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 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 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 at 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 at 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!

Review of the top carpet cleaners for pets

A carpet cleaner should come standard with a pet!  Whether it be mud tracked in, drool, body odors or urination, a pet owner will have to clean their carpets!  Not all carpet cleaners are created equal and it’s important to use one that extracts all of the water and bodily fluids out of the carpet.  There are two types of carpet cleaners when it comes to pets.  One is the carpet cleaner that is more of a steamer and cleans the whole carpet, the other is a spot cleaner. The spot cleaner works really well with the urination accidents.  Throughout the rest of this post, I will review the cleaners that I own or know of someone who owns one.

My top pick is a bissell.

The BISSELL DeepClean Deluxe Pet 36Z9 is among the most preferred and best carpet cleaners for pet stains.It is light weight, weighing 32 pounds. The cleaner’s innovative clean shot trigger directly formulates the stains targeted for removal.  The pet hair collector basket makes things easy by trapping and disposing the debris and pet hair within the basket.  This is extremely convenient.  The basket detaches and be taken to the garbage can, cleaned out and rinsed clean.  On the other hand, the stain trapper collects pet messes in a container and the dual powered brushes with the help of 12 cleaning rows pulls deep dirt from the carpet. Water temperature is maintained constantly while cleaning because of the heat wave technology.  This machine is easy to fill with water and cleaning solution in one compartment.  The dirty water is then suctioned into another separate compartment.  This machine is easy to take apart and clean.  The cleaning goes from edge to edge of the machine, making it easy to get up close to the baseboard.  One of the most important things to look at is the suction.  The suction has to be powerful in order to get the water, cleaning solution and urine/mess out of the carpet. 

    buy here:   ‘>

    Second pick

    This is a Hoover.  Hoover’s have been around for years and years.  This steam cleaner has a powerful name brand behind it.  If you’re looking for a carpet cleaner that does more than eliminate pet stains and odors, Hoover Power Scrub Elite is the best choice.

    A cleaner made for high traffic areas, the Hoover Power Scrub Elite is always ready to take care of pet hair and dander, dirt, grimes and stains. This machine can be used in three ways: deep cleaning, quick cleaning, and rinsing. To effectively eliminate embedded dirt and stains, you simply switch it to the ‘deep clean’ mode. If you’re in a rush, go for the ‘quick clean’ mode with heat force that speeds up the drying time to 45 minutes, letting you set foot on the carpet in no time. If you like to wash the carpets with soap and water, set it to ‘rinse mode’, or if you want to remove soap residue just rinse with water.

    Furthermore, the tank of this cleaner is 25% larger so you won’t have to refill it more often. It also comes with a concentrated cleaning formula that sanitizes and deodorizes pet waste and urine while being phosphate-free and septic safe.

    buy a hoover here… ‘>

      Next is the Rug doctor

      Rug doctor is one of the top names in carpet steam cleaning!  This one is a hand held one that targets those specific messes.  The Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner is designed to battle dirt and grime, this cleaning machine is a powerful and portable cleaner at your fingertips for all of those spots your full-size carpet cleaner won’t reach. Built with 2 times the suction capabilities and a powerful motorized brush that moves 1,200 times per minute, this spot cleaner deep cleans each carpet fiber and breaks down stains confidently—leaving no dirt or debris behind.  It is built with a 10 amp motor for twice the suction power than most other portable spot cleaners.  This is huge!!! Suction is the number one key component in carpet cleaning!  The powerful oscillating motorized brush can be used on stairs, carpet, area rugs, upholstery and car interior.  The Removable, clear water tanks let you see when it’s time to refresh the cleaning solution and are easy to wash.  It’s nice to have the upright cleaning machines when cleaning the whole carpet, but I definitely get out my hand held cleaners for those isolated areas!

      buy here:   ‘>

        Finally, a Spot bot

           This is a Bissell Spot Bot.  This is a must have!!!! You set it in place, over the stain, turn it on and you can walk away.  It has a beeping noise when it’s done.  It’s sooooo nice because it does the work for you! 

