Archive for March, 2011

Product Review from Maya – Bottle Buddy Dog Toy

March 31, 2011

I recently purchased a new dog toy – The Bottle Buddy dog toy from Kyjen.  The toy is mostly for Maya since she is younger and tends to make more trouble when she gets bored.  Maya loves absolutely loves her new Bottle Buddy dog toy.  It is not quite an indestructible dog toy but it has lasted a surprising long time – for Maya.  She is much more interested in the crinkling sound of the plastic bottle inside than she is on chewing off the arms, ears, and eyes of the Bottle Buddy dog toy.  While the Bottle Buddy dog toy is not overly expensive, it wouldn’t have been worth it if Maya had chewed it up within a couple of hours.

Maya likes her Kong dog toy (especially when there is peanut butter inside) but she gets super excited when I pull out the Bottle Buddy dog toy for play.  I have to say that it is her most favorite toy EVER.  It’s got the material of a plush toy (which she also loves but chews up in minutes), but it has the plastic bottle as stuffing.  So no more stuffing strewn all over the floor!  Plus I don’t have to worry about her chewing off plastic pieced of the bottle since the bottle is encased in the plush covering.  When Maya has chewed the plastic bottle into an unrecognizable shape, the plastic bottle of the Bottle Buddy dog toy can be replaced.  It’s another way to recycle!

The Bottle Buddy dog toy was a great investment.  You can get one at our Amazon.com a-Store, Indestructible Dog Toys, or make a homemade one.  For a homemade one, take a plastic bottle and put it in an old sock.  If your dog is a big chewer, however, I would recommend you not use an old sock, but make one with fleece material instead.  It is super-easy to make, inexpensive, and tons of fun!

How Does Your Dog Spend His Day?

March 30, 2011
Maya Sleeping Soundly

Maya Sleeping Soundly in the Middle of the Day - As Usual

Sephi and Maya spend an aweful lot of time sleeping.  Monday through Friday I am sure it is because we are not home and they are bored.  But weekends are just the same.  We do a little bit more on the weekend, but otherwise it is mostly sleep.  Believe it or not, this is perfectly natural and normal.  Dogs need more sleep than people.  I suppose in the wild, wolves are the same.  After all, if they spent a lot of energy being up and awake all the time, they would need to eat more.  And food is already hard to come by.  Wolves eat a lot at one time when they are lucky enough to catch something.  And after they eat, they sleep.  If food is hard to come by, they hunt a little, but mostly they spend time conserving energy – ie sleeping.

So for Sephi and Maya, it is sleep, eat breakfast, sleep some more, walk, sleep, play, sleep, eat dinner, sleep.  Maya has a few more intermitant play times than Sephi because she is younger.  But they mostly sleep.

Harry and Lola Children’s Books by Jean Nave

March 28, 2011
A Home for Harry and Lola

A Home for Harry and Lola by Jean Nave

One of our readers left us a great link to some great dog children’s books.  Visit HarryAndLola.org and check out “A Home for Harry and Lola” and “Harry and Lola with Smoki the Magical Cat”.  At this website, you can learn about the author and you can download the e-books for free.

The author, Jean Nave, lost her Scottish terrier, Mac Doogal.  He was a very special dog so she didn’t get another dog for some time.  She just missed Mac Doogal too much.  But then someone told her about a Scottish Terrier rescue group and directed her to PetFinder.com.  That is when Harry and Lola came into her family’s life and inspired her to write (and do the artwork for) a couple of children’s book about Harry and Lola.

In her first book, “A Home for Harry and Lola”, Harry and Lola come into their new home and meet the family cat, Smoki.  Then they meet other dogs nearby and make friends.  Each dog has his own personality and Harry and Lola learn each.  In her second book, “Harry and Lola with Smoki the Magical Cat”, Smoki takes Harry and Lola on an outdoor adventure to meet a Raccoon.

