Your New Puppy

Dobermann_cropping_01If you are planning on bringing a puppy into your home, I hope that you have thought of the future.  Your little fuzzball isn’t going to be a small puppy for long.  In no time at all, your little pup will be an adult dog!  You must consider how big the dog will become, how much exercise he will need, and how much he will cost.  All these things are very important.  Choosing a dog is a big decision, so it’s worth the time you spend studying about the different dog breeds and dog behavior.  You need to calculate the costs of a dog.  Dog food and vet appointments add up.

The Commitment

When you take a new puppy into your home, you make a commitment to him.  You are promising to take care of your new dog forever.  That is why you need to think hard about the breed you are getting.  Your dog could live to be 10 years old or maybe even older.  I hope that you will love your new dog to the end of his life.  If you love your dog, he will love you right back.  Your dog will look up to you and think you’re the most incredible person in the whole world.  You are his pack leader, his master, his very best friend.  Your dog will love you to the very last beat of his heart, so you should love him to the very end too.

Which Puppy?

When you pick out your new puppy, take your time.  This is a very important decision which will Erste_Welpenstunde_H-Wurf_Lightning_Dreams_(10577019724) take some thinking.  You want to choose a puppy that comes to you, lets you pet him, isn’t scared or mean, and seems to like you.  Don’t choose the cute little puppy that hides behind his mother or shakes when you pet him.  That puppy might not be ready to leave his mother or will end up being a frightened adult dog that shakes every time someone strokes him on the back.  Also, don’t choose a mean dog.  A puppy who bites you, snarls at you, or even gives you a low growl will most likely end up as a problem dog in the future.  So play it safe and don’t risk it!  You don’t want to be driving to the shelter a year from the day you pick up your puppy saying you couldn’t handle the biting.  Choose the puppy who is friendly, doesn’t mind you picking him up, likes it when you give him attention, and doesn’t growl or hide from you.


Before you go and pick up your bundle of joy from the shelter or breeder, you need to do some shopping!  Your new dog will be needing:697px-Large_Dog_food_bowl

  • A collar and ID tag
  • Two bowls (one for food and one for water)
  • A leash
  • Toys
  • A brush
  • A dog bed
  • Some puppy food

That’s just the basics of what your puppy will need.  You can pick up some dog training books, dog treats (your new pup will love you for that!), or anything else that you may want you little pooch to have. Also, another thing you will want to consider buying for your dog is a dog crate.  These are really nice because your dog can sleep in them at night and also be safely in his cage while you’re not at home.  Just make sure to buy a crate that’s big enough to fit your puppy in when he’s grown up.

The Name Game

It’s so much fun to name your dog.  Have your whole family involved with naming your puppy.  This will be you dog’s very own name and everyone should like it.  You can always name your puppy what he looks or acts like.  If your puppy is very bouncy, you could call him Bounce.  If your puppy has lots of spots on his back, you could call him Freckles or Dot.  Be creative and have fun naming your dog!580px-Puzzel4b

Once you have decided on a name for your puppy, you will need to use it as often as you can.  Avoid calling your puppy multiple names (although, I confess, I am also called Baby and Posh Puppy while my real name is Sissy, but, in my own defense, you should hear all the funny names my humans call the cat!), because he could become confused and not know what his real name is.


You will need to get your puppy some things to chew on.  Your pup is teething now and he feels as if he just has to get his teeth into something!  As his new teeth grow in, the puppy will want to chew everything that comes in his path.  If you provide your new pup with many toys to chew, he will not end up chewing the leg of the table or those important papers you just laid on the chair.  Be extra cautious of bones!  Your puppy could choke on little pieces of bone and could actually die from it.  Always buy very large and puppy-safe bones and supervise your dog while he chews.


Make a list of rules for your new puppy to go by, and stick to them.  If someone alters those 617px-Hazel_beim_Spielrules, your puppy will become confused and not know right from wrong.  If you don’t want the pup on the bed, write that down on a paper along with your other rules and stick them on the fridge.  Rules on the list could include: The puppy is not allowed to play roughly with anyone or the puppy cannot eat scraps from the table.  These are both very good rules that you will want to consider putting on your list.  Remember, don’t bend the rules! You must keep strict rules about the puppy biting anyone, even at play.  This is strictly forbidden.  If your little fuzzball gets away with biting now, he will think it’s OK to bite someone when all his adult teeth comes in.  Now that’s going to smart!  Don’t let even a playful nip go unpunished.  This isn’t cruel; it’s for the puppy’s own good.  No one wants to live with a dog who bites you every day!  When your puppy bites you, don’t start screaming, “No! No! Bad dog!” at him.  He doesn’t know that biting is bad, and he’s just a baby.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to let him get away with biting.  No sir!  When your puppy bites you, say, “Ouch!” loudly and walk away from your puppy.  Totally ignore him for a while.  This will teach your puppy that when he bites you, it really does hurt you and he doesn’t get to have fun when he bites someone.  When you say ouch, it will give your puppy a shock.  And when you walk away, the pup will learn that if he bites, he doesn’t get to have fun with you.

