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Holiday Hazards

By Misty Pines Pet Company

The holiday season brings excitement and commotion associated with shopping, travel, and other seasonal preparations. In all the activities of the season our beloved pets may be exposed to hazards that are not found other times of the year. As homes fill with holiday spirit, pets may be intrigued by the new sites, smells and tastes. The following are some of the most common health concerns for your pet during the holidays. If you have specific questions regarding any health concern, please contact your veterinarian. It may be difficult to curb your pet’s fascination with all those pretty decorations. Child gates can be used across doorways to keep your pet away from the Christmas tree and decorations at times they cannot be watched.

    Holiday Lights

  • Decorative lights are an attraction for pets to chew on. Both indoor and outdoor lights should be carefully examined to ensure safety for your household pets. Electrical shock may occur from defective cords as well as from them chewing on cords. Check cords for any signs of bite marks, loose or frayed wires, proximity to the tree’s water supply or evidence of short circuits. Use grounded “3-prong” extension cords and strictly follow manufacturer’s guidelines for light usage.
  • Electrical shock can cause burns, difficulty breathing, abnormal heart rhythm, loss of consciousness, and death. Call a veterinarian immediately if your pet has been injured by electrical shock. Treatment will be most effective if begun soon after the shock. Bubble Lights: They contain a small amount of methylene chloride, which is also found in paint removers. It is a moderately toxic solvent.
    Tinsel, Ribbon and other “Shiny” Things

  • Ribbons, wrapping paper, ornaments, tinsel, and gifts may be appealing “chew toys” that may make your pet sick. There is something about those shiny strands of Christmas tree decor, which drives kitties wild. Although the sight of your cat pawing at the tree may be cute, the ingestion of tinsel can be deadly. Eating tinsel or other string-like items such as ribbon can cause serious damage to the intestine. One end can get stuck while the rest is pulled into the intestine as it contracts; the contractions may cause the ribbon or tinsel to cut through the intestine. If not caught in time, infection of the belly cavity develops and the prognosis for recovery becomes poor. Pets can become ill quickly and symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, depression, belly pain and sometimes fever.
  • Angel hair ornaments are a finely spun glass that is toxic and potentially obstructive if ingested. Also be aware that antique or foreign-made ornaments may be decorated with lead-based paint. Eating other holiday decorations can cause signs ranging from mild depression to severe vomiting or diarrhea, depending upon whether or not the foreign body can be passed in the stool or gets stuck along the way. Sometimes foreign bodies stuck in the intestine do not show up on “x-ray” but will trap air in the intestine, which helps your veterinarian make a diagnosis. Surgery is required to remove foreign bodies that do not pass on their own.
    Water and other liquids

  • Even though they have their own water bowl, there is something enticing about other sources of water; whether it’s the toilet bowl or the Christmas tree stand. If you add chemicals to the water meant to keep your tree fresh longer, be sure to read the label to make sure it is safe for pets. Stagnant tree water can also contain bacteria, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Potpourri makes your house smell festive but may be another attraction for pets to drink. Make sure that potpourri pots are covered or otherwise inaccessible to pets.
  • Snow globes may contain antifreeze, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Very small amounts can be lethal, as little as one teaspoon can be deadly to a cat. If there is a snow globe spill of any kind, send your pet out of the room while you clean up the liquid. Dilute the spot with water and floor cleaner to make sure your dog does not lick these harmful chemicals later.
    Overindulgence

  • Well-intentioned family and friends may share holiday foods with pets causing the pet to develop an upset stomach. Pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas can be caused by eating fatty foods. To control excessive food intake by your pets and to meet your guests’ desires to feed the pets, have the treats your pets would normally receive and let your guests “treat” the pets.
    The following foods are not pet friendly:

