My dog dresses better than me!

I’m not quite sure when the fad started to dress our pups like little divas! But I’m all in! From the cute t-shirts, to the holiday outfits to the warm winter coats and yes, snow pants.

It all started when my daughter got herself the cutest Pomeranian chihuahua named Ginger. Ginger is 20 pounds and in our cold Illinois winter, our little Ginger needed to be kept warm! Her little body would shake and shiver outside! And yes, Ginger goes everywhere with Sarah.

Sarah and Ginger at the blessing of the animals at our church

Before Ginger, we had bigger dogs, a lab and a retriever and I never dreamed of having them wear clothes! They were so active they were warm all the time. Now I have Cinnamon who LOVES the cold! She sits on my back deck in 9 degree weather and enjoys being outside!

So, why do we dress our dogs? One obvious reason is to be kept warm.

Sugarplum is our little 5 pound pup! She needs her sweater!

For old, bald, thin, tiny or ill dogs a layer to provide warmth or waterproofing in cold weather may be beneficial. Greyhound and whippet owners have long used coats for them in very cold weather.

There are also clothing geared toward senior and other special needs pets, meeting real needs such as protecting the paws, and keeping the pet warm while treating joint conditions.” You can find “therapy jackets” for pets with aches and pains including hip dysplasia and canine arthritis.

Ginger does love her sweaters!

Who can resist a Christmas sweater to have our furry family members get in the holiday spirit? How about a Saint Patrick’s day t-shirt? And, of course, we can’t forget Halloween!!!!!

Doesn’t she look like a queen in her white coat??

As long as our dogs will tolerate the clothing, I don’t see why we can’t have a little fun!!

5 Aggressive dog behavior training tips

5 aggressive dog behavior training tips to help keep you and your dog safe.

You have come to the right place to read about aggressive dog behavior training tips!  This is a face that no dog owner wants to see on their dog or any other dog! The fear that goes through every person when they see an aggressive dog is palpable. I know the panic that courses through a dog owner’s veins!

I have lived it! I have had a dog every moment of my 57 years of life and have had a couple of different dogs with varying forms of aggression. Two dogs that I will talk about in this post are very different breeds. One was a small, but mighty Lhasa Apso, Goldie Lucks, who bit people and the other is my rescue dog cinnamon, who lunches, and bites. Cinnamon is still with me and we work on her behavior every day.

Why is my dog aggressive?

While stopping dog aggression is not an easy task, it is generally an achievable one with perseverance, patience, and a bit of psychology. When people realize that their dog is aggressive, they often immediately want to know why. Most of the time, when you see an aggressive dog it wasn’t born that way. The short answer is that aggressive behavior is a normal but uncommon behavior in many animals.

Aggression in dogs can quickly become a serious problem, especially if it’s over-the-top. Owners of dogs just may not fully understand how to train their dog. This lack of training often leads to aggressive behavior in dogs because they are responding to situations using their instincts, and not proper training since they have never been taught differently.

This training or living every day, as I think of it, is ongoing. While a dog may not be born aggressive, many rescue dogs have been traumatized from birth and will take constant love and structure for the rest of their lives. There are certainly situations that make Cinnamon’s behavior worse or agitated and those things are what I will highlight.

Dogs become aggressive in a situation for a number of reasons.

Normally, their aggression is born of fear or possessiveness. Most aggression in dogs cases are fear-based or insecurity-based – not based on dominance. Most dogs act aggressively because they want their triggers to go away, not because they’re trying to take over the household.

Fear-based aggression is common in under socialized dogs. This is also common in dogs that have learned that trying to avoid something doesn’t help, such as dogs that can’t escape a bothersome child in the home or a trigger while they’re on a leash. Cinnamon’s is born of fear. An owner who fails to see the signs of aggression as they develop will soon find themselves with a dog that is completely out of control. This is the owner’s responsibility, and does not mean that the dog is a “bad dog.”

It just means it is time for some assertive dog training tips to help you make your dog be a calm, happy member of the family. Aggressive behavior is far less common in confident dogs. Since most aggressive dogs are actually scared, it’s not a good idea to try to “correct” aggression out of them. These dogs have learned that “the best defense is a good offense,” and an aggressive punishment will only teach them that their owner is scary, too.

What does Aggressive Behavior look like?

We all know what it looks like once our dogs have lost control and are in the act of being aggressive, but it’s our jobs as dog parents to know what it looks like before our dogs lose it.

Here are some tips for looking for aggressive behaviors in your dog and how to end them.

Body Language

Here is aggressive dog behavior training tip number 1!!  Look for the signs. Dogs tend to use body language to intimidate; therefore your dog may try to situate himself so that he is taller than other animals and he may become tense. His hackles may rise. Cinnamon is a ridge back and from her neck down to her tail, her whole back of fur raises up to look like a ridge when she’s agitated.

  • Your dog may lock his gaze and display more control over the mouth muscles.
  • Other forms are a tightly closed mouth, or lips stretched over the teeth.
  • Your dog might shift his weight forward,
  • Prick his ears
  • Slow his breathing
  • Many dogs will also display dilated pupils (big pupils),
  • Wag their tail in a high, stiff fashion.

Alpha Dog

Dogs are pack animals. In a pack, there is always a leader or “alpha dog.” If no leader is established then the dog will establish itself as the alpha and will be guided by instincts and how much control he has over people, other dogs, and situations. Even though dogs are pack animals, some dogs are naturally born shy or they have been abused and their aggression is the result of their fear. This is Cinnamon. Just remember, small dogs can be vicious also and their bite, while small can cause much damage. My dog, Goldie Lucks, was small but would bite and this was just as terrifying.

We’ll have much better luck with calming aggressive dogs if we help teach them that the world is predictable and safe and that they can get what they want by behaving well, rather than acting aggressively. Set realistic expectations whenever working with training an aggressive dog. In your home, you need to be the one to establish yourself as the alpha dog. To set the structure and rules consistently. You establish physical boundaries as well as behavioral boundaries. To do this, you must first teach the dog that you are the one in control.

Assertive training is Not a Form of Punishment

Many dog owners punish aggressive dogs with aggressive behavior themselves. Rather than the dog learning to behave from this form of punishment, they learn that aggression is an accepted response. Remember that some aggression is born of fear. When you beat your dog, you might establish some fear and that may cause the dog to stop doing whatever it was punished for, but you also build a foundation for aggression to be acceptable. Sooner or later that fear you created may come out in aggressive behavior that is beyond your control. Instead, use specific methods to teach your dog what is acceptable and what is not.

Rather than using punishment to establish control, you can limit the dog’s abilities and following the pack order. Keep in mind that the alpha dog gets the best of everything, and first choice to decide what the best of everything is. The alpha dog is followed, not led. When you rely on punishment only, you are responding (following), rather than leading.

Leash Training

Keep reading for more aggressive dog behavior training tips! In order to establish yourself as the alpha dog in your home, you may have to use a leash inside your home. This is so that you can control where the dog is able to go. For instance, if you do not want your dog on the furniture, simply step on the leash when he goes to get on the couch. If you do let your dog on the couch, don’t let your him take your favorite spot on the couch. Make him move over. You are the alpha. Harnesses work well for this type of training because they do not choke the dog when he is being guided, but they do limit what he can do.


If your dog is the alpha dog, he sleeps in the best possible place. In most homes, this means he would sleep on the bed. This is fine once the dog understands he is not the alpha dog and that, you, the alpha dog is allowing him to sleep in the bed, but you have to establish the pack relationship first. Your dog has to start at the back of the pack and work his way up. This might mean your dog has to sleep in a crate until he understands the chain of command. This also means that if you allow your dog to sleep in your bed, he is not allowed to take your pillow or all the blankets! If you go to move him over and he lets out a low growl. That’s it…off the bed he goes. You are the alpha.


The alpha dog has first choice when it comes to meal times. Since you are starting your dog at the back of the pack, he will be the last one fed. This is done by simple routines of feeding your dog at certain times of the day. You are alpha because you are bringing the food. You may even find that you should crate him during meal times. He can progress to eating at the same time as you once boundaries have been established. No begging allowed.

Playtime and mental stimulation

Playtime is one of the best times to focus on training your dog. Toys should be kept up so that when your dog gets a toy, you are the one to give it to him. When playtime is over, the toy is put up. If your dog takes off with a toy and you chase him, you are letting him know that he is the one in charge, not you. Instead of chasing the dog, wait for him to bring the toy back, then put it away and never give it to him again. (Please note, this does not mean not to give him a toy at all. It just means to get rid of that particular toy.)

Mental stimulation is a very huge step in helping to control aggressive behavior. It helps to keep your dog busy and it tires him out. A bored dog will get into trouble. Many dogs spend a lot of their day being bored while their humans are gone at work. Luckily, there are lots of cheap, fast, and easy ways to exercise your dog’s mind.

If your dog isn’t really safe or easy to walk outside, consider the many dog puzzles that are out on the market. Brain Training 4 dogs has many free game ideas that you can play with your dog. Check out the videos here.

Collars and Muzzles

Collars and muzzles can be very helpful when it comes to training your dog. They may seem like harsh forms of punishment at first, but they work better than regular collars because of the way they are made. Truly, it broke my heart when I had to put one on Cinnamon. But Cinnamon does not like small children. I will never know why. So, when my family and friends with small children come to visit, she has to wear a muzzle. It makes all of the family members relax, which creates a relaxing atmosphere in the house. If you get a muzzle that fits correctly, like I did for Cinnamon, they can still eat and drink, they just can’t bite.

Those were all great ideas for starting with the basics. Let’s move onto more graduated forms of helping to prevent and deal with the aggressive behavior.

#1 – Take Care of Yourself and Those Around You

The very first step to training an aggressive dog is making sure that everyone is safe. There are several components to this step. The very first step is to identify your pet’s triggers and thresholds without putting anyone in danger. You may already know what your dog’s triggers and thresholds are (for example, a dog that growls around his food bowl is generally easy to identify), but you might not. Be as clear as you can about what causes his aggression. Identify triggers and thresholds by taking extremely careful note of what sets your dog off and what happened right before. Keeping a journal will help you notice more subtle patterns.

All of these are warning signs, and it’s time you paid attention to your dog’s “tells.”

Once you have an idea of what triggers your dog’s aggression, it’s time to put in preventative measures.

Preventative measures may include building a fence to prevent your dog going into the street, placing baby gates to separate your dog from the kitchen, muzzling your dog while out and about, not grabbing your dog’s collar, or skipping the dog park. We have a baby gate in our house to prevent Cinnamon from going to the front door. Anyone coming in the front door sets the aggressive behavior of jumping, growling, barking and, if allowed, to bite our guest. This is the gate we use. My gate has to be tall enough so Cinnamon cannot nip people as they walk by. ‘>

Physical Exercise

Some big dogs simply don’t get enough exercise. While your Great Dane might enjoy lounging around all day, most working breeds like German Shepherds need quite a bit of exercise each day. It’s hard to muster the energy to exercise your dog after a long day of work, and it’s often challenging to exercise aggressive dogs in public. If your dog is safe to walk outside on a regular basis, jogging or activity walks are my go-to exercise methods for busy people.

Cinnamon and I walk every day. I try to go for my 7,000 steps. That seems to be what is good for both of us. It is a huge challenge though as Cinnamon is set off by bike riders and other dogs. I try to control my environment while we are exercising…this means, I try to go at a time of day when there won’t be many dogs out for their daily walk. If we do see other dogs, we simply turn around and go the other way or we cross the street.

We never go to a dog park. It’s just not a good situation for Cinnamon. She gets extremely overwhelmed. When I had my lab and retriever, who were not aggressive at all, it was a must. We went every day to a dog park. As a general rule, healthy dogs should get at least an hour of activity each day between mental and physical exercise. The exercise doesn’t have to be physically intense, especially for older or less energetic dogs.

Pay a visit to a behavior-savvy vet and talk to her about your dog’s behavior concerns.

  • She might be able to help you pinpoint physical issues that are related to your dog’s aggression. There are a few red flags to look for to know aggression may be related to something medical:
  • Your dog’s aggression had a sudden onset, especially if it’s not linked to a specific experience (such as being attacked at the dog park).
  • Your canine’s aggression is triggered by petting, touching, or approaching a specific area of the dog’s body.
  • The aggression appeared in old age and is accompanied by weight gain
  • Dogs may become aggressive for any number of reasons if they are in pain.
  • Even if your dog’s aggression isn’t caused by a medical issue, medication may still help. Some dog aggression medications can help reduce your dog’s baseline stress level enough that behavior modification can take hold. It’s almost impossible for dogs to learn if they’re 100% stressed out 100% of the time, and medication can help there. There is a CBD formula for dogs that help calm them. It can come in chews and sprays. The one I use is this one. It really helps Cinnamon. ‘>
  • My dog, Goldie Lucks, was actually getting sick with cancer. We didn’t know this because she didn’t show the human symptoms of cancer. She died a year later. So, a sick dog also may show signs of aggression.

