Brush up on training essentials!

A well-trained pooch is a delight to be with. Here are a few basic training tips to help you in achieving your goal.

Socialisation: It is important but do not wait till your pup’s immunisation schedule is complete but begin once he settles down in your home by carrying him around toDog Training meet other people. Once his immunisation schedule is complete, take him for walks to different places to meet other people and dogs as well.
Listen to your dog: If your dog appears to be uncomfortable meeting another dog, animal or human, do not force him to say ‘Hello’. He is telling you that he is not comfortable in the given situation, you should respect that and not force him to comply. Forcing the issue can result in bigger issues down the line, where a nervous dog can turn aggressive on you. At the same time, one must not reinforce fear in their dog by trying to comfort him.
Be consistent: Whenever you are training your dog, it is important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone is on the same page as you are. If you are telling your dog ‘Off’ when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying ‘Down’, while someone else is letting him sit on the couch, how is your dog ever going to learn what you want? Consistency is the key to success in training.
Freedom: Let your dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common mistake that most pet parents make is giving their puppy way too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to toilet training setbacks and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One way of achieving sure shot success is to crate train your puppy. Crate training is not just an asset where toilet training is concerned but also plays the role of being a safe den where you can leave him knowing that he is safe and secure when you cannot supervise him.
Tell him what you want him to do: There is nothing wrong with you telling your dog ‘No’, except that you are not giving him enough information. Instead of telling your dog ‘No’ all the time, tell him what you want to do. In other words, ignore unwanted behaviour and praise him when he does the right thing repeatedly, once you have taught him. For instance, if your dog jumps on you as a way of greeting, rather than saying ‘No’, give him a command like ‘Sit’ which helps avoid confusion.
Bribery vs reward: The idea of using treats is most often equated to bribery. If using a treat gets your dog to do what you want out of him, then why not? You can also use the world around you as reinforcement. Every interaction that you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during training sessions and wean it off in a systematic way. The key to using food treats in a successful way is to make sure that the primary treat must be your voice and touch and the secondary one must be your treat. Just remember that the behaviour should produce the treat, the treat should not produce the behaviour.
Positive reinforcement training techniques: It is not just about giving treats for good behaviour, but it is also about performing movement and exercises in such a way that makes it fun. It is also about using everything that your dog likes or wants to your advantage such as treats, praise, toys, attention, etc. If you have hired a trainer to help you out in the training process, who does not let you tag along for the training sessions and your dog fears him, then it is best that you find yourself another trainer that your dog not only finds a joy to train with but also welcomes him home.
Tire your dog out: Most pet parents do not exercise their dog enough. Pent up energy only intensifies any anxiety a dog may feel, making him more destructive at home in the absence of his pet parent. Depending on your dog’s breed and age, most of them need three walks a day totaling up to an hour each day. Also include games of fetch on a daily basis in addition to his walks.
Negative reinforcement or punishment techniques: Negative reinforcement breeds fear. It makes your dog afraid of you and others. Fear causes aggression and unpredictable behaviour. When a nervous dog learns to bite, he is doing so to protect himself and therefore the bite will be a lot worse.
Have realistic expectations: Changing behaviour takes time. You need to have realistic expectations about your dog’s behaviour as well as how long it will take to change a particular behaviour that you do not like. Often behaviours which are ‘Normal’ doggie behaviours will take the most time such as barking, digging, jumping, etc. You also need to consider how long your dog has been able to practise a particular unwanted behaviour before you have decided to change it. For example, if you did not mind it when your dog jumped to say ‘Hi’ to people for the past couple of years and now you decide that you do not want him to do it anymore, that behaviour will take a longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a puppy. Remember it is never too late to change an unwanted behaviour in your dog, some will just take longer than the others.
(Malaika Fernandes is a certified canine behaviourist and trainer trained at Nothern Centre of Behaviour, UK. She runs Walk Romeo offering training, behaviour modification, grooming and pet sitting services for canines in Mumbai.)

feacture fun and frolic

Pet parenting… First brush with love!

