Archive for November, 2010

How to Teach Your Dog to Stay Off the Furniture

November 30, 2010

Maya Sleeping on the Chair

I love it when my dogs lay next to me when I am sitting on the couch.  I enjoy the companionship.  But that is the only advantage to allowing my dogs on the furniture.  The biggest disadvantage for me is the dog hair.  Another disadvantage which should be considered is the temperament of the dog.  If you are having behavior issues with your dog, you need to establish leadership.  Not allowing your dog on the furniture is one thing which helps to establish leadership, and establishing leadership helps towards eliminating behavior issues.

Establishing leadership with force can be ineffective with an overly submissive or sensitive dog or a dog inclined towards aggression.  Forceful methods can sometimes even make temperament issues worse.  So in order to teach your dog not to get on the furniture, we are going to provide some milder tips for training.

The first couple of suggestions we have will cost money but they may have the quickest results.  Try a pet scat mat.  A pet scat mat emits a loud sound or a mild electronic pulse in the form of static which is uncomfortable to your dog but not painful or harmful.  The moment your dog gets on the furniture, the sound or static annoys him and he gets off.  The advantage of a pet scat mat is that it can be moved and used in various places.  You can start using the pet scat mat in the place you want your dog to stay away from the most, then when the dog learns to stay off that area you can use it in another area.  The disadvantage is that unless you buy more than one pet scat mat, you can only teach your dog to stay off of one piece of furniture at the time.  The other disadvantage is the price.  The less you pay, the less the range of the pet scat mat sensor.  A small pet scat mat may not emit the sound or static for the entire length of a couch.  And your dog may learn to stay away from the pet scat mat rather than stay off the furniture.

Another suggestion is to spray a deterrent on your furniture.  You can use a pleasant odor which you will enjoy, but your dog probably won’t.  In my experience, a fruity odor does not work as well as a flowery odor.  My dogs also dislike cinnamon and minty odors.  The disadvantage to this method is that if you use too much, you could make yourself uncomfortable as well.  Strong odors could cause a headache or nausea.  And if you use too little, it may not deter your dog.  Another disadvantage is that once the odor wears away, your dog may go back to his old habit of getting on the furniture.

Our final suggestion is positive reinforcement training.  Teach your dog that it is more rewarding to stay off the furniture.  Start by giving your dog their own comfortable bed or beds.  My dogs like to be in the same room as me so I have a dog bed in the rooms where I spend the most time – office, bedroom, living room, and kitchen.  Dog beds can be expensive but you can use old blankets and pillows instead.

Next, make sure you teach your dog the basic commands like sit, stay, and laydown.  Establish these commands as well as rewards and the correction command like “eh-eh” or “no”.  For the purpose of this article, we will use the word “no”.  When your dog gets on the furniture, say “no”.  Then say “off” and gently lead your dog off the furniture.  When your dog gets down, give them the reward word, treat, and praise.  The reward word should be the same word you always use in training such as “good” (or if clicker training, a click).  Then lead your dog to their bed and give the reward word, treat, and praise again.

Training can take a little longer than a pet scat mat or deterrent spray, but it will likely have longer term positive results.  Take the time to train, be patient, use positive reinforcement, and be consistent.  The more you train, the easier it will become for both you and your dog.  And it will also help to establish leadership without using forceful methods.

“101 Dog Tricks” Challenge – Ongoing Review of Book by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy

November 27, 2010

101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog

This book, “101 Dog Tricks” by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy, cannot be effectively reviewed until I try teaching my dogs some of these tricks.  So I am starting with my younger dog, Maya.  Why am I starting with the younger dog?  Not because Sephi is too old (no dog is too old).  And not because Sephi is less motivated to learn than Maya.  But because Maya has some behavior issues and the best way to improve upon these behavior issues is to build a closer bond and to better develop communication.  Training, any kind of training, makes a better-behaved dog.  The book, “101 Dog Tricks”, states this and I know it from experience.

So this is my challenge.  I am going to start with a trick that Maya doesn’t know and work with her a little bit each day.  When she has learned that trick well enough for me to record on camera, I will post the video here.  I will also post the day I started with the trick, how often I worked with her on it, and how many days (or weeks) it took her to learn it.

