Socializing an Older Dog

I would start with the basics. You want to desensitize him to touch first. This will allow you and others to easily groom him as well as brush his teeth and make it easy for you to check him for bumps, etc.

When you are doing this, you will want to have plenty of treats on hand as this will help him associate these things with something pleasant, food.

You’ll want to start by quietly touching him, like you’re going to brush him. When he behaves, praise him and reward him with a treat. Then you can add a brush, and do the same. When it comes to doing his teeth, you’ll want to first put a little doggy toothpaste on your finger then let him lick it off. Praise him and give him a treat. Repeat each day going a little farther until you can easily stick your fingers in his mouth and touch his teeth. Once you can do this for 30 seconds or so, add the toothbrush.

Once he’s ok being handled, you’ll want to get him used to other people. Start by inviting a couple of friends over. Keep the dog on a leash. Have your guests hand feed him his treats until he is relaxed around them. Repeat this process over and over, each time having different people come over. Eventually, he’ll look forward to people because it means treats!

Once he is used to people coming and going, it’s time to hit the streets. Take him for a walk on his leash, when you approach someone have him sit/stay. Allow the person to pass, then praise him and reward him for sitting quietly. Once he does this, try it with him walking by the person. If he barks, put him in a sit/stay. Once he has mastered walking with people around, it’s time to move on to other dogs.

You will want to start by allowing him to watch other dogs from a distance. When a dog comes into sight, give him a treat and keep giving him treats as long as the other dog is in view. (This goes back to the new visitors he learned before, new people = FOOD). If he barks or doesn’t want the treat, move farther away and try again. Keep repeating the process until you and your dog can approach another dog without barking.

Allow them to sniff. If someone gets aggressive, immediately turn with your dog and walk away. Repeat the approach process. This will be the most frustrating part, but it will eventually sink in that barking and fighting is a no-no.

If your dog is the opposite and tries to run away, stay positive and act like meeting the other dog is no big deal. Don’t pull him toward the other dog or talk soothing to him or even pet him. Doing this reinforces the fearful behavior. Only reward him when he starts to relax and explore what the other dog is all about. Let him approach things he’s scared of on his own terms.

With a lot of patience and love your dog will adapt.


Black is Beautiful!

Black Labs

There has been talk lately of Big Black Dog Syndrome, where black dogs have been pretty much doomed to be put to death because they are big and black and people pass them up for lighter colored dogs. Doesn’t this resemble something that is so politically incorrect now that there are laws against it? Yep, people are racist against black dogs. They are the same as other dogs, the only difference their color. Now granted a dog is only as good as his owner, which leads a lot of breeds to get a bad rap (like the pitbull, etc.) and thanks to irresponsible owners, they have ruined it for everyone, especially these dogs.

Is big black dog syndrome fueled by superstition? It’s possible, think about every movie, book, etc. that you have read or seen. Ok, now what kind of dog was in those movies? Usually a big black dog, right? How often do you see a Chihuahua being depicted as evil? Not at all.

In shelters, black dogs don’t really stand out. They don’t photograph well and it’s hard to see their faces in a dark crate or kennel. People fear them because it is harder to read their expressions. Others want a dog with more distinctive markings so it “stands out.”

While thousands of other lighter colored dogs are adopted everyday, these poor dark dogs sit in shelters with no one wanting to take them home. Most end up being euthanized and never get to see a loving adoptive family.

Personally, I like big, black dogs. I grew up with black labs, a chocolate lab, a blue heeler and a cocker spaniel. They were all loving, fun dogs. Even the big black ones! They were all behaved, loved to play and learned tricks easily.

Adopt a big, black dog today!! Go to Pet Finder to find an adoptable dog in your area.

How do you feel about big black dogs? Are you more afraid of them than other, lighter colored dogs? Do you think people are biased against black dogs?

Why does my dog’s pee turn my lawn brown?

Lawn burn is a common problem for dog owners. Your perfectly green and lush lawn develops brown spots in the areas where your dog uses the bathroom. These brown spots are caused by the high concentration of nitrogen in your dog’s urine. When your dog urinates, it is like pouring pure nitrogen fertilizer on your lawn. While a little fertilizer is ok, an excess can cause nitrogen burn, which is why the grass turns brown.

