Picking a Park

Molly at the park

There are so many dog parks popping up, how do you pick the right one?

    • Pass or open to all? It’s not a fool-proof system, but parks that need a pass require proof of vaccinations, meaning your dog is less likely to pick up something yucky from his friends.
    • Big dog/Small dog zones. Can your yorkie play with pups her own size or is everyone sharing the same space?
    • Cleanliness. Are there garbage cans and are they emptied frequently or are they brimming with poop bags? Does the park provide bags? People are less likely to pick up after their dogs if not.
    • Security. Is the fence in good shape? Is there a double gate so no one escapes when someone arrives or departs?
    • Other people. Swing by the park without your dog and scope out the people. Are they on their phones or chatting with each other? On the other end of the spectrum, is everyone crowding the dogs while they play? There is a middle ground between ignoring and hovering!

 

 

How did you choose a park to play at? What helped you make up your mind?

Use it or Lose it!

You’ve taken the classes and done your homework, but without practice your dog’s training will slide!

Take the opportunity daily to reinforce the cues that are most important to you. Ask her to Drop when she is chewing her Nylabone and reward her for doing so by giving it right back, or cue a Leave It while you are on a walk even if the object she is sniffing isn’t objectionable, just to keep her sharp!

Reward recalls from the backyard and ask for a long Down Stay while you scoop out her dinner. Watch and Touch are easy to practice at random so that they work when you need them. Maintain your dog’s cues by putting them to use in normal interactions with her and you will reap the benefits of living your training!

 

Give that dog a treat!

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You’ve probably given a lot of thought to your dog’s food. Whether you feed kibble, canned food, a raw diet, or a hybrid of these options, we know that it’s not a choice you’ve made lightly. Your dog’s meals are important. They are how he gets the energy for those endless games of fetch (or throw-and-bring-halfway-back), what keeps his coat shiny, and how you keep his weight under control.

How about those extras, though? The in-between meal snacks, training treats, and little nibbles you give him throughout the day? You want to choose nutritious and safe grub there, too!

As with their everyday food, knowing how to read labels on your dog’s treats is key. Ingredients are listed by weight, so what you see listed first is what is present in the largest quantity. Whole, named proteins are good. Mystery meats like “poultry meal” or “animal fat” are not. Artificial preservatives, colors, and humectants (additives that keep treats chewy) are undesirable. Natural sweeteners like molasses are safe, artificial ones should be avoided.

There are plenty of “human” foods that can be given as dog treats as well. Carrots, broccoli and blueberries are good for your dog and you have the added advantage of knowing exactly what’s in them! 

Try the easy peasy recipe below and let us know if your dog flips for these tasty biscuits!

Preheat oven to 350 F then mix:

3 cups flour

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/4 cup shredded carrots or zucchini

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup water

Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. Place on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes. Turn the biscuits over and bake 10 min more. Cool completely before passing them out to Fido!

 

Pet Sitting Prep!

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Set your dog up for a successful stay with your pet sitter with these prep steps:

  • If your sitter has never stayed with your dog before, set up a walk through.You’ll want that walk through to cover the following:

-Where the dog food, meds, walking gear and treats are

-Where both your pet sitter and the dogs will sleep

-The location of cleaning supplies

-A practice run with both the alarm and key. This is especially important if you have a “tricky” door!

-Anything additional your sitter needs to know about the house such as gate latches, the location of the fuse box, and how to use the universal remote!

  • Make sure there is an adequate supply of your dog’s food, supplements, and medications. Leave a medication schedule even if instructions are printed on the bottles. If there is a specific way your dog takes meds (hidden in peanut butter, only with meals, wrapped in cheese), put that in the instructions as well.
  • If there are rules about furniture, waiting to be released for meals, or stopping and sitting on walks be sure to tell your sitter so she can reinforce proper behavior.
  • Let your neighbors know someone is staying at your house so they aren’t concerned when they see a stranger letting themselves in! Put a call in to your vet and alarm company as well.
  • Inform your sitter about any special circumstances like allergies or phobias. Does Muffy fight with Buffy over bones or terrorize the cat? That’s also info we need!

With these steps completed, you are ready to pack your bags and enjoy your trip knowing that you have prepared your dog for a comfortable stay in his own home while you are away!

Kongs and Crates!

Enrichment, play and problem solving… these are VERY important parts of a dog’s life, especially for those who are still waiting for their forever home! More and more shelters and rescues are realizing that a dog who’s bored and has pent up energy has a harder time “putting their best paw forward” when meeting potential adopters. Dogs who exercise their brains through enrichment opportunities, like puzzle toys, are calmer and happier which can REALLY make a difference when it comes time to meet a potential forever family!

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Two of our favorite puzzle toys are the Kong Classic and the Kong Wobbler. Both can be stuffed with treats and food which the dog then has to work to remove. When dogs engage with these interactive toys, they benefit by exercising their brains and then by experiencing success, both of which are critical for canine happiness!

Another very important piece of equipment for shelter and rescue dogs is a secure crate! Crates give dogs a place to rest and retreat and are crucial for a foster who will need downtime as he or she gets adjusted to a foster home. Fido is also doing a “cash for crates” drive – any amount you donate will be put toward much needed new crates for foster and rescue dogs!

Because she knows that access to puzzle toys really enhances the quality of a dog’s life, Daisy’s one wish this season is to bring Kongs and crates to as many shelter and rescue pups as her little paws can carry!

Stop by Fido before Dec 31st and purchase a Kong voucher for a shelter dog – a $16 dollar donation gets a brand new Kong AND a Kong Wobbler for a lucky homeless pup! You’ll be able to write a Holiday message or wish for a homeless dog which will be delivered with their Kongs! You can also donate toward our “cash for crates” fund! Kongs and crate funds will be split between two awesome organizations – P.O.E.T. Animal Rescue and I Heart Dogs!