        This machine is equipped with two preset cleaning cycles, this easy-to-use portable carpet cleaner automatically sprays, brushes, and suctions to remove both surface pet stains and tough, set-in stains. Its unique cleaning foot with DeepReach Technology delivers water and cleaning formula deep into carpet fibers and gently scrubs for permanent pet-stain removal. For ultimate versatility, BISSELL SpotBot Pet features an easy-to-use, on-board hose and tool to clean pet messes on upholstery, stairs, auto interiors, and other hard-to-reach areas. To be honest, I never used the on-board hose.  But the rest of the machine works like magic!!!  Bissell is donating $10 to the BISSELL Pet Foundation™ with purchase.  This machine also comes with a 2 year warranty.

          buy here… ‘>

          Along with buying a vacuum that picks up pet hair, a carpet steamer/cleaner is a must!

          With our furry family members, especially rescue, there are going to be messes and accidents.  I don’t want anyone to walk into my house and be able to SMELL that I have dogs.  The trick with the wet messes is to get to them before they dry.  Shampooing and suctioning back up pet urine when it’s wet is so much more effective than getting to it after it’s dried.  When looking for a machine, I first look for great suction and cleaning ability and then I look to see if the machine is easy to clean itself.  I don’t want something with too  many parts or too many screws to take a part.  If that’s the case, I just won’t use it.  I steam clean my whole carpet 3 times a year and now that Cinnie is house broken completely, I only have to use my hand-helds when my daughter’s dogs visit!  Sometimes Cinnie has a poop accident in the house if there has been several days of rain or thunderstorms.  Cinnie HATES water/rain/thunderstorms.  So, I ended up using my hand held for more poop accidents than urine accidents.  I simply clean up as much of the poop itself with a tissue and throw it in the toilet.  Then I set to work cleaning with one of my hand helds.  

          Happy cleaning!!!!

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          Best vacuums to remove pet hair.

          Pet hair on my clothes, on my rug, on my couch, on my counter and dare I say, yes, my tongue! During that season when my dogs shed it’s horrible.  I can’t even pet them and dog hair goes floating into the air, the floor and my clothes.  I walk across the carpet and my socks have hair clinging to them!  I brush Cinnamon but I just can’t seem to get all the hair off of her.  I suppose I should get my ducts cleaned once a year too but I don’t.  That’s why for me, it’s really important to have a good vacuum.

          Chasing pet hair piles and how to clean them efficiently!

                I keep falling in love with dogs that shed!

          I am a vacuum junky

          I love vacuums and I have one for each floor of my house, including my basement.  I also have a separate one for my hardwood floors and my carpets and my stairs!!!

          The following are my reviews on vacuums that help remove pet hair.

          Strongest suction of any vacuum!This is a dyson.

          This is my number one pick for the price.  I own this dyson.

          -Even more power for tough tasks

          -Self-adjusting cleaner head

          -Seals in suction across carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile floors

          -Tangle-free Turbine tool, stair tool, combination tool included.

          -empty the bin with the push of a button

          -It is light weight

          -All the rounded edges make it very movable and easy to manage.

          -there are all sorts of joints that can be easily pulled apart and cleaned!

          This can be a pro or a con….There isn’t a bag… it’s a canister.  I have learned that the filter needs to be cleaned on canisters monthly.

          Buy a dyson here:                                            ‘>

          This is a Riccar vacuum cleaner and this is my second choice.

          I own this vacuum too.  The only reason that this is my second choice is because it’s not as easy to manuever as the dyson and it’s heavier than the dyson.

          Riccar canister vacuums are suited to homes with a variety of flooring surfaces. With various nozzle options and floor attachments, Riccar canisters easily move from carpet to hard floors. In my house I have hardwood floors throughout on the main floor with area rugs in each room. It’s so convenient to have a vacuum that easily moves from a rug to a hardwood floor.

          -The attachment hose actually pulls out with a push of a button, to be longer so it’s very easy to clean areas that are higher.  It’s  available to tackle every cleaning task.

