The Importance of ID Tags

This morning, my humans noticed two strange dogs in the yard. Since we live in the country, this is not uncommon as many owners let their dogs run loose (which is not a good thing to do!).  However, my humans knew these dogs were different. One was a St. Bernard mix and the other a white German Shepherd. These shepherds are not cheap or easy to come by, so it was obvious these doggies were run aways.  One human went outside and called to the St. Bernard mix. He came lalloping over eagerly, but his shepherd friend was out of sight. Unfortunately, the mutt did not have ID tags and the humans were unable to call his owners. They let the mutt go to join his friend. Two dogs running loose have a better chance of finding their way home than one.

This story shows the importance of giving your dog ID tags. A runaway pet can happen to even the most diligent of owners, and an ID tag increases the chance of his return.

Many owners nowadays microchip their pets. This is when a teeny weeny chip is inserted into their skin. When scanned with a special device, the owner’s imformation pops up. However, these chips are not as good as tags. Many people who see a dog without ID tags will keep the animal. They assume he has been either abandoned or too lost to be found. It is true thay many shelters will scan for microchips. However, your dog may not end up at a shelter. Especially if he is friendly or pretty, he could be kept by another person as a pet. Don’t rely on microchips to bring your dog home.

Keep your dog safe; keep your dog tagged.

Guest Post: Kitty the Cat

Greetings, fans!  It is I, Kitty the Cat.  I am taking over Doggy Times today as it is International Cat Day.  Ugh, it smells like wet dog on this blog!  Anyway, I will be offering tips on how to help your cat and dog get along.

Give Them Space

This is very important for cats.  We are small and easily feel threatened.  If your cat is skittish around your dog, keep the latter leashed.  Do not let your canine chase the feline.  That will teach the cat that your dog is an enemy.

I want to discuss the relationship between Sissy and me.  When I first showed up at my humans’ doorstep, Sissy was furious.  She barked at the door and wanted to chase me away.  However, over time Sissy got used to me.  Now, she doesn’t pay me any attention unless I bat her with a paw.  Then, she barks and chases me, which is only fair.

Rosie and I are a different matter.  She loves to play, and I do too.  However, sometimes I get tired of her constant energy and need an escape.  I either climb a tree or go in the basement.  These are my safe spaces.  Always make sure that your cat has a safe space to retreat to when in the presence of your dog.

If your cat and dog do not get along, don’t force friendship on them.  Train your dog to leave your cat alone using the Leave It command.

Hand Out Treats

When your cat and dog are together, give them both treats.  This will calm them down and teach them that this interaction is rewarding and fun.  Personally, I love little pieces of bread (not the crust, though.  That’s nasty!).  Rosie loves meat-flavored treats and Sissy enjoys…well, pretty much anything.

Spend Time With Pets Separately

It’s important to still spend time separately with your pets.  Cats and dogs can feel jealous of each other.  Chill with your cat alone.  Make sure to pet and take your dog on private walks.

Tip:

If you have a puppy or young dog, expose him/her to cats.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t plan on owning a cat; do it anyway.  One day, your dog will meet up with a feline.  If he has been exposed to cats, he will not freak out.  You can take your dog to a store like Petsmart to look at shelter kitties behind a glass.  Or, if you have a friend with a dog-friendly feline, ask if they can meet.

Besides, you never know when a stray cat will show up at your doorstep demanding entrance.  Then, you just might be the lucky owner of a cat and able to celebrate International Cat Day.

A Summer Update

Hello, fur-iends!  I haven’t posted that much this summer, but I have been incredibly busy.  My humans went out of state, so Rosie and I had a sleepover with our best fur-iend, Lacy.  My humans also had a family over, and Rosie and I loved the extra attention (and food!).  Rosie demonstrated her down/stay command while playing fetch with their children.  I decided that I wanted to go home with them and followed them to their car.

While out of state, my humans visited with a relative’s dog.  Here is Duke, the ferocious pit bull, in his terrifying natural habitat.

He is very laid back

and a big fan of tea parties.

My humans also had some young adults over, but this large crowd of people turned out too much for me.  I had a seizure and, once recovered, had to spend the rest of their stay in my cage.  I was so disappointed as Rosie was allowed to stay!  No fair!

