Monday, September 26, 2016

Need a dog walker? There’s an app for that. And plenty more for your pooch

It’s been said there’s an app for anything we humans want.
Now there’s an app for man’s best friend. More than a few of them, actually.
Dog owners today can book their pups a sitter, find personal walkers, and set up doggie play dates, all with a few taps on their phones.
As the number of pets in this country has increased, so too has the demand for related services.
“In the last couple of years, the [pet] app world has exploded,” said Leslie May, founder of Pawsible Marketing, a marketing firm that specializes in pet businesses.
The American Pet Products Association reported that 65 percent of US households owned a pet between 2015 and 2016, up from 56 percent in 1988. And Americans are spending more on their pets. The association estimates that owners will spend $2.47 billion more on their pets this year than in 2015.
Those numbers have made the pet industry an appealing one for the startup world.

“It was a natural move for technology companies to look at the pet market as an opportunity,” May said. “It’s a growing industry; it’s been growing steadily for years.”
Aaron Easterly started his Seattle-based dog services company, Rover, in 2011 as an overnight pet-sitting business that was marketed as a better option than the kennel. It later added doggy day care, drop-in visits, and daily dog-walking services for busy dog “parents.’’ The company now boasts a network of 40,000 dog owners and sitters in Boston alone, with owners able to access the service through its website and mobile app.
“There’s this desire to be as good of a parent as possible to your pet or your dog,” Easterly said. “And that increases the demand for products that can help you be a better pet parent.”
But to best serve pet parents, you don’t just need to know technology, you need to know what they want, said Michelle Fournier, the founder of Durty Harry’s, a popular boutique and dog wash business in Charlestown and Brookline.
Fournier never imagined leaving the company that she had built. But when her customers would not stop asking if she knew of dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, and parks where they could bring their pups, she saw the need for a service in 2013 that did not yet exist. So she closed her boutiques in 2015 and went into the pet tech industry.
Last month, she launched an app called Slobbr that gives users the same advice she used to dole out for free in her shops: where to find pet-friendly establishments. Slobbr raised $65,000 on Kickstarter. As she continues to build the business, Fournier saids she believes what will set some pet companies apart is a keen understanding of the client — in her case, dogs.
“I look at the folks who put out pet apps. They have great tech experience, but they don’t have dog knowledge. You have to be able to understand what pet owners are looking for,” she said. “And when you’re not in that space, you can be the smartest business person in the world, but you’ll miss your mark.”
The American Pet Products Association estimates that the pet industry now tops $63 billion and there are no signs of slowing. The more people continue to cater to their dogs and cats, the more they are demanding streamlined technology that puts more services in one place. And the pet tech world is responding.
“Apps are [now] more sophisticated, making things easier for the pet parent,” said May.
The key, of course, is predicting what pet owners will want next from technology.
“It’s critical to latch on now for the next big wave,” she said.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Harry Paw-tter? This dog might be off to Hogwarts

The moment Poncho the chihuahua saw the apartment under the stairs, he knew this would be his bachelor pad. "You gotta see this place," he bragged to his friends. "It's prime real estate. Sure, it's a studio, but you know what they say when it comes to house hunting: location, location, location!" The housing market had been totally insane these past few years, so he knew he lucked out when he finally found a place he could afford on his modest dog salary of $0.
He became fast friends with his roommate and landlord, Betty McCall of Pitts, Georgia. The sweet lady even went so far as to decorate his digs for him, with little touches like a sombrero hanging from decorative antlers on the wall, and an oil painting that reminded him of his brothers back home.
chihuahuaWill Rigdon
She was respectful of his space, too. Poncho had a strong, tall door, so he could enjoy his privacy when felt the urge to noodle on the piano or think about the heavier stuff. McCall told him not to croon after midnight, but whatever. His room, his rules.
chihuahuaWill Rigdon
Still, he didn't want to be too disrespectful. After all, she did get a carpenter to install an outlet in his room so he could have an electric blanket in there for the lonely winters. She was good to him. And the place — well, even he could admit, when his friends weren't in earshot, that it wasn't much. But at least it was his.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Can you guess the dog that is stealing hearts in Beijing?

