go!

Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. You should see a vet to check what is causing difficulties with walking. If it will be a mild injury you would already see an improvement.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

In general, gradual onset limps in dogs are caused by an underlying, chronic or degenerative condition, such as osteoarthritis or dysplasia. Sudden onset limps, on the other hand, are usually caused by an injury or trauma. Just because your dog has a gradual limp does not mean you should put off making an appointment.
No matter the cause of your dog`s limping, it`s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. If your pet starts limping due to a serious situation and your primary veterinarian is not available, then you should seek immediate emergency vet care.
Causes of dog limping are extremely varied. Broad categories include soft tissue strains or tears (ligaments, tendons, and muscles), infectious diseases such as Ehrlichia and Lyme disease, inflammatory conditions such as panosteitis, vascular conditions like blood clots, and orthopedic problems such as fractures.
Dogs can start limping for reasons from minor issues such as a thorn in their paw or a more serious problem. Some of the most common explanations for dog limping include: Strains or tears (ligaments, tendons, muscles) Something painful stuck in their paw.
Sometimes limping will go away on its own, especially if you provide some at-home support like a brace. Other times limping may be a sign of a more serious injury or condition that will require veterinary intervention.
When you first notice that your dog is limping, if it isn`t severe try to rest your pup as best you can. That means limiting their mobility to avoid causing further strain on the injury. Exercise should be limited to short on-leash walks for bathroom breaks until your pooch has healed.
Potential causes of less sudden lameness in dogs include osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, inflammation of the bones, ligament disease and infections, all of which require veterinary attention.
Soak the foot in warm water with Epsom salts to relieve swelling. Then apply antibiotic ointment, such as Polysporin. For cut or torn foot pads and broken nails, control the bleeding and treat as described in the handouts “First Aid for Torn or Injured Foot Pads in Dogs” and “First Aid for Broken Nails in Dogs”.
A dog limping but not crying or showing other signs of pain should still be taken seriously. Dogs are tougher than you think, and just because your dog isn`t howling in pain doesn`t mean there isn`t any pain. It would be best if you still got your dog to a vet for a check-up.
What are the typical signs of pain in dogs? General behaviour: Shaking, flattened ears, low posture, aggression, grumpy temperament, panting or crying, excessive licking or scratching a specific area, reluctant to play, interact or exercise, lameness (limping), stiffness after rest, loss of appetite.
If your dog limps on and off, it may be due to joint pain common in older dogs, or it could be your dog`s ability to mask pain. If your dog is limping suddenly, a sprained ankle or impact-related injury may be present.
The added stress on the joints of overweight dogs can cause them to limp and eventually cripple them. Trauma from jumping or falling with the extra weight can also severely injury your dog.
Dogs can limp for many reasons. Active or heavy pets can twist and strain things just like humans do. Any dog can jump or run and twist or turn a joint in a manner that causes temporary discomfort. Most injuries caused by such things are short-lived.
‍Should I take my dog to the vet if they`re limping? Take your dog to the vet`s office immediately if they can`t put any weight on their leg, show extreme pain (this could include crying out), have swelling or injury and are reluctant to move or eat. If your pup is still limping after a day, take them to the vet.
Shorter, less intense walks on a leash are recommended. Gradually re-introduce exercise and running once the limp has resolved, especially since your dog may have pent up energy from the lack of exercise. It`s best to run or jog with your dog on a leash for a few days before letting them off the leash.
Dogs can start to show signs of arthritis as early as 1 year of age. According to the Vet Times (pdf), the degenerative joint condition can be found in 20% of dogs before their first year and 80% of more senior dogs at or over age 8.
A hurt dog may express their pain either through whining, whimpering, yelping, growling, and even howling.
Silent pain is often invisible to dog guardians

Playing with their friends, chasing the ball, running on the beach, even regular walking cause silent pain and tension to build up in the soft tissues of the body over time. Silent pain – soft tissue pain – is found especially in the fascia (connective tissues).