#2 – Counterconditioning and Desensitization

Now we’re ready to pull out the big guns. You’ve got all of your safety measures in place, and your dog is fully taken care of. If you’ve done steps 1 and 2 correctly, you already should have seen a dramatic reduction in your dog’s aggression. Some people choose to stop here. Depending on what your dog’s aggression issues are, that’s just fine. Everyone is safe and your dog is happy. But if you really want to calm an aggressive dog, you’ve got to get into counterconditioning and desensitization.

This is the concept of slooooowly introducing your dog to his triggers in small doses, while teaching him that those triggers always make awesome things happen. The best way to show you how this works is to have you watch this YouTube video from Brain Training 4 dogs. Watch it here.

Don’t expect to be able to cure your dog’s aggression in a day, a week, or even a month. Be patient and consistent. Counterconditioning and desensitization is simple, but it’s not easy.

Nobody’s perfect, and mistakes are to be expected. If you’ve done a good job at step one (take care of yourself and those around you), mistakes shouldn’t involve blood. Always do the best you can to avoid mistakes, but be prepared for something to happen.

  • This approach does a few things:

    Crates and closed doors prevent a repeat mistake. You can’t make the same mistake again if your dog is locked in his crate with a chew.

  • Crates and closed doors allow you to step away and keeps you from getting upset at your dog. Getting upset is only going to upset or scare your dog, which won’t help in the future.
  • Chewing gives your dog something else to do. Chewing calms your dog down. Odds are, your dog needs to take 10 to calm down, just like you do.

    Don’t worry about accidentally rewarding your dog by feeding him a chew toy after a mistake.

    Above All, Be Safe When Dealing with Aggressive Dog Behavior

    Aggressive dogs are inherently dangerous. They are threatening to cause damage or have already followed through on that threat. If you do nothing else when calming an aggressive dog, keep everyone safe. This means understanding your dog’s triggers and thresholds, reading his body language, and using appropriate prevention strategies such as muzzles.

    Use non-confrontational training methods to teach your dog that his triggers are actually treat machines, then teach him a replacement behavior. Work with a professional if at all possible. Brain Training 4 dogs gives many sound training techniques and you can watch it on a YouTube video in your home.

When you are training your dog, be sure to reward him or her for good behavior. You can do this with a toy, a treat, or lavish praise. This lets the dog know he has pleased the alpha dog and may be moved from the back of the pack soon.

Have patience and introduce your dog to new ideas and settings a little at a time. If your dog is nervous around people, only expose him or her to people for a short period to begin with, petting him and reassuring him all the while. Your dog feels safer with an alpha dog indicating that all is well.

Are you training an aggressive dog? What advice has helped you? We’d love to hear your personal experiences.

Dog Bones – Delicious Treat or A Deadly Snack? 1 perfect solution!

Lets face it, dogs love bones, they always have and always will. But, could they spell disaster for your best friend?

Are bones a delicious treat or a deadly snack?There is a difference of opinion among canine experts as to whether bones should be given to a dog raw, cooked, hard, or soft, and even whether they should be given at all. On one point, however, there is total agreement, never give a dog splintering bones from chicken, pork, fowl, and rabbit, (although chicken bones that have been cooked in a pressure cooker until they are very soft can be quite nourishing and safe).

A marrow bone is the traditional symbol of a treat for a dog, and he obviously appreciates it. It may be too big and hard for small dogs. In fact, large breeds generally handle bones much better than small ones. Bones that are mostly cartilage, such as spinal and shoulder bones of veal, knuckle bones, and soft rib bones, are good chewing material that can be entirely consumed.

Serious concerns for dogs and their bones.

There are some serious concerns you need to watch for when giving your dog a bone.  A dog can break a tooth on a bone, thus, causing expensive surgery.  They can get a mouth injury, kind of like when we bite the sides of our tongue or insides of our mouth.  Believe it or not, a bone can get wrapped around a dog’s lower jaw.  I’ve had it happen to my daughter’s dog.  She became extremely scared but we got it off carefully.  She no longer gets the round bones.

Did you know a bone can get caught in a dog’s esophagus?  I’ve seen that happen to my neighbor’s dog.  He was trying to eat the bone too fast and just swallowed it.  The problem was, it was too long.  We actually had to gently pull it out!  It was scary for all of us!!  Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.

The real danger with dogs and bones

The real danger is intestinal compaction, especially in small dogs, if the masticated bone has not been mixed with other residue in the dog’s stomach. A small amount should cause no trouble if it is given right after a meal. Chop and steak bones are more dangerous. Careful eaters simply clean off the meat and fat, but greedy gobblers run the risk of internal injury from jagged bone splinters. The same is true of a leg of lamb bone.  They may also get constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.

Peritonitis is a nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen and is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian as peritonitis can kill your dog.

Are there any good reasons to give a dog a bone

There are some good things about giving bones to dogs though.  Dogs and bones have gone hand in hand (or paw in paw) together forever! They are a natural source of calcium, they help scrape away tartar and plaque build-up through chewing action, they contain no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives and they are durable, flavorful, and long-lasting.

What is the best policy to follow with a dog of your own? A teething puppy between four and six months of age should always have a bone, real or imitation, to chew on. You might give an adult dog a suitable bone as on occasional treat – for example, once a week. It will give him enormous pleasure, will help to keep his teeth clean and free from tartar, and will occupy him for several hours. But a nylon bone offers the same advantages without the risk!

Cooked bones are a dangerous snack.

They become brittle and easily break into sharp shards that can do a lot of damage when they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Never feed your dog cooked bones.  Raw bones are generally safer than cooked, If you want to give your dog a bone because chewing provides mental stimulation and can help keep the teeth clean, then I recommend picking a raw bone that is approximately the size of your dog’s head. Bones of this size will allow your dog to gnaw while helping to reduce the chances that your dog will break off and swallow a chunk of bone that can cause health problems.

Chew treats. You’ve probably given dozens of them to your dog and they love them. They clean their teeth and keep them occupied for hours. Its a perfectly harmless canine treat right? Wrong. Chew treats can harm or even kill your dog. If you are concerned about your dogs health read on.

Now let’s discuss chew treats

Why are chew treats dangerous?

The two most popular kind of edible chew treats are those made of rawhide and those made from compressed vegetable protein. When your dog chews these treats, they may swallow large pieces of them. These pieces of chew treat cannot be digested by your pet and they can become lodged in their intestines. Intestinal blockages can kill your dog in hours. They can cause a condition called intestinal strangulation which is when blood flow is cut off to the intestines. The intestinal tissue then begins to die and rot. My dogs sometimes swallow entire chunks at a time, and since they’re largely indigestible, these can get stuck in a dog’s throat (I’ve pulled many out) and intestinal track. My dog enjoyed rawhide chews until he had to pass a few sharp pieces. They passed right before he was due for a trip to the emergency vet and it was a painful process for him and terrifying for me.

How do I know if my dog has a blockage?

If your dog has a blockage, you may see some of the following symptoms. They may vomit, refuse to eat, regurgitate food, have diarrhea or abdominal pain. If your dog has any of these symptoms, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. If they get a blockage, it will not clear itself. They will require surgery.

Should I stop giving my dog chew treats?

You do not have to stop giving your dog chew treats altogether. You should however monitor the use of these treats. When you can not be around your pet, take the treats away. When your dog has worn the treats down into small pieces, replace them.

Remember, as a pet owner it is your responsibility to look after your dog’s health. We all love out pets and it would be a shame to lose them over something as simple as a chew treat. So keep a watchful eye on your pet and help them live a long and happy life.                                                                                                

My dog needs something to chew!!!

1-Carrots!  My dog loves carrots!  They are healthy, easy to chew and digestible!

2-frozen broccoli!  Another healthy, digestible favorite!

3-But neither of these give the same chew satisfaction as a bone.  So now I use Bully Sticks.  Some people believe that bully sticks are no better than rawhide chews, but I disagree. My dogs love these, and I buy them in bulk. They smell awful, even the ones that are “low odor” bully sticks.

Bully sticks can be expensive. We have discovered a great source of quality bully sticks;  Yep, they still smell, but for the price and the joy it gives our dogs (and the quiet time for the humans), the smell is worth it. My favorites are the Monster bully sticks:  You can buy them on amazon or chewy.  Read this review on bully sticks.  You can read more about bully sticks here.

Be safe with your dogs and monitor as they snack!  For another good read on dog aggression, click here to read another post.

5 Smart automatic wi-fi enabled pet feeders for your dog and cat

Smart pet feeders allow you to feed your dog and cat while you are busy with your life.

I am fortunate enough to work from home but I know most people don’t.  From working long hours at the office to traveling, it’s hard to be able to feed our pets on time every day.  We all know that we shouldn’t leave our pets, dogs especially, very long by themselves but we still may not be home when our pets need to be fed.  Smart automatic pet feeders are the answers to feed your dog and cat even if you can’t.

Fortunately, technology has hit our pet’s world to keep them safe and happy!  We now have Smart pet feeders!

What is a Smart Pet Feeder?

A smart pet feeder allows you to schedule and manage feeding times, portion sizes, and food supply for your pets. Smart pet feeders are controllable on your smartphones and computers so you can still be able to feed your pet while you’re away or preoccupied. Most pet feeders come with a camera so you can visually check your pet too.  I think the camera component is very cool.  We can monitor our pets to see if they eat too fast or are snacking throughout the day.

Why You Need It to feed your dog and cat

Being a pet parent demands responsibility. Looking after your pet on top of work, personal errands, and family time is quite difficult. Smart Pet Feeders change the game. It allows pet owners to still check on their pets and feed them whenever they’re at work, out for a short vacation or running a long day of errands. A smart pet feeder also compliments a great smart pet toy as well.

Here is my take on the top 5 smart pet feeders on the market today.

PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder for iPhone & Android, 12-meal

Key features:

  • Wi-Fi-enabled feeder connects to your home’s wireless router and works with your Android or Apple smartphone, giving you the ability to feed your cat or dog no matter your location.
  • Use the app to customize and schedule up to 12 meals a day, with portions ranging from 1/8 cup to 4 cups to fit your pet’s feeding needs.
  • The Smart Feed is powered by an adaptor with an optional battery backup (batteries not included) and works with iPhone and iPod devices iOS 9 or later and most Android smartphones 5.0 or later.
  • Unique conveyor design dispenses most shapes and sizes of dry and semi-moist food and helps prevent jams while the pet-proof dispenser keeps prying paws from sneaking food. Yes…I have a dog that would do this!
  • Feed your pet no matter where you are


Petnet SmartFeeder 2nd Generation White Automatic Pet Feeder, Medium

Key features:

  • Holds up to 2 Gallons, 25 Cups
  • SMARTPHONE CONTROLLED: Manage your pet’s daily meal schedule anytime, anywhere – using your Apple iPhone or Android smartphone.
  • CUSTOM MEALS: Use the Petnet App to personalize the time and portion of each meal, or feed from your phone if you’re running late
  • SMART ALERTS: Get phone notifications for successful feeds, low food warnings, food delivery updates and more!
  • NEW FEATURES: Pet-Proof Self Locking Lid, Removable Food Container, Food Container Lock, Food Level Sensors, Dishwasher Safe Metal Bowl, Durable Portion Wheel
  • SMART HOME ENABLED: Works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Nest Cam so you can use voice commands to dispense food, get updates about when your pet was last fed, find out how much food is left, and even view snapshots of your pet eating
  • PET FOOD DELIVERY: Purchase includes FREE trial of SmartDelivery – Get your pet’s food delivered in the freshest bag size, based on how much they should eat each day. (Not all foods available. Currently shipping over 2,500 bag sizes and recipes.)


RICHDOG Automatic Pet Feeder – Pet Feeding, 

  • Holds up to 6L of food
  • can schedule up to 4 automated feedings per day by using the built-in programmable timer. Program each meal time with a single click of the easy-to-use LED screen.
  • has 2 exchangeable food dispensers. 2 models are available – Model S: for the small and medium-size pets with 1 to 39 portions (5 g-195g); Model L: for medium and large size pet with 1 to 39 portions (10 g-390g).
  • Dual Power Supply (batteries not included).
  • Voice Record & Play at the Meal Time. This Auto pet Feeder can customize exclusive information to make pets excited about dining and enjoy mealtime! You can record less than 10 seconds of recording. Press and hold the microphone button for three seconds to start recording the information to be played each time the pets feed is assigned. Call your pet to eat at meal time. (e.g., here, Bobby! Come to eat, Good dog!) Even if you are not at home, your voice can be with your pet all the time.
  • Customer Service and Product Warranty RichDog Automatic Feeder offers you a 1-year warranty and repairs the defect without charge.