The artwork is colorful and well done.  The stories are adorable and entertaining.  You can download the book in e-format for free at www.harryandlola.org or you can purchase a 99ȼ version on Amazon.  The benefits of purchasing from Amazon rather than getting for free is that the proceeds go to the Scottie Rescue.  Visit our Amazon a-Store to purchase these great dog children’s e-books.

All About the Golden Retriever Dog Breed

March 25, 2011
Golden Retriever Dog Breed

The Golden Retriever Dog Breed

Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, or Lord Tweedmouth, developed the Golden Retriever in the 19th century in England.  The development of the Golden Retriever dog breed was documented in a stud book.  Records report that the first Golden Retrievers came from Lord Tweedmouth’s dogs, Nous and Belle.  Nous was a yellow Wavy-coated Retriever and Belle was a Tweed Water Spaniel.  Lord Tweedmouth further developed the breed by mixing Nous and Belle’s offspring with other retrievers, setters, and even a Blood Hound.

Golden Retrievers were officially considered a separate breed in 1912 in England and 1927 in the US.  Today, the Golden Retriever dog breed is one of the most popular dog breeds in the US.  The Golden Retriever is one dog breed, but they are bred as four separate varieties.  Some Golden Retriever dog breeds are still being bred as gun dogs, some for field trial competitions, some as show dogs, and some as assistance dogs.

While the four varieties of the Golden Retriever dog breed are bred to emphasize certain characteristics which makes him excel at his duties, all varieties have certain traits in common.  The Golden Retriever dog breed is gentle, loving and loyal, and has a great love for life.  The Golden Retriever, who always seems to be happy, is known for his “Golden Smile”.  He is eager to please which makes him easy to train.  He is easygoing which makes him good with other pets, around strangers, and with children.  The Golden Retriever dog breed loves to play and enjoys swimming.  Perhaps one of his most favorite games is to fetch (or retrieve), a game which he will love even more if he gets to fetch from the water.

As with most dogs bred for hunting, the Golden Retriever dog breed needs regular exercise.  He needs regular walks or vigorous play daily.  Without physical and mental stimulation, the Golden Retriever dog breed can develop bad habits such as barking, jumping on people, and chewing.  Mental stimulation includes training and dog games.

As you can tell by his name, the Golden Retriever dog breed is a gold color.  The golden color can be light or dark and can lean towards a blond or red-gold.  His coat is medium length, either straight or wavy, and it is dense.  The Golden Retriever dog breed does shed so he needs regular brushing, at least twice weekly.  He can stand from 21 to 24 inches tall and can weigh between 55 and 75 pounds.  The head of the Golden Retriever dog breed is broad and slightly rounded.  His eyes are medium large with dark rims and have a kind expression.  His nose should be black or dark brown.  His ears are short, folded, rounded at the tips, and lie flat against his head.  The Golden Retriever dog breed has a thick tail with flowing hair.

The gentle and loving nature of the Golden Retriever dog breed makes him an ideal pet whether you have children or other pets.  He is not a great guard dog and he sheds a lot, but all his other wonderful personality traits more than make up for these two disadvantages.

If you are considering getting a Golden Retriever dog breed as a pet, consider getting one from a shelter or a Golden Retriever rescue group.  If you want to purchase a Golden Retriever from a breeder, be sure to research the breeder thoroughly.  An irresponsible breeder will not know or not care about any genetic health issues common with the Golden Retriever dog breed.  Genetic health issues of the Golden Retriever dog breed include hip and elbow dysplasia, skin problems, heart problems, development of mast cell tumors, and progressive retinal atrophy which could lead to blindness.  A good breeder will have tested for many of these disorders and would most likely be a member of the Golden Retriever Club of America.

Click Golden Retriever figurine to visit the AnimalFigurineStore.com or click the image below.

