THE UNCOMMON CANINE

All information and graphics are copyrighted ©1999-2017, by The Uncommon Canine, Inc. All artwork, photos and information is copyrighted by The Uncommon Canine, Inc. or used with permission. No portion of this site may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of the site owner. All rights reserved.


Below are some tips that may assist you and your canine companion is coexisting and enjoying a long and happy lifetime together.

Also check our Links & Files page for downloadable files.

Tips

Ten Commandments

Before Getting a Dog

House Breaking

Pack Leader

Crate Training

1. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you acquire me.

 2. Give me time to understand what you want from me.

 3. Place your trust in me. Remember that before you acquire me.

 4. Don’t be angry at me for long and don’t lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, and your entertainment. I ONLY HAVE YOU!

 5. Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don’t understand your words. I understand your voice when it is speaking to me. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget.

 6. Remember before you hit me that I have teeth than can easily crush the bones in your hand, but I choose NOT TO BITE YOU.

 7. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate, or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I don’t understand what you ask of me or perhaps I am not feeling well, not getting the right food, been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.

 8. Take care of me when I get old, you too, will grow old.

 9. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say "I can’t bear to watch" or "let it happen in my absence". EVERYTHING IS EASIER IF YOU ARE THERE.

 10. REMEMBER, I LOVE YOU!


Halloween Safety

Thanksgiving

Winter Care

Summer Care



Warning Signs of Heat Stroke


Protecting Your Dog from Household Dangers

Pet First Aid Kit

Emergency Plan

Now is a good time to take inventory of what's in your home and how you're storing it. Many of the products we use in our homes and yards can be toxic to dogs. Dogs are apt to ingest anything that smells good whether it will make them sick or not. We recommend that you take the following precautions:

Pesticides

Gasoline, Oil and Antifreeze

 Household Products

Medications and Prescriptions

Foods

Compost Piles and Garbage Cans

Plants

Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested or come in contact with poisonous substances!

Natural disasters can take many forms and pet owners need to be prepared if an emergency arises in their community. Your family may be ready to evacuate in the face of a fire, earthquake, violent storm or other disaster, but is your pet?

It is recommended that you pack a three-day supply of essentials for your family and, in most cases, the same rule applies for your pet.

The following items should be stored in a special pet evacuation travel kit or be nearby for quick packing. If you have more than one pet, multiply their needs as necessary.

Bear in mind that some public shelters do not allow pets (even crated ones). It is advisable to check with local emergency officials concerning this policy before a disaster strikes.

In addition to the list below, you should include a list of your pet's medications with dosage and any medical conditions, along with a list of important contacts such as your veterinarian, emergency veterinarian, and Pet Poison Helpline ® (1-800-213-6680).

1. Heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down.

2. Your pet's gums may be brick red.

3. They may have a fast pulse rate.

4. They may not be able to get up.

5. If you think your pet has a heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees Fahrenheit:

6. Bring them to the veterinarian immediately as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.


Adding a puppy to the household can be a wonderful experience, but the relationship can sour before it even begins if the puppy is ruining carpets and chewing up furniture. There is, however, a training tool that will enable you to train your new companion and avoid disaster-a crate. Two types of crates are available. The first type is often made of heavy molded plastic or fiberglass and was originally used by airlines to transport animals. Plastic crates usually come in two parts, top and bottom, and are easy to disassemble and clean. Wire crates, which provide good ventilation, are also available, but they do not provide the privacy and seclusion puppies need when they retreat to their crates for naps. However, a cover can be placed over a wire crate at times when privacy is more important than air circulation. It's important that you, the new puppy owner, understand that the crate is not a cage or jail. A crate is your puppy's own place: its bed or den, its place to hide special toys or bones and a refuge in times of stress. Puppies like to sleep in small, close places. That's why they curl up under the bed or under a chair, or crawl under the back porch. A crate allows you to use this instinct as a training tool. Begin by choosing a crate size to suit your dog. The crate should be large enough for the puppy to stand up, stretch, turn around and lie down comfortably-with a little growing room. Don't get a crate that would fit an adult St. Bernard for a Springer pup. If the crate is too large, the pup can relieve itself in a far corner and still have a clean bed. Remember that the purpose behind using a crate to house train the pup is to utilize the pup's instinct to keep its bed clean.