Of the 950,000 dogs in Beijing last year, more than 13 percent, or about 125,000, were brown toy poodles, according to the Beijing Kennel Club.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to Keep Your Dog's Ears Healthy and Clean

A healthy dogs' ear is pale pink and has no odor. A little bit of wax or dirt in the outer portion of the ear canal and around the ear leather wrinkly area is perfectly normal, and it's okay to carefully remove this with a piece of gauze, cotton ball, or a cotton swab (Q-tip). By keeping your dog's ears clean and healthy, you can avoid having him suffer from a painful infection.

All dogs can develop problems in the ears. The ear canal gets hot, red, inflamed, and full of smelly gooey stuff. If you touch the ear the dog will groan or yelp. Sometimes the ear leather (the underside of the dog's ear) looks dry and flaky. In many cases, the dog will frequently shake his head and scratch his ear because ear infections itch and hurt! If he has a severe infection, your dog might flinch, cry out, or attempt to snap at you when you touch his ear.

Prevention is the best medicine. From the day you get your dog, check his ears regularly for excessive dirt or unusual odor.

Keep the ears clean with a weekly cleaning by using what your vet recommends for an ear cleaning solution, or use a home-made recipe of equal parts water, distilled white vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. (That is what I have always used to clean my dog's ears.)

Make sure the solution is at room temperature. Lay your dog on his side and pour an amount onto the ear leather and gently into the ear canal. Starting at the base of your dog's ear (where it attaches to his head) massage it in thoroughly.

Continue for about 15 seconds working the cleaning solution into the ear massaging from the outside while holding your dog's ear up. This will help loosen normal dirt and wax. (Dog's generally enjoy having this massage.)

Then use a cotton ball to dry as much of the ear as you can reach without pushing down into the ear canal. Your dog will naturally shake his head after a few seconds of ear cleaning; this will help to release any internal debris.

Hair that grows inside the dog's ear canal is very easy to pull out. You can ask your vet or groomer to show you how it's done. If you start doing this when your dog is a pup, he won't you a hard time. Many dogs like having the ear hairs pulled out and become very relaxed!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Life Hacks To Having A Pet

Swipe Pesky Pet Hair Off Upholstery with a Rubber Glove!
Anyone who’s tried using a lint roller or handheld vacuum cleaner on that dog hair sticking out of the fibers in your furniture or vehicle upholstery knows it’s a pretty futile act. Instead, put on a simple rubber glove, like the kind used for household chores, dampen the glove with a bit of water so it’s moist but not dripping, and slide it over that furry sofa cushion or car seat. The damp rubber will attract the dog hair and pull it out from between the fibers of your favorite upholstered furniture. Dog hair will simple stick to the rubber glove, where it can be rinsed away and repeated as needed. 

Lift Pet Hair Out of Carpet Using a Squeegee!
Vacuums designed for pet parents are excellent for keeping carpets fur-free, but they don’t always work on edges and in corners where dog hair tends to collect or on extra plush or deep carpets. Instead, grab an inexpensive squeegee, just like those used for wiping car windows and simply slide it over the carpet. Because the squeegee is small, lightweight, and portable, it’s easy to get into corners and under the edges of furniture where the vacuum can’t reach.

Slow Down a Fast Eater with a Ball!

If you’ve got a speedy eater, but don’t want to bother with a slow-feeder bowl, simply drop a ball into your dog’s dish to slow down dinner time. Depending on the size of your dog, a tennis ball is usually adequate (extra large dogs will require a larger ball that won’t become a choking hazard). Having a ball (or large, heavy rock; rubber Kong toy; or other like-sized object) in the bowl will force your dog to slow down as he eats around it. He’ll also have to move the ball around the dish, making mealtime more challenging and mentally stimulating as he learns to problem-solve!

Use a Shower Cap to Protect Eyes and Ears at Bath Time!
 A simple shower cap will make bath time easier for you and gentler (and even more adorable!) for your pup. Soap suds and water can be irritating in your dog’s eyes and can lead to painful ear infections if allowed to enter delicate ear canals. To protect your pups eyes and ears at bath time, just top that cute fuzzy head with a shower cap, tuck the ears inside while you’re lathering him up, and pull down over his eyes (for just a second) while you rinse to keep these sensitive areas dry.

