Easiest Age for Dog Training

28 Jun 2014 | Filed in Dog Training

It’s never too late to train your dog, but it’s going to be easier for the both of you if you get started early. Simple training can start as soon as a puppy arrives in his new home around 8 or 9 weeks of age. This is the best time to help him get used to having his feet and teeth handled, teach him how to walk on a leash and let him know that it’s OK for you to pick up his food dish, even if he’s eating, so he won’t challenge you later on.

Getting Started

By the time a puppy is 10 to 12 weeks old he’s ready and eager to absorb basic obedience training and to learn simple tricks. This is a good time to teach him to sit, shake hands and to come when you call him. It’s also the ideal age for you to take him to a good puppy class so he can develop social skills and learn to get along with other people and dogs. Your dog will continue to learn easily throughout his entire first year, and once he has the idea, you’ll be able to give him more advanced training as he gets older.

How Do I Train My New Dog to Stop Chasing My Cats?

27 Jun 2014 | Filed in Dog Problems


Q: We have two adult cats (ages 13 and 4 — both adopted) and recently adopted an adult dog from our local shelter who seems to be about 2-3 years old. The dog just can’t seem to break that dog/cat stereotype and loves to chase the cats! We have the cats in our bedroom behind a gate but ultimately would love to have them all together. Can’t we all just get along?

A: It is not unusual for a dog to want to chase another moving animal, no matter what kind it is. A basic obedience class will be your best bet, or a couple of in-home sessions with a private trainer. Your dog needs to learn to sit and down or “emergency drop” on cue, as well as “leave it” (break eye contact with) for the safety and comfort of your cats.

ThinkstockDuring the learning period, he should probably wear a house lead, so you can ensure your cats’ safety and help increase compliance. Also, make sure to click and treat your dog when he’s in the room and a cat moves, but he doesn’t take chase. Always remember: Rewarded behavior increases in frequency. If it is more rewarding to watch than it is to chase, you should see watching increase and chasing decrease. This will probably happen over time to a certain degree as the cats’ novelty wears off.

Also remember that until you really know who this dog is, do not leave the three of them alone in the same space together. The dog’s arousal could go over the top to aggression and you don’t want to come home to a deadly scenario.

I am assuming that your dog is just chasing in a playful manner and not trying to grab, shake and kill. If the latter is the case, you have a very dangerous situation on your hands. You then definitely need to work with an experienced professional trainer or behaviorist, and even then you may have no other choice but to re-home the dog into a cat-free environment.

11 Ways to Include your Dog in Your Wedding, Without Your Dog

21 Jun 2014 | Filed in Dog Life Style

When I was planning my wedding around this time last year, I hemmed and hawed over including my beloved French Bulldog, Huggs. I’ve known him longer than my husband and he’s been there for me every step of my last 7 years, so there was no doubt I wanted him included, but the reality was it just didn’t make sense.

We traveled for our wedding and then headed out immediately for our honeymoon, but most importantly, the venue, an old house, with open doors to city streets, simply didn’t feel like a safe choice for a curious bulldog. Add these concerns to a dog who likes to eat things off the ground and who talks loudly when being ignored and has general anxiety over new things, my husband and I decided it would probably be best if Huggs stayed at home. But just because Huggs wasn’t there in person, didn’t mean he couldn’t be there in other meaningful ways.

Here are the 7 ways we incorporated Huggs into our big day:

1. We played this video for our guests at the cocktail hour. Since it was filmed ahead of time and at our house Huggs was a co-star. His debut happens in the middle of the video (around the 2 min mark and again at 3 min) for those who are just here to see the dog.

2. Wedding Website – Wedding websites are a great way to inform your guests about the day’s events, but are also a great opportunity to let guests know a little more about the bride and groom and things that are important to them. We included all of the traditional items, our story, about us, about the day and photos of us, but we were sure to give Huggs a special gallery all his own.

3. Engagement Photos/Guest Book – For our guest book we created an actual book featuring our engagement photos with space for people to sign. Since Huggs couldn’t attend the wedding and be in those photos, we made sure he could be part of the engagement shoot and included his picture in the book.

4. Photos Around the Venue – To make the event and venue more personal we added framed photos of ourselves and our family around to make it feel like our home. We have pictures of Huggs at home, so of course he was included in these as well!

5. Marriage Contract – In Jewish weddings it is traditional to sign a ketubah, a Jewish wedding contract. It is signed before the wedding and then displayed during the event and is ultimately hung in your home. who offers beautiful options featuring unique and custom artwork. We selected one of the pieces already offered, but had them add in a couple special changes; one of which was a drawing of Mr. Huggs sitting on the hills of our Dr. Seuss-inspired ketubah.