But first, let me give you a review on the first part of the book:

The Introduction of “101 Dog Tricks” goes over the proper training methods.  Firstly and most importantly, remember that any dog training endeavor takes guidance, consistency, and motivation (or as per our 4/19/2010 blog post,, time, patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency).  The proper training methods which the book explains includes how to find what motivates your dog, how to help your dog be successful, how to keep training fun, the benefits of using both verbal cues and hand signals, and using luring to teach versus using force or manipulation.  Although this section of the book is very short, it is informative and very easy to understand.

Chapter One of “101 Dog Tricks” goes over the basic commands like sit, down, stay, and come.  Since Maya already knows these, we won’t blog about them.  Look for other blog posts on how to teach your dog these commands.

Remember, this is not a chore.  I will only do this for as long as Maya and I are having fun.  Also, I won’t teach Maya all 101 tricks.  She may not be inclined to do some of the tricks and I may not want to teach her some of them.  Speak, for example, is not one I want her to learn.  Sit Pretty may be a trick that is uncomfortable for her to do.

Other things I may not try simply because I don’t have access to the proper equipment (such as an obstacle course).  And one more thing – I will not teach the tricks in the order of the book.  I will probably start with the easiest and the ones which I think will be the most fun.

Although Maya knows how to shake already, I am going to start with teaching her to shake with either the left or right paw.  Other fun tricks we may try include Carry my Purse, Tidy Up Your Toys, Act Ashamed, Turn Off the Light, Soccer, Hoop Jump, Jump Rope, Crawl, and more!

Give Thanks for Our Animal Friends

November 24, 2010

I am extremely grateful for my pets.  There have been many times in my life where things just weren’t going right.  But my pets always made those times better.  When I was a girl, I was picked on quite a bit on school.  I became somewhat of a recluse.  The only thing which could bring me outside my room and make me smile was my dog, Cassie.  When I was older, Smokey was there to help me adjust to the stressful change from college to work.  And when I was older still, Sephi helped me through a painful divorce.

Did you know that pets can actually help people live longer happier lives?  I can attest that they have definitely made my life happier.  And several studies have statistically shown that people with pets tend to live longer or recover faster from injury or health issues.  They make us smile, give us a reason to get up and move about, and let us do or say anything without judgement.

So keep your pets in mind this Thanksgiving holiday.  Put your pets in your prayers and give them a tasty doggie treat (no people food!).  Perhaps even consider giving a donation to your local animal shelter.  There is no other relationship like the relationship with people and their pets so be thankful for this miraculous wonder.

Information on the Border Collie Dog Breed

November 21, 2010


Border Collie

Because of his strong drive to work and his high intelligent level, the Border Collie dog breed can be a very high maintenance dog.  If he does not have a job to do and doesn’t have a way to exert his energy, he can be extremely destructive.  If you are considering getting a Border Collie dog breed as a pet, be sure that you have an active lifestyle and that you can fit your dog into this lifestyle.  A Border Collie dog breed needs lots of vigorous exercise as well as mental stimulation.  Many owners of the Border Collie dog breed enter into dog agility clubs.  At a dog agility club, the dog has access to an obstacle course and mental stimulation is provided by the owner who teaches him to navigate the course. Some areas even have a herding club.  Other forms of exercise and/or mental stimulation include jogging, fetch, flying disc, and more.

For more information on the Border Collie dog breed, such as history, physical characteristics, temperament, and health issues, visit our Squidoo page titled Information on the Border Collie Dog Breed.

Dog Breed Feature – The American Staffordshire Terrier (Pit Bull)

November 18, 2010

American StaffordshireTerrier Figurine

Let us tell you what the American Staffordshire Terrier (or Pit Bull) dog breed is really like.  Most are not the monsters portrayed on the news.  So forget everything you’ve heard on tv and learn the truth.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is an American breed which was bred from old bulldog and old terrier dog breeds.  As you may know, bulldogs were originally used in bull baiting and dog fighting.  And terriers were bred for their tenacity on the hunt.  This may sound like a bad combination, and it can be if the Pit Bull dog breed is trained improperly.  But an American Staffordshire Terrier raised in a loving non-violent home and provided with proper socialization with other dogs can make a fantastic pet.  They are generally very social with people, get along well with children, and can even be friendly towards strangers.

