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Tag: dogs

How to Pick Up a Puppy

If your new puppy is avoiding you, you need these tips on how to hold your puppy – especially if he has advanced to growling or snapping at you.

When you see a little puppy, the most natural thing in the world is to run over and swoop her into your arms for a nice big cuddle!
I beg you: Don’t do that. It may feel wonderful to you, but the odds are you just created a moment of fear for that puppy.


Style matters, and the seemingly simple pick-up approach above includes three unfortunate choices: The surprise, the swoop, the squeeze. Each of those elements creates discomfort in a being who is new to our human world. (Nobody on Planet Dog picks anybody else up!) To complete the picture of terror, there’s often optional element #4: The Squeal.

Sometimes, people contact me in a bit of a panic because the puppy they got last week is growling at them, and it’s getting worse every day. A quick home visit usually reveals that these nice folks are in the surprise-swoop-squeeze camp. They are unintentionally terrifying their pup, and the pup is learning to fend off that moment with a growl.

While that’s a bummer, it’s also great news – because it means we can probably fix this in a jiffy by creating a new pick-up process that will build the missing trust.


It’s scary for puppies when they are picked up completely by surprise. One minute they’re just hanging out – maybe even sound asleep – and the next they’re up in the air! Sure, some pups will roll with it, but for many others it’s alarming.

You can avoid the surprise factor by altering your approach. No running! No zooming! Just stroll over so pup has a chance to see you’re on your way. Then crouch down, and take a moment to say hi with a gentle stroke. All along, provide a nice low-volume voice-over for extra reassurance and preparation: “Hi sweet pup. How about I come say hello?” That advance warning system means the puppy has a chance to catch up to the action.

Extra help: For a pup who has already been growling about handling, a cue word is a nice thing to add. A consistent heads-up in the form of a cheery, “1-2-3 time for a pick-up!” can be a game-changer. It helps pup learn to be ready when that’s about to happen and to totally relax when it’s not.


Even if you eliminate the element of surprise, you still may hear a growl if your pup feels unsafe in the air. That’s why the second rule of the perfect pick-up is this: No swoop-and-dangle allowed. Your new pup doesn’t want the thrill of an amusement park ride.

Help her feel safe with you by using a slow, cradling motion that keeps her body supported 100% of the time: One hand underneath, the other softly against her chest and shoulder. Bonus points for continuing your quiet voiceover: “Aw, there we go, we’re just going to move over here, you’re my sweetie girl . . .” Don’t stand up too quickly – give pup the old, creaky elevator experience rather than the one that whisks you ridiculously fast to the top floor.

Extra help: If you’re doing remedial work, it can help to have a chew, a toy, or a piece of jerky in your hand as you say, “1-2-3 time for a pick-up!” This way you can distract pup from her worries and create a positive association with the feeling of being handled in this way.


Once pup is in your arms as you’re standing, you can extend her lesson in trust by slowly, gently putting her right back down. For some puppies, the worst part of a pick-up is the dreaded squeeze-n-trap! Humans love to trap puppies in what they call a loving hug. Alas, the puppy might call it terrifying jail time.

Nobody – not one human, not one dog – wants their body to be held against their will. And yet somehow we think puppies are supposed to sit endlessly in our laps, or cherish being carried around by us, so we make them do that regardless of their reaction. Kids are the ones who find this hardest to resist, but I’m amazed how many adults also refuse to recognize a puppy’s squirming as a legitimate plea for bodily autonomy.

To add to the train wreck, these over-held pups are often the ones who grow into dogs who hate being handled! Which is sad in all kinds of ways, because it’s the folks who most want cuddlers who tend to turn their dogs into resisters.

Here’s what I tell kids (and, ahem, a few adults): Do you want to be your puppy’s favorite? Then, especially at first, let that puppy do the choosing! Rather than demanding the puppy’s attention, entice it instead. Get down on the floor, get a squeaky toy, roll around in a puppy-like way – and soon enough that puppy will start choosing you to play with. And then, miracle of miracles, when she’s tired she’ll wander over and choose your lap to sleep in. Now you’re just one step away from that pup happily asking to be picked up and cuddled.

how to hold a puppy
The perfect puppy hold. Stable support underneath, but with a relaxed hold. Happy puppy feels secure but not trapped. For kids in particular, sitting on the ground is the best way to hold puppies without scaring them.


If you eliminate the surprise-swoop-squeeze from your routine, your pup will soon be calm about being picked up. To see if you’re at that point yet, look for the signals that pup is happy about this consent-based handling. Is she regularly approaching you? Turning her head toward you instead of away? Relaxing her body against yours? No longer struggling in your arms? Perfect. Now you can skip the warning cue, and the treat in your hand as you lift.

