Archive for January, 2012

How To Greet a Dog and Teach Your Dog to Properly Greet

January 31, 2012


This is not how to greet a dog you just met.


We are tempted to greet strange dogs the same way we greet our own – with a high pitched voice, petting on the head, or even hugging. But if a dog doesn’t know you, he may react negatively to such a greet. The high pitched voice can be threatening, as could reaching for his head or hugging him. Children, especially, need to know how to properly greet a dog.

We found this great and informative article on Hub Pages titled “How to Meet a Dog“. Not only does the article go over the proper way to greet a dog, it also tells you how you can help your dog learn to properly greet people. My dog Maya gets super excited when she meets someone new. And as a result, she can be a bit difficult to handle and very intimidating to someone who doesn’t know dogs very well. The information I learned on the article, “How to Meet a Dog” has been very helpful.

Check out Hub Pages for the article “How to Meet a Dog” and other great articles. Hub Pages has a great community of pet lovers who share their expertise on dogs and other animals.

My Childhood Pet Cassie is Featured on Grouchy

January 28, 2012

Cassie's Story on Grouchy Puppy

When we joined twitter, we found a great new pet blogger at Grouchy For great newsworthy blogs, visit the Dog Days Grouchy Puppy Blog. For fun blogs, visit the Cleos Day Grouchy Puppy Blog. For the story I contributed about how my dog Cassie positively influenced me, visit the Cleos Day Grouchy Puppy blog post, Cassie the Best Dog Ever. How has your dog been a positive influence? Leave a comment here or visit the Cleos Day Grouchy Puppy Blog.

Preparing for a New Dog

January 24, 2012

If you are having a new dog join your family, there are a few things you want to prepare for. Being prepared means you are less likely to be caught off guard and you have an idea of what to expect. Preparing for a new dog includes getting supplies as well as puppy proofing your home and yard.

Pet Supplies
By preparing for a new dog, you will be making sure that you have the basic pet supplies on hand. Basic pet supplies include a dog collar, leash, dog bed, dog brush, pet toenail clippers, dog car harness for traveling in the car, pet food, dog toys, and perhaps even a dog house.

Dog Training
If you have never trained a dog before, you will want to sign up for a dog training class. Also, read up on crate training, potty training, and basic obedience training.

Preparing for a new dog also means making sure you have the finances to care for a dog. Your initial costs will include pet supplies, initial checkup and shots at the vet, a monthly supply of Heartgard, flea & tick preventative, and spaying/nuetering costs. Veterinary checkups and shots will be an annual expense. Heartgard and flea & tick preventative will be a monthly expense. Then, of course, you have the regular expense of pet food. And you will want to make sure you have funds available for any pet health emergencies.

Potty Training
Consider buying good cleaning agents so that you can clean up any accidents in the house. If you are paper training, try using puppy pads instead of newspaper. Crate training will help potty train your dog too. Make sure you or a member of your family is able to let your new dog out regularly in order to reduce any chances of a potty accident.

If your new dog is under two years old, the chances are very good that he is going to chew on things. Crate training helps to keep your new dog from chewing things he is not supposed to when you are not home to watch him. When you are home, it also helps to restrict access to certain rooms. Consider baby locks for cabinets and keep things like shoes picked up. And buy your new dog lots of different kinds of chew toys.

Make sure your yard doesn’t have any holes under the fence. Watch your dog when he is outside and if digging, consider running chicken wire along the bottom edge of the fence.

If your dog will be outdoors a lot be sure to start correcting for barking as soon as possible. You do not want to disturb neighbors. For extreme barkers, you may use a bark shock collar or a collar that sprays an irritating smell.

Preparing for a new dog will help greatly in preventing inconveniences and behavior issues. By preparing for a new dog, you have a better idea of what to expect and won’t be surprised if something gets chewed or if your new dog has an accident in the house. You will also be better equipped to correct any issues and develop your new dog into a valued member of the family.

The Benefit of Supporting Your Local Pet-Related Businesses

January 21, 2012


Maya wearing her summer-fun dress

There are a lot of great pet products on the market. But how many of them are truly unique? If you are interested in hand-crafted, quality, unique items, consider purchasing from your local pet-related businesses.

I got this cute one-of-a-kind dress for my dog Maya from a local business called Bow Wow Wow Pet Gifts. The owner of this business is two sisters who make their own dog clothes, scarves, and other pet accessories. Since they make the items themselves, they can guarantee that anything you buy from them will be truly unique.

