The Days of Being Dragged Down the Street Are Over!

dog pulling on leash
Leash-pulling is an unacceptable behavior

Many dogs enjoy the occupation of dragging their human down the street.  This can be rather fun, watching your human’s fury as he tries to reel you in, but it’s very bad manners.  Little dogs can get away with this easier, but it is still very rude.  Big dogs, like the large German Shepherd, are very strong dogs, able to yank the leash out of their human’s hands and run off.  Teach your dog, even while he is a puppy, that pulling is an unacceptable behavior.  When your dog pulls and brings the leash taunt, stop right where you are and ignore the dog.  If the pooch gives you puzzled looks as if he was saying, “What’s the hold up?” and gives some slack to the leash, praise the dog and continue walking.  This will teach the dog that if he pulls he gets nowhere, and if he walks without pulling he gets to have a nice, delightful stroll.  Reward good behavior with a treat or toy.

dog with leash on
There should be some slack in the leash as you walk your dog

Dog Behavior

dog and cat

Dogs cannot talk in the human language.  We dogs understand much of what humans say, but our mouths do not work the same and we are unable to pronounce words or say any phrases, such as, “feed me.” or “I need to go outside.”  Instead of talking, we use body language.  Whenever I want outside I scratch at the door.  If I am sad I put my fluffy tail down and mope about.  You can tell what your dog wants by watching his behavior.  If he rolls over on his back, he most likely wants to be petted.  If a dog barks, he may see someone at the door.  Often, humans can look at a dog’s body language and tell what he is about to do.  If we walk stiff-legged, tail straight, teeth barred, we are acting hostile and intend to fight.  Here are a few signs in “dog language” that you need to know.

dog yawning
What’s happening?

Lip licking and shaking are signs of nervousness.  If a dog follows their human around and acts gloomy all day, he may be frightened or nervous.

A dog yawning is not what you think it is!  You would probably think that he’s sleepy, but he isn’t.  When a dog yawns, it means that he is confused.  He doesn’t understand what is going on and is puzzled by the situation.

dog bowing
Let’s play!

A dog who looks as if he was “taking a bow”, is not just bowing for the  audience.  There are two different things a dog could be doing.  Either he is  just merely stretching, or he is trying to tell you, “Let’s play!”  It is a way for  dogs to communicate when they feel like frisking about.  So pay attention the  next time your dog “bows”.  He just might want to play a game of fetch.

Sometimes dogs will “smile” or bar their teeth.  They are not being ferocious or trying to warn anybody  to get out of their path.  They are just saying, “Glad to see you!  Do you see my pearly whites?!”  Be  careful, though!  If your dog growls or even acts a little mean, he is being ferocious and just might bite  you.  Consult your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer if your dog ever acts vicious or bites you. 

mad chiwi
An over-protective Chihuahua

Pretty much everyone knows how a fierce dog acts, but I will go over some of the ways we behave anyway.  Growling, stiff legs, tail like a flagpole, staring down, and showing teeth are some of the ways we dogs tell others to back off.  Never approach a dog who acts like this.

Rolling over on the stomach and allowing a human to pet them means total submission in dogs.  Lots of dogs love tummy-rubs, but be careful about petting strange dogs you don’t know.  Even if the little lapdog is sweet looking, with licorice eyes and a fluffy, cream-colored coat, she just might bite you!  If a dog acts friendly she is probably safe to pet, but always pay attention to the behavior of dogs you don’t know, just in case.  

dog wagging tail
Dogs smile with their tails

Do dogs smile?  Of course we do!  We smile, but do so with our tails.  When our tails wag, we are happy.  Sometimes you can hear our tail go thump, thump, thump, as you rub our tummy.  As I said before, our mouths don’t work like humans’; we dogs have to find other ways to show our happiness.  So we wag our tails!  You can tell many things from a dog’s tail.  A tail that is tucked under a dog’s belly usually means that a dog knows that he has been bad or is scared.  Sometimes, when I get into my human’s trash, I tuck my tail under my belly too.  I know I have been a bad dog and feel guilty.  My tail just gives me away!