          Again…pro or con…This vacuum has a bag.  I like having both.  The bags that go with the Riccar are HEPA and allergy free. The bags are part of a bigger filtration system that the vacuum is known for itself.

          Buy a Riccar here:                                             ‘>

          You may ask why I own so many different brands of vacuums.  Each vacuum seems to offer something different.  I am a tall person so it’s important to me to be able to clean the walls and the corners near the ceiling.  I want to have a vacuum that has a hose that reaches high easily.

          I remember the vacuums of yesteryear when we would have to dust after we vacuum because the bags would leak so much dust!  We’ve come along way with good suction and good construction!

          My next choice is this Hoover. 

          I used to own a Hoover for 20 years!  Who doesn’t love a Hoover!

          • -This Hoover is their best-cleaning bagless upright vacuum.
          • -Quick pass brush roll provides 2x faster cleaning
          • – clean surface debris without having to pass over the same area multiple times
          • -WindTunnel 3 technology
          • – creates 3 channels of suction to lift and remove surface debris and deep down embedded dirt.
          • 40 foot cord length – continuously clean from room to room without re-plugging
          • Includes pivoting dusting tool, pet Turbo tool, telescoping extension Wand and crevice tool. Dirt Cup Capacity: 1.42 Liters, Nozzle Width: 15 inches
          • 7-Position Height Adjustment – Settings easily adjust from deep carpet to hard floor surfaces

          A Hoover has been around for a very long time!  It used to have all medal parts.  That was when appliances lasted a life time! It was my very first vacuum! Hoover was known as top of the line for years.  It still is an amazing vacuum.  With the advancement of technology Hoover has kept right up including the “new” wind tunnel advancements.

          Buy a Hoover here… ‘>

          This is a Bissell.

          While I’ve never owned a bissel vacuum cleaner, I own a bissell steam carpet cleaner                                     and love it!!  Along with vacuuming pet hair, pet stains are a major issue!  I have two Bissell’s that I use for removing pet stains.  Although, that is not what I am reviewing here, I love the Bissell brand!

          • -Maximize pet hair removal with triple action brush roll + scatter-free technology-Automatic cord rewind with 27’ power cord so you never have to wrap a cord again
          • -Swivel steering for easy cleaning around furniture and obstacles
          • -Edge-to-edge cleaning with powerful edge suction and edge sweep bristles to clean edges and corners
          • -Specialized pet tools include pet hair corner tool and pet turbo eraser tool to lift dirt and hair from stairs, carpet, and upholstery

          buy a bissell here:                                             ‘>

          I truly love my Cinnamon, but this dog hair thing really bothers me!  I hope the review of these vacuums help you and I hope you leave a comment telling me what your favorite vacuum is for pet hair!

                         I love my pup but I don’t love wearing her hair!

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          Canine fashion career?

          The new and upcoming trend is canine fashion career! There is a college in New York City, Fashion Institute of Technology, that is known as one of the world’s leading higher educational facilities for fashion design. It offers a certificate program in Pet Product Design and Marketing. The brainchild of Professor Janet Brav and Assistant Professor Deborah David, the noncredit program offers six courses, including Pet Accessory Design Studio and Quick Sketching for the Pet Product Business.

          Is there a market for dog clothes??

          Sydney our model!

          Overall spending in the pet industry is at an all-time high, according to the American Pet Products Association. Canine couture and high-end fashion for discriminating dogs took quite a bite out of the nearly $51 billion spent in 2011 on our pets.

          If you are looking for a new business, this maybe the one for you!

          So you want dabble in buying clothes?

          What size is my dog? Does it go by breed or weight?

          It goes by measurement. How do I measure my dog? Here’s how: With the dog standing up, run a tape measure from the base of the dog’s neck (where the collar would sit) and to the base of the tail. The majority of dog clothes use this measurement. Knowing your dog’s chest measurement will ensure a good fit, too. Take the tape measurement and wind it around your dog’s chest. Most serious dog clothiers will have a measurement chart. Go to Chewy.com. They offer a wide variety of cute clothes!

