Pet Forum

How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting

If you have ever owned a dog or puppy, you already know that one common trait in puppyhood is biting.  Puppies bite to help relieve the irritation from teething and to learn about the world around them. When dogs and puppies play, they use their mouth and paws.

As a new puppy owner, it is necessary to determine what is and isn’t acceptable behavior from the very first day. Puppies benefit from expectations that are consistently enforced. Teething lasts from four to six months, so mouthing is quite common then. If mouthing has not gotten under control by the time the puppy enters adolescence at six months, not only will you have a less cooperative teenager to handle, but a larger, stronger jaw to deal with as well!

It is important as a pet owner to make sure that your puppy learns that biting is a ‘bad thing’ or you could end up with an adult dog that grabs and bites you. It doesn’t matter how cute your puppy is and how little it hurts or just pinches. If he’s always trying to gnaw on something or someone, it can become a problem.

Below are some tips to help you with the ‘biting’ issue.

Make sure your puppy has toys to chew

Puppies want to gnaw on things, so make sure that you have plenty of toys that he can chew on, carry around, and pull apart. If he’s bored of the ones that are currently on the floor, rotate them with some different ones. This is a good habit to get into as it always makes the toys seem new to him.



Biting Puppy Stop

This is what I should be biting!

Indestructible chew toys like large nylon bones or hard rubber Kongs’ can provide a positive outlet for mouthing. Large rawhide bones and carrots can be placed in the freezer and given to a teething puppy. Braided fiber knotted tugs dipped in chicken broth or water and then frozen are also a good option.

However, while you are trying to stop your puppies from biting, don’t ever play tug of war, wrestling or chase type games with them. This only encourages the biting and nipping as your puppy will think it’s a game.  And you can hurt your puppy by doing so.

Try to use a language that your puppy understands

When a puppy bites another puppy or dog, he is usually reprimanded with a loud yelp from the other dog and sometimes a growl. This is a clear indicator that playtime is over. It may take a few yelps to get the message and sometimes the other dog will leave the area or walk away.

When you are training your puppy, try to do the same sort of action to teach your puppy that it is not ok to bite. Try yelping in a high-pitched tone and withdraw your hand or whatever part of your body your puppy has nipped. Don’t be afraid to exaggerate your yelping to startle him. He might give you a look and stop. Use this opportunity to give him his chew toy. It’ll reinforce that it is ok to chew on the toy and not you.

If your puppy keeps biting you, just walk away

If your puppy persists on biting, simply walk away from him or her. Ignore him and do not talk or touch him for a few minutes. Expect him to cry, try to follow you, and grab your pant leg to get your attention. You can even leave the room and close the door for a few minutes. He might scratch and whimper.

When you come back into the room, you should stay calm and try to not arouse his play behavior. He may still want to play.  If this is the case, simply give him a toy. If he ignores the toy and goes for your hand or sleeve, repeat the yelping and walk away.

Just remember that it is important that your puppy sees you as his parent.  A puppy needs to understand that you’re the one who guides and teaches him.  It starts with biting and can be attributed to all puppy/dog behavior.  If you can curb this behavior early in your puppy’s life, it will only help your puppy to become a well behaved dog.


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Tips to Help a Skittish Rescue Dog Adjust to Your Home

If you adopted a dog from a shelter or animal rescue group, there is a chance that your dog might be skittish or fearful of people or other animals.  Some dogs adapt quickly into their new home while other dogs need a little help from you and your family.   If you take the time to understand what the dog’s fears and/or needs are, he or she will adjust in time.

All newly adopted dogs need to be taught what they can chew, how they may greet you, where to go to the bathroom and other house rules. If your adopted dog is afraid of novel people or new situations, he will also need some extra help from you to adjust to his new home. 

Below are some tips to help your dog relax with you and your family.

Give your dog freedom to adjust to his or her new surroundings

Allow your new dog to get the feel of his new home and if you have other dogs, allow the dogs to socialize without too much input from you. Too much attention or protection could cause jealousy. Watch carefully from the sidelines and try to not show favoritism. Your dogs should establish their family first. Allow your new pup to explore, find a favorite place and learn what is what in your home.

Skittish Rescue Dog

Just give me time to come around!


Moderate your voice and movements

Dogs are intimidated by fast, jerky movements and loud, low voices. When you’re working to gain your dog’s confidence, speak in soft, even tones and move slowly. During this time, it’s important to keep young children away from an extremely timid dog since the rapid, spontaneous movements of a child can be intimidating and may even provoke a shy dog to bite.  