OYTOOL Automatic Cat Feeder Pet Dog Food Dispenser Feeder For Small Medium Large Cat Dog-4 Meal Timer Programmable Voice Recorder Portion Control 

  • Time and Amount Programmable:  The feeding schedule and amount of food can be easily and precisely set in accordance with the user instruction up to 4 meals. 1-39 portions control and feeding schedule
  • Infrared Induction:  This automatic pet feeder comes with infrared detection technology ensure the machine automatically stops when there is a certain amount in the blow, which will prevent the food from spilling or getting stuck;
  • Voice Recorder&Speaker;: this cat feeder can record your voice for several seconds to call pets for meals, he/ she won`t feel lonely if hear the voice of their owner when have meal;
  • Power Supply:  the power adapter that comes with the feeder or batteries are both acceptable to deliver power to your automatic pet feeder.The pet food dispenser is also easy to disassemble and clean;
  • Great Helper for Feeding Pets:  this auto pet feeder can feed pet for more than 5 days.


JUNSPOW Automatic Cat Feeder, Pet Feeder 6 Meal Trays Dry Wet Food, Auto Pet Food Dispenser Programmed Timer Voice Recording Function, 6 x 320ml 

  • CUSTOMIZABLE FEEDING SCHEDULE: Our pet feeder is very easy to setup and use! As you can see from our pictures there are 6 individual feeding compartments. Each one holds about 320 ml of DRY OR SEMI-WET food, . The tray itself is very easy to remove and clean!
  • FEEDING ON A REGULAR DIET TIME: This feeder helps you customize pet feeding schedule. You are able to set regular feeding time in advance and the auto feeder will dispense food for your pets on the right time. Multiple meals for multiple days and up to 6 meals per day.
  • VOICE MESSAGE CAPABILITY: Our research has shown that if your pet hears the same voice command before each meal, then he or she will begin to associate the two and will know it’s time to eat! The 10 second recording also allows your pet to hear your voice when you aren’t home, which can provide them some comfort from afar!
  • FLEXIBLE STANDBY MODE: We have installed a feature that will automatically set the feeder to “Standby” if there has been no operation for 25 seconds.
  • Ultra Low Power Consumption. Not need DC adapter Powered by 4 “C” batteries (not included). 4 alkaline batteries available for up to 300 days. prevent Pets may also gnaw on electrical cords


These are all very interesting!  I love this concept!! I’m most intrigued with 

Petnet-because you can get smart alerts and it works with Alexa so you can use your voice to control the feeder.

Richdog-this one is also voice activated.

Oytool-this has Infrared Induction:  This automatic pet feeder comes with infrared detection technology to ensure the machine automatically stops when there is a certain amount in the bowl, which will prevent the food from spilling or getting stuck;

Junspow-only batteries, no DC so your sweet pet won’t chew on the cords.

I vote for Oytool because it has all the features plus infrared induction and is very reasonably priced.

Before you go, check out my review on the top rated dog foods.  Click here to read the review.

15 Facts about dogs that will leave you breathless

Enjoy these 15 amusing dog facts that bring a variety of information about interesting ideas on dog breeds and much more.

As the famous saying goes, dogs are man’s best friend. Whether it’s a dependable worker, loyal companions or family pets, dogs are great domestic animals that offer a number of good qualities that are put to good use by humans.

Here are some interesting dog facts. See how much trivia you know about your best dog friend. …

1. It pays to be a lap dog. Three dogs (from First Class cabins!) survived the sinking of the Titanic – two Pomeranians and

one Pekingese.  

Source: Vet street

2. Is it a duck…or a dog? The Newfoundland breed has a water resistant coat and webbed feet. This dog was bred to help haul nets for fishermen and rescuing people at risk of drowning.

3. Wow, check out those choppers! Puppies have 28 teeth and normal adult dogs have 42.

Source: About.com

4. A Beatles hit. It’s rumored that, at the end of the Beatles song, “A Day in the Life,” Paul McCartney recorded an ultrasonic whistle, audible only to dogs, just for his Shetland sheepdog.

Source: PBS

5. Seeing spots? Or not… Dalmatian puppies are pure white when they are born and develop their spots as they grow older.

Source: Vet street                     

6. Chase that tail! Dogs chase their tails for a variety of reasons: curiosity, exercise, anxiety, and predatory instinct or, they might have fleas! If your dog is chasing his tail excessively, talk with your vet.

7. No night vision goggles needed! Dogs’ eyes contain a special membrane, called the tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see in the dark.

Source: Healthy Pet

8. Dogs do dream! Dogs and humans have the same type of slow wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) and during this REM stage dog can dream. The twitching and paw movements that occur during their sleep are signs that your pet is dreaming

Source: Healthy Pet

9. If your dog’s acting funny, get out the umbrella! According to a Petside.com/Associated Press poll, 72% of dog owners believe their dog can detect when stormy weather is on the way.

10. Pitter patter. A large breed dog’s resting heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, and a small dog breed’s heart beats between 100-140. Comparatively, a resting human heart beats 60-100 times per minute.

Sources: About.com and Mayo Clinic

11. Is something wet? Unlike humans who sweat everywhere, dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet.

Source: Healthy Pet

12. It’s not a fever… A dog’s normal temperature is between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. How much do you know about dog health? Take our Doggy First Aid Quiz!

Source: Web MD

13. Americans love dogs! 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes

Source: American Pet Products Association

14. Here’s looking at you. Dogs have three eyelids, an upper lid, a lower lid and the third lid, called a nictitating membrane or “haw,” which helps keep the eye moist and protected.

Source: Whole Dog Journal

15. Move over, Rover! 45% of dogs sleep in their owner’s bed (we’re pretty sure a large percentage also hogs the blankets!)

Read more about dog facts in another one of my posts.  Click here to read it now.

Are you a catlover?  Go to barncatlady.com to read a post about the funny things cats do!  Click here to read the post now.

Do you have anymore dog facts that are interesting?  Please leave them in the comments below.

Source: American Pet Products Association

6 ways to prevent your dog from savagely biting.

One of the most common misconceptions people have is that their own dogs won’t bite. While everybody feels some level of respect for a big, growling dog, we are becoming too nonchalant about our own dogs. How confident are you that your dog will never bite anyone?  An ounce of prevention here, maybe the key to avoiding a dog bite.

Do the words – Wouldn’t hurt a fly come to mind? We all think that our own dogs are gentle natured until they prove us otherwise.

Dog owners often claim their dogs are completely comfortable with children. I myself was bitten as a child.  It happens often, and even usually mild mannered dogs can snap. Children are a little more vulnerable, and a little snap that wouldn’t injure an adult can have dire consequences for a well-meaning child.

Dogs can inflict potentially life threatening injuries. Luckily my injuries were only superficial. Some corrective surgery and a few years of healing and the physical evidence have all but gone. Many are not as fortunate.

Tragically for the most part, these kinds of bites are completely avoidable. Dogs don’t bite people without provocation right?

Not quite. It’s true it does take some provoking to get a usually mild mannered dog to bite.  Tthe triggers aren’t as obvious as you would think.

So why do dogs bite?

Experts still disagree as to whether dogs bite because of human provocation or breeding. While it is indisputable that certain breeds of dogs do bite more than others, it’s also hard to argue with thousands of year’s worth of domestication. People have been trying to breed the aggressive out of the dog for the most part anyway.

There are some human behaviors that can provoke even docile dogs:

-Fiddling with their food: don’t disturb your dog (or any dog) while they are eating.

-Sudden movements can upset dogs, if a strange dog is growling at you its best to back away slowly.

-The old saying let sleeping dogs lie is true. Don’t startle a dog that is sleeping.

-Dogs have a powerful sense of territory, and may become upset when someone unfamiliar threatens their space.

-Don’t try to disrupt a dog fight.

-Dogs have strong maternal instincts and if there are puppies, you should be careful not to startle the mother (or any adult dog the area).

-Dogs can be confused about the cause of their own illness or pain; they might think it was the owner who caused the pain and bite.

-Dogs become afraid just like humans.  Any dog can bite if it feels it is in danger.

-All dogs experience some form of possessiveness. Tread carefully if a dog is growling at you, chances are you’re on his turf.

-Looking a dog in the eyes is seen as a challenge of dominance. If a dog is growling at you, lower your eyes and back away slowly.

6 ways to prevent your dog from biting.

If you have a dog, you can reduce the risk that your dog might attack someone with some of these suggestions.

-Have your dog spayed or neutered. Not only does it prevent many kinds of health problems later in life, it drastically reduces the aggression levels in male and female dogs.

-Start socializing your puppy at a young age. Get your puppy used to being in  busy and unfamiliar environments as soon as he is vaccinated.

-Invest in some kind of formal training program. This will give you immense faith in your dog and strengthen the relationship between the two of you.

-Take your dog to the vet regularly and make sure all his vaccinations are always up to date. Get your dog licensed and keep up to date on all his paperwork.

-Never let your dog wander freely. Your dog should be contained on your property and you should be able to control his access to the street.

-Know your dog.  Never put him in a situation that you know makes him/her uncomfortable.  My Cinnamon, is terrified of the sound of bicycles riding past her.  When we are on walks and I see a bike rider coming near us, I walk us away from the rider and block her vision so she cannot see the bike.

-Cinnamon also does not like small children.  I never, ever leave her alone with children.  If we are going to have children over to the house, Cinnamon is outside while we are inside or vice versa.  If we happen to all be in the same room, I sit with Cinnamon and she has her harness on and I hold a firm grasp on her at all times.

By following these very few and common sense steps you can reduce an attack or bites by a wide margin. Be a responsible owner and start working with your puppy or dog today.  To read more about aggressive dogs click here.  

A health guide to a dog’s Golden Years

A dog’s golden years is a time to take care of them in a special way.

Our dog’s golden years are a time to take special care of all of their health needs.

This guide is to educate pet owners on the care of senior dogs. Advice to give about quality of life.With appropriate care most dogs live complete and happy lives. Unfortunately, an adored pet never seems to live long enough. Each breed has different life spans. While taking care of your aging dog you need to adapt his environment for his comfort. As dogs get older, they develop aches, joint pain, generalized weakness and an almost definite increase in medical problems.

What are some of the things to expect as your dog enters their golden years?

Your dog may develop arthritis or other degenerative diseases that cause him to slow down. He may not be able to walk as far or play as long. He may tire more easily. He may have difficulty getting up or finding a comfortable position to sleep in. He may become reluctant to go up and down stairs or have difficulty getting into and out of the car.

Without proper care, dental disease can pose a problem, particularly for older pets. They are more likely to develop gum problems and disease. You may be surprised to learn that veterinarians find evidence of dental disease in many pets as early as 2-3 years of age. If nothing is done to care for your dog’s mouth, by the time your dog is a senior, he may even have lost some teeth. Complete dental cleaning should be performed by your vet every six months which does require anesthesia. Make sure complete bloodwork is performed. Dental disease can be painful, causing your dog to avoid or have difficulty eating his meals. This may result in weight loss and an unkempt hair coat.

Here are some specific symptoms/behaviors to watch out for:

  • Breathing – Labored breathing, exercise intolerance, noisy breathing, coughing (Note that coughing in cats can be mistaken for an attempt to expel a hairball. If you are unsure, ask your veterinarian).
  • Appetite/thirst – Disinterest in food, increased thirst, vomiting.
    Urination – Straining to urinate, excessive urination, frequent but unproductive attempts to urinate, no urination, discolored urine, smelly urine, urination in the house or outside the litter box.
  • Defecation – Straining, blood in the stools, diarrhea, house soiling.
    Urination and defecation issues can be frustrating, and you might be tempted to chastise your pet for “forgetting” his training. But because these issues can point to a medical condition, get your veterinarian involved! It’s always best to rule out health concerns before looking for other causes.
  • Sensory Perception-Older pets can experience degraded sight and hearing, just like older humans. Accommodating your pet in this situation involves increased awareness on your part. Older dogs can experience hearing loss and declining eyesight. Accommodate for his safety.

Furniture – Changing the arrangement of furniture in your home can be stressful for your pet. If they know their bed is 10 steps from your bed or that the doggie door is in a straight line from the living room couch – and then suddenly it’s not, you can imagine how disquieting that might be!

Leashes – Trusting your pet outside unattended or off-leash might be risky because your pet does not necessarily know that his senses are impaired and won’t compensate. So, you need to compensate for him.

Sounds – Pets who are losing their hearing might seem extra sensitive to the sounds they can hear. Once you identify what your pet reacts badly to, try to limit their exposure to those things.

Body Language – Use hand signals and other kinds of body language to communicate with a pet with hearing loss. Try stomping on the ground to get their attention – they can often feel the vibration.
Although hearing aids for pets are not unheard of, they are not a mainstream treatment yet due to their expense and the difficulty pets have in accepting them. But if you are interested in exploring hearing aids, talk to your veterinarian.

