Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Training Treats Tips and Tricks

I get asked all the time about what kind of treats I use for training and what kinds they should buy. There's a huge market for dog treats. Aisles and aisles of them at the pet store. I personally don't use commercial treats very often. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Llamas don't wear Pajamas! Monday Mischief!

Hey girls!! Did you know llamas don't wear pajamas?? Isn't that crazy!?!

My husband and I had a chance to go to the state fair this weekend and as usual I want to look at the animals and he wants to look at the arts and crafts. So we did both!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

B&W Sunday - Smelling the Flowers

Zoe says it's always important to take time to stop and smell the flowers... They don't always have to be roses, either!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Lilly Ann

Lilly is the only animal I've adopted as a baby. She came from the Humane Society in Reno, Nevada. She was only two pounds when we got her!! A tiny terror!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Stuffed Kongs

How I stuff my kongs.

The way I stuff my kongs is very easy. I mostly just use wet dog food and kibble. I pack some kibble in first to cover the small hole then I add some wet dog food. Then more kibble and wet dog food until it's completely packed in well and I put them in ziploc bags and freeze. Right now they are loving the Merrick foods. My favorite Merrick wet food is the Turkey pot pie. It works really well for stuffing kongs.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Mischief - Zoe steals glasses!

Zoe! What are you doing with Grandma's Glasses? 

When I started teaching her to retrieve random objects I made the mistake of using my sunglasses. One day I was at the dog park and she actually stole my friend's sunglasses out of his pocket and ran off with them.. It was hilarious. We heard "crunch, crunch, crunch" running away from us. Luckily her recall is pretty good and we got the sunglasses back, mostly unharmed. :D

Sunday, July 20, 2014

B&W Sunday - Sister Sister

Happy B&W Sunday!
I'm experiencing Internet connectivity issues today so this post is brought to you by my cell phone.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Phoenix - Nose Work

I started Phoenix about a month and a half ago on nose work. We haven't gone to any classes and I only read a little bit about how to train it. I did this completely on my own and it might be "wrong" but she definitely understands that she's supposed to find a specific scent. I began collecting plastic containers a while ago and ended up with some matching daisy sour cream containers. I cleaned them really well and cut some holes in the lids. The container with the active scent has the lid with the most holes.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Phoenix and her toys

Phoenix's first week home. She was so excited by the huge toy basket, she would take as many toys as she could out and over to the dog bed and sleep with them. It was the cutest thing, ever. I think she must of thought she landed in Disneyland. OMD!! LOOK AT AL THE TOYS!!! WOOHOO!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tasty Tuesday ~ Oral Hygiene Routine

Oral Hygiene is really important for our pets, canine and feline. I try to brush everyone's teeth daily. When I first got Phoenix her teeth were stained brown. After brushing her teeth every day for a few months the brown started to come off. Today her teeth are 97% pearly white. She has never had a professional cleaning at the vet.

Phoenix's teeth
Zoe's teeth

Phoenix and Zoe ~ Oral Hygiene Routine Video ~

I use two different products on my pets. I use an enzymatic tooth paste designed specifically for canines and I have a separate one for felines. My other favorite product is the Tropiclean Clean Teeth Gel. I use the tooth paste first and then follow up with the Teeth Gel.

I place my brush at a 45 degree angle and brush in small circular motions.

If you are first starting out with brushing your pet's teeth take it slow. Do a little bit at a time.. Some brushing is better than no brushing. If they don't allow you to handle them there are ways to make them feel better about it. There's desensitization and classical counter conditioning. You can teach them to love having their mouths handled. You can also teach behaviors such as the "Calm Chin Rest (kikopup video)" to help get them ready for having their mouths handled and their teeth brushed.

Check out this link: Ten Steps to Your Dog’s Dental Health for more information on dental disease. 

(from the website above):

Signs of Oral Disease
The following are signs that your dog may have a problem in his mouth or gastrointestinal system and should be checked by a veterinarian:
  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Tumors in the gums
  • Cysts under the tongue
  • Loose teeth
Know Your Mouth Disorders
Getting familiar with the possible mouth problems your dog may encounter will help you determine when it's time to see a vet about treatment:
  • Periodontal disease is a painful infection between the tooth and the gum that can result in tooth loss and spread infection to the rest of the body. Signs are loose teeth, bad breath, tooth pain, sneezing and nasal discharge.
  • Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused mainly by accumulation of plaque, tartar and disease-producing bacteria above and below the gum line. Signs include bleeding, red, swollen gums and bad breath. It is reversible with regular teeth cleanings.
  • Halitosis—or bad breath—can be the first sign of a mouth problem and is caused by bacteria growing from food particles caught between the teeth or by gum infection. Regular tooth-brushings are a great solution.
  • Swollen gums develop when tartar builds up and food gets stuck between the teeth. Regularly brushing your dog's teeth at home and getting annual cleanings at the vet can prevent tartar and gingivitis.
  • Proliferating gum disease occurs when the gum grows over the teeth and must be treated to avoid gum infection. An inherited condition common to boxers and bull terriers, it can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Mouth tumors appear as lumps in the gums. Some are malignant and must be surgically removed.
  • Salivary cysts look like large, fluid-filled blisters under the tongue, but can also develop near the corners of the jaw. They require drainage, and the damaged saliva gland must be removed.
  • Canine distemper teeth can occur if a dog had distemper as a puppy. Adult teeth can appear looking eroded and can often decay. As damage is permanent, decayed teeth should be removed by a vet.
If you see any of those signs above it's best to talk to your veterinarian about it before you start a home regimen. 

