.

6) RULES AND BOUNDARIES – Now that Rover’s got an idea of what you’re talking about, it’s up to you to decide the house rules. Make your training commands part of your daily routine. Ask your dog to lie down and stay on his bed while the family eats dinner. Ask him to wait at the stairs before toppling your toddler. Ask him to walk at your side instead of forging ahead. The obedience commands you both learned during training are not just for the show ring, they’re to make life with your dog more manageable all the time.

7) CONSISTENCY - This means every member of your family is consistent with expectations. You can’t feed the dog from the table sometimes and expect it not to beg. Dogs don’t understand “sometimes” very well.

8) CARE AND FEEDING - Your dog’s behavior, happiness, health, longevity and overall well-being are closely related with what you feed him. Look for high quality foods that do not contain corn, wheat, soy, or meat by-products. High quality dry kibble, canned food, raw meat and bones are all excellent choices. In addition, take some time at least once a month, to give your dog a little tlc. Clean out his ears, trim his toenails and give him a bath. Long coated breeds should also be brushed daily. This type of maintenance will help you to discover health problems before they become serious issues.

9) LOVE AND AFFECTION – Your dog needs to know he is loved but many of us give attention at the wrong time. Do you pet your dog when he pushes his nose under your hand? You’ve just rewarded pushy behavior. Do you speak soothingly, saying “It’s ok,” when your dog refuses to get into the bathtub, fights having his nails clipped, or when the vet is trying to restrain him for an exam? Sweet talk at the wrong time reinforces bad behavior. Let your dog know you are in control and would never allow anything harmful to happen to him. A calm, confident manner will help your dog to feel safe during uncertain times.

10) GET OUT AND PLAY! – Now that you know the secrets to a super dog, get out and spend some time with your furry friend. Make him a part of your life! Run, play, fetch, swim, ski – whatever you do, he would love to do it with you!


Epilepsy in Dogs is Complex

Canine epilepsy can strike any breed of dog, at any age, at any time. An epileptic seizure may occur only once in a dog’s life or it may occur many times. Some dogs may experience very mild seizures while others may suffer from severe seizures that become life threatening if not addressed immediately.

The truth is canine epilepsy simply does not fit into a nice neat box. It is hit or miss and it can be difficult to understand. Furthermore, many factors may contribute to epileptic seizures ranging from genetics to common houseplants. Common house hold bleach fumes can cause seizures also.

Quick Tips on Handling the Situation

It is important for you to remain calm during a suspected seizure. Keep the area free from any loud or sudden noises. Move objects away from your dog and keep the area clear. Provide comfort to your pet by speaking in a calm and soothing voice. Again, if your dog is having a seizure, keep cool and let it pass.

Once the seizure has passed, allow your dog to drink water if he is thirsty or let him walk about if he desires. It is important to continue to keep an eye on your dog at this time, as he will probably be disorientated or wobbly. Simply put, you do not want your dog to hurt himself by bumping into furniture or walls.

Be Ready to Help the Veterinarian

After you have tended to the needs of your dog, it is important to record the date, time and duration of the seizure. Log the type of behavior exhibited during the seizure (i.e. loss of consciousness, thrashing of head or legs, twitching, etc) and behavior immediately after the seizure. Call your vet and let her know what happened.

Your veterinarian will most likely ask that you keep a log of the seizures before making a formal diagnosis or prescribing any medication. So, these record keeping steps are important.

With the information compiled from the log, your veterinarian can then make a more accurate diagnosis.

In summary, record everything. Call your vet and get her advice for the short term actions to take. Also, plan to record the details of the seizures in a log. You’ll want good historical information.

What is Canine Epilepsy? What is the Cause?

Unfortunately, epilepsy is often idiopathic in nature, meaning there is no specific cause for the seizures to occur. Idiopathic epilepsy may be an inherited trait.