Some dogs might not be so keen on wearing a cap, so be sure to offer lots of praise and treats. Your pup will quickly learn that it’s only for a second and that she gets rewarded for wearing it - and you’ll prevent lots of potential pain and discomfort in the long run!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Ways To Encourage Your Dog To Drink More Water

Sometimes, dogs and cats don't want to drink water like they should. I'm the same way. I know it's good for me, but I just don't want to drink it sometimes. Here's a few things you can try with your pets to make sure they stay hydrated and encourage them to drink more water:
  1. Add ice cubes to their water bowl.
  2. Use a pet fountain. Some pets prefer to drink from running water.
  3. Turn on the sink faucet. This mostly applies to cats who like to drink from the sink.
  4. Give your pet wet food.
  5. Add some water or broth to dry kibble.
  6. Make a pet friendly popsicle.
  7. Put a water bowl in more than one room of your house. Keep one outdoors too.

Do you know how much water your pet should drink each day? By knowing the amount of fluids your pet should be getting, you can better monitor their water intake. This is helpful in case you need to encourage them to drink more often.

Pets need to consume about one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day to stay hydrated. They may need even more than that if they are exercising or are in hot weather. For example, my dog weighs about 50 pounds and needs to drink just over 6 glasses of water a day.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Five Pet Friendly Campgrounds in New England: Pawfect for Memorial Day Weekend!

North Truro, MA
Most pets are allowed at Adventure Bound--ask about restrictions before bringing your animals. A maximum of 3 dogs or 3 cats or a total of 3 animals are allowed per campsite. Bring your dogs Rabies Certificate. All animals must be on a leash if outside your camping unit and dogs must not be left unattended at the campsite.
Hidden Acres Family Campground-
Preston, CT
Sit back, relax and soak up some sun beside the Quinebaug River, or if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, grab a tube and jump on in! Dogs are allowed at Hidden Acres Family Campground, but they must be kept on a leash when outside your vehicle.
Moose Hillock Campground-
Warren, NH
Campground is tucked away in the beautiful White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire. Moose Hillock brings the proper balance of quiet solitude and family fun to camping. Dogs are allowed at Moose Hillock Campground, but they must be kept on a leash. Other restrictions may apply.
Nickerson State Park Campground-
Brewster, MA
Camp in gorgeous Cape Cod at Nickerson State Park. with 1900 acres to explore, the park includes woodland settings of pine and oak with eight fresh water ponds. There's plenty of hiking, biking, boating and swimming, as well as spacious, quiet campsites. Dogs are allowed at Nickerson State Park Campground, but they must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet when outside your vehicle.
Sandy Beach RV Resort-
Contoocook, NH
This camp is an excellent base for day-trips around the region, whether to the coast or to the NASCAR races at the New Hampshire International Speedway. The park is set in a pine forest on the shores of a lovely spring-fed pond. Dogs are allowed at Sandy Beach RV Resort, but they must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet when outside your vehicle. Dogs are allowed at all of the tent sites only. (No pet friendly cabins.)


Monday, May 02, 2016

Statistics show dogs dislike being hugged by their humans

We hate to break it to you but there’s new data that shows most dogs hate getting hugged. There is nothing like a doggie hug to tug at your heart. But is it mutual? Let’s ask the owner of Special Agent Maxwell Smart.

Jeanne Moos: “Now do you think he does love it when you hug him?”

“I know he does,” said the owner.

Good thing Maxwell isn’t smart enough to read Psychology Today, “The data says ‘don’t hug the dog.'”

Jeanne Moos: “Supposedly dogs hate it when we hug them”

“Really? Not this one. He’s a lover not a fighter,” said Maxwell’s owner.

According to a new study, almost 82 percent of dogs show at least one sign of stress when being hugged. Some of the signs, ears down, head turned to avoid eye contact, submissive eye closing, lip licking, anxious yawning. When psychology professor and dog author Stanley Coren looked at 250 photos from the internet of people hugging their dogs, 4 out of 5 of the dogs showed stress.

“The internet is filled with pictures of happy owners hugging stressed dogs,” said Stanley Coren.

Professor Coren says dogs evolved so that their main means of defense is to run away. And what does a hug do? Immobilize them. Professor Coren compares hugging a dog to what one of his Aunts used to do.

“She came over grabbed both of my cheeks and said oh you’re so cute. Well it hurt and I didn’t like it at all,” said Professor Coren.

However, dog owners aren’t buying it.

Jeanne Moos: “Does your dog like to be hugged?”

“He does. Yes. He likes to kiss as well,” said a dog owner.

“When I hug him he leans into me and he seems very happy,” said another dog owner.

Maybe they’re just part of the approximately 8 percent of dogs found to be comfortable getting hugged.