  • Coffee: Contains caffeine which is a stimulant, and depending on the dose ingested, signs may include stimulation, restlessness, increased heart rate, tremors, or seizures.
  • Macadamia Nuts: Can cause muscular weakness, depression, vomiting, disorientation, tremors, abdominal pain and muscle stiffness. The effects can last 1-3 days.
  • Grapes and Raisins: Can develop kidney failure if large amounts are ingested of either of them.
  • Chocolate:Theobromine is the toxic compound found in chocolate. The darker the chocolate, they more toxic it is. Symptoms may appear within 1 to 4 hours of eating and include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, increased thirst, urination and heart rate.
  • Alcohol: Can cause alcohol poisoning. The pet may become weak, severely depressed, and go into a coma.
  • Yeast dough: Uncooked yeast dough can raise in the stomach and cause severe pain when ingested. It can also cause bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression. Since the breakdown product of rising dough is alcohol, it can cause alcohol poisoning. Many cases like this require surgical removal of the dough. Even small amounts can be dangerous.
  • Bones: Cooked bones can splinter and cause intestinal blockages.
  • Xylitol: Be aware of candy or foods containing the sweetener xylitol, which is now common in a lot of sweets and gums. Side effects can be seen in as little as six minutes after consumption. The pet will become lethargic, weak, have a loss of coordination, seizures, and fall into a coma. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.
    Some examples of toxic holiday plants

  • Holly
  • Amaryllis
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettia
  • Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, Easter cactus
  • American bittersweet
  • European bittersweet
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Christmas rose
  • Jerusalem cherry
  • Autumn crocus
  • Christmas palm
  • Christmas orchid
  • Christmas dagger fern
  • Mistletoes cactus
  • Burning bush
  • Lilies

Extra attention from visiting relatives and friends may be relished by some pets while others seek solitude in their favorite hiding spot. Make sure pets are given some “personal space” if they want to get away from all of the activity. Some pets may respond to all the commotion with a change in behavior including bad behaviors like eliminating in the house. Try spending extra “quality time” with them to assure them that they have not been forgotten.


Benefits Of Carob

Carob is a plant in the pea family (a legume), and is often used today as a substitute for chocolate. The carob plant as we know it today is originated in the Mediterranean over 4,000 years ago. Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and ancient Greeks highly valued not only sweetness of Carob, but the nutritional benefits the plant bestowed. It was so highly valued, that the word carat comes from measuring a gemstone’s weight in comparison to the carob seed.

Records show that carob was intentionally introduced into the United States in 1854, and the first seedlings were apparently planted in California in 1873. For commercial production cultivars with the finest quality fruits are bud grafted on common stock.

Carob grows well anywhere that citrus is grown, and it prefers dry climates that receive more than 30 centimeters of rainfall–ideal mediterranean-type climates.

The fruit of carob is a pod, technically a legume 15 to 30 centimeters in length and fairly thick and broad.

Pods are borne on the old stems of the plant on short flower stalks. Interestingly, most carob trees are monoecious, with individual male and female flowers.

The dark-brown pods are not only edible, but also rich in sucrose (almost 40% plus other sugars) and protein (up to 8%).

Carob contains antioxidants, fiber, and is rich in calcium and phosphorus which helps fight osteoporosis. Benefits of Carob also include gallic acid, which has been used to prevent or treat polio in children. Gallic acid is a tannin, has anti viral, anti fungal, and antibacterial qualities. Carob is rich in vitamin E, which helps stave off influenza. Carob also aids in digestive health, lowers cholesterol, and can help people regulate their body weight. It is non allergenic, gluten-free, does not contain caffeine or theobromine (both found in chocolate), and can be used as a 1:1 replacement for chocolate in recipes. It’s important to note that carob does not taste exactly like chocolate–it is typically used because of the brown color, which has an impact on how your food tastes. It can be found in any health food store, and is fairly inexpensive.

Moreover, the pod has vitamin A, B vitamins, and several important minerals. They can be eaten directly by livestock, but we know carob mostly because the pods are ground into a flour that is a cocoa substitute.

Although this product has a slightly different taste than chocolate, it has only one-third the calories (total 1595 calories per pound), is virtually fat-free (chocolate is half fat), is rich in pectin, is nonallergenic, has abundant protein, and has no oxalic acid, which interferes with absorption of calcium.

Consequently, carob flour is widely used in health foods for chocolate-like flavoring.

Apart from the health benefits obtained by subsituting Carob for Cocoa and synthetic sweeteners in our diet, Carob also has excellent nutritional value. Along with up to 80% protien, it contains Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium Manganese, Barium, Copper, Nickel and the vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D. It also has medicinal uses including the treatment of coughs and diarrhoea.