Dogs may also be diagnosed with what is called secondary epilepsy, meaning there is a physiological factor or environmental toxin that is causing the seizures to occur. Some possible sources of secondary epilepsy include:

lead poisoning from chewing on a painted surface

chemicals in common household cleaners, bleach


head trauma

parasitic infestation



low blood sugar 

Obviously, this is not a complete list. You and your veterinarian must use the process of elimination in order to rule out any specific causes of epileptic seizures.


Fungal and Yeast Infections in Dogs

Skin diseases are common in dogs, and many such diseases fall into one of three categories: Fungal infections, yeast infections or fungus/yeast infections. These are almost never fatal, but they are sometimes chronic - so it's wise to keep an eye out for symptoms that may indicate your dog is infected.

Candida Albicans is a fungus/yeast and a common microorganism that lives in the gut of a humans and dogs. But when there is an "overgrowth" of this fungus/yeast in the gut, it is called a Systemic Yeast Infection, and it affects the health and well-being of the whole animal or human.

When the pH balance of the gut is out of balance, and beneficial bacteria in the gut have been destroyed, this insidious fungus and pathogenic bacteria can take over and the negative results are very detrimental to our health and well-being. One of those by products of a pH imbalance in the gut is bloat/torsion.

What causes the pH balance of the gut to be out of balance and cause fungus/yeast overgrowth?

Overuse of antibiotics - killing off good bacteria in the gut

Poor Nutrition (inadequate protein, too many carbohydrates, corn glutten, no probiotics, digestive enzymes, dietary enzymes, unusable minerals)

Over vaccinations (i.e. allergies, thyroid problems)

Thyroid problems = metabolic problems (the body's electrical system)

Hormone stress (seasons, whelping, lactation, vaccines)

Stress (environmental, genetic, physical, emotional etc.)

Anxiousness (males when bitches are in seasons)

High strung hyperactive dogs


Change in environment or weather related (heat or cold)

Change in home or home environment


Inbreeding -compromised immune system

Illness which compromises the immune system

Sensitivity to stimulus (light, sounds, movements)

Travel (showing)


Flea preparations

Heartworm medications

The result of this yeast/fungus overgrowth manifests itself in external and internal expressions of disease. Based on clinical and research studies, Candida overgrowth in the intestines will create what has been called as "leaky gut" syndrome. Toxins and food allergens may pass through this membrane and go to other parts of the body, making him feel generally sick all over. Since antibiotics don't affect Candida yeast/fungus, they keep on multiplying and making more yeast, which in turn, puts out more toxins and weakens the immune system. It is a vicious cycle. Some examples of "external" expression of a systemic yeast infection are:

Skin Irritation
- Itchy skin or feet 
- Licking paws, genital or vaginal area
- Itchy mouth, throat, face 
- Rubbing nose

Redness, Inflammation and Odor
- Underarms, Folds of Skin
- Inner Thighs, Between Toes, Lips 
- Joint Pain

Reoccurring Secondary Bacterial Infections
- Ears 
- Bladder 
- Skin or Feet
- Sensitivity to light, sound, movement

You can see by this list of symptoms the animal is often misdiagnosed as having a food or contact allergy, or only a bacterial infection, when in fact the origin of the disease is yeast/fungus overgrowth.

Some examples of "internal" expression of a systemic yeast infection are:

Gastrointestinal tract problems

Gas/bloating - Bloat/torsion





Suppressed immune system

Inadequate absorption of nutrients

Other facts about Candida overgrowth - Systemic Yeast Infections:
Systemic yeast infections (fungus) are extremely difficult to detect and kill.

When pH balance of the gut is out of balance, an environment is ripe for pathogenic bacteria and fungus to multiply at an alarming rate.

The by-products of bacteria and fungus produce "toxins." These can result in systemic disease, as well as bloat, stomach gas and foam.

Control Fungus Internally: Feed a high quality based diet.

Use probiotics to keep the pH balance of the stomach in proper balance. This in turn helps prevent yeast overgrowth.

Use raw apple cider vinegar  - 2 teaspoons per day on food or in water, to help keep the pH balance where it should be in the gut and make an environment, which is not conducive to yeast.