A dog howling
A dog howling

 Dogs don’t really cry.  That is, not in the human fashion.   Humans usually weep and shed tears.  We dogs have a different way of crying…we whimper.  Sometimes dogs even howl when they are distressed.  I howl when I am mad at those big dogs outside who dare to put a paw on my territory.  The nerve of those dogs!  Anyway, dogs do cry, but by whimpering and howling.  Pay attention to your dog if he “cries”.  He may just need an extra pat or a few nice word such as, “You are the best, cutest, loving, most adorable, wonderful, prettiest dog on the whole entire planet, and I love you!!!”  That would make any dog’s day really happy.

dog wanting walk We dogs use many methods to get our message through.  For  instance, “Bark! Bark! Woof!” means, “I have to go outside! Open the  door!”  Humans may not understand what we mean at first, but if you pay close attention to  your furry friend, you will soon see patterns as your dog does certain things.  He may scratch at  the door to be let inside, bark for you to feed him, or knock down an expensive, glass vase to  tell you that he wants to go outside.  Even if he is breaking vases every time he wants to go  outside, the dog is actually very smart.  He has learned how to get his way.  The dog thinks, “If I  break this vase my human screams and let’s me outside!  I think I’ll try that again tomorrow.”   And tomorrow the same thing happens.  The human shouts at his dog and sentences him outside  for two hours.  The human thinks it’s a proper punishment.  The dog thinks he got his way and  will try his luck again until his master runs out of glass vases!  The dog does not understand why  his human is punishing him when he shouts, “You are a bad dog, Fido!  Noooo!  Do you hear  me?  Bad dog!  Go outside for two whole hours.  Bad dog!”  As you can see, the dog got his way.   He is now happily skipping about outside while his human is sweeping up the broken pieces of  vase.  Fido has no idea that he has been bad.  The dog just needs to be taught an alternative to  breaking glass containers to tell his human that he wants to go outside.  Here’s something to do that will help:  teach your dog to sit.  Check out Basic Training to learn how to teach your dog this useful trick.  Begin with Sit before you take your dog on a walk.  Tell him to Sit before you open the door.  Make him Sit before he gets fed.  This way, the dog learns that if he wants something he has to sit.  That’s much better than a broken vase! 

*Even if your dog breaks vases such as Fido did in the example, I hope you don’t ever yell at your dog.  All your dog needs is something else to do such as sitting for the door to be opened.




Exercise and Keeping Your Dog From Being Bored

dog runningExercise makes dogs happy.  I love to go for a long run and then lay on the ground and pant.  Regular walks and exercise keep dogs healthy and content.

dog with leashA dog should walk on a leash so he won’t run away.  Only very obedient and reliable dogs should walk in a large, open space off-leash.

A dog should not pull their human down the street.  That is what I call bad manners.  I mean, who wants to be dragged down the street?  A dog should walk contently at heel on their human’s left side.

Sissy smiling
Sissy, smiling after a long run

How much exercise a dog needs depends on the type of dog.   Some canines enjoy short walks while others will walk their humans off their feet.  Large dogs will need more exercise than little dogs, and puppies do not need very long walks at all.

Another good way for a dog to get some exercise, besides walks, is a game of fetch or a throwing disc.  A dog can also participate in some fun dog sports such as flyball, agility, herding and many other activities.

dog chewing kong
Toys are good things to keep a dog busy

We dogs can get bored sometimes.  Our humans get too busy with work and other things to play with us.  Some dogs pick up bad habits in their boredom such as digging, chewing, or barking.  A good way to avoid these nasty habits is to give a dog a toy.  Hollow toys stuffed with peanut butter and treats are loads of fun.  Dogs can spend hours just trying to get a lick at that peanut butter or bite into a treat!

Teaching a dog tricks in dog training gives us pooches something to think about.  Tricks help dogs avoid boredom, too.  Teach your dog to fetch to keep him busy, and give him some exercise!

lab in water
A dog fetching a toy out of the water

How do you teach a dog to fetch?  Some dogs dislike having anything in their mouth (that is, everything but food!).  Try coating the toy with peanut butter to encourage the pooch to take the item.  Take your dog’s favorite toy, and start playing with him.  Throw the toy a short distance, and, if the dog fetches it, give him a treat (or play another game of fetch as his reward).  Then, shower the dog with praise.

There are many ways of exercising and keeping your dog occupied.  Whether it be training, swimming, agility, fetch, or just running around in the backyard, it is all fun to your dog.  Just remember, we dogs just want to be with our humans, no matter what they are doing.

dog leash



Collar and ID tag

A black dog with a collar and ID tag
A dog with a collar and ID tag

I have a collar with an ID tag that I wear at all times.  The only time it ever comes off is during baths and grooming appointments.  Every dog should wear his collar at all times and it must include an ID tag.  An ID tag is a flat, metal disc that is attached to a dog’s collar.  On the ID tag is the human’s phone and address.  It can also contain the human’s name.  The ID tag helps us dogs when we get lost.  If a dog ever runs away and is picked up by someone, the person who found the dog can call the dog’s human and tell them they have their dog.  Please, PLEASE, dog owners, don’t ever let your dog go without an ID tag.  If a dog is not wearing an ID tag, he is at risk of running away and their human never seeing their beloved four-legged friend again.  This should be the #1 item on your “dog shopping” list.