“He’s (Maxwell) says that’s full of baloney,” said Maxwell’s owner.

However, even Max would probably prefer baloney to a hug.

What do you think? Does your dog show signs of being stressed when you bend down to hug them?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Does your dog have selective hearing?

It’s fairly common to hear dog owners complain that their pup listens at home but not when they’re away from home or they might claim that their dog is stubborn, strong-willed or just plain dumb because he doesn’t always listen or follow commands. They say their dog has selective hearing.

Can you relate to any of these scenarios?

  • When the doorbell rings, you tell your dog to sit and stay but as soon as you open the door, he rushes to greet your guest and it’s hard to get him under control.
  • You’re enjoying a pleasant stroll with your dog walking politely on the leash until he spots another dog owner walking their dog. The closer the other dog gets, the more your pup pulls on the leash or whines, straining to meet the other dog.
  • When taking your dog along to visit a friend or relative, you ask him to sit and stay calmly by your side. He listens for a moment but his excitement gets the best of him and he soon breaks the command.

Yep, just when you’re feeling proud and confident with your dog’s training or obedience skills, one of these things happens and you feel like you have an out-of-control dog that won’t listen at all. It can be both embarrassing and frustrating. With Haley being a somewhat excitable dog, I can relate to all three of these scenarios, and maybe a few more.

You may think your dog has selective hearing but here’s what’s really happening. You’ve probably done a great job of training your pup when you’re at home and your dog listens well in most cases but then you stopped instead of moving on to the next phase which is training for the three D’s: distance, duration and distractions.

Once your dog listens and follows commands well at home in a calm and quiet environment, most of us ease up on the training and assume most of the work is done. But dogs also need to be trained for those same commands when you’re not standing right beside them or when there’s something interesting competing for their attention. If you make the effort to work on the three D’s, you’ll have a fully trained dog that will listen well in all types of circumstances and environments and that makes life with your dog a heck of a lot easier. Here’s how you can work on the three D’s of dog training.


Slowly work to increase the physical distance between you and your dog when giving a command. Here are some examples:

  1. Practice asking your dog to sit when you’re not standing right next to him.
  2. Slowly increase the distance you move away from your dog after putting him in a stay position.
  3. Work on recall by gradually increasing the distance before calling your dog to come to you.

Gradually increase how long your dog should stay in a command or position. Try these exercises:

  1. Slowly increase the length of time your dog should remain in position after you give the stay command.
  2. Gradually increase the time between saying your dog’s name to get his attention and issuing a command.
  3. Practice having your dog remain in a down position for longer periods of time.

Work with your dog around low-level distractions, then slowly increase the level of distractions as your pup learns to listen and follow commands even though something interesting or exciting is nearby. Start with these examples:

Have a family member help you by occasionally ringing the doorbell while you work on training to keep your dog focused on listening to your sit and stay commands.

When working around distractions (other dogs, squirrels, blowing leaves…), start far enough away from the distraction so your pup will listen to your commands, then gradually work to decrease the distance while still maintaining control of your dog’s attention.

These are just a few examples of how you can train for the three D’s but you’ll want to customize your training for whatever issues your pup might need to work on. Training for distance, duration and distractions isn’t hard, it’s just that most of us don’t really think about it until we’re in one of those situations I mentioned earlier. Here are some helpful tips as you get started on the three D’s.

10 Tips for Training the Three D’s

1. One D at a Time!
To build your pup’s confidence and success, work on the three D’s one at a time. If you increase distance, duration and add a distraction all at once, your dog will most likely fail at all three.

2. Reward Your Pup
Always reward your dog and give lots of encouragement and praise as he’s learning the three D’s.

3. Work Slowly
Learning each of the three D’s is a gradual, step-by-step process.

4. Fallback When Necessary
If your dog is struggling with any of the D’s, you’ve probably increased the distance, duration or distraction too much. Go back a level to reinforce the behavior before the next increase.

5. Watch the Number of Distractions
Don’t combine too many types of distractions at once. Just like with distance and duration, it should be a gradual process.

6. Leverage the D’s
If you’re having trouble with one of the three D’s, try reducing the other two.

7. Use High-value Rewards
Whether you’re using food or your dog’s favorite toy as a reward, make sure it’s a high-value incentive to encourage your pup and to reinforce the behavior.