Carob pods are dried or roasted and ground into powder, which is the form it is typically found in–besides carob chips, which often contain additives and oils. Carob has a sweet, slightly bitter, earthy flavor and has been used by cultures around the world for its flavor and healing properties. Locust beans are the seeds of the Carob plant, and locust bean gum is a common food additive as a thickening agent.

Carob has become an important part of the gourmet pet treat industry with many treat makers using it as a coating and ingredient in many of their treats. With Halloween and the holiday season right around the corner we often find it tempting to share our sweet treats with our dogs but instead, get them their own goodies so when you’re indulging in some chocolatey goodness and they give you the sad eyes you can stroll over to their cookie jar and get them a safe alternative that they’ll love.

Stop in to Misty Pines and find all of our gourmet pet treats from Furrever Friends, Tail Bangers and more.

Information courtesy of: http://www.carobana.com.au & http://www.peacefuldumpling.com.


Who’s at the door? Santa or Satan?

By Sue McCabe

Halloween is coming soon and Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. All of these holidays mean that you’ll have droves of guests coming to your house getting Fido all worked up. Teaching a dog to properly greet visitors at the door is one of the most common issues that people have with their dogs. We’ve provided an article written by Sue McCabe listing different reasons that your dog may want to be over exuberant with their greeting and a few ideas on how to anticipate problems and head them off at the pass. Be sure to note the paragraph detailing how to avoid the situation all together. Enjoy the article and have a Happy, Safe and Stress Free Holiday Season!

In terms of dog/owner frustration & concern, coming a close third place behind recall & dog/dog reactivity issues, is greeting guests. Unlike recall or dog/dog reactivity, training appropriate greetings should not cause as much stress as it seems to. The fact that the challenge is occurring in an owner’s home, means people have complete control of the environment in which they are training. As such, it should be easy to manage their dog’s behaviour & retrain a greeting acceptable to all concerned. So why is it such a common challenge then?

Most dogs can be classed into three categories when it comes to greeting guests. The first type of dog behaves like it’s Christmas. Joy, of joys, Santa must be at the door each time someone knocks. The level of excitement & enthusiasm to greet the guest rises to levels beyond the dog or the owner’s control. This quickly results in a lunatic fur ball, abound (literally) with glee, paws akimbo, ready to greet the unfortunate guest, who has no idea they possess such cause for excitement. In turn, the owner, at pains to control their hyperactive Santa loving dog, joins in the fun, saying the dog’s name over again in an excited voice which winds fido up more. They often attempt to grab or restrain the dog which only makes things worse.

The alternative group of dogs believe that their home is their sanctuary. The front door is the portal which divides safety & the big bad world. Through this portal, each guest carries the guise of Satan. Such dogs are worried for the safety of their property or themselves. The former feels the need to guard their home or owner. The unsuspecting visitor has no idea they have been classed as evil as they are met with a dog ready to protect (lunging, jumping, barking, growling and/or biting). Owners of such dogs, in a vain attempt to take control, often shout commands & use physical restraint, finally resorting to locking the dog away from visitors to keep everyone safe.

Our other Satan wary dogs are terrified for their own safety. Such dogs run to hide, attempt to go deeper into the sanctuary, shy away, beg to be left alone. Owners often attempt placation, reassurance & cajoling. They drag their dogs to greet guests, asking visitors to feed, stroke or cuddle them. All the time such dogs believe they are being asked to make friends with the devil.

While I know there will be rare folk whose dogs don’t fall into the three categories listed above, for the average pet dog owner, it’s far more common for the Santa or the Satan dog to prevail. For this reason, allowing your dog to greet at the front door is a bad idea for all concerned. Dogs become proficient at behaviours they practice, so if you want your dog to learn calm, controlled greetings, practice this. Manage your dog’s behaviour & that of your guests carefully.

Use a dog gate to ensure your dog doesn’t greet guests at the front door.

Teach them that the doorbell is a signal to run behind the gate for a tasty treat. Don’t wait for guests to arrive to practice this.

Ask guests to COMPLETELY ignore your dog. Lead by example-ignore your dog at this point also.

Make tea, allow your dog to see & hear the guest through the gate. Wait for this new arrival to lose its novelty.