Love comes unannounced and this is what exactly happened!

I never imagined that I will be a pet parent someday. It’s my daughter who taught me how to love a pet. In feacture fun and frolicfact, she was always afraid of dogs but wanted to have one. I don’t know how this miracle happened in my life as my daughter’s fear of dogs has gone away and I can’t stay away from my dog. Today she can pet him lovingly – she adores dogs now.
–Sahana Sharan, Mumbai

Growing up having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) left me with no friends and no one to talk to. My parents never wanted to come out of that state of denial because even today very few understand what ADHD is. I had waited for eight long years to get a pup. My brother convinced my father was two straight weeks, at last I have someone to talk to… Nimbus my pet! He lies down near my feet whenever I sit and work late in the night! Call it moral support or whatever, it works wonders. I am able to sit for long hours without realising I have ADHD. Someday, I wish to write a book or make a movie on Nimbus. He deserves it!
–Kaushik Keshava Ramanuja, Bengaluru

It happened when I was just 14 years old. One day while I was playing in our lawn, I heard a puppy yelping. I went out and found a small puppy under papa’s scooter, who seemed to have got separated from her mother. I adopted her and named her ‘Naughty’ – an adorable and loving dog! She was scared of firecrackers; because of her we never burst firecrackers on Diwali for almost 15 years. Even now – after so many years whenever we hear the sound of a firecracker, it reminds us of Naughty!
–Shweta Trivedi, Raebareli

We first adopted a stray when I was in class III in 1978. It happened on a very cold winter night, a puppy standing at our gate called us helplessly. My mother instantly rushed to pick her up. We named her Blacky. She stayed with us for 12 years and gave birth to two lovely sons called Tiger and Sheru. They all have gone but I can never forget them. Today, I am more than 45 years old and blessed with Bruno (Labrador) who has been growing along with my daughter. The amount of love we get from our pooches is unforgettable!
–Paramjeet Singh, Moga

My first puppy was a beautiful stray named Timmy. Got her from my uncle when I was in school around 15 years back. I took her home just for one day, but she stayed permanently with us as our family member. She was a sweetheart, the first pooch in our family. She was followed by Bonny (Doberman), Don (Labrador), Bindu (daughter of Timmy and Don) and Jacky (German Shepherd). All of them respected Timmy as the senior most in our family.
–Satyanarayan Swamy, Bengaluru

When I was just four years old, my parents asked me what I would want to become. “Animal doctor!,” I replied. They laughed. We got Sandy, a German Shepherd, when I was five. When I was in class VIII, I adopted a cross breed female dog named Cookie and four strays. After them came Blacky who gave birth to a sweet little pup named Jack. I also adopted a female German Shepherd named Lara and newest member in the pack is my first Pug called Liza.
–Nishi Chand, Lucknow

I’ll never forget the days Bruno helped me when one of my legs got fractured and I was bedridden for two months. Bruno was a brown Dachshund son of my parents’ pet dogs Buster and Juju. He stayed by my side during those days and only got down from the bed to answer nature’s call. The fracture healed within two months rather than the four predicted by the doctor. We shared an intuitive relationship which helped me become a true pet parent. My grief of losing Bruno in 2008 was lessened when my second pooch Coco entered my life.
–Vatsala Shukla, Delhi

Since childhood I saw army training dogs and wondered how they did it. My love for animals compelled me to help injured and abandoned ones. My parents always supported me for all these activities. Seeing my love for pets, my parents brought home a German Shepherd. I mark it as an important day of my life. It was on 3rd March 2010, I became a true pet parent to a German Shepherd.
–Pramit Kumar, Agra

Fur dressing – Brush to shine

Every new dog who enters a family goes through an intensive study on appearance, height, weight, colour, behaviour, preferences and probable life span. Products to make the pet comfortable are researched upon and bought. The house is made pet-friendly and the extended family is informed of the new addition. Who will train the dog, who will feed her, who will take her for a walk, who will take care of her during holidays and what the dog is prohibited from – everything is thought of and decided upon in advance. But has one extensively thought about grooming?