6. Wedding Speeches – Okay, so I had nothing to do with this one, but my dad very cleverly included advice that he “got” from Huggs in his speech to us at the wedding. I don’t remember the exact words, but if it was actually advice from Huggs it probably included being sure to love, laugh and feed your Frenchie.

7. Cake Topper – Cakes and toppers have become more elaborate over the years, allowing brides and grooms to express their interests, passions and personalities. It’s a great place to add in a nod to your dog! I made our cake topper using clay, but there are plenty of places to order custom options if you don’t have the time to be crafty.

A few more ideas that we didn’t do (sorry Huggs):

8. Include your dog in the invitations, save the dates or other paper goods like place cards, napkins and table numbers.

9. Theme your cake around your dog or include him in the design

10. Create a memorable wedding favor featuring your dog or give a gift that other dog-lover’s would enjoy

11. Create a dog-inspired cocktail to be served, if we had thought of this, we would have called ours the “Warm Hugg.”

With all these things added up, your dog can play a bigger part in the day then if he had walked down the aisle. Huggs got all the recognition he deserved while safe, sound and likely happier getting his snooze on at home.

Health Problems With American Eskimo Dog

17 Jun 2014 | Filed in Dog Health

American Eskimo canines are a sturdy breed related to German spitz dogs. These pooches are also commonly referred to by an abbreviated version of their name — “Eskies.” In terms of size, American Eskimo dogs exist in three groups, which are toy, miniature and standard. As with most doggie breeds, some health issues affect individuals of this breed more commonly than others.

Luxating Patella

One medical condition that occasionally affects American Eskimo dogs is patellar luxation. This applies to all of the size groups — toy, miniature and standard. Patellar luxation describes issues with the exact location of a canine’s kneecap. When dogs have luxating patellas, their kneecaps essentially spring out of the appropriate spot. Patellar luxation is prevalent in wee and big dogs alike. If you observe anything unusual in your American Eskimo’s back legs, set up a veterinarian appointment immediately, the sooner the better. You also might notice your pet making conspicuous hopping motions as he tries to move around. Orthopedic difficulties of the back legs in general are somewhat common in American Eskimo dogs, so pay attention for any signs of them.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Eye issues such as progressive retinal atrophy also can affect these nimble doggies. The genetic retinal ailment progresses gradually, and with time causes blindness. If a dog has progressive retinal atrophy, either his retina ceased normal growth at too early of a stage, or his photoreceptors deteriorated at an abnormally quick pace. Progressive retinal atrophy isn’t only common in the American Eskimo breed, but also in many others such as toy poodles, Australian cattle dogs, Siberian huskies and Irish setters. If you are concerned that your precious pooch might be experiencing eyesight problems, take him to the vet immediately.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is another orthopedic concern that American Eskimo dogs sometimes experience. Hip dysplasia, in a nutshell, is a genetic ailment that is characterized by a hip joint that simply developed in an abnormal fashion. This leads to looseness of the joint and ultimately excessive motion of the bone in the legs. Some key symptoms of hip dysplasia in pooches are rigidness, hobbling and reluctance to partake in physical exercise or walk on stairs. If you have any reason to suspect that your precious pet might be dealing with this painful issue, bring him to the vet as soon as possible.


Diabetes also sometimes affects American Eskimo dogs. If a doggie has diabetes, then his body either doesn’t make sufficient insulin or doesn’t react correctly to the hormone. Be alert to signs of diabetes in canines, such as excessive urination, hazy eyes, weight loss, throwing up, exhaustion, increased hunger, dehydration and inordinate thirst. Veterinary assistance is a must for any dog who has diabetes, so don’t wait around.

Robust Dogs in General

Despite these possible medical issues, American Eskimo dogs are, on the whole, fairly robust and tough dogs. With the right care, exercise and diet, they can live happily for anywhere between 12 and 17 years. Routine appointments with the veterinarian are a must, even if your pet seems to be in 100 percent glowing condition.

DIY Dog Tear Stain Remover

14 Jun 2014 | Filed in Dog Gooming

Thoroughly mix equal parts corn starch, milk of magnesia, and hydrogen peroxide to make a creamy paste. The amount you will need depends on the size of your dog, but about a teaspoon each should be enough to get you started.

ThinkstockApply this mixture carefully to the stained area, taking precautions not to get it in your dog’s eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not let him lick it off.

Keep your dog’s head still, and let the paste stay on his fur for ten to twenty minutes, then wash it out thoroughly. You may want to condition the bleached fur after this process, as it may be brittle. You can repeat this process, as necessary, every couple of days until the stains are removed.