How to Choose the Best Dog Life Jacket

March 22, 2011

Measure for a Dog Life Jacket

Measure for a Dog Life Jacket

The most important thing about a dog life jacket is to get the right size for a good snug, comfy fit for your dog.  First weigh your dog, then take two measurements, girth and length (see diagram).  When you measure, make sure your dog is standing up.  Most dog life jackets are sized on girth measurement but beware as sizes do differ from different manufacturers.  Dog life vests are made for all size dogs and pups, including toy breeds.

Not all doggy life jackets are made equal and as this is a safety item, you would naturally want to get the safest.  Here is a list of essential features you should look for:

  • Bright high visibility colour with reflective strips (so that your dog can be clearly seen in a situation like dog overboard)
  • Grab handle(s) on the back (to assist rescue, also useful if you want to lift your dog onto a boat)
  • Adjustable straps (to get a snug and comfy fit)
  • Five star user reviews (this safety product may have to save your dog’s life)
  • Proper sizing information (avoid manufacturers who just size on weight only – the girth measurement should be stated to get the best fit)

Dog life jackets are made in some eye-catching designs, like pink polka dot, blue floral, nautical designs and sporty designs, so there is plenty of choice out there.  Designer dog life jackets usually have extra features such as breathable mesh under belly (prevents chafing), which on a really hot day can make for better comfort for your dog.  This is something to consider if your dog is going to be wearing the dog life vest for long periods at a time, especially on hot days.

When you first get your dog life jacket, adjust the straps for a snug fit.  This is important as you don’t want your dog being able to wriggle out of it.  It is a good idea to let your dog wear the dog life vest a bit before going in or near water.  Some dogs do not like wearing anything and you may have to coax your dog somewhat!  Try putting the garment on your dog and immediately taking your dog for a walk, this usually works well, as your dog will associate putting the doggy life jacket on with a nice time!

Help Your Dog With Fear of Noises

March 19, 2011
Help Your Dog With Fear of Noises

Help Your Dog With Fear of Noises

Is your dog afraid of noises like thunderstorms or the vacuum cleaner?  This rather common and can be very difficult for your dog to overcome.  It takes a lot of time and patience to help a dog overcome his fear of certain noises.  Here are a few good tips to help you help your dog in this process.

Socialization
Socialization is actually a preventative rather than a treatment.  By showing your puppy to all sorts of sights, places, sounds, and people when he is young, he may never become afraid of these things.  When Maya was a puppy, I purposely ran the vacuum with her nearby and sometimes used the vacuum in a fun way which made her think it was a game.  Now, Maya has no problem with the vacuum cleaner and even gets excited when she sees it.

Ignore the Issue
This may sound rather harsh, but it can actually be rather affective.  If you do not react in either a negative or positive way to the loud noise, your dog may learn that perhaps the loud noise is no big deal.  The worst thing you can do is scold your dog for being afraid.  He may learn to associate the loud noise with you getting angry which, of course, will only heighten his fear.  Likewise, never soothe your dog either.  Your dog doesn’t understand your words so he doesn’t know you are telling him there is nothing to be afraid of.  All he sees is you protecting him from the loud noise, which in turn reinforces the issue that there is something to be afraid of.

Desensitization
Desensitization is similar to socialization in that you have to get your dog used to the sound in order to help them not be afraid of it.  However, socialization is done before the dog learns to be afraid while desensitization is done after a dog has shown that he is already afraid.  With desensitization, you want to introduce the sound in a controlled environment and only a little at a time.  If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, for example, consider a buying a CD with sounds of thunder.  Have the volume low at first and play it only for a short time.  If your dog shows to be afraid, you can either ignore him or use the association method indicated below.  Do this over a several day or week period until your dog no long pays any attention to it.  Then increase the volume slightly and extend the time that it plays.  Again, when he gets used to it, increase again.  This process should take several weeks or even months.  Don’t take shortcuts by starting out at a high volume.  You don’t want to stress your dog and cause health and/or anxiety issues.

