Hip Dysplasia And Golden Retrievers

Hip dysplasia is a poor formation of the hip joints, which is a common growing disease with younger dogs of virtually every breed.  With larger breeds, unsteady hip joints are common, although hip dysplasia can be a serious problem that will limit the physical activity of your Golden.  Although many Golden Retriever owners don’t realize it, hip dysplasia is something that dogs inherit from their parents, and gets worse with age.

The signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia is nearly impossible to detect with Golden puppies, although it will start to show once the pup has reached the age of nine months.  Even though you may take your Golden to the vet to have him looked at, your vet will tell you that you need to wait to see if the symptoms are there, once the Golden Retriever has reached a certain age.

The symptoms and signs of hip dysplasia vary, although the most common include crippling or the inability to walk properly.  This disease can get better once the dog gets older though, due to the joints stabilizing, the inflammation going down, and the muscles in the hips getting stronger and more mature.  Keep in mind however, that Golden’s who have hip dysplasia when they are younger will more than likely develop arthritis when they get older.

Golden Retrievers that suffer from hip dysplasia aren’t fit for breeding, although they can still live a long and healthy life.  There are certain drugs that your vet can prescribe to your dog, which will help him control his weight and help control the disease.  These drugs can also cut down on the pain as well, helping your Golden enjoy himself as much as possible.

Some Golden Retrievers that have hip dysplasia won’t begin to show any signs at all until they get a few years old, once the muscles start to wear down and the damage to the hip muscles start to become more noticeable.  Although your dog may be active and healthy for most of his puppy years, dysplasia can slow everything down and make your dog look as if he is old and is suffering from the physical attributes of arthritis.

To eliminate the pain of hip dysplasia, there are surgery options available.  Golden Retrievers have a high threshold for pain, and won’t normally show any signs of being in pain, even though you know they are.  X-rays won’t show any signs of pain, although the limping or slow walking will tell you that your dog is hurting.  Golden Retriever’s who have this disease won’t know it – which is why you should help as much as possible.  If you do your part and help your dog seek relief – he will feel better than ever before – although he won’t let you know he hurt any at all.

Hip Dysplasia And Golden Retrievers courtesy Dog Articles.

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Conformation… Can I Handle My Own Dog In The Ring?

Showing dogs can be a wonderful and fun activity, whether you are very competitive or just looking for something for your family to enjoy.  People getting their first showdog have lots of questions.  One of the first things people want to know is whether or not they can handle their own dog in the ring or whether they need to hire a professional handler.  The answer depends on several factors.

Anyone at all can enter a dog show.  Anyone in good standing with a kennel club (that is, someone who has not broken the rules previously and been denied the privilege).  You don’t have to meet any particular criteria.  And any dog registered with that kennel club can be entered in a dog show held by that kennel club.  That means that if you have an AKC registered Pug you can enter your dog in any dog show sanctioned by the American Kennel Club in the United States.  You can find information about upcoming shows around the country (posted a few weeks prior to the show) on a kennel club’s web site or in magazines, pay the entry fee, and enter a show.  It’s that simple.  There is no mystery or mystique to it.  You will receive information in the mail telling you the time to be there, your ring number, and your armband number.  You then show up on the day of the show, tell the ring steward you are there so you can pick up your armband number, and go in the ring for your class so the judge can judge your dog.  That’s all there is to it.

Of course, there is a lot more to it.  In some breeds there may be a lot of dogs entered and the competition may be very fierce.  In other breeds you could be the only entry so you would almost automatically win Best of Breed.  Entries also vary around the country.  There may be lots of Irish Wolfhounds entered in California but none entered in shows in Texas, so geography can play a role in how much competition people face.  There could be ten male dogs entered and only two female dogs, so the competition would be much harder for the boys.  But at the next show it could be reversed.  It often depends on who decides to enter, or how far someone wants to drive for a show.  People may ask friends who is entering a show but this information is not always reliable.

Novices can and do show their own dogs in the showring.  They can even win.  It may take a little practice but everyone was a beginner at one time.  Amateur handlers or owner-handlers can successfully compete against professionals, especially in the breed ring where points are won for championships.  The amateur handler has the advantage of actually living with his dog and knowing him better than anyone.  Many professional handlers only “pick up” a dog the day of the dog show at ringside.  They may barely know the dog they are showing.  Professionals have excellent dog skills and grooming skills, but amateurs know their dogs and their dogs love them.

In order to successfully compete against the professional handler the amateur will have to work hard on his grooming skills, especially with longhaired dogs and terriers.  Look for books about your breed and make sure your dog is groomed to look like the show dogs pictured in it.  Ask for help from your dog’s breeder or other people who show their dogs.  Make sure toenails are kept short.  Most professional handlers show dogs with very short toenails while many amateurs have dogs with toenails that are too long.