8. Don’t Skimp on the Number of Rewards
You may need to give more rewards than usual in challenging situations to keep your dog’s focus.

9. Attitude is Everything
Stay positive and view difficult situations as an opportunity to train.

10. Keep Practicing
Training is a process. Your dog will get there with your patience, persistence and lots of practice.

Distracted DogIt’s wonderful if your dog listens to you while at home, but it’s even better if you can take him anywhere and know that he’ll listen and be well behaved in any environment. If you think your dog has selective hearing, maybe a little work on the three D’s is all he needs. Haley’s pretty good at distance and duration, but she needs some work with distractions. Yes, it seems there’s always something to be worked on when it comes to dog training.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dogs Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought

It's likely no surprise to dog owners, but growing research suggests that man's best friend often acts more human than canine.

Dogs can read facial expressions, communicate jealousy, display empathy, and even watch TV, studies have shown. They've picked up these people-like traits during their evolution from wolves to domesticated pets, which occurred between 11,000 and 16,000 years ago, experts say.

In particular, "paying attention to us, getting along with us, [and] tolerating us" has led to particular characteristics that often mirror ours, says Laurie Santos, director of the Yale Comparative Cognition Laboratory.

Here are a few of the latest studies showing the human side of our canine companions.

Eavesdropping Dogs

Social eavesdropping—or people-watching—is central to human social interactions, since it allows us to figure out who's nice and who's mean.

According to a study published in August in the journal Animal Behaviour, our dogs listen in too.

In a new study, scientists tested 54 dogs that each watched their owners struggle to retrieve a roll of tape from a container. The dogs were divided into three groups: helper, non-helper, and control.

In the helper group, the owner requested help from another person, who held the container. In the non-helper group, the owner asked for help from a person, who then turned their back without helping. In the control group, the additional person turned his or her back without being asked for help. In all experiments, a third, "neutral" person sat in the room.

After the first round of experiments, the neutral person and the helper or non-helper both offered treats to the dog.

In the non-helper group, canines most frequently favored the neutral person's treat, shunning the non-helper. However, in the helper group, the dogs did not favor either the helper or the neutral person over the other. Scientists have previously observed similar results in human infants and tufted capuchin monkeys.

So are dogs taking sides by ignoring the people who are mean to their owners? Only future research will tell.

Made You Look

Gaze following is instinctual for many animals—including humans, chimps, goats, dolphins, and even the red-footed tortoise—because it alerts animals to everything from immediate threats to "a particularly tasty berry bush," says Lisa Wallis, a doctoral student at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna, Austria.

Dogs were previously thought to follow human gazes only when food or toys were involved. Now, a new study suggests dogs also follow human gazes into blank space—but only if they're untrained.

"We know they should be able to do it," says Wallis, leader of the research published in August in the journal Animal Behaviour, but training was the "missing piece of the puzzle."

In recent experiments, Wallis and her colleagues recruited 145 pet border collies with a range of training levels and ages. The researchers wanted to see if age, habituation, or training influenced the dog's tendency to follow a human's gaze.

Wallis then observed the dogs' reactions as she gazed toward a door. Surprisingly, only the untrained border collies followed her gaze—the trained animals ignored it. That may be because trained dogs learn to focus on a person's face, and not where the person is looking.

When Wallis and colleagues spent just five minutes teaching the untrained dogs to look at her face, they began ignoring the instinct to follow her gaze.

Even more surprising is that the untrained dogs often glanced back and forth between her and the door, baffled at what she was looking at. The behavior, only seen before in humans and chimps, is called "check backs" or "double looking," she said.

"It's a lesson for us all that we should always examine whether training has an effect in these types of studies," says Wallis.

Next Steps in Dog Research

In humans, aging hastens declines in short-term memory and logical reasoning skills, making it more difficult to learn new tasks. Previous research has found similar declines in dogs, but long-term memory is a little-known aspect of dog biology.

That's why Wallis and colleagues are studying how dogs both young and old memorize tasks, and whether the animals can remember them months later.

The results are still in the works, but Wallis expects to discover that it's tough—but not impossible—to teach old dogs new tricks.


Monday, April 11, 2016

How to keep your dog from escaping

Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re doing some housework inside while your dog is safely hanging out in your backyard, barking every once in a while at interesting odors or offending sounds. Everything is normal until suddenly the barking is coming from a different direction — your front door!