Well, the dog has now been home for a couple of months. Everything has gone well so far and the dog has

dog grooming

Kristine Schirmer and Dr Lochana Baney

charmed the whole family. Then something happens that is very natural. There’s something under the front leg! An ulcer? No, it turns out to be a matt! Did the breeder not say that the dog’s coat does not need maintenance? Or did he just say that the dog does not shed? How does a dog get such a matt and why are there similar matts on both hind legs? Funny! Exactly in the same place on both sides! This requires action! A pair of clippers should be got immediately or, better still, a dog groomer should be given this responsibility. Brushing the hair at home may not be possible because the dog will run away when you try to brush the hair. And if you force her to brush her hair, she will whine so loud that your heart will melt and the evil brush will disappear!

But it shouldn’t happen that the poor dog will have big, hard matts, until one goes to a professional for help. A clean shave is also not an option either! It is extremely embarrassing for the dog and harmful as well. Bald, shaven dogs freeze in winter and get sun burn in summer. The whole spectrum of skin protection functions of the coat becomes useless. Thus fur dressing by professionals who have sound knowledge of different types of coat in different breeds and how to work in the best way to conserve the texture, colour and breed standards, can help your dog to remain clean, free of matts, well groomed and healthy.

Benefits of pooch coat…

The condition of the coat defines the general health of the animal. The skin and hair form the largest organ of the body and protect the dog from external factors such as water, ultraviolet rays and micro-organisms. The coat is also responsible for temperature control and immunity regulation and for preserving water, salts, fats and sensory perception.

Every dog requires conscious fur dressing. If one thinks that short-haired dogs like Dalmatians, Doberman and Boxers do not require fur dressing, think again. Their hair falls like the leaves of a Christmas tree. It happens in such a way that it doesn’t stop for the rest of the dog’s life. Meanwhile, long-haired dogs must be regularly brushed in order to avoid matts. Only regular hair brushing will overcome matts.

With most breeds of dogs, the fur is dense and has multiple layers of hair. Here, fur dressing is particularly important. A dog’s hair has a tendency to matt if proper care of the skin and hair is not taken. Infections and parasitic attacks are not noticed with just a cursory glance. With regular care and proper inspection of the skin, skin diseases can be detected at an early stage.

Benefits of bathing… .

There are various reasons why dogs should be bathed regularly. It serves to clean the dog and remove dead hair from the skin. At the same time, dandruff and dirt are also removed. Bathing also helps to deodorise the dog from internal smells, as well as smells caused by external factors. In order to prevent the dog’s skin from any kind of danger, it is essential that the dog is taken to a professional for a dog shampoo.

Fur dressing… what does it mean?

Fur dressing means working with the skin and hair of dogs in a professional way after evaluation of the general condition of the coat. This includes services like:

  • Gently brushing the different layers of the hair using layer specific brushes, without causing injury to the skin and other delicate organs, either to dematt, stop shedding, clean the skin of dust and debris, etc.
  • Haircuts or trims for convenient, healthy lifestyle.
  • Bathing with nontoxic, coat specific shampoos.

All these procedures are conducted to conserve the natural texture, colour and coat patterns.

How fur dressing helps…

Fur dressing enables the upper layer of the skin to breathe, while the coat’s in-built temperature control mechanism stays effective. As the process of fur growth is controlled by daylight, dogs who mostly stay in the house are more likely to shed a lot of hair.

The purpose of fur dressing is to improve and maintain the skin and fur of the animal so that he can protect himself from environmental factors, retaining the breed-specific characteristics of his physical appearance. In addition, the natural tendencies of the animal are retained and his social contact with his pet parent is intensified. Do not forget to reward your dog after fur dressing!