Professionals also have expert handling skills in the ring.  Practice handling your dog.  Watch the best professional handlers and imitate them.  Go to handling classes with your dog.  You will also notice that professionals dress for success.  Many amateur handlers appear sloppy next to the professional handlers in the ring.  You can improve your chances of winning by dressing more sharply.  The overall picture you and your dog make together counts for a lot.  Practice with your dog in front of a mirror to see how you look.  Watch dog shows on TV to see how people pose your breed in the ring.  Visit a few dog shows before you enter one so you can get the hang of what goes on.

Pro handlers are not only good at what they do, they attract good dogs.  Sometimes they win because they are better handlers even when they don’t have the best dog, but many times they actually have good dogs.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they are only beating you because the judge knows them.  They are pros for a reason.  They have been practicing their skills for a long time and people would not be hiring them if they didn’t know how to present a good dog.  Many professional handlers began showing as kids so they have a great deal of experience.  They can make a good dog look even better.  But they can still be beaten if you also have a good dog.  Groom your dog to look his best, practice your own handling skills and you have a good chance of winning.  You’ll feel great when you beat the pros.  But keep in mind that professional handlers are not the “enemy.”  Many of them are quite friendly and willing to give you tips with your dog if you speak to them after the show.

Showing dogs is fun.  Whether you are thinking about it as an activity for a youngster in your family or for yourself, it’s a great way to spend time with your dog.  You can win.  You can beat the pros.  Many amateur handlers are competing at the highest levels of the sport.  Watch the best handlers and beat them at their own game.

Conformation… Can I Handle My Own Dog In The Ring courtesy Dog Articles.

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Preparing Your Dog for the Arrival of Your Baby

Congratulations! You’re pregnant and your “pack” will soon be growing. If you’re like most people, you’re caught between anticipation and trepidation. As an expecting dog owner the very first thing that you should do is to identify the changes that need to be made in the life of your dog once the baby arrives and implement them NOW!

You do not want your dog to associate any changes that need to be made in your relationship with the arrival of your child thus setting up a competitive or jealous dynamic. Failing to implement relevant changes in the life of your dog prior to baby’s arrival is the single most common mistake expecting dog owners make. And keep in mind, things that you do not consider problematic now might become problematic with a child in your midst. So take a careful look: is your dog sleeping in bed with you, pushy and demanding, barky, prone to steal things and get into mischief when you’re not looking? Or worse, is he over-protective, suffer from separation anxiety and sensitivity to sudden and unpredictable movements?

Problems like these are readily resolvable but resolution depends on building the right relationship with your dog, a relationship in which your dog is in the habit of taking direction from you. Simple things like always giving your dog a command before you have an interaction with him, not letting him run out the door ahead of you, and being a little aloof with him can do a world of good in causing your dog to cheerfully accept your leadership role. Additionally, there are many things that help create not only safety but very positive associations for your dog with the presence of your child. Here’s an example.

Start by making the future baby’s room off limits to your dog. Once that’s handled, allow him to enter the room only with your permission and accompaniment. Once in the room always ask him for certain obedience exercises, especially down-stays. Soon he’ll get the idea that when he enters this room he’s to do a down-stay in the corner (you could even put a bed for him there). In addition, teach your dog to tolerate alone time every day. Once your baby arrives, allow your dog to come into the baby’s room when you go in to change diapers or play or whatever and assume his down-stay. If he has been left alone for a few hours prior to that he will welcome the contact. In other words, the presence of your child means a positive social engagement for him. This is quite different than what usually happens which is that when mommy goes to play with or care for baby, doggie gets thrown out, thus potentially setting up a competitive or jealous dynamic.

Other things that you can do to ensure a seamless transition to siblinghood for your dog include: o Teaching him the difference between doggie toys and child’s toys (start by getting doggie toys that are distinctly different from baby toys since often these two bear striking similarities). o Get a baby doll and wrap it in a scented baby blanket and teach your dog appropriate manners around your “faux baby,” thus setting up a template of behavior for future interactions. o Hire a dog walker to take over exercise responsibilities during the period immediately after birth. This will take a lot of pressure off of you and produce a tired dog.

Never allow unsupervised interactions between your dog and your child. While the above does not comprise a comprehensive list by any means, it should serve to provide a sense of direction and purpose. All that having been said, keep in mind that your true test of the success of your efforts at integration will be seen once your child passes the eight-month threshold when your little one starts crawling and becoming mobile. This means that the frequency of unexpected encounters between your child and your dog will increase dramatically. That’s where you’ll find out if all your hard work paid off. In closing, please understand that what I’ve outlined above represents the tip of the iceberg of strategies designed to make the integration of your dog and your child as seamless, warm and rewarding as possible.

While learning and implementing such strategies implies varying amounts of work, it promises a wholesome and fulfilling relationship between your child and your dog. The payoff of this relationship will last for years and thus makes any work you have to put in on the front end more than worth it.

Preparing Your Dog for the Arrival of Your Baby courtesy Dog Articles.

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