Friday, August 30, 2013

Keeping Up with K9 Kamp- Walk this Way

This month's Keeping up with K9 Kamp activity was to do something new with your dog. This could be as elaborate as geocaching like Gizmo and kayaking like Honey or something as simple as trying a new route when you walk.

For us, it involved walking...but with a twist.

Since we adopted Ike this month, Kelly has had to learn to walk nicely together with him. And that has been a real challenge!

So this month we've been practicing walking nicely with another dog along for the walk. Kelly always wants to get ahead, and gets anxious if Ike walks faster than she does. Or they get tangled up in each other's leashes. Or he wants to play or run and she wants to boss him around.

We usually start off with Kelly in the lead, but Ike is a bigger boy and walks faster, so sometimes he moves ahead. When Kelly gets anxious, I usually ask her to "sit" and distract her. If I pick up the pace, it only seems to heighten her anxiety. They key seems to be to keep her mind active. Sometimes we take an unexpected turn or change direction. Sometimes we jog for a stretch and then slow it down and walk.

Now the two dogs are doing nicely walking together. Ike is learning not to pull on his harness. Kelly is learning to share the sidewalk. We all take a nice morning walk, and an evening walk, and sometimes one in between as well. This is just one way of getting fit, healthy....and tired dogs.

Kol’s Notes and Peggy’s Pet Place and You Did What with Your Wiener are the official co-hosts of K9 Kamp, a fitness challenge aimed at fighting pet obesity. K9 Kamp happens a couple of times  year, however, we believe that canine fitness should be something you work on year-round. This is where Keeping Up With K9 Kamp comes in. Check out Keeping Up with K9 Kamp for a challenge on the first Friday of every month, and check back in with your results on the last Friday of every month.

FitDog Friday and hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy, and To Dog with Love. Join the hop!

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Healing Power of a Dog's Love

Moses is a big,  beautiful, 100 pound, cream colored golden retriever.

He has a way of looking at you that melts your heart. He lived with our family for two weeks, until it was determined that he and Kelly couldn't resolve their differences and wouldn't be a good fit for each other. Then he was adopted by his foster mom, Kathy, and found a happy forever home there.

When we had Moses, we often took him to visit my in-laws. He became good friends with my father-in-law, Ed. They just hit it off right away.

Ed had been suffering from COPD for more than a dozen years. This spring, he caught a cold that he was unable to shake off, and with his compromised breathing, he ended up in the hospital, and then home on hospice care. We did everything we could to make him as comfortable as possible. We brought a big hospital bed into the living room, where he could be a part of what was going on. As he grew more ill, he didn't want many visitors. But my husband got the idea that maybe it would be nice if Moses paid him a visit.

We called Kathy and she readily agreed. She gave us the option of a few dates they were free. "We'd better make it tomorrow," I suggested, knowing how Ed had become quite ill.

The next day Moses arrived. Ed had been sleeping most of the last few days, and hadn't even had the energy to eat or communicate. Kathy gave us the leash, and we led Moses over to the bedside. "You have a visitor!" my husband said.  "Remember Moses?"

Ed opened his eyes and struggled to move. We helped him sit up, and he stretched out his hand and touched the top of Moses's head. Just like he had all those times before when Moses came to visit. Moses sat as still as could be as Ed stroked his head and neck. For a few moments, I think, the pain and fear disappeared as Moses looked straight into Ed's eyes.

The visit lasted only a few minutes, and Ed fell right back asleep, exhausted.
The next day Ed passed away.

I like to think that the visit gave Ed a wonderful sendoff, a beautiful reminder of the love that was all around him, and that was waiting for him in heaven. For a dog's healing love is powerful.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike can't wait to see you there!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Magnetic Clip Makes Attaching Leashes a Snap!

Sometimes there are those little inconveniences, and then someone comes along and invents a product to help solve the problem. Fido Fashion's MagneClip® leash clip might just be the answer to your problem if you have ever  struggled attaching your dog's leash to his collar. Does arthritis or weak grip strength make it difficult to operate the traditional spring type clips? Or maybe your hands are full of dog-walking paraphernalia and you are looking for an easier way to snap on the leash? We recently were sent a sample of the MagneClip® leash to test and see if it makes it easier to attach the leash to Kelly and Ike’s collar or harness.