With all three dog types, use ‘Treat & Retreat’ training but use food which is of extremely high value, real warm roast chicken or fresh cooked liver works best.

The ‘Oh my dog, Santa’s here’ type:

If you’ve got a Santa loving dog, he will be desperate to say ‘hi’ so watch for signs that he’s given up trying, wait a few minutes more & only then proceed to train him. If Santa loving dogs jump, the dog gate becomes a buffer. Guests should walk away & approach the gate again once the dog is calm. Teach him that guests throw food over his shoulder, so wasting time/energy approaching the guest is pointless, as food comes to him, not the other way around. Guests should begin to train calm sit greetings after several ‘free’ treat/retreat sessions.

The ‘Satan has come to take over my home and/or owner’ type:

You really don’t want dogs who guard their property or their owners to approach strangers to your home. Close proximity to guests means such dogs may try to control visitors through their actions (stalking/lunging/growling/biting). Make decisions for them to demonstrate clearly that guests are non- threatening & are also in control. When such a dog has relaxed, request that visitors calmly approach the dog gate & toss mouthwateringly tasty food over the dog’s shoulder. They should retreat , then repeat the approach until the dog is showing relaxed body language rather than reactive signs, when visitors move towards the gate. Guests can begin to request a sit & repeat the treat/retreat training thus controlling the greeting & reward.

The ‘Satan has come to get me’ type:

Our last group of dogs don’t want to approach guests anyway, they want to be left alone. Respect this by providing a space to hide in (covered crate) while guests visit. Should you chose to change their mind about visitors, do so using treat/retreat training but allow the dog to decide if he wants to take further steps to greet. Ask guests to allow such dogs to approach the dog gate, not the other way around. Toss food. Never at this stage put hands down to the dog. If allowing this cautious greeter to join your gathering, remind guests that most of these dogs want to sniff visitors to reassure themselves they are not in fact Satan, not because they want to be friends with or stroked by strangers.

A simple step which can encourage more appropriate behaviour in our dogs, is often one which owners seem most reluctant to take. People are so desperate for guests to like their dog & vice versa, they continue to put their pets into fail/fail situations. Situations where everyone gets frustrated or upset. Whether your dog expects Santa or Satan at the front door, do him a favour & help him to get it right. Take control of greetings so your dog doesn’t have to!

An easy way to set your dog up for success is to give them an area to be in when the doorbell rings or when someone knocks on the door. Unless you have decided that you want your dog to answer the door, it is not appropriate for them to be at the door when someone arrives. Think of it in human terms: does your whole family, kids included, come to answer the door? Probably not. This would be overwhelming to a guest an create too much of a crowd around the door. Apply the same thinking to the dog. Give them a defined place to go and train them to go there when the doorbell rings. Mutt Mats, Sherpa Pads and crates are great ideas for places that your dog can go to and be out of the way and avoid the entire situation all together.


Pressure Sores AKA Calluses

“Pressure sores,” also called decubital ulcers, are abnormal areas on or under the skin over bony pressure points. They include calluses, which are thickened, wrinkled, hairless areas of skin, and hygromas, which are soft, usually painless, fluid-filled sacs under the skin. Pressure sores are caused by force, friction or trauma to a dog’s skin and subcutaneous tissues, usually as a result of lying on hard surfaces, such as cement, for long periods of time. They are especially prevalent in large, heavy breeds. Prolonged pressure on areas where bone and skin are thinly separated reduces blood supply to the area, causing tissue damage. The elbow is frequently affected, although pressure sores can develop on the hips, hocks and sides of the hind legs. These sores can be painful. Dogs often lick relentlessly at pressure sores, which then abscess, ulcerate and become a raw weeping wound.

Causes of Pressure Sores

Pressure sores are almost always caused by chronic trauma to a dog’s skin and subcutaneous tissue as a result of lying on hard surfaces for prolonged periods of time. Pressure sores are common in domestic dogs, especially in large, heavy or giant-breed dogs and those that are kenneled on cement floors without soft, well-padded bedding. Long-term pressure on an area of the body where the bone and skin are thinly separated compresses the blood vessels and decreases the blood supply to the area, which in turn causes tissue damage and, ultimately, tissue death (necrosis), calluses and hygromas. The elbow is probably the most common site of pressure sores, although they also frequently occur on the hips, hocks and sides of the legs.