Try to understand your dog’s body language

Recognize your dog’s body language. Yawning and licking lips can be signs of nervousness. Your skittish dog might sit off to the side while you cook dinner or do your household errands as he or she watches while yawning and licking her lips. Ignore her behavior at first. After a few days, look at your pup, smile and say her name in a soothing voice. Calming her and helping her feel safe is important in helping her heal.

Give your dog some time to come to you

Give your dog some space, but also make sure to spend time with you new dog.  You need to show your dog that you will not hurt your pup when you touch him or her.  Take your dog on a morning walk and spend some time with him or her after.  Start by simply sitting with her on the floor at his or her level. As soon as she is comfortable at this level, stroke her head and say her name, working up to a fully body pet and hug. Be patient and don’t take it personally if she doesn’t want the attention.

Be very lenient with accidents or strange behavior

Try not to overreact to accidents or strange behavior.  Expect that your dog might pee in the house and do your best to just clean it up and not punish your new pup.  If you act like it is not a big deal, your new dog will get over it faster.  Sometimes, the only attention some rescue dogs have ever received from their owners is punishment. Dogs are social and they will do what it takes to get some human interaction. Your new dog may have learned that accidents mean attention, so you’ll need to show her that she only gets attention from good behavior.

When training your dog, always use positive reinforcement

The shy or fearful dog can be frightened and even traumatized by forceful training methods. Today, the emphasis in the dog training world is positive, reward-based training, even for confident, untroubled pups and dogs. So for the best experience for you and your shy dog, focus on gentle, positive methods.

For example, instead of giving a leash correction when your shy dog engages in nervous barking, ignore the barking. Try to redirect your dog's attention to you. As soon as your dog stops barking, give your pup praise and a tasty treat to reward the "quiet" behavior. Eventually, your dog will realize that nervous barking is not an effective response to whatever triggered her fear.

You need to be patient with your new dog

Be forgiving and patient with your new dog.  There will be setbacks and you and your dog will make mistakes.  However, with time and patience, your dog will come around.  Dogs are inherently social so he or she will enjoy the love and compassion.  And always reward your dog for good behavior.   Positive reinforcement is the best way to gain your dog’s love and trust.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that some dogs take longer than others to adjust.  But, with time, love and patience, you and your dog will be the best of friends and his shy days will be a thing of the past.


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Petplan Pet Insurance – Great Coverage, Benefits & Reimbursement!

I know that a lot of dog and cat owners are ambivalent about whether they should purchase pet insurance for their pet(s).  Pet insurance reimburses you for pet illness or any incident that might occur in which you need to take your dog or cat to the vet or hospital.  And as we know all too well, our pets do get sick and just as in health insurance, better to be prepared.  Yet, with so many pet insurance plans out there, how do you choose the best one? 

How about pet insurance that has great customer service, pays for your actual costs and has plans that are catered to your specific pet(s)?   Petplan Pet Insurance does just that and more!

Petplan pet insurance covers your specific veterinary costs

If there is one reason for having pet insurance, it is probably health insurance. That is, insurance to cover your vet’s bills if your dog or cats gets sick, or injured in an accident. It’s unlikely that your dog or cat will go through his whole life without a single disease or injury and usually just one treatment can cost a lot of money!  And that’s what makes Petplan Insurance so great! Petplans’ coverage is based on your actual veterinary fees and not what they think it should cost.

Petplan also has the shortest waiting periods (1 day for accidents, 14 for illnesses) for coverage so you don’t have to wait a long time to actually get coverage.

Pet Plan Offers long term comprehensive coverage

As pet parents, we want our pets to live a long time and keep them healthy and happy into old age.  Thankfully, our vets have a lot more options for diagnosing, treating and, in many cases, curing the health conditions which used to have dire consequences for our pets. But with that increased level of care comes increased costs and Petplan can help you afford the care your dogs and cats deserve.  

Petplan covers full coverage for chronic and hereditary conditions

Petplan helps pay up to 100% of your unexpected vet bills and includes coverage for all vet-recommended treatments, including:

  • Hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions
  • Prescription medications
  • Diagnostic testing
  • MRI, CAT scan and ultrasound imaging
  • Non-routine dental treatment
  • Alternative and holistic therapies
  • Surgery
  • Hydrotherapy


And we all know how expensive these visits and/or conditions can be!  In our pet’s lifetime, they are bound to need at least some of the above tests and if you pay out of pocket, that just hurts!