Be Prepared

Aid2Before you bring your puppy home, you will need to prepare.  Look around your house and think as if you were a little puppy who was curious about everything and had just come into the world a while ago.  Puppies will want to chew on wires, shoes, books, and anything else in their reach.  Put everything off the floor and out of reach.  Don’t give your puppy a chance to be bad.  And remember, he’s just a baby.  He doesn’t know that chewing on shoes is wrong or that he shouldn’t gnaw on wires for his own safety.  Your puppy hasn’t been taught that yet.  But don’t worry, he will soon learn.  You just need to prepare your house fully before you bring home your new puppy.  That way, he will be able to be a good dog and begin to enjoy family life with you.  Give your puppy many chances to be good, and reward him for doing the right thing.  That way, he will want to do what’s right.


You may want to use barriers to keep your dog out of certain places.  This is a very good thing for a puppy as he will be less overwhelmed over his new home and will get into less trouble.  Baby gates work great to keep your little puppy out of your bedroom, the children’s rooms or play areas, and other places where your puppy could easily chew and destroy things.

Bringing Your Puppy Home in the Car

You have just picked up your new puppy and are getting ready to drive off.  You check to see if 800px-2008-07-26_Dog_in_a_van_at_the_Durham_Farmers_Marketthe puppy is securely seated in someone’s lap or in a cage and drive off…it sounds all too easy!  But, realistically, it’s not that easy all the time.  Puppies can become carsick and throw up in the car.  That’s no fun for anyone!  This is why you need to prepare for these accidents.  If the puppy is to sit on someone’s lap during the ride home, cover the person’s lap with an old towel.  You might also need to put a towel or blanket on the puppy to keep him warm.  Consider putting on some soothing music in your car as you drive home with your new puppy.  This will help him to stay calm. Don’t pass the puppy from lap to lap in the car.  I know that everyone in the family will be wanting to have the puppy on their lap, but that’s just too much for the little pup.  Remember that he’s new to your family and has probably never ridden in a car before.  He needs to feel secure, and being jostled from hand to hand in the car is not security. Safety tips: Never leave your puppy alone in the car because he could burn or freeze to death if the weather is even a little hot or cold.  Also, don’t ever let your puppy (or adult dog) hang his head out of the window.  Trash and dirt could get into his eyes and hurt him.  Do not ever put your puppy or dog in the back of the truck.  He could jump out and run away or get seriously hurt.  Again, trash could get into his eyes and hurt him.

Puppy’s First Day Home

When you first bring your puppy home, don’t tote the pup around.  This can be very tempting as800px-JRT_Pixel_2010-08-26 puppies are so cute and you want to hold them up to your face and cuddle them.  Your puppy is not a toy; he’s a dog and should be treated like one.  Leave your puppy on the floor and let him sniff around.  This is to be his new home and he needs a chance to find out about his surroundings.  So don’t pick up your puppy unless it is absolutely necessary. Take your puppy outside to go to the bathroom once you come home.  After that car ride, he will probably need to go.  Also, you don’t want any “accidents” happening in the house. Don’t take your puppy anywhere on his first day at your home.  I know you want to socialize your new puppy, but that doesn’t mean on his first day.  Wait until he has had all his shots to protect him from illnesses, and then you can introduce your puppy to other friendly dogs and bring him out to the park and have loads of fun on these outings.  Also, don’t begin training your puppy for a while.  Your puppy just needs some time to settle down and get to know his humans.

