Holiday Gift Guide
One of our favorite times of the year around here is Christmas. A time to give and spend quality time with family, especially our four legged family members. Below are some gift ideas for pet lover, our pups, and kitties too!
Perkies Print- what is better than a giant sized picture of your pets? We have 2 (one of each) and it puts an instant smile on our faces. In the picture above you can see the one we bought. We have hanging in our office and its a instant good mood looking at that smile.
Coffee Table Book- The Dogist will be a hit will all of your guests. Beautiful pictures of dogs throughout.
Christmas Ornament- We all need an ornament with a picture of our precious pooches on the tree.
A donation in honor of your pet- nothing feels better than giving back to animals in need. The local shelters are always in need of support. If you do not want to do a monetary donation you can donate supplies.
The Neater Feeder- is your dog a messy eater? Our one dog Dee is a very messy eater and her meals go everywhere! We found this and it has saved our walls and cabinets from the mess!
Antler Bone- These bones will last forever. We buy one per year and it lasts. They will also keep your pups busy during the colder months when they can’t go outside as much.
KONG- you can never have too many of these. Put some peanut butter and banana inside and your pup will be a happy one.
Rainbow Cat Charmer- Gets your cat interacting with you running around chasing the string!
A cozy cat cave– its no secret that our felines like to snuggle up and relax.
We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family…furry family members too!
Dog walking troubles
Is your pup a little rambunctious on walks? Walks with our pets are supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing. However, that is not always the case. Here are 4 common dog walking problems and how to correct the issues.
- Pulling on leash- no one likes being pulled all around the neighborhood. Practice positive leash training to improve the behavior. When your dog starts pulling, pause and wait until your dog looks back at you and releases tension on the leash. Once he does, proceed to continue walking. Do this each time he starts to pull.
- Being wild when you pull out the leash- our dog Dee did this. Once she saw us open the drawer, she would come barreling into the kitchen like a wild woman. Then she proceeded to jump and bounce while you try to put the harness on. To correct this-do not put the leash on when they are acting this way. Instead praise them when they show calm behavior. Once they are sitting and are calm you can put the harness on.
- Not listening to you when outside- does your dog have good listening skills in the house but then completely ignore you when you are outside walking? One of the reasons for this is because of all the stimulation outside- new smells, sights, etc. To improve your pups listening skills practice in a controlled environment such as in your home. You can start out by playing “find it.” Throw a treat and once your pup starts eating it say his name and when he looks back say “yes” and toss another treat. Continue to practice until he excels at looking back when called. Once he does this well in the home you can practice on walks with treats.
- Reacting to other dogs- this can be stressful when you are out walking. Your dog should always be listening to you when you say commands. Know what their threshold is. When do they become reactive? Is it 50 ft? 20ft? If you know the distance you can avoid the reaction. If your dog is not listening, barking, lunging, and is difficult to handle it is best to get a trainer.
The key is to practice, practice, practice good behavior. Our dogs are so smart but it takes positive reinforcement to learn the good behavior. We hope your walks are enjoyable together!
It’s one of our biggest fears…when our pets get sick… but when do we need to take them to the vet? It’s one of the questions some of us might have. I know with our one pup, I feel like we are always at the vet.
One of the biggest rule of thumbs: does your pet seem to be in severe pain and discomfort? If so, it is always best to call your vet and or take him in right away. If it’s after hours at your normal vet, then a trip to the emergency vet hospital is the route to go. Here is a list of common emergencies that need immediate attention:
-Breathing Issues- This is a very serious one. If your pet is showing signs of having trouble breathing then take your pet to the vet immediately. A normal rate for breathing in dogs in 10-30 breaths per minute.
-Difficulty walking or standing- if this is something that suddenly popped up it could be a sign of a serious injury such as a neurological problem.
-Poisoning- symptoms of poisoning are lethargy, vomiting, disorientation, tremors, and bleeding. You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661 to get more information.
– Seizures- These are painful for pet owners to witness. It really breaks your heart seeing. This is when a dog might collapse to the ground and move his limbs uncontrollably. They can also urinate and defecate at the same time. Seizures can be caused by epilepsy, kidney failure, and other underlying health concerns.
– Bloat- this is when the stomach fills with air and twists. When this is not taken care of immediately it can be life threatening.
– Bleeding- both internal and external bleeding needs vet attention. Excessive bleeding can be fatal and can cause the pet to go into shock.
All of these emergencies are scary and need vet attention. It is always important to be observant of how your pet is acting. Pet first aid and CPR classes are available so you can be well prepared in an emergency.