Adjust his surroundings to minimize discomfort. Protect him from excessive heat and cold. Older dogs are unable to regulate body temperature as a younger dog.

Try to give your dog regular exercise. Make sure your dogs health matches his exercise routine. If your dog exhibits signs of heavy panting or opposes exercise you need to change his routine.

Adapt his diet and feeding schedule to his needs. As dogs age they are less active and need fewer calories. Prescription diets are available. Discuss special diets with your veterinarian.  Click here to read more about what dog is right for you and how they age.

Mental Confusion that affect a dog in their golden years

You might notice behavior changes in your older pet that your veterinarian cannot attribute to an underlying medical condition such as cancer or diabetes.
If your pet seems confused or anxious or seems to forget things he knew very well, he might be experiencing cognitive dysfunction. Canine or feline cognitive dysfunction is a state of mental confusion caused by changes in the brain – something akin to dementia or Alzheimer’s in humans.

The acronym DISHA is widely used to characterize the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction:
D = Disorientation – The pet might become confused in familiar surroundings and seem lost.
I = Interactions – There might be changes in the way the pet interacts with her human family or with other pets in the household.
S = Sleep – Sometimes pets are restless when they would normally have been sleeping or are asleep when they would normally have been awake.
H = House soiling – Cats might forget what a litter box is for. Dogs might soil in the house without letting someone know they need to go outside.
A = Activity – Changes in activity can be symptoms. Some pets lose interest in play. Some wander aimlessly and can’t seem to relax. Others develop repetitive behaviors that can result in self-injury.

Be sure to report your observations to your veterinarian so he or she can rule out other possible causes of the behaviors you are seeing, and so they can advise you as to treatment options.

For example, your veterinarian might suggest selegiline, a drug used to support brain function in dogs experiencing cognitive dysfunction. There are also special diets and dietary supplements available that can help. This is another area where early detection is important. These treatments are most effective when started early in the mental decline.

Older dogs need extra bathing and grooming. Dry skin can be a normal part of aging or it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. They also require more frequent nail trimming.

Take into consideration his age in human years. If he is 13 in dog years, he may suffer the same aging ailments as a 75 year old human.

Continue with bi-annual vet exams. Senior dogs need extra care with their aging problems.

Terminal Conditions and Quality of Life in a dog’s golden years

Watching a loved dog or cat become a geriatric with a terminal condition often raises the question of how much the pet is suffering. It’s difficult for pet owners to be objective on this issue, but there are some tools, such as the HHHHHMM scale, available to help with the assessment.
The HHHHHMM Scale was developed by veterinary oncologist Alice Villalobos to aid caregivers and veterinary teams in determining whether their efforts on behalf of an ailing pet are resulting in an acceptable quality of life. The scale assesses the degree of comfort/suffering in these areas:
More good days than bad

Each item in the scale is assigned a number from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Scores of 5 or lower warrant reflection. Can anything else be done to support the pet in that area? If not, is it okay to prolong the pet’s life with that degree of suffering? You and your veterinarian can do this assessment together, on a regular schedule so you can see and consider changes.
Many people feel that the decision to euthanize a suffering pet is an act of love and responsible commitment. Your Vet’s Here doctors and staff are here to help you weigh and balance your options, provide in-home euthanasia if that is your wish, and to point you to resources for coping with grief.

Remember to love your dog each day and cherish each memory!  To read more about senior dogs please click here.

Dog Grooming is scientifically proven to help Promote Good Dog Health

Does your dog have a shiny coat? A shiny coat on a dog means more than just looks and good dog grooming, although it begins with that.

Just like a shiny head of hair means good health for us humans, a shiny coat of fur on a dog means your dog is in good health. In fact, a nice, lustrous coat of fur is one of the strongest indicators that your pooch is enjoying good dog health. Proper dog grooming is important in promoting good dog health.

A Shiny Coat with Dog Grooming

As mentioned above, it all starts with good dog grooming. If you want your dog to have a healthy coat of fur, you should groom him everyday. You do not have to bathe him everyday. Just once a week will do, or once every two days if your dog is the type that has long or thick fur.

Bathing a dog can be a tedious dog grooming process that will get you ending up wet along with your dog, but it can be quite fun once you get the hang of it. If your dog belongs to a small breed type, you can safely give him his bath in your kitchen sink. However, if your dog is the big type, you would have to use your tub or set up a place out of doors where you can bathe him properly.

How to Bathe Your Dog

When you bathe your dog, use a hose or a detachable shower head and wet him thoroughly. Afterwards, apply dog shampoo and work up a lather, starting from his chest to the top of his head, down his back and tail and then to his legs. Be careful not to get any of that shampoo in his eyes or ears.

Also, use a dog shampoo for your dog rather than your own shampoo. Shampoo for human hair only works on human hair; it is actually harsh and irritating to doggie skin. Dog shampoo, on the other hand, is specifically formulated for dog grooming, designed to suit the sensitivity of the skin and fur of dogs. For an added sheen and softness to your dog’s fur, a dog conditioner also works wonders.

Rinse your dog thoroughly after shampooing and conditioning his fur. Make sure that there are no leftover soap suds on your dog’s skin, or else the soap may cause some irritations. He might also end up licking at the leftover soap on his skin, and that is always a cause of concern that merits a vet’s attention if it does happen.

After the Bath

Once you are done bathing your dog, dry him thoroughly by patting all the excess water out of his fur using a towel. If your dog has short hair, you can leave him to air-dry his fur out completely. But if your dog is the type that has thick or long fur, you may need to dry his fur out with the use of a hair dryer. He may not find the hair dryer comfortable, but it is better than letting your dog stink up again because his fur was not dried out completely.

Dog grooming does not end with bathing, however. To give your pooch the full dog grooming home-style treatment, you need to make a ritual out of combing or brushing his fur once it is completely dry. Brushing your dog’s fur will remove the snags and tangles in it if your dog has long hair. Not only that, it will get rid of whatever burs, ticks and fleas are making their home in your dog’s fur. Do this every day, even on days when you are not giving your dog a bath.

If you can afford it and if you do not think you are capable of doing this dog grooming by yourself, go ahead and give your dog some delicious pampering at a dog grooming salon.

A Shiny Coat beyond Dog Grooming

Remember that a shiny coat is not just for the sake of aesthetics on a dog. A shiny coat for a dog is a strong indicator of a good dog health. As much as good dog grooming can do the job, it is not enough.

Good nutrition also plays a large role towards promoting good dog health. If a dog gets all the nutrients that his body needs, then definitely he will get a shiny coat. If you love your dog, you will not skimp on the cost of dog food. True enough, there are some cheap dog food brands out there, but they are made up of cheap and low-quality ingredients. So you can be sure that your dog is eating good food, do not skimp on quality dog food. Or, you can cook up your own dog food to feed your pooch.  Click here to read more about dog’s and their food.

If after regular dog grooming and regular feeding of high-quality food and your dog still does not display a shiny coat, it means that there is something else that is wrong with his system. Your dog may not be as in high a level of good health than you may have guessed. In this case, it is time to go to the vet.  Read this post about clipping your dog’s nails.

Dog grooming-Caring for the ears! 5 symptoms of an ear infection

Dogs ears are prone to infection as you might already have noticed if you have a dog with problem ears. If your dog keeps getting infections here is some information that might help you deal with chronic ear infections.

Learn how to care for your dogs ears.  It is an important part of dog grooming. Dog ear infections are usually called Otits Externa; this means an infection in the outer ear. (Otis Interna means an infection of the inner ear). Outer ear infections account for 90% of the infections in dogs; making ear infection the most common infection for a dog to be treated for. Ear mites can often accompany ear infections.

Dogs with allergies may experience more ear infections than other dogs. It can be caused by wax build up inside the ear. It can also be caused by long hair blocking the passage of air and creating a buildup of not only wax but also dirt and debris.

Regular ear cleaning will also get the pet used to having his ears handled which will make it easier to administer treatment.

You can prevent these infections by cleaning your dogs ears well and as part of your regular grooming regime. Cleaning your dog’s ears is simple and you only need a soft cloth and some ear cleanser. Lift the ears and massage some cleanser into the ear this should loosen the dirt.

Regualr ear cleaning is a powerful preventative measure; particularly if you have a dog who is at a high risk for ear infections. Ear infections are more common in dogs that swim often for example. Water inside the ears can be a problem for dogs who are essentially not designed for water.

You can spot an ear infection on your dog when grooming by looking for the following tell tale signs:

-smelly ears


-excessive head shaking


-redness in the ears

If your dog seems uncomfortable or is excessively scratching their ears it’s probably causing a great deal of distress. If you pet is scratching too hard this can even break blood vessels and cause swelling and bleeding.

You can try cleaning your dogs ears with white vinegar to remove dirt from the ear and promote the growth of good bacteria. Use the vinegar in the same way as the ear cleanser – pour it on and wipe gently inside the ear with the cloth or cotton. This might help ease the infection or even clear it up if the problem was not too severe to start. If the infection is serious its time to call the vet. It can be cleared up easily. Most often the dog will need some antibiotics to help clear the problem. The Anatomy of a Dog’s Ear

It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with your dog’s anatomy for grooming care like this. This can help you prevent any damage and get a better understanding of what you’re looking at while cleaning. A dog’s ear is a fairly complex structure:

The visible outside flap of the ear is called the pinna. This pinna will flop in some dogs while in others it stands up straight. Floppy ears may allow less airflow to the ear canal, making some floppy-eared dogs more prone to ear infections.

Just inside the visible ear opening is the external canal. This canal travels down the side of the head (vertical canal), then takes a turn inward (horizontal canal). The canal is skin-covered and contains cartilage that creates ridges and creases on the surface. The external canal also contains glands that secrete wax and oils (sebum) into the ear.

The external canal ends at the eardrum (tympanic membrane). This is a thin piece of tissue that vibrates in response to sound waves and assists in hearing. The tympanic membrane also protects the middle and inner ear.
Beyond the eardrum is the middle ear followed by the inner ear. These areas contain the delicate structures associated with hearing and balance. Damage to the inner or middle ear can cause significant harm to a dog’s hearing and balance. In some cases, the damage is even permanent.

Preparing to Clean Your Dog’s Ears when dog grooming

The best place to clean your dog’s ears is in the tub or outside. This is a great thing to do just before a bath. Keep in mind that when the dog shakes its head, that ear debris and cleaner has to go somewhere, and that includes your walls and you, so beware. You may wish to wrap a towel around your dog or place one under it to keep it clean and dry. You may also want a towel to keep you dry

Before cleaning the ears, inspect them.

This gives you an idea of how dirty they are and lets you check for excess hair. If your dog has a lot of hair coming from the ear canal, it may need to be plucked. You can do this with your fingers, tweezers, or hemostats. A special ear powder made for dogs may be helpful in gripping the hair. Talk to your groomer or vet’s office about how to properly pluck the ears without hurting your dog.

Add Ear Cleaner

Begin by holding the ear flap up and squirting a few drops of ear cleaner on the inside of the flap near the ear opening. Next, gently place the tip of the bottle into the ear and give it a gentle squeeze.

Massage the Ear

Before the dog can shake its head, begin massaging the base of the ear (this is the bottom part near the jaw where cartilage can be felt). You should be able to hear a smacking sound.

By massaging, you are helping the cleanser fill the ridges in the canal and loosen ear debris. After massaging for a few seconds (more for very dirty ears) you can let go and allow your dog to shake. You might want to turn away or hold up a towel for this part.

Wipe the Ear Canal

Once your dog has a good shake, lightly moisten cotton or gauze with ear cleaner. Use the cotton or gauze with your finger to wipe out the ear canal. You can put your finger in the ear canal as far as it will go without forcing it.

You may wish to use cotton-tipped applicators to clean stubborn debris out of the ridges of your dog’s ear.

If the ear still seems dirty, repeat the process. Stop if your dog’s ear begins to get red or bleed or your dog seems to be in pain.

Move on to the other ear and repeat all the steps. Finish by wiping away any visible debris and drying your dog’s head off. Make sure to offer a treat reward and plenty of praise.

If your dog has recurring ear infections the vet might suggest that you clip the hair around the ear or the vet might clip the hair around the ear. This often helps. If the problem is more extreme than that the vet might suggest surgery to allow for easier drainage of the ear canal.

Some breeds are more prone to chronic ear infections than others any breed of dog with large ears or particularly small ears will get ear infections easier than some other breeds. Now that you know what to look for you should be able to detect ear infections before they become a serious problem.  Read this post to find out more about the different breeds that are prone to ear infections.  Read this post to find out more about cleaning your dog’s ears.

3 Quick And Easy Ways To Rid Your Dog Of Fleas

Fleas are difficult to control, but, left unchecked, they can cause your dog very serious health problems. Read these 3 quick and easy ways to rid your dog of fleas.