 Food, Water, and Where to go Potty

Give your puppy some water a little while after arriving at your house.  He may not want to drinkSaschaDruschel it because he is so excited, but don’t worry.  Your puppy will drink when he feels thirsty.  Choose a nice, clean corner where your puppy’s water bowl can be.  You will need to keep the bowl in a spot where it won’t be easily spilled.  Show your puppy where the bowl is, point to the bowl and say softly, “Look, (dog’s name), water!”  Feed your puppy when he is settled.  Always remember to bring your dog outside to go to the bathroom after he drinks or eats.  Don’t punish your new puppy for going to the bathroom on the floor.  Remember that he hasn’t been potty trained yet, and he’s just a baby.  He doesn’t know any better.  If your puppy goes to the bathroom on the floor, you may need to be taking him outside more often.  Clean up your puppy’s messes quickly so he won’t try to go potty again on the same spot.  You might also want to take an old newspaper and sop up some of your dog’s mess on it.  Take the newspaper outside and place it where you want your dog to go potty.  This way, your puppy will want to go potty outside where the newspaper is.  This will be the first step when potty training your dog.

Cuddle Buddy

Your puppy may need something to cuddle with…a sort of “cuddle buddy”.  Yes, his human is great to cuddle, but he doesn’t know you very well yet.  And also, you won’t be able to cuddle nonstop with him.  Some puppies like to cuddle with a big, fluffy stuffed animal.  That sort of reminds them of their mommy and litter mates.  It is a very good idea to get your dog his own “cuddle buddy” so he won’t have to use a child’s doll or teddy bear.  Your puppy will enjoy roughhousing with the stuffed animal, sleeping with it, or climbing all over it.

Nap Time For Puppy

Your puppy will need a nice place to sleep after all that excitement.  Choose a spot for your dog’s bed or crate and let your puppy rest there.  I heartily recommend a crate as your dog’s little nappy-time bed (and also as a bed for when he goes “night, night”).  These crates make perfect “dens” for puppies to crawl into and rest, away from all noise and activity.  You need to choose a quite spot for your dog to rest, so he can sleep peacefully.800px-Golden_Retriever_7_Aug_2005When your puppy is sleeping, don’t ever disturb him.  He needs his rest because he is just a baby.

When Will my Puppy be an Adult Dog?

When you’re a puppy parent, you’re going to have some of those days when you wonder when your puppy will ever grow up.  Your puppy went to the bathroom on the floor, chewed up your favorite shoes, and knocked down your favorite glass vase.  Your puppy won’t be an adult dog until he’s about 2 years old.  Growing takes time.

Have Fun!

I hope you have some tail-wagging fun with your new puppy!  Do some cuddling, go to the park, and just have fun watching your little puppy learn new things every day.


Happy 4th of July!

two dogs

The 4th of July is a great holiday, full of dazzling fireworks and waving flags.  But this holiday can be very frightening to dogs.

scared dog

Fireworks can frighten dogs

Fireworks create big “booms”.  Your dog can hear much better than you, so the “booms” are very loud to him.  This is  frightening to dogs and can make us cry.  Help your dog by putting him in the room where it is hardest to hear the fireworks.  Give him a very yummy bone to get his mind off of the loud fireworks.  Also, give him very special treat and praise him for ignoring the fireworks while he eats it.  Fireworks are scary to dogs, but if you distract your dog and tell him it’s alright, he’ll soon forget about his fears.

Flags are great to have in your yard on the 4th of July, but make sure they don’t scare your dog.  If your dog has never seen a flag flapping in the yard, he might become alarmed and bark at it.  If your dog shows fear or aggression towards the flag, take it into your house and show it to your dog.  Give him a treat, telling him he’s a good dog, while he observes the flag.  This way, he will see that the flag is nothing to worry about.

If you have a party on this holiday, make sure not to forget your dog.  Parties can be confusing to dogs, and we tend to get underfoot.  Put your dog in his cage or a room where it is quiet, and give him some toys and a bone to keep him company.  Also, make sure to follow these party safety rules:

  • Put all purses and bags on top of the counter, away from your dog.
  • Don’t feed your dog any candy.
  • Make sure your dog is not underfoot, so he doesn’t get stepped on.  Ouch!
  • If your dog gets very excited when company arrives, put on his leash so he won’t jump on anyone.
  • Before company arrives, take your dog for a long walk or play a game of fetch.  This way, your dog will be tired during the party and won’t be jumping all over everybody.  He will be very happy to lay on his bed and chew on his bone.

Following these safety rules, your dog can enjoy the party happily and safely.

4th of July can be scary to many dogs, but if you distract your dog from the fireworks and take a little time to give him some extra attention his stress can be greatly reduced.


Happy 4th of July from Sissy!


