Do Your Dogs Play Naked?

     After reading this article shared by one of my fellow bloggers (Life Embarked), my dogs always, always play naked!!!! Maya used to always go streight for Lucky’s collar, which was the buckle kind. I never in a million years would have thought this could happen! Just thought I would share this for my readers as well!

The Whole Dog Journal: Take It All Off!

Five things you can do to protect your dog.

By Nancy Kerns

I was pretty traumatized recently by a phenomenon I had heard about many times but had never before seen: the intense, chaotic, life-or-death struggle that ensues when one dog gets his jaw stuck in another dog’s collar.

It happened to some dogs that live a few houses down from my home office. I was working at my computer when I heard a dog screaming. I leaped up from my desk and ran down the sidewalk toward the screaming.

These dogs are just playing and are not entangled. But if they were, the leather collar would have to be cut to save them; its buckle can’t be released under tension.

It was two young Lab-mixes in the front yard of a house down the street. One had grabbed his friend’s collar and then mostly likely rolled over, twisting his lower jaw in the collar. His tongue, trapped under the thick nylon, was being lacerated by his own lower teeth; he was the one making all the noise.

His buddy was not screaming; he was fighting for his life, and being choked to death by his own collar. Both dogs were thrashing in pain and fear. The owner of one dog was trying to get close enough to them to free them, and I tried to help.

I grabbed one dog by the scruff; she grabbed the other. I frantically ran my hands through the mass of writhing fur, trying to find a buckle on the collar. I felt a quick-release buckle and released it – but it was the wrong one, not the collar that was threatening their lives.

Then I saw the other buckle; it was in the mouth of the dog whose jaw was trapped. And it was a standard metal buckle – the kind that you have to tighten slightly to free the metal prong from a hole punched in the nylon fabric. It was already so tight, there would be no way to tighten it enough to release it, if I even could get my hand in the dog’s mouth.

Just then, the owner of the other dog ran out of the house with a pair of scissors. I was doubtful that they could cut through the thick nylon, but they did. And in the nick of time! Even as the young woman worked, feverishly, the dog who was choking released his bowels. He was seconds from death.

Imagine what would have happened if that young woman hadn’t had the scissors handy. Or if the same thing happened at a dog park; maybe someone would have had a sharp-enough knife. What if the dog had been wearing a choke chain or pinch collar? I’ve seen dogs wearing these while playing at dog parks – but I’ve never seen a person there with bolt cutters.

These dogs survived the experience. But since I’ve been telling my friends about my experience (with all the fervor of the recently converted), I’ve heard about a number of dogs whose jaws were broken in similar situations – and other dogs who didn’t survive an experience like this. Don’t let it happen to your dog!

Here are five things you can do to keep your dog safe when he’s playing with other dogs.

1. Play Naked! Remove your dog’s collar or harness. A harness may not present the same choking hazard as a collar if another dog got tangled in it, but on the other hand, a harness has many more straps to get caught in.

2. Use a Collar With a Quick-Release Buckle. If you’re nervous about having your dog naked (and without ID), use a collar with a buckle that can be released even under tension. Another option is a safety breakaway collar, such as Premier Pet Product’s KeepSafe Break-Away Collar (see or call 800-933-5595).

3. Don’t Allow Your Dog to Play With Dogs Who Are Wearing Gear. At times, this may mean your dog won’t be able to play at a dog park, because it’s nearly impossible to get everyone to comply with sensible rules at a dog park. If I had a young dog who really liked wrestling and mouthing other dogs, I just wouldn’t take him to a dog park that was crowded with collar- and harness-wearing dogs. Not after what I saw.

4. Spread The Word. I’m now telling every dog owner I know about the way, the truth, and the light. Many people have never considered this potential hazard and may be open to hearing about how they can prevent a tragedy happening to their dogs.

5. Keep Something Sharp Handy. This is quite a long shot – and yet, I now know a young woman who saved two dogs’ lives with sharp scissors. I now have a box cutter in my car, and another one on a shelf near my office door. I hope to never witness this again, but I feel a little better knowing that there would be more I could do to help.


Bark About News……

Bark Busters Newsletter  December 2012
Consider the GIFT of TRAINING for the DOG OWNERS on Your List!