Ways to give back during the holidays
The holidays are quickly approaching! Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? This time of year is such a great time to give back. Here is a list of ideas on ways to give back to the community:
-Volunteer at a local animal shelter- Shelters are always in need of extra hands with many tasks that need to be done. This is especially true around the Holidays.
– Check out events the local animal shelters are doing during the holiday season. They always have ways to give back such as a Pet Photo with Santa at the Baltimore Humane Society. Money raised will go back to the shelters.
– Buy some extra pet food- When you are shopping for your own pet, buy some extra and donate to the local animal shelter for the pets in need. You can also donate items such as blankets, peanut butter, kongs, etc. You could also organize your own pet food drive in your community and donate a huge amount of items to the shelter.
– Become a foster parent- when you foster one animal you are actually saving two because the one you are fostering now has an open cage at the shelter for another animal. This is one of the best things you can do to give back. Many people say they could never foster because it’s so hard to say bye but you have to remember the impact you are making and all of the pets you are saving.
– Some shelters offer a program called Shelter Buddies Reading Program. You can take your child and they can read to the shelter animals. This helps but the child and the dogs. It calms the pets and your child gets to practice their reading skills.
– Adopt- what’s a better than giving a shelter animal a forever home?
We would love to hear of any ways that you like to give back during the holiday season!
Preparing Dog for Baby
Some of you may know that Scott and I are expecting our first little one in November…coming down the home stretch now! One of the first things we did when we found out we were pregnant was start the process of preparing our first kids (our pups) for this big change in our lives. Preparation is the best way to make the transition as smooth as possible- babies come with all sorts of new things- sounds, machines that move (rock n plays), tiredness, and change in schedule.
A great resource to learn how to welcome baby into the home with your pups is Family Paws. They have a great online class that you can take which we found super helpful. They also have a hotline where you can call with any of your questions. It is also good to talk to your vet and see what they recommend on ways to prepare. Here are some of the things we have done that have been recommended:
- Carry around a baby doll- yes this might seem weird and believe me it did for us at first but we will do anything to keep our pups safe, happy, and comfortable. Doing this teaches the pups respect of your space and gets them used to you carrying around something because when do we walk around the house just carrying something?
- Set up all the baby things- baby machines can be strange to dogs- have they ever seen a Rock n Play before? Bring the car seat in and out of the house so the dogs can get used to seeing it and teach them to give you space when coming in and out. Have they ever seen a stroller? Bringing all of these things out before will get them prepared.
- Play crying baby sounds- condition your pups to the noise and give them treats during so it is a positive. As the dog gets more comfortable increase the volume the next time.
- Teach them commands- “Lay down” is one that we have made sure our dogs know so that when they are getting to be a little too much we can say “lay down” and they will go to their dog beds for calm time.
Even if you think your dog is going to be a rockstar with meeting your baby it is always best to set them up for success and preparing them! And remember that just because your dog is doing great with the baby stage, toddlers are a whole different thing since they are mobile so we have to prepare for all stages of children.
Indoor Games for your pup
With these hot and humid days, our pups are probably getting a little bit stir crazy because their walks are shortened! Even though the weather isn’t ideal for a nice walk outside, you can still burn some of your pups energy while inside with these games.
Tossing around a toy is a oldie but goodie. If your dog likes to fetch outdoors he will probably like to do the same inside. Pick a room that is large enough and remove any clutter that might get in the way of play time. If your dog doesn’t have the best manners when dropping a toy you can practice that command during this play time as well. Have fun playing until your pup gets tired.
The next indoor game you can play is hide and seek. Dogs love searching for treats and it is a great stimulation. Once they find the food they are confident and a sense of accomplishment. Tell your dog to sit and stay and then you walk around the room hiding a treat. When it is time for him to search say “find it.” The excitement you will see on your pups face will be priceless. Some good hiding spots are under tables, behind doors, and next to furniture. If your dog is not used to the “find it” game you might have to start out with leading him to the treats until he learns the command. Once your pup consistently finds the treats then move to new spots to keep him stimulated and so he continues to have fun.
Next up is the shell game. Many pups enjoy this game because they have to really use their brain and they get treats! You will need three solo cups and treats. Show your pup the treat and then place the treat under one of the cups. When your pup moves the cup lift it up and let him have the treat and praise him. If your pup is not getting the hang of the game at first you can use a clear cup. Now do two cups on the floor and place a treat under one cup. Move the cups around a couple of times. When he shows you where the treat is, give it to him and praise. Once he gets the hang of it use three cups and watch him have a blast.
