Canine Behavior/i need to know coz i had a dog n due to the fur prob i had to give her off
QUESTION: i had a labrador b4.bt due to fur problem...i had to give her off...coz many times fur used to fall on the food n mom used to get mad.other reason was i had to move outside state for higher eductaion n mom wasnt capable enough to take care of my dog as she herself remains ill.
i wanna get a labrador soon...mayb next year.the fact that they dont bark always,are extremely loving and friendly drew me to getting a labrador over any other breed.i just love them.but one thing that worries me is they shed a lot and room gets filled with furs everywhere.its a major concern when it flies and drops over some food item.could u advice how to manage such shedding or ways on how people with labradors(particularly) manage? so plz answer.
ANSWER: Thank you for your question. Labradors can be great dogs. Though individuals will have different and unique personalities. It's important to remember that just because as a general rule, Labs are less 'barky' than some other breeds, doesn't mean they never bark and individuals may bark more (maybe much more) or less than the average for the breed. But, a well trained and entertained dog is far less likely to bark randomly as a way to occupy him or herself than a bored dog who is left to her/his own devices for entertainment.
As for the shedding, the best tool I know if is called a Furminator.
The tool works by removing up to 90% of the undercoat (the part that sheds a lot in warm weather), without damaging the top coat. But, if you're using such a tool, then it's necessary that the dog is sleeping in doors - especially during colder months as that undercoat is how they keep warm and protect themselves from the cold weather. So if you're removing it, then you must make sure the dog is sleeping in a climate controlled environment. And if you live in an area that gets quite cold during the days as well during the Fall and Winter months, then the dog will need to be in a climate controlled environment most of his day (or possibly wearing a coat) if he'll be out for any great length of time.
Of course, if you do live in an area where you get snow that sticks around for quite a while, the best thing to do is allow the dog to grow out his undercoat for the winter. Then, in the spring he'll begin to molt - shed out all of that undercoat as the temperatures rise. At that point, you use the Furminator on a daily basis for a couple weeks and then probably 2-3 times per week for the duration of the summer to keep the overall amount of shedding to a minimum.
Just like humans, dogs shed hairs regularly. There are, if I remember correctly, 3 hairs per follicle, and so as new hairs grow in, the existing hair will fall out. So a few random, scattered hairs throughout the whole year is normal - even in winter. And a periodic gentle brushing will help to minimize that as well. But for the real shed - the letting go of the winter undercoat - you can brush the dog with this tool for as long as he'll tolerate it daily until you feel like it's pretty well under control. Then drop down to 3 times per week. As the summer wears on, you may even be able to drop down to once per week as you will have removed most of the undercoat as it was shedding.
Remember - you don't have to brush the whole dog in a single sitting. You may only do his left side in one sitting and then the next day or several hours later do his right side. Or you may only do his back in one session and his sides in another and his chest and head/neck in another. You have to work up to doing the full body if the dog doesn't enjoy being brushed. Take your time with it and pair brush strokes with tasty treats to help him feel better about the experience if he's not enjoying it. Example: Brush stroke, treat. Brush stroke, treat. Brush, brush, treat. Brush, brush, treat. Brush, brush, brush, treat..... So that he learns that the brushing reliably predicts tasty food.
If you start right at the beginning of Spring and brush daily for the first 3-4 weeks as the temperatures continue to rise, you will likely be able to stay on top of the bulk of the shedding.
Do the brushing in a bathroom or bedroom with a trash can near you to deposit the shedding fur that you pull out, or do this outside. I'd still try to collect and throw away as much of the fur as possible or it will just blow around the yard and neighborhood.
This should go a long way toward keeping fur out of the food in the house. The link above to the product has a video demonstrating how it's used and how much fur can be pulled out on various coat types.