Confused, you get up to see what’s going on and are shocked to see that your dog has gotten out. Thank goodness she ran to the front door and started barking, because she could have gotten herself into some serious trouble.

How to keep your dog from escaping is a frightening problem that has plagued many owners — though many may also simultaneously wonder if they should put their pup in some kind of Houdini-eque magic show to exploit his talents!

There are two things to consider if you have an escape artist of a dog: why he tries to escape in the first place, and what you can do to stop him.

Why dogs decide to roam

Dogs roam for all kinds of reasons, and in many cases, it will depend on the personality of your individual pooch. Here are some of the most common causes.

Protecting territory

If your dog tends to bark whenever neighbors come into their backyards or strange sounds are heard on the street, he may attempt to get out to keep his area safe and get those “bad” people to go away.


It’s all well and good to have a backyard for your dog to roam around in, but she needs your attention, too. For some dogs, this can be actual separation anxiety, and leaving is an attempt to find you, but others simply want to hang out with somebody — anybody! If you leave your dog alone in the backyard for too long, she may attempt to leave just to have some kind of social interaction. Along those lines…

Your dog has found something fun

When dogs escape and discover something exciting beyond the fence (another dog to play with, a field to run around in, food), they may keep trying to get out so that they can go have fun again. Why were they trying to escape in the first place? Probably because they were bored.

Your dog has found a friend

If you have an unneutered male dog and there’s an un-spayed female in heat somewhere in the neighborhood, he will smell her and he will try to find her — and have enormous incentive to get out of the yard however possible, whether over, under, or through the fence.


Does your dog try to pounce on squirrels during walks and yank out of your grasp because he just knows he can get to that bird before it flies away? If you have a pooch that likes to hunt, he may be escaping because he’s after another animal and will do whatever it takes to get to it.

What to do to prevent roaming

First, install a fence

Hopefully this is obvious, but you never want your dog outside without your supervision if she’s not in an enclosed area of some kind. A physical fence is usually best, but if you are unable to do this in your neighborhood, using an electronic fence is better than risking the possibility of your dog running into the street.

Keep your dog engaged

If you believe that your dog is escaping due to boredom, try to find ways to keep him interested. This might mean getting a few more toys for the backyard, taking longer walks, or teaching him a new trick once a day.

Prevent digging

One of the most common ways for dogs to get out of fenced-in areas is for them to dig a big enough space to crawl under the wall or gate. You can decrease the chances of this happening by placing a chain link fence or large rocks along the edge of the yard, or by burying chicken wire under the ground at the base of the fence so they can’t dig through it.

Spay and neuter

If your male dog is neutered, he’ll be far less likely to try to escape in search of females, and if your female is spayed, she won’t turn your house into a magnet for every unfixed male dog in the area. Bonus points: spayed and neutered dogs can be healthier, live longer lives, and don’t contribute to the problem of too many unwanted dogs around.

For more tips and tricks about keeping your dog from escaping your yard, talk to your vet or a local dog professional. And of course, the best way to keep your dog from escaping is to not let her outside unless you are able to supervise her.


Friday, April 08, 2016

Banana Pup-cicles

All you need is a blender or mini food processor to blend up the ingredients. THREE ingredients –  Plain yogurt, banana and peanut butter. Simple? I’d say. Let’s get on to the next step.

 You’re going to need 4 of those. After blending the yogurt, banana and peanut butter, fill your four cups a little over 3/4 full – just leave a little room at the top. Position a rawhide twist into the center of each pop. If you don’t like giving your dog rawhide, you could always use a peanut butter stick. Place the cups in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When pops are frozen, unwrap the paper cup from the pop. Share with your pup!


Monday, April 04, 2016

4 Essential Commands To Teach Your Puppy

Along with cuddling and playing with your new precious puppy, it’s always a good idea to start teaching commands early. The earlier you start training, the better. I say this from experience.

When I first brought my Chihuahua, Diego, home, I was so wrapped up with finding him the perfect treats, toys, beds, collars, and shirts. Other than potty and leash training, my mind was far from teaching him commands. When I realized he was nearly one-year-old and still didn’t know how to sit, I realized I had made a big mistake. I’m not going to sugarcoat this — training my little Diego was a nightmare. Since he was used to getting treats without having to work for them, he felt no need to do what I said. My treat leverage was gone. I learned from my mistake, though. That’s why when I brought my Poodle, Gigi, home, I started her training immediately. Within a matter of five minutes, she knew how to sit. It took about two days for her to understand the word ‘down.’ Another command that came naturally for her was ‘come.’