Gift Certificate Contact us for Gift Certificate details – perfect for holiday giving!
BellaBella Northville, MI

Bella is sweet and full of life! She is an energetic lab who enjoys doggy daycare and a good game of fetch. She is working on walking nicely on a leash and other good doggy manners.  Bella is very sweet and silly. She

has lived with kids and cats and gets along with other dogs as she has already attended doggy daycare. House-trained and working on crate-training.

CLICK HERE to search by location, breed, age and more!

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MARIL IS VERY PATIENT with me and EASY TO WORK WITH. Verbal commands / praise is easier to work with than “clicker” or “treat” training. My puppy could sit on command at the end of our first lesson. It is so convenient to schedule in-home training and I am glad to have training support as issues arise.

– Paula L., Novi MI

Maril verbally and physically explained the techniques which made it easier to understand.  Mylo is extremely stubborn, but you could see that he was walking on the leash better buy the end of our session.  The techniques are friendly and easy to understand.  They are very simple, but I had never thought to do them. I LOVE THE TECHNIQUES since it is all about body language, sounds and leadership.  I don’t want anyone hurting their dogs.  It was an enjoyable experience and so much more relaxing because it is done in the comfort of your own home – which is also easier for your dog. – – Colleen Lachat, Northville

Very easy to understand and to follow through with.  Mia hasn’t tried to bite my hands since Maril left. WISH I HAD CALLED BARK BUSTERS SOONER. I learned many things I never knew about dogs.  I would Absolutely recommend Bark Busters to anyone with a puppy.  People need to know the way their dogs communicate.  – – Stephanie Good, Wixom

G’day, !

Happy Holidays! We hope your holiday season is filled with all that’s good – food, friends, family and fun! And that goes for your tail-waggers too!

Any time of year, good manners are essential social skills. In this issue, we offer tips for appropriate dog etiquette that ensure your dog is viewed as well-behaved and amiable to everyone he meets.

While humans may enjoy the busy holiday season, it can be a strange and stressful time for your dog. Routines change, visitors appear at the door, and there’s a TREE in the living room! Below you can read tips to help you manage your dog’s holiday stress.

If you’re giving your dog toys this holiday to keep him busy and happy, contact me to help you select just the right puzzle toy!

to forward this newsletter to all your dog loving friends!

Maril & Bob Zbik

Behavioral Therapist and Certified Master Trainer

248-752-7782(Bob) / 248-219-3781(Maril)


Holiday time brings guests to the house, delicious foods on the table, and delivery people on the sidewalk. If your dog regards these scenarios as exciting, he may display unwanted behaviors in response, such as jumping up on visitors, stealing food, and barking uncontrollably at passersby.

None of these behaviors are welcome during the busy holiday season, nor at any other time of year.

CLICK HERE to read tips for appropriate dog etiquette both inside and outside the home!

Help your dog stay busy and out of the holiday trimmings by giving him a variety of fun – and safe – toys designed just for canines. The Buster Cube™ and Kong™ are virtually indestructible puzzle toys that reward your dog with treats and keep him well entertained. Contact me for details!


While we humans enjoy the cheerful hustle-bustle of the holiday season, the family dog may find it to be a confusing and stressful time.

Some dogs enjoy a change of pace in the household, but others may be upset by new activities. Your normally laid-back dog may suddenly begin to display unusual behaviors, like jumping up on people, stealing food, or even growling and snapping at visitors.


As your dog’s leader, you need to communicate and demonstrate to him that, while his world may be different, you will continue to keep him safe and secure.

When an insecure dog (of any size or breed) encounters a new situation, he doesn’t know what to do. If he feels threatened, his instinct may tell him to react defensively with a snap or bite. On the other hand, a well-socialized dog is more comfortable with new situations, including meeting and being with others – both dogs and people.

Following are some tips to help calm your dog and keep everyone in your home safe during the active holiday season.

Boundaries and Security

Dogs need to have their own place where they feel secure and calm. If your dog doesn’t already have a peaceful space of his own, create one for him.

  • A crate or pet carrier provides a natural safe haven for your dog. Keep his crate or dog bed in a quiet area of your home, and direct him to go there when you need to set boundaries. While he may not like being separated from you, he will still feel secure.
  • If your dog begins to bark or nip at visitors, lead him to his safe place until your guests have gone.
  • Keep your dog out of certain rooms where he can get underfoot. For example, training your dog to stay out of the kitchen-where most household accidents occur-is a good safety measure. It also helps prevent your dog from begging for food.
  • Use a baby gate or other barrier to keep your dog in a room or area of the house where he can be safely contained yet not feel cut off entirely from the activity.
  • If you travel during the holidays, take your dog’s crate/carrier and/or his bedding to help him feel more relaxed, since “home” is wherever he finds you and his familiar bed.