Petplan offers three tiers to help you choose the best plan for your pet

Petplan offers three tiers to help you choose the best plan for your pet: Bronze, Silver and Gold.  Depending on your pet’s needs, you can choose a plan to best suit your cat or dog.  You can choose between a $50, $100, and $200 per-condition deductible. Petplan offers per-condition because it helps keep plan costs low and is specific to your pet.  They offer 100% coverage, 90%, and 80%, again with the percentage being the actual vet fees charged, not a benefit schedule.  

Petplan can help you figure out the best insurance for your pet by using their handy on-line calculator.

Pet Plan Pet Insurance

How does Petplan work?

If your beloved pet gets sick or injured unexpectedly, take your pet to your vet immediately.  After you leave the vet, Petplan makes it easy for you.  Simply log into your account and download your personalized one page claim form, complete and sign your form and then fax, email or mail it to Petplan with your receipts!  Or you can take the fastest route by using their claims app for iPhones & iPads!  Easy, breezy.

Depending on which plan you've chosen, you’ll get back 80%, 90% or even 100% of your vet bill, typically within five to 14 days of submitting your completed claim!  Fast. 

Petplan is so confident in their coverage that you can cancel within 30 days of buying their policy if you change your mind for any reason.  But, I don’t think that will be the case.

Here are what some pet parents are saying about Petplan’s great coverage:

“Petplan’s payment is prompt and reimbursement is exactly what your policy calls for. We will never have a pet without Petplan insurance”.  

“When my dog's policy is up for renewal soon, I was concerned that due to his chronic diagnosis the premiums would increase. To my delight, the wonderful customer service rep informed me that PetPlan only increases rates based on inflation, not on claims, current or future. What a relief! I recommend PetPlan insurance to any pet owner that will listen! They are FANTASTIC! “

If you haven’t purchased pet insurance for your pet or are looking for the best coverage for your cat or dog, go to Petplans’ site and take a look at what best suits your cat or dog’s needs and get started!  The next time you have to take your pet to the vet or something unforeseen happens, you will be so happy you already have your Petplan pet insurance in place!   


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Tips to Help Your Shy Cat or Timid Cat

If you just adopted a cat from a shelter, there is a good chance he will be shy or timid at first.  Or maybe your new kitty is just apprehensive around new people or being in a new home. We don’t want our cats to be timid or scared and sometime being shy can lead to aggressive behavior.  Below are some tips to help your shy or timid cat to come out of his or her shell.

Give your kitty a separate room or area that is just for your cat

If you just adopted a cat, your kitty is probably used to being only around other cats or in a separate cage by him or herself and a completely different environment.  Your kitty is encountering new family members, sights and/or smells, so it is best to give your cat a safe room or area for as long as needed.  And don’t be surprised if your kitty stays under the bed for several days, just coming out long enough to eat and use the litter box.

A shy kitty needs to be approached slowly and at his or her pace

Cats who are shy or have not been properly socialized or from a shelter are usually suspicious and fearful. They might communicate this fear by biting and scratching. The key is to have your kitty get used to handling so that he or she knows that nothing bad will happen when she's in your arms.  However, make sure that your kitty comes to you when he or she is ready.  Approaching your kitty directly might scare him or her.  Your kitty will come out for food and then start trying to bond with your cat.


Shy Cat From Shelter

Just give me time to adjust

Try petting your kitty to introduce physical contact

Stroke your cat in areas where she enjoys being pet, such as the top of her head or around her face. Then, pick your kitty up, stroke her feet with your fingertips, move on to the belly, the tail and the back. As you touch her, speak to her softly in a calm, low voice. If your kitty becomes agitated, end the session and leave her alone.  Get to know your cat’s spots that they like to be touched.  Sometimes cats won’t let you near their bellies while other felines live it or some hate it when you scratch their rear ends!

Reward your shy kitty with treats

After a petting session, give your kitty a treat for good behavior.   Try to do many sessions each day, extending the length of the sessions as your cat grows comfortable with you.  Stroke your cat’s ears, play with her paws and always talk in a sweet soothing voice.  If your kitty starts to get aggressive during a play session, just tell her ‘no’ firmly and put her down.  Don’t ever scream or raise your voice at your cat.  It will only scare him or her more and you will lose his trust.

Playing with your kitty will incorporate her trust

Cats are predators by nature, and instinctively need to hunt and kill, even if only with a catnip mouse. Learn what your cat's favorite type of toy (with trial and error) and schedule playtimes several times daily. This can reduce the amount of misdirected predatory behavior (ankle attacks, etc.) in which your cat engages, and will help the two of you form a close bond.  If you have two cats, they usually will attack and/or play with each other.