My dog Maya is a light yellow Labrador Retriever. I always thought she would look good in a lavender collar. But lavender is a very difficult color to find in a dog collar. I often find purple or pink, but seldom lavender. So what is the solution? Get a hand-crafted collar. Daisy Diva Designs is a local business owned by a woman named Sarah. She makes the dog collars herself with cloth, plastic collar buckles, and metal hardware for id tags. Because the dog collars are made from cloth, she can make a dog collar any color or design. You can see Maya’s lavender collar in this photo of her playing basketball.

These are just a few of the local businesses I have found in my area. Not only am I supporting my local area, I am getting unique hand-crafted products which are sometimes better made than the commercially made ones. Do you have any entrepreneurs in your area who make their own pet products?

How to Keep Your Dog from Chewing

January 17, 2012


Pierson is about a year old. For a dog his size, that means he is still a puppy. And a puppy means chewing. In my experience, dogs tend to love to chew for the first two years of their lives. Pierson has been no exception. Here are some tips to keep your dog from chewing that I am also using for Pierson.

Crate Training
The thing that best helped to keep my other dog Maya from chewing was crate training. Maya did very well in a crate so it was easy to teach her which things were hers to chew on. And crate training was an easy way to prevent her from chewing on things when we were not home. But crate training is not always easy, as we have found with Pierson. So if your dog hasn’t gotten used to his crate yet, there are still other things you can do to keep your dog from chewing.

Don’t Leave Stuff Lying Around
Putting things away out of your dog’s reach is a great way to keep your dog from chewing them. Put your shoes in the closet and close the closet door. Make sure small chewable things like toys or remote controls are put up. Put away his dog bowls when he is done eating. If your dog can’t get to these things, he can’t chew them.

Use Positive Reinforcement
If your dog still manages to find something he is not supposed to chew on, take it away and say ‘no’ in a firm voice. Then give him a toy he can chew on. Whenever he chews on his own dog toys, tell him he is a good dog. Give him praise or even a treat.

Make Sure Your Dog Has Plenty of Toys to Choose From
When your dog is in his crate, only give him indestructible dog toys to chew. But when he is out of his crate and you are able to keep an eye on him, give him lots of dog toys to choose from. Pierson has fleecy dog toys, Kong dog toys, other hard dog toys, a Tuffy’s dog toy, and a hard unbleached beef shin bone purchased from the pet store. We don’t recommend rawhides because if your dog tears off and swallows a big chunk, it can get lodged in his stomach causing great pain and even death. Be careful with any dog toy you give your dog. Make sure pieces cannot be torn off and swallowed. Watch him as best you can.

Squirt Bottle or Loud Noise
I have to admit that using a squirt bottle or loud noise to keep your dog from chewing is not a method I have used. I haven’t needed to. But this is what I have heard about how it works. When your dog chews on something he is not supposed to, squirt him with water or shake a can full of coins to make a loud noise.

Bitter Apple, Peppermint, or Cayenne Spray Chew Deterrent
To keep your dog from chewing things like furniture legs, pillows, plants, or other things which are not easy for you to keep out of his reach, try spraying these things with Bitter Apple spray deterrent or another spray chew deterrent. Bitter Apple and other chew deterrent brands can be purchased online or at a pet store. But if you have peppermint extract or cayenne pepper, you can make your own spray chew deterrent. Peppermint might be best for things you and your family touch regularly.

Having a young dog can be a lot of work. By being diligent, consistent, and patient, your young dog will grow up and out of these bad habits. My older dog Maya knows exactly which toys are hers (although she does get stuffed animals confused with her plush dog toys). If Maya can learn, your dog can too. You can keep your dog from chewing his way through your personal things.

The Reward of Rescuing a Dog – How We Got Our Dog Pierson

January 14, 2012

Pierson – A Truly Rescued Dog

You may have noticed our post this past Wednesday about Pierson playing with a toy. And when you read the caption you thought, “What!? What do you mean he was a stray for nearly a month?” Well here is the story of our new dog, Pierson.

It all started with our search for a new dog. When we mentioned Border Collies on our Twitter and Facebook accounts on January 7th, 2012 one of our friends saw our post and sent us a direct message. The message gave us a number to call for a woman named Melissa who knew of a Border Collie mix and another dog who had been living at a park for some time. When I spoke to Melissa on the morning of January 8th, I found out that these two dogs had been living at Pierson Park for at least three weeks. People had been feeding them but no one had been able to catch them.