          Can you resist this?h

          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!!

          Dog aggression with food and territory

          Dog aggression with food and treats can be scary. The lip goes up, the ears go back, the growl sounds, and for Cinnamon, the hairs all along her back go up.

          What is dog aggression with food?

          Dog aggression with food can happen when you put the food in your dog’s dish and he starts to eat. When you approach them to put more food in or just simply get too close, they stiffen up, hover closer over the food, start baring their teeth and a low growl starts in their throat.

          This can also happen with a bone, toys or treats. Your dog is happily chewing on their bone. When someone gets too close, they start to growl.

          I have even seen it happen with people. A dog is sitting on their owners lap and another person or dog comes close and they start to growl, bark and bare their teeth.

          In Cinnamon’s situation, she “guards” or has aggression with her space. Her space is our family room. Specifically, the couch she likes to lay on. She’s also not fond of people walking through the family room too. Strangers are the only people that Cinnamon has this aversion with. She doesn’t growl or bark at friends and family members. Now, this is a touch one because this is what I want, right? I want Cinnamon to guard our house. I take great comfort in the fact that when my husband is traveling, I know that NO STRANGER will even come close to entering the house because not only does Cinnamon growl, bark, and the hairs on her hind end rise, but she also nips!

          This is great if someone breaks in, but what happens when I have a friend over or even extended family that we only see a couple times of year?

          Is there any training or tips that really work?

          What I have always done right when I get a pup is I make them comfortable with me being around them when they eat. I stand by them, hover over them and even pour more food into their bowl. I want them to know that I’m not a threat and to get used to me being around them. When they have a treat, I play with them with the treat.

          Feed your dog at the same time every day. Set up a routine, prepare the food and place it in front of them. Make them sit or lie down patiently and stay until you say they can eat. Once your dog has successfully waited for your signal to eat, then you can let them eat. This lets them know that you made the food and that you are the alpha dog.

          Before they dive into that bowl of food, you can have a couple of kibble in your hand and let them take their first couple of bites out of your hand.

          When your dog is eating their regular food, approach them with something better, like meat or a special treat. The goal here is to get your dog to stop eating their food to take the treat from you. This teaches your dog several things. One is that no one is going to steal his food if he looks away from it. The other is that removing his attention from his food when people come around leads to a reward.

          Territory aggression…Cinnamon’s problem

          Territory aggression in Cinnamon’s case is areas such as doorways and the areas within the length of the her leash. Specifically, I think it’s the family room, front door and hallway. I have not figured out how to help this. I did hire a trainer and it helped with some other areas but not this specific one.

          What I have done so far, is I put Cinnamon outside in our fenced in backyard when people come over. It doesn’t calm her down but it keeps everyone safe.

          What have I tried? Well, I have tried having people stand in the hallway and throw Cinnamon treats.

          I have tried basic commands of sit and stay because she can do these in other situations. But in real action time, she’s too agitated to listen.

          I have tried sitting by her and having her on a leash. This helps the most.

          I also take her for long walks before I know guests are coming and this helps tremendously.

          I would love to tell you I have figured Cinnamon out

          But I haven’t. Territory aggression is still a big problem with Cinnamon. In the next several days I will be researching this more and getting back to you.

          Don’t give up

          Don’t give up on your dog and I won’t give up on Cinnamon. They are worth it!!

          Dogs urination vs carpet. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

          When we dream of getting our pup, we think of cuddles, long walks, warm petting, happy greetings and a fun tug of war. We are in denial of the dog hair, muddy paws, loud barking and pet piddles.

          Pet piddles…indoors…ugh!

          If we are lucky, our dog will be already house broken or catch on pretty quickly. Sometimes we even have an older dog in the house still that can train the pup. But sometimes, it still happens, pet piddles. There are several reasons why this could happen. When Cinnamon was a pup, she would get so excited when someone new walked into the house, she would just pee a little. Thankfully she grew out of that. 

