Okay. Now we have a problem.
We’ve been feeding Allie raw for several weeks now and it’s going pretty good. A hiccup here or there, but nothing we can’t handle.
Allie loves her RMB (Raw Meaty Bones), but she likes to savor the experience in private. Usually that means carrying her bone off to her designated rug before happily chawing away. But two days ago I gave her a nice, pliable bone with lots of meat attached. She trotted off to the rug and I got on with whatever I was doing. (It’s almost always something really important and meaningful.)
A few minutes later, Allie returned — sans bone.
This is disturbing on several levels. One is, of course, being a newby at this raw feeding business, I worry that she’ll be hungry or that she’s not getting the proper nourishment. But more importantly is two: she has put that bone SOMEWHERE. And I don’t know where!
In our house, with its countrified feel and abundance of old furniture and knick-knacks (my husband calls it clutter), finding that bone is like playing “Button Button – Who’s got the Button”! Have you ever played that game?
We have a friend – a single older gentleman – who loves kids. When ours were young he would have us all over to dinner. He always had the whole evening planned out. First was dinner – nothing fancy. Something kid-friendly and quick so we could get on to the good stuff. The entertainment. He was an excellent musician and owned a gorgeous grand piano, so a private piano concert was always part of the agenda … classical, of course. As far as he was concerned, if it wasn’t classical; it wasn’t music.
You notice I’m speaking of him in the past tense. He’s still around, but we’ve kind of lost touch. But we all still reminisce about those days.
Well, he’d play . . . and play . . . and play. And it was really nice . . . for the first half hour or so. Then, I would notice the boys beginning to fidget and the expression on my youngest son’s face would remind me of the day my DIY husband confused his finger nail for a carpenter’s nail. Ouch!
Now, I liked the idea of my boys being exposed to a little culture. They were home-schooled and, God knows, with that houseful of “clutter,” plus two very active, enormous shaggy dogs under their feet, and a father who loved Old Time Radio, they could use a little nudge in the culture department. But only in small doses . . . at least at first!
When we finally convinced our friend (we’ll call him Fred) that it was time to move on, he would pull out the thimble to play a hot game of his version of “Button Button – Who’s Got the Button.” He would laugh uproariously as the children scrambled about his rec room, frantically looking for that thimble. He was having a great time! And so were they for the first half hour or so. But, again, it went on too long. Pretty soon the boys would be shooting me an agonized “Do something, Mom” look, which soon evolved into hate glares.
We rarely found that thimble. In fact, I think it’s still hidden down there after the last invite we got. (Maybe that’s why it was our last invite.)
Then it was movie time! YAY! And on his super-duper sized big screen TV no less! The kids were elated. Bring on the popcorn! The first time we were there, the movie was something about classical musicians. Another time it was some old-timey movie — I forget which one, but the protagonist was played by somebody named Rudolph or Lily Langtree or something. That was the night Fred discovered I was a snorer. He won’t let me live it down to this day!
Poor Fred. He loved kids SO much. He just didn’t “get” them. Still, the boys felt his love and have some fond memories of those visits and Fred’s kindnesses through the years.
But I digress.
Allie HID her bone — I suspect with the meat still intact. I say this because I’m starting to detect a strange odor in my living room. I’ve done everything short of rearranging the furniture, but I cannot find her hiding place. Scary when I think what it’s gonna be like in here in a week or two. We may have to burn the house down altogether. We might be forced to. I mean, isn’t there some kind of municipal code that covers this kind of thing? Clearly selling it won’t be an option with the house smelling like roadkill!
With Maggie we always knew her hiding place. She had a lot of “tells.” We had our own version of Button Button with her and we always knewwhen we were getting warm, because her ears would pop up and she’d get all worried looking and fidgety.
But not Allie. She’s a piece of work, that one. Cool as the proverbial cucumber. I could be sitting right on top of her bone and she would maintain that same inscrutable poker face she’s showing me right now. I’m serious. Right now. Aren’t you, Allie.
It’s making us crazy.
I’ll keep you posted.
Why A Raw Diet for Dogs?
We’ll start with the obvious: Dogs are carnivores by nature. The fact of the matter is grains are not biologically appropriate for a dog’s diet. In fact, they contribute to many of the degenerative diseases common to dogs.
For thousands of years now undomesticated dogs have lived on raw meat, fruits and vegetables in the wild. Case in point: When was the last time you saw a wild dog or coyote roasting the rabbit or wild turkey over a barbecue spit? Never, you say? There’s a reason for that – and it has nothing to do with the lack of opposable thumbs.
Dogs need meat in its most natural (and digestible) form — raw. They need the calcium and natural healthy bacteria that comes from raw pliable bones.
And, just like you and me, they need fresh fruits and vegetables as a natural source of healthy carbohydrates and other nutrients their bodies and coats require for optimum health.
The pursuit of good health has become a major focus among humans today. Current trends dictate a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes regular exercise and other healthy habits.
Humans today work hard to achieve maximum physical fitness. Thankfully that trend toward good health is also influencing the way we care for our beloved pets.
Kent and I feel that making our own natural homemade dog food has been a good first step toward maximizing Allie’s health and lengthening her life span. We’ve seen positive results from feeding her only homemade meals rather than that melamine laced kibble or canned mystery meat we see on the grocer’s shelves.