Some minor injuries can lead to limping without pain, such as a minor tear to their ACL, minor patella luxation, or minor sprains. Medically speaking, sprains harm the ligaments that connect bones. This can lead to joint damage if not properly taken care of.
Be prepared for a minimum recovery time frame of four to six weeks. The road to recovery for your pet must be a slow one. The prognosis is good, though sporting or working dogs may not recover to the level of ability present before the injury.
The biggest challenge most pet parents face is convincing their active and energetic canine companions to take it easy for the roughly six weeks it takes for a sprain to heal. If it doesn`t fully heal, there`s a risk of re-injury.
Believe it or not, dogs feel pain to a similar extent that humans do. In fact, dogs can handle similar intensities of all types of pain to humans. For example, stomach-related pain and tooth-related pain in a dog are perceived much the same way that we would perceive this type of pain.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. My Beagle listens to me, but cries & whines when I’m gone & doesn’t listen to my parents. I adopted him just a couple days ago. Any tips for my folks?
ANSWER : A. I really highly doubt that your Beagle listens to you and has formed a connection with you in just a couple of days. It takes months to build up any kind of serious connection with your dog. You need to work on communication with your dog through training them to understand different cues. For instance the Leave-It cue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

You have to work on bonding with your dog through mental stimulation. Training is very important. Luring each new behavior from scratch, and training using treats is how you form a strong bond with your new dog. No scolding is ever necessary… work on being calm, and positive, all the time.

If your dog is crying/whining when you leave, this may be separation anxiety. You’re going to have to separation train this dog from scratch. This dog needs to learn that separation can be a good thing! Tell your “folks” to NOT scold the dog when he is crying/whining after you leave, because that will make your dog MORE anxious when you leave next time. Your dog will be dwelling on the negative if your parents fuel your dogs negative feelings towards you leaving. FUN things should happen when you leave. Your parents should pull out the treats and start doing some basic obedience training with your dog. Your parents should stuff a Kong filled with awesome treats (peanut butter) and give it to him so he feels happy when you leave.

I have some excellent separation anxiety exercises you can work on. If you’d like, you can purchase a consultation with me, and I will go over how to separation train from scratch. It will make your dog comfortable being alone, guaranteed.

Read Full Q/A … : I Don't Like My Mother

Q. My Bulldog puppy growls, barks and even tries to bite me when I say “no” to him. What can I do?
ANSWER : A. First, avoid scolding him and acting aggressively towards him if you don’t want him to be acting aggressively towards you. There are other methods you can use to communicate to your dog that you don’t want him to continue doing what he is doing. I recommend you stop telling him “no”, scolding him, or raising your voice at him. Everything coming from you should be 100% positive and 100% calm.

Try to figure out ways to clearly communicate what you want to your dog. If you want your dog to leave something or someone alone, I strongly suggest teaching your dog commands like “leave it”. Here is a link to a video in which I explain how to do it:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1TS5nA7z5Q

Another thing I suggest you use is a no-reward marker. This clearly communicates when your dog has done something wrong. No-reward markers have to be introduced during your training sessions. You should be doing at least three training sessions per day, that are something like 3-10 minutes long (working on different things each training session). If you are teaching your dog something BRAND NEW, do not use the no-reward marker, as you do not want to discourage your dog from performing behaviors for you. Use the no-reward marker for known behaviors only. Here is another helpful video about this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdU5a6fXKlg

Lure each new behavior (as shown in the video) using high value treats. Let’s say you’re working on “down” which is a behavior your dog knows fairly well. Present the treat to your dog. Ask your dog to “down” (only ask once). If he does not go “down” immediately, say, “uh-oh” or “eh-eh” in a gentle tone, and then place the treat behind your back. This communicates to your dog that they did something to make the treat go away.

After you place the treat behind your back to show your pup “that was wrong” you need to communicate to your pup “let’s try again” by getting your pup to walk around for a second, and then start the behavior all over again. If your puppy is very young, chances are you haven’t taught him a solid “down” behavior yet. So, as I said, do not use this method until you have lured each new behavior as shown in the video.

This is the order in which you should teach behaviors: Lure using a high value treat as shown in the video. After a few successful food lures, lure with an empty hand. If the pup is successful with the empty hand lure, reward with lots of treats. If the pup is unsuccessful, then go back to food-luring a couple more times. After a few successful empty-hand lures, you can begin to add the cue. Say “sit”, then lure with an empty hand, and then reward. Once your pup understands the cue, begin to work on the no-reward marker.