Again, if your kitty lashes out at you during play time, simply tell her “no” and end the playing session.  No more fun for your kitty and no rewards!

Introduce your shy cat to new people, but slowly

Once your kitty seems to trust you, it is then time to introduce your cat to new people and/or other cats.  However, before you let other people handle your cat, make sure they know to keep their voices low and calm, at least until the cat is comfortable with them.  And it’s better if your kitty comes to them, and don't force interaction. It may take a couple of visits before your cat is comfortable with people he or she doesn't know.

With time, love and patience, you can get your cat to come out of his or her shell.  However, it is important to always be understanding and patient and respect your kitty’s boundaries. Continue to reinforce good behavior and discourage unwanted behavior. Sometimes it will take years to fully complete have a shy kitty to become gregarious, but you'll be rewarded at the end with an outgoing feline for life!

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How to Handle a New Kitten or Adopted Cat

If you have just adopted a beautiful yet fearful kitten (or cat), the first thing you need to learn is how to handle and/or approach your newly beloved feline family member.  It is important for you and your family to lean how to handle your kitten or cat properly especially in the early, formative kitty years.

Give your kitty time to adjust to his or her new surroundings

Although everyone will want to hold the kitten, limit handling for the first few days while your new kitten adjusts. Set up his bed, litter box and food in a quiet room where he can be secured until he gets to know his new home. Introduce one family member at a time, allowing the kitten to come to you and learn your touch.

How To Handle Your Kitten

Be careful with me!

Be careful when you first approach your kitten


First of all, don't immediately walk up to an unfamiliar kitten or cat and pick her up.  You should get to know him or her and let your kitty smell and check you out. Pet her lightly on the back, running your hand from shoulder to tail. Pet the top of your cat’s head, and give her your hand to smell. Speak to her in calm, soothing tones. Don't let yourself get upset or excited if it's not going well; the cat can sense your alarm, and will resist you.


Use both hands when picking up a kitten


Unless the cat is a very youngkitten (in which case it's safe to pick her up by the scruff of the neck), you should pick up your kitty with both hands, first putting your hand under his or her chest just behind the front legs (using your forearm for additional support). Then support the back feet above and behind the paws with your free hand, cradling the rear of the body so that your cat is fully supported. The key is to success is making your cat feel both safe and comfortable, and keeping her limbs in check so you don't get scratched.


It can take time for your kitty to get used to being held


If your cat is resistant, spend some more time with her, perhaps sitting on a couch, and letting her come to you for petting. Work up to getting her to sit in your lap, and when she's comfortable with that, try again to pick her up.  Do this a few times so your kitty is comfortable with it.

As your cat gets older, he might like to be carried over your shoulder

Some cats prefer to be carried like a baby, facing backward with their forelegs over your shoulders, and their hind quarters supported with your free hand. This is fine once you and the cat are accustomed to each other. Initially, however, it's not a good idea. If your cat is spooked, she's likely to dig her front claws into your back, and her back claws into your chest to launch away from you.

Never pick up a cat by the middle without supporting the back legs

Never pick up a cat with both hands by the midsection without supporting the hind legs. This will upset most cats and leave their back paws free to scratch you.  And it puts a lot of pressure on your cat’s midsection.

Take extra caution with feral or injured cats

If it's necessary to handle a feral cat, an injured cat or a cat who seems prone to biting or scratching, wear heavy duty gloves and a long sleeved shirt or jacket.  If you are unaccustomed to handling cats, you should not attempt to pick up feral or injured cats yourself if it's possible to find someone more experienced to help you.  Injured cats should not be moved unless it's to move them out of harm's way (the middle of a street, for example). Then contact a veterinarian to determine whether the cat should be moved, and how best to do so.

Young toddlers should not interact with a young kitten

Children under five should not interact with kittens; many shelters and rescue groups will not allow families with very young children to adopt kittens because children can be rough, sometimes tragically, with kittens. They should be taught never to grab a kitten's tail or ears, or pick it up by its scruff. Show children how to gently pet a cat's head and back. Remind them to always wash their hands after being around kitty. Always supervise children's interaction with kittens, especially if they have friends visiting.

Each cat is different and some kittens (and cats) just don't like to be handled. While gentle petting andtreatsmay help you gain their trust, don't assume every cat can be picked up safely on the first attempt. Give it time and chances are that your kitty will eventually come around!



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