          Another reason is that a dog can be anxious and has an accident then too. First we need to check to see if our pup has a urinary tract infection or any other health issue. If that doesn’t seem to be the case, then we need to look at the environment. If you just moved to a new house, that’s an obvious one, maybe Fido can’t find or remember where the door is. Maybe the back yard is strange and they are scared to go out there. After much repetition, that one will be solved.

           Maybe someone new has moved into the house and the schedule has been upset. Again, once, everything calms down and a schedule is reset, everything will be fine. If all of this isn’t the problem, then we need to look into behavior.

          Behavior conditioning is something we need to be aware of.

          Many of you have maybe heard of Pavlov. A behavior happens and then it is reinforced. Sometimes, we don’t realize we are reinforcing a behavior….So, Fido, just urinated on the carpet. You are frustrated or mad and yell at Fido. Fido runs and hides and looks terrified. You have cleaned up the mess, look at how upset Fido is and feel bad. So, now you go pet and love and pick up Fido. Bingo! You have just reinforced the urinating behavior. Fido has just learned to pee, be yelled at and then be loved. They got attention either way, positive or negative.

          If you yell or punish your dog, he/she may become afraid of YOU! Then they can either become aggressive towards you or won’t urinate in front of you inside or outside.

          The best thing to do is to connect a reinforcement right when the behavior happens. If you see your pup urinating inside, pick him up, take him outside and reward him when he goes potty outside. No yelling or screaming or over reacting.

          Retrain your dog.

          Every July 4th weekend is a nightmare for Cinnamon. She starts urinating in the house again because she is terrified to go outside because of the firework noise. We calmly remember why this is happening. We take her outside when it’s quiet, reinforce her when she goes to the bathroom outside and bring her back in. We remember to take her outside on a schedule again because it is very likely, she won’t scratch at the door, because she’s scared to go outside.

          Schedule, schedule, schedule

          The best way to train your dog is to be very consistent and on a schedule. Right when you wake up, take them outside. Reward them when they relieve them self. Put them on a feeding schedule. After they eat, take them outside. When they urinate, reward them. When you need to leave, either crate them or put a belly band on them. When you get home, take your dog outside, they urinate, you reward. And the cycle goes on. This not only works for pups, but it will work for an older dog and a rescue dog. 


          Clean the area properly.

          I can’t stress this enough. When your dog urinates, an enzyme is left in the carpet. If the area is not cleaned thoroughly, the dog, any dog, can smell the enzyme and then will pee on the same area. Now we’ve created a designated pee spot in the house where we did not want one! I tried everything!!! Bleach, baking soda, ammonia, club soda, tea tree oil, etc. I finally found something that really works. Give this cleaner a try next time you have a pet piddle to clean up. 


          Don’t give up!!!

          Please don’t give up on your dog!!! 25% of dogs get taken back to the kennel because they urinate in the house. Be patient, try everything and then get professional help for you and your dog.

          One of the most common behavior concerns in rescue dogs is leash reactivity.

          Leash reactivity in the simplest sense, is an overreaction to stimuli in the environment, commonly people or other dogs.


          Depending on the background of the rescue, socializing either with humans or dogs, can prove difficult. This is largely based on the history of the specific rescue dog and how they were treated or introduced to humans and dogs. It also depends on the breed of the dog and their personality. We typically buy dogs for companionship. We are lonely. We love to have Fido to come home to, cuddle with and force us to exercise. As humans, we need socializing and so does our pet. Cinnamon is not big on socializing. When my son lived at home and was active in his band, he had 6-7 teenage/young adult men coming to the basement in our house at least two times a week. AND IT WAS LOUD!!! Did I mention that my son is the drummer??? I don’t know if it was actually the men that were walking in the house or if she knew that anyone that went into the basement made a lot of noise, but she HATED them!!! They all tried their hardest to get them to like her. Nope. We have a strong dog gate in the door frame, right before the basement door and she stands there and jumps against the gate and barks and tries to nip them. I would love to tell you that we have broken her of that habit, but we haven’t. We continue to socialize her with walks and bringing family over and my daughter’s dogs. I have found that the more we expose cinnamon for longer periods ‘> of time the better she does. Meaning, she has to get used to them.