Female dogs and large dogs are more likely to cause lawn burn because of the amount of urine present at one location. Large dogs obviously have larger bladders, so there is more urine present. Also, female dogs tend to empty their bladders completely, while males lift their legs in several places to mark their territory.

Dogs that are fed a high protein diet release more nitrogen than other dogs, which can increase the chances of lawn burn. If your lawn has been under stress, like a drought or reseeding, it can also make it more likely to get lawn burn.

How do I get rid of lawn burn?
There are several different ways in which you can help your lawn come back to green. Some examples are:

  1. Feed your dog a high quality dog food that doesn’t exceed his or her protein requirements.
  2. After your dog urinates, saturate the area with water to dilute the nitrogen.
  3. Encourage your dog to drink more water. This will also help dilute the nitrogen in his urine. You can try getting a pet fountain. The running water often encourages your pet to drink more water.
  4. You can also set up an area out of the way or a rocky patch for your dog. Then you can train him or her to use that spot has his bathroom spot.
  5. You can give your dog a supplement that helps reduce the amount of nitrogen in his or her urnie, such as Green Ums or Grass Guard Tablets.

Doga – Yoga for Dogs

Yoga has been evolving for more than 5,000 years. It’s origins have been traced to India, with the oldest written records dating more than 3,000 years old. Artifacts have been found from this period also where the people of India have interacted with animals. This significance crossed over into yoga with many postures named after animals.

Animals were noted for their abilities and accomplishments and to imitate these qualities was considered a sign of spiritual attainment. A few of these poses are Downward Dog, Rooster Pose and Tortoise Pose. Recently, Yoga has evolved to include animals.

DogaToday more than 30 million people practice Yoga on a regular basis and people’s attitudes toward health and spirituality are changing. Doga (pronounced DOE-guh) developed from observing animals. Ashley Storm, a yoga instructor and co-owner of Hot Yoga, says, “They stretch naturally, like we do in our yoga poses. It just feels good to them. It feels good to us, too.”

Suzi Teitelman a Doga teacher and the Director of Yoga for Crunch Fitness NYC explains, “In the Doga poses, we will help our dogs go further in the stretches, and they will help us go deeper too. The poses are based on Hatha postures, and the dogs and humans stretch, breathe, bond and relax in sync. The weight of their body, their scent and their love all work together and that makes doga a complete spiritual experience. Chanting, massage and accupressure are a large part of doga as well as reflexology on all the paws, and on our pads too…Doga is the most amazing bonding experience you will ever have with your pet.”

Do you do Doga? What is your experience with it? If you don’t do it, would you try it? Let us know!


Flyball – An Introduction

Flyball began in the 1970’s when Herbert Wagner developed the first tennis ball launcher. The first Flyball tournament was held in 1983. Flyball racing is governed by the North American Flyball Association (NAFA), which was formed in 1985 by a group of 12 teams from Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Today, NAFA has more than 700 clubs with more than 16,000 dogs participating. Another club, United Flyball International (UFI) began in 2005 for the purpose of promoting Flyball.

Dog Running Flyball CourseFlyball races are fast-paced and offers more than enough excitement for all involved, including the spectators. Races consist of two teams, with four dogs on each team. They race side-by-side over a course that is 51 feet long.

The course consists of a starting line, four hurdles spaced ten (10) feet apart, and a box. The first hurdle is six (6) feet from the start line and the box is fifteen (15) feet from the last hurdle for a fifty-one (51) foot overall length. The hurdle height is dependent upon the height of the smallest dog on the team. The dogs jump the hurdles and step on a spring loaded box that shoots out a tennis ball. The dogs catch the tennis ball and then run back over the four hurdles. When the first dog crosses the starting line the next dog goes, etc. until all four dogs have run.

All dogs are allowed to compete in Flyball and can compete to earn NAFA titles in sanctioned tournaments. These titles are earned based on points and the time it takes for the dog to complete each race.