Hope you all enjoy these fun indoor games with your pups!
Create the best play date
Does your dog need some enrichment? A play date might be in order then- It will provide physical exercise and mental stimulation which will give you a happy and tired pup! Creating a safe play date is important as it will be a positive experience for your pup and he will want to continue to enjoy them if its a positive experience.
Now before you schedule a play date with any dog, it is best to prepare. You will need to evaluate if your dog likes to interact with other dogs. There are some dogs that do not do well with others and that’s fine….they just won’t be having a play date…take them on a nice hike instead! The next thing you will have to ask yourself is how confident is your dog with new dogs and people? The next important question is, does your dog do any resource guarding of things around other dogs? If so, take away toys and food and water bowls. If you have no doubts with any of these precautions, you can proceed with setting up a play date. Once you find your play date partner, begin to introduce them outside of a home by walking on leash and then you can bring them into the home or yard. This will help with any territorial issues and to make sure they are comfortable. The most important reminder is to take it slow. Keep an eye out on the dog’s body language. If they are stiff they are not comfortable in the environment and its time to get them out of the area. Your dog might not like every single dog they meet and that’s ok, just time to find another pup for another time.
Play dates can be a great enrichment for your pup when they are done safely. It builds their confidence and helps build their social skills with other dogs and people too! Have fun!
Dreaming of warmer weather!
Less than one month til spring and boy are we ready over here! We love walking all the pups, but it is way better when it is warmer out! Here are some ideas to look into to get rid of that cabin fever… an added bonus…a tired pup is a happy pup and after some of these activities they will be one happy dog!
Hiking- Around us we have some awesome trails. Nothing better than getting outside in the fresh air with your pups. They will love walking the trails with all the new scents. Going up hills is also a great leg workout. If you are doing some hiking near some water like a pond or lake and its safe let your pup play in the water or even swim. When planning a hike, make sure you have all your supplies like a non- retractable leash, water, collapsible bowl, treats, poop bags, and a small first- aid kit.
Standup Paddleboarding- I love SUP and it would be even better if I could do it with my pups but neither are big fans of the water. It’s still too chilly in Maryland for playing in the water but now is the time to get your pup acclimated with the board. Your pup can take a break too and go swimming. To get your four-legged pal ready to SUP practice on flat ground first. It is best to use positive reinforcement and some treats to get him comfortable. Once he is comfortable then you can move on to shallow water and do a short paddle. Then you build up from there. Always make sure he has a floatation device no matter how good of a swimmer Fido is. Equipment that you will need are 6 foot retractable leash, personal flotation device for your pup, sunscreen- dog and human, and cell phone cover so your phone is safe.
Agility or Boot camp- These classes are becoming quite popular. Its an awesome way to get Fido to release some of that extra energy. Find a class with near you that has a good reputation. If you have a short snouted dog like a French Bulldog this might be the best class. For smaller dogs try Doga Yoga! Equipment needed are a 6-foot leash, harness, treats, and water.
Have fun and take your time easing into the new activity!
Volunteering, a way to give back
With us almost into February you might be looking over your resolutions and noticing that you have written down that you want to give back and volunteer your time but are not sure where to begin. February is also a time to spread love for Valentines Day and what better way to spread love than by walking precious dogs at your local shelter?
A great volunteer opportunity is to become a dog walker at BARCS- Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter which is located in Baltimore city. The volunteer hours are nice because you can start volunteering as early as 8:30 AM. The 10-15 minutes that you are walking that dog might be the only highlight of the day- getting out into the fresh air, smelling the new scents, and getting some belly rubs too! If you are not interested in dog walking, they have countless other ways to volunteer, such as being a transporter, greeter, matchmaker, doing laundry, or working at events.
If you are interested in volunteering with your pet included, you should look into Pets On Wheels. Once your pet is approved in the program you can start making visits to assigned places like assisted living, schools, libraries etc. each month.
Another local place to volunteer is the Harford Humane Society. They have similar volunteer opportunities like BARCS where you can walk dogs. You can also socialize the cats where you visit with at the shelter to make them feel more comfortable. You could also be a matchmaker where you help possible adopters successfully match with a animal in need of a home.
If your schedule doesn’t allow for you to volunteer you can always download the “Walk the Dog” app and for miles walked they will donate to the shelter of your choice. You can do two awesome things at once- walk your pup while giving back!
Volunteering not only helps out the animals but it also makes you feel great too! Have fun with it!