Please use my mistake as a learning lesson and start training your new puppy immediately! Training doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Since your puppy’s attention span isn’t that long, aim for 10-minute sessions. This little amount of time makes a world of difference. Trust me, being able to communicate with your pooch is life-changing.

Commands To Teach Your Puppy

1) Sit

This is usually the first command dog parent’s teach their little ones. That’s probably because it’s one of the easiest.

Here are a few tips to help you teach your dog how to sit:

Hold a small training treat close to your dog’s nose.

Slowly move your hand up. This will cause your dog to look up and his bottom will lower. You shouldn’t need to press your dog’s tush to the floor. Let it come naturally.

As your dog enters the sitting position, say “sit.” Give him the treat and lots of praise. Repeat this process several times. Once your dog is comfortable with this process, start saying the command before he enters the sitting position. Practice this every day!

2) Stay

This command teaches your dog self-control. Once your dog has mastered “sit,” move on to “stay.”

Here are a few tips to help you teach your dog how to stay:

Show your dog a treat and ask him to enter the sitting position. Still holding the treat in front of your dog, tell him to “stay.” Then, take a small step back. If your dog stays, give him the treat and lots of praise. As your dog gets comfortable with the small step, gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving him the treat. Remember to always reward your pup when he stays.

3) Come

This is perhaps the most important command you can teach your dog. Chances are there will be a time you accidentally drop the leash or leave the door open. If your dog comes when called, it will help keep him out of trouble.

Here are a few tips to help you teach your dog how to come when called:

When you are first teaching your dog to come, put your dog’s leash on. Get down on your knees — to your dog’s level. Tell your dog to “come” while gently tugging on the leash. Make sure to celebrate when your dog comes to you. Reward him with treats and lots of praise. As you are praising your dog, gently pet or rub his neck. This will teach your dog that when he comes to you that he must come close.

4) Leave It

Puppies are curious creatures. As they explore the world for the first time, they will smell things, lick things and try to eat things they shouldn’t. Teaching your dog the command ‘leave it’ is just one more way you can help keep your fur kid safe.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Homemade Frozen Peanut Butter, Banana, Coconut Oil Dog Treats

These homemade dog treats are incredibly easy to make, quick to freeze, and perfect for hot summer days! You only need a few ingredients that you might already have on hand, a silicone mold, and a freezer! Make these in an appropriate size for your dog with a silicone mold or just drop onto wax paper as little dots/mounds.

Homemade Frozen Peanut Butter, Banana, Coconut Oil Dog Treats


Equal parts softened coconut oil and peanut butter (I did about 1 cup of each) 1 medium banana


Place your peeled banana, peanut butter and coconut oil into a bowl and smash together with the backside of a spoon. The softer your peanut butter and oil, the easier this will combine. It’s okay to have it a little chunky (just cut your baggie’s corner a little larger to accomodate). Once mixed together, fill a plastic baggie with the mixture. Snip the corner with scissors and squeeze the mixture into your mold (silicone molds work great since they are flexible and let you pop the treats right out).

You can also just make dots onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet, your choice! Once your mold is filled, pop into the freezer until solid. The treats will pop right out of a silicone mold and you can place them into a larger, labeled freezer-safe bag and they’ll keep for quite a while. These WILL soften if handled too long, so serve straight from the freezer or in a small dish.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

8 Tips To Help Your Dog Conquer Their Fears

A lot of dogs live with fears. Fear of people, other dogs, nail trims, baths, cars – the list goes on and on. Fortunately, there are ways to help your dog overcome their fears, which makes both of your lives better. The following is a list of tips to help your dog living in fear. You will have the best luck if you employ a positive-based dog trainer with behavior modification experience to help you train.

#1 – Counter Conditioning

Counter conditioning is a scientifically proven method to help anyone (you or your dog!), living in fear. The idea is simple: pair something scary with something good. Imagine if you are scared of spiders and every time you saw one someone gave you chocolate at the same time. Soon, that scary object begins to represent the good thing (see a spider – I get chocolate). This makes the scary thing not so scary. The execution of this, however, is not so simple: it has to be done right or you can make things worse. Because of this, it’s best done with the help of a professional dog trainer.