Mock fur dressing, for instance, light brushing with a soft brush, just getting used to standing on the grooming table for a few minutes at a time, should start right after the second month after the dog’s birth and continue regularly. Technical specifications should be adhered to by consulting a professional. A professional dresser can also help in the early years of the dog’s life. The rule of regularity is to be followed, rather than clipping off the hair altogether once a year, which is destructive. More natural the fur of the dog, the more it will tend to protect the dog from the environment.

(Dr Lochana Baney is a veterinary physician, who runs GORDON – Just FUR Dogs, where you can get detailed advice regarding the hair and skin care of your dog.)


Different brush strokes for different coats

As pet parent, we all understand the benefits of having a clean, well-groomed dog not just for our pleasure, but first and foremost for the benefit to the dog. Different breeds have different coats, here’s how to groom different types of coats.

Benefits of grooming

Hound Glove, Combs Shedding Blade Undercoat Rake Slicker Brushes

Hound Glove, Combs Shedding Blade Undercoat Rake Slicker Brushes

  • Happy and healthy: A regular grooming schedule can keep your dog happier and your pet’s skin and hair stays healthy when it’s brushed regularly as the natural oils in their hair and skin are distributed over the body when brushed on a regular basis.
  • Bonding time: Grooming can also help improve relationship with your dog, with a puppy it is especially important to use grooming sessions as a time to bond with your pet and to gain their trust. An older pet may require touch to soothe aches and pains as they get older, so if they are used to being groomed they will respond positively to handling for other health reasons.
  • Regulating body temperature: Dogs use their coats for insulation, keeping the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer. It is important to keep your dog’s coat in top condition so that they are happy & healthy as well as being able to regulate their body temperature.

Here are different types of coat dogs have and the best ways to keep them tangle free and clean.

Smooth coat: brush ‘n shine

Characteristics: Smooth coated dogs have a short coat that lies flat against the dog’s body and is sleek and shiny. Smooth coats shed all year round rather than just twice a year.

Care: Smooth coats only require brushing and an occasional bath, they need to be brushed about once a week which will help to keep the oil evenly distributed over the coat and make sure the coat is free of dead hair and dirt.

Brushes: The best types of brushes for this type of coat are hound gloves and shedding blades.

Popular breeds: Labradors and Boxers.

Double coat: brush regularly

Characteristics: Double coats have two layers: a thick, fuzzy undercoat and a longer topcoat, which is weather resistant, these dogs moult in huge amount twice a year. The thick undercoat acts as insulation from the cold and heat and is usually thick enough to keep water out.

Care: Double coats require lots of grooming due to the dense undercoat and they should be brushed regularly especially during the spring and autumn when they are shedding their coat. If they are not brushed thoroughly enough, the undercoat can become too packed so that it cannot fluff up or dry properly. So, make sure that you can get a comb right through the hair to the skin. If possible, these coats should not be clipped as the top coat grows back more slowly.

Brushes: The best types of brushes to use on these coats are undercoat rakes, wire slicker brushes and combs.

Popular breeds: Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute.

Drop coat: bushing is a must

Characteristics: A drop coat is long, straight and flowing usually with a parting down the middle of the back. Drop coated dogs shed less than shorter coats as they take much longer to reach the predetermined length.

Care: Drop coats require daily brushing and combing as they are prone to matting, especially around the armpits, ears and groin areas. When bathed, they should also be conditioned and then dried by hand while being combed through as this will prevent the coat from knotting up while drying.

Brushes: The best brushes for drop coats are slicker brushes and metal combs.

Popular breeds: Afghan and Lhasa Apso.

Wiry coat: minimal brushing

Samantha Laws

Characteristics: Wiry coats are harsh, stiff and can be single coated or have a soft undercoat depending on the breed. Wiry coats shed lightly all throughout the year and more in spring and autumn when the coat is ‘blowing’.

Care: Wire haired dogs require minimal brushing by the owners but can have the occasional knot if neglected, although knots in a wiry coat are usually fairly easy to brush out. These types of coats are traditionally hand stripped meaning that the harsh guard hairs are plucked out twice a year when the coat is ‘blowing’ to reveal a thinner tidier coat underneath. Some wiry coats will require clipping or scissoring as having the coat previously clipped will make the coat softer and unsuitable for hand stripping.