If you cannot easily keep your dog still for the ten to twenty minutes needed for the solution to work, do not risk this method as the solution could get in your dog’s eyes.

Dog-Friendly Cucumber Dip

12 Jun 2014 | Filed in Dog Food

We all love veggies and dip and your dog will too! Check out this refreshing, healthy and super easy recipe you and your dog can both enjoy. Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin K and yogurt is great for your dog’s digestive system. As with any treat, you will want to feed in moderation, especially if it’s your first time feeding a particular snack.


1 medium cucumber, or 1/2 hothouse cucumber

1 1/2 cups of yogurt (plain, unsweetened)

1 tbsp fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill

1/2 lemon (squeezed)


Slice up your cucumbers. If you are using cucumbers with a thicker skin, make sure to peel them before slicing.

Place cucumber in food processor with 1 cup of yogurt, lemon juice and dill.

Blend until cucumber is small and well-blended with other ingredients

Mix in additional 1/2 cup of yogurt

Place in a small bowl and put in refrigerator to set. The dip will thin once it is blended, so it is important to let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour and overnight if possible.

**If you are looking for a thicker dip, place your cucumbers in the food processor alone and then strain them in a cheese-cloth to pull out the extra liquid before mixing them with the yogurt.

For Humans: This dip is light and refreshing as it is, but if you are looking to jazz it up a bit for human consumption, put aside enough for the dog and then add a little salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Just be sure to label clearly which is which as you don’t mix them up!

Good Water Dog Breeds

9 Jun 2014 | Filed in Dog Breeds

Water dogs are inherently strong swimmers. They have waterproof coats and some have webbed feet. Originally, water dogs such as water retrievers, decoys and the all-purpose Newfoundland, were bred to assist fishermen. Some of these dogs still carry out the tasks they were bred for, while others, with their intelligence and desire to please their handlers, have become popular pets for active families who don’t mind living with dogs that simply love to swim.

Water Retrievers

Today’s flat-coated retrievers and Labrador retrievers used to work as fishery dogs, retrieving fish and other objects from the water. Labradors helped to pull small fishing boats. With improvements in firearms, however, hunters shot birds in flight and needed dogs to find and retrieve fallen birds. As the fishery dogs were efficient swimmers and natural retrievers, they were crossed with pointers, setters and other retrievers to hone their bird skills. Other water retrievers include the tough and curly coated Chesapeake Bay retrievers, that navigated the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay to retrieve birds. American water spaniels and Irish water spaniels continued to be bred mainly for hunting, and are now rare compared to other water dog breeds. A surprising member of this group is the standard poodle. Poodles were bred in Germany as water retrievers, and their salon style hairdos, originally helped them in the water. The close clip made swimming easier, but the poodles’ coats were left longer on their chests for warmth and around their joints and tail tips for protection.

Pied Pipers of the Shoreline

Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers have webbed feet and are powerful swimmers. They were developed in Canada in the 19th century as decoys. The dogs would chase sticks and play along the shore, sometimes disappearing from view and then reappearing — an activity called tolling. Their antics lured the curious waterfowl closer to the shore and into waiting nets or within shooting range. The dogs also retrieved fallen birds from the sea. These high-energy, playful dogs make great pets, but they need long walks and a daily play session.

The Fisherman’s Friend

Portuguese water dogs have long, curly waterproof coats, webbed feet and can work all day. They were once found all along Portugal’s coastline, herding fish into nets, retrieving lost equipment from the sea and taking messages between ships and back to shore. In the early 20th century the dogs started to disappear, along with traditional fishing methods. A wealthy Portuguese shipping magnate saved the breed and these robust water dogs arrived in the United States in the 1950s. The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America has created water trials — modern day water work activities — to help develop and promote the breed’s historical water abilities.

Heroes and All-Purpose Dogs

The massive Newfoundlands, with their heavy black or brown coats, large webbed feet, powerful hindquarters and well-developed lungs cope easily with long distance swimming, even in the coldest conditions. They were developed in Newfoundland as all-purpose dogs. They rescued people from drowning, carried lifelines to ships in trouble and helped fishermen, by hauling their heavy fishing nets through the cold sea. Back on land, Newfoundlands pulled carts and acted as pack horses and still serve as draft dogs today. Newfoundlands can also be found patrolling beaches in Britain, France and Italy, where they continue to save lives. The Newfoundland Club of America in 1973 started a program of water tests comprised of exercises designed to develop and demonstrate the Newfoundlands’ instinctive lifesaving abilities in the water.

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