#2 – Don’t Force Your Dog

Forcing your dog to “face their fears” will NOT help them get over it. In fact, it usually makes things worse. Conversely, giving them an “out” can help them feel in charge of the situation and lessen their fear. For example, being able to back away from a person, for example, rather than be forced to be petted.

#3 – Become Their “Safe Space”

Following up on 2, you need to let your dog know that you can be trusted – that when around you, you won’t let something scary come up from behind them, for example. Or that you will stop those kids from running up and grabbing his face. They will start feeling more at ease around you, knowing you are not going to subject them to things they don’t like. (This INCLUDES greeting dogs! Not all dogs want to greet and that’s fine! Do you say hi to every stranger on the street? No. The goal here is to get your dog to ignore other dogs and not react, not to become Miss Congeniality).

#4 – Go Slow

Your dog has to get over his fear on his time, not yours. Watch his signals and make sure you are always working under his threshold. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

#5 – Music

Studies have proven that certain music can help calm dogs that live with stress, anxiety and/or fear. There are several companies – Pet Acoustics and Through A Dog’s Ear – that have created music specifically for dogs. Playing this while training and during other times of stress can help your dog relax.

#6 – Mat Work

Mat work (such as “go to your mat”) can be used to teach your dog to relax in stressful situations. It give them a job to focus on (stay on the mat in the down position), instead of worrying about what’s going on around them. A very useful tool is Dr. Karen Overall’s.

#7 – Relationship Building

A lot of fearful dogs are insecure about life in general. By working on building your relationship, your dog will learn to trust you (which will help you become the “safe space” mentioned above!) and will make him more confident when around you. There are many relationship building games that a dog trainer can work with you on – agility for example is great for relationship building!

#8 – Instinct

A dog’s instinct is powerful. For some fearful dogs, tapping into this instinct can help them stop focusing on their fear and instead focus on a job. I have a fearful sheltie that is very noise sensitive and scared of new places. But, get her focused on herding and she is a different dog. The tail comes untucked, the ears come up – even in a new place. Using a dog’s instinct with sports like herding, treiball, nose works, etc., can help a dog gain confidence.


Friday, March 25, 2016

What Dog Breed Should You Get Based on Your Personality Type?

Getting a dog is a big decision, and no two breeds are exactly the same. For example, a lazy basset hound may be content chilling all day on his doggy bed, but that frisky golden retriever isn’t going to entertain himself. You might want to rethink which dog is right for you. Here are the breeds best suited for each Myers-Briggs personality type.

 ISTJ: Pekingese

 Sure, she might look like an ottoman, but this confident and self-possessed dog doesn’t care what you think about her. She likes to assert control, and she’ll ignore your scolding with little regard for the consequences. Rest assured: Once you gain this breed’s respect, they are reliable and well mannered.

ISFJ: German Shepherd

It would be difficult to find a more loyal breed. Watchful, obedient and intelligent, they want to serve a purpose and keep everyone safe, which often leads them to be overprotective of their families. If you can relate, a German shepherd might be the perfect companion to share the load of responsibilities.

INFJ: Australian Shepherd

Originally bred to herd sheep, Aussies are workaholics that try tirelessly to tackle any task put in front of them. Energetic, intelligent and loyal, helping others is their main purpose…and it’s probably yours, too.

INTJ: Jack Russell Terrier

Smart but possessing a mind of their own, these agile and energetic terriers will always move to the beat of their own drums. They are great dogs for families, but they also enjoy alone time.

ISTP: Rhodesian Ridgeback

These handsome and athletic dogs are known for their exploratory and active personalities. They love to get their paws dirty and experience the world…and they can even be a bit daredevilish, unafraid to break from the pack. Remind you of anybody?

ISFP: Shiba Inu

Fox-like in appearance with upright ears, this Japanese breed is easygoing, peaceful and alert. Though they make great companions, they’re happy minding their own business, laying on a patch of grass and contemplating the ways of the world.

ESTP: Beagle

Beagles are playful and active, constantly searching for new adventures. As a result, they’ll get into trouble if not given frequent attention and activity. But at the end of the day, they’re amiable and love constant social interactions.

ENFJ: Golden Retriever

Passionate, charismatic and hands down the cutest pups, goldens are constantly standing up for the people they love. They’re impressively tuned in to the needs of others around them and live for social connections with others. They’ll be the first to dive into the pool after you or fall asleep on the foot of your bed.