Simple facts about dog fleas:

Fleas are probably the most successful creatures on the planet in terms of reproduction. There are over 2,400 species and they are difficult to control for a variety of reasons: One female flea will produce 25,000 offspring in one month. An unfed adult can live for several months. The chemicals used to eradicate adult dog fleas have no effect on the eggs. Fleas are very good at mutating to resist new pesticides.

Fleas are a menace to dogs! Dogs often get infested with fleas through contact with other animals or contact with fleas in the environment. The strong back legs of this insect enable it to jump from host to host or from the surrounding environment onto the host. (Fleas do not have wings, so they cannot fly.) They cause allergic dermatitis, tapeworms, and anemia. Most of the eggs are not laid on the dog but in the dog’s bedding, in the rug, and on the furniture. It is extremely difficult to eradicate fleas completely. The most you can hope for is to control them and to keep your dog reasonably comfortable during the warm, moist flea season.

The best way to control dog fleas is to remove the fleas from your dog and your house.

Take him to a groomer for the day and have him bathed with veterinarian-approved flea shampoo. Spraying or dipping him with a residual pesticide has little or no lasting effect. While he is out of the house, hire a company that uses a non-toxic product to spray the carpets and the furniture. These companies usually guarantee a flea-free home for one year.

Some dogs are bothered more by the use of pesticides than they are by fleas.

Flea collars, sprays, powders, and shampoos are all loaded with pesticides. Beware! If your dog is into serious scratching, your veterinarian can prescribe medication for the itching.

It is also very important that you discus with your veterinarian which products you should use on your pet to rid him (or her) of dog fleas. There are a lot of products on the market that claim to get rid of fleas; not all of them work and some could be harmful to your dog.

From this point on, it is important for you to vacuum the carpets, furniture, and your dog’s bedding everyday. Place the cut-off end of a flea collar, or a moth crystal, into your vacuum cleaner bag to kill any vacuumed adult fleas. Vacuum the dog if he will let you! Groom him daily with a flea comb. Do not be surprised if you occasionally find a flea on him. He will bring them in from outside. Remember, you cannot get rid of them, only control them.

Can I stop worrying about fleas and ticks once it starts getting cold?

Flea and tick prevention should be provided all year round. In the winter fleas thrive in warm centrally heated houses and although ticks are more commonly picked up in warm weather, they are also prevalent in spring and autumn.

To read more about getting rid of dog fleas, click here.

Clipping your dogs nails doesn’t have to be frightening

Do you dread clipping your dog’s nails? Don’t worry you are not alone.. Even though it’s not much fun most dog owners will have to make nail clipping part of their regular grooming.

Overgrown nails or neglected nails can end up curving and growing into your dog’s paw pad. Overgrown nails and claws can also easily tear or split. Not only is it painful, but tears in the nail can also cause infection. For example, dew claws (AKA the thumb nail) are more susceptible to this type of breakage. Severe cases of overgrown nails may need to be treated by a veterinarian.

Clipping your dogs nails will need some basic equipment that you can pick up at any good pet supply store. Don’t try to make do with human clippers. Special dog nail clippers have a different shape and are specially designed to make the clipping as fast and painless as possible. There are other items you can buy to make it easier to trim your dog’s nails too – various products that encourage the blood clotting process are very useful in case of messy clipping accidents.

Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing or using dog nail trimmers:

“Scissor” dog nail clippers are the best and easiest to use.
Small dog nail clippers are best for maintaining control over how long or short you cut your dog’s nails.
Large dog nail clippers should be reserved only for giant breeds.
Use a nail file after nail clipping to avoid leaving hang nails or jagged edges.
Keep your tools sharp and charged (if you use an electric or battery-operated nail grinder).
Replace nail grinder bits and tips and sharpen nail clippers regularly.
Consider using a Dremel as a dog nail grinder.

Tips on clipping your dog’s nails:

There are many variations on the best way to clip your dogs nails. In general you will want to start with prolonged desensitization of your dogs feet. This will allow your dog to get used to having his paws handled regularly and will make it easier to have a calm clipping session.

When clipping your dogs nails for the first time its important to ask someone who knows how to do it to show you. You can get many instructions and even some excellent illustrated instructions on how to clip your dogs nails but watching someone else clip your dogs nails will gie you a chance to ask any questions you might have. If your dog has dark nails (as many do) you will want to watch to get an idea of where your dogs “quick” is located. Most veternarians will clip your dogs nails for you and this is obviously the best way to learn.

Starting young increases the chances of having a dog who doesn’t mind having his nails trimmed. Puppies generally won’t need to have their nails clipped but even if you only bring the clippers up to his paws and “play clip then” he will learn that it’s just a normal part of life.

Clipping your dog’s nails shouldn’t be done until you are completely sure what you are doing.

Not only will your dog pick up on your anxiousness but he will most probably make things difficult for you.

  • Hold your dog’s paw firmly, but gently.
    Place clippers around the tip of your dog’s nail – below the quick at a 45º angle.
  • Double check that the clippers aren’t on top of the quick.
    If you’re in the clear, snip off the tip of the nail.
    If your dog’s nail starts bleeding that means you hit the quick. If this happens, immediately press some styptic powder on the tip. The styptic powder will help the quick clot.
    Don’t forget to cut the dewclaws (if your dog has them).
    Lightly file your pup’s nails to eliminate any sharp edges.
    Reward your pooch with treats and affection!

Many people find that one of the best ways to ensure a calm and easy nail clipping session is by walking the dog before you start with the clipping. Tire your dog out well and he might not be able to make as much of a fuss as he’d like.

Some people resort to using tranquilizers to make nail clipping easier for their dogs nd them. This really shouldn’t be necessary with some foresight. Even the simple act of massaging your dogs paws for a few minutes every day to desensitize your dog to being touched there.

Of course the most important thing you can do to make nail clipping easier is to use treats liberally.

Oops!  You clipped too short!

It happens to the best of us at one time or another–the dog moves, or we underestimate where the “quick” ends and accidentally trim the nail too short.
Dog nails can bleed and bleed and bleed! Forget about what you learned in an elementary first aid class. You won’t be able to stop the bleeding with pressure.

You won’t be able to stop the steady stream of blood with a bandage. You need to have something on hand that will stop the bleeding:
Styptic Powder: Sprinkle some of the powder on a cotton ball, gauze pad, or tissue. Wipe away the blood on the nail with a clean gauze pad or tissue. Place the cut nail on the gauze pad covered in powder for a few seconds. Release and watch for any additional bleeding. Repeat if necessary. All bleeding should be stopped before releasing the dog.  Read more by clicking here.

HINT: When clipping dog nails, to remove blood stains from dog hair, dab with Hydrogen Peroxide.

Click here to read more about dog grooming.

Beyond Washing The Dog. 3 painless things to check.

Keeping your dog clean is an important responsibility for every dog owner. Fido depends on you for general hygiene. Beyond washing the dog reveals how important clean ears, teeth and a coat free from fleas and ticks are all the conditions you check for in a healthy pet. Bath time is a great time to bond with your dog as well as check his well-being.

A healthy dogs actually don’t need to be washed all that often, but humans prefer to bathe them so that they smell fresh and clean and not like…well…dog. Although most do…

Keeping your dog clean is an important responsibility for every dog owner. Fido depends on you for general hygiene. Clean ears, teeth and a coat free from fleas and ticks are all the conditions you check for a healthy pet. Bath time is a great time to bond with your dog as well as check his well-being.

A healthy dogs actually don’t need to be washed all that often, but humans prefer to bathe them so that they smell fresh and clean and not like…well…dog. Although most dogs don’t like to be washed, they will appreciate the contact and attention that they receive from their owners during a bath. It is also a good time to perform some other necessary “dog maintenance” such as cleaning the ears, checking for ticks and fleas, and brushing the teeth. Since many dogs do not like to sit still for any of these activities, it can be a good idea to do them all at once.

Beyond washing the dog:  Brushing your Dogs’ Teeth

Brushing your dogs’ teeth is just good dental hygiene. Most vets recommend that it be done at least twice a week to ensure your dog maintains healthy teeth and gums. If you’ve have been doing this, it’s never too late to start. The dog should have its own toothbrush and special toothpaste designed for dogs. You pick up everything you need at your favorite pet supply store.

Make sure you brush the back teeth in small circles, the same way you would your own, and brush up and down the length of the “pointy” canine teeth. Dog toothpaste is made to have a pleasing taste, to dogs that is, and this should help make your dog willing to let you perform this activity. If you cannot brush his teeth, the next best thing would be to give him teeth cleaning dog biscuits but brushing is definitely preferred.

Beyond washing the dog:  Checking for Ticks & Fleas

Ticks are nasty little arachnids (they’re eight-legged creatures like spiders, and therefore are not insects) that will latch onto your dog’s skin and feed on his blood supply. They are most common in wooded areas, but your dog should be checked for them regularly because they can carry a number of diseases. The best place to look for these bugs in under the collar or on the dog’s underbelly, buried in the fur. If you find a tick, be sure to use tweezers and remove the tick by its head.

Fleas can be found in the same places, under the fur. The presence of fleas can be betrayed by the sight of their droppings on the dog’s coat. They look like flecks of pepper. The fleas themselves can vary in size, from tiny infants to larger adults, which are about an eighth of an inch long. They can’t simply be picked off the dog like ticks can, they will jump before you can catch them. If you do find a flea or their droppings, you know it’s time to start the dog on a program to control and eliminate these pests.

Beyond washing the dog:  Cleaning his Ears

Pet supply stores sell special solutions for cleansing a dog’s ears. Dogs can easily get ear mites. These small insects live in the ears and feed of the waxy secretions there. Over time, the bodies of these short-lived creatures build up and form a black, dirty substance. Using a cotton swab dipped in a bit of this solution, gently clean the inner ear. It may be difficult to hold the dog still for this procedure, but it doesn’t take long. The result will be clean ears and the avoidance of potential infection and earaches for your dog.

So you see, the quality time you spend bathing your dog will not only make him smell great to you but it will make him FEEL great.  Read more by clicking here.  

You can also click here.

Introducing Brain Training 4 Dogs

This training has changed our lives, family and home. Adrienne Farricelli is a professional dog trainer certified by the CCPDT. Her work has appeared in notable publications such as USA Today, Everydog Magazine, and the APDT Chronicle of the Dog.  If you are ready to find solutions to every problem your pup has  click here to find out more.

What are natural fertilizers?

In a previous post, www. allrescuedogs.com/pet-and-children-friendly-fertilizers/  I talked about dogs and toxic chemicals and fertilizers for our lawns. Now I am going to talk about natural fertilizers and homemade natural fertilizers for our yards and gardens.

What are natural fertilizers?

Natural and organic fertilizer differs from chemicals in that they feed your plants while building the soil. Soils with lots of organic material remain loose and airy, hold more moisture and nutrients, foster growth of soil organisms, and promote healthier plant root development. This helps prevent soil erosion. Natural fertilizer (a.k.an organic fertilizer) includes biodegradable compounds such as green manure, animal waste and compost. Natural fertilizers release chemicals slowly to the soil. That makes them very good for crops or plants like perennials that come back year after year. Natural fertilizers include more nutrients together. They minimize the negative environmental impacts. Natural fertilizers are cheaper than artificial fertilizer and have minimum health hazards.

Why do we need fertilizers?

As plants grow, their roots absorb nutrients from the soil and use them to produce leaves, flowers and fruit. Over time, a plant can exhaust the nutrients in its growing environment. Traditionally, the answer to that problem has been to provide fertilizers, which return essential nutrients to the soil. With growing concerns about the negative effects of fertilizer runoff, however, organic alternatives to fertilizers provide inexpensive, easy and sustainable options.


In nature, composting breaks down dead plant material and returns available nutrients to the soil for use by living plants. Home composting replicates that process, creating humus-rich soil that can be returned to gardens to restore soil nutrients. Home made or natural ingredients include grass clippings, vegetable scraps, coffee grinds and pulled garden weeds. Other ingredients include dead leaves, paper and straw. Add compost on top or mix it into the first few inches of soil for a fertilizer-free way to restore soil nutrients.

BANANA PEELS – Go ahead and dig your plant hole and add one or two peels in the hole before planting. You can also bury peels under mulch so they can compost naturally.

COFFEE GROUNDS – Acid-loving plants such as tomatoes, blueberries, roses and azaleas do well with coffee grounds added to the soil. Sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the ground before watering or pour a liquid version on top of the soil. If using as a soil drench, soak 6 cups of coffee grounds in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Let it sit for 2-3 days and then saturate the soil around your plants.

EGG SHELLS – Wash them first, then crush. Work the shell pieces into the soil near tomatoes and peppers. The calcium helps fend off blossom end rot. Eggshells are 93% calcium carbonate, the same ingredient as lime, a tried and true soil amendment!