Prevention of Pressure Sores

The best way to prevent pressure sores is to provide dogs with lofty, well-padded bedding in all areas where they regularly rest. Dogs that are recumbent for medical reasons are especially at risk of developing pressure sores. They should be given very soft, thick, well-padded beds to lie on; egg crate foam, thick foam rubber, waterbeds or inflatable airbeds are all good options. Recumbent dogs should be physically turned (have their position changed) every 2 to 3 hours, to prevent concentrated pressure on their elbows, hocks, hips and other thin-skinned bony areas. Massage, hydrotherapy and other forms of physical therapy can be helpful by stimulating blood circulation to affected sites.

Special Notes

Pressure sores are common in companion dogs. The highest incidence is seen in large and giant breeds and dogs who are crated or otherwise forced to lie down for extended periods of time.

How Pressure Sores are Diagnosed

Pressure sores are not difficult to diagnose. They are not a “disease” or a “medical disorder,” but rather are a physical skin and subcutaneous tissue condition caused by pressure, friction and trauma. They are, basically, a “sore.”

A thorough history and physical examination are the most important tools in diagnosing pressure sores. The diagnosis is usually made based upon clinical observations and upon the owner’s explanation of the environment and surfaces upon which the dog lies. If the pressure sore is ulcerated or infected, the attending veterinarian probably will take samples of the oozing exudate with a sterile cotton swab, and then will submit the samples to a diagnostic laboratory for microscopic examination and culture. Skin biopsies may also be taken for diagnostic examination, depending upon the location and appearance of lesions in the particular patient. Biopsies are important to distinguish pressure sores from potential cancerous masses. In the uncommon case where involvement of bone is suspected, radiographs (X-rays) of the affected area may be recommended.

Special Notes

Pressure sores can be very frustrating to owners of affected dogs. The best way to deal with them is to provide well-padded bedding everywhere that the dog tends to rest, to relieve pressure on its elbows, hocks, hips or other bony pressure points.

Symptoms of Pressure Sores

Pressure sores are visibly obvious. The most common site is on the elbows, but they also can occur on the hips, hocks, chest (sternum), side of the legs or anywhere else on the body. Owners of dogs with pressure sores may not notice the condition until the sores actually break open and ulcerate, or until their dogs are chronically licking at the affected site. Owners may notice one or more of the following signs of pressure sores in their dogs:

  • Hairless, wrinkled, hyperpigmented (red-to-purple) pad of thickened skin over a bony pressure point
  • Fluid-filled area over a bony prominence
  • Ulcer, abscess or weeping wound over a bony prominence
  • Lameness
  • Licking at the affected area (often accompanied by stained hair coat at the site of the sore)

Dogs at Increased Risk

Any dog, of any breed or mixed breed and of either gender, can develop pressure sores. However, they are most common in large and giant-breed dogs – such as the Mastiff, Cane Corso, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Labrador Retriever and other large breeds – because their weight and size are disproportionately concentrated on bony pressure points, especially their elbows and hocks, when they are lying down. Dogs with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop infections at the sites of pressure sores. Dogs that lie down (are recumbent) for prolonged periods of time – especially if they are housed on hard surfaces without soft bedding – have an increased risk of developing pressure sores. Malnourished and emaciated dogs also are predisposed to developing pressure sores, because they lack the normal tissue “padding” around their elbows, hocks and other bony areas.

Treatment Options

It is imperative that dogs with pressure sores be provided with well-padded, thick, soft sleeping surfaces at all times, to prevent further trauma. This may be all that is needed to decrease the size of the pressure sores and prevent their progression. There are many commercially available dog beds, mattresses and fabric-covered foam pads that will take the pressure off of bony prominences when a dog is resting or sleeping. If a pressure sore is not infected, adding soft bedding to the dog’s living environment – and observing the dog when it is lying down or resting – are probably all that is necessary to manage the condition. The site of the pressure sore should be wrapped with a padded bandage to prevent further trauma to the area as it heals. Moisturizers, aloe lotions or antibiotic ointments or gels can be applied to the affected area to soften the rough skin and provide some relief from discomfort. The area should be bandaged after these substances are applied, to reduce the risk of secondary bacterial infections developing in the moist environment.

