Friday, December 7, 2018

Sharing the Holidays with your Pet

How do you share the holiday season with your pet? Here are some ideas.

Kelly loved to be photographed by the tree.
 (*This post contains affiliate links. I only include links to products I think you'll love!)

1. Dress them up for a picture
My dogs aren't into wearing Christmas sweaters or fleece pajamas, but they will tolerate a hat or sweater long enough to get a photo. I also like putting them in headbands with reindeer antlers or holiday lights. When Ernest goes out to do therapy dogs, the kids love it when he's wearing a necktie, hat or his blinking Christmas lights necklace. Do you like to dress your pet up in a special coat or hat for the holidays?

Petey posed for this photo in his Christmas necktie.

2. Make them a stocking
Do you make your dogs a stocking? I love making stockings for every member of the family, and the dogs are part of the family too! I fill my own, but some stockings, like this cat toy stocking, even come pre-filled. What do you put in your dogs' stockings?

Petey and Ernest have been good dogs this year. Have yours?
 3. Get them a Gift
We always buy gifts for the dogs too. For Pete this year it's an extra large Nylabone. For Ernest it's this cool soda can toy! I like these All Kind fetch toys, and maybe Petey needs this Planet Dog "naughty" eco-friendly bone.  What are you getting for your pets this year?

Sharing is always nice.
 4. Treat them to special food
Special holiday-themed food always makes me happy. For the dogs, you can get pumpkin pie, peppermint and gingerbread flavors, and treats shaped like trees and stars, or little vanilla snowflakes. There's even Instant Eggnog for cats and dogs! What special treats do your pets like?

Share with us in the comments anything you like to do to make your pet's holiday happy!

Monday, November 19, 2018

That comfortable-uncomfortable place your pet naps.

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Products are those I personally use or think you will like.

Our dogs enjoy the comfort of their own cozy dog beds. They're allowed on the couch and  in my big green chair with the matching ottoman. They can lie on the hardwood floor or the braided rug. They even climb up into "my" chair in the living room when I vacate it. Truly, comfort is important to them. So then why do they sometimes do something that looks so...uncomfortable?

One of Petey's favorite napping positions is this:

Does that look comfortable?

And Ernest has a habit of sleeping atop tables like this:

All I can conclude is that this must be comfortable to them. Does your cat or dog nap somewhere that seems comfortable to them, but looks like it really shouldn't be that comfortable? Tell us where in the comments!

Monday, November 12, 2018

When Your Dog Pulls on the Leash

We were walking down the street and Petey pulled ahead enthusiastically.
Around the corner he pulled toward a squirrel.
He heard a dog bark and he pulled toward the dog.
Later, we walked into a room of dogs and he pulled hard, barking.
Petey's pulling had become a problem.

Now that Petey is more than a year old, he's nearly full grown and strong. He also has boundless energy. We use many techniques to help. We provide him with lots of interactive toys to keep him busy. We also use a good, front attaching harness. We like the Easy Walk harness. This has always made a big difference in all our other dogs, but Petey is an especially difficult case!

My first instinct was to stop going out in public. It certainly was easier! But this wasn't teaching Petey anything. Plus, we want to be able to take him places with us, and hopefully eventually he will do therapy dog work with us. So we bought a supply of training treats. I began rewarding him every time he made eye contact with me.

Then I began using this technique when out on a walk. Every time he pulls, I stop walking. He usually eventually stops looking at whatever he's pulling toward and looks at me. I say "yes!" and he comes to me and gets a treat. First of all, this makes the walk really slow! But every time we practice, I notice him pulling less, and stopping to check in with me more.

My friend and dog trainer sent me this video. (Thank you Teri!)

With practice, he's improving. We even walked back and forth in front of a house with a barking dog, and he didn't bark back at all! I'm very encouraged by his progress but I know that it's up to me to keep working with him.

Does your dog pull? What have you found that helps you?

Disclouse: This post contains affiliate links. The products are those I personally use or think you will like.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Ernest Goes to First Grade

We walked through the parking lot, past the big yellow buses, and approached the red brick building. Pushed the buzzer to be allowed in. Then we knocked on the principal's office door.

"Hello. This is Ernest. We're here to visit the first grade today."

The principal smiled and jumped out of her seat to greet Ernest. "The boys and girls will be so excited," she said. She led us down the hall to the room. All along the way teachers and students stopped to pat Ernest. He sure enjoyed that!

