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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Dogs and Kids: Summer Bonding Time

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Time = Bond
Summer will be here before you know it and so will the unique opportunity that Summer provides our kids. Bonding with their dogs requires time and some patient help in understanding what it takes to get Fido to be their sidekick for all things fun.

There are many ways we can help our kids build a bond with their dogs that will last throughout their time together. Following are a few of the tips that come to mind. What are yours?
  • Make the decision about when your child is ready for more responsibility with great care. Complete respect for your dog's health and safety, as well as that of other children, is imperative.
  • Let your kids feed your pets during the Summer. Dogs generally bond more closely to those that provide their nourishment.
  • Offer safety tips and do's and don'ts when are kids are learning to feed your pets. Understanding food and toy aggression is important to their safety.
  • Encourage your kids to play outdoors when taking their dog along on neighborhood play dates. Keeping Fido on a leash is an important part of that rule, and this time will allow your older kids to get a better understanding of the care and decision-making that goes into pets that are tagalongs.
  • When friends come to your home to play with your kids, discourage rambunctious play in favor of games that may include your dog. Hide-n-Seek, Fetch, Frisbee, and Laser Tag are great fun for kids and their dogs. Be sure to monitor their activities and let them know you are supervising. Your dog will appreciate your concern as much as their attentions.
  • As much as I'm a dog park lover, I don't believe this is a terrific place for kids under
    the age of about 10 or possibly even 12. Even at this age, your son or daughter will need much instruction to be safe and enjoy the experience. Check out these tips: Dog Park Safety Challenges for Children and Dog Park Visits: Preparing Kids for a Safe First Experience.
  • Beyond adolescence you'll find your kids may take their own path in regard to spending time with their dog. Building this relationship before that time is important to cementing it for the future. College homecomings are wonderful when Fido greets his "kid" at the door happily.

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

20 Halloween Tips for Dog Owners

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
courtesy S. Gilbert
During our #Coupaween Twitter Party, I shared a good many Halloween safety tips, alongside Arden Moore's expert tips. I've combined some of our tips to make this a quicker read that is even more helpful.

If you missed the party, or simply found it tough to keep up, I hope the following tips will get put to good use on Halloween evening or if you have a themed party. Feel free to leave your additional thoughts in comments below.
  1. Avoid K9 bolters by keeping dogs on leashes or in a closed room when you green trick-or-treaters.
  2. Make sure your pet sports a reflective collar for visibility with ID tags, name, your cell phone number and microchip.
  3. When opting for costume wear, check for fit and comfort. Do a dress rehearsal a few days early to allow time for modifications.
  4. Have important numbers available: vet, ER vet, ASPCA poison control hotline.
  5. Making your pet's costume yourself? Avoid buttons or small items that can be swallowed.
  6. Consider pet's visibility when selecting costumes. Dogs may be more easily frightened when they cannot see well.
  7. When checking for fit, also look at body language. Nothing too tight?
  8. Simple, yet stylish goes a long way. Velcro bow ties or pleated tuxedos on male dogs is very dapper.
  9. When taking Fido out to trick-or-treat, choose light-colored costumes for best visibility by others.
  10. Black costumes are very hard to see in the dark AND difficult to recognize when worn on a black dog. Choose contrasting color to your dog's fur.
  11. Dogs will often hang their head when extremely unhappy with costume. Consider removing headpiece or footwear.
  12. Be sure costumes are made of breathable fabric and are fire retardant.
  13. Help your dog become more comfortable with costume by daily practice with treats and praise. Go slow!
  14. Reduce stress by treating your dog to a brisk walk before sundown on Halloween eve.
  15. Associate costume with pleasurable activity by letting Fido wear it while eating.
  16. Dogs who won't wear costumes will often tolerate a bandana, reflective collar or collar light.
  17. ONLY take well-socialized dogs on house to house trick-or-treating.
  18. Candy and wrappers all out of reach!
  19. Candles are dangerous. Choose battery-operated versions for safety.
  20. Simplify costumes by using only the key components. Example: Wizard of Oz's Dorothy's red slippers can be easily made to slip over dog's paws without being slippers. Think out of the box!
Happy Halloween,

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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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