Of course, there are some exceptions if you start reading labels and are willing to dish out a year’s salary for a week’s supply! But even then, the canned varieties still have a good deal of the nutrients cooked right out of them (which then has to be “fortified” — or shall we say re-fortified — with vitamins and minerals).
So, after doing some research, Kent and I have decided to take it to the next level: We decided upon an all raw diet for our Allie. We are following a program that we downloaded on line (you can view it by clicking here). Since the author of this program worked hard, and is selling her book (at a very reasonable price), it would not be fair for us to reveal all of the specifics.
We should, however, be able to discuss the merits or disadvantages sufficiently for you to decide for yourselves. Okay?
Now, then. What are the advantages of a raw diet for dogs?
1. No Allergies.
Does your dog suffer from allergies? Is he constantly scratching at his skin or ears, or pulling out his fur? Do you spend more time and money at the vets than you care to admit hoping to find a cure or medication or other treatment to relieve him of his itching?
Just think about the additives that go into that kibble or can.
First, as I’ve already mentioned, the cooking process removes most of the nutrients, natural oils and good bacteria that your dog needs to be healthy. Then they re-fortify it to replace all the good stuff they just cooked out.
They add dyes to make the food look more appealing (to the dog or the human, I don’t know), they add artificial flavoring, and preservatives to keep the kibble “fresh” long after you and your dog have departed this earth for greener pastures.
#2: No Bad Breath or Stinky Ears
Besides the itching, your grain-based kibble causes your dog to have atrocious doggie breath.
And, no, folks. That is not natural to a dog.
If your pup’s breath smells like a cheese factory, just try feeding him raw for a week or two. Then take another whiff. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
3. A Shiny, Healthy Looking Coat
The only creatures who will find your dog attractive will be ticks and other six and eight-legged varmints because that beef flavored, re-fortified, well preserved commercial dog food also gives your dog a dull coat.
4. No Mystery Ingredients
The dog food manufacturers use meat by-products and other meats in their products that have failed to meet the standards for human consumption – and yet we feed them to our precious pets! Just think of all the recalls we’ve had in recent years over the contents of our dog’s food. Many dogs have actually died from ingesting that “healthy” dog food.
You may be thinking much of the above is the same reasoning we give for making your own natural homemade dog food, and you would be right. Cooked or raw, homemade is better. We can be sure our pet is getting a well-rounded, healthy diet and we know the ingredients are safe and nutritious.
Going raw just brings additional benefits to the table (or the dog dish). Raw is the most natural and compatible with a dog’s digestive system and makeup.
Kent and I were so excited about Allie’s new diet that we decided to have her keep a journal of her progress. We started about a week ago and we’re seeing positive results already! A raw diet for dogs may not be for everyone. (It may not even be for us. Time will tell. ) But we feel the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages. See what you think.
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day 1: Or What Are They Trying to Do to ME??
Allie: Mom mixed up a big batch of what appeared to be slop – veggie slop no less. I feel like a resident of the reptile house at the zoo! It appeared to be a hodge-podge of odds and ends from our refrigerator: Lots of vegetables, some eggs (shells included) and fruit. Mom even sampled the concoction before serving it to me and declared it … well, not half bad. But I’ll be the judge of that!
Mom/Murron: And judge she did. I could almost read her mind as she walked over to her doggie dish and sniffed. “Highly irregular,” she thought, as she so often does. “Highly, highly irregular.”
Then, with one last sniff, she turned tail and walked out of the kitchen. Later, I tried to persuade her to just sniff the container. You’d think I was offering her hemlock!
She literally did turn tail and run – skittering out of the kitchen and keeping a watchful eye on me from behind the dining room table! Not only did she dislike it; she was afraid of it!
Allie: No doubt about it; I was going to have to nip this “raw food” business in the bud. The only way I could think of to do that was a good old-fashioned hunger strike. Works every time. One day without eating and they’re at my mercy, begging and cajoling me to eat. But I hold out for the good stuff — table scraps and doggie treats. (I have even been known to eat doggie biscuits for dinner on occasion.)
So began the royal stand-off. I can’t tell you how many times Mom pointed to my dish and said, “Allie, eat. Eat.” Then to Dad, “She’s a dog, for God’s sake. Dogs eat anything.” To which I say, “Anything but that slop!”
Mom/Murron: I can’t believe it. She went the whole day refusing to eat!
Finally, I caved and offered her a meaty beef bone (still raw, so I was still technically legal). She rather smugly accepted this (clearly thinking she had won Round 1!), and trotted off to the living room to devour it on my light beige carpet. I didn’t argue. I was too relieved to see her eating! I think that makes it a draw.
There is a chapter in the e-book I’m using regarding how to handle a finicky eater. Thankfully, it does allow for a little fudging at first, so I finally gave in and doctored her veggie slop with some chicken broth, a tad of kibble (just this once), and a little ground beef. It worked. We all slept well that night.
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day #2: Fish Day!
Allie: Fish day. I LOVE tuna! This diet’s not so bad after all.
Mom/Murron: I think Allie likes fish day. Just gotta watch out for that doggie (fish) breath! We went with tuna because – well, have you seen the price of fish these days?!! I can get a small can of tuna at Shop and Save for $.56; probably even less at Aldi’s. Add a little yogurt and VOILA!!!