INTRODUCING THE CRATE

Introduce the pup to the crate by tossing a treat inside while the pup is watching. Say "[Name], crate!" and urge the puppy inside. Let the pup grab the treat and come back out. Repeat the action a couple of times; later, place the puppy's dinner inside the crate. Let the puppy eat with the door open, coming and going as it pleases. When the puppy is comfortable going in and out, toss a treat inside the crate, then close the door after the pup goes inside. Wait a couple of minutes, then open the door. Gradually increase the time until the puppy is comfortable with the door being closed. If your puppy throws a temper tantrum when you close the door, do not let the pup out until it is quiet. If you let the pup out when it screams, it will have learned temper tantrums work. Instead, tell the pup, "No!, Quiet!" in a sharp tome of voice. Put the crate in your bedroom at night so the puppy can feel your presence and be reassured that your are near. It is eight hours that the puppy can be near you, even though you are sleeping. If the pup is restless, you will be able to hear it and take it outside. If the puppy decides it wants to play, just reach over, tap the crate and say, "No! Quiet!." During the day, place the crate near people, in the family room or kitchen. Let your pup see and hear the normal sights and sounds of the household.

HOUSE TRAINING

When house training a puppy, set up a schedule for the puppy's meals, playtime, crate time and trips outside, and follow it closely. The puppy should be taken outside to eliminate after waking up from a nap, after eating, after playtime and about every three hours in between. If you are a working dog owner, don't plan on leaving the puppy alone in its crate from 9 AM to 6 PM. That is entirely too long for the puppy to be crated without a chance to eliminate and play. Confine the puppy with its crate to an easy-to-clean area, such as the kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, or hire a neighbor to come play with the puppy and take it outside.

PREVENTING PROBLEMS

Puppies don't intentionally get into trouble: It's just that our belongings are so alluring, at least in a puppy's eyes. After all, a couch cushion that has been slightly chewed is a lot of fun when it's shaken and the stuffing goes flying everywhere! Leather shoes and rawhide chews are very similar to many puppies; in fact, the shoes probably smell more attractive. Many of the destructive things puppies do can be prevented by using a crate. The puppy cannot destroy your $100 leather shoes if the pup is crated when not supervised. The puppy cannot trash the sofa cushions, scatter the garbage or pull down the drapes if it is confined when you are at work. By preventing these problems, you will establish good habits. The puppy learns to chew on the toys you give it, to sleep and to be quiet, rather than learning to be destructive.

SECURITY

A crate provides the puppy with security away from home. If the dog needs to be boarded, send its crate with it. The dog will be much more secure with its familiar place of refuge. Teaching the pup to ride in the crate in the car may save its life some day. Thousands of dogs are injured or killed annually when they are thrown from cars or trucks. Crating the dog in the car will also prevent it from interfering with the driver. By bringing a crate when you travel, your dog can be crated in the motel room and you needn't worry about it getting into trouble when you go out to dinner.

AS AN ADULT

As your dog matures, it can be given more freedom, but if it does make a mistake, crate it again. The dog must prove its reliability by not having accidents in the house and by not getting into trouble. Too much freedom too soon will result in problems. Your dog will still use its crate on its own, even when full grown. Because the crate is your dog's special place, it will retreat there when the family is busy and it needs to sleep. Your dog will go there when it is feeling low or sick. Your dog will hide the bones it wants to keep away from the new baby or puppy in its crate. And again, it's a safe, secure place.

Summer is right around the corner and that means it’s time to get prepared for those hot, hazy, humid days. Sunscreen and bottled water are great ways for us to fight this type of weather, but what about our canine companions? Many people don’t realize that dogs need special care during the summer months just like we do.

General Safety Tips

1. Never leave your dog unattended in direct sunlight or in a closed vehicle. This can cause heatstroke and possibly death.

2. Avoid strenuous activities with your dog during extremely hot periods of the day.

3.Most lawn and garden products may be hazardous. Make sure that plants and fertilizers within your dog’s reach are not toxic. Also, keep your dog off the lawn for at least 24 hours after any chemical application.

4. Beware of insect bites. Make sure your first aid kit has Benadryl for any allergic reactions. If your dog has severe wasp, bee or mosquito bites, take him to the vet.

Tips for Taking Your Dog to the Beach

1. When taking your dog to the beach, make sure there is plenty of fresh water and shade.

2. Dogs can get sunburned just like humans, so limit your dog’s exposure to the hot sun and apply sun block to his ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.

3. Be careful not to let your dog spend too much time on hot sand or asphalt. Dogs can burn their feet just as easily as we can.

4. Cool ocean water is very tempting to a dog. Don’t allow your dog to drink too much sea water.

5. Check with lifeguards for daily water conditions. Dogs can be easy targets for jellyfish and sea lice.

6. Swimming is a great form of exercise for dogs, but don’t let them overdo it. They will be using new muscles and may tire quickly.




Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season - a time of entertainment, joyful festivities and reflection. Family and friends may come to your house and participate in holiday activities. If dogs are a part of your immediate family, please keep the following tips in mind:

Thanksgiving can be a fun-filled day for family and friends - including our four-legged best friends. Our dogs play a very important part in our lives by providing us with comfort when we are down, joyfulness when we are happy, and serenity when we need peace. We should be thankful on this special day that we have been blessed with their companionship and loyal devotion.

If your dog does not view you as the leader - the dominant dog - he (or she) will not take you seriously and may even decide to take over that open leadership position.

The Leader is confident.

Learn to get your dog's attention.

The leader must be dependable and reliable.

The leader always eats first - even if it's just an apple or a carrot.

The leader goes through doorways - all doorways - first.

The leader establishes the rules.

Leaders mean what they say. Give each command only once.

Life with you dog is not a democracy.

The leader - as far as your dog is concerned - is the biggest, the strongest, the fastest and the smartest.

Do the social handling exercise daily; more often if necessary.

Pack Leader’s Bill of Rights

1. To eat first, gorge themselves, and own any pickings left over.

2. To stand, sit, or lie down where ever they want.

3. To have access to the ‘prime’ spots in the household.

4. To control entry to, or from any room in the house.

5. To proceed through all narrow openings first.

6. To initiate the hunt and dictate where to hunt.

7. To make the ‘kill’ at the end of the hunt.

8. To demand attention from subordinate pack members.

9. To ignore or actively discourage unwanted attention.

10. To restrict the movements of lesser ranking pack members.

11. To win all games.

By studying this Bill of Rights you can tell who is the pack leader in your house. If you think it is your dog, you can become pack leader by adhering to the following do’s and don’ts.

Do

Don’t

Winter's cold air brings many concerns for responsible dog owners. As temperatures drop, keep the following precautions in mind.

Always assume that a bowl of candy next to the door will not remain safely out of reach. Dogs are infamous for their love of sweets, and the word "dogged" doesn't do justice to the persistence of a dog in quest of food.

Chocolate, containing theobromine, is the most dangerous culprit, and can be deadly. A toxic dose for a 15- to 20-pound dog is between 8 and 12 squares of milk chocolate, or 1-1/2 ounces of baking chocolate. As a rule, remember that the darker the chocolate, the more concentrated it is - and the smaller the lethal dose.

Take these protective measures to avoid poisoning your pooch:

 Watch for the following symptoms of chocolate poisoning:

If you catch your dog mid-raid, induce vomiting immediately. If he displays some symptoms but you haven't seen him eat any chocolate, contact a veterinarian immediately: this is a life-threatening situation.

Unfortunately, chocolate isn't the only Halloween hazard. Masks, decorations and a constant barrage of strangers at the door can make even the most easygoing dog a little nervous. And a nervous dog is more likely to react in a dangerous way. Here's what you can do to make your Halloween a little less frightening.

If your dog has a history of aggression, fear of loud noises, or a habit of excessive barking, place him in a quiet room as far away from your front door as possible at least a half-hour before the first trick-or-treaters are due. Crate him if he feels more comfortable - this will also reduce chances of accidental escapes - and put in some toys, his favorite blanket, a piece of clothing with your scent on it, or whatever usually comforts him. Play soft music or a recording of soothing sounds. If he is very high-strung, the most humane thing to do may be to tranquilize him for the night. Always consult your vet before attempting to tranquilize your pet.

If your children are planning to dress up for Halloween, have them do a few dress runs with your dog watching, then talk to him and pet him so that he can get accustomed to their new, strange appearance. From a dog's perspective, masks, makeup, and costumes can be very frightening.

Keep jack-o-lanterns, open flames, and all Halloween decorations out of reach of your dog's probing muzzle. Keep in mind your dog's curious nature and tendency to chew and explore; many Halloween decorations are toxic, while others are potential choking or strangulation hazards.

Keep your pet indoors. Outside, he's vulnerable to any stray fireworks or malicious pranks that may fall his way.

Place a dog gate in front of your front door to block your pet's access in case someone inadvertently opens the door to the room where your pet is confined. Many dogs will run after trick-or-treaters. Also, in case the unthinkable happens and your dog does escape, ensure that he has an ID tag with your name and address on his collar.

If your dog is well-trained and easygoing, you may decide to let him accompany your children on their trick-or-treat routes. If so, make sure that he is leashed and wearing an ID tag. The reflective type will do double duty, making your pet more visible to cars as well as providing an address to return him to. Glow-in-the-dark collars will add to nighttime visibility as well, and make your dog easier to spot if he escapes.