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.


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