Association
With association, you help your dog learn that the sound is the signal for something fun.  With Maya, she learned that the vacuum cleaner was the signal for play time.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you play with your dog with the vacuum cleaner as this can inhibit your cleaning process.  But there are other ways you can help your dog learn to associate the vacuum with something fun.  My other dog Sephi was terrified of the vacuum cleaner even when it was turned off.  So I set the vacuum in the middle of the floor, turned off, and put treats on it.  Every once in a while, Sephi would get brave and take the treat off the vacuum cleaner.   When she did, I praised her lavishly.  When I turned the vacuum on, I would occasionally throw a treat for Sephi to get.  If she was far away, I would throw the treat half-way between myself and her.  As her bravery increased, I threw the treat closer to myself and the vacuum.  After many months of working with her, Sephi learned that the vacuum meant treats and she was no longer afraid of it.  She would stand very near at hand while I vacuumed and wait for a treat to fall so she can snatch it.  Nowadays, she completely ignores the vacuum.  Association works with play too.  If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, play with him to distract him from the noise.  Eventually, he will learn that thunderstorms mean play time.

There is no quick fix for getting your dog used to loud noises.  Helping your dog get used to loud noises, or at least less stressed over loud noises, can take a long time.  But with time, patience, and positive reinforcement training, it can be done.  Some dogs may take longer than others, but never give up.  An unstressed dog is a happy and healthy dog.

Make Sure Your Dog Has Good Luck on St. Patrick’s Day

March 16, 2011

Today I'm Irish

St. Patrick’s Day can be a fairly mild day for some people but a wild and crazy day for others.  Whether you celebrate or not, it is good to keep safety for your pet in mind on this day.

If you take your dog out to the park or other public place, be aware that there may be more people around than usual… and some of those people may be drunk.  Someone who has had too much to drink may not behave in an acceptable manner.  Your dog may be intimidated by or threatened by someone behaving inappropriately.

With more people also comes more trash and more harmful objects for your dog to get into.  A good example of something dangerous would be a broken glass bottle.  You also want to keep your dog away from alcohol and discarded food.

You also need to worry about loud noises when you take your dog out.  St. Patrick’s Day is known for having parades which can be loud and terrifying to a dog.  I took Sephi to a St. Patrick’s Day parade once.  I will never do it to her again.  Thankfully, the parade wasn’t too far from where we were staying so I was able to get her back home before she got too stressed.

If you go out with your dog on St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to keep him on a leash.  A restrained dog is less likely to be able to bite someone who frightens them.  Your dog is less likely to run off at a loud noise.  And your dog is less likely to get into something dangerous left on the ground.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and practice safety for your pet!

St. Patrick’s Day Special – About the Irish Terrier Dog Breed

March 13, 2011

Irish Terrier Dog Breed

Irish Terrier Dog Breed

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, we have put together some great information on an Irish dog breed – The Irish Terrier.

The Irish Terrier dog breed, also known as the Irish Red Terrier, originated in southern Ireland. His origins are obscure and often debated, but he is definitely Irish. He used to come in black and tan, but now he is just red or wheaten – red being the preferred color, or wheaten with red shades. The Irish Terrier dog breed was very popular in England in the 1800s. He became very popular in the US in the 1920s and gained notoriety in World War I where he was used as a messenger and sentinel. But his popularity has since declined and today the Irish Terrier dog breed is relatively rare in the US as compared to other AKC dog breeds.

Terriers as a whole originated from hound dogs. Tenacious traits found in a few hounds were encouraged and bred into the brave and spirited terriers of today. The Irish Terrier dog breed is no less brave or spirited than any other terrier. He is not only a great hunter of small to medium-sized vermin, he is also an excellent guard dog. The Irish Terrier dog breed is known for his family loyalty. Also, as a working dog, he is non-tiring, enthusiastic, and fearless. And as a pet, he is playful at which his playfulness can be rather entertaining. If not working as a hunting dog, the Irish Terrier dog breed needs a good walk or rigorous play daily.