Good luck. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Jody, CPDT-KA, APDT
Los Angeles Behavior Specialist
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: i live in india..so its obviously hot...30 degree centegrate is normal...highest is in 4o's...mnth of dec and jan...its a bit cold...7-8 degrees...nw if i do want to keep a dog...a labrador as i mentioned...do i have to perform this intrument to remove fur? do all lab owners use such devices to prevent furs flying here n there? do basset hound and pugs shed too? coz if i dnt get a lab..i vl get either a basset or pug...i prefered labs as they bark less...r frendly...bassets howl lots n r stubborn n pugs r nt good in hot weather...though we ve ac on all 3 rooms...
ANSWER: I am SOOO sorry for the delay in this reply. I had written a complete reply and thought I'd sent it the same day you submitted your followup. I haven't had any All Experts questions for a couple of weeks and so only just now saw that this was still sitting here. I must have clicked the wrong button or it failed to submit for some other reason. I apologize.
To answer your question -- all dog owners of double-coated dogs (such as labs) must brush their dogs with regularity if they don't want fur all over the place. It's just part of the maintenance of a dog. Weekly baths (not more than once per week) that include brushing before the bath and then again after he's fully dry can do a great deal to keep the overall shedding to a minimum. But even then, you may find during warmer weather that you'll still need to brush several times each week between baths.
The further you go between baths, the more regular your brushing will be.
You do NOT want to bathe more than once per week because even with super gentle puppy shampoos (even the ones that say they are safe enough for daily use), we are washing away the dog's natural oils which help to keep the skin and coat in good condition. These oils keep the skin moisturized and the coat shiny and the dog's overall smell to a minimum. If we wash them too often, then the skin dries out, the coat dulls and the dog begins to give off more of an odor.
Not all Lab owners use the Furminator. There are lots of dog grooming tools out there. You may want to speak with a local groomer to see what their preferred tools are in your community. I prefer the Furminator because it pulls out a great deal of the shedding fur without damaging the top coat. It does an excellent job of getting any fur that is letting go from the dog's body at that time.
As mentioned in my initial response, dog's hair follicles are much like ours in that there are 3 hairs per follicle and so as a new hair grows in, the existing hair is pushed out. This causes shedding, even during colder weather. Though you won't see nearly so much as you do during hot weather.
Your general climate is quite similar to mine in Southern California, and so you won't likely see a huge increase in undercoat growth during your winter months - not like you would if you lived in an area where it snows. I had an Akita/Chow for 14 years. Her first 6 years were in Los Angeles (climate quite similar to yours). I had to brush her with some regularity all year to keep shedding under control. When she was 6 we moved to Montana, where it snows for about 7-8 months out of the year. Her undercoat grew in like I'd never seen before. Her overall coat thickened by 25%. I had to buy her a new collar because her coat was so thick, her collar no longer fit! Then, come spring and the warm weather, she molted. She dropped almost all of her undercoat in about 6 weeks. If I didn't brush her daily, there would be fur everywhere and tufts of shedding coat just sticking out of her top coat that I could just pull out with my fingers. So I brushed her daily or every other day for those 6 weeks and then a few times per week for the rest of the summer.
In a more temperate climate like yours, where the seasons aren't so drastic, with regular bathing (once per week or once every other week) and a couple of in between bath brushings, you're likely to keep the shedding to a minimum.
The reality is that all dogs shed. Basset Hounds and Pugs shed too. Even curly coated dogs like poodles shed. The difference is that with some dogs you'll just get individual hairs scattered around, rather than tufts of hair. Or with curly or long-coated dogs, the shed hairs don't fall to the ground. Instead, they stick to the coat and create mattes in the fur. Those dogs are actually much higher maintenance in that if you don't brush them regularly to keep mattes from forming, they end up needing to be shaved because the mattes can get so bad that they can cause skin irritation and infection, more and more of the coat can get involved and depending on where the matte is, they can interfere with mobility or toileting.