 The kids in first grade were all smiles and wide eyes. The teacher had everything organized and ready for us. Ernest laid down on a quilt and the kids sat beside him one at a time and read him their stories--they'd written original Halloween stories all by themselves!

The Mummy who Lost his Bandages.

The Vampire who Lost His Teeth.

The Ghost That Wasn't White.

 The Witch Who Couldn't Fly.  These kids could write!

Ernest listened attentively while they read. Some of the kids were a little afraid of dogs--they didn't want to get too close, but they all showed him the pictures.

Afterwards Ernest gave the kids each a trading card with his "stats."


The class gave Ernest a card they'd all signed, and two Halloween toys. He played with the spider right away.  One of the girls gave Ernest a note that said "I Love You." One of the boys asked Ernest to come back. And guess what? He will come back! We're going to visit the first grade once a month. We can't wait to hear the stories again next time.

Monday, October 29, 2018

How to Make Pumpkin Treats for your Dog

It's Halloween time and there are plenty of pumpkins around. Good thing that pumpkin is great for your dogs! It's high in fiber, low in calories, and full of Beta Keratin.  It's also great for your dog's digestive system.

You can use canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling.) However, if you have a few real pumpkins and want to give them to your dogs, here are some cooking and preparation suggestions:

1. Raw pumpkin is okay, as long as it is fresh. Don't use your Halloween pumpkin that's been sitting out on your porch steps for weeks. Yuck! Just peel the pumpkin and cut the flesh into small cubes. You can then top your dog's food with some of the pumpkin cubes.

2. Pumpkin puree
Boil peeled, cubed pumpkin until tender.
cut pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds. Place on cookie sheet and roast for 30 minutes or so, until golden brown on edges. Scoop out the flesh and discard the skin.

Place in food processor and add a little water and puree.

I put spoonfuls of pumpkin purees in muffin cups and froze. Then I popped the frozen lumps out of the tins and placed in ziploc bags to store until needed.

3. Pumpkin Pupsicles
Mix pumpkin puree with water until smooth. Poor into ice cube trays or molds and freeze.

4. Pumpkin Biscuits
I don't really enjoy cooking, but I got inspired to make dog biscuits with some of the pumpkin puree. One of the reasons I'm not much of a cook is because I'm horrible at following recipes and I hate to measure. So I put the puree in a large bowl and added some rolled oats, a little cinnamon, 2 eggs, and some flour. I kept mixing in flour until it felt like the right consistency to roll out. I rolled the dough and pressed out dog bone shapes with cookie cutters. I then baked them for about 15 minutes. They didn't look too bad! Best of all, my dogs were crazy about them! It made me ridiculously happy to make something from scratch that my dogs seemed to love!

Other ideas are
Mix pumpkin with peanut butter, banana, plain yogurt---or all!
Stuff into a Kong
Make pumpkin dog-safe ice cream
Bake into doggie muffins

Do you give your dogs pumpkin?
How do you prepare pumpkin treats for your pet?

    Monday, October 22, 2018

    How a Delicious Distraction can Help You and Your Dog

    Petey is a wiggly puppy.
    He is always on the go and hates to be constrained for me to examine his ears, trim his nails, apply medication, or pretty much anything else.

    Then I found this interesting new product, and decided to give it a try. (*Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I discovered this product and decided to blog about it in order to share my personal experience.) It is billed as a "dog distraction device."

    Introducing Lick Lick Pad!

     Recently Pete needed some ear medication, so it was the perfect time to try out the Lick Lick Pad. First, I opened the package, then smeared on some peanut butter.

    Next, I stuck the pad to the front of a kitchen appliance. You can also stick it to windows, tiles, bathtubs, sinks, or most any shiny surface. Pete immediately got to work. (Ernest helped!).

    Then I applied Pete's ear medication. Lick Lick Pad worked great. Petey didn't wiggle, his head stayed just where I needed it to be, and he didn't even seem to notice when I applied the medication. Success!!

    Lick Lick Pad is also great for baths. Just apply to the side of the tub and your wiggly pet might not even notice when you suds him up and rinse him off.

    What could you use the Lick Lick pad for with your dog?

    Monday, October 15, 2018

    Three Lessons from a Shelter Worker for a Perfect Life with Your Rescue Dog

    October is Adopt a Dog month, and to celebrate we have a guest post by John Woods, founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and former shelter volunteer for Cheshire Dogs Homes; one of the UK’s leading rescue dog homes. Thank you John.