Although the Irish Terrier dog breed is a loyal family pet, he can be rather aloof and strong willed. He’s generally not needy for attention. He doesn’t care for strangers and may not get along well with other pets unless raised with them. Careful training is needed to overcome his stubborn nature. Positive reinforcement is highly recommended with this dog breed. If he is not encouraged in his training with treats, toys may work best as a reward due to his high prey drive. The Irish Terrier dog breed may also be inclined to dig and bark.

The Irish Terrier dog breed stands at about 18 inches tall and weighs about 25 to 27 pounds. In proportion to his size, the Irish Terrier dog breed has longer legs and a longer body than other terriers. He has a long and narrow head and small intense eyes which are dark hazel in color. His ears are v-shaped and folded forward. His tail is set high and about 1/4 of it is docked off. As previously stated, the Irish Terrier dog breed is generally red in color. He can also be reddish/golden, red/wheaten, or just wheaten. His coat is of medium length and wiry. The wiry coat of the Irish Terrier dog breed needs to be brushed 1-2 times per week and he needs scissor shaping every three to six months.

As compared to most purebred dog breeds, the hereditary health concerns of the Irish Terrier are relatively few. Trouble with urinary stones are a possibility, but even that is uncommon. Despite the general healthiness of the Irish Terrier dog breed, be cautious if purchasing from a breeder. Research the breeder thoroughly and make sure the puppies are bred in a healthy environment and not a puppy mill type environment. Ask for proof of health exams and evaluations and see if the breeder is a member of the Irish Terrier Club of America. A good breeder who breeds for the love of the dog breed will be a member of this club.

The Irish Terrier dog breed can have bad habits like digging, barking, and stubbornness, but he can make a great house pet. He is devoted to his family and fun to play with. He can be trained if trained and motivated properly. If introduced to other pets at a young age, he can do well with other dogs and even cats. General lack of health issues is another plus with this great Irish dog breed.

(Some of the information for this dog breed came from “The New Encyclopedia of the Dog” by R. Bruce Fogle.)

Free Online Dog Breeds Puzzle – Solution

March 10, 2011

Free Online Puzzle

Stop!  Before you read the solution, go to the previous post to find the unsolved version.  Then compare your findings to this solution.

S R W A W O L H O U N T R
E N E H C W O L M D C E T
D P I P Y B I K L A H N T
D R M P O O D L E C P A E
P T A R A M A S S H O D X
E A R N E E E N R S O T O
E N A A R X I R C H D A B
H D N M O P O M A U U E I
S E E R N I B B U N L R C
I G R E A T D N S D I G H
C O F B P I N S C H E A U
W F R O T T W E I L E R N
A S G D S A M O Y R M K Y

The 10 dog breeds in this puzzle are Affenpinscher, Boxer, Dachshund, Doberman, Great Dane, Lowchen, Pomeranian, Poodle, Rottweiler, and Weimeraner.  All these dog breeds are thought to have German origins.  We should have included the German Shepherd and other German dog breeds but there wasn’t enough room!

Free Online Dog Breeds Puzzle

March 7, 2011

Free Online Puzzle

It’s time for fun and games again, doggonit!  Let’s see if you can find 10 dog breeds in the below word-find puzzle.  These 10 dog breeds are all dog breeds of the American Kennel Club (AKC), and they all have one thing in common.  After finding the dog breeds, see if you can guess what that commonality is.  Answers to post on March 10th.

S R W A W O L H O U N T R
E N E H C W O L M D C E T
D P I P Y B I K L A H N T
D R M P O O D L E C P A E
P T A R A M A S S H O D X
E A R N E E E N R S O T O
E N A A R X I R C H D A B
H D N M O P O M A U U E I
S E E R N I B B U N L R C
I G R E A T D N S D I G H
C O F B P I N S C H E A U
W F R O T T W E I L E R N
A S G D S A M O Y R M K Y

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