My testers

The Fido Fashion collar has a blue background and cute pawprint design--and there are more fun styles available, such as ducks, bones, or plaid. The matching leash features the MagneClip®. There was no little lever to monkey around with, I just pushed the clip and it opened, then pushed in the ring of the collar and it attached. 

But is it secure? I tugged and pulled, and felt confident that the connection was strong and secure. Then, I took Kelly for a walk using the leash and collar, and the magnetic clip held tight. Removing the leash involved simply pressing on the bottom of the clip.

Bottom line: This leash and collar set is attractive, durable and secure. The MagneClip® makes it easy to attach and is perfect for anyone who struggles with traditional leash attachments. 

Check out the entire line at Fido Fashion.

 Full Disclosure: I was provided with one Fido Fashion collar and one leash with MagneClip to sample. This in no way affected my review and all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitvely Pets. Kelly and Ike can't wait to see you there!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fit Dog Friday- How To Teach "Touch"

This week was Ike's second Good Manners class. A fit dog has to keep his mind fit too!
In this class, we learned "Touch." Touch is a targeting skill that helps get a dog into position without using any physical contact or force.

At first, Ike didn't quite know what we were asking of him.

Then he got a little more instruction from the teacher.

He's starting to get the hang of it. He even performed an over the shoulder touch, lol.

How To teach "touch"
1. Hold out your hand with an open palm.
2. As soon as your dog accidentally touches your hand with his nose, click
3. Reward with a treat
4. Move your hand around and repeat 1-3.
5. After three successful "touches" add the verbal command, "Touch." and repeat the exercise.
6. Continue to move your hand around to different positions.
If your dog isn't interested in your hand, make it smell like hot dogs or something good!

The dogs seemed to get the hang of this pretty well. Now the key is continued practicing at home. Have you taught your dog "touch"? How did it go? What real world applications have you found for this skill?

FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy, and To Dog With Love. Join the bloghop!

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Pet Roundup- August 21

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Ike is posing next to the TV as we all enjoyed a showing of Disney's UP! Here are your links for this week:

* One community is considering limiting the number of pets per household, as a result of a hoarding problem with one resident. The proposal limits the number of pets per household to three. Do you think this is a good idea, or do you think it is putting unreasonable limits on everyone in response to one offender?

* Almost too amazing to believe: a zoo in china tried to pass off dogs as lions. They put a Tibetan Mastiff in the cage, but the "lion's" true identity was given away when it barked. Sad to see the photos of the dogs in these awful, bare cages. The zoo said they "couldn't afford the real thing." The zoo has since been shut down.

* Happy Back to School! From Buzzfeed, the 19 Most adorable Teacher's Pets!

* Still time to enter to win Healthy Elements gift pack: 5 lb dry dog food, 2 cans canned dog food, and 2 bags of healthy treats--one soft and one crunchy. Healthy Elements is natural, quality, healthy and yummy, made in USA.

* Also a few days left to  enter to win a copy of the book I Will See You in Heaven.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets! Kelly and Ike hope to see you there!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Healthy Elements gift pack Giveaway

When we decided to switch from a "decent" dog food to a "quality" food for our dogs, we had to give up the convenience of picking up the food at the grocery store or department store, and make a special trip to the pet food store. This was not always convenient-- at times it would have been handy to grab the food while I was buying bread, milk and eggs or dashing into the store for other supplies.


Recently, Carly from Healthy Elements contacted me to let me know about the a new, complete, natural dog available at Target. She told me that the food has no fillers, no meat by-products, no artificial colors or flavors. Off to a good start! The dry food Chicken Meal and Oatmeal recipe contains ingredients such as chicken meal, oatmeal, ground brown rice, peas, sweet potato. Best of all, Dog food advisor rates the food 4 out of 5 stars, calling it "above average" and "highly recommended." Best of all, I can pick up the food while I'm at Target shopping for stuff like laundry soap, notebooks, and socks. It's available now at many Target locations...and soon to be expanding.


We received a sample bag of the dog food, canned dog food, soft treats and crunchy treats. Kelly and Ike could barely contain themselves posing for pictures, anxious to get to the taste-testing part of the operation. And the verdict: Healthy Elements taste as good as they sound!