But the rest? The no-surprise approach? The soothing voiceover? The un-intimidating crouch? The slow, supported lift? Don’t drop those. It’s habits like those that eventually make people describe you as the one who is “just magic with dogs!”

Nope. It’s not magic, just empathy. Use it, and enjoy the rewards.


Look at this precious pup!



"Autumn" - Female Havanese

Let’s Talk

We receive a great deal of phone inquiries, so we request that first contact be made via email. The email will also give us the opportunity to provide you more detailed information about our puppies, prices and availability. If you would prefer to contact us via phone after your initial email, we welcome any additional questions you may have and look forward to speaking with you. Thank you for contacting and look forward to all inquiries, working with you and providing detailed, accurate information so you can make an informed decision about getting a Southern Silks puppy.
Thank you again, best Jeanne

Jeanne Roane
Email Us

Southern Silks Maltese and Havanese Puppies is a small hobby show breeder of Maltese puppies and Havanese puppies from beautiful southern Louisiana.

Southern Silks – Maltese – Champion Fabs

All of Southern Silks Maltese and Havanese breeding stock are AKC registered purebred Havanese dogs and Maltese dogs that are prime representatives of their breed. Our goal is to provide our new parents with a loving companion and quality family pet experience. We also do offer top show line quality Havanese puppies and Maltese puppies.

We are serious responsible Havanese and Maltese breeders and are constantly striving to improve our breed quality. Our passion for these wonderful small, healthy, beautiful, silky haired, sweet tempered companions, are to love, cuddle and spoil. We want all their new owners to experience the joy and love our Havanese and Maltese puppies will bring to you and your family.

“Tiger” – Red Brindle Havanese

We look forward in working with you in the future and especially showing you our Havanese and Maltese dogs! Be sure to look around our site for more information about these lovely breeds and their origins.

Customer service is a top priority for Southern Silks Maltese and Havanese Puppies. We offer a wealth of information for the Havanese and Maltese lovers of the world! Always feel free to call us at 337-364-9376 or Email Us with any questions you may have about our Havanese or Maltese dogs, puppy contracts, deposits, and appointments.

Popcorn and Puppies…and a Movie!

Can Dogs Eat Popcorn? Here’s What Veterinarians Have to Say

Jennifer Nelson
·2 min read
Dog Eyeing Popcorn
Dog Eyeing Popcorn

Brandi Thompson / EyeEm / Getty Images

Pop, pop, pop. Your dog instantly knows when the air popper is hoppin’ and traipses over to get in on your snack. But aside from the cuteness overload of tossing Fifi popcorn and perfecting her mid-air catch, should your pooch actually eat popcorn?

We got the skinny (popcorn is a low-fat snack after all) from two veterinarians who were happy to weigh in before movie night at your house.

“Yes, dogs (and cats) can eat popcorn! It’s a low-calorie food that pets love, so it makes a great treat,” says Dr. Angelica Dimock, managing shelter veterinarian at Animal Humane Society.

Dr. Dimock even recommends plain popcorn to replace high calorie treats for dogs that need to lose a little weight.

Which Popcorn is Best for Dogs?

“When feeding popcorn to your pet, it’s important that the popcorn is plain and preferably air popped. Popcorn that is covered in butter (even fake butter), salt, and seasonings can cause stomach issues for your furry friends,” Dr. Dimock says.

She adds that while pets can handle small amounts of “people food” as treats, for their health, it’s best to not feed your pet only human food.

It’s good to note that microwave popcorn typically is high in salt (and fats), which can be a problem for some canine cardiac patients. But plain, air-popped corn in small amounts is a perfectly acceptable treat for your pooch.

Easy on the Portion Size

“Now this doesn’t mean you should let your doggie eat a whole bag of Jiffy Pop,” says Dr. Matthew McCarthy, founder of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital.

Like people, who fill up on nutritionally deficient foods like snacks, it’s not a good idea for your pets either. “Ideally keep snacks, treats, and people foods to less than 10 percent of your dog’s daily caloric intake,” says Dr. McCarthy.

Dr. Dimock agrees and says that a handful for a medium-large dog is plenty–and only use it as a treat or snack, not a part of their regular diet.

So enjoy your next movie night guilt-free with your pup and a little bit of plain air-popped popcorn for a special treat.

Why does my dog keep stealing my spot?

Dogs aren’t always easy to understand.

They don’t speak the way we do, but they DO tell us everything we need to know with their actions.

Dogs can’t just tell me what’s wrong, like when I go to my doctor and complain about my symptoms.

That’s why their people so often come into my office and ask, “Why does my dog DO THAT?”

Today, I’ll be answering another one of the most common questions I get from curious pet parents…

Why does my dog keep stealing my spot?

There are four main reasons that your dog might steal your spot when you leave the room… and one of them can be a problem.