However, due to the bulldog breeding, the American Staffordshire Terrier may not be good with other pets.  If you are considering getting an American Staffordshire Terrier, be sure to utilize proper socialization techniques around as many people and as many pets as possible.  If adopting an older dog, ease into the socialization.  You don’t want to jump into taking your dog to the dog park only to find out that he is very aggressive towards dogs.  Avoid using any negative reinforcement when it comes to being around other dogs.  Make sure that the Pit Bull’s experience with other dogs is a very positive experience.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is similar to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.  The American Staffordshire Terrier is the American version while the Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the English version.  Both are very similar in looks but the American Staffordshire Terrier tends to be a bit bulkier.  The American Staffordshire Terrier stands about 17 to 19 inches tall, as according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) standards, and should weigh between 57 and 67 pounds.  He can be recognized by his broad head and muscular jaw and cheek bones.  His ears are set high and if uncropped, they are short and pricked forward.  If cropped, the ears are short and pointed.  The American Staffordshire Terrier has dark round eyes.  He has a muscular build but is rather agile and graceful in movement.

The coat of an American Staffordshire Terrier is short and smooth and requires very little grooming.  He can be a solid color or a solid color with white.  Per the AKC standards, he should not be more than 80% white.  While very little grooming is required, the American Staffordshire Terrier needs daily exercise.  A moderate walk or active play is best.

As compared to other terrier breeds, the American Staffordshire Terrier is relatively easy to train.  This is because he is more of a people pleaser and can have a strong devotion to his owner.  However, he can be a bit stubborn at times.  The use of primarily positive reinforcement will get the best out of this breed.

Like most purebred dogs, the American Staffordshire Terrier is prone to a few genetic health issues.  Hip dysplasia is probably the most common (as it is with most big dog breeds).  However, he is also prone to Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Cerebellar Ataxia.  Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye disease where the retina slowly deteriorates.  This disease could eventually lead to blindness.  Cerebellar Ataxia is a neural disease that affects the dog’s coordination.

So as you can see, the American Staffordshire Terrier, or Pit Bull, is really a good dog.  He loves people, trains well, and only requires basic daily exercise.  He is not a backyard dog to be ignored.  The more he is allowed to be a loving companion to his family, the better his temperament will likely be.  Most of the Pit Bulls you hear about on TV were either backyard dogs with little social interaction, abused dogs, and/or dogs used in pit fighting.

(Author’s note – As a former employer of an animal shelter, I can attest that we had less trouble with stray Pit Bull dog breeds trying to bite and attack than we did with other dog breeds.  In my two year history at the animal shelter, we never even had a Pit Bull dog breed impounded by the police for biting a person.  We had a number of Pit Bulls dog breeds confiscated by the police from people who had been using them for dog fighting.  Most of those dogs were so loving and eager for human interaction.  Some were scared and some barked in warning, but none were vicious.  In fact, we learned that most of the dogs confiscated weren’t even used for fighting.  They were sadly used as bait and had the scars to prove it.  In fact, most Pit Bull dogs don’t make the cut for being an actual fighter.)

Book Review – Rainbow Bridge by Niki Behrikis Shanahan

November 15, 2010

Do dogs go to heaven?  Do cats?  I have heard different things from different church groups and different people.  I’d like to think that my past pets are in heaven.  Why shouldn’t they be?  If you have recently lost a pet and are wondering yourself, I highly recommend you read, Rainbow Bridge, Pet Loss is Heaven’s Gain.  The author, Niki Behrikis Shanahan, answers the question about animals in heaven.  She quotes scripture and gives lots of examples of people who have had a glimpse of heaven and seen animals there.

Chapter 2 talks about animal companions in history.  People have had pets all throughout recorded history and there is even evidence of pets in ancient archeological finds.  My favorite chapter is Chapter 3.  This chapter is full of stories about people and why they believe their pets are in heaven.  One story is about a boy who is dying.  On his deathbed, he sees his old dog who has long since passed.  Is it possible that his dog is in heaven and came to the boy to reassure him that even though he was dying, everything was going to be okay?  I’d like to think so.

The other chapters give more examples of scripture.  Chapter 4 give scripture explaining that even though you die in this world, your spirit does not die.  And this may be the same for animals.  Chapter 5 helps you overcome the depression of losing your pet.  The scriptures tell you that you can mourn but you also need to move on, just like how our pet has moved on to a better place.  And you can move on by helping other people or animals in need.

Although I am not currently mourning a lost pet, I feel that this book will help anyone who recently has.  I read through it pretty quickly but especially savored some special paragraphs and scriptures.  You can get this book and other pet-related books at our Dog Lover’s Book Store.