We had Lacy over for a birthday party of one of our humans.  Rosie behaved well and only had to be caged when it was time for presents and cake.  I, of course, was a shining star of good behavior.

My 16th birthday is fast approaching, and I simply cannot wait.  Since I’m turning sweet sixteen, I’ve asked my humans for a car.  That way, I can go wherever I want.  I also want a credit card so I can buy whatever I want.  I’d drive over to Petsmart and come home with a trunk loaded with treats and stylish dresses for every occasion!

So long for now!

Woof,
Sissy

4th of July Safety

The 4th of July is a fun day for Americans to celebrate their freedom, but it is dangerous for dogs. More dogs go missing on Independence Day than any other. It can also be traumatizing for us with the loud explosions and flashes of light. This holiday requires safety precautions for your dog to make it past the 4th with as little stress as possible.

If you are going to go see fireworks, please DO NOT take your dog with you! My humans went to an early 4th of July celebration held by the city. They saw someone leading a young dog and later saw another dog. I’m sure there were more there. They could hear one dog barking in distress as the loud booms occured. Dogs have much better hearing than humans, enabling them to hear sounds that humans are unable to detect. Imagine the pain that poor dog was experiencing during those powerful explosions. To him, the fireworks weren’t enjoyment; they were torture. Please, when you go to see a firework show, leave your dog at home in a secure room or cage. Do not leave him outside. Even the distant sound of firecrackers can cause dogs to freak out and dig under or jump over the fence. Keep your dog safe; keep your dog inside.

If your dog shows distress this 4th of July, give her a few comforting words, but don’t overdo it. Too much comfort can cause dogs to think you are insecure.  Put on some classical music to help drown out the noise; give your dog a favorite treat or bone; and put your pet in the room with the thickest walls.

Have a safe 4th of July!

Internet Troubles

Woof, everbody! It’s Sissy. Lately, my house has had very slow internet, so I haven’t been able to post any articles or work on the magazine. Grrr!  It’s been very irritating. However, the internet-fixer-man is supposed to come tomorrow, so hopefully he will fix it.  I’m actually typing this post on my human’s phone, which has internet. The keyboard is so small that my claws can barely use it!

I apologize for the lack of action on the blog and hope to post soon.

Woof,

Sissy

Work on Stay With Your Dog

Rosie’s goals in life are to convince people to throw her ball or sit on someone’s feet (or lap if it’s available).  Her most favorite toy ever is her orange Chuckit! ball.  It’s one of the few toys which have survived her powerful teeth.  If Rosie had her way, she’d be playing fetch all day every day.

Rosie is toy motivated.  I’m pretty sure she’d jump off the Grand Canyon after her ball.  This makes her fetch sessions wonderful opportunities for training.  Rosie has been working on down and stay.  She has gotten very good at downing on command.  However, she will sometimes break her stays.  She gets so excited for the chase that she can barely stay still!  Stay is a highly useful command and teaches your dog self control.  For instance, it comes in handy when Rosie is outside off leash and sees the mailman approaching.  The human tells her to stay and goes to hold her collar just in case.  This way, Rosie doesn’t bolt to the mailman’s car to give him some unappreciated slobbers.

Want to improve your dog’s stay command?  Here are some tips!

  • Put your dog in stay either sitting, lying down, or standing.  Remember, “stay” means that you don’t want your dog to move from the spot you put him.  Now, walk a large circle around your dog.  If your dog becomes confused and breaks his stay, say “Oops!” but don’t give him a treat.  Instead, ask for an easy command and reward him for that.  This way, you aren’t giving praise for him moving but can keep the session positive.  Put your dog in stay and try it again.
  • Put your dog in a down stay and walk over him.  Rosie was at first baffled when my human did this and broke her stay.  However, now she is more comfortable with it.
  • Put your dog in stay, take a few steps back, and do some jumping jacks.  If your dog breaks his stay while you’re doing this, try again, this time only moving your hands.  The next, do one jumping jack, gradually increasing how many you do.
  • Put your dog in stay and walk behind a tree.  Go quickly so you don’t alarm your dog.  We hate to not see you!  Up the difficulty by staying hidden longer.
  • Have a friend create distractions for your dog.  Put your dog in stay and have your friend

    Can your dog keep his stay with distractions?

    drop an object near your dog.  If your dog can keep his stay during that, up the difficulty.  Have your friend bounce a ball, talk loudly, or run around.  If your dog breaks his stay, do not let the friend give him any attention.  Instead, as suggested above, say, “Oops!” and ask for an easier trick, rewarding that.  Then, start all over again.