I encourage you to have a good think about your lifestyle, your activity level and how much time you have to devote to spending with your dog - training, playing, loving, entertaining as well as grooming. If you're a couch potato or work from home and spend most of your time in front of a computer, you might prefer a Pug because they're happy to hang out with you in a climate controlled space. If you go hiking regularly or for miles-long walks or jogs, then the Pug nor the Basset would be your best choice. Grooming can be built into regular interactions. You can make brushing the dog an evening bonding ritual if you approach it more like "massage time" when the dog is relaxed and ready to snuggle. You can also choose to do the dog in sections - brushing just his left side today and then his right side tomorrow or just his head to his shoulders today and from his shoulders to his rump tomorrow - if you find he can't sit still long enough to be done in a single session, or if you find that a single session just takes longer than you care to do.
But in the end, grooming and dealing with shedding is a part of dog ownership, no matter the breed you own. With regular care as part of your regular routine with the dog, the issue becomes a lot less significant because you stay on top of it and the dog learns the routines. You can use games and playtime as rewards for sitting still while you brush him and this can help him to look forward to brush time. You may even be able to leave his shed fur in areas where local animals might use that soft under coat for their own nesting materials....
I hope this helps. Again, I'm sorry this took so long. I wrote a full answer and don't know how it failed to post to you. This response pretty much sums up what I had said in that answer that disappeared....
Happy holidays. Good luck and much thought as you decide what breed will indeed be best for your current living situation.
Jody, CPDT-KA, APDT
Los Angeles Behavior Specialist
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Its OK..Thats why i was wandering why ur mail wasnt coming.I completely understand how much ur commited to helping me and that means a lot.
i had a labrador before..infact she is 5 yrs old now..but due to to problems of me moving out of state for study and my mom being one who scares dogs lot,i had to giver her off to one of my relatives for her betterment when she was 1 yr old.i met her this summer 4 yrs later..i was surprised how she managed to recognise me.i hang out with her whenever i return to my home.
i am now studying 3rd year,mechanical engineering.i plan to get a job just after 4th ,after i get a job.i might have to stay away from home,i am not sure,maybe in an apartment.i will have to be alone and i might have to work at office for 6 hours atleast.i might return den only.i wanna get a dog that suits best.i have a soft corner for labs as i had one before and they are intelligent and not aggressive.so labs are my priority.u cna suggest some breeds if u like.i am just not sure how in a country like india and i being a working bachelor would keep a dog for the 6 hours i wont be there at home.who will feed the dog during my absence.please suggest ways.
Last question is if i do have to go outside India for my projects will my dog be allowed to go out at aeroplanes?are there any special permits that allow an owner carrying his/her dogs abroad?if so please suggest.
*****An older dog will be just as likely to bond with you as a young dog. If you treat a dog well, play with it, feed it, use positive reinforcement/force free training techniques then the dog will bond with you - unless it was so abused before or had zero contact with humans during the first 6 weeks of life which would prevent the dog learning how to bond with humans. But the vast majority of dogs (like 99.9% of them) will bond readily even if adopted as a senior (7 years or older). As a trainer, I work with dogs of all ages. Sometimes I will work with a dog on a weekly basis for 6 or 8 weeks with the owners and then not see the dog for months or even more than a year. But that dog bonded enough with me with just weekly 1-hour sessions for a couple months that they remember me and are excited to see me and work with me even after months without seeing me. And most of these dogs are over 2 years of age... Don't let that be a deterrent as there are lots of pros to adopting an adult dog: they've gone through their teething period, with any luck they're already potty trained, they know what toys are theirs to chew on and which things are not toys such as shoes and remote controls, they've settled into adult energy and so may more easily hang out for 6 or 7 hours without needing a lot of middle-of-the-day attention and exercise... Of course, each dog is an individual and what they learned in previous homes will determine how accurate those assumptions are that I just made. But adult dogs can be a great choice for many people in many circumstances. Good luck! I look forward to hearing what you finally decide.*****
Congratulations on your education. That's a tough undertaking. So... you need to think both about your current lifestyle and schedule as well as that of your future working lifestyle - which clearly you are.