    Three Lessons from a Shelter Worker for a Perfect Life with Your Rescue Dog

    Guest Post by John Woods

    Dog adoption can bring overwhelming joy, love and even healing into a lucky rescue dog-parents life.

    Few things can be more joyful in life than a dog’s unconditional love and unfailing loyalty. Friendship and trust are words which beautifully capture the bond between canine and human. Experiences shared between rescue dog and parent, from late nights spent playing fetch to early morning walks, create an incredible bond.

    If you have experienced rescuing a shelter dog, or temporarily fostering an animal, you are all too aware of the important responsibility, and role you have as a dog-parent, to rehabilitate and re-socialize your rescue dog.

    As October is Adopt-A-Dog Month® and November is senior pet month, there isn’t a better time to talk about and share experiences of dog adoption. Here are some lessons from a shelter worker to help prepare you for a life full of joy with a rescue dog.

    1. You Are Responsible

    There are many reasons why people choose to adopt a dog, from companionship to improved health benefits. Throughout all of these reasons, responsibility is a core tenet which must be understood by rescue dog-parents.

    Unfortunately, up to one in five rescue dogs are no longer owned by their adopted parents within six months of adoption.

    There are many reasons behind this: changes in circumstances, moved home, new job and impulse decisions to name a few. However, a responsible owner will know, there are very few reasons which an owner can justify to return a rescue dog. When you adopt a dog, it is a commitment for the dog’s life—and that can be up to 15 or more years.

    From experience, some rescue dogs will require a little bit more loving, care and attention than a puppy; re-training, re-housebreaking and re-socializing are the responsibility of the new parent.

    Responsibility is a commitment to loving, boding with and caring for your rescue dog. This starts before dog adoption (to ensure compatibility and readiness) and last throughout the dog’s life. This involves training your dog, maybe to even become a recognized canine good citizen, re-socializing your dog into a loving household and being financially responsible for the costs of dog ownership.

    The typical cost of annual dog ownership in the united states is $1,500. This includes food, grooming, walking expenses and vet bills.

    2. Temperament and Compatibility

    There are many circumstances that can change across a decade in our life. With change comes new life and opportunity, but, we mustn’t forget commitments we have made in the past and honor them.

    In order to ensure responsible dog ownership, it’s important you understand compatibility and temperament of dogs. The temperament of a dog is terminology used to try and describe the internal or acquired traits of a dog which may regulate their response to a given scenario or environment.

    First of all, it’s important to be clear. Temperament is typically used when we talk about purebred dogs (i.e. a recognized breed). When rescuing a dog, you may get a mix, hybrid or mongrel; not necessarily a purebred.  Therefor it is more difficult to identify their “temperament” based on a specific breed. Each dog must be considered as an individual.

    Having worked in a national rescue center for dogs and cats, the best method is for to-be rescue dog-parents to spend time and consider their lifestyle and activity before adopting a dog. How much time do they spend at home, what activities do they enjoy, how active are they? These simple questions will reveal important information about your commitment levels and the type of companion you are searching for.

    3. Adoption Day One

    As a rescue worker, day one of adoption can be a very exciting day. Typically, this means the shelter has performed a home visit and successfully matched rescue dog and parents. Day one is the day a rescue dog is given a new life and adopted from the shelter to a new and loving home. Excitement and energy are high during the first few hours; especially for the dog-parents.

    However, your rescue dog may be feeling anxious, uncertain and stressed during these first few hours, so understanding about dog body language and taking some basic steps can go a long way:

    ·         *Transport the dog in a crate and make sure this crate is placed in their home and is always accessible to them.

    ·        * Give them time to acclimate to your home, have areas safely prepared for their arrival.

    ·         *Get the feed from the shelter so you don’t drastically change his diet in the first couple of weeks and transition any new food gradually.

    ·       *  Stick to a feed, play and toilet schedule during the first few weeks to get your dog adjusted to their new life.

    I hope this advice and experience will help you on your journey to finding and adopting a loving canine who will bring lots of joy and love into your life.

    Monday, October 8, 2018

    What are these strange dog houses at the rest stop?

    My daughter pulled into a thruway rest stop in Oneida NY and saw.....

    Alongside the building were these two little huts, Dogspots--designed to be a safe place for you to leave your dog while you go inside.

