Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Gifts for Dogs and Pet Parents

Do you give your furry best friend a Christmas gift? If so, you're in good company. Surveys report that as many as 95% of pet parents buy their dog a gift for the holidays. My grandfather used to wrap dog biscuits and put them in the branches of the Christmas tree for his black lab, Duke. To this day I don't know how Duke didn't knock the whole tree over to get to them, but waited patiently as they were offered throughout the days surrounding Christmas.

We always get Kelly and Ike a toy. You might wonder why they would need a new toy when they already have this basket full of toys?

 I don't know! But they love a new toy and the smell, feel and stimulation of something new and different to play with.

Kong Jumbler

When sent us this toy to review, it was a new one for my dogs. But I learned that it's already been my granddog Zeke's favorite. Be aware that strong chewers like Zeke may get through the softer exterior in order to get to the tennis ball inside. Zeke has gone through several, but will play with this toy for hours on end.

The Jumbler has handles for easy carrying, tugging and shaking, which is just what Zeke enjoys! It's definitely a winner!


Hero also sent us some toys to review. Do you have a strong chewer? These toys are tough, tough, tough! Our favorite is the retriever series tug toy.
Ike and Zeke have tugged at the durable, rip-resistant fabric and haven't made a single tear in the fabric, or a hole in the soft rubber ball! If it holds up to these two, it should hold up to your dogs!

And now, for pet parents I received a REALLY cool surprise. Something I'm really excited about, and something I think pet parents will find unique, fascinating and potentially very helpful.

Petzi Treat Cam

The Petzi treat cam allows you to check in with and interact with your pet from your smartphone or tablet. I'll be doing a thorough review of this after Christmas, and I can't wait to try it out! With this petcam, you can not only see your pet, you can also speak to him, snap pictures of him, and offer him small treats with the Petzi Treat Launcher. I've often wondered if hearing my voice while I'm away would cause my dog to feel more secure or more anxious, and I think combining the treat with my voice would help create a positive association for the dog.

Keep looking! I'll be posting my review soon!

How about you? What are you giving your pets, and pet-lovers, for Christmas this year?

Full Disclosure: I was provided with 1 Kong Jumbler, 2 Hero toys (pictures) and the Petzi Treat Cam in exchange for my honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I only review products I'm interested in, and that I think my readers will enjoy.

Friday, December 11, 2015

We Did It! Ike's a Therapy Dog!

How do you become a therapy dog?
Well, just ask Ike. Because he's proud to announce.....
We did it!

Last Saturday was Ike's big test. Oh, and one point to make is you are testing as a team. It's not only the dog's behavior that is being tested, but both dog and handler must be of good character.  It's good to remember that we are both representing Therapy Dog International when we work.

So, for the test, Ike had to demonstrate he could do everything he learned in class. Here are some of the things he had to do to pass the test:

1. Demonstrate he was calm and even around people, other dogs, a wheelchair and a walker, sudden noises, and a child playing with a ball.

2. Demonstrate he was calm when being touched, patted, groomed, his feet touched, etc.

3. Demonstrate he was calm when left alone with a stranger, and when meeting a strange dog.

4. Demonstrate he was obedient. This included sit, stay, down, down-stay, recall. Here's Ike on his  down-stay during a practice time before the test. He is looking quite relaxed! I had butterflies.

5. Heal nicely on lead, including about turns, right turns and left turns.

6.  Be able to "Leave it" when walking by food on the floor, or offered in hand. While this sounds difficult, it isn't that hard because they are on leash when you do this, and you just keep walking past the food on the floor real fast! lol. Most dogs look at it but they shouldn't lunge or grab.

Although Ike already passed basic obedience classes, it was helpful to have attended classes specifically for therapy dog testing. The other dogs, people, noises and especially smells were distractions all the dogs had to get used to working around.

During the test, outside Santa rode by behind a firetruck.

And then the mailman came and peeked in the windows.

I thought all the dogs would lose it right then and there! But they all did great.

Ike did great and we were so excited when the judge gave him his certificate.

Here is Ike and his best buddy and fellow graduate Moses.

If your dog is calm and enjoys being around other people, gets along well with other dogs, and enjoys obedience work, you might want to consider becoming a therapy dog too. We;re looking forward to going out and getting to work and hopefully putting some smiles on people's faces.