Many dogs are able to hang out alone at home for 6-8 hours at a time. If they are young puppies they'll need a place to go potty or someone to visit them every 2 hours to take them potty. And young puppies require a whole lot more supervision and interaction with humans to learn what behaviors are OK and what behaviors are not. They need to learn how to be comfortable when alone - so they don't panic, so they can entertain themselves but without destroying your home.
Knowing how busy you are with studies and how busy you'll be when you start a job, I'd encourage you to think about adopting a dog who is already between 1-4 years of age with a known history. A dog who has demonstrated that they are potty trained and who has demonstrated that they are comfortable when left alone inside for several hours without damaging the house. The best way to make sure the dog doesn't damage the house when alone is to make sure he has toys to entertain himself. We often use food dispensing toys such as a Kong (see link below to the product and links to videos as well) to engage a dog. These are not only a way to keep them busy with an activity that is self-rewarding (every time he licks at or chews on the toy, he gets food or at least the flavor), but they are also mental stimulation in that as he works his way through the food, it gets tougher to get out and so he has to figure out how to get those last morsels of breakfast... There are other toys that are a bit more mobile in that the dog rolls them around to get the dry kibble out such as a Tricky Treat Ball (see link below).
But, you need to think through the size of the space you'll be living in - if it's appropriate for the dog you're considering. And you'll need to think about the dog's need for physical exercise as well as mental exercise. It's OK for him to be alone for 6 or 7 hours while you're at work so long as there's a proper potty/exercise opportunity before you leave and then your first couple hours when you get home from work are potty/exercise time for the dog. He'll need a good long walk or hike or place to run on a daily basis for at least an hour (if not 2 or 3 depending on the energy level of the individual dog you adopt) when you get home. Then you can settle into quieter play such as tug or fetch or chase or gentle "wrestles" at home and then finally into evening cuddles. But his exercise and interaction needs are going to need to be addressed daily - even when it's inconvenient.
Some things to think about: smaller dogs can have an indoor potty area set up (or on a balcony) so that they can go potty while you're out. Smaller dogs can get a lot of exercise running around inside an apartment where a large dog just cannot and must go out. Smaller dogs (if they're small enough) can be brought into a plane cabin with you so long as they fit under your seat in their soft carrier. You need to tell the airline that you're traveling with a pet and the rules for what kind of paperwork, etc that are required is likely to vary by country. You'll need to call your local airlines to ask about those rules for flights originating in India as I'm not familiar with them.
Any dog that does not fit under your seat would need to be put into cargo. Again, you make prior arrangements with the airline and must pay a fee (often as much as your plane ticket) in order to transport the dog. Personally, I have heard too many horror stories about animals being lost or dying during transport that my own personal rule is that my dogs do not go in cargo. If I have to put them in cargo in order to get them there, then they just don't go with me. I'll drive rather than fly so my dogs can travel with me. If I have to fly, then my dogs stay at home. That's my personal choice. Many others are comfortable transporting their animals.
No matter if your dog fits under your seat or must go in cargo, depending on where you're going - if you're going outside of India, you need to be sure that the country you're arriving in allows dogs into the country without going through quarantine. if you're traveling for business and will only be some place a few days to a few months, if that country has a quarantine it's likely to be at least 12 weeks long and so there is no point in bringing your dog only to have him go through the stress of a flight and then the stress of living in a shelter/kennel and not being with you only to go through the stress of another flight and possibly another quarantine upon returning to India (i don't know those rules for India, you'll need to investigate that locally). So, unless you're moving (not just a short business trip), I'd make arrangements for the dog to stay at home and have a friend or relative look after the dog while you're gone. You can Skype with the dog to be able to see and talk to him or her. :-)
As hard as it may feel right now, while you're studying and just starting out in your career the timing might not be right to get a dog. I was without a dog for 6 years while going to college and then studying abroad. I was living in a school dormitory and then a studio apartment and just didn't have the space or the time to give a dog what it needs. I don't know how you feel about cats, but that might actually be a better option for you until you're settled into that career and have a better feel for your schedule and lifestyle. Cats are much more independent, but many also love to play and snuggle and will be quite active with you. But you can leave them home most of the day without worrying about them (usually). And many cats can even be left for a weekend if you leave enough dry food out and a time-set wet food dispenser (see links below). And they even have self-cleaning litter boxes now which can make the maintenance of that part even easier.
