Sunday, July 31, 2016

Training Your Super Puppy To Be Fearless

by Carrie Boyko, CEB

Baby Oliver Plays With a Soft Plush Toy
Are you planning to add a furry member to your family this holiday season? You're not alone. Although the downsides are often touted, a well thought out addition is fine. The reality is that many families choose this time of year in order to use the extra time off to begin house training and bonding with their new family member. Today I'd like to offer a few tips from the Whole Dog Journal, along with my own enhancements to their ideas, sure to aid in helping you raise a fear-free pup.

Although ideally you'd want your new little buddy to have these experiences prior to entering your home, adding these enhancements to your holiday playtime will most certainly be good for his growth and potential to be a wonderful family member:

    • Give your pup a chance to experience walking on 7 types of surfaces: carpet, concrete, wood, vinyl, grass, dirt, gravel, and wood chips. Each different texture will have its own lessons, most importantly that different footing is needed and nothing should be feared by a variety of textures under the pads of the feet.
    • Offer 7 different types of play objects for a variety of stimulation: big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, fuzzy toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard (toilet paper/paper towel centers are perfect), metal items (without sharp edges and sticks or pieces of hose. Remember that all playtime with toys should be supervised to assure your puppy's safety.
    • Include 7 different locations in your puppy's experiences: front yard, back yard, basement, kitchen, car, garage, laundry room and bathroom. You'll want your little one to know all of these places are safe and fun, so make sure to offer pleasant experiences in each.
    • Introduce your pup to at least 7 different types of new people: babies, children, seniors, people with canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, people in uniforms, people wearing hats, and men with beards.
    • Provide 7 different challenges for your pup to work his problem-solving skills: climb around inside a box, climb off the top of a box, go through a tunnel, climb up steps, climb down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide an seek, go in and out of a doorway with a step up or down, run around a fence. Surely you'll be able to find even more challenges like these. Each will teach your new friend lots of ways to solve new problems.
    • Offer meals in a variety of different containers: metal, plastic, china, cardboard, paper, pie plate and a frying pan. Don't forget to also use food-dispensing balls for a slower way to serve a meal, while your dog learns to push the ball around the house to retrieve his dinner.
    • In addition to these ways to eat, your pup should learn that eating in a variety of locations is also a good thing: crate, yard, kitchen, basement, laundry room, living room, bathroom and even an RV. The lesson is clear; wherever you offer food to your pup, it's still yummy!
    • Exposure to many different types of noises will help your pup learn that sound is not a scary thing. Include as much variety as possible, focusing on things like banging pots, thunder, loud music, traffic, sirens, vacuums, landscaping equipment, fireworks, dog parks, and crowds

Want to get your puppy started as a doga partner early? Try our short yoga videos that include tips on yoga poses as well as how to include your pup in your practice. Join us for more doga fun as we continue to expand this series.

What are your ideas for helping your littlest new family member get a good start? I'd love to share your tips. The comment link is always open!

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Behind the Wheel: 7 Safety Tips

by Carrie Boyko, CEB

Tanner ALWAYS Rides in the Back
I have a couple--sometimes 3--favorite tagalongs for errands, dog park visits, checking in with Grandma and other fun outings that are dog-friendly. With each passing year I seem to learn new things that help me to maintain a safe drive for all participants. Hopefully you'll take a minute to soak these up:

  1. Always use crash-tested seatbelts and harnesses, attached to either the car's seatbelt system or the cargo tie downs. These could save not only your dogs' lives, but also your own. You don't want a dog in your lap while trying to maneuver during a potential accident situation, nor do you want a flying dog to hit you or the windshield in case of an accident. Securely fastening your pups using an unbreakable harness and seatbelt are essential. As American Express would say: Don't leave home without it.
  2. If your pint-sized pup is accustomed to riding up front, please, please, please,
    Locked and Loaded
    in the Back
    evaluate your airbag situation. Older models may not have them; newer models may have ones that cannot be turned off. The latest models have on/off switches or are automatically turned off when no weight is on the seat. Know your car's potential for deployment in the passenger seat. When in doubt, move your toy-sized dog to the back.
  3. If you assess your front and side airbag situation and determine that your pup is safe from a deployment, there's still one additional safety matter to attend to. While carseats do generally include seat attachments and clips for the dog's harness, these rarely are made to withstand the pressure of an impact, leaving your pup at risk of a snapped tether, forcing him into projectile mode. Avoid this by assuring the carseat is secured by the automobile seatbelt, and then attach your pup to the seatbelt using a crash-tested harness and tether. I know this sounds like a mouthful, but once it's in place, it only takes a few seconds to hook your pup in when you head off for some fun. Let's make sure you both arrive alive.
  4. When carrying a single, small dog in the back seat, use either a folded seat back to raise his level, or place an elevated carseat in the center. The center of the back seat is the safest place for your pup in the event of a collision. Be sure that the carseat you select includes the option to secure it to the car's seatbelt, and purchase a separate crash-tested carseat harness and tether to keep Fido safely in his seat at all times.
  5. Your medium to larger dog must always ride in the back seat or on the forward-folded platform behind you, with a seatbelt harness tethered to the luggage tie downs or the car seatbelts. This safety measure will keep Fido from trying to join you up front, interfere with your concentration or your ability to steer, see ahead and control the vehicle. These safety concerns are just as important as his own safety.
  6. Remember that one of the most common injuries our pets' doctors see is foreign objects in our dogs' eyes. Despite the joy your dog exhibits when riding with his head out the window, for his safety you should keep the windows closed or at least only cracked, to protect his peepers from injury.
  7. Finally, consider loose items in the cabin area of the car. Anything heavy enough to cause harm should be tied down or placed in the floor area where they are least likely to come into contact with your pup. 
Secure Heavy Items to Protect Your Pets
Now, it's your turn. What are some other safety tips for your dogs when riding in the car? Hit the comment button and share your thoughts.

Happy riding,

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Tips for Tent Camping with Your Dog

by guest writer Kelley Denz of Critter Minute
© copyright on file
Retrievers Love a Good Romp
 in Nearly Any Water Available

I love going camping, and every year I try to go camping at least once. I always take my dogs, Sadie and Rusty with me. They love all the new smells, sights, and sounds. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you go camping with your dog.

Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date with a phone call to your vet. Take a first aid kit for you and your dog. Make sure to include sun-block.

You may want to apply flea and tick preventive on your dog. Fleas and ticks can be anywhere, but are more prevalent in the woods. Using a preventative product could help to keep you from bringing fleas back to your home and yard.

Be sure to have an updated ID tag and/or microchip on your dog, just in case your dog gets lost. If you're staying at one campsite for any number of days stop by your local Wal-mart/Petsmart and create a dog tag with the name, location of your campsite and a phone number where you can be reached. Bring an extra leash in case something happens to your regular leash.

Make sure your destination allows dogs; most campgrounds are dog friendly but some national parks like Yosemite allow dogs only in certain campsites. Verify the trails around your chosen campsite allow dogs. You can go to to find an extensive list of pet friendly campsites. offers a listing of trails in the United States and Canada that welcome dogs.

When picking out your campsite try to get one that offers your dog some shade. Camping near a stream or lake is also a good idea. It will provide your dog with an easy source of water.

Pack enough dog food and water for your pooch. I always bring collapsible bowls for their food and water. I prefer the convenience of collapsible bowls because they are lightweight, and you can easily pack them in a backpack if you decide to go hiking. After feeding, empty your dog’s food dish of any leftover food. You do not want to attract any unwanted insects or wildlife.

Bring your dog’s brush with you to remove stickers, fox tails and other things caught in their fur. I have found using a small black men’s comb will remove most stickers from dog hair fairly easily.

I prefer to sleep with my dogs while camping. This way I am alerted by Sadie and Rusty if anything enters the camp area. They also help to keep me warm during the night. However, if you prefer, there are tents made for dogs, and you could bring along Fido's dog bed.  Keep in mind if you leave your dog outside all night he/she could get sprayed by a skunk or be vulnerable to dangerous wild animals such as bears.

Make sure you are aware of other animals that may be in the area. Many people take their dogs camping with them, so other dogs in the area are likely. There could be people on horseback, squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, the list is endless. Be prepared to have some adventures. Enjoy!

Kelley Denz is the author of Critter Minute, a website and blog about natural dog products and fun, helpful tips for dog lovers. Like her post? Leave a comment at the link below to show your appreciation.
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