Chew toys ~ Chew toys can be awesome for dental health. They satisfy a dog's need to chew while strengthening their teeth and gums. Chewing on a chew toy can also help massage his/her gums and help keep their teeth clean by scraping away soft tartar. My dogs absolutely love their nylabone chews. We have several different types. DuraChew® Double Bone - Bacon and DuraChew® S Shape - Bacon

Feeding a high quality diet can be helpful as well. There's quite a few dental treats and chews on the market, too. My dogs are fed a kibble diet. They are currently on Merrick Grain Free Duck Formula. They also get frozen raw bones a few times a week.


"Dr. Bellows neatly sums up the need for optimum oral health throughout a dog’s life by telling me this, "When a client asks me how long their puppy will live, I usually respond 15-17 years if you brush their teeth daily … 11-13 years if you don't."



Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Mischief - Chameleon Style

This chameleon showed up on Friday and something crazy happened! Zoe, my dog who couldn't care less about toys is in LOVE! Phoenix is seriously disturbed by it as well and keeps trying to steal the thing.

Do you see that face?? Seriously disturbed, I tell you. She is one unhappy dog!! She usually gets to keep all the toys to herself!

Zoe even let me put it on her head. I know it doesn't look like it but she's actually balancing it.

Phoenix still wants it, though. So they play tug!

Sharing is Caring!! Silly girls. :D

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tutorial - How to shave your dog's feet

Recently a friend of mine got a poodle puppy and was asking me about grooming. I was having a hard time explaining how I do poodle feet over chatting so I decided to make a tutorial. Obviously my dogs are not poodles and I didn't actually shave my dog's feet like you would for a poodle but I did show the technique I use and shaved the pads of my dog's feet.

For safety reasons, I never recommend using shears/scissors anywhere near the pads of the feet. Shears/scissors are only appropriate for the tops of the feet and rounding the feet. 

This tutorial would be good for anyone who needs to shave their dog's feet. It does not matter what breed they are. Sometimes even short-haired dogs need their feet done. When we lived in Oregon, Zoe used to get paw infections from the wet grass and I would have to medicate them.

This is my first time actually talking to the camera so I was a little nervous. I promise I will get better at it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Phoenix learning to cross her paws in the "stand" position

I am working on a lot of tricks with Phoenix right now. She's finally getting to the point where she is learning things a little easier and quicker. When I first started training her she would shut down a lot and I believe she was fearful of getting it wrong, possibly left over from her previous owners. Today I am working on crossing her paws in the stand position. She actually learned to do this in a down by watching Zoe do it first. However, I did proof it with targeting. :) My cues are "cross" (cross your left paw over your right) and "switch" (cross your right paw over your left). My criteria is that she target the toy with her opposite foot and she has to touch the toy to get the click at this point in her training.

I do apologize for the video being a little dark and slightly out of frame. We been having to film a lot of stuff inside lately because it's been so hot.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Make: Wobble Board for Dogs!

We made our own Wobble Board for under $35. We already had the grip tape, wood glue and tools. You can use skateboard tape instead of grip tape. 

Wobble Board DIY Tutorial
  1. Round Table Top 24"
  2. Banister Ball w/double sided screw 2-3"
  3. Grip Tape
  4. Outdoor Paint (Optional)
  5. Wood Glue
  1. Drill
  2. Pliers
  3. Tape Measure
  4. String
  5. Paint brush (Optional)
  6. Razor Blade 
  7. Pencil

Step One:
Measure the dog. Have the dog stand comfortably and measure paw to paw. 

Step Two: 
Purchase all the supplies if you don't have them laying around already. Your board should be around 4-6 inches larger in diameter than your dog's measurement. We purchased a 24" board. It's okay if your board is bigger. The banister ball should be between 2-3". We couldn't find a 3" ball so we used a table saw to cut ours down to size. I would recommend a shorter ball for a nervous dog who is just starting out. Paint is an optional step. I highly recommend purchasing grip tape for the dog's safety. 

Step Three:
You need to find the center of the board. Lay your string down on the widest part of the board with a pencil draw a line across the board. Repeat that step 4-5" away from the first line and again 4-5" from the next one.

Step Four:
Drill a hole into the center of the board. You only want to go 1/2 way through the board. Then with the banister ball it has a double sided screw built into it, with pliers twist the screw further into the banister ball to where 3/4" of the screw is still out. Put wood glue around the hole in the board and screw the banister ball into the board. Let it dry for as long as your wood glue says. I recommend letting it dry for a few hours.

Step 5 (Optional):
Painting is optional. We used Smurf Blue. Make sure the paint is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 6:
Install your grip tape. We used a razor to the cut the strips into shapes. You don't have to do that but my husband is artistic. 

My husband calls it a "Smurf Board"
Once your board is complete it's time to let your dogs play with it! My dogs are already experienced with a wobble board so we didn't have any trouble getting them on the new one. In my earlier blog post I talked about why you would want to use a wobble board and you can check that out here: Heeling Platforms & Wobble Board

I would recommend taking it slow when you introduce your dog to the wobble board for the first time. Use high value treats (think real meat!) and make it fun! I would recommend shaping them to the wobble board breaking it down into small steps. Pam Johnson has a wonderful tutorial on this.

Pam's Dog Academy - Wobble Board
Pam's Dog Academy - Wobble Board Part 2

 The Girls on their wobble board:
Phoenix in the purple collar and Zoe in the pink collar.