Reason 1: It’s warm, and smells like his favorite person

You probably guessed this one.

One reason your dog might steal your seat is for comfort — it’s a nice, warm spot that smells like you!

Yeah, it might seem a little weird, but dogs love to soak up their person’s unique scent. It helps your pup feel at home, like when I smell chicken soup simmering in the kitchen.

This could also be a sign of loyalty and love. Your dog might think he’s protecting the alpha’s space until you come back.

Reason 2: They know you think it’s cute

Yeah, you read that right.

The first time your pooch snuggled up in your empty seat, it could’ve been for the warmth and comfort…

…but, if you scratched and patted them when you returned, you may have unknowingly reinforced the behavior!

Remember when you were a kid? What if you knew that if you cleaned the kitchen after dinner, you’d then get dessert or a piece of candy? You’d probably clean the kitchen every night!

If your dog thinks you’ll reward them with belly rubs, they might steal your spot more often, too.

Some dogs simply like the affection they get when you return and find them sitting in your favorite spot.

It can be a little annoying… but the play for your attention is ultimately harmless.

Well, unless it’s…

Reason 3: They’re struggling with anxiety

This behavior could be a red flag for separation anxiety.

Read your pal’s body language. If you come back and he’s shivering or panting, he’s probably anxious.

In this case, your dog may need a little help understanding that his favorite human will always come back to him!

Don’t make a big deal out of leaving OR coming back. It could also help to establish a word or phrase when you depart — like, “I’ll be right back!” for example.

This can help your dog adjust to the routine of you leaving and coming back.

Reason 4: They’re trying to establish dominance

Stealing your spot can also be a sign of disrespect and disobedience — Fido might want to actually ‘take your place’ at the ‘head of the pack.’

If your dog sits and stares at you when you tell him it’s time to go, they might need a reminder that YOU are the alpha.

To do this, you don’t want to be forceful or angry. Show your authority by calmly giving a command. Hold their stare. Your dog should break the staring contest and move.

If this keeps happening (or you see other signs of defiance), you can work with a trainer to re-establish your position as the gentle leader of your pack.

Again, it’s important to look at the context.

For example, if Fido nudges you roughly and growls for you to move… this is obviously a problem.

But if he takes your spot when you leave, then moves over and/or wags his tail when you come back, he might be showing you respect.

I know. Dogs can be confusing.

What ‘weird’ things does your dog do? Reply to this email and tell me all about their funny behaviors.

You never know, I might answer it in an upcoming newsletter.

From my pack to yours,

Dr. Jeff

From my pack to yours,

Dr. Jeff Werber, DVM

Does Your Dog Like Fruit…Only a few a good for them!

What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?

While fruit is a great and (relatively) healthy sweet snack for people, not all fruit is safe for dogs. To learn more about what kinds of fruit is okay to share with your dog and which fruits you should not allow your dog to eat, we connected with Dr. Tina Wismer, Medical Director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC).

What Fruits Are Good for Dogs?

Remy & Louie send wags and kisses!


The fruits safest to share with your dogs are: apples, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and bananas, as Dr. Wismer advises.

Dogs are individuals with different preferences when it comes to treats, so you might need to try a few of these fruits to find one that your dog is interested in eating. Dr. Wismer cautions, “Some dogs love all kinds of fruit; others are not impressed.”


Courtesy:  Whole Dog Journal

When Pigs Fly!

Excerpted from Jane Killion’s book When Pigs Fly! Training Success with Impossible Dogs       Courtesy:  Whole Dog Daily

Automatic attention is the mother of all behaviors and one of the first things you should teach your dog. There is no point in teaching your dog how to do things if he is going to ignore you when you ask him to do them. If your dog is off in a mentally distant land and you repeatedly call his name, you are just like static in the background to him. The only thing you will have accomplished is to devalue his name. Even if you got yourself one of the excellent dog training books out there and followed the instructions in it exactly, you would probably find that your Pigs Fly dog still doesn’t perform when you want him to. That is often because he is not paying attention to you. Teaching a dog a verbal cue to pay attention implies that it is OK for him not to pay attention unless she gets the verbal cue. Instead, if your dog is with you, he should be conditioned to watch you like a hawk all the time because he never knows when you might do something interesting or fun. If you call your dog to you, or take him out on a leash, you should become the center of his universe and his eyes should be pretty much glued to you whenever you are together. How will you get that attention? By free shaping it, of course. You have already laid the foundation for attention in your powering up the clicker exercise, now you just need to make sure you have that same attention everywhere you go, no matter what is going on.

For more advice on training impossible (and not-so-impossible) dogs,

check out Jane Killion’s When Pigs Fly! Training Success with Impossible Dogs.

click on the link!

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