Front Door Behaviors

A knock on the door can be a stimulating event for a dog, whether he sees it as fun or alarming. It is natural for your dog to want to know who the visitors are to determine if they are “friend or foe.”

However, a dog that explodes with excitement at the sound of the doorbell is both annoying and unsafe. The dog may dash out the door and run into harm’s way; he may get underfoot and become a trip hazard; he may knock people over; or he may become aggressive to the visitor.

  • To help your dog be calmer, exercise him prior to the arrival of guests. After 30 minutes of walking or playing, your dog will more likely be relaxed or want to nap.
  • As a general rule, don’t allow your dog to greet unfamiliar guests, since commotion and unusual situations can cause stress for dogs.
  • Maintain better control of your dog by putting him on a leash before guests arrive.
  • Teach your dog to sit and stay on command. When the doorbell rings, put him in a sit-stay and do not open the door until he calms down.
  • If you know your dog gets overly excited with arriving visitors, remove him from the scene ahead of time. Place him in his crate in a quiet room, and then let him join the party later.

Children Visitors

Dogs that live in a household with no children may not be comfortable when kids come to visit. The chaos created by youngsters like grandchildren will inherently raise the energy level in the house, causing the dog to worry or stress. Here are some ways to control such situations if your dog does not cope well with children.

  • Always supervise kids (especially very young children) and dogs when they are together. Most dog bites to children occur when kids and dogs are left alone together.
  • Parents of very young children must be vigilant and monitor their toddler’s interactions with the dog. Parents should teach children of all ages to treat dogs with respect and gentleness.
  • Never invite a child to feed a dog by hand-this teaches the dog it is acceptable to take any food from a child. Because of a tot’s small size, the dog may view her as an equal and thus may try to take advantage of the situation.

Elderly Dogs

Senior-aged dogs may not enjoy the extra hubbub of the holiday season. Be mindful of keeping your older dog comfortable when his routine is disrupted.

  • If your elderly dog gets cranky around visitors, simply take him to his quiet place where he won’t be bothered and can feel secure.
  • Remind children to be considerate of your older dog. Always provide supervision when dogs and kids are together.

By anticipating how your dog may react to new activities and visitors, you can help ensure that everyone-both two- and four-legged-enjoys a fun and safe holiday season.

To read tips to help your dog stay safe during the holidays, CLICK HERE.

Ask A Vet   


Q. My dog Gia is a long hair dachshund. Every year around July or August she suffers from alopecia on her mid-back to the base of her tail. My vet said it’s common in doxies and has me give her melatonin. By the winter it does come back, but it hasn’t on her chest. She has been tested for Cushing’s disease. She also has what the vet calls a rat tail. It is almost bald and doesn’t grow back. Do you have any recommendations or solutions for the tail or alopecia?

— June D., West Chester PA

A. Gia may have two different conditions. First, dachshunds have a breed predilection for canine pattern baldness, most commonly on the chest, ears and head. Melatonin is sometimes prescribed, but is only effective when used within the first 3 months of treatment.

The hair loss on Gia’s backend, however, is not usually  associated with pattern baldness and so could be due to a second condition, especially since the hair re-grows during the winter months. Hair loss on the hind end is most frequently caused by parasites, mainly fleas. If an animal is flea allergic, it only takes one flea and one bite to cause itchiness and hair loss in this exact region. The timing for the hair loss could equate to flea season in your area.

Another common condition Gia might have is hypothyroidism, characterized by her “rat tail,” a common sign of this condition. Therefore, I recommend you ask your veterinarian to perform a thyroid test and discuss treating Gia for fleas in the summer. If neither condition is diagnosed, then allergy testing would be the next step.

— Dr. Janis Fullenwider

Tuscawilla Oaks Animal Hospital, Oviedo FL

Do YOU have a health-related question for the highly qualified doctors on the Bark Busters VAC? Email it to, along with your name, your dog’s name, your city/state, and, if you wish, your dog’s photo! One question will be selected and featured in the BarkAbout e-Newsletter and on each month.
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