Allie: There is nothing like the taste of yogurt to transport me back to my days as a pup back on the farm, romping with my brothers and sisters. Tuna and yogurt – what could be better! It was a great day. We all slept good last night.
Here is a great video of a fellow-fish loving dog — a Golden Lab named Nikki. This video is a tribute to her memory. (If an ad pops up at the bottom of the screen, just click it off — we have no control over these)
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day #3: Ah – Dem Bones, Dem Bones!!!
Allie: Now Dad’s joined in the conspiracy. What are they trying to do to me? He gave me a marrow bone surrounded by a mass of raw beef. “Highly irregular.” Of course, I just sniffed it and walked away. Never saw meat that looked like that before!
Besides, you’ve gotta be consistent with these humans if you want to get them properly trained. When Dad finally got smart and cut the meat off the bone, I agreed to accept his offering – altho’ I feigned reluctance.
Dad/Kent: Allie even accepted the smidgeon of the produce I mixed with her meat. After eating, she took her meaty bone and trotted off to – you guessed it – the living room again. I think I’d rather replace the carpet than interrupt her meal at this point!
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day #4: Parts Is Parts
Allie: “What the …? Where the heck is my kibble?” Suddenly their idea of dinner is raw ground poultry? And mixed with some sort of fruity soup with eggs. What are they trying to do – kill me? Dad actually called Mom at work to give her a progress report after I ate it. Who knows when I’ll see my next meal. Better take it while I can, I say.
Dad/Kent: Had to call Murron and brag about how willingly Allie gobbled up her meal today – even the veggies. I think we’ve rounded a corner. This raw food idea just may work yet! It’s even more economical than that expensive dry dog food we were giving her between table scraps. We’re all gonna sleep good tonight!
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day 5
Allie: Mom’s at work and Dad’s mixing my meals. I’m practically inhaling it now! I’m either adjusting to this new diet or . . . Dad’s cheating!
Hm-m. I am tasting a hint of honey in my veggie mix these days. Maybe that’s why I’m finding it so tasty. But I’m not about to tattle on him!
Dad: In my defense, honey is one of the ingredients. I think she’s just become accepting of her new diet. She actually seems to be enjoying it!
Mom: I need to pick up come organ meats. So far, that’s an ingredient that’s been lacking in this new diet. She is definitely showing a lot more enthusiasm for her meals than I’ve seen in a long time. I guess we were stuck in a rut before – even though we were making it homemade. We had fallen too much into the habit of just feeding her leftovers. Now we’re focusing on a well-balanced eating plan.
After just a little short of a week, Allie seems to have more energy and looks forward to mealtime. She is getting more liquids which means a lot more getting up and down for us to let her outside, but, then, we could use the exercise. And … we’re all sleeping well.
He’s so cute! She’s irresistible! I want her … NOW!
Sound familiar? Have you ever popped into your local pet store or browsed Petfinder.com and fallen instantly in love with that “doggie in the window” (or crate … or puppy playpen, whatever the case may be)?
But … is THAT the way to pick a pet for which you will be solely responsible for the next eight to fifteen years of both of your lives?
That pup may be cute now, but how cute will you find him when he corners your cat in a back room, or snarls at the neighbor’s two-year-old? How cute will she be when eyeing her from the vantage point of your hands and knees as you’re cleaning up yet another mess she left on your living room carpet? Or as she’s leaping once again over the top of the fence you had installed specifically to provide a safe environment in which for her to play?
Determining what dog is right for you and your family requires more than just the “Aw-w-w Factor.”
It requires due diligence on your part. Here are some of the issues beyond “cute” that you will want to consider before you buy a dog:
1. Do you want a purebred and, if so, what breed is right for you?
2. What kind of temperament is common to that breed?
3. Does the dog come from a reputable breeder? (If you adopt from a shelter – and I encourage you to do so – there may be additional health and emotional issues to consider, as many of these pound puppies got their start under less than ideal conditions.)
4. How high maintenance is the dog (i.e., does it shed, the amount of grooming it requires, is it a barker, etc.)?
5. How much will it cost to feed it?
6. How much space will it require? Do you have a fenced in yard?
7. What will be the cost of medical care for this particular breed (i.e., vaccinations, heart worm and other medications, annual check-ups, unexpected health issues, etc.)
8. Do you work full-time? If so, how much time will the dog be spending alone?
9. What kind of training method will you employ and what will it cost?
10. How high strung is the breed; will the dog require a lot of attention?
Let’s take a closer look at No. 7. I know you want to believe your pup is going to lead a long, healthy and joyful life without the encumbrances of health problems.
Hopefully, this will not be just a pipe dream in your case, because veterinary costs can be shockingly cost prohibitive. Besides the initial vaccination (DHLP-P) for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus, there will be those rabies boosters and the Bordetella shot that most kennels and obedience schools require. Then there is the heart worm medication,and the flea and tick repellents (flea collar and/or topical treatment), and the annual check-ups.
Then, let’s not forget those unforeseen trips to the vet or emergency clinic because the corncobs Rover swallowed have become lodged in his small intestine somewhere between Point A and Point B … or Fido has torn off a dew claw or a nail.
