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The Omlet Blog Archives: June 2021

How To Select the Best Bed for Your Dog?

Dogtor™ Adem, Dog behaviorist & trainer, discusses everything you need to know about dog beds, which types may fit which breed and age of dog, and why we might see our four-legged best friends exhibit certain behaviors in and around their beds. Read on to learn more!


What should I look for in a dog bed?

A dog bed should be comfortable for the breed type, age and size of your dog. If you have an older dog, they might benefit from an orthopedic or memory foam bed, such as the Omlet Bolster Bed with premium memory foam mattress, which gives support by gently molding around your dog. A puppy, on the other hand, might benefit from a bed that can absorb water if, for example, a bowl of water is accidentally knocked over by them or they ‘pee’ on their bed area while still being house trained. For puppies, you may also want to consider a type of bedding that is comfortable for them but not too precious or expensive due to the higher risk of this bedding being chewed or damaged as they play and explore. For me, it is also important to choose a bed that is robust and can be easily washed. Again the Omlet Bolster bed is a great choice with this feature! This not only helps the environment by limiting the need to frequently replace a smelly or very worn dog bed with a new version, but also ensures any accidents or dirt brought into their dog bed area can be easily cleaned away, keeping their bed area hygienic and inviting. You could also consider covering your dog’s bed with a removable and washable cover, particularly in the Winter months.

What type of bed might fit my breed of dog?

Certain breeds might need more cushioning than others to stay comfortable and limit their potential for developing sores or sore patches, for example greyhounds who are considered more ‘boney’ than many other breeds. Some breeds might also like to curl up, for example a husky or some of the smaller breeds, while others prefer to lay on their side and stretch out, for example hounds such as deer hounds, greyhounds, and lurchers. An owner should consider how their individual dog likes to lay and relax and choose a suitable bed with this in mind.

The time of year can also have an effect on where your dog chooses to sleep. To ensure your dog remains comfortable, you can adapt their bed to suit the season by adding extra blankets or even cool mats to your dog’s bed. If you’re looking for a cozy blanket, Omlet’s Super Soft Dog Blanket is definitely a winner for those cooler months where some dogs might like to ‘snuggle up’. For the warmer months of the year, you could try a cool mat instead of their usual bed if it is particularly hot!

I have observed my dog ‘digging’ their bed, why is this?

This is a natural instinct derived from the need to ‘clear the ground’ or an area of insects and potentially small rodents and reptiles. Ancestors of our pet dogs might need to do this in order to make the area they are choosing to reside in safe for them to lay down in. Some dogs, such as those in tropical climates that predominantly live outside or live as ‘street dogs’, still use this instinctive behavior to keep themselves from being bitten and stung. This act of ‘clearing the ground’ may even have benefits in preventing parasite infestation. While in Mauritius last year, I witnessed a young street dog clearing an area and while watching I noticed that she stopped in her tracks and became very observant as she had disturbed a small scorpion in some leaves. Without this act of digging and clearing, this dog would have undoubtedly been stung by this scorpion.

Dogs may also dig because they sweat through their paws, making the act of digging and ‘circling’ in an area another way of spreading and leaving their scent. This is something we commonly know as ‘marking’ and usually associate with the image of dogs urinating up lamp posts!

Finally, dogs may also dig naturally on hot days and in hot climates in an attempt to try to remove hot surfaces (e.g. baked earth). This helps them to reveal a cooler surface to reside in. In addition, wild canids such as arctic foxes and wolves, may dig to avoid extreme weather such as high wind, the cold (e.g. snow), and storms. Again, this act helps to keep them safe as well as assists in regulating their body temperature. Although seldom needed in the pet dog world today, this instinctive behavior still remains in part in our domesticated dogs.

How can I train my dog to sleep in their bed?

A good training instructor or behaviorist will have this on their training syllabus, helping owners to teach the ‘go to bed’ command.

If, however, your dog is reluctant to sleep in their own bed you should investigate why. Firstly consider, is the bed area provided the most attractive sleeping area available to your dog? Positive reinforcement such as offering treats in this area can help to make their bed area a more positive and inviting place to reside, as can ensuring the bed is comfortable for their breed type and age (as discussed above!) Secondly, you might want to evaluate if your dog potentially has a behavioral issue such as separation anxiety that is preventing them from wanting to sleep in their own bed. If you believe this to be the case, you should seek help from a certified behaviorist to address this issue and help to build your dog’s confidence in being physically away from you.

How can I stop my dog destroying their bed?

Think about your dog’s life stage. A young puppy may chew a bed as they explore with their mouth and enjoy the texture on their teething gums. In this instance, it would be advisable to buy a bed that does not contain lots of small parts or stuffing that can be ingested. Similarly, you could pick bedding made of material that can not easily be broken down through the act of chewing. You can always buy a ‘nicer’ bed for your dog to use under your direct supervision until they have passed this life stage and have lost their baby teeth and gained all of their adult teeth.

If your dog is older and destroying their bed, perhaps when they are left alone for example, this could potentially signal that your dog is feeling stressed and is suffering from separation anxiety, for which behavioral advice should be sought to enable your dog to recover from this issue.