          This is the exact dog gate we bought. Only it was in black.

          How do we train a leash reactive rescue dog?

          I did get a trainer for Cinnamon. It really helped both Cinnamon and myself. Helped is the word, cured all of our issues, no. It did give me some very valuable information to keep me constantly thinking and rearranging how I do things with her.

          One of the things we were told is eye contact. When we are on a walk, make her get eye contact with me and reward her with a treat or praise. When she is going crazy and lunging after a dog, or is even anticipating a dog coming towards us, there is no way I can make eye contact with her. I’m hoping in the future, that will work.

          One of the tricks that really work for us is to make a U-turn. Yep, just what it sounds like. We turn around and go the other way. It doesn’t mean that we can’t keep going in the direction that I intended. It just means that we have to make a U-turn and go in a different direction until the distraction or other person/dog is gone. This works when Cinnie and I are on a walk and another dog is crossing the street, but going over our path and into a different direction. It also helps if a dog is coming up on the other side of the street.

          The very best thing that works for us is to give Cinnamon a lot of space. I really think that she would do the flight response if she could, but since we have leash laws in our area, she can’t. I do let her get as far away as she would like and that seems to help the most. We make a wide semi circle, going far into the grass, off of the sidewalk or trail, when we can.

          The last thing I do, is I don’t make contact with the other dog walker and dog. I don’t want to engage in conversation, Cinnie and I just need to keep moving. If someone does stop and wants to make a comment on how pretty Cinnamon is or something and they tell me their dog won’t bite, I tell them that cinnamon is a frightened do and will bite. It’s honest and I need to do everything I can to keep Cinnamon, myself and others safe.

          Safe walking requires the right tools

          A simple collar around the neck simply won’t do for Cinnamon. She pulls so hard that she will choke herself and start spiting up and gagging. Some dogs, can actually cause damage to their esophagus. I use a harness. It gives me a lot more control over Cinnamon and the situation and it is much safer for her. I get one that is comfortable for her, easy to put on her and is ‘> washable!!

          Socializing and leash reactivity can cause much stress

          The best advice I can give through experience is to be pro-active. Chose a time to socialize your dog when he/she is at their best, when there isn’t food around and when you can control the situation. Have the right tools to be able to make it a safe situation. Go forth and be social!!

          Training a fearful rescue dog

          Is your dog fearful or does he have anxiety? What is the difference and does it really matter which one it is?

          Anxiety in dogs look a bit different than in people but it’s affect is the same.

          So, what do I mean by that? First, let’s define anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. In other words, it’s worrying about the future. It’s worrying about something that may or may not happen in the future. In dogs, that can look like pacing or panting quickly or jumping up or high-pitched barking. In people, it can look like someone biting a finger nail, loss of appetite, or a furrowed brow. For my Cinnamon, anxiety sets in, when she hears the front door bell ringing and she is anticipating that a stranger will be walking through my front door. She starts jumping, barking and the hairs on her back go up!

          So, what does a fearful dog look like?

          The definition of fear is an unpleasant and strong emotion, reason for alarm, or danger. Fear for a dog is something that is happening now. It is something that startles your pup now. In a former post I talked about how Cinnamon hates when a bicyclist comes up behind us on a walk. She wasn’t anticipating it, it just came upon her and startled her and caused fear. What does she do? She lurches out at the bike, barks, and the hairs on the back of her back rise. It’s like when we are in deep thought reading this blog and someone comes up behind you quietly and puts a hand on your shoulder and you jump. They startled you and caused momentary fear.

          What to do?