  • Practice putting your dog in stay in different locations.  Go to the park, a quiet neighborhood street, a friend’s house, etc.  Please keep your dog on leash in all unfenced areas!
  • Choose a release word to cue your dog when he is allowed to break his stay.  “Okay” is a good choice as it is distinguishable from common commands.

(“Stay” is a lifesaver when trying to get good photos of your dog!  Position your dog, tell him to stay, and viola!  You have a lovely picture of a still dog!)

Rosie’s Birthday Cake Recipe

When one of my humans baked the cake, she made sure to avoid ingredients that are unhealthy for dogs.  Salt, baking powder, and sugar can hurt dogs’ tummies if given in large amounts.  If you want your dog to be extra healthy, you can use whole wheat flour and almond milk (most dogs are actually lactose intolerant.  However, small amounts of milk won’t harm your pup).  The baker human used honey as a form of natural sugar.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • a little honey

(You can add other ingredients to your dog’s cake if you like, such as bananas, peanut butter, bouillon, etc.  Always search online to see if they are safe for dogs.  For example, grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs.)

Stir your ingredients together and put in a greased pie pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.  Let cool before applying icing.

How to Make Banana Icing

Dogs love this luscious and healthy icing!  It’s very simply to make, the ingredients you need being:

  • 2 bananas
  • Milk
  • Flour

Mash the two bananas in a bowl.  Add a little milk and stir.  The next step is like making gravy.  Add spoonfuls of flour and stir until you have the right consistency.  When done, put it in the fridge for at least thirty minutes before icing your cake.

After you’re done icing, you can decorate!  We used strawberries, blueberries, and dog kibble.  Talk about a drool-worthy cake!

Quick Tip: Work on Heel

Heel is the command Rosie struggles with most.  She learned it in puppy class, but it was rarely practiced as Rosie dwells in the country where there is little use for leashes.  She has been working on learning her off-leash boundaries (as in, “you must stay within the barbed wire fence”) and off-leash manners (“you must sit while someone holds your collar while the mailman comes”)  but has sadly not learned many leash manners.  Rosie pulls on the leash, a no-no for big dogs.  This summer, the humans hope to take Rosie to more places, such as parks and hiking trails, to work on her manners.  If she is going to do this, however, she needs to learn heel.  This afternoon, one of the humans took Rosie on a short walk to work on her pulling problems.  She didn’t take any pictures (you need both hands to control this strong dog!), so we are using these old pictures of Rosie’s lacking leash manners from two years ago.  She was much smaller then but still very strong!

Does your dog need to brush up on heel?  Here’s how to do it:

Dogs learn better in short, positive training sessions.  Keep your first heel training to a 5-10 minute walk.  Clip your dog’s leash to his collar.  You can use a harness, but these encourage pulling by making it more comfortable for your dog.  There are anti-pull harnesses, but you want your dog to heel because you say so.

Have some treats ready in your pocket and start walking.  Very likely, your dog will bound ahead and start pulling.  Immediately start walking in the opposite direction.  Call your dog’s name to get his attention.  Hopefully, he will start following, slacking the leash.  Once you feel the tension leave the leash, command your dog to heel and give him a treat.  If he starts pulling again, repeat the process.  You’re not going to get very far down your yard or street, but that’s okay.

Your dog doesn’t have to be leashed to practice heel.  Have some high-quality treats in your hand (hot dogs and beef work well) with your dog off-leash in a fenced area.  Start walking forward, holding a treat by your LEFT* side.  Hold the treat so that your dog can only nibble at it.  Give the command “heel” as soon as your dog starts following the treat.  Do this several times.  Next, hold the treat higher, only giving your dog a taste of it every once in a while as your dog walks in heel.  Eventually, you can command your dog to heel, walk around the yard, and then give him a treat.

 

*Why the left side, you ask?  If your dog were to compete in a dog competition, he would be required to heel on your left.  Don’t ask why; it’s just how it is.  Even if your dog is never going to compete, it’s still a good way to train your dog.  This way, he always knows that you expect him to heel on your left.