Cooking’s Gone to the Dogs

Awhile ago, I wrote a blog entry about Make At Home Pet Treats, well the other day there was a special on Food Network where Rachel Ray was cooking up doggie treats! (By the way I love Rachel Ray for human recipes too!) Come to think of it, there’s a lot of people making and SELLING homemade dog treats. Makes me wonder if I’m not in the wrong business! I love to bake so it would be perfect, right? I’m not so sure it would fly around here there. Being kind of isolated and surrounded by farms, makes me think otherwise.Dog Treats

By making your own dog treats, you’re controlling what your dog is eating. It wasn’t too long ago, and I’m sure you all remember the dog food recall. You’re feeding your dog who knows what and where it came from. Not only that, commercial dog treats are loaded with chemicals and preservatives. By making your own treats, you’re giving your pet a wholesome yummy treat that is safe.

Not only are you giving your dog a wholesome treat, but you are helping reduce his allergies too. If your dog is allergic to common dog food ingredients such as, corn or wheat, you can help stop the itchies by avoiding these foods. By making your own treats, you leave out these allergens if necessary.

There are a couple of other recipes listed in my other homemade treat post, but here are a few more:

Peanut- Carob Isabooscotti — (Isaboo is Rachel’s Dog)

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray from Every Day with Rachael Ray
Show: Food Network Specials
Episode: Rachael Ray Feeds Your Pets

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 16 biscuits
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 pinches ground cinnamon
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup milk
1 cup carob chipsPreheat the oven to 400 degrees F.In a large bowl, combine that flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Place the peanut butter in a medium bowl and microwave at high power to soften, 5 to 10 seconds. Whisk in the milk, then stir the mixture into the dry ingredients.Shape the dough into a long, flattened log and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice the log crosswise on an angle into 1-inch-thick pieces. Set the slices on their sides (they should look like biscotti) and bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool.Melt the carob in a microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Thin the melted carob with 1 tablespoon water, if needed. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted carob over the biscuits. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

This recipe is from the Three Dog’s Bakery Cookbook:GRRRRRANOLA1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. cracked wheat
2 1/2 c. rolled oats
2 c. bran flakes
1 c. wheat germ
1 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. chopped, roasted soy beans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat honey, oil and vanilla in a saucepan.

Pour over all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly and spread on two greased baking sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Stir occasionally during baking to prevent overbrowning.

Cool and store in a sealed container.

Sounds yummy huh?! Got some recipes of your own? Share them with us! Would you guys be interested in a page dedicated to pet recipes? Let us know!

Dog Trick Fun!

Johann the dog published this the other day. She has a really nice blog about dog agility, so don’t forget to check it out. I know all of you are always looking for new tricks to teach your dogs and I thought this would be a great way to build a list of common tricks for everyone to use. Don’t forget to pass it along so we can get a great list!

——-Copy and paste starting with this line and everything below———-

There are all kinds of fun tricks for us dogs, right? Well, let’s make a list! And share it with the dog world!

Here’s how it works:

1.) Copy and paste this post beginning with the “copy and paste” line at the top of the post to the “copy and paste” line at the end of the post, courtesy of Johann The Dog!

2.) Substitute the Host Tag (see below) and one of the vacant “Tricks” spots with the name of your dog trick and the URL of your blog, just like I did.

3.) When you find out that someone has added this link post to their blog and their trick isn’t listed on your post, practice good paw and add their link in one of your “Tricks” slots, by copying his/her ‘Host Tag’ and paste it over one of your “Tricks” slots below, and republish. This makes the list the same on everyone’s blog!

5.) Encourage and invite your readers to do the same and soon this can grow fast. And if your not a dog, but you blog about dogs, or own a dog, you are also welcome to participate!

Host Tag: Cover Your Eyes – Tummy Scratch!

1. Danger! (run and sit between your 2-leggers legs) – JohannTheDog
2. Rollover – Rescue Me
3. Beg – Raise a Green Dog
4. Bang! (play dead) – Fun Dog Tricks
5. Jump over 2-leggers’ Back – Pacco de Mongrel
6. Cover Your Eyes – Tummy Scratch!
7. Super chase dogs – Gus & Louie
8. Push the door closed – Jake’s Progress
9. Trick
10. Trick
11. Trick
12. Trick
13. Trick
14. Trick
15. Trick
16. Trick
17. Trick
18. Trick
19. Trick
20. Trick

There it is! It’s as easy as that! I hope to make lots new friends with this project and learn about all kinds of new tricks I can learn! Please leave a comment here if you have added this project to your blog, so that I can add you to the list!

—————Copy and paste this line and above——————