SEAWEED – Both fresh and dried versions are considered excellent soil amendments. Seaweed contains trace elements and actually serves as a food source for soil microbes. Chop up a small bucket of seaweed and add it to 5 gallons of water. Let it sit for 2-3 weeks loosely covered. Use it to drench the soil and foliage. 2 cups work well for a small plant, 4 cups for a medium plants and 6 cups for a large plant.

WEEDS – You’ve got your own fertilizer growing under your feet! Nettles, comfrey, yellow dock, burdock, horsetail and chickweed make wonderful homemade fertilizer. There are several ways you can use them to make your own brew or to speed up your compost pile. If your weeds have not gone to flower you can dry them in the sun and chop them up to use as a mulch. They are high in nitrogen and won’t rob your plants of nutrients. Borage (star flower) is a herb. It has many of the same nutritional properties as comfrey.

MOLASSES – Using molasses in compost increases microbes and the beneficial bacteria that microbes feed on. If you want to start out with a simple recipe for molasses fertilizer, mix 1-3 tablespoons of molasses into a gallon of water. Water your plants with this concoction and watch them grow bigger and healthier.

HUMAN URINE – Sounds disgusting, but urine is considered sterile if the body it’s coming from is healthy and free of viruses and infection. High in nitrogen, urea contains more phosphorous and potassium than many of the fertilizers we buy at the store! If serving tomatoes that have been fertilized with pee gives you the “willies”, try it in the compost pile. A good ratio of urine to water would be 1:8. You can collect a cup of urine and pour it into 8 cups of water in a plastic bucket used outside for fertilizing plants. Pour 2 cups around the perimeter of each SMALL plant. For MEDIUM plants add 4 cups and LARGE plants deserve a good 6 cups of your personal home brew. Maybe we can put our animals to use by letting them relieve themselves by plants and then watering the yard!!

GRASS CLIPPINGS – Rich in nitrogen, grass breaks down over time and enhances the soil. Fill a 5 gallon bucket full of grass clippings. You can even add weeds! Weeds soak up nutrients from the soil just as much as grass. Add water to the top of the bucket and let sit for a day or two.

MANURE – With a little effort, you’ll find folks that are giving away composted chicken, horse or cow manure for free. Composted and aged manure is best. Add the composted manure to a small permeable bag made from recycled cloth, e.g., a t-shirt or old towel. Let it steep in the shade for a few days and apply it to your soil to condition it before planting. Bury or discard the used bag. Some people use manure tea to soak bare root roses!

CAT AND DOG FOOD – Depending on the dog food you recycle, this soil amendment may not be organic. However, even the cheap stuff contains protein and micro-nutrients that benefit the soil. To prepare a garden plot for planting, sprinkle dry pet food on the bed, turn the soil and water. Let it decay naturally. To discourage wildlife from visiting for a snack, cover with cardboard until the food decomposes. The cardboard will also trap moisture and discourage weeds. Make sure the cardboard gets wet all the way through and cover with mulch. Water thoroughly every week for four weeks. Soybean meal and alfalfa pellets from the grain store work great too. Sometimes grain stores will sell for cheap or give away spoiled grains. Check the feed for salt content and try not to add pet or animal food considered high in sodium. The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) recommends dry dog food contain a minimum of 3% sodium to support normal growth and development.

WORM CASTINGS or Vermicomposting – As an earthworm feeds on organic matter, it creates castings–small granular droppings–that are rich with nutrients plants need to thrive. A single earthworm produces its weight in castings each day. Kept indoors in a cool, dark place, a worm bin turns discarded kitchen scraps into castings that return essential nutrients to the soil.

Neem-The tropical tree called neem is an effective natural fertilizer. Boil a few leaves of neem in a water pot. Let the boiled water cool down, and then pour it into a spray bottle. Spray evenly on your garden once a week. It will nourish the soil and fight harmful insects, too.

Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is an ancient practice in which a specific plot is planted with successive different crops in order to replenish the nutrients of the soil. Some plants require more of a particular nutrient than others, while other plants return certain nutrients to the soil. Planting many successive crops of a single plant in a single location tends to result in depletion of specific nutrients in that plot of soil. By introducing plants with different needs into the area, depletion are not as severe, giving soil time to recover nutrients needed for healthy plant growth. In a simple crop rotation plan, nitrogen-loving plants, such as tomatoes, should be planted the year after legumes that return nitrogen to the soil. Plants that don’t consume many nutrients, like herbs and root vegetables, grow well when planted after “heavy feeders” like lettuces, according to “Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening.”

Cover Crops

Similar to crop rotation, planting cover crops–also called green manures–involves planting crops that will restore nutrients to the soil. Cover crops are planted during off-seasons, such as the winter or early spring, to return nutrients needed for spring and summer food crops and prevent nutrients from leaching from the soil. Legumes, like clover, are popular choices for winter cover crops up north, as they restore nutrients while also preventing soil erosion. Peas and beans may also be suitable winter cover crops in warmer places. Green mulches are another type of cover crop that are planted in the summer among the vegetable crop. In addition to keeping soil nutrients in balance, green mulches also suppress the growth of weeds.


I think it comes down to what are your concerns and how much time do you have? We use chemical fertilizers because we don’t have the time needed to put into making a homemade compost. Even though it’s rather easy to make a homemade compost, it still takes more time that going to the store to buy chemical fertilizer. Do you have animals and children on your grass or feeding off of your garden? Then the natural fertilizers are your way to go.  When it comes to taking care of your lawn check out www.ourpsgardenwhisperers.com web site and consider hiring them for their yard services.

odorless bully sticks in review

I didn’t even know what a bully stick was until I got Cinnamon. Is it a stick to beat a bully with? Is it a stick that a bully beats with? With my past dogs, bully sticks were not a common chew stick. Raw hide was the favorite treat. Raw hide is out and bully sticks are in.

What is a bully stick and what is it made of?

Well, it’s made of a bull’s penis. Yep….there you go. It’s 100% beef,  does not contain any additives, chemicals, preservatives or coloring. They are also a great source of protein and contain taurine, which is an amino acid that moves important nutrients to and from cells.  These treats are easily digestible, unlike rawhide, which can be hard on your dog’s stomach. Bully sticks break down easily and also do not splinter like many other treats that are on the market so you do not have to worry about broken pieces causing internal injuries. Bully sticks are very good at maintaining good dental health for dogs, and can help prevent tooth decay by stopping the buildup of plaque on the teeth.

Are there any health concerns?

Only for us humans. If you buy a 100% natural ingredient bully stick, it won’t hurt your dog, but during testing, some bully sticks have been found to contain a wide range of bacteria such as Clostridium difficile, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. Dog’s stomachs are different from human digestive systems. They are better able to tolerate bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans. Just make sure you wash your hands carefully after handling them and we won’t get sick either.

Many sizes to fit all sizes

There are many sizes and kinds of bully sticks to fit your dog. Even if your dog is not a chew monster, it will still keep them  busy!!!

These are just several of the different shapes and kinds that are out there.

Now that you know of the perfect treat for your dog…where do you buy them?


buy bully sticks at chewy. for $36.99

buy www.mybullysticks.com‘>bully sticks here. There are all sorts of bully sticks at All-natural dog treats and chews.

Happy, safe chewing!!!

Pet and children friendly fertilizers

In my previous post, www.allrescuedogs/dogs-and-fertilization-how-concerned-should-we-be/.com

I discussed the concern about fertilizing our yards and owning pets. There is some serious concern about the health and safety of our pets if they ingest fertilizer. So, I took on the task to look at different fertilizers to see if there is one that is safe or, at least, safer, for our pets.

Let’s discuss the chemicals in the fertilizers

There is this formula that the companies put on their bags, along with the ingredients. It is the percentage amount of nitrogen-phosphorus and potassium in each bag. Let’s see what each other does for the lawn and what it does to our pups.


For the lawn: Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants. It’s responsible for the beautiful green color that you see in plant stems, for growth of the grass and for your lawn’s appearance of fullness or lushness.

Effect dogs: Weakness, Fatigue, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Depression, Dehydration, Constipation, Weight loss (cachexia)

Loss of appetite (anorexia), Bad breath (halitosis), Muscle wasting, Hypothermia, Poor hair coat, and Unnatural lack of color in the skin,


For the lawn: Phosphorus is involved in the metabolic processes responsible for transferring energy from one point to another in the plant. Energy from the stem can be transferred to the tips of the leaves with the help of phosphorus. It’s also critical in root development and flowering.

Effect dogs: Although there are no specific signs, In acute cases, painful muscular spasms and tremors may be seen.


For the Lawn: Potassium makes lawns resistant to weeds and disease.

Effect dogs: Gastrointestinal – Vomiting, transient diarrhea, and bloody feces.

These ingredients sound pretty horrible for our furry babies. I wanted to research to see if there were any fertilizers out there that are safe for our pets.

These Seven fertilizers claim to be Pet friendly:

Purely Organic Products Lawn Food is a new all-natural fertilizer.

The company claims: “Cost-Effective and Excellent Coverage One 25-pound bag covers up to 5,000 square feet of turf.

Will NOT Burn Your Lawn.

No Harsh Ingredients. (We know that not to be true).

Plant-Based Ingredients. Unlike manure- based and bio solid fertilizers,

No Manure = No Unpleasant Odor.

Lawn Food contains no dangerous chemicals or harmful ingredients”. Let’s decide for ourselves.

The ratio is 10-0-2. That means it has 10% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 2% potassium.

Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer

The company claims: “A superior homogeneous blend of fish meal, fish bone meal, feather meal, potassium sulfate, alfalfa meal, calcium sulfate, seaweed extract, mycorrhizae and beneficial soil microbes. Controls thatch build up by digesting thatch ( Adds life to lawns by providing a broad spectrum of beneficial soil microbes plus three mycorrhizae stains. This ensures nutrients are made available to the grass roots more effectively and at a steady rate.

Greatly enhances the quality of environment for the soil that your lawn grows in

Fast results, plus continuous feeding for up to three months”

The chemical ratio is: 9-3-5. That means it has 9% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 3 % phosphorus and 5% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Ringer Lawn Restore II.

The company claims: “Rich microbial content with readily available plant nutrients for quick green-up and double the coverage area per bag. Lawn Restore II covers up to 5,000 sq. ft. It is a controlled release fertilizer made from organic materials and a blend of beneficial soil microorganisms that provide rapid greening and deep root development for strong, sustainable grass. There’s also no risk of toxic chemical runoff, over application or burning your grass.”

Their ratio is: 10-0-6 That means it has 10% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 6% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Safer® Brand Lawn Restore® Fertilizer

The company claims: “Safer® Brand Lawn Restore® Fertilizer is the answer to lawn revitalization and rejuvenation issues. With 25% more coverage per bag, lower cost, and a more effective formula of 9-0-2, Lawn Restore® is the smart choice for your lawn. Each bag contains up to 6,250 sq ft of coverage and provides all of the nutrients your lawn needs to revitalize to a thick turf in just one product. The NPK ratio of nutrients provides your lawn and soil with the nutrients it needs to promote healthy growth, develop a robust root system, repair a thinning lawn, and alleviate stress conditions throughout the year. When used as directed, Lawn Restore® Fertilizer is safe for children and pets immediately after application.”

*This product is a new and improved version of the former Ringer® Lawn Restore® II Fertilizer. It offers 25% more coverage, a more diverse source of nutrients, and an enhanced microbial blend which remains in suspension until application.

Their ratio is: 9-0-2 That means it has 9% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 2% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Scott’s natural lawn food

The company claims: “4,000 SQFT Coverage, 11-2-2, Natural Lawn Food, Builds A Thick Green Lawn, Safe To Walk On Lawn Immediately After Application, Apply Anytime On Any Grass Type, Can Be Used Around Kids and Pets, All Protein Ingredients, No Manure Smell, Guaranteed.

Their ratio is: 11-2-2 That means it has 11% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 2 % phosphorus and 2% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Pet Safe Lawn Fertilizer 5M,

The company claims: “Builds a thick green lawn, Safe for humans, domestic animals and all wildlife
Simply apply, water and play!”

Their ratio is: 24-0-6 That means it has 24% nitrogen (very harmful to our pups) 0 % phosphorus and 6% potassium (harmful to our pups).

Revive Granules Organic Soil Treatment

The company claims: “formulated to help homeowners grow a thick, green and beautiful lawn. It allows nutrients and air to penetrate deep into soil and works to improve nutrient percolation. It also prevents and corrects iron deficiencies and enhances your lawn’s color. This soil-wetting agent contains surfactants and extracts that are all natural and organic. They are safe for pets, kids and all members of the family.”


                                      My conclusion:

My conclusion is based off of the ratios given for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

Safer® Brand Lawn Restore® Fertilizer

is the safest for our pets and will still give us the green lawn we desire. You can buy this at:



Dogs and yard fertilization, how concerned should we be?

