Saturday, October 5, 2013

20 Hilariously Creative Costumes For Dogs

 Forget expensive store-bought costumes, and take a hint from these Howl-O-Ween champions. Because nothing says 'I love you' quite like confusing your dog with homemade cardboard appendages.

1) Postal Pair
Please don't dress up like the Mailman, they're already letting you strap letters to them.

2) iPup Touch 4S

Your background is SO cute!

3) Bane
He wants destruction of society.... and also tummy rubs.

4) Starship Enterprise
This dog is seriously doubting his owners choice of BudLight as an efficient fuel source. 

5) Far-Out Friends
Somebodies parents are reliving the 70's!

6) Fluffy and Harry Potter
This duo is pure magic.

7) Sushi Trio
I'll have an order of Pug Maki.

8) E.T and Elliot

9)  Adorably Confusing Moving Crew
Points for optical illusion.

10) Charlie Sheen

11) Daenerys and Drogon
Daenerys Stormborn, Khaleesi, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of puppies.

12) Two Headed Poodle

13) UP! Pup

14) Antoine Dog-son

15) The Poop Factory

16) Spaghetti Schnauzer 

17) Dwight Schrute

18) Breakfast at Tiffanys
Pearls and puppies never go out of style.

19) The Hulk

20) Buttface

Monday, September 30, 2013

5 Toys for the Most Powerful Chewers

Does your dog's idea of a good time include the mutilation of every toy you buy him?  

Does your pup turn logs into kindling in one sitting?

Do toys that say INDESTRUCTIBLE in big lettering on the packaging 'Meet their Maker' within five minutes with your Fido?

If you answered yes to any of these question:
I'm sorry, your dog is hopeless.


Here are my picks for Power Chewers who can destroy anything their mouths touch:

1) Kong Extreme

I promise it's different than the Red Kong!
Kong did a pretty darn good job with this one. The Black Extreme line uses a more compressed rubber that's harder to pull apart than it's original line. The trick with this (and any toy for a power chewer) is to get it in a size BIGGER than your dog would normally use. So if you have a Jack Russell Terrier, get a medium or even large size rather than a small. If you have a Lab, opt for the XL. The increased diameter makes it more difficult for the dog to get its mouth around the toy for optimum power chewing.

2) Antlers
Antlers are fantastic for dental health!
These alternative to traditional rawhides and bones are natural, calcium rich, have no danger of splintering, and are more gentle on stomachs than their rawhide counterparts. And of course, they stand up for longer chewing sessions. Again, remember the larger you buy the longer it will last, so make sure you get a slightly bigger size than your dog would normally get.

3) Marrow Bones
Doggie Ice cream is a great insert for marrow bones! Stick them in the freezer for a sweet treat!
Marrow bones are called different things, but they look the same, a plain, white, hollow bone. You can get them from any pet retailer, and you can spread things like peanut butter inside much like you do with a Kong toy. This type of bone does not fall apart nearly as easily as rawhide, but I would not recommend giving marrow bones too many times a week due to the richness of the fillings. Also, make sure you supervise the dog when they chew this type of bone because some dogs have been known to get a lower or upper jaw stuck while they pursue fillings!

4) Nylabone Durchews
I like these two particular Durachew products. I have had a client couple tell me that the Durachew Ring pictured below is the only thing they can buy for their 200 pound mastiff! The Durachew line is scented and flavored, so that helps dogs stay interested in chewing these heavy plastic products. While they stand up well to a strong jaw, I have had problems keeping dogs interested in these.

5) Petstages Dura Stick Toy
They can be found at Petsmart or Petco
If you have a dog that love to chew sticks, this is a fantastic alternative to use. When dogs rip apart sticks they are in danger of splinters in their mouths and paws. This toy is made out of REAL wood and the texture and smell will keep a dog interested for hours. It isn't the most indestructible toy on the list, but for a dog drawn to wood it is a safer and longer lasting alternative!

Trainer Tip:
There is NO SUCH THING as an "indestructible" toy to a power chewing dog. What makes a dog a power chewer is not just significant jaw strength (which most dogs have) but the tenacious determination to destroy what they chew on. 
Basically for a true power chewer, the chewing will not end until the toy is destroyed or the dog is injured. It is for this reason, that supervision is key with power chewers. These toys and bones will stand up the longest, and give you piece of mind that your dog is having fun with a safe product, but in the end all toys will eventually be destroyed by the power chewer!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Stop Your Dog From Humping

In honor of Hump Day, I would like to address a problem that many owners are plagued with: How to Stop Humping!
(Dog humping, if it's a person problem, I'm afraid you need to find another professional)

Why Dogs Hump:

I know it looks sexual, but if your dog is neutered, female, or a very young puppy chances are this is not about procreation. It is a common and natural behavior.