Control Fungus Externally:

1. Bathe in sulfur-based or medicated shampoo. Do not use oatmeal shampoo.
2. Prepare a 50/50 mixture of Apple Cider Vinegar & Water 
3. Rinse or wipe affected areas with 50/50 mixture daily. Note: Do not use Apple cider mixture on open lesions.

Always consult with your veterinarian for his recommendations.

Ringworm (caused by the fungi Microsporum and Trichophyton) is the primary fungal infection that troubles dogs. Such fungi live in dead skin tissues, nails, and hairs - particularly, but not exclusively, among young dogs. Symptoms include:

Hair loss, usually in circular patches
Hair loss patches that may have a crusty, dry look
Hair loss on the head and legs
Scratching of the patchy areas

If your dog develops these symptoms, take him to his veterinarian right away. If your vet suspects ringworm, he will probably run a Wood's Lamp Test (using an ultraviolet light), or take a fungal culture.

Typically, treatment includes: Trimming or shaving the hair around affected areas, using fungicidal shampoos for bathing the dog, applying a topical antifungal medication, and lime sulphur dips.

Ringworm is quite contagious to both animals and humans, with children being especially vulnerable. Dogs with ringworm must be kept away from children and other pets until the infection is gone. (This may two or three months, or longer.) Adults should wash their hands well after handling a dog with ringworm.

Alternate Cure for ring worm is Herb called Pau darco, you can get at local health food store. Paudarco comes in liquid or capsules. Give 1 capsule 3x’s day for smaller dogs, can give 2 pills 3x’s day for larger dogs. Give until symptoms leave and few days after then wean off.

Blastomycosis is a fungal disease usually found in both dogs and humans. (Some other animals may be affected, too, including cats, horses, and wild animals.) Most cases of Blastomycosis have been traced to damp soil containing organic matter - a perfect place for fungi to grow. Hunting dogs and other dogs who are frequently allowed to roam are particularly susceptible.

The fungus may enter your dog through wounds, or it may be inhaled. As the fungus begins to thrive in the dog's body, it spreads to the lungs, the vascular system, or to the lymph nodes.

Symptoms of blastomycosis include: Weight loss, chronic coughing, loss of muscle tone, shortness of breath, skin lesions, red eyes, swollen eyes, excessive tearing of the eyes, and clouding of the corneas

If you dog has any of the above symptoms, you should immediately take him to the vet. There is no cure without treatment, and the earlier your dog is treated, the better his chances are for a healthy recovery. Without treatment, your dog may go blind, or have other serious, life threatening problems.

Treatment includes drug therapy, and may require several short hospitalizations. Do not be alarmed if your dog's symptoms worsen at first; when the fungus begins to die inflammation is common, and this can make the symptoms appear stronger. When your dog comes home after treatment, his diet should consist of high-quality food only, and you should restrict his exercise until he is completely well.

Humans may also become infected by blastomycosis. When handling your infected dog, wear gloves and wash your hands frequently. (However, humans are much more likely to become infected by an environment contaminated by the fungi.)

Valley Fever:
A fungus called Coccidioides immitis causes Valley Fever in both dogs and humans. The fungus is found in dry, arid soil; when dust is raised from that soil, the fungus is inhaled. Dogs who have been around construction areas, who dig frequently, or are out in the wind, are especially susceptible. Young dogs or dogs with weakened immune systems are also more likely to develop Valley Fever.

Symptoms include: A harsh cough, fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and seizures

This fungus is difficult to diagnoses and is sometimes mistaken for other fungal diseases, cancer, pneumonia, cancer, or Lyme disease. If your vet suspects Valley Fever, blood tests, x-rays, or antibody testing may be used to help diagnose the disease.

Other fungal diseases in dogs include:Aspergillosis, which usually affects the nasal cavity and respiratory system, before attacking the rest of the body. Dogs with long noses are most susceptible. Symptoms may include open sores around the nostrils, bloody or puss-filled nasal discharge, weight loss, fever, lethargy, and vomiting.