That same morning, my husband and I drove 45 minutes to the park and spent about 2-3 hours with little success. Both dogs would come up to us and let us pet them and give them food, but both would immediately leave the moment we pulled out a leash.

On Monday, January 9th, I went out to try again. After about an hour-and-a-half, I managed to catch the other dog which was a Chow/Lab mix. Once we got him in my car (that was huge struggle and another story all by itself), Melissa and I tried to catch the Border Collie mix again. He would have nothing to do with us after we caught his friend so we eventually gave up for the day.

I couldn’t sleep that night because all I could think about was that poor Border Collie out there in the night all alone and without his other dog friend. So the next day after I attended a meeting for a dog event, I went to Pierson Park to try to catch the Border Collie mix.

The Border Collie was still wary of me. He’d get close enough to let me pat him on the head but he didn’t trust me enough to come all the way up like he had the other two days. Thankfully, an older gentleman came to the rescue. He had been feeding the two dogs for weeks and he said they came up to him easily. He hadn’t tried to catch the dogs for two reasons. One, he didn’t know what to do with them if he did catch them. He already had four of his own dogs and he didn’t want to call animal control because they would take the dogs to a very high kill shelter. The second reason was because he didn’t know if the dogs would try to bite him or not.

I told him how I caught the other dog and that the other dog did not bite at all. I also told him that I had nearly caught the Border Collie before too and although he struggled, he never tried to bite me either. So, the man sat in the backseat of my car, called the Border Collie to him, then picked him up and put him in my car. Just like that! I was so happy!!! The hours I had spent trying to catch the dog and he did it in less than 5 minutes. Tears welled up in my eyes and I gave the stranger a big hug.

Someone else is caring for the Chow/Lab mix and working on getting him a new home. After talking to my husband we decided to keep the Border Collie for ourselves. We named him Pierson after Pierson Park where he and the other dog had been living.

I took Pierson home and introduced him to Maya. The meeting went well so I took Pierson to Pawsh Wash get a bath. After the bath, I took him to the vet for his shots. Then after that, I brought him home again.

Pierson will not stay in his crate. On the second night, he figured out how to get out of it. But as of today, he still hasn’t had any accidents in the house. I guess we will do without the crate. Pierson still won’t walk on a leash either. He will follow me for a bit, but he is still intimidated by it and will try to fight it from time to time.

There was one other incident where Pierson’s nose started bleeding for no apparent reason. My thought was rat poison since Pierson could have eaten a poisoned rat while living in the park. I was also worried about an auto immune disease or a tick-born disease. After a night in the emergency veterinary hospital, Pierson is home again and doing well.

So Pierson is a true rescue dog. I can’t even begin to tell you how rewarding it is to rescue an animal. To check out my Facebook posts related to these two dogs, send a friend request to my Facebook page at You can also catch part of the story on

One more very important note – If you ever try to catch stray dogs yourself, you must be very careful not to get bitten. I have been around dogs my entire life and I had gotten to know these two dogs a little bit in the days I spent trying to catch them. Because they had been living on their own for so long, it was surprising that they didn’t try to bite. Neither had been on a leash for a long time and they were terrified. A scared dog is as likely to bite as an aggressive one. Thankfully, both the Chow mix and Pierson were not aggressive. If they were, I would have had no choice but to let animal control get them. Safety first.

Wordless Wednesday (almost) – My New Dog Playing with Toy

January 11, 2012

Pierson is getting more comfortable in his new home. That's pretty good for a dog who has been living as a stray for nearly a month.

General Characteristics of Herding Dogs

January 10, 2012

Since we are considering a Border Collie as a new member of our family, I thought it would be helpful to go over some general characteristics of Border Collies and other herding dogs. A herding dog can make a great family pet if you know what to expect.

The most notable characteristics of a herding dog are his intelligence and high energy. If you are considering getting a herding dog as a pet, be prepared to give him plenty of physical and mental exercise. Without one or the other, a herding dog can develop a number of behavior problems including digging, barking, chewing, and more. Provide physical exercise with walks, runs, fetch, disc throwing, and/or agility. Provide mental exercise with obedience training and fun dog games like hide-and-seek.

Because herding dogs tend to be very intelligent, they are also easy to train. It is not at all necessary to use negative reinforcement training with a herding dog. They respond very well to reward-based training, especially if the reward is a certain treat or toy. Training in this way goes far in developing a strong bond between a person and his herding dog.

With that being said, a herding dog can develop such a strong bond that separation anxiety can become a problem. If you are considering getting a herding dog, be prepared to crate train him right from the start. And desensitize him to you leaving him alone as soon as you can in order to minimize separation anxiety issues.