There is also the expense of spaying or neutering. If you wind up adopting from a local shelter, that is required and oftentimes is taken care of before the dog is even released to you. (This calls to my mind Gary Larson’s The Far Side comic strip about the dog all excited about going to the vets “to get tutored.”)
But, unless you plan to show your dog or [responsibly] breed it, you will need to have it spayed or neutered. This is generally done between the age of four-six months, although some vets do it earlier.
Oftentimes, the cost of this and other surgeries are based upon the size and weight of the dog – something else to consider if you have your heart set on a large dog.
You will also have the cost of toys and equipment to consider. Your dog will need a crate, a leash and collar, lots and lots of chew toys, healthy snacks, combs and brushes and other grooming tools, possibly a bed. There are mail order catalogs just brimming full of fun merchandise to buy for your pets. It’s an industry that’s thriving despite the current tight economy. If you wanted to – and had the money – you could spend a young fortune on your pets these days.
But don’t be discouraged. Most of that is not necessary. For the budget-minded, an old blanket is a fine substitute for a comfortable doggie bed, and you can find plenty of stuffed animals and other appropriate toys for her at the local thrift store.
And when it comes to having fun, what your dog really wants is YOU. He craves your attention. You can even incorporate training into your playtime. You’ll both love it.
So – the next time you’re tempted to buy a dog after viewing that doggie in the window, pull out the checklist above. If the dog you’ve got in mind fits the criteria (beyond “cute” that is), you may just have found yourself a new BFF (best friend forever)!
This link will be a helpful resource if you are trying to choose the best dog for your children >>> Choose a Dog
In closing, here’s a puppy video that really had Kent and I laughing. (If an ad pops up, just click the X in the right corner to get rid of it. We borrowed the video from You Tube and can’t prevent the ads. I hope you like it, too!
I’m Murron Campbell. Give YOUR personal furry friend a hug from me.
You’ve seen mention of her in previous blogs.
Her official name is Allee et Venues du [kennel name withheld], which in French means “Comings and Goings.”
The name seemed to fit her at the time I gave it to her. She was always in a state of either coming or going — I don’t think, at any given time, even she knew which .
Allie is a Briard.
“What’s a Briard?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you what’s a Briard. A french sheepdog is what. You may have noticed the smoothness with which I gave that answer. That’s because I’m quite practiced at it. It rolls off my tongue like a lemon filled eclair. That’s because I utter the phrase ten times if I utter it once whenever we take a walk. Or go to PetsMart or the dog park.
The conversation goes something like this:
“Cute dog. What kind is it?”
“It’s a Briard.”
Head cocks in a question. Sometimes they’ll repeat it aloud, “A Briard?”
But I know it’s coming so I usually beat ‘em to the punch line: “A French sheepdog.”
Sometimes I get “Hey, it’s the Winn-Dixie dog!” (It’s not.)
Cute dog, but she’s not the Winn-Dixie dog.
Sometimes I get: “Hey, Married with Children, right?” (Right.) Or Dennis the Menace.
Right again. Top Dog? You betcha.
Once I even got, “Is that a purebred?” Not that it matters to me, but the answer is yes and I said as much. “No,” they said. “That’s not a purebred.” She IS, but their doubt is understandable — I mean, just look at her:
Believe me. I’m no dog snob. The purebred thing doesn’t matter one iota. I love a good mutt as much as the next guy and I’m all about adopting strays and homeless dogs. My husband Kent and I have had our share of pound puppies. Remind me to tell you about Maggie sometime.
But 30 some years ago I had my first encounter with a Briard, and it was love at first sight. It was another 20 years before I was able to get one of my own, but the longing never left me.
So when we finally moved to a place with a few spare acres, and all the other conditions screamed for our first Briard acquisition, we welcomed Fletcher into our lives . . . and he was worth the wait. And every penny. And every chewed up shoe, and that expensive trip to the vet for a series of enemas after he swallowed (more like inhaled) corn cobs. But that’s another blog! Good old Fletch gave me a lot of material to blog about before his untimely exit from our lives. We had him for eight short years.
It wasn’t long enough.
Where was I? Sniff. Sniff. Oh, yeah. There’s a reason I brought up Allie. She’s great. I even see the occasional sign of brilliance in her . . . when she’s not being a total goofball.
But it’s that goofball part of her nature I want to discuss here because, if I’m not mistaken, there are others reading this who have faced their share of canine behavior problems too. Since there’s no 12-Step program out there (please correct me if I’m wrong) for those of us who share this common bond of dog ownership – be it a blessing or a curse — I thought this could serve as a “meeting place” for our own little support group — a place where we can come and share.
So, I’ll begin. Hi. I’m Murron and . . . I have a dog.’
One ongoing issue Kent and I have had with Allie is . . . jumping. The dog weighs 85 pounds and towers over me when she stands on her hind legs! You can imagine the problems this creates when she indulges in her habit of greeting every guest that comes to the door with an enthusiastic jump!
And picture this: Me being helplessly dragged by said 85 pounds worth of dog flesh across the park whenever Allie zeroes in on another canine in the vicinity! There have actually been times when I’ve had to sit down — literally plop my keister firmly on the ground and hang on for dear life! Sorry, no photos. I’m just fortunate that Kent, isn’t into photo ops!