Cryptococcosis is usually inhaled from the excrement of birds (particularly pigeons), and tends to invade dogs' nervous systems. Symptoms include weight loss, lethargy, head tilting, and eyes that dart back and forth.

Histoplasmosis is caused by breathing in Histoplasma capsulatum, which is carried in dust. Symptoms may include labored breathing, fever, anemia, and enlarged liver or other organs.

Yeast Infections:
Yeasts are found on the surfaces of every living thing - including your dog's body. When your dog is healthy his immune system can stave off and destroy yeasts. But if his immune system is weak his body may not be able to fight off yeast, leading to toxic levels that cause a myriad of health problems.

In addition, some breeds are more inclined toward yeast infections, including West Highland White Terrier, Basset hound, Cocker spaniel, Silky terrier, Australian terrier, Maltese, Chihuahua, Poodle, Shetland sheepdog, Lhasa Apso, and the Dachshund. Also, any dog with skin allergies, an under-active thyroid gland, hypothyroidism, diabetes, or who's had recent treatment with an antibiotic or corticosteroid, may be more prone to develop a yeast infection.

Symptoms of a yeast infection may include: Greasy or waxy skin, smelly skin, a white tongue, hives or rashes, chronic infections, chronic cough, crusty skin, and discharge from the eyes, nose or ears, dry skin, bad breath, swollen feet, licking feet, shedding of hair.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, he should see his vet right away. Since these symptoms are general, and may be grounded in other problems, the veterinarian will probably try to rule out other possible causes. Your vet may also take a sample of the yeast on your dog's skin (with a cotton swab or piece of tape, for example), or do a small biopsy and study it under a microscope.

Treatment often includes treatment of underlying problems (like allergies or a thyroid problem), topical shampoo or spray, and oral medications.

Alternate Cure for Yeast: probiotics in pill form also a dose of plain yogurt and kefir feed regularly. Also cedar spray helps in battling yeast and mites in ear. And grain free food.

Yeast/Ear Infections:
Yeast are single celled fungus and they are used in brewing beer or baking bread. Some types of yeast are less useful and that's the kind that grows in your dog's ear. Yeast infections are probably the most common type of ear infections in dogs. Because dogs have long ear canals that can hold water after a bath, swim, or run through tall, wet grass. Add to this a floppy ear that prevents good ventilation of the ear canal and you have a warm, moist, dark environment in which yeast thrive. The more moisture yeast get, the worse the infection will be.

Yeast infections are most common in dogs that love water (Labradors, Retrievers), have long floppy ears (Bassets, Beagles, Spaniels), have either narrow and/or furry ear canals (Poodles, Cocker Spaniels), or have a history of ear infections or allergies.

Symptoms include: The inside of his ears will appear red and irritated; he will shake his head and scratch at his ears almost constantly, sometimes to the point of bleeding; a foul odor will emanate from the inside of his ears; and he may whine, pace, or even stop eating because of the pain and irritation.

Serious injury or permanent damage may occur to the ears if an ear infection is left untreated.

Prevention and early treatment are the keys. In principle, yeast are easy to kill if you keep in mind that they hate dry, acidic environments. If you keep your dog's inner ears dry and clean by using an acidic type cleaning solution made for dog's ears, you will make the ear environment very uninviting to yeast. 

It is also common to see a bacterial infection associated with a severe yeast infection. Unfortunately, routine ear cleaning will not cure a serious bacterial infection. Such double infections occur when yeast infections are not treated in their early stages. It is more difficult and expensive to cure this double infection.

Your dog may also have underlying problems such as allergies and hypothyroidism that can add to the seriousness of an ear infection.

You dog may need other medications to clear up the infections. If severe irritation or a creamy discharge is noticed, see your veterinarian right away.

Ear infections can be very painful for your dog but they can be avoided with a little help from you.

So, with a vigilant eye and a little sensitivity toward any discomforts your pet may be feeling, you can keep not only your "best friend" healthy, but your family and your other pets fit and well, too.

All information on this website is for informative purposes only, not a diagnosis. Please consult your vet for proper diagnosis of any health concerns and treatments.