If pressure sores become infected, the veterinarian will need to inspect the site more carefully. He probably will take a sample of the oozing exudates on a cotton swab and submit it to a diagnostic laboratory for culture and sensitivity, to identify the precise microorganisms that are responsible for the infection. Long-term antibiotic treatment, both orally and topically, is usually recommended to treat infected pressure sores. A typical course of oral antibiotic treatment is 4 to 6 weeks, at a minimum.

Dogs with hygromas – fluid-filled sacs over areas of pressure, also called bursas – may be treated by draining and flushing the lesion. If caught early, this can be accomplished by needle aspiration, which basically involves inserting a needle into the hygroma and extracting its fluid contents into an attached syringe by pulling on the plunger. The fluid inside hygromas usually is clear or yellowish-to-red. The aspiration site should be well-padded and bandaged after this procedure. However, unless the underlying cause of the hygroma is resolved, most of them will return after being drained by a veterinarian.

Surgical excision (removal) of calluses or hygromas is usually not recommended. Laser therapy may be helpful for small pressure sores, although this treatment is not yet widely available. Pressure sores with extensive ulceration may require surgical skin grafts. Some authorities report that slathering the sores with raw honey or wound-healing creams may accelerate healing.

All pressure sores should be cleaned daily with an antiseptic solution, which the attending veterinarian can recommend. This often is a chlorhexidine solution.

Prognosis

Unfortunately, because of their location on areas where bone and skin are in close proximity and where constant friction is present, pressure sores can be difficult to treat. Most calluses can be controlled by consistently providing appropriate lofty bedding, although it can take a long time for calluses to go away once they have developed, despite well-padded bedding. Fluid-filled hygromas often require more invasive techniques, such as surgical drains, to resolve them.

Remember that Misty Pines has Mutt Mats and Sherpa Beds that will work alone or in conjunction with a Kuranda bed for the ultimate in comfort to keep those sensitive areas soft and supple. The image shown below is a vizsla in our boarding area lying on a Kuranda bed covered with a sherpa pad.

vizla on kuranda bed with sherpa mat in a kennel at Misty Pines


Socialization Tips for Puppy Owners

Socialization tips for puppy owners

Even though dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, each new puppy that comes into our world must learn about humans. Socialization is the process during which puppies develop positive relationships with other living beings. The most sensitive period for successful socialization is during the first 3 – 4 months of life. The experiences the pet has during this time will have a major influence on its developing personality and how well it gets along with people and other animals when it grows into adulthood. It is very important for puppies to have frequent, positive social experiences during these early months in order to prevent asocial behavior, fear, and biting. Puppies that are inadequately socialized may develop irreversible fears, leading to timidity or aggression. This is not to say that socialization is complete by 4 months of age; only that it should begin before that time. Continued exposure to a variety of people and other animals, as the pet grows and develops, is also an essential part of maintaining good social skills. It is also extremely important that your new puppy be exposed to new environments and stimuli at this time (e.g., sounds, odors, locations, sights, surfaces) to reduce the fear of the unfamiliar that might otherwise develop as the pet grows older.

Puppy socialization – what to do

It is essential that every puppy meets as many new people as possible (including babies, children, adults, and seniors), in a wide variety of situations, but be careful not to overwhelm it. Begin with calm introductions to one or two people at a time. If the pet handles this well, then more people, increased noise, and more activity can be added. It can be beneficial to ask each person who meets the puppy to give it a small piece of kibble or a tiny treat. This will teach the puppy to look forward to meeting people. It will also discourage handshyness, since the puppy will learn to associate new people and an outstretched hand with something positive.