Dogs and Cats

painting of puppies and catOne of my viewers asked me if dogs and cats can always get along with each other.  Many tales indicate that cats and dogs are worst enemies.  And from many cartoons and TV shows “dogs hate cats” seems very true.  It is correct that some dogs feel aggressive towards cats.  But just because dogs tend to chase cats and growl at them doesn’t mean that they can’t learn to tolerate them.

Why can dogs and cats be mean to each other?  Cats are small creatures and run whenever they are scared.  When a dog sees a cat running, he immediately wants to chase the cat.  Dogs want to chase cats because it’s in their roots.  Before we dogs were domesticated by people, we lived like wolves.  We hunted for our food and killed our prey.  So when a dog sees a cat running from him, he instinctively thinks of the cat as his “prey” and runs after her.

Most dogs have to be taught to tolerate cats.  Learning to get along can be hard for both dogs and cats.  It may seem impossible at first, but, with enough patience and time, your two pets can learn to live in the same house.  Now this doesn’t mean that they will always like each other.  They may merely tolerate the other’s presence.  Don’t expect your dog and cat to cuddle up with each other in a week and become best friends.  But if your dog and cat do learn to love each other, that’s great!  Just don’t expect too much from your furry friends.

cat icon

Here are some tips for introducing your dog to a cat:

Keep your dog leashed so he is under control.

Make sure there is plenty of room when introducing a cat and dog.  This way, if the dog tries to chase the cat, the cat will have plenty of room to run away.

Let your cat be where she always is:  on top of the bookcase, on the counter, or even on your bed.  This will help the cat relax.  Please don’t hold your cat.  She could get scared from seeing a dog and scratch you.

It is best to first introduce the pair between sliding glass doors.  Pet your dog as he looks at the cat and give him a treat.  This will teach him that the cat is a good thing.  It will also keep him from barking and scaring the kitty.  Your dog may be more interested in the cat than the treat, so try some really good food like a piece of cheese or a slice of a hot dog.

Don’t rush it.  Both dog and cat will need time adjusting to each other.  This could take weeks for some, and months for others.

cat and boxer

With some time and a few adjustments, cats and dogs can become pals.  Some dogs will even sleep with their cat friends as shown in the picture above!  Although it is harder for some dogs to learn to tolerate cats, it is possible.  Many dogs have not been properly socialized with cats and are mean to them just because they don’t know what they are.  It is important to socialize your dog around other friendly cats when he is very young so it will be easier for him when he grows up.

If you own a cat and a dog…

Cats need personnel space.  And so do dogs.  Let your two pets have “alone time” just with you.  They both need your attention and love.  Also, dogs REALLY love cat food.  I know I do.  So place your cat’s food up high where your dog can’t reach it, but your cat can.  Kitty’s food is up on a shelf in the basement where I can’t reach.  She gets up by climbing on a lower table.  I’m not as agile as her so I can’t snack on her food.  You will also need to keep your cat’s litter box away from your dog.

In the beginning, please never leave your dog alone with a cat.  Only if he is very trustworthy and friendly with cats should your dog ever be left alone with a cat.  If you are nervous about your dog chasing the cat, put his leash on and let him drag it around.  This way, when your dog begins to chase the kitty-cat, you can step on his leash and stop him.  But please be cautious and never choke your dog!  The stress of the leash pulling on his throat could hurt him. Consider putting on your dog’s harness, too.  This will reduce the pulling on his neck.

Sissy dog

Thank you for asking this question, and I hope you enjoy reading the answer.

Woof, Sissy


Meet the Cat!

Kitty a black cat


Meet my good friend and roommate, Kitty, the cat.  Kitty is famous for her amazing antics while attacking the leather couch, sleeping on laps, and being an all-around snob.  While she is a little stuck-up, she’s a much loved family member.  She likes to swipe sips out of my water bowl, swat my fluffy tail, and looks absolutely adorable while doing something naughty.  Hating cold and wet weather, Kitty likes to spend half of the day indoors and the other half out.  Even though I don’t say so in front of my peers, I really am fond of this jet-black cat.