    There are now Dogspots at four thruway service areas in Central New York. They are also on sidewalks in more than a dozen cities. I can't decide if I'd use it or not. Would my pet be anxious? As much as the idea seems unusual to many of us, if you have to go inside for a meal or to shop or use the facilities, it does seem like the vet-approved Dogspot is a safer alternative than leaving your dog inside your car--which is not even an option and can be deadly in hot weather.

    The Dogspots have a front-facing window, air conditioning, and a UV light to kill germs. They even feature a camera so you can check on your dog from your phone.

    The way it works--You download the Dogspot app on your phone. You reserve a spot 15 minutes before you arrive. You then unlock the Dogspot door with your phone. The fee is 30 cents a minute. It's important to note that the Dogspot is not a doggy daycare--they are designed for brief stays (15 minutes is average) while you run an errand.

    I asked my daughter if a golden retriever could fit inside, and she said not very well. So if you have a larger dog, that might be an issue.

    Would you use this?
    If no, what are your concerns?
    If yes, what features do you like the best?
    Would your dog like it, or would your dog be afraid?
    Would you feel safe and secure with your dog inside, or more anxious?

    If you've used one, how has your experience been?

    I look forward to your thoughts in the comments,

    Wednesday, October 3, 2018

    A Kong for Every Dog! Today- Kong Extreme

    Monday we reviewed the Kong Senior and how it held up to our 10-year-old Ernest's chewing. Today we'll take a look at the Kong Extreme...and see if it can compete with Petey's powerful puppy teeth.

    We have always loved Kongs because they keep our dogs happy, busy and help alleviate boredom when they have to be home alone. Now I've discovered that there's a different Kong for every stage and need.

    Classic     Puppy     Extreme     Senior
    As a Chewy Influencer, I got the opportunity to test and review one Kong for each dog, to see how that particular Kong worked out for them. Monday we shared our experience with the Kong Senior for Ernest, age 10.

    Today we'll take a look at powerhouse 1-year-old Petey and the Kong Extreme.

    Petey loves to chew, and destroys most toys within minutes. I knew he'd need something super durable to withstand his razor sharp teeth and aggressive chewing. Was the Kong Extreme the answer?

    I stuffed the Kong with Kong Easy Treat and a couple crunchy treats. Petey jumped excitedly, and then got right to playing.

    The Kong Extreme is made of the most durable rubber for determined chewers. And Petey was determined! After multiple uses, the Kong Extreme has actually held up to Petey's roughness. He has not managed to destroy it in the least despite plenty of enthusiastic play. We recommend Kong Extreme for all your power chewers.

    Here is a chart to help you decide which Kong is best for your dog.

    *Full Disclosure: we were provided with one Kong Senior and one Kong Extreme in exchange for our honest review. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

    Monday, October 1, 2018

    A Kong for Every Dog! Today--Kong Senior.

    We've had dogs of all ages--seniors, puppies and in between--and our go-to toy has always been the Kong. It keeps them busy and helps alleviate boredom when they have to be home alone. Now I've discovered that there's a different Kong for every stage and need!

    Classic     Puppy     Extreme     Senior
    As a Chewy Influencer, I got the opportunity to test and review one Kong for each dog, to see how that particular Kong worked out for them. Ernest is 10, and pretty mellow. He's facing a lot of challenges of older dogs. So we chose the senior Kong for him. At one year old Petey is still basically a puppy, but he is rough on his toys and chews everything in sight, so we chose the Extreme Kong for him.

    Today we'll take a look at Ernest and the Kong Senior.

     Ernest may be a senior, but he can chew his toys with gusto. I was a little worried that the senior version, made with a rubber formula that is gentler to again teeth and joints, wouldn't hold up. When I received it I was pleased that it still felt sturdy and durable.

    I stuffed the Kong with Kong Easy Treat because...well, because I'm lazy and it's the most convenient thing to squirt inside the toy. I added a couple crunchy treats.
    Ernest was excited to get to playing!

    After multiple uses, the Kong Senior has absolutely no damage or chunks missing. I feel confident giving it to Ernest for play time. And Ernest absolutely loves it! We recommend Kong Senior for all your older dogs.

    Check back Wednesday to see our review of Kong Extreme!

    Here is a chart to help you decide which Kong is best for your dog.

    *Full Disclosure: we were provided with a Kong Senior and a Kong Extreme in exchange for our honest review. This in no way influenced my opinions. Opinions expressed here are 100% my own.