• Trimming Your Dog’s Toenails

    Hi all, George here. Today I’d like to talk about trimming your dog’s toenails. This is something that affects every dog owner. I tend to focus a lot on issues about training your pet, but this is something you’ll have to deal with no matter how well trained your dog is. Just as keeping your dog’s coat clean and trimmed is important for their comfort, so is trimming their nails.

    First, we must understand the differences between a dog’s toenails and our own. Unlike our own nails, a dog’s toenails are actually a part of the skeletal structure. Your dog can flex and extend their nails on command. It helps them with their gait, and to maintain balance. A dog that goes for walks regularly will have back toenails that mostly stay trimmed on their own because with each step they push off with those nails. A dog that mostly stays inside however will not have any regular trimming, and their nails can get long enough that it begins to cause serious issues.

    When a dog’s nails get too long, it can throw off their gait. As the nails become longer, it forces the dog to put more weight on the heel of their paw, rather than the front. Eventually, this leads to a dip in the dog’s spine as they compensate for the imbalance. I had one very unfortunate case with an older dog that became paralyzed because of a ruptured disc due to this very problem. The dog was older, and could not go through surgery to correct it, so ultimately it had to be euthanized. It was definitely a tragedy, and one that was completely preventable.

    So how often should you trim your dog’s nails? The easiest rule to follow is that if you can hear your dog’s toenails clicking and clacking on a hard floor, then it’s time to trim. Doing it once a month is a good schedule to follow, or you could just do it whenever you trim your own nails. If you intend to do it yourself, it is very important to know that a dog’s nail is not like yours. You can not simply trim down as far as you like. A dog’s nail is like tree bark growing around a bit of living flesh that we refer to as the “quick.” If you trim down too far and cut the quick, you will cause your dog a lot of pain, as well as a lot of bleeding. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, then bring them to us. Feel free to check out the grooming section of our website here.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.

  • Rescue Dogs

    Hi all, George here. Today I’d like to talk about a topic that is near and dear to me, and that is rescue dogs. Dealing with a dog that has been mistreated, or at the very least poorly trained can be very challenging. You must be even more vigilant about asserting your position as the calm and collected leader.

    As I have already discussed in my blog on dog psychology , dogs are always trying to determine their position in the pack. They ultimately seek the comfort of a strong leader. A rescue dog will have higher than normal anxiety, and acting submissive to them will only validate their fears. For many people, the natural reaction when meeting a rescue dog is to stoop down and baby-talk them, which is really the wrong thing to do. This type of behavior can communicate you are fearful, which will validate their anxiety. It can also tell them you are submissive, which provides no security to an already insecure and anxious dog.

    Instead you should remain calm, cool, and collected. Show the dog that nothing bothers you, and you are in complete control. Your dog will follow your lead, and their anxiety will melt away. A dog that knows it is following a strong leader is a happy and calm dog. You have given them the stability and order they always craved. As I always say, you can control your dog’s behavior by controlling your own.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.

  • Meeting a Dog

    Hi all, George here. One of the complaints I hear frequently is that a dog is very wild when people come over. People will be annoyed when they come over because the dog will jump on them, bite them, and be an all-around nuisance. Today I’d like to discuss the proper behavior for when you meet a dog to ensure that they know you are in charge, and that they should behave for you.

    All of the principles I will discuss today have already been covered in one form or another in previous blogs, we are simply applying them to a different situation. I recommend reading my blog post on jumping and biting, which you can find here. I also recommend watching my video on the subject of dog psychology, which you can find here.

    A dog is constantly reassessing the order of the pack. Every time a person enters or leaves the room, the dog will decide where he sits in the order of the pack. This is why it is important to always let the dog know you are dominant. The same is true when you arrive at someone’s home. When you come into someone’s home, and their dog comes in to greet you, you should not show any submissive signs. Bending down, using “baby talk,” and stepping away from the dog are all signs that you are submissive to them, and that the dog is the dominant person in your relationship.

    Instead, you need to show signs that you are dominant. Stand tall, and do not look down at the dog. Act as if the dog is not even there, and that you are so cool and confident that it does not pose any threat to you at all. If the dog jumps on you, do not back up. Push the dog down by the shoulders/neck, and stand your ground. Do not give the dog any attention until they have shown that they are submissive to you. I speak from experience when I say that if you use these techniques, even the most misbehaved dogs will treat you with respect, and your friends will say “wow he is always so behaved when you’re here!” As I always say, you can control your dog’s behavior by controlling your own.

    Be sure to check back often for more tips and tricks on giving your pet the happiest and healthiest life possible. George Domsic is the owner at Benchmark Pet Services, and has more than 40 years experience in the field of dog training and psychology.