But we’ve learned a few things throughout the years that have made our lives with Allie a lot easier . . . things I’d like to share, lest all my suffering and humiliation be for naught.
So, I’ll start with jumping issue. Read on.
Let’s face it. Nobody likes a rude dog. Does your dog humiliate you in front of company? When people come by to visit, does she brazenly jump on them? Are you tired of the isolation and shame? Want to know how to get your dog to stop jumping on people?
Obviously, this jumping habit has got to stop! The future of your social life hangs in the balance!
If you’re desirous of breaking your dog of the bad habit of jumping on people, read on. The following discussion can spare you endless years of future grief, as well as stanch the steady flow of friends and relatives exiting your life due to of Fido’s “faux paws.” (Sorry. My bad. Couldn’t resist.)
If your dog loves visitors as much our Allie does, you too must be constantly asking yourself how to go about solving this behavior flaw. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a mixed blessing. While jumping on people — friends and strangers alike — certainly demonstrates a certain exuberance and lust for life (and for humans), which can be a good thing, it’s also just – plain — RUDE.
And, let’s face it — nobody likes a rude dog!!!
No matter how well intentioned your pet may be, your guests should not have to endure an all out assault (in Allie’s case, that is an apt description) on their person(s) every time they enter your home.
This is especially true in the case of guests who have a low tolerance for creatures of the canine persuasion. (Believe it or not, there are actually people out there who are not fond of dogs! Go figure.)
So, what can you do about the issue of your “dog jumping on people”?
Dogs don’t know the meaning of subtle. In fact, they’re completely “in your face” when it comes to expressing their adoration for you — slobbery, wet tongue and all! (Oh. By the way, that’s alley over there to the left – tongue and all.)
But they don’t reserve this honor exclusively for you — their master and meal ticket. No. No. No … It is a gift they’re happy to bestow upon any two-footed creature who happens to cross their domain (e.g., your front door, your back door, your patio, your sidewalk, etc., etc., etc.).
So, how do you make sure Fido has the attention he needs to prevent him from ambushing every visitor who crosses your threshold? Here are a few tips I’ve received from dog trainers I have known throughout the years, as well as a few from experienced dog owners who have learned their lessons the hard way: by trial and error:
1) Ignore her greeting.
Painful as it may sound, the best way to curb your dog’s enthusiasm is by showing her absolutely no attention when you first walk in the door.
A trainer friend of mine demonstrated this recently with Allie.
When Allie tried to jump, the trainer immediately turned her back and made no eye contact with her. It only took a couple times before Allie realized what was happening (smart dog!) and stood quietly awaiting an invitation to greet her.
Of course, she fell back into her old habits as soon as the trainer left.
But with repetition and consistency, she soon learned to behave with a modicum of decorum at the arrival of company. (Alright. I’ll admit it. She still pants and gyrates like a belly dancer at an Elk’s convention on most occasions—but she doesn’t jump! Much.)
2) Show Him Your “Alpha” Side.
Another technique that was suggested in a book I recently read on dog training. (You ought to see my book shelves — they’re lined with doggie trainng self-help manuals of every shape and size!) When your dog jumps up on you, gently grip his paws and hold them tightly.
Don’t squeeze them hard enough to hurt her, but don’t let go when she tries to pull away either. This will let Rover know that YOU are the alpha in this relationship. Do this a few times and she will get the point!
Once she has all four paws planted firmly on terra firma and is demonstrating a modicum of calm, you can kneel down and greet her at her own level with a calm pat or a hug, and some commendation – or a treat. (Have you ever noticed how much dogs like oral gratification?) But the greeting should be at your bidding and without a lot of fuss. You don’t want to get her all excited again.
Your pet will soon come to expect this type of greeting and will await your signal or acknowledgment.
Remember too, dogs are creatures of habit. Both of the above-mentioned techniques, when done over time, will get the message across to your pooch that if he wants your attention, he must give you a proper greeting.
Your friends and other guests will soon start coming back, knowing they will not be toppled like ten pins the minute they cross your threshold! They’ll be bowled over by your dog’s exemplary behavior. Maybe they will even spare a minute or two to pet your dog. (Again … my bad.)
I would be remiss if I didn’t clue you in to the primary (although not only) source of my information on dog training. I’ve picked up numerous helpful tips on numerous subjects (including how to stop your dog from jumping on people) from dog expert, Chet Womach, one of the very best dog trainers I have ever followed. Chet has some very simple lessons on the various problems that come up in the on-going battle of wits between dog and owner. His course is outstanding – and relatively inexpensive too (under $40 on line). In it he offers suggestions you can practice with your dog at home — on your own time.
And his method really works! The stop jumping training is just part of a comprehensive dog obedience training course that also includes the following and so much more:
- Clicker Training and Positive Reinforcement
- Teaching your dog to stop barking for attention
- Dealing with doggie aggression
- Training your dog to sit quietly for children and elderly adults (especially great for service dogs!)
- Jumping on guests
- Messing in the house
- Pulling on the leash
- Separation anxiety
How about this one?
Teaching your dog to fetch the newspaper. All together now — Aw-w-w!
Just something to think about.
There are a lot of training methods out there that work. I’ve learned people can get pretty opinionated when it comes to the proper way to train, feed and raise their dogs. But, as is truth in most things, there is more than one right way to train a dog. Personally, I’m into positive reinforcement … just one of the reasons I went with Chet Womach’s methods. (I’m especially impressed with clicker training, but that’s another post. )
If you would like to see Chet in action, click this link to watch this >>> Free Dog Training Video.
In the end, the choice is up to you. You love your dog and, after weighing the various methods out there, you are going to choose what you feel is best for him or her. And I applaud you for your efforts to be a responsible dog owner.
If you’ve found something that has worked for you in managing the dog jumping on people issue, or, for that matter, any other behavior issue, please give me a shout out in the comments section. I’d love to hear about it!
Let me tell you why we make only natural homemade dog food for our dogs.
Our dog, Fletcher, had been our beloved pet for over eight years before he suddenly went into cardiac arrest. We rushed him to the vet and discovered that his stomach was filled with tumors. He died in our arms on the vet’s examination table. Needless to say, it was a heart-wrenching experience and one of the worst days of our lives.
Later, we began to question why such a young, seemingly healthy dog would die so unexpectedly. We thought we were taking good care of him. We fed him what we considered to be, and what was advertised as, a well-balanced, nutritious diet. We exercised him regularly, socialized him, groomed him. What did we do wrong?
The doctor believed his tumors were probably caused by toxins in the commercial dog food we were feeding him. This was the typical over-the-counter dog food sold at your typical grocery store or discount store. How could it have done this to our precious family pet?
Since my husband Kent and I started blogging about our dogs, and dogs in general, we have heard from many people who have suffered through similar sad stories. Dogs that normally lived to be 15-20 years were dying at eight, nine, or ten years of age — riddled with cancerous tumors.
Something was seriously wrong with this picture.
It got us to examining what is in these commercial dog foods. Not all of them are created equal and it’s up to us as our pets’ caretakers to know what is in the foods we are feeding our dogs. What we discovered in our research was shocking. It’s no wonder people are looking for alternatives!
One of the best alternatives we found for mealtimes is to make our own natural homemade dog food. In fact, Kent and I have been advising people on how to do this now for a couple of years. It’s really very simple.
Before you decide that we are some sort of “animal rights whackos” or are using scare tactics just to sell you a product, please understand. We could care less whether you buy anything from us. In fact, there are very few blogs on here that even offer a product for sale. Occasionally, I’ll mention something in a blog that has struck me as a good idea, or something about which I have heard good things. But we are all about happy — and HEALTHY — dogs.
Our pets deserve the best that we as their providers and caretakers can give them. They depend on us for eveyrthing – their food, shelter and safety. And most of us as dog owners want to give them all of that and more: companionship, support and plenty of exercise and entertainment!
But, after our experience and conversation with our veterinarian, we decided we wanted know more about what was in our dog’s food. So we did some investigating and what we found out was appalling. Believe it or not, most commercial dog food formulas contain a lot of toxins and other dangerous chemicals. We knew we had to either find a safer brand of dog food (and there are some out there, although they’re generally pretty expensive) — or start making the food ourselves.
When we started making our own dog food and we discovered a few things:
- It’s much healthier for our dogs to eat only the food we prepare.
- Making dog food at home is much cheaper than buying those cans or bags of commercial dog food.
- Our kids loved to help. It gave them a sense of pride and accomplishment to know they were doing something good for their pet. And it teaches them that owning a pet is a big responsibility.
So remember, when you prepare your natural homemade dog food recipes, get your kids involved too. They’ll love it and it’s a great way to spend quality time as a family.
It wasn’t long before we ran across other people online who were making dog food at home and so we started sharing healthy recipes. You will find many recipes on the blog of our good friends, Beth & Jaime McKittrin at: naturalhomemadedogfood.com. (And, yes, we sometimes swap more than recipes — like artwork, as you’ll notice when you go to their website. But who doesn’t love this darling shaggy dog illustration?) —->
But if you want to make it even easier, you might want to check out this link — Sojourner Farms — for a nice nutritional mix designed to simplify your homemade dog food making chores. Just add meat and water, and Voila’ — Ready for Rover, and he’s gonna love it!
I fervently hope no one has to go t hrough the pain and sorrow of losing their family dog at so early age as we did with Fletcher. And I hope you never have to feel that you are somehow responsible. But now we feel good as we watch our dogs eat their dinner each night because we know they’re eating a healthy diet of natural homemade dog food.
We highly recommend this method for feeding your dogs as well. You’ll be glad you did.
When you wander down the pet food aisle in your grocery store, do you find that dog food comparisons are hard to make? Perhaps you actually do try to read the labels but they sound like a foreign language.
We’ve done a lot of research and would like to help shed some light on the subject.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a commercial enterprise that regulates the quality and safety of the ingredients found in pet food in the United States.
AAFCO does testing to decide which specific ingredients are acceptable as pet foods. The problem is, they rate high and low quality ingredients as both being nutritionally adequate.
Because consumers demand pet food in a wide price range.
This is one of the reasons why dog food comparisons are difficult to make. Unless you learn to understand the language of dog food labels, you will never be able to make a correct comparison.