Once the puppy has learned to sit on command, have each new friend ask it to sit before giving the treat. This teaches a proper greeting and will make the puppy less likely to jump up on people. You should make certain that the puppy has the opportunity to meet and receive biscuits from a wide variety of people, especially those who differ from those in the family home. In the case of puppy socialization, variety is definitely the spice of life. The fear that might arise from the way a person looks, acts, sounds, moves, or perhaps even smells might be prevented by exposure during the socialization period. In particular, every effort must be made to see that the young pup has plenty of opportunities to learn about children. They can seem like a completely different species to dogs since they walk, act, and talk much differently than adults. Running, screaming, bicycles, roller blades and skateboards are also some of the varied stimuli that might be more common when children are around. Puppies that grow up without meeting children when they are young may never feel comfortable around them when they become adults. In addition, if you consider that perhaps you might want your pet one day to be a service or visitation dog, the range of possible sights, sounds, smells, actions, and interactions to which your dog might be exposed could also include riding on elevators, the sounds of hospital equipment, wheelchairs or the patient in a nursing home with a cane, walker, oxygen tank, or IV pole. Lack of experience with a variety of people during puppyhood is a common cause of social fear, avoidance, and biting.

Take the pup to visit friends ’ homes to interact with them and with their pets. The ideal home is one with calm children and calm pets that don’t go out to parks or other areas where they might pick up disease organisms and bring them back home, and where the pets have received appropriate immunizations and parasite control. As soon as your veterinarian determines that your puppy is adequately vaccinated, take it on as many walks and outings as possible. Just be careful to avoid areas where stray dogs roam that might carry diseases.

Puppy classes

Attending puppy classes during the primary socialization period (which begins to wane by 12 – 14 weeks of age) is another excellent way of ensuring multiple contacts with a variety of people and other dogs. This relatively new concept in training involves enrolling puppies early, before they pick up bad habits, and at an age when they learn very quickly. Puppy training and socialization classes are now available in many communities where, with the proper healthcare precautions, puppies can be admitted as early as 8 – 10 weeks of age. These classes can help puppies get off to a great start with training, and offer an excellent opportunity for important social experiences with other puppies and a wide variety of people. Since there can be some health risks when exposing young puppies to other dogs and new environments, the best age to start your puppy in classes, and the best classes in your area, should be discussed with the family veterinarian. For further guidelines on puppy socialization and puppy classes, visit the American Society of Veterinary Behavior web site at avsabonline.org.

Avoid unpleasant experiences

A young puppy’s interactions should always be supervised to ensure nothing happens that might make it afraid of people. Go slow with socialization exposure, and if the pet ever seems anxious, take some time out and then re-expose it to people in slightly calmer situations.

In addition, avoid all physical punishment. Harsh scolding or punishing a young pet will damage its bond with you and weaken its trust in people. Techniques such as swatting the pup, shaking it by the scruff, rubbing its face in a mess, and roughly forcing it onto its back should never be used. Pets that are raised using these methods may grow up to fear the human hand, and are more likely to display avoidance or become fear biters. In general, any interactions with people that might make a puppy anxious should be avoided, particularly during the early months of its life.

Socializing takes time and patience, but the benefits are worthwhile, so be sure not to miss the opportunity to guide your pup through this important process. Proper socialization will help ensure that your pet grows up to be social, friendly, and well adjusted.

At Misty Pines we have a unique facility offering socialization opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else all under one roof. Our Puppy Pre-School program introduces puppies from 7 – 12 weeks of age to various stimuli and situations that most puppies do not experience until either later in life or they have bad experiences right off the bat. We have a table from a veterinarian’s office that we clean with a cleaner typically used in a vets office and we put the puppies on there and examine them, checking their eyes, ears, mouths and feet all the while giving them treats and creating positive associations with this scenario. Puppies are also introduced to other puppies, adult dogs, human adult men and women, obstacles and, if available, they are introduced to children. All of this creates positive associations in a controlled environment ensuring that your puppy develops healthy relationships and is less likely to develop deep seated fears, anxiety or behavior problems as they get older.

We also have outdoor/indoor daycare in our roof covered, turfed daycare facility. Puppies can run and play with other puppies of a similar age while being supervised to make sure the play remains appropriate, fun and safe for everyone. While at Daycare all dogs are given periodic brakes inside our kennel area giving them an opportunity to experience being kenneled and all the sights and sounds that go along with it.

For over 40 years Misty Pines has strived to be the “Complete Pet Company” and when it comes to early socialization of puppies, you’ll find nowhere better. We encourage you to come for a visit and make use of our entire facility; with Dog Training, Pet Boarding, Doggie Daycare, Dog Park Grounds, and Pet Grooming services all in one place, Misty Pines Pet Company is designed to serve all of your pet’s needs. Our goal is to help you and your pet build a happy and healthy relationship.