Kitty was found at my human’s doorstep, alone and hungry.  Being just a lonely kitten, Kitty kitty looking upmeowed at the door until my humans finally saw her.  Feeling sorry about how skinny and frightened she looked, they gave her some food. Because they didn’t have any cat food on hand, they gave her a bowl of my dog food.  I have to admit that this hurt my feelings very much, and I did not like the idea of sharing my humans with a cat.  But, after a while, Kitty began to grow on me.  Now I can’t imagine life without her!  Thought to be dumped on the road as an unwanted kitten, Kitty came to my home and stayed.  My humans weren’t sure at first if they wanted to keep Kitty.  They were also nervous about her being moody, biting someone, and all of the extra expenses.  But this little cat, with her bright yellow eyes, grew on them immensely, and they made a final decision. Kitty had found a forever home.  She was brought to the vet, given her shots, and brought back home as an official family member.  I’m told that she meowed all the way to and from the vet’s. Kitty, I think, is now three years old, although I’m not sure because my humans had no idea how old Kitty was when we first found her.  But the veterinarian looked at her teeth and guessed her age.  It’s amazing how they can do that!  Despite my humans’ concerns about owning a cat, they found Kitty to be a very friendly and loving cat.  She was sociable with strangers who came to the house to visit, rubbed against my owners’ legs, and enjoyed having her chin tickled or cheeks rubbed.  I think that’s just weird.  Who would want to have their cheeks rubbed or chin tickled?  I guess it’s just a cat thing.

Remember, at first I didn’t like Kitty at all.  We had a few small fights where I got a smack or two, and then we just stayed away from each other.  But now Kitty and I have wonderful games of tag.  I’ll chase her, push her with my paw, and then run away.  Kitty will do a few cool flips in the air, playfully smack me with her paw, and quickly scurry up the nearest tree.  She will try to mask it with her aloof ways and snobby looks, but I do believe Kitty likes me.  And, thanks to her, I now like felines.  I even give kisses to the cat at the groomer’s!

Kitty the catMy humans weren’t sure at first what to name Kitty.  They thought about some flower names like Daisy and a few favorite candies like the Kit-Cat (they actually almost named her that one; they thought it was funny that the candy bar name had the word “cat” in it), but none of those seemed to fit her.  They looked up cat names on the internet and had at last narrowed it down to two choices:  Katie and Kitty.  They thought deeply on the name Katie, but finally decided that Kitty would be the perfect name.  They chose this because when they first saw Kitty they said, “Here, Kitty, Kitty,” like people will sometimes do when they see a cat they don’t know.  Since she had already been responding to that name, they thought it to the best choice.

Kitty has many nicknames.  My humans have fondly nicknamed her Miss Noodles.  She has also grown into names like Taco, Fat Cat, Kittens, and Handle Bar.  My humans got the name “Miss Noodles” from the way her tail looked like a noodle, squiggling about.  They called her “Handle Bar” because of the way Kitty would curl her tail on the tip like a real handle bar.  Even though she has a lot of nicknames, her real name will always be Kitty.

While you may not guess it at one glance, Kitty and I are great pals.  When I think nobody is looking, I’ll give the cat a little kiss.

Thank you, Kitty, for making my life whole.

Sissy and Kitty

Dogs and Cars

dog on carIt’s really fun to bring your dog out in the car.  You can go to the dog park and throw your dog’s favorite ball or take a nice walk.  But there are some things to be aware of which are not fun and are very dangerous for your four-legged friend.

Hot and Cold

Do not ever leave your dog alone in the car.  When it is even a little hot outside, your car will trap the heat inside, along with your dog.  So many dogs have died from being left in a hot car. So please never leave your dog in a car alone when it’s even a little hot outside.

Also, when it’s cold, it’s dangerous for your dog to be left alone in the car with no heat.  Your car will become like a refrigerator, trapping all the cold air into the car and freezing your dog.  Don’t ever leave your dog alone in the car when it’s cold outside.

If it’s either hot or cold outside, it is very, very dangerous for dogs to be left alone in the car.  And I should know, being a dog myself.  If you leave your dog alone in the car, he’s at risk of either burning or freezing to death.  Trust me; either of these would be a horrible way to die.  So play it safe, and leave someone in the car while you’re running into the store, so the heat or air-conditioning can run while you’re gone.

If you don’t have a second person to stay with your dog, you may need to hold off on that shopping trip.  Do the shopping trip after you’ve dropped your dog off at home.  It’s better safe than sorry.

dogs in car window

Open Windows

When you’re driving along with your dog in the car, don’t ever let him hang his head out of the window.  I know this is great for dogs, as we get to “smell the smells”, but it is very dangerous.

Trash can get into a dog’s eyes and hurt him very badly, or he could jump out of the car.  Once, I heard about a dog who jumped out of his human’s car.  So don’t ever give your dog a chance to jump.  He could really hurt himself, or run away.

dog in back of truck

In the Back of the Truck

Putting your dog in the back of your truck is very dangerous.  Dogs can get trash in their eyes just like with open windows or jump out of the truck.  Your dog could end up with several broken bones,or you could be tacking “lost dog” posters all over the town.  If your dog absolutely must be in the truck, tether him to the vehicle.  But remember, dogs in the backs of trucks is really not a good idea.