New Stained Glass Dog Breed Animal Figurines

November 12, 2010

Looking for an extraordinary Christmas gift this year for your dog lover friends?  Check out Johnna’s decorative stained glass dog breed animal figurines.  These items are hand-crafted by Johnna who has been working with stained glass for over 15 years.  She has custom made pieces for people all over the world and has even published her own stained glass pattern books.  The stained glass dog breed animal figurines are her own design.  We have provided a few of her stained glass dog breed animal figurines on our site.  Visit Animal Figurine and check out each dog breed group page to see if your dog breed is available.

Animal Figuring has a Golden Retriever and Weimaraner stained glass dog breed figurine on the Sporting Dogs page, a Basset Hound and Dachshund stained glass dog breed figurine on the Hound Dogs page, a Schnauzer and a Doberman stained glass dog breed figurine on the Working Dogs page, a Schnauzer, Scottish Terrier, and West Highland White Terrier stained glass dog breed figurine on the Terrier Dogs page, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Pug stained glass dog breed figurine on the Toy Dogs page, a Dalmatian stained glass dog breed figurine on the Non-Sporting Dogs page, and a German Shepherd, Border Collie, and Corgi stained glass dog breed figurine in the Herding Dogs page.

Advertise with Us

November 9, 2010

We have a new advertising program for you other pet-related businesses.  Pet Auto, Animal Figurine, this blog, and our Pet Auto Safety Blog would like to invite pet-related businesses a chance to advertise on our site for as low as $5 per month.  For $5 per month for three months, you get your logo/banner on the home page of either Pet Auto or Animal Figurine  And you get one free blog post* about your product during that three month period, either on this blog or the Pet Auto Safety Blog.  Blog post and logo/banner will link to your web page.

* Note to our blog readers – blogs posted by advertisers will be labeled as guest bloggers.  We will review all blogs and make sure they are informative and helpful to you.  For example, if someone advertises with us for their dog grooming products, their blog will be something helpful such as which dog brushes work best for each kind of dog hair type.  This way, you will not need to be concerned about our blog site being full of blatant advertising.

Pet Auto and Animal Figurine have a Google Page Rank of 3.  Pet Auto gets about 4,500 visitors per month while the Animal Figurine gets about 2,500.  Our blogs each have a Google Page Rank of 2 and get about 2,000 visitors per month each.  Check out for more information.

Dog Breed Word Find Puzzle – Answers

November 6, 2010

Here are the answers to the Dog Breed Word Find Puzzle posted on November 3rd.

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


Bonus Question – What do all these dog breeds have in common?  They are all large dogs which can weigh at least 100 pounds as per AKC standards.

Dog Breed Word Find Puzzle

November 3, 2010

Here is another dog breed puzzle for you dog lover puzzle fans.  Find the 20 dog breeds in the word find below.  Dog breeds can be spelled forward, backward, up, down, and diagonally.  Be careful, there are a lot of tricky starts.

B S A I N T D N A L D N U O F W E N Z C   Akita    
N A R B L C A N E D O G L I E W T T O R   Anatolian Shepherd  
E I E G R E A T P Y R E N E E S K N E O   Bernese Mountain Dog
O N G S A I O N C A D S T I F U D S Z P   Bloodhound  
P T R N O E L L E O N B E R V N T C E O   Briard    
O B E R N E S E M O U N T A I N D O G L   Bullmastiff  
L E B C A N E A F H O S S T E B I T I I   Cane Corso  
I R N M A S T I F L H Z A E T Z R T R T   Great Dane  
T N O M R I M L F O F I S I S C O I I O   Great Pyrenees  
A A E T K L O D S E L E K A H Z T S S T   Irish Wolfhound  
N R L A L W O R N L O A S D D E T H H T   Kuvasz    
M D R U H O O A O B W Z M E R N W D W E   Leonberger  
A U B S L C D T T E H A T I T A E E O R   Mastiff    
S T I B E T A N M A S T I F F K I E L H   Neopolitan Mastiff  
T R S N A N I A G T I A V T N I L R D O   Newfoundland  
I N A E A A S O I I R N U I B T E H B U   Otterhound  
F C R A S T D F G B I A K B R N R O S N   Rottweiler  
F G V E I E F N R E B L O O D H O U N D   Saint Bernard  
A U D R E H P E H S N A I L O T A N A A   Scottish Deerhound  
K R L M B U L L M A S T I F F C K D R F   Tibetan Mastiff  


Bonus Question – What do all these dog breeds have in common?

Find the answers on November 6th.