I take my dog for a walk twice a day, everyday, all year long. There are so many things to be concerned about when walking my dog. In the winter, it’s the salt that people put on their sidewalks to melt the ice and snow.  In the summer, it’s the fertilizer that is put on the yard.  It’s not just my neighbors that do it, I do too!  I fertilizer my yard two times per summer. How dangerous is this and how concerned should we be?

Beautiful lush lawns vs safety for our dogs

When we bought a house, we found out very quickly that just watering the lawn wasn’t going to keep it lush, green and weed free.  We needed to fertilize it.  Fertilizers used in our gardens to enhance the beauty and growth of our plants can be very toxic to our pets when ingested or exposed to the skin and mucus membranes. Our dogs walk into the grass and they sniff it in, lick it off the grass or walk on it and later lick it off their paws.  Quite often, the fertilizers that we use are mixed with substances that are more harmful than the fertilizers themselves.

To have both a beautiful lawn and a healthy pup, what can we do?

The dilemma with the application of lawn fertilizer is that it goes exactly where your dog wants to put his nose. Dogs by nature have their noses on the ground, sniffing everything. They like to smell the ground and poke their nose into holes. Trouble is, that is where the fertilizer goes until it is absorbed into the ground for the roots of your lawn to convert to food for the grass.  Some fertilizer residues can stay in toxic form for days to weeks.

Lawn fertilizers carry nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, all of which cause irritation to a dog’s stomach when ingested. Some of the additives that may be present in fertilizer are: Iron Disulfoton (responsible for seizures and pancreatitis) Copper Zinc Phosphorous and Ammonium (irritates skin and lungs).

Fertilizer and symptoms of ingestion

Ingestion of insecticides and herbicides can cause bladder cancer in our dogs. A case of mild exposure to fertilizer can result in burns on the pads of the feet (if your pet walked through or rolled in your fertilizer application) or irritation to the mouth or eyes. Lawn fertilizers can cause skin irritation in dogs. While it’s unlikely an ingestion of these elements will cause death, they were never intended to be in your dog’s digestive system. They will most likely cause him a moderate to severe stomachache and bring on vomiting and diarrhea. A dog ingesting larger amounts of phosphorus and potassium commonly reacts by being lethargic.

Tell me more!!!

When our furry family members come in contact with fertilizer products, the effects can range from mild to severe. Depending on the length of time of contact and how the fertilizer poisoning occurred, complications may include oral burns and stomach irritation. The accidental ingestion of fertilizer by your dog means that he has eaten a product that can possibly contain harmful substances (herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides) in addition to the compounds (phosphorous, iron, nitrogen) which are toxic when consumed in large amounts. In addition to vomiting and breathing difficulties, fertilizers can cause ulceration in the gastrointestinal tract and burns on the skin. If you suspect that your dog has eaten fertilizer, or of you have recently used the product in your garden and he is acting ill, a visit to the clinic is warranted without delay.

We want both worlds!!

Since pet owners want both worlds — a lush lawn and a protected dog, several manufacturers of lawn care products now produce fertilizers that are considered organic or “more safe” for lawns frequented by our pups. Even when marketed as “safe,” some of these lawn applications may still contain elements that could be harmful to our dogs. Thoroughly check the labels to determine the safety of a product. It can take a bit of searching to find a truly pet-safe lawn fertilizer, according to Gardening Central. Some fertilizers are clearly marked as “not safe” while others have no declaration either way.

Keep Off The Grass

The Dog Owner’s Guide suggests keeping pets off treated grass for 24 hours, as nitrogen can burn the pads of a dog’s foot. The guide also recommends keeping pets indoors during application to prevent an airborne inhalation or skin contact.

In the case of liquid fertilizer, the SFGate states that dogs should be kept off of lawns until the grass is visibly dry. For granular fertilizer, keeping dogs away from grass for 24 hours allows enough time for the soil to absorb the pellets.

What to do if you suspect your dog has come in contact with fertilizer.

Bring him to the veterinarian to determine the level of toxicosis. In the case of a basic fertilizer, the symptoms are mostly gastrointestinal and often will resolve within a day or two. It’s best to have your pet checked and be sure to bring along the container or product leaflet so the veterinarian can verify the ingredients of the product. If the fertilizer contains herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides the situation may become more urgent because the toxic effects of fertilizer containing these additives are much harsher. The veterinarian will base the diagnosis on clinical signs (vomiting, dermal ulcers) and may want to do additional urinalysis and blood testing (to check toxicity levels or to look for signs of secondary illness like pancreatitis), depending on the type of fertilizer.

Treatment will vary depending on factors such as the type of fertilizer exposure or ingestion, how much of the product was eaten, and how long the fertilizer was on the skin. Treatment for fertilizer poisoning in the case of additional herbicides and pesticides will vary due to the product.

Be safe this summer with our pups

Review of the Top four high rated dog foods

I want my dog to eat healthy food. It’s really important to me that it’s high quality food for the price I pay. I’m going to review 4 brand name dog foods. Three of them are expensive, one of them is average. I wanted to see if I really need to pay a lot of money to buy good quality food.

Blue Buffalo dog food. Is it worth the ticket price?

I chose to review Blue Buffalo dog food first because I buy this brand for Cinnamon, my dog. I started buying it because I heard it was a good quality dog food and when Cinnamon ate it, she didn’t get sick. I know that’s not great research based information to buy dog food on but I was satisfied with my choice at the time.

The story behind Blue buffalo is pretty cool. They came up with the idea when Blue was struggling with cancer.  Blue is Bill and Jackie’s large breed Airedale. Blue’s struggle  prompted them to take a serious interest in a wide range of pet health issues, and inspired the Bishop family to make a super-premium pet food using only the finest natural ingredients starting with real chicken, lamb or fish. Working with a leading holistic veterinarian and animal nutritionist, the Bishops developed BLUE Life Protection Formula® for dogs and cats. This is a picture of Blue.

Brand line includes: Blue Buffalo BLUE Life Protection, Blue Buffalo Freedom, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Blue Buffalo Basics, Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipes, Blue Buffalo Divine Delights, Blue Buffalo BLUE Chunky Stew, and a variety of Blue Buffalo treats for cats and dogs

Let’s look at the ingredients in Blue.

high-quality proteins such as deboned chicken, lamb, or fish.

-Fat sources are from wholesome vegetable oils like sunflower, canola and flax seed, and quality fish oils from herring and salmon. Chicken fat is also a prominent ingredient.

Carbohydrates sources include whole grains, like brown rice, barley and oats, these are excellent low-fat sources of highly-digestible complex carbohydrates. Whole grains are also a rich source of dietary fiber — both soluble and insoluble — which is crucial for healthy intestinal function. They only use quality whole grains and never any corn, wheat, or soy.

Fruits and Vegetables sources include peas, potatoes and carrots because they are great sources of Vitamin A, while blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Cinnamon loves to eat raw carrots when I am munching on some myself.

-Vitamins and Minerals they use are manganese, iron, potassium, copper, and calcium and phosphorus. These vitamins are combined with “chelated” minerals that is “attached” to easily absorbable amino acids, which means they will get into your pet’s bloodstream more readily.

Now this was interesting. Blue has something called LifeSource Bits®

You know when you go to a health food store and want to buy omega 3 or fish oil and it’s cold pressed?   The whole food industry says that cold pressing keeps the vitamins intact and retains their nutritional value. Blue took on that same mind set when they added vitamins to their LifeSource Bits.  When the company was developing BLUE, they learned that other pet foods cook their added vitamins and minerals right along with the rest of their ingredients. This process can degrade the potency of important antioxidants like Vitamin C up to 75%. So, Blue decided to cold press their vitamins into their LifeSource Bits.  Now our dog’s vitamins are preserved of their potency so that they can enjoy the full benefit of all vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These include ingredients help support your dog’s or cat’s immune system, support their specific life stage requirements and help maintain a healthy oxidative balance.

What’s Not In BLUE

-Chicken or Poultry By-Product Meals. The definition of Poultry By-Product Meals, as stated in the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) Publication 2009 reads, “Poultry [Chicken] By-Product Meal consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. If the product bears a name descriptive of its kind [i.e. “Chicken By-Product Meal”] the name must correspond thereto.” This sounds like the human version of a poor quality hot dog for people.

-Corn wheat or Soy Proteins (Glutens)

-Artificial Colors, Flavors, or Preservatives

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? I’m really fascinated by the Life Bits. One important thing we need to look at is how many times was a product recalled? My stomach lurches when I hear this on any product, people or animal food. Blue has recalled various products 7 times since 2007. It has never been recalled for lead. Some recalls were for “potential” dangers, another was for poor packaging. You can buy Blue at Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Dog Food – Natural Dry Dog Food for Adult Dogs – Chicken and Brown Rice – 30 lb. Bag‘ rel=”noopener noreferrer” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>amazon.com or chewy.com

My second review is on Merrick dog food.

Merrick was born over 30 years ago in Garth Merrick’s family kitchen in Hereford, Texas. That’s when Garth began home-cooking food for his beloved dog, Gracie, to make sure she was eating the most wholesome and nutritious food possible.

Brand line includes: Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Real Chicken Recipe, Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Real Salmon Recipe, Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Beef Pâté, Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain Free Beef Wellington, Merrick Chunky Colossal Chicken Dinner Grain Free Recipe

Let’s look at the ingredients in Merrick.

  • Real Meats: Their recipes start with real, protein-packed high-quality USDA certified meats and fresh caught fish to support the growth of lean muscle, improved skin and coat health, and a healthy immune system
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: They use whole apples, potatoes, baby carrots, blueberries and other real fruits and vegetables filled with the fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • The Ideal Combination of Protein and Healthy Fats to help maintain optimal weight and increased energy
  • Industry-Leading Levels of Omega-6 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids for healthy skin and shiny coat
  • Top Levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin to support healthy bones and joints
  • Real Meat Proteins, Apples, Blueberries and other whole foods to support a healthy digestive tract

That’s all the details I could find on their site. It doesn’t get as detailed as Blue does. It doesn’t seem to include as many vitamins and we don’t know if the fruits and vegetables are organic. It doesn’t mention their carbohydrates in their ingredient list. So, I’m not sure about corn fillers, etc. Although on certain products it does say grain free.

They have had 4 recalls since August 2010. One was due to high levels of beef thyroid and the other 3 were salmonella

Next up…Wellness dog food. You can buy Merrick dog food at Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food, 25 Lbs.‘ rel=”noopener noreferrer” data-wplink-url-error=”true”>amazon.com or chewy.com. It is $59 at both places for a single purchase.

Next up…Wellness dog food

In the 1990s, the Wellness team began working with animal nutrition experts, veterinarians and scientists to develop a food that would revolutionize the pet food industry. The result was Wellness. They’re goal was to represent a new generation in natural pet food.

Brand line includes: Wellness Puppy Deboned Chicken, Oatmeal & Salmon Meal Recipe for Dogs, Wellness Lamb & Barley Recipe for Dogs, Wellness Senior Deboned Chicken & Barley Recipe for Dogs, Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Recipe, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Wild Game Formula, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Kitten Formula

The following is a list of their ingredients:

-deboned chicken, whitefish, duck, lamb, eggs, salmon

-tomatoes, potato

-chick peas, oatmeal

-flaxseed, canola oil, or chicory root

They have their grain-free options. Their site didn’t mention any vitamins or minerals that were added. It seems to me they focus on being holistic and all natural.

They have had 5 recalls since Feb. 2011. They were due to either salmonella, moisture contamination or elevated levels of beef thyroid hormone.

You can buy Wellness dog food atWellness Complete Health Natural Dry Dog Food, Chicken & Oatmeal, 30-Pound Bag‘ rel=”noopener noreferrer” data-wplink-url-error=”true”> amazon.com or chewy.com. It is $54 at both shops.

Royal Canin specializes their food according to breeds

When I had a lab and a retriever, we used Royal Canin. My dogs were from a breeder and Royal Canin was the food of choice. They target their food to the specific need of each breed.

Jean Cathary was born in May 1927 in the small French town of Puy-en-Velay. He started his veterinary career working with horses and bulls. Over the years he came to believe that food could impact the health of animals. In 1968, he created the ‘yellow soup’ for dogs. The ROYAL CANIN® brand is registered.

ingredients list:-

– chicken by-product meal,

– oat groats, brewers rice, wheat, corn gluten meal, Brown rice, wheat gluten

-chicken fat, fish oil, vegetable oil,

-natural flavors, powdered cellulose,

-dried plain beet pulp, dried tomato pomace,

-Lots of preservatives

I’m certainly glad I switched to Blue with my current dog, Cinnamon. Seems to have a lot of fillers. They did state in the beginning that this is a science based dog food. They never claimed to be all natural. I could not currently find any recalls.

You can buy Royal Canine atRoyal Canin Size Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food, 14 Lb‘ rel=”noopener noreferrer” data-wplink-url-error=”true”> Amazon.com or chewy.com. It is $36 on amazon and $35 on Chewy. But these prices vary to what breed dog you need to buy for.