Male dogs hump other males, females hump other females, females hump males, ect. No sexual subtext. 

The top reasons dogs exhibit this behavior are...

Dominance: I hump you because I can, and there is nothing you can do about it. I'm showing you I'm the boss.

Play: I hump you because its fun! Isn't this the way dogs are supposed to play? 

Excitement: I'M SO EXCITED I CAN'T HANDLE IT!!!! Who can I hump about it?! 

What You Can Do About It:

Stop it early: 
It is easiest to stop the humping behavior if you catch it as a puppy. If you see your puppy humping, immediately interrupt the behavior and redirect the puppy to something else. Don't think they're going to outgrow it. They likely won't. 

Your dog might be having issues controlling excess energy if he or she isn't getting enough exercise! As I always say, a great number of problems can be lessened and eliminated with plenty of high impact exercise. 

Spray with a bottle, or use a noise interrupter:
Spraying with a water bottle, or shaking an empty can full of pennies is enough to startle many dogs out of bad behaviors. The moment the dog begins the behavior, intervene with a negative marker noise "NO!" or "EH-EH!", and spray or shake. 

Do an 'In Play Time Out':
In Play Time Outs are my favorite tool for dealing with bad behavior between dogs. If your dog humps other dogs during play or at the dog park, the In Play Time Out is likely a good option. 
1. Interrupt the play
2. Grab your dog (you might want to leave the leash on the dog during play if they are hard to get)
3. Swiftly bring the dog to an area where you can sit down, and sit down with your dog facing you. 
4. Hold the dog firmly by the collar and sit with head facing your legs so they dog can't see anything else
5. Wait until the dog is completely calm, and does not struggle at all to get away from you. 
6. Even if other dogs come around, do NOT let your dog turn around and see or smell anything
7. Once dog is totally calm and quiet (this could take anywhere from 1-10 minutes depending on the dog) allow them to resume play
8) If the dog resumes the behavior, do another time out! No matter how many times you have to do it. 

Remember that this Time Out technique only works if it is CONSISTENT! Essentially what you are telling your dog is "When you do this bad behavior, you don't get to play anymore."

Monday, September 2, 2013

6 Apartment-Friendly Dog Breeds

Here are a few of my favorite breeds for apartment dwelling. If you're short on living space, but big on love for canines, consider one of these breeds to welcome into your life!

1) Shih Tzu
With a noble Chinese history as the favorite pet of monarchs, the Shih Tzu is a companion dog worthy of note. They are typically very social, easy to train, and low on the energy scale so a small amount of exercise is all they need to stay happy and healthy!
Keep in mind, they do have a coat which requires a good deal of grooming and upkeep.

2) Bichon Frise
These smiling pups are one of the best breeds out there. They are great with kids, elderly, and just all people in general (when properly socialized of course). They are an easily trainable, and moderate energy breed who are happy to go on a walk with you, or lay around on the couch!

3) Lowchen
They're called the 'Little Lion' because of their distinct traditional haircut, but if you're like me you let them go au natural! Like the Bichon above, Lowchens are fantastic all around dogs. With a sociable personality, and high trainability, the Lowchen makes a fantastic pet. They are moderately active, and require walks and play daily to keep them happy, but with this reasonable amount of exercise they are happy in an apartment!

4) Norwich Terrier
The Norwich Terrier is a good-natured and intelligent dog, with big personality and small stature. They don't require much space to live in, but they do require moderate daily exercise, and are appropriate for apartment dwelling as long as you intend to exercise them regularly.

5) French Bulldog
The Frenchie (interestingly enough from England) is a great companion dog for an apartment. They require minimal exercise, minimal grooming, and maximum love.

6) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The King Charles is an affectionate breed, eager to please its' owners! They need daily exercise, but live easily in an apartment dwelling. They also need a decent amount of grooming, so be sure to have time for daily coat brushing!