Now on to the fun part! We're giving away a one gift pack of Healthy Elements containing a 5 lb. bag of dry Healthy Elements, 2 cans, a bag of soft treats and a bag of crunchy treats. Just enter the Rafflecopter below! Look at this awesome Gift Pack:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided with Healthy Elements gift pack to review and one Healthy Elements gift pack to give away. This in no way influenced my review. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 

 Want more positive pet tips, good news and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. Kelly and Ike hope to see you there! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

FitDog Friday- Ike goes to School

Sometimes a Fit Dog must go to school. Since we adopted Ike from a situation where he basically had been allowed to get away with any behavior and bad manners, we knew we'd need to start from the very beginning with his training. He'd been called Buddy for 6 years, and hadn't even learned his name. But he is definitely smart. And he already knows his new name is Ike!

We walked in to our first day of class. Two cute little dogs were already there...and the moment they saw Ike, they started barking, and the chihuahua growled at Ike! The instructor said that they were probably intimidated with his size. Ike just stood and wagged his tail.

The instructor teaches clicker training. First we got the dogs to associate something good with the clicker. Lots of clicking. Lots of treats. Then, the first lesson was sit. The instructor told us to first use a food bait, then a hand signal, and finally the verbal word. I'm still not sure why she doesn't start with the verbal command, but that's the way she does it. Most of the dogs pretty much knew sit. I don't know a dog who won't sit eventually if you stand there holding out a treat!

The second lesson was "leave it." This is an important skill that somehow I've never taught any of my other dogs in the past, although Kelly responds to "no" very well. We held a fistful of kibble in our closed hand and Ike sniffed it all over. The second he pulled back from the hand--click! Then a treat. We did this for a while until he seemed ready for the next step. Then we opened our hand and exposed the treats. It really didn't take them too long to figure out what to, what not to do. I was surprised at how well the dogs would "leave it" --although we didn't make it amazingly tempting for them.

There was a lot of barking that first class. The little dogs barked at Ike a lot. The instructor told the people to distract their dogs with a food lure whenever the dogs did that. I hope that the dogs get used to each other and Ike. I'm not sure if Ike enjoyed school or not. We're looking forward to teaching him to walk nicely on a leash. Right now it's still a pull-fest, and we've tried out different collars and harnesses but still he pulls. And we'll all be glad that he's learned some lessons and we understand what each other wants and needs.

FitDog Friday is hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love. And this week, we're announcing our Special Prize Giveaway by Cloud Star!
For this week and next, we'll randomly select one commenters from the FitDog Friday blog hop sponsor’s sites- SlimDoggy, Peggy’s Pet Place, and To Dog With Love.  The selected commenter will receive a sample pack of dog treats courtesy of Cloud Star, makers of Dynamo Dog Functional Treats. (Kelly's tried them and loved them!)  Make sure to share your FitDog Friday thoughts and you may win a great prize for your fit dog!

Join the blog hop!

Want more positive pet tips, good news and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets! Kelly, Ike and I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Pet Roundup- August 14

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup! Ike is starting to feel at home. He likes to help us read the newspaper in the morning. Here are the links for this week:

* CBS Detroit lists the wackiest pet names of the year. Included: Hot Rod Woofington, Hunk Heartbreaker, Taco Salad, and Pizza Guy. Are these names undignified, or doesn't the dog care what he's called (as long as you don't call him late for dinner!)?

*The Miami Herald cautions that dog treadmills should not replace walking your dog outside. I think that, when added to your regular walking and play routine, a dog treadmill can be a plus, and provide extra exercise if used properly.

* Wouldn't your cat like this living room designed especially for cats' needs, including a nifty system of elevated ramps?

* From Buzzfeed, the top 10 cutest pets of the week.

*And this slideshow from CNN, great pictures capturing the Dog Days of Summer.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Brooks Books- I Will See You in Heaven

Brooks Books- Pet Book Reviews

I Will See You in Heaven  by Friar Jack Wintz (c) 2010 Paraclete Press ISBN 978-1-55725-732-1
Heaven Bound, (c) 2012 Paraclete Press ISBN 978-1-61261-244-7

I Will See You in Heaven begins, "We have a deep desire to know if we will see our pets again, and all the lovely creatures alongside whom we now inhabit this planet. What will become of them after they die?"

I imagine heaven as a place full of love and happiness, and since I know that pets are part of what brings love and happiness, I picture the pets that have passed as being there in heaven. This book offers many reasons why creatures other than humans will find a place in heaven. Friar Wintz discusses the stories of Noah and the Ark, and Jonah and the Whale, and particularly the life of St. Francis to illustrate his points.

An excerpt of a letter written by Mother Teresa states, "(Animals) too are created by the same hand of God which created is our duty to protect them and to promote their well-being. We also owe it to them, as they serve us with such docility and loyalty."
 I Will See You in Heaven shares why we love and care about our pets, and offers hope of seeing them again in heaven.

 A companion book, Heaven Bound, includes everything you need to create a special memorial service for your pet. It offers eulogies, prayers, readings and Bible verses offering comfort in a time of mourning. It includes the words to the popular verse, The Rainbow Bridge, and blank pages to record your own memories.

I recommend these beautiful books for anyone who has loved and lost a pet, or would like to offer words of comfort to friends and family who have lost a beloved pet. 

You can enter to win a copy of I Will See You in Heaven on my newsletter, Pawsitively Pets. If you aren't already signed up, you can sign up now.

* I was provided with a copy of these books for review, but that in no way influenced my review. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets!

Friday, August 9, 2013

FitDog Friday-- Play Time!

FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy and To Dog with Love.

A great way dogs get fit is by playing. I'm pretty sure that dogs burn a lot of calories when they play.

Kelly isn't too experienced at playing. She's lived with two senior dogs before--first our yellow lab Hudson, then our 11 year old golden rescue Brooks, and they never played with her. But Ike is 6 years old and very playful. Kelly is a bossy female and likes to be top dog. We just wanted Kelly and Ike to be able to live together peacefully. But lately Ike has been starting to initiate play. At first Kelly whined and retreated. Now she's starting to play. I wasn't sure if their interactions were friendly or bossy. Could they escalate into something too rough? So we took a video and showed Shelagh, one of the wise and experienced people at our rescue group.
What do you think? See if your interpretation agrees with the expert!

What She Saw: Shelagh said that both dogs were interacting pretty well. She noted that they both initiated some play, and that Ike responded well and backed off when he should. She saw that Kelly shut down a bit when Ike stood up, indicating that his size intimidates her. On the plus side, she said, Ike did a good job at staying down on her level. Toward the end, when Kelly puts her paws on Ike's head and stands above him, she was telling him "I'm boss and top dog." Then her play gets a bit more frantic and she gets snippier.  Shelagh said that I picked the right time to call it off, and noted that Kelly retreated to her favorite spot to chill down.

This interpretation made me feel hopeful that Kelly and Ike will be okay!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kelly likes Ike

Yesterday I announced that we adopted a new dog, a 6 year old golden retriever we named Ike!

Our biggest concern is that our new dog would get along with Kelly. Kelly is a dominant female and a bit choosy about her friends. But she and Brooks got along, so we knew it was possible with another dog.

So...does Kelly like Ike?


The answer is ...yes! At least, so far, we think so.

Kelly and Ike are together in the house all day, under our supervision for now. I won't leave them alone together at all until I am sure that everything will be safe and secure. We learned a lot from our previous experiences. We don't leave toys on the floor. We feed them separately. There have been very few issues between them. One time Ike jumped on the couch, and Kelly gave him just one woof, and he jumped back down.

A few times Ike tried to get fresh with her and she grumbled a bit, and he backed off.  Kelly usually doesn't like another dog to have toys around her, but, as she did with Brooks, she doesn't mind that Ike has his tennis balls and we can throw them in the house or in the yard, and she doesn't react at all. It's been funny watching Ike try to play with her, she isn't quite sure what to make of that. But it hasn't escalated into anything negative.

 So we have every confidence that they will continue to get along just fine. The rescue group gives us a two week "trial period" so we have one more week before it is official. I wanted to wait until that time to share the good news with you, but I couldn't wait. We're just having so much fun, and happy to include Ike into our family!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013's a boy!

Okay, did you catch on that I was hinting a little bit yesterday?! (hehe sorry!)
But now I can tell you. I have some exciting news! We've got a new dog!!

Please meet Ike.

Peppertree Rescue, the same group that helped us with Moses and then Brooks, alerted us to a 6 year old golden retriever they called Burghley. Burghley had been in a home with a 3 yr old golden, and unfortunately the family was relocating and unable to take their dogs with them.

We met Burghley in the park, anxiously wondering what Kelly would think. She let him know she was boss, but otherwise she more or less ignored him and seemed comfortable with him. He didn't seem to mind her bossy ways. The rescue group sent an experienced dog person to help us get a sense of both Kelly and Burghley's reactions and determine if they might be able to live peacefully together. She indicated that it could work.

We thought Burghley was adorable. He is much younger than Brooks and has a good deal more energy. He has Lyme disease, an ear infection, and is not neutered. He gets car sick. He escaped from his crate, chewed through a wooden door, and is a known wanderer. He was the top dog in his old home, so that made me a little nervous. But at the end of the meeting, the rescue group said that they could either take him back to the kennel at the vet's, or we could take him home. could we send him back to the kennels??

So we all went home. We renamed him Ike. And we've been taking our time to get to know each other and get adjusted. He's a bit of a counter surfer. He doesn't like to be left alone. He cries when we put him to bed at night. He needs obedience training. But he's super sweet, he loves attention, he's fun and playful. And he's OURS!

We've had Ike for one week now, and so far so good.
Tomorrow... How does Kelly like Ike?

Monday, August 5, 2013

What do you do when you can't find a dog to adopt?

Not long after we lost Brooks, we began searching for another golden retriever, inspired by the poem with the line: "...To a poor lonely stray I'd give my happy home, my bowl, my cozy bed..."
Brooks would want us to adopt another.

We just haven't had any luck. We had our name in at six different rescue groups. The local rescue groups didn't have any golden retrievers...the golden retriever rescues adopted out dogs to other interested parties before we got a chance to inquire... dogs we were interested in were too assertive for Kelly....or too timid for Kelly....or the foster parents decided to adopt the dog themselves....time and time again, we fell for a sweet golden face on the internet, or in person, only to end up disappointed.

So what do you do when you can't find a dog to adopt? We considered buying a puppy from a golden retriever breeder. We considered that we may stay a one-dog family. We considered many options, but then we decided to be patient and wait. Keep Looking...because something good might be just around the corner......
Just maybe...  :)    (hint, hint!!)

Friday, August 2, 2013

FitDog Friday- Sneak Peek

I couldn't think of a better place to share a sneak peek at my new book cover, than with my friends here on FitDog Friday! Ever since I wrote Dieting with my Dog, people have been asking me for more practical tips and how-to's for losing weight and getting fit with their dogs. I'm excited to announce that The Dieting with my Dog Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance will be released mid-August. Yes, that soon! (And a big thank you to Jodi from Kol's Notes for help designing the cover!) The book features sections on running, hiking, backpacking, swimming and more from your favorite bloggers, all experts in getting fit and having fun with their dogs. AND exercises you can do with your dog. One of the most important sections shares tips on how to maintain your weight loss. So keep checking back and I'll soon have more news and an exciting contest where you can enter to win a copy!

This is a blog hop! FitDog Friday is co-hosted by Peggy's Pet Place, Slimdoggy and To Dog With Love.

Want more positive pet tips, good news, and special offers? Content not already on the blog? Fetch our free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets! Kelly and I hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wednesday Pet Roundup- August 1

Hi and welcome to Wednesday Pet Roundup!

* My pal Jodi from Kol's Notes alerted me to this dog bearding thing, so I just had to try it! (What do you think Jodi?) p.s. Kelly was not amused either!

* Sugar, a 2-yr old golden retriever (no relationship to another famous golden named Sugar!) is one of four dogs working in the new Thrive Therapy Dog Unit at Westside Medical Center in Oregon.

* Have you been told that dogs only see in black and white? These researchers prove that dogs are able to differentiate colors.

*From Mother Nature Network: Do cats always land on their feet?  Find out.

* From Buzzfeed, "23 Dogs Who are Too Adorably Stupid for their Own Good." I love the dogs who didn't know to go through the open doors. Brooks was like that.

I hope you have a great week!

Want positive pet tips, good news, and special bonuses? Content not already on the blog? Fetch my free newsletter, Pawsitively Pets! Kelly and I can't wait to meet you there.