Similarly, chewing and destroying of beds can also sometimes indicate that your dog is bored. To combat this, you could look to try to tire your dog more effectively before leaving them alone, which will encourage them to rest more in your absence. You should also ensure that your dog is not left for long periods of time by themselves. Just like us, dogs are social mammals and need company. As well as ensuring your dog is appropriately exercised and is not being left for too long, you can also offer your dog something to do for some of the time you are away from them. For example, you could leave them something else to chew that is safe and made for this purpose. Consider leaving them with a hard chew toy or bone item or a food dispensing toy filled with tasty treats for them to try to get to!

I hope you have found the above information useful. Wishing your beautiful pooches the most restful of snoozes!

Dogtor™ Adem
Dog Behaviourist & Trainer
www.dog-ease.co.uk
@dogtoradem

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This entry was posted in Dogs on June 7th, 2021 by alisa.deluca


5 Ways to Encourage Positive Behavior in Your Dog

A dog who has been taught positive behavior will be your best friend – fun, affectionate and reliable. It’s straightforward teaching your dog this canine version of positive thinking, but it won’t happen unless you lead the way.

There are many ways of teaching a dog the rights and wrongs of living in the human world, and that extends to how they interact with other dogs and the world around them. In this article, we reveal the five rules of thumb for all dog owners – whether you’re training an adult dog or a puppy.

Encouraging Positive Behavior in Puppies

Puppies recognize when we’re pleased or displeased. It’s all part of their instincts, and in the wild this instinct helped their wolf ancestors find their place in the pack very quickly. Learning their place in the big wide world is all about positive reinforcement.

1. Puppy Treats. Dogs of all ages love food and will put lots of effort into doing what you want them to do as long a there’s a yummy treat at the end of it! This means treat-based training can be used for everything from toilet training to basic obedience training and that all-important early socialization. The message here is simple and timeless – do this right, and you’ll get a treat!

2. Affection. This is arguably even better than a food treat! Bonding with a puppy involves physical contact in the form of belly-rubs, back stroking and lots of gentle words of affection and encouragement.

3. Fun and games. Tug-of-war, fetch and simply running around the backyard with you are games that puppies love. What’s more, they strengthen the bond and love between you and your pet, and that’s the perfect groundwork for training and encouraging positive behavior.

4. A trip to a favorite place. This is a great treat for dogs, and can be as simple as a trip to the park, or perhaps to a favorite street for an on-leash walk, or maybe a shop that sells some of those yummy treats! If this is being done as a reward for good behavior, make sure your puppy knows it by telling them what a good boy/girl they are as you put the lead on or get into the car!

5. Puppy playdates. Starting these early is a great way to socialize your puppy, and that provides the basis for all the positive behavior training. Young dogs love meeting each other – it’s not going to be a quiet morning out with your furry friend, but it’s one that will give him or her essential social skills.

 

Encouraging Positive Behavior in Adult Dogs

The basics are simple. Positive reinforcement rewards a dog for good behavior and ignores, rather than punishes, undesirable behavior. Punishment will only lead to confusion and fear in your dog, reducing your chances of achieving the full benefits of positive-behavior training.

Here are the five ways to make everything go smoothly, no matter which dog breed you have.

1. Keep it simple. One-word commands are better than complex ones. We’re talking here about sit, come, etc. Save the long-winded exchanges for praise and affection! A training session based on simple commands and treats is a great start for encouraging positive behavior. Which brings us to…

2. Treats. Just like puppies, adult dogs will be well and truly ‘reinforced’ if treats are involved. Some breeds are more food-obsessed than others, but all types of dog will quickly learn that good behavior results – at least in the early days of training – in a yummy treat.

3. Quality time. Dogs are social animals by instinct, and they will thrive in human company. Once you and your pet are the best of friends, the positive behavior training will be much easier. If there’s any nervousness or standoffishness in your dog, they will be less able to take on board the things you’re trying to teach them. So, keep up the contact, and play with them every day.

4. Make it fun. A long session of ‘sit, lie down, stay, come’, etc. will soon become boring for a dog. A short session of command-based training followed by a bit of fun, however, will make your dog look forward to the sessions every time. After five or ten minutes (depending on your dog’s stamina), round off the proceedings with a game or a walk. The dog will soon realize that “If I do this tricky part, I get that fun reward afterwards!” It’s a trick that works just as well with young children – “Finish your homework, and then we’ll go out on a bike ride!”, that kind of thing.

5. Get everyone involved. Once your dog has grasped some of the basics, other members of the family, or friends, can reinforce the good behavior by running through some of the training with your dog. Your pet will then learn that positive behavior is part of their general lives and applies in all situations with all people.

 

This latter point is the ‘quantum leap’ for a dog – the idea that positive behavior extends beyond their immediate owner to the big wide world around them. Getting them to this point takes time, there’s no doubt about that, and some breeds are a lot easier to train than others. However, once the work has paid off, you’ll have a doggy best friend you can be truly proud of!

 

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This entry was posted in Dogs on June 7th, 2021 by alisa.deluca