Rule of 7

Our Rule of 7 was adapted from Dr. Carmen Battaglia’s guide for increasing puppy’s exposure:

Dr. Carmen Battaglia created the Rule of 7’s as a guide to increase a puppy’s exposure. You do not have to follow it to the letter, but make sure your puppy is current on all shots before taking him out into a strange area. By the time a puppy is 3 months, make sure he has:

  1. Been on 7 different types of surfaces: carpet, tile, linoleum, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, and wood chips.
  2. Played with 7 different types of objects: rope toys, plush toys, big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard items, metal items, and sticks.
  3. Been in 7 different locations: front & back yard, basement, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room, bathroom, kids room, living room, hallway, Vet’s office, groomers.
  4. Met and played with 7 new people: include children and older adults, someone walking with a cane or in a wheelchair or walker, someone tall, someone in a hat.
  5. Been exposed to 7 challenges: climb on a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, go down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, go in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around a fence.
  6. Eaten from 7 different containers: metal, plastic, cardboard, paper, human hands, pie plate, tin pan, frying pan, Frisbee, elevated bowl.
  7. Eaten in 7 different locations: crate, yard, exercise pen, basement, laundry room, living room, bathroom, back yard.

Each new, positive experience will help your puppy flourish into a confident companion. Allow your puppy to learn passively by letting them to explore on their own, but make sure he is 100% supervised and that it is a controlled environment. Do not use any harsh training methods with a puppy, because you will break the bond of trust. Training should be fair and fun.

We think all puppies should go through the puppy socialization called the “Rule of Seven.” The rule of 7 is a trick we learned to help introduce our golden retriever puppies to new environments and get them used to many different things they may encounter in their lives. Much like ENS (early Neurological Stimulation) the Rule of seven introduces the pups to small stresses that will help boost confidence, social behavior, and their train-ability.

Our rule of 7 works by introducing pups starting at 4 weeks of age to 7 new things they hadn’t had a lot of contact with before, about four days later we change these to 7 new items. So by the time you pick up your Golden Meadows Puppy they have been introduced to 49 different or new things/ changes. So when your puppy goes home they can be a cute confident pup ready to trek across carpet, tile or wood floors. Play with balls, squeaky toys and chase sticks. And begin to work on obedience.

Here’s an excerpt from our rule of 7 form:

Choose a Number (1-7) from each Category (A-G) and this litter gets introduced to these 7 things for the Next 4 days. On the 5th day choose a different Number (1-7) from each category (A-G) and this litter gets introduced to these 7 things for the Next 4 days. Etc…. Put the start date on each choice. Cross off the ones you chose on the last day so we don’t have a repeat. By the time puppies are 8 weeks old they will have been introduced to several new things and areas. This improves their ability to cope with stress, socializing, and train-ability.

    A.) Different types of Surfaces:

  • Hard Wood Floor _____
  • Vinyl, or linoleum flooring _____
  • Fake Grass _____
  • Real Grass _____
  • Dirt or Sand or Gravel _____
  • Carpet _____
  • Tile, or stone, concrete _____
    B.) Different Toys:

  • Different sized balls _____
  • Squeaky toys _____
  • Hard plastic/ rubber or metal items _____
  • Soft fabric toys _____
  • Natural items, sticks _____
  • Water, pools (weather permitting) _____
  • Ropes _____

At Misty Pines your puppy can easily walk on more than 7 different types of surfaces including: Artificial turf, tile, rubber flooring, grass, gravel, pavement, decking, mulch, etc… We also have a variety of people, obstacles, environments and situations to expose your puppy to and we can help you make all of it positive and pleasant.


Puppy Socialization Tips by: Landsberg G, Hunthausen W, Ackerman L. 2013 Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat. Saunders, Edinburgh © 2013, Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Rule of Seven by: Carmen Battaglia as referenced by Golden Meadows Retrievers.


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Sat 23

Agility Class

December 23 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 23

Kids and Family Class

December 23 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
Sat 30

Nuisance Behaviors

December 30 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Sat 30

Microchip Clinic

December 30 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm