food puzzle

Star dog puzzlefood puzzle toyI bought this food puzzle toy for my dogs and like it because you can put in their regular kibble and make them “work” to find it. I added some small training treats (Zuke’s) and tiny biscuits. You give it to them closed, and they have to push it open with their nose. They took to it immediately.

Calming Music for Dogs

"Through A Dog's Ear" CD

“Through A Dog’s Ear” CD

I recently heard two extraordinary dog trainers (Karen Deeds and Nicole Wilde) mention a CD called “Through a Dog’s Ear”, so bought one at Nicole’s seminar. This DVD was formulated to calm dogs down, and indeed, it put mine to sleep!

Someone at the seminar said “Through a Dog’s Ear” even calmed her autistic sister down and enabled her to sleep through the night for once. Karen said that if a shelter dog could be made calmer in his kennel, he would be calmer when taken out of his kennel on walks, etc.

A classical pianist plays slow, rich but simple chords, and it truly calmed my dogs down so that they fell asleep. I put it in my 5- CD changer and when “Through a Dog’s Ear” was finished, the next CD automatically started playing. It happened to be the “Traveling Wilburys.” When it came on, my dogs started stretching and fidgeting, as if on cue!

I’m going to donate a CD or two to Operation Kindness to help the dogs while they’re waiting for their forever homes.

Dogs and Stairs

I’ve been consulted about puppies and dogs being afraid to go up and down the stairs.

I suggest they sit on the stairs with their dogs, and feed them their meals there, or put yummy treats like hot dogs or turkey around the stairs and slowly entice them with treats. Also to sit on their own butts and go up and down slowly while talking to their dog.

The most helpful tip is to use a snug harness so that the dog feels secure. The other day, my own aging cattle dog, Winnie (12 years old) stumbled a few times as she tried coming down our indoor staircase and became afraid. I quickly got the Freedom No Pull Harness that I use for walking the dogs and put it on her. I could then firmly hold her up as she made her way down, and she felt much safer and secure because she had physical support. Poor old Winnie.

Seat Belts for Dogs

I took a first aid course for pets, and the teacher strongly suggested seat belts for dogs to keep them from projecting forward during a crash. I found some at The Company of Animals that are padded and really easy to use. You just put on the harness and click it into the car’s eat belt.

Here is young Kai, modeling his new doggy seat belt. His mom said it helped a lot when they went to the Lake recently. He is only 5 months old, and kept him from wiggling around too much!



Buying puppies online

NEVER buy a dog or puppy from someone who says they’ll “drive and meet you halfway.” I have met or spoken to clients who bought their puppies online, and have severe problems. Beware! People can write whatever they want online and post fake pictures of beautiful facilities, and make themselves sound like they breed champion bloodlines. They can easily lie. Be sure you INSIST on meeting the parents to be sure they are happy, healthy, and most of all, friendly!

See what the ASPCA has to say about this:

No puppy mills pic

Puzzle Feeder for dogs who eat too fast

One of my dogs gobbles her food. I put her food bowl down last, but she is still the first of my four to finish. I came across a product that guaranteed that a dog would have to eat much slower when kibble was placed in this contraption. I ordered the Large size and tried it out.

Unfortunately, my two pitbulls (who are the food inhalers) were flummoxed by the green feeder, and felt discouraged and stopped trying to get the food. They are not “kissers” and don’t use their tongues much- all they wanted to do was grab the food, and the projections prevented them from doing that. They didn’t seem to want to use their tongues to push the kibble to the edge. They just walked away after a while. My slowest eater, Jonas, was the one who did the best with it. He slowly and thoughtfully eats his food anyway, so why does he need this?

Winnie the Cattledog “kisses” with her tongue, and figured out how to push the kibble around to the edge. Even though she has a long, slender nose, she couldn’t fit it between the projections. But she was happy to use her tongue.

I’m sure some dogs that eat too fast would also enjoy trying to figure out how to get to the food, but my pitbulls thought it was a crazy, frustrating contraption.

Jonas n green web2

Jonas, my slowest eater, empties it out

Winnie and grn feeder WEB

Winnie works it out…and does have to eat slow!


Good Dogs Behaving Poorly

Moses Santa web photo-27Sometimes Shelter dogs bounce and jump and bark wildly in their cages…but once they get out of there, they become calm, model citizens. It could be something called “cage aggression” where they are defending their little patch of the world, or sometimes they just need more exercise. Moses here was one who growled and lunged from his run at the shelter if he didn’t really know you. He acted like a loving, normal dog when he was out with those he knew and liked. I’m happy to report that he has been adopted by a loving new owner, and is making fast friends with everyone he meets.


Inspirational Three Legged Dog

Keely Image Image


When I brought Keely home for a few days of R&R from Operation Kindness, my friend remarked “She doesn’t pity herself at all. She is so happy and exhuberant!” Her leg is amputated at the shoulder- probably hit by a car when she was a stray? It has not slowed her down at all. She still manages to jump on the dogs, and runs full speed ahead. Keely would make an inspirational therapy dog. She is gentle with people and perhaps she can encourage those going through hard times or difficult surgeries that there can be life and happiness once they recover.

Housetraining Dogs and Puppies

Here is a great little webinar that I usually send to folks when they call with housetraining questions or problems.




Retractable Leashes

I’m not a fan of using Retractable Leashes on walks. I’ve heard of dogs– even an 80 lb. dog!– getting killed because they got too far ahead of the owner and a car coming around a corner or out of an alley hit it because they couldn’t see the dog. I’ve heard of fingers getting sliced off. It’s especially scary when two dogs are being walked on retractable leashes. Those lines can be like razors!

There is one use of these leashes that I approve of, and that is when you are housetraining a dog to potty in the backyard. One can keep a retractable leash near the back door and put it on the dog to maintain control. I’ve seen little dogs who would run back in the house and their owners couldn’t catch it, and they’d leave a puddle in the house. Or the dogs would start running around and not concentrating on the reason it was outside with its owner.

Mitch got a little noisy in his backyard.

Mitch got a little noisy in his backyard.

Or in the case of little Mitch here:

Mitch would run outside and bark at the neighbor’s dogs and bite the fence and drive his owners crazy because they couldn’t control these little frenzies. I suggested using a retractable leash before he went outside. This way they could prevent him from going near the fence and yet allow him to run around the yard.