Q. Rescued a dog almost two weeks ago, and now that her kennel cough is gone her personality shines!! No previous training, how should I start?
ANSWER : A. POST FOUR:

After your dog is familiar with the behavior you lured from scratch, and taught to your dog, you can start to use the “no-reward marker” I talked about. What you do is ask the dog to perform the behavior, and if the dog does not perform the behavior, you simply say your no-reward marker (choose one: eh-eh, hey, uh-oh, oops) show them the treat, put it behind your back, and BRIEFLY ignore your dog. Just turn your back for a second or two, before turning back to your dog and saying, “let’s try that again.” When you’re ready to start over with your dog, make sure you move around. If you are repeating the same cue while in the same position, while your dog is in the same position, you are likely to receive the same results. The more you move around, and start fresh, the better your chances are of having your dog listen to your cue the second time around. BIG rewards when they dog it successfully! Lots of praise and treats.

My no-reward marker is “hey.” When my dog does something wrong I say, “hey” and she immediately understands that she needs to offer a different behavior. This is clear to her. I don’t have to say it in a mean way, I simply say, “hey” in a normal tone of voice and she understands what the word means.

Once you’ve built up that connection and communication with your new dog, you can work on all kinds of fun behaviors! I personally enjoy the more zen-like behaviors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruy9UMcuGh8

I like to teach my dog fun tricks that offer her a “job” to do of sorts like object retrieval: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4iertZSva8

(object retrieval training completed; what it looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx0Dml28FGY)

Scent-games are fun too! Very confidence building. Hide a REALLY smelly treat in a box, and place that box in a line of boxes. Let your dog go in the room while saying something like “search!” or “find it!” and watch them hunt for that smelly treat! Lots of rewards when they find it!

Q. My 4 year old Chihuahua mix began having a series shaking/panting episodes (last 15m- 1hr) out of the blue. Vet’s tests say its not physical.
ANSWER : A. There are many causes for shaking/panting. The shaking and panting are both signs of stress, and your dog may be dealing with anxiety, or stress, related to an event that happened, or is happening. I realize you cannot answer questions on this, however, I will ask some questions that you can ask yourself. Have you recently moved? Have you ever hit or yelled at your dog? Has the weather been bad lately (storms)? Have you had any new guests stay over recently? Have you had any dogs come to your home recently? Have you had any dogs or cats in your yard recently? Was your dog frightened by something initially (a falling pot/pan; a loud bang from the washing machine; a gunshot; a backfiring car/truck; someone screaming in your home/a fight)?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it could definitely be that. Dogs don’t typically hang on to something for very long, but if it really frightened your pup, then she/he could be feeling serious anxiety related to that specific event, and relating other events to that one.

Do not yell, or hit your dog. I’m not assuming you do, but if you do, please stop doing that right away. It could be that your dog is afraid of you specifically, and you notice the shaking/panting when you are near, because that is the only time your dog is doing it.

If you’d like to purchase a consultation with me (I know, it’s a lot to ask, but I really feel like I could help) I’d be more than happy to ask you many questions, and together we can figure out what the heck is going on here. It’s important that your dog is comfortable, and if your pup is always feeling anxious/uneasy, then his/her quality of life is in jeopardy.

Q. Husband shamed dog for having an accident inside, and now she won’t poop when he takes her out. Can we fix this? He realizes he erred
ANSWER : A. Good on your husband for realizing that scolding is not the way to potty train! Hopefully these tips can help both him and your pup get back on the right track and make pottying outside successful.

If your dog is still a puppy, that is good news as you may be able to more easily time your potty outings with your dog’s schedule. Even if your dog is older, this schedule may help. Dogs generally have to go potty about 15 minutes after eating, drinking, waking up or playing. Knowing this, get your husband to start taking out your puppy at these key times, so puppy gets used to going out with him, and the urge to potty may be higher than any fear to go. If the potty is successful, have your husband reward the dog with a favorite treat! For bowel movements, dogs may take a little more time, and you may have to stand outside for a while (sometimes even 10 minutes) to give your dog a chance to go. If she doesn’t go, take her back inside and play some, then try again in about 15 minutes. Again, a success equals a treat which most dogs will like right away!

For any indoor potty accidents that occurred, an enzymatic cleaner is great for cleaning up urine and stool. Not only does it remove the stain and smell, but it breaks down the enzymes in the urine and stool your dog can smell, which may deter her from going potty there again.

Q. My dog is 4 years old. She has been limping and hesitating to walk anywhere. She can barely go down the stairs. This happened about 3 days ago!
ANSWER : A. You should see a vet to check what is causing difficulties with walking. If it will be a mild injury you would already see an improvement.