Remember these safety tips before you take your dog out in the car!  Have fun!

white dog in car

Bossy Doggy

bulldog in chairSome dogs just love being the boss.  They like to show their human how tough they are and that they’re in charge.  This is called dominating.  When a dog bites a person or another animal they might be trying to dominate them.  You need to show your dog who’s the boss.

How Do I Become the Boss?

Being the boss does not mean that you should be mean and dominating to your dog.  You should be a gentle, kind, and loving human.  Being the boss means that you make the rules and it is up to you to kindly teach your dog to obey them.  If you are mean and dominating, your dog will resent and hate it.

Follow the Leader

If you do not teach your dog that you’re the leader, he will take on the job.  He thinks that since nobody is going to be the boss, why can’t he just take on the position?  No one else seems to want to be boss, so he will take on the job.  This will lead to a mean and bossy dog who does whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  Below are things that bossy dogs do.  Don’t ever let your dog do these!


mad chiwiIf your dog ever bites you (which I hope he never does), he is either telling your to back off and mind your own business or that you scared him and whatever you’re doing hurts him.  Your dog should never ever bite you or anyone.  This is where you must draw the line.  When your dog is a puppy, he wants to know just how far he can go.  He wonders what will happen if he bites someone.  It is up to you, his human, to tell and show him that biting someone is wrong. A dog who bites is very dangerous.  Don’t ever let your dog behave like this.

Jumping up on the Table

Sometimes dogs will jump up on the table to get to the delicious foods on top, but other times dog on tablehe may go up on the table just to show you that he’s the boss.  If your dog does this, don’t scream at him.  Just act disappointed, and take him off the table, telling him how saddened you are by his behavior.  Hopefully, you won’t ever let this habit start.  Even if your dog looks so cute sitting up on the table, he’s being a bad dog.  You may want to make sure you don’t leave food on the table and scoot all the chairs in.  This will give your dog no excuse to jump up on the table.

Eeek!  There’s Dog Hairs on the Couch!

It’s certainly no fun to sit down in dog hair.  Imagine if you owned a Golden Retriever whodogs on couch sheds a lot and sleeps on the couch, and you have invited your best friend over.  You ask your friend to sit down on the couch.  Your friend just happens to be wearing black pants and the yellow dog hairs stick right on and really stands out.  Now that would be horrible for anyone!  Here’s some advise: buy your dog a bed and don’t let him on the couch.  Sometimes when dogs sleep on the sofa, they think they’re the boss.  If you provide your pooch with a dog bed, he won’t really need to sleep on the couch.  Although, if you don’t mind dog hairs on the couch, it’s not really being “bossy” for a dog to snooze on the couch if that’s part of your house rules.  But if you decide to make this a rule, stick to it and don’t allow your pooch on the sofa.

Pulling on the Leash

Some dogs like to pull on their leash.  These dogs are being the boss.  They think they can drag their human wherever they want.  They thoroughly enjoy pulling their human down the street and making them mad.   Read Leash Pulling for information on solving this problem.

Jumping up on People

Many dogs jump up on people when they are excited, but some dogs jump up on people whendog jumping on kid they want to dominate them.  Teach your dog that it’s much more fun to keep all four paws on the floor.  Try tapping your dog’s toes that are still on the floor when he jumps up on you.  Don’t break any toes!  Just gently touch them.  Tell him, “Off,” and praise him if he gets off you.  My humans prefer to use the command “off” because the word “down” means you want your dog to lay down.  Now that can get confusing!  Another method is helping your dog off you.  Don’t shove your dog off.  Just help him off the person, and praise him when all four paws are on the ground once more.  You can either reward your dog with a treat or praise, whichever your dog prefers.  If your dog is being nice and friendly when he jumps up on you, he is just trying to give you kisses and doesn’t mean any harm.  But if your dog acts even a little mean, he is trying to dominate you.  If your dog is ever aggressive to anybody, ask your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer for help on solving this behavior problem.


Be a Nice and Fun-Filled Boss!

No human wants to have a boss who is mean, yells, or doesn’t acknowledge you.  Dogs are the same way.  They want a boss who is fun to be around and makes being a good dog exciting.  If you’re this kind of boss, your dog will respect, honor, and, most of all, love training

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.