Dog food labels, of course, include the product name. This name might suggest the primary ingredient, such as Lamb Dinner, or it might be age specific, such as Yummy Dog Puppy Food or Yummy Dog Senior Diet.
By the way, the ingredients are measured by weight. So if we speak of a product having 25% meat – that 25% means 25% of the total weight is meat.
If the product is named for a specific ingredient, such as Yummy Dog Beef, the product is supposed to be made up primarily of beef. In fact, canned dog food should contain 70% beef and dry dog food should contain 95% beef — the difference between the two being the water weight found in canned foods.
Now here is where it gets tricky.
If and when dog food labels use terms like dinner, formula or nuggets – such as chicken dinner, beef nuggets, lamb formula — then the percentages change. Using those terms, the product only has to contain 25% of the named ingredient. So the ingredients in chicken formula may only contain 25% chicken.
When you make dog food comparisons you need to understand this fact. If a product like Yummy Dog Beef Dinner only contains 25% beef, what makes up the other 75% of the ingredients?
Let’s read some dog food labels and see.
You will be glad to know that ingredients still must be listed in the descending order of weight. So, a beef dinner label might read like this:
Beef Dinner – Ingredients: Corn, meat and bone meal, wheat, beef.
You may believe you are providing your pet with a beef meal, when, in reality, he is eating mostly corn and meat meal (more about meat meal in another article. Be forewarned: It is disgusting!)
Now, just to confuse you a little more, when dog food labels use the terms flavor or flavored (such as Chicken Flavored Nuggets) — then all the rules go out the door. No exact percentage of the named ingredient (in this case chicken) has to be in the food. The formula need merely include the ingredient . . . somewhere.
No doubt about it, without reading dog food labels, the ingredients can be deceiving. That’s why it is important to make dog food comparisons, checking one label against another, until you find a healthy dinner for your pet!
Many people have decided homemade dog food is the way to go. (See my own blog about that: “Phooey! Why Would Anyone Make Natural Homemade Dog Food?” The video below discusses the advantages of homemade dog food. By the way, check out Ronin, the Akita in the video. Is that a great looking dog or what?
Also, feel free to visit our friends, Beth and Jaime McKittrin’s blog at: Natural Homemade Dog Food
Finally, click here for more information on: Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
Do you have a new puppy? If you do, you know what a delight they can be. You also know that they can spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E! A new puppy can bring a lot of joy, but also a lot of problems into your life. Get out your new puppy checklist and jot down some of these ways that you can avoid some of these problems by using your puppy playpen.
The Advantage of a Puppy Playpen when you have Small Children
Have you seen your puppy become overly-excited during play sessions with your young children? It is very easy for these sessions to get out of hand quickly. Using your puppy playpen can be a good way to solve this problem.
When you let your puppy out of his playpen, you are there to supervise. That means you can teach him good games, the right way to play, and stop him from aggressive behavior such as play biting. You can also make certain your small children don’t tease him or teach him bad habits. So the training goes two ways.
A puppy playpen can also be used to teach your puppy not to chase after running children, which could lead to unacceptable behavior — and even dangerous aggressiveness — as the dog matures. Now is the time to check such behavior so as to avoid problems in the future.
A puppy cannot always join in every game with your children. Hard as it is, he must learn there are times when he has to sit by quietly and watch. A great way of teaching him this is by using a puppy playpen.
Avoiding Problems Caused by an Overly Tired Puppy
Puppies need their rest – just like human babies. This is particularly true when they become over-stimulated or over-excited. Like any of us, when a young pup is over-tired he can become snappy and irritable. Using the puppy playpen can curb this. Put your puppy in his playpen when he needs to rest. Once he learns the routine, he will go to his playpen and quickly settle down and go to sleep on his own.
After a while, your puppy will actuallychoose to go to his playpen because he wants to get away from the children! He will learn to feel secure there. It gives him a private and peaceful place in which to sleep and relax. So, be sure to add to your new puppy checklist that the children should be taught not to disturb their puppy while he is resting in his playpen.
Using the Puppy Playpen to Overcome the Problem of Barking
If your puppy starts barking while he is in his playpen, it may mean he needs to go outside or that you have left him in there too long. Don’t take him out and scold him when he barks — that will send the wrong message to him and soon, every time he wants out of his playpen, he’ll begin barking. This is not a habit you want to reinforce.
Instead, ignore him until he quiets down. Then you can take him outside topiddle, or, if he does not need to go, you can choose to play with him. Remember, though, that the decision is yours — not his.
A puppy playpen is not cruel and should definitely never be used to punish your dog. Instead, when used correctly, a puppy play pen, like a crate, is a great training tool and will help you avoid a whole lot of problems during the training process.
Here is a link if you’re interested in checking out a puppy playpen. The ones I saw on this page appear to be of high quality and reasonably priced.
It’s time to train your new puppy. As you scan the points in your handy-dandy new puppy checklist, you notice that many dog trainers are recommending the use of a puppy playpen. More like a puppy prison, you mutter to yourself, then quickly look around to see if anyone witnessed your one-sided conversation.
Is it cruel to use a puppy playpen for training your pup?
The answer is no — and I’ll tell you why not.
For one thing, if your life is as busy as mine, you will find a pet pen of some sort an essential piece of equipment for helping your young pupgrow up to be a well-behaved dog.