As you think on this, contemplate the cat idea. Go visit some cats at a shelter and get to know them. Visit the smaller dogs. A lot of smaller dogs have great personalities. Terriers require as much exercise (physical and mental) as Labs. Pugs are just as happy to sit on your lap all day as they are to run around for a bit, but they actually cannot tolerate nearly as much duration to their exercise regime as a Lab. Their face shape makes breathing more difficult which affects their ability to regulate their body temperature, so Pugs and other scrunch faced dogs are prone to over heating and if exercised too hard can actually die of heat exhaustion. If you go that route, your vet will be able to guide you specifically as to how much exercise and what kind is best for your dog.
Mix breeds are often a great choice - whether they are specific "designer" breeds like the Puggle (Pug Beagle cross) or just a random mix breed that we don't really know the breeds. All of my dogs have been rescue dogs and so all have been mixed breeds. We were able to determine one or two main breeds, but don't know everything that goes into them. My 2 current dogs (a terrier/chihuahua mix and a Chow/mix) I actually ran their DNA. And... I have never been a fan of chihuahuas, and when I learned that my smaller dog is more chihuahua than any other breed I had a moment where I looked at him and said, "Really??? Chihuahua??? It had to be Chihuahua???? Well... I don't love you any less today than I did yesterday, so I guess I like Chihuahuas better than I thought." I point this out because sometimes the breed is irrelevant. It's about the personality and the fit with you and your lifestyle. Think of it as committing to a relationship, much like you might with a life partner/spouse. Yes, we want to like looking at them. But really, it's far more important that we like spending time with them....
You have a lot to think about, and I can't make this decision for you. Be open to lots of different breeds or crosses. Meet lots of dogs and spend time with them. You may find that you make fast friends with a dog you never thought you'd own. My little terrier mix is not quite 11 lbs (5 kilos). He's half the size of what I thought would be the smallest dog I'd ever own. I was not interested in owning very small dogs. And while he's definitely been a learning experience - I wouldn't trade him for the world. I actually named him Hagrid after the giant in the Harry Potter stories because he's got such a big personality. He's got the personality of a big dog but he's napping in my lap right now as I type this to you. And his morning requests to sit in my lap when the weather is cool has become one of my most favorite things about my relationship with him. My bigger dogs could never do this. So there are pros and cons to all dogs and only you can decide what's best for you in your current situation.
My video for more advanced users:
Tricky Treat Ball:
Other Puzzle Toys:
Cat food time feeder (remember, you must make sure there's fresh water available as well:
Self-Cleaning litter boxes:
Do some thinking on this, go to some local rescues and spend time with different dogs of different sizes. Rather than telling them what breed or mix you're looking for, tell them what your lifestyle is and what personality you're looking for in a dog and they can introduce you to appropriate dogs that they have. You might surprise yourself and fall in love with something completely different than you thought you were looking for (like I did with my little guy - and my soul dog who was about twice the size at 60 lbs (27 kilos) full grown than what I'd been looking for at that time).
And, if you're open to it, look at some cats too. You might be able to meet your needs for a companion, while providing yourself a little more flexibility of lifestyle by befriending a cat or two....
Good luck. Let me know what you decide on in the end, even if what you decide is to put off committing to a pet for a few more years. That's OK too.
Jody, CPDT-KA, APDT
Los Angeles Behavior Specialist