Herding dogs generally love to chase things. They were bred to chase down livestock and drive them back into the group. Sometimes small animals such as a cat can be a problem for a herding dog. Even children can be an issue for them. If a child is running, the herding instinct may kick in and the herding dog may chase down and try to ‘herd’ the child back ‘in line’. However, with proper socialization and desensitization a herding dog can do very well with small pets and children.

The love loyalty earned from a herding dog is a wonderful thing. Years ago when I was a girl I had a Shetland Sheepdog name Cassie (pictured above). She was the most intelligent and most devoted dog I have ever had. Her loyalty to me tended to make her skittish towards strangers which only got worse as she got older. But she didn’t have separation anxiety and she didn’t try to ‘herd’ me or other children or pets. Cassie can never be replaced but if I decide to get another herding dog, I hope he/she is at least half as loyal and intelligent as she was.

To learn more about herding dogs, check out some dog breed books at our Dog Lover’s Book Store.

Difference Between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso

January 7, 2012

I know my dog breeds fairly well. But I often get confused over the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso. At a glance, the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso look like twins. But there are some subtle differences in both personality and looks.

After doing some research, I discovered that even kennel breed clubs used to have a difficult time determining the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso. The breed club in England had the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso grouped as one-in-the-same breed. It wasn’t until after 1934 that they separated into two separate breeds. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has always kept them separate. They recognized the Lhasa Apso in 1935 but didn’t recognize the Shih Tzu until 1969. Another thing I discovered is that while the Shih Tzu is a dog breed by itself, it originated from a mix of the Lhasa Apso and Pekingese dog breeds.

Book on the Shih Tzu Dog Breed Book on the Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

Both the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso originated in the monasteries of Tibet. Both were kept as companions and both were referred to as ‘lion dogs’. The Lhasa Apso, however, was also kept as a guard dog and was referred to as the ‘bark lion sentinel dog”. In personality, the Lhasa Apso differs from the Shih Tzu in that he is bolder and a bit more standoffish with strangers. Shih Tzus tend to be a little more playful and affectionate.

According to the AKC standards, a Shih Tzu and a Lhasa Apso can be a variety of any color. A Shih Tzu should stand between 8-11 inches tall while a Lhasa Apso should stand between 10-11 inches tall. And a Shih Tzu should weigh between 9-16 pounds while a Lhasa Apso should weigh between 13-15 pounds. Based on this info, a Shih Tzu can be smaller, but they can also be about the same size as a Lhasa Apso.

So if the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu can be any color and about the same size, then how can you tell the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso by looking at them? One major difference is the coat type. The hair of a Shih Tzu is much softer than the hair of a Lhasa Apso. The hair of a Lhasa Apso tends to be harder and holds up better in cold weather. Another observable difference is the shape of their heads. The skull of a Shih Tzu is broad and domed. The Lhasa Apso has a flatter head, but it is still a bit rounded. And it is narrower than that of a Shih Tzu.

One good give-away regarding the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso is the owners of a Shih Tzu tend to put the hair on their dog’s head up in a single pony-tail (see Shih Tzu figurine below). This is not as easy to do on a Lhasa Apso since their head is broader and their hair is rougher. If the owner didn’t put the hair in a pony-tail, however, ask them if you can pet the dog. While patting his head, feel his fur and the shape of his skull. See if you can correctly guess the difference between a Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso.

Lhasa Apso Dog Breed Gift Tote Shih Tzu Dog Breed Gift Mug and Mouse Pad


Update on Our Search for Getting a New Dog

January 6, 2012

We are still in the process of getting a new dog. We have looked at a few at the Lawrence Humane Society, with a Aussie/Border Collie rescue group, and online at While the Lawrence Humane Society was willing to adopt out the same day, we did not find a dog that was right for us. The Aussie/Border Collie rescue group had a great Border Collie named Nick but he was a bit bigger than what we wanted. And we have applied to a number of rescue groups on PetFinder but they are still reviewing our applications and so we are still waiting to hear back from them.

This process is taking longer than I thought. But in a way I am grateful. My husband related it to buying a new house. We have to look at several so that we can make sure we get the right one. And even though many of the rescue groups are taking a long time with their review process, I am glad that they are going through so much work in order to make sure their dogs get into the right family.

This weekend, we will be visiting other animal shelters in the Kansas City metro area. And hopefully we will have a chance to meet some of the dogs we put applications in for.

I will keep you posted on the progress and share lots of photos when we add a new member to our family.