Popular breeds: Schnauzer and Wire Haired Fox Terrier.

Curly/woolly coat: high maintenance

Characteristics: Curly coats are single coated and prone to become dry and matting; the softer the coat is, the more likely it is to matt.

Care: These coats require very high maintenance and are more like sheep wool than other types of dog hair and they don’t moult. Curly coats require daily brushing and combing to prevent them from matting, these coats should be sprayed with water or coat conditioner before brushing to prevent the hairs from being damaged or broken. When bathed, they should be blow dried straight away to get the best finish. Since they don’t shed, they will need to be trimmed every eight weeks or so.

Brushes: The best brushes for curly coats are slicker brushes and metal combs.

Popular breeds: Poodles and Bichons.

Hairless: grooming still a must

Characteristics: Hairless breeds of dogs aren’t actually hairless but have small amounts of very fine hair. They usually have black or blue skin and are prone to sunburn.

Care: Hairless dogs don’t require grooming like other breeds due to their lack of hair. However, they still need regular baths and moisturiser to keep the skin supple, they also need sun cream applied regularly to prevent them from getting sunburn. It is also recommended that hairless dogs are regularly exfoliated to prevent them getting acne and blackheads.

Popular breeds: Mexican Hairless and Chinese Crested.

(Samantha Laws owns Doggy Styling Professional Grooming Salon in Cambridgshire, England. She is also a member of the British Dog Grooming Association and English Groomers Group.)

Mamma … Brush up your grooming skills

Who doesn’t want a well-behaved and a great looking kid? Well! We all do. With little care and loads of love, we can easily convert our loving pooches into great looking kiddies. Brushing works wonder, if done properly with a little care. Grrrrrrrooming…might sound great to our four-legged friends as well, if we do it in a way D&P propagates.

Brushing is the basic facet of grooming, there’s a lot involved in it, it has to be done in a proper way. Its way and requirement varies with breed and moreover brushing and combing are not so identical as well…so to know more about all such nitty-gritty of brushing and combing, just go through a few mentioned tips that will surely add more BOW effect to our doggies’ looks.Right brush for the right breeddog grooming

The brush that we use for brushing is breed specific. For long-haired breeds such as Lhasa Apso, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Pomeranian and Shih Tzu, use curved wire slicker or pin brush with rounded tips to prevent damage to the skin. For short coat breeds with dense undercoat like Terrier, GSD and American Eskimo, always use a slicker and for smooth coated breeds like Boxer, Doberman, Labrador, Greyhound, Basset Hound and Pitbull – all we need is just a comb.

Canine coat conditioning

Before combing, it is always advisable to spray a good quality conditioner on the coat. This will help to loosen knots and smoothen the coat… thus making brushing easier for pooches, especially for the longhaired breeds. Coat conditioners are available in the market.

Correct brushing pattern

Professional groomers start with the hindlimbs and then move to head and ears. Brushing avoids matting in dogs and removes the dead hair from the coat. Don’t be in a hurry during brushing and brush gently on tummy and inside his legs. Most important…brush stepby- step, targeting one section and layer of his coat at a time.

Tackling knots and tangles

For long-haired breeds, daily brushing is required and to remove tangles and knots, comb…gently. With deep stokes of comb, we can easily get rid of tangles. Use your hands to hold hair…so that it may not hurt our cuddly canines.

Doing it the right way

Brush before a bath…and comb after brushing. If an area is matted, use scissors to cut the matted area. Be patient and gentle with your precious one so that the bristles of the brush may not hurt him. Most of all, ensure he has a great time. Do treat him with his favourite treat for being patient.

Tuffy…Ginger…Sparkle… Bravo…Gooofy….Oh! They all are just rushing to their mammas for a brushing session…while we wish them all the great looks!

– by Smita Mishra