These four dog foods were top rated on Chewy.

I am sold on Blue because they are so transparent with their ingredients list and how they make their food. Plus, I think Life Bits adds that extra nutrition to their food. I’m willing to pay more for my dog food because I do believe that it makes a difference in the quality of life for Cinnamon.

Timid or anxiety behavior, are they the same?

        How to help your dog

How do you know if your pup is just timid or has anxiety?

Timid behavior

Where did you get your pup from? Was it a rescue? Was it a kennel? Was it a puppy mill? Or was it a breeder? No matter where you got him from, If he wasn’t socialized well before he was 4 months old, there’s a good chance he’ll be shy and timid. He may tuck his tail between his legs, avoid eye contact, hide in a corner or behind the sofa or even pee on the carpet. These are all signs that your dog is scared, nervous and submissive. If he was ignored or abused as a pup, it could lead him to have a fear of humans. He may not be shy in all situations — he may enjoy attention from you, but hide from other family members or the playful dog next door.

Anxiety behavior

Dogs that experience anxiety may display their stress in very different ways. Some symptoms like panting or shaking, are subtle and can be easily missed or dismissed because they are normal in other circumstances. Other more noticeable symptoms include aggression and excessive barking. Pet owners may mistake such symptoms as their pet simply acting out due to boredom or other behavioral causes. But if these symptoms occur in common situations, like during a thunderstorm or when pet owners leave the house, it can indicate that the dog is responding to anxiousness and stressful feelings. If your dog acts like this around certain people this can also be anxiety. When my son had a studio in our basement, his band members would come in through the garage door and walk through my dog’s “space”. She would bark and the ridge on her back would go up. She was very anxious about all of these teenage boys invading her space.

Subtle symptoms of anxiety

Some of the less obvious symptoms of anxiety manifest as a slight change in behavior. These symptoms can go unnoticed by pet owners as they are not disruptive. We may just think that these symptoms are our pets personalities. It may be something deeper. These symptoms include:

  • Hiding or solitude:

Some dogs want to be alone when they are experiencing anxiety. They may hide out of fear, or move away from people and other pets. Sydney will go into her cage. While her cage is her safe zone, there are days when she won’t come out. We do not lock her cage, so she can go in and out of it freely, but I’m still concerned she spends so much time in her cage.

  • Seeking comfort:

Other anxious dogs will have the opposite reaction, and seek more attention or affection. They may jump in their pet parent’s lap or require more attention. When Sydney is anxious because my Cinnamon is visiting (Sydney is my daughter’s dog), Sydney will bolt up into my lap. It’s like a power move. She almost knocked me over one time! She lies on my chest in fear and will barely move her head back and forth to look around.

  • Shaking and panting:

Dogs that shake or pant, or act generally nervous may be experiencing anxiety. While panting after exercise or in the heat is normal, panting during a loud fireworks display is likely not.

  • Excessive licking or chewing:

Anxious dogs may compulsively lick or chew at their fur. Booper, another dog of my daughter’s, will lick a spot on his body clean of fur. It is by his hip. She put s a neck collar around him and that helps. It is called an E-komg (for Dogs and Cats). It really works! It’s like having a pillow collar around our necks when we travel.


Overt Symptoms of Anxiety

The more noticeable symptoms of anxiety are hard to miss. Depending on the cause of the anxiety, these behaviors may only appear when dogs are triggered by their phobia.
Excessive barking and howling:
One of the most obvious signs of anxiety is excessive noise. If a pet starts to bark because of a loud noise or interruption and cannot be easily calmed, even after the disruption stops, they may be feeling anxiety.

  • Aggression:

Anxious dogs may become suddenly aggressive, even to their pet parent. Anxious dogs may suddenly snap, growl, or show signs of aggression. They seem jumpy and agitated.

  • Try to escape:

Dogs that feel trapped or enclosed may start digging or running. Enclosing dogs in crates may worsen their anxiety in these situations.

  • Excessive energy:

Anxious dogs sometimes display a surge of energy and appear hyperactive. We had my nephew’s dog stay with us for 3 months. His name was Strider. Strider never sat down. He would pace and jump onto the couch and then off of the couch. My daughter has another rescue dog named Sonny. Sonny can walk down the stairs but not up the stairs. So, if he is down the stairs and we are up stairs, he will pace and pace and pace. Sydney will actually walk in circles.

  • Excretion:

House-trained dogs may suddenly defecate indoors when they are under duress. You see this happening with pups when they get over excited too. When we would leave my lab at home, he would jump knock the gate over, run into my son’s room and pee on his dresser. Same spot, every time. He was 110 pounds. That was a lot of urine.


A common symptom of anxiety is destruction of furniture or other objects that they normally do not chew or shred. It’s common to come home and the dog has gotten into the garbage. This is not what we are talking about. We are talking about ripping pillow apart, gnawing on furniture or even chewing on the gate.

  • Panic attacks:

Dogs that experience any number of these symptoms may start to have panic attacks. Panic attacks can last from minutes to hours, and can involve any number of the above symptoms.

Symptoms of anxiety, like destruction of objects and high energy, can result in self-injury. The mental and physical stress that dogs endure while suffering from anxiety is also taxing, and should not go untreated.

Managing an anxious dog


Even for people the first answer to dealing with stress, anxiety or depression is to add exercise to your daily routine. In recent years lack of movement for people have contributed to not only weight gain but to the way we handle our stress.

The same is true for our dogs. Movement is the key ingredient to a happy healthy dog and the lack of it contributes to far greater behavior challenges than most dog owners are aware.

Exercise for a fearful or anxious dog is on the very top of the list when it comes to changing this behavior to confidence and the ability to deal with daily routines in a much more relaxed manner. Finding ways to get an anxious dog exercise can be challenging when the fear stems from other people, dogs or unexpected external noises.

Treadmill Dog Training

The treadmill for a fearful or anxious dog is a solution well worth looking into for a variety of reasons. First creating a safe environment for a dog suffering from fear starts everyone off on the right paw. Secondly it is a way to incorporate exercise as a stress reliever while creating a mind that can open to learning by taking the overanxious edge off through movement . Once a fearful dog gets the chance to burn off the nervous energy that stores itself only to come out as bad behavior the road to leaving the fear behind can begin.

Other benefits to training a fearful dog on a treadmill are really about gaining your own confidence as well. Many people suffer from feeling the judgment of others while trying to get a dog with issues “over it” out on a public trail or park. Dogs who are fearful, shy or overly anxious can look to others as though they have been “abused” or you aren’t being nice to the dog. In most cases this is far from the truth and stops the process of getting a dog out and moving as much as possible.

Exercise and movement take the edge off of anxiety for both people and dogs. Treadmill training for dogs not only gives a dog who needs to move through fear the chance to get enough exercise but it has in fact, gotten most dogs to a place where confidence and balance returns and a dog who wasn’t socially able to function well becomes happy and integrated into regular life activities.


Trouble walking your dog?

On almost every walk in my neighborhood I see at least one dog that has trouble leash walking. What I mean by this is the dog barks and lunges at every person and other dog they see. What’s worse is, it’s my dog! Just because I want my dog to walk well on the leash, isn’t going to make it happen. So many times I find myself rearranging my schedule to avoid ” the best time of the day” walks or avoiding a walk altogether because I’m not up to the challenge of managing my dogs behavior. It becomes a vicious cycle-with a lack of both exercise and stimulation leading to my dog who is harder to handle when she is taken on walks. So, the walks tend to go towards walking into more secluded areas and the problem with socialization increases.

Why do some dogs have this problem and others don’t?

I can’t speak for every dog but some probably feel trapped when they’re on a leash and are approached with another dog. They don’t feel free to run away if they need to. Dogs who explode at other dogs for this reason are behaving as though their best defense is a good offense. “I’ll get you before you get me”. I know this is part of Cinnamin’s problem. If we have plenty of space to move over, she does much better.

Another reason why a dog maybe nervous when another dog approaches them is because they may have been traumatized by another dog and are now afraid of approaching dogs. We may never know this with a rescue pup.

Perhaps your dog never had a chance to be properly socialized around unfamiliar dogs, and is only comfortable with familiar dogs. Some dogs may be naturally shy around any unfamiliar dog, even though their owners have provided them opportunities to socialize.

Genetics play an important role in all aspects of canine behavior, and shyness is highly heritable, causing even some well-socialized dogs to be nervous around unfamiliar dogs.

Not all reactive dogs are afraid of other dogs. Some dogs get so excited when they see another dog that they work themselves into a frenzy. A high level of emotional arousal, combined with frustration of being on a leash and not being able to interact, is a common factor that motivates some dogs to bark and lunge. A dog may start out by charging forward to try to play with another dog, but when they leash stops them, over and over, he/she may learn to associate feeling frustrated with the approach of another dog. This is sort of like “road rage” for humans. We get into our car, thinking “today will be the day for a smooth ride to work”. Then we hit the traffic or weather or construction AGAIN and we just lose it. Frustration sets in. Dogs may begin by trying to run over to play with a buddy, but after months and years of being restricted, their enery and frustration can spiral into a mess of emotions….like humans with their “road rage”.

Another explanation for dogs who bark and lunge at others is a learned association between seeing another dog and the aversive feeling associated of getting choked by the collar. It’s easy to imagine a dog thinking, in some canine kind of way, “I always get hurt when I see another dog on leash, so go away!” So let’s look at this successful idea that hopefully will help make walks so much calmer and nicer for both you and your dog.

“Watch” command for a safer, calmer, no road-rage walk

The watch command gives your dog something other to do than bark and lunge. We have to give our dogs another option to the aggressive behavior. All they know isn’t working well for them or us. The watch command has them look to us to see what they want us to do. It has them refocus, on us, their master aka, the alpha of us two. Now our pup is no longer being stimulated by another dog walking by revving up out of control. She/he is now focused on our face, calming down and happily anticipating a wonderful treat (be it food or praise). This maybe very hard to imagine, but what do you have to lose by training your dog and yourself a new behavior strategy to make a seriously stressful walk a more calming one?

Start teacher Watch in a quiet place where they are no distractions. Say “Watch” and wave a moist, smelly piece of food an inch away from your dog’s nose. Bring the hand with the food up to your face to lure your dog’s eyes up to yours. You can encourage this behavior by smooching or clicking your tongue or moving away a step or two. Once your hand is up by your face, encourage eye contact between you and your dog by smiling, cocking your head, wiggling your finger beside your eye and praising with “Good dog, Good dog.” Use a voice that is both calm and happy.

After a second or two, say “okay” to release your dog, then give your dog the treat. Be sure you don’t move the treat away from your face before you have told your dog, “okay”. If you do, your dog will think the movement is the release, and that could cause trouble later. Don’t worry if the dog is watching the treat and not your eyes, eventually we’ll get to that. Have your hand movement consistent. Always go from their nose to your eyes.

After you say “okay”, either hand your dog her treat, or toss it on the ground. Some dogs have a hard time staying still and focusing on your face when they’ve seen another dog, and even the best treat in the world is barely enough for them. These dogs do best if the reinforcement for turning their head toward yours is a quick run in the other direction.

Once you and your dog have mastered Watch in a quiet place with little distractions, start asking for Watch with mild distractions. As soon as Watch is going well at moderate levels of distraction, start asking for it when your dogs sees anther dog. Of course, be in control of the situation. You want it to be a success so only ask for a Watch if another dog is far enough away that your dog will see him, but not go crazy. Try to anticipate the moment your dog is about to turn her head toward the other dog, and say “watch” the microsecond she’s actually looking toward the dog. Your goal at this stage of training is to set up situations where your dog sees another dog at a distance far enough away that she can still concentrate, to say Watch immediately each time she looks at the other dog, and make her very glad she did. If she looks back at the other dog, that just gives you another time to practice!

Right think out the training progression. You need to train your dog from no stimulation to everyday walk situations slowly. You don’t want to blow the training you’ve started! Be very patient. I suggest the following…

-in the house, when no one else is around and you both can focus on each other.

-now go into a room with a window and have the window open. My dog loves to watch out the window, so this could be a distraction.

-In the back or front yard at a quiet time, with no one in sight.

-In the back or front yard when it’s a bit busier with a bird or squirrel.

-In the house when one other person is present but doing their own thing.

-In the house when several other people are present

-In the front yard when someone else is outside

-In the front yard when someone else and their pooch is outside

-On the sidewalk, as your dog walks toward a dog she is friendly with, who is 25 yards away.

-on the sidewalk, as your dog sees a dog who she’s charged at numerous times in the past, who is a block away.

-In the backyard as a squirrel rushes past.

-on the sidewalk, when your dog looks at an unfamiliar dog who is 30 feet away walking toward you both.

-On the sidewalk, when an unfamiliar dog walks by.


This really does work. Your dog is worth it! Keep at it! It seems tedious but it will all be worth it in the end!