          The first thing to do, if you have a fearful dog, is to try to avoid the overstimulating situation if you can. We live by a busy road. The sound of the cars and bikes, cause fear in my Cinnamon, so I choose to walk by that road when the traffic is low. That way I can socialize her into the situation without overwhelming her. I am mentally prepared. I am on the watch out for oncoming bikers, walkers, cars, so I am not startled and I can stay calm. There are some products that you can buy to help reduce the tension in your dog before you he/she has to go into a potentially fearful situation. I talked about a thundershirt in a previous post. I cannot say enough about how well it works. It gives Cinnie the comforting sense of security she needs by putting gentle pressure throughout her torso as we walk. Another item that really works is calming drops or treats. It’s really hard to get cinnamon to take the drops, but she loves her treats. I find these treats to work really well

          . ‘> These treats provide Cinnamon with just the right amount of relaxation before our walk so she’s not so skittish.

          The main focus is to remember who is in charge with our fearful rescue dog.

          We, the master, are in charge. We need to remember to be mindful of when we go for a walk or when we have visitors over. We need to keep our pets in a safe, calm environment. We need to provide them with the strategies they need to be at their best and we must always remain calm and be in control, when they need us to be.

          Anxiety and the rescue dog


          You have just rescued this beautiful new pup and you’ve brought him/her to your home. Is he being shy to a new home or is it anxiety?

          There are several ways your dog can show anxiety

          So, you understand that you have just brought your new furry baby home and he’s being shy or nervous. Understandable, right? Day one, two, three, now a week goes by. When is he going to warm up? You feed him, cuddle him, pet him, give him a nice warm bed with stuffed animals to snuggle with and he still is not relaxed. What to do?

          My dog hides under the table or behind the chair

          When we brought our lab, Cade, home he would hide behind a chair whenever there was a loud noise. As a pup, what the noise was or where the noise came from, didn’t matter. Off Cade would run. As he got older, he got used to the “regular” noise and would only go and hide behind a chair when the fireworks came out. The dreaded night for many dogs is the 4th of July because of all of the noise. Even if Cade was in the house, it didn’t matter. The house would shake with the noise. I wanted to make this night bearable for him to get through. After much research I heard of something called a thundershirt. I ordered it on Chewy.com and it didn’t look like much when it came in…a dog thin dog vest with Velcro! But after I put it on Cade snugly, he calmed down instantly! The theory behind the thundershirt is that it gives the dog a calming hug to reduce the fears and stress. Just as swaddling new babies can help them to feel more secure, compression can help anxious dogs to feel more secure. The pressure applied by the ThunderShirt has a calming effect that helps approximately 80 percent of dogs with anxiety to feel relief.

          My dog doesn’t hide but….

          There are many different types of phobias in dogs, but most prominent are noise-based phobias and separation anxiety. Each dog may exhibit different signs of these phobias, but some of the most commonly seen symptoms include:

          • Tail tucking
          • Hiding (particularly under beds or in closets)
          • Howling
          • Trembling
          • Pacing
          • Excessive drooling
          • Panting
          • Chewing
          • Paw licking
          • Destruction (such as ripping trash bags open or ripping the sofa cushions)
          • Defecating or urinating in the house
          • Lap sitting (particularly noticeable in bigger dogs)
          • Barking, crying and whining

          If you have ever had your dog do any of these symptoms, it’s heart breaking when you can’t provide them with the comfort they need.

          Why Chose the Thundershirt?

          • Simple and affordable solution to thunder (or other types) of anxiety
          • Does not present the potential for side effects that come with other anxiety treatments
          • Easy to put on and has Velcro closures making it adjustable
          • Can be cleaned and put through the washing machine to maintain cleanliness
          • Designed to be safe for use over extended periods of time (consideration must be given to the external temperature to avoid the possibility of overheating)

          Who doesn’t feel comforted by a hug? By a warm, heavy compression?

          Cinnamon and the thundershirt

          On to Cinnamon, the star of this website! She is truly my rescue dog. Anxiety accompanies her everywhere, it’s like an unwanted shadow or companion. Sounds like many adults doesn’t it? The difference is, that sometimes, in adults, we can reason with our anxiety. (I have anxiety too…like mom, like dog, I guess!) But Cinnamon doesn’t understand that the loud car that is driving past her isn’t going to run her over. She hates bicycles the most. Maybe because they sneak up behind her and then race past. Anything that is loud or sudden sets her into a panic. Unfortunately for her, me and the unsuspecting victim, her anxiety makes her lash out to bite. Or nip, rather. I have to be on my constant guard also, or it won’t be a fun outing. I tried the thundershirt on her and truly, I tell you, it really works. There’s a calmness that comes over her. She isn’t as jumpy. Not every noise spooks her. It’s wonderful. We don’t keep it on her all day. I just put it on her when I know she will get nervous or anxious. Do the fireworks still bother her? Yes, but not as much. In fact, she can sleep now during them. This simple, yet effective product, has really helped us!