Well, first: A puppy playpen will allow you time for yourself, away from your pet. A young pup is the epitome of kinetic energy — squared! It’s like living with a two-year-old! And, as with a two-year-old, Mom and Dad need a break occasionally — to catch their breath and relax!
Being relaxed is essential when training a puppy because he will sense any frustration — and if you are agitated, he will be agitated.
Secondly: A puppy playpen can help you teach your pet self control. He needs to understand that there is a time to play, and a time to lie down and relax … that life with a human is NOT just a 24-hour a day game of “Fetch”!
Unlike him, his human needs quiet time. The puppy playpen can help you establish the parameters of your relationship and limit his options when necessary. He will quickly learn that the playpen represents quiet time.
If Junior is introduced to his playpen at an early age, he will come to accept it — and even welcome it — as a part of his life. It becomes his domain and he’ll actually come to enjoy his time there. It represents security to him. It’s home.
You can introduce your pet to his playpen by first leaving the door open with his bed inside. Let him sniff around and explore it. You can even toss some treats inside to draw him further in. Then, when he enters the pen to retrieve his treats, slowly and calmly close the door behind him.
Talk frequently to your puppy while he is inside the playpen and he will come to feel safe, secure and contented in there.
Allowing the pup to just wander about the house freely and unsupervised when you are away from home is a recipe for disaster! If his bad habits and behavior go uncorrected, how will he ever learn good habits? A puppy playpen keeps your pup from wandering and prevents him from getting into the kind of mischief common to all puppies — mischief such as chewing on electrical wires, or devouring every shoe in your closet.
And that reminds me — be sure and have plenty of chew toys available for your new puppy. It will spare you the grief of watching your shoe wardrobe diminish due to his footwear fetish!
Fact of life: Puppies chew.
A parent of a baby knows to provide their infant with a teething ring to help it when its teeth are coming in. Well, puppies teeth too. And when their gums are sore from new teeth coming in, they desperately need to chew. So be sure to provide your pup with a sufficient amount of chew toys to keep him from destroying your house and possessions!
Remember also: A puppy playpen is NOT a jail. Use your puppy playpen for training purposes. NEVER use it as a punishment. If your pup does something wrong, correct him and show him what you want of him. Then — most importantly — praise him when he gets it right. You never want the pup to associate his puppy playpen with unpleasant memories.
Another “Don’t”" Do not keep your puppy in the playpen for long periods of time – never more than two hours. He should be given as much time and attention outside the pen as possible. The playpen is part of a routine for your pup. But so is playtime … and grooming time … and mealtime. All of this goes to teaching your dog balance.
So, to reiterate: Is a puppy playpen cruel? Answer: Not if it is used correctly. It can not only give you a much needed break from your pet, but it’s a great tool to help you teach your puppy proper behavior.
If, after reading this, you feel a puppy playpen is right for you, follow this link to view one: puppy playpen. No pressure intended here. There’s a model to fit any circumstance. For instance, if you like to travel with your dog, maybe go to dog shows or agility competitions, this one seems like a great choice: [insert]
I’m Murron Campbell. Welcome to my blog.
In fact, a majority of dog owners admit there are emotional ties between their pets and members of their family — a human-animal bond.
I am one of those. I like dogs. Dogs are cool in so many ways.
Now, if you are not a dog owner, you may think of a pet as just a piece of property, a possession.
Let me see if I can dispel that notion.
Who has not heard reports of dogs being taken into hospitals, senior citizen centers — even prisons — for the purpose of uplifting the spirits of those confined there? It gives these people a reason to smile — to focus their attention on something other than their own problems. Just petting a dog can lift their spirits!
Some therapists report that patients who have mentally withdrawn from society after suffering a great emotional trauma have made progress when they spend time with a therapy dog. They have also been used to break through to Alzheimer’s patients.
One hospital study revealed that when extreme hypertension patients have discussions with other people their blood pressure numbers almost always go up. But, if a therapy dog is brought for a visit, those numbers will almost always drop.
The answer is because people talk to a dog more slowly and softly, and a calm demeanor has been proven instrumental in lowering blood pressure.
Can you believe it? The mere act of stroking and petting a dog can actually lower a patient’s level of anxiety, thereby reducing their heart rate and blood pressure. No wonder patients with heart disease often live longer if they have a loving dog at home! It’s just another indication of the strong human-animal bond, and another reason I like dogs.
But dogs are cool in other ways, too.
There have been studies that show a dog owner is better able to cope with a major crisis like the death of a family member, a major illness, a divorce, or a job loss. Why? Dogs are a source of comfort and are viewed as a good friend. A dog can be hugged and does not judge you or turn its back on you.
Despite their feelings of grief and loss, these folks feel a sense of responsibility to be there for their pets and this, in turn, gives them the time they need to stabilize and get past their initial grieving period.
Surveys have also indicated that dog owners feel more satisfied with their lives in general and have stronger self-esteem. Being a dog owner can even help a person develop a better, more understanding relationship with family members.
These two videos well emphasize the clear Human-Animal Bond
That’s a lot of responsibility to put on our four footed furry friends. No wonder people who own dogs recognize the almost spiritual nature of the human-animal bond.
Like I said — Dogs are cool!
I’m Murron Campbell. Welcome to Doggies Online!