Bath Time

dog hiding
Did someone say, “bath time”?

The mere thought of a bath makes my tail go down.  I hate baths! Despite all the soothing words and warm water, I hate them.  I do believe the majority of dogs hate baths too.  Some dogs hide when the word “bath” is mentioned.  They may go under beds and chairs.  I prefer to hide under the table.  I feel very hidden there, but for some odd reason my humans always find me.  I do know, though, that if I don’t have a bath I start to get the itchies.  I begin to scratch everywhere, and my humans say I stink.  I think I smell wonderful.  Why would I want to smell like lavender when I can smell like trash?  My humans just don’t have a great concept of what smells good.  I suppose, though, that all dogs must have baths every once in a while, and I like to make my humans happy.  I do feel very good after a bath too (so good that I want to roll in the grass!).

dog shaking
When a dog shakes, he loses 50% of the water on him.

Let’s face the fact. Every dog gets fleas at some point in his life.  A dog just can’t escape the wretched creatures.  Many of my fleas come off in a bath.  It is important to wash a dog properly so the fleas will not escape during a bath but go down the drain.  Make lots of suds around the dog’s neck because during a bath the fleas try to make their way to our ears.  Also lather up on the dog’s feet and toes.  This is another one of the flea’s favorite getaways.  Try not to get any water or dog shampoo in a dog’s eyes.  That can really smart.  Here is a good tip when bathing your pooch: don’t let him shake.  When a dog shakes 50% of the water comes off of him.  Dogs can’t shake very well when a human holds their muzzle.  This is a much better way of solving the problem than yelling at your dog every time he shakes all the water off.

Even though baths aren’t very fun, it sure does feel good when I’m all clean!small dog taking bath

My Favorite Dog Biscuit Recipe

2013-10-29 14.41.22
The dog biscuit made with whole wheat flour

This is my favorite homemade dog biscuit recipe ever!  This recipe makes a good amount of biscuits, so I suggest freezing some of them to keep these scrumptious treats fresh.

You will need:

1 cup oats

1/3 cup margarine or butter

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons chicken or beef instant bouillon

1/2 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 cups white or whole wheat flour

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Grease your cookie sheets.  In a large bowl combine oats, margarine, and water; let stand for 10 minutes.  Next stir in cornmeal, sugar, bouillon, milk, cheese, and egg.  Mix it all very well.  Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition to form stiff dough.

On floured surface, knead in remaining flour until dough is smooth and no longer sticky (this might take 3 to 4 minutes).  Roll or pat out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a cookie cutter.  Place one inch apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.  Let it cool completely.  Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator or freezer.  Makes 3 1/2 dozen large biscuits.  Hope you enjoy these treats, fellow canines!

What Dogs Should NOT Eat

Raisins are toxic to dogs

Every dog loves food.  Some dogs will eat anything they can find…whether it be food or not.  There are a few foods, though, that can be harmful to us dogs.  They can make our tummy’s hurt, and we can feel very ill.  Chocolate is poison to us. Onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs.  Green tomatoes can also be toxic to dogs, but when the tomato becomes red it is safe for dogs to eat.  Human food can make dogs sick and lead to obesity.  It is much better for dogs if we stick to eating dog biscuits and dog food.

Chocolate is dog-poison

Don’t freak out if your dog eats a little bit of chocolate.  A little won’t hurt him too bad (I’ve even eaten a little on accident myself), but if a dog ate a good amount of chocolate, such as a chocolate bar, it could harm the pooch.

Basic Training

A dog learning to sit

For me, training is an outlet for all of my energy.  Training strengthens the bond between us dogs and our humans.  Every dog should know these three basic commands:  sit, lay down, and heel.  I like it when our humans use hand signals with the commands.  It makes learning a lot easier.  Just remember to always use the same hand signal because using different ones can confuse dogs.

The method my humans used to teach me “sit” was to first push my rear on the ground and then say, “sit”.  Next, they would give me a treat and shower me with praise each time I sat.  I finally caught on and now sit on command.

To learn “lay down”, the dog should have his leash on so he can’t run off.  The human sits on the dog’s left side and puts the leash under his/her knees.  He then takes out a treat and holds it by the dog’s nose.  Next, he takes the treat to the ground. The dog should follow.  When the dog lays down, give him the treat and loads of praise.

To teach a dog to “heel”, or walk at their human’s left side, the human holds a treat at his left side and the dog follows .  Next, the human walks a few steps and then gives the treat to the dog with lots of praise.  Later on, the dog will learn to heel without having a treat.