          Rescue dog companions for seniors

          This topic is close to my heart as I am 55 and love, love, love my furry child. I will never be without a dog in my life. That being said, I’m not the spring chicken I used to be and cannot keep up with the needs of a very active dog.

          What are the benefits of having dogs as we, ourselves, age?

          Loneliness…empty nest syndrome….companionship….all great reasons to want a lovable, snuggable pet! Dogs have this sixth sense, maybe it’s instinct, but they know when we are lonely or sad. I was in bed one night, sad and crying and all of a sudden my dog burst through the door, jumped on my bed and laid right beside me. Understand, that this was extremely unusual. My dog sleeps on the main floor and my bedroom is on the second floor. Also, I have a gate that keeps my dog downstairs and I close my bedroom door at night. Somehow, she just knew I needed her that night and found a way to me. Dogs’ joy when they see us is like none other. They show complete acceptance no matter our mood or health. They also encourage us to exercise. Every day my Cinnamon gets me outside to go for a long walk with her. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t have her!

          Let’s look at several good choices in dog breeds for senior

          Scottish terrier

          The Scottish terrier is a small dog breed that is typically a good choice for senior citizens to enjoy in the home. They have a life expectancy of about 12 years and is typically not known for many health concerns. They are one of the best breeds when it comes to grooming and maintenance. This small dog breed reaches around 20 pounds in weight, making this an easy option for the aging adult to be able to pick up when needed. Known for their loyalty and caring nature, the Scottish terrier is a great fit for the senior citizen’s lifestyle.


          The Biewer is a small dog breed, one of the smallest actually, and is a lovable breed that typically can live for about 14 years. Known for not shedding very much, the Biewer is known for being playful, affectionate, social, and gentle, which is ideal for any older adult with balance or physical limitation issues. You can find this breed in many colors including black, white, tan, and golden colored, giving you plenty of options to select from. Consider this dog if you are looking for a great lap dog to pet, cherish, and love.


          Known for being larger than the typical corgi dog breed, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a mid-sized dog breed that works well for any older adult. Known for their ease in training, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi can reach close to 40 pounds at their maximum size and they can typically live for about 11 years. The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is a great dog for any active older adult and if you enjoy a dog that is capable of tricks, agility, and for being a guard then consider this dog for your home.

          This is quite possibly the most popular small dog breeds around and regardless of your age the pug is a great fit for in the home. Known for their unique face and size, the pug is a great fit for the senior citizen who wants a companion at home to be with. Pugs are definitely a playful breed; however, they do not necessarily require a lot of exercise, making this a great option for any senior citizen of any age. They are not known for needing to be groomed very often and they are typically very low maintenance.


          The theme with dogs and older adults is generally the size of the dog. Many older adults flock to the smaller dog breed, due to their playful nature and for being gentle with other adults and dogs. The Pomeranian may reach 10 pounds, but typically they are less than this, making the Pomeranian one of the smallest breeds you could get. They are very playful, yet they do not require excessive exercise like other breeds. You can take this dog around the house and carry them regardless of your fitness levels.

          What is your lifestyle?

          Remember to consider what your lifestyle is before purchasing a pet. Are you active? Are you sedentary? Do you want a dog that sits on your lap? Choose a pet that will fit into your life perfectly.

          Mix-breeds or muts

          These are many of your rescue dogs. There isn’t any health records on them and you may not be quite sure where they came from. You can still bet on the fact that you will be able to tell the predominant mix of the dog and rely on the fact that this will be their dominant traits.