*Trainer Tip:
Make sure to only buy purebred dogs from American Kennel Club (AKC) registered breeders. If you are buying a puppy from anyone else you risk supporting the irresponsible practice of 'Backyard Breeding', which is bad for individual dog's health and breeds as a whole, or even worse you could be supporting Puppy Mills, which are abusive operations where breeding dogs are left in cages for entire lifespans, and disease and health problems are prevalent.
Also please look for purebred rescues, the AKC website is a great place to start!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

10 'Human' Foods Healthy For Dogs

What's good here for me?

The dangerous eats get a lot of attention, but not all ‘people’ foods are bad for dogs. In fact, there are a lot of things you can feed Fido that will make him happy and healthy!

1) Pumpkin:

Packed with beta carotene for your dog’s eyes, and fiber for your dog’s gut, Pumpkin is easy to mash up and throw in the dog food bowl. It is a great natural remedy for dogs with digestive problems!

2) Salmon:

Omega 3 fatty acids aren’t just good for you, they are great for your dog too. Feeding salmon helps support the immune system, and also makes the coat shiny, and the skin healthy. You can feed salmon directly, or use a salmon oil available at most pet retailers.
*Salmon should be cooked before serving to your dog, as raw fish can make a pup sick!

3) Yogurt:

Yogurt is a perfect source of calcium, protein, and Probiotics. Make sure to get plain, unsweetened, natural yogurt. Mixing it in dog food is a great treat for a dog!

4) Olive Oil:

A tablespoon of Olive Oil in your dog’s food every day is a wonderful way to keep skin and coat healthy. If you are trying to boost calories for your dog this is also a great boost of healthy fat and calories.

5) Eggs:

Eggs provide an easily digestible protein fix for dogs. Make sure the egg is cooked, as raw eggs are unhealthy for pups. Little pieces of egg are also great as training treats!

6) Apples:

Packed with vitamins A & C, and teaming with helpful nutrients in the skin, Apples are a crunchy sweet treat your dog will appreciate!
*Just make sure never to feed the core, as apple seeds are harmful to a dog.

7) Oatmeal:

Amazing for digestion, and full of soluble fiber, oatmeal is a good alternative for dogs with allergies to other grains. Oatmeal helps keep digestive function regular and healthy! Make sure to only feed cooked, plain, and unsweetened!

8) Green Beans:

Full of vitamins K, C, and Manganese, green beans are a low calorie food additive that is great for all dogs, especially those with weight issues. Feeding overweight dogs a treat like this can really help with cutting calories!

9) Sweet Potato:

Another digestive helper, sweet potatoes are full of Beta Carotene, Manganese, vitamins C and B6, and natural fiber. Feed sliced as a treat, or chopped up in the dog bowl!

10) Carrots:

Carrots are a healthy low calorie treat, and provide vitamins to help support eye health. Added benefit? Their crunchy texture is great for dogs’ dental health!

Friday, August 9, 2013

How to Stop Puppy Nipping and Biting

Puppy nipping and biting is a common problem that often times is overlooked until it gets intense. So when your little ball of furry joy suddenly becomes a tiny terror with teeth its time to take action and fix the behavior!

Easy there, Cujo

Why do puppies bite and nip?
Because it’s fun! In puppy language, nipping and biting is all part of play time, and loose puppy skin is not hurt by a little toothy action.  Nipping and biting other dogs is perfectly acceptable behavior in the dog world, so teaching your puppy not to nip is really more about teaching your puppy not to nip people.

How do we fix it?

Simply teach the puppy that nipping and biting you will get the opposite reaction from what the puppy wants!

Your puppy is biting and nipping at you as a way to initiate play, get your attention, and up the excitement. So what we need to do is show the puppy that every time they use their mouth, they get ignored and ultimately removed from play.

So when your puppy uses its mouth at any moment, simply stand up, turn around with arms folded, and ignore.

When the puppy stops using its mouth, resume attention (play, petting, ect)

When the puppy uses its mouth again? You guessed it! Turn around, fold your arms, and ignore.

It is very important that you give the puppy no eye-contact, because this is a reinforcement in the puppy’s view!

Trainer Tip*
This can also work really well to stop puppies from licking excessively! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kids and Dogs Loving Life

Let's start August out right. With adorable kid/pup combos like these:

This cradle is built for two right?

Neighborhood watch never looked so cute

A German Shepard can double as a body pillow

As can a Pit Bull

The Cone of Shame is more fun when you have a human to share it with

This dynamic trio is ready to roll

A Golden Retriever snow angel

Got your nose!

Happy Thursday :)