Summer is Coming

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For many of us the summer sun is already upon us! Here are some easy tips on keeping your Pup safe from the heat this summer:

In the Car

The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. On a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside your vehicle. Try sitting in your car and see how quickly it becomes uncomfortable.

  • If at all possible, avoid leaving your pup in the car. No matter how fast you will be, the car gets hot real quick and dogs can die of heat stroke in a hot car.
  • Leaving the windows cracked doesn’t actually help too much. A car with cracked windows can heat up just as quickly as a completely sealed car. Leaving the windows all the way down helps with air flow, but make sure your dog cannot jump out, and bring your valuables with you. The car still heats up with all the windows down.
  • Leave the air conditioner running. It’s always best if you have another human in the car that can wait with the Pups.
  • Park in the shade.
  • Leave them water!

On a Walk

  • Put a human paw to the ground to check its temperature. If it’s uncomfortable for you, chances are it’s uncomfortable for your Pup.
  • Walk on the grass rather than sun-cooked dirt or pavement.
  • Those winter boots can be used in the summer too.
  • Go on outings earlier in the morning and later in the evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
  • If going on a longer walk than a jaunt around the block bring some water for your pup. I carry a Gulpy because it’s easy and I can also drink from it.
  • Walking near a water source is a good idea. Either a clean stream or water fountains. A place where your Pup can take a dip or at least wet their paws is ideal.
  • A wet bandana helps keep your Pup cool. Dumping water onto their necks is also quite refreshing.

In the House

  • Always make sure there’s fresh water available. Adding a second water bowl to the house (or third) is helpful.
  • Ice cubes are great to add to water bowls.
  • Frozen treats are a great… treat. Peanut Butter in a Kong in the freezer is simple. Mixing plain yogurt with dog friendly fruits, berries, and veggies into an ice tray is a step up.
  • Air conditioner or fans and open windows are necessary for a dog an inside dog. A cool surface to lie on is appreciated.
  • If your Pup has to be outdoors make sure they have a covered shelter and access to plenty of cool water. Water left in a metal bowl in the sun gets very hot.
  • A kiddie pool is a fun addition, and you can benefit from it too.

Pampering

  • Coconut oil and Musher’s Secret are great relief for cracked or burned paws.
  • A well groomed coat helps to release heat. Matted and knotted hair keeps the heat in.
  • Shaving the coat is very helpful, but some breeds should NOT be shaved so do a little research before taking out the shears.

Fur Coat Being Bogged Down by Snowballs?

Winter finally arrived in Central Oregon and there are a lot of Pups that are new to the snow and are unsure of how to react to it!

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Yes, snow is fun. Most of us turn into little puppies when winter hits. But what happens when our fluffy side kick pops out of the frozen ground and is covered in tiny snowballs? You can pick them out with your fingers, but after a couple minutes of this activity your fingers go numb and your efforts are fruitless. If you ignore them until later they can twist further into the fur and cause painful dreadlocks.

How can you eliminate these snowballs? And more importantly how can you prevent them from ever appearing in your dog’s fluff? Here on a few tips I know of…

Snowballs can be avoided by:

  • Trimming your Pup’s fluff– trimming down their toe hair so they are more tame or even bare knuckled is an easy way to avoid snow clumps. This of course causes your Pup’s toes to be more exposed to the cold, so be careful on certain breeds and on those that rarely spend time in the cold. Some dog coats are not meant to be shaved so make sure you speak to a professional first!
  • Boots are another great way to keep paws safe from frost. I have yet to meet a dog that enjoys wearing shoes, but if you can get your Pup to use them it’s an awesome way to keep their paws and paw pads protected! I have found the best way to get my Pup excited about stuff is to wrap it like a gift! I wrapped up his boots and got very excited about them, using my best Minnie Mouse voice. I let him open them and sniff them and then gave him treats while I put on his new boots. He walked around like a baby deer stuck in tar, but then I took him outside and we played a game of soccer and he was forced to adjust to them! It’s still difficult to convince him to wear them on hikes, but treats and reassurance help him to forget about them! Ruffwear makes a lot of different kinds, so you can find the best fit for your Pup!
  • The best kept secret to avoid snow balls is… Musher’s Secret! It’s a protective wax you apply to your Pup’s pads and fur and it helps prevent snow and ice from attaching to them! You can find it at your local pet store, or on the World Wide Web!

You can remove snowballs by:

  • Brushing them out! I find slicker brushes are the best to use on snowballs. Make sure to get to the skin, as some snowballs can twist themselves up into the fur.
  • Rinsing in warm water! Make sure the water isn’t too warm, but warm enough to melt the snow. You should still brush the fur after rinsing, just in case some stubborn snow is hiding.

If you have any tips on how to remove snow and protect those precious potatoes, or know of any good dog boots let me know!

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Bend Dog Parks

Bend Oregon definitely prides itself as a dog town. Most breweries and eateries offer outdoor seating where you can sit with your dog. There are some great locally owned pet shops that carry quality merchandise for your furry best friend. And out of the 81 human parks, there are 8 off-leash dog areas. In all honesty, eight off leash dog parks is not a lot. Most other towns I have lived in or visited have well over ten parks where your pup can run wild and free. However, the quality of these 8 dog parks greatly surpasses those I have been to elsewhere. Wide-open spaces, usually fenced-in, in safe neighborhoods, and maintained by the wonderful people at PAC and Bend Parks n Rec. Below you will see a list (in no particular order) of the off-leash areas in Bend, with some notes as to what to expect when visiting them.

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  • Big Sky– 5 acres, both fenced and unfenced, broken up into several sections. When you first enter the off-leash area from the main gate, you will be in a High Desert trail environment. Walking through the second gate will bring you into some more desert trails, and a nice big grassy field with some picnic tables, a water spigot, and plenty of room for some Chuck-It. Through yet another gate you will find the unfenced area where you can walk the trails and reach the pond and canal. This area requires a leash. Dogs are not allowed to swim in the pond or canals, though that does not stop many pups or their people from doing so. If you continue along the canal you’ll reach a large empty stretch of land, again on leash please. (UPDATE: this area after the pond is now private property, but all the “No Swimming” signs have been removed!) This park is not often very busy, but it is surrounded by a lot of human activities (soccer, lacrosse, biking). If you go during the hours of 8am & 10am you might run into a very large dog group, so if your dog is easily overwhelmed you might want to wait until the afternoon.
  • Bob Wenger at Pine Nursery– 18.8 fenced acres, including a small dog area (which I have never been in). This park is nice and spread out, allowing you to walk a variety of paths and giving your pup different sights and smells. Most of the park is High Desert walking trails, with benches along the way, one of which features an amazing view of the mountains to the West. The trails open up to a very large grassy field, with partially open fencing along the perimeter to help you keep an eye on your pup. There are some picnic tables and a couple water spigots throughout the park, as well as poop bag stations and trashcans. This park has several entries/exits which allow you to access the greater paved trail that goes around the entirety of Pine Nursery. Your dog must be on leash whenever outside of the off-leash dog area. The visitors of this park vary, including the regulars that attend almost religiously, and the tourists who just Googled “dog park” and voila! Most people in this park are great, but this is the park I have experienced the most issues at. Humans on cellphones not paying attention to their dogs, dog walkers dropping their pack off and letting them have free rein, and nonlocals who bring their not-so-friendly pooches along just to get some energy out.  I have also run into quite a few dog-free bicyclists in this park. *Note- the dog park shares a parking lot with the pickleball courts, which can get very busy*
  • Discovery– 1.6 acres fenced. I’m going to be blunt, I never come here. It was originally created by West Bend Property Company, and was recently taken over by Bend Parks n Rec. It’s Snoozeville to me and my pack. I would probably go more often if I had an elderly Havanese that enjoyed strolling at a snail’s pace. The human park is very nice and peaceful, but the dog park is lacking. The good news is, it is very rarely busy, and it’s a new park so there is a lot of opportunity for growth and improvements.
  • Ponderosa– 2.9 fenced acres with a separate small dog area. This is my most frequented park, mostly because it’s in my ‘hood. It’s a much smaller scale Pine Nursery, with desert-like walking trails that lead into a small opening where you can play ball. Rather than having a nice grassy clearing for ball play, the entire park is dirt, except for the small dog area. The small dog area is all grass, with some small trees and benches. It has a chain link fence separating it from the big dog area. A lot of the little dogs love to run up and down this fence line barking at humans and dogs on the other side, and a lot of the owners do not correct this behavior, so if you have a dog that loves fence fighting this may not be the park for you. Most of the park is shade, which is great on hot days, but makes things very chilly on cold days. There is a water spigot, and it is surrounded by a human park, complete with two skateparks, a soccer field, a playground, and some paved walking paths. This park is mostly used by those who live in the neighborhood, but you also see some out-of-towners. A lot of cellphone use at this park, and a lot of people sitting at benches while their dog is on the opposite side of the park. Also, for some reason, a lot of people bring human food to this park and eat it at the picnic table in the middle of the dog play area.
  • Riverbend– 1.1 acres fenced with small dog area and dog access to the river. Bleh. I apologize if it sounds like I’m talking smack, but if you live in Bend and have taken your dog to this park, you probably share my view. It’s an afterthought. It’s at the end of the lush, grassy Riverbend Park, tucked away at the other end of a rocky parking lot. The terrain is all tiny rocks, which makes poop scooping a game, cracking toenails and paw pads a cinch, and the rocks become scorching hot on sunny days and icy and treacherous in cold months. There are a couple benches, but absolutely no shade. And no drinkable water, unless you count the river, which isn’t technically drinkable. The small dog area is not worth the visit. The river access is reached by leaving the dog park and entering another gate across the path. Access is only granted to those that love launching into water from the rocks above. Imagine if you’re friends told you they were taking you swimming, and then you arrived only to realize you had to jump from a rock cliff into the water below. This is where all tourists bring their dogs. Close to Old Mill, hotels, and a very popular human park, it offers quite a bit of convenience to those who are visiting. I have come across more unattended dogs at this park than any other (unattended meaning they are left alone in the fenced park without their human) I do not know where the human goes, but my guess is for a nice relaxing float in the Deschutes. I realize I have nothing positive to say about this park except that it is connected to the River Trail, which is a fantastic LEASH walk.
  • Awbrey Reservoir– 5 acres, slightly fenced. Yes, slightly fenced. The park is surrounded by some wooden post fencing, but it is not closed in by any means. Please be aware that the parking lot is attached to a semi busy road, and the park runs along 12th, which people love driving super fast on. This park is connected to Hillside Park, and yes it is on a hillside. It is sprinkled with unpaved walking trails that allow you to wander the hill and lead you to a great view of town. There are a couple picnic benches, where I have actually seen families having sit down dinners. There is no water spigot in the park, but there is a drinking fountain in the parking lot equipped with a lower fountain for dogs (dog bowl is not included). This park is mostly inhabited by neighborhood locals, and most of the park’s visitors do weekly cleanups of poops and trash. It’s not really a place to play ball, but it is nice for a relaxing sunrise/sunset stroll.
  • Overturf– 4.6 fenced acres. This park is perched up above a children’s playground and surrounded by newer homes. It has a forest feel, with tall trees covering most of the sky, and dirt trails throughout. The hill gives dogs a good workout, and just outside the dog park you’ll find Skyliner Summit Loop, where you can enjoy a peaceful walk after your pup gets to play with some pals. The park is never crowded, and most guests are neighborhood locals. There is no water spigot or drinking fountain, and people have been kind enough to bring water jugs. If you remember, bring a gallon of H20 along on your next trip to Overturf.
  • Hollinshead– 3.7 acres unfenced. This park is good for more mellow dogs who like to lay in the grass, stroll and take in the sniffs, and possibly play some light ball. The area is surrounded by a much larger human park, and it’s difficult to tell where the off-leash area begins and ends (especially for dogs who can’t read) so you have to be aware of the off-leash posts and make sure your dog stays where he is supposed to so you don’t get accosted by the nondog people. Right next to the dog park is a barn, where a lot of Bendites get married, so please make sure your pup isn’t off eating wedding cake or running away with a bride. This park also has some great LEASH walking trails around it.

Hopefully these tidbits prove helpful, and hopefully we can continue to improve these parks and open others up to off-leash play! Please do your part and pick up poops and trash while visiting Bend’s glorious parks!

The Off-Leash Epidemic

Oh Bend, the most amazing Dog Town this side of the Mississippi. How I love your glorious dog parks, your extensive hiking trails, and all your refreshing swimming holes. And apparently, so does everyone else and their mother… and their dog!

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If you live in Bend (or anywhere else where dogs and humans coexist) you’ll run into the issue of dogs freely roaming the outdoors, not a care in the world and not a leash in site. You’ll be walking along a peaceful trail, listening to the birds and the distant river, looking up at the tall pines, keeping your best friend close-by and safe with a six foot nylon leash. Suddenly you look at the trail ahead and you see an adorable little Aussie, just standing about ten feet in front of you, still as a statue, and you begin your internal dialogue, “Is this dog with a human? Should I turn the other way? Or head off trail? Is it going to approach?” Meanwhile, that best friend you keep next to you on lead is beginning to whine and tug and stress. Suddenly another human appears, and casually yells to you, “Oh it’s ok he’s friendly!” And you uncomfortably chuckle, “Ok great, mine is not!”

This is a daily occurrence. Bend is a pretty dog friendly town, and people seem to take that and run with it… off leash. There are numerous off leash dog parks and trails in town, but the majority of hiking, walking, & biking paths are leashed areas. This means your dog MUST be on leash… not if they’re cool they can hang… they MUST BE ON LEASH. This is not because the city loves power and wants to control your rights, this is for the safety of you, your dog, and everyone around you. I know, other people, what a weird concept, but a lot of people do not like dogs. A lot of dogs do not like dogs. Allowing your dog to run off leash is much easier for you and much more enjoyable for your pup, but some dogs become incredibly anxious when approached by an off-leash dog, and your dog could get hurt if it sniffs the wrong dog. Or even worse a human could get hurt.

When you are in off-leash areas, please make sure your pup is well behaved. Dogs are technically only to be off leash when they have excellent recall and are under your control. There have been instances where well trained dogs have wandered from their owners, bothering a non-dog loving human, and let me tell you, people who do not have dogs love telling you that your dog is terrible, and they love reporting you for going against the rules.

Here’s a true story from the Sydney Morning Herald: Neil McMahon had brought his dog to an off-leash dog beach. He allowed the dog to wander and enjoy itself. The dog approached a baby laying on a blanket in the sand and decided to give that baby a lick on the face. (don’t ask me what a baby was doing laying in the sand of a dog beach) The child’s mother accused the dog of attacking the baby and called the police. Neil was fined $238 because the dog was not under his control.

“‘Effective control’ is defined as follows. It means your dog will return to you upon command (fair enough, though I don’t know a dog owner who has a 100 per cent success rate on that front). It means that you “retain a clear and unobstructed view of the dog” in the off-leash area at all times (fair enough, and usually not a problem unless the whirling dervish of romping dogs gets too big or they head off into the shrubbery in pursuit of a tennis ball). But here’s the kicker that got me in trouble: ‘effective control’ means your dog ‘does not bother, attack, worry or interfere with other people or animals’.” -Neil

So if you aren’t worried about other dogs or people, at least worry about your bank account. Or being an adult and being scolded by a police officer or park ranger, cuz that would be embarrassing.

Be courteous and cautious. Be mindful of your dog and others. Be a standup, law abiding citizen. If you need help finding an off-leash area or need to become better acquainted with your areas leash laws, Google is great at looking things up! If you live in Bend the Dog PAC is an excellent resource for dog parks, summer and winter trails, and upcoming dog events! Dogster Magazine and Zuke’s have some great tips on Adventuring with your pup off leash!

*this has been on my mind lately because of how many people have been complaining of off-leash dogs in an area they thought safe to bring their dog-reactive-dog for a walk*

 

Is a Tired Dog a Happy Dog?

You might be familiar with the phrase “a tired dog is a happy/good dog”, but what does that really mean? If you have a dog it’s pretty obvious, exercising a dog leads to them sleep which causes bad behaviors to happen less frequently. But if your dog is passed out and too tired to do anything, does that make them a happy dog? Does it make them a good dog? Or does it just make them an exhausted dog? 

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Physical exercise is very important for dogs, and the activity you choose is equally as important. A dog running on a treadmill is getting plenty of exercise, but a dog who gets to go on a run with his human is getting a little more from the activity. Participating in exercise with your dog presents an opportunity for bonding, and your dog will be much happier working out with you than alone. It’s important to set time aside in your day specifically for your dog.

You can take your dog to the dog park to exercise and socialize, but if you are staring at your cell phone the entire time it effects the outing for the dog and they may not be as happy or well exercised as you’d hoped (they may also get into some trouble without you even knowing). Try bringing a ball or favorite toy to the park, and rather than checking pointless emails, take the time to connect with your pup through a game they love. My dog happens to be weird and not care much for toys, so rather than play fetch, we play hide and seek at the park. I will hide and he will use his nose to seek me out, once he finds me he gets a reward. It’s essentially nose work, but rather than searching for treats he’s searching for me! This gives him both mental and physical exercise!

Mental stimulation is equally as important as physical, and can have better results in less time. Nicole Ellis is a dog trainer who found that her own dog was, “more tired after 15 minutes of scent games than after a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood.” Dogs are smart, and most of them want jobs to do, so giving them some brain activities will help give them peace of mind.

Please keep in mind that all dogs are different and require different amounts of physical exercise. Old dogs require lessexercise than 8 month old puppies. A Newfoundland requires less exercise than an Australian Shepherd. Dogs with injuries require special workouts. Your dog will normally let you know their limits, but don’t always rely on that, and maybe run it by your vet. 

This is a great guide on how much exercise your dog may need depending on breed, age, and size. But like I said, every dog is different and no one knows your dog better than you.

Here are some great articles on physical and mental stimulation:

“A Mentally Stimulated Dog is a Happy Dog” by Nicole Ellis

“Is a Tired Dog a Good Dog? (Or a Happy Dog?)” by Dan Estep & Suzanne Hetts of Animal Behavior Associates

And some ideas on how to give your dog mental stimulation:

Prevent Boredom

Brain Games

 

 

 

Over Prepared

As a dog hiker & walker I have to be prepared for anything, and thus I have to carry a lot of gear. I’ve gone through several different packs, and a lot of back pain, to find the right system for my day to day. People often approach me and ask me what I’m carrying around in my pack, so I thought I would layout exactly what I carry around all day!

Click on an image to enlarge and see what’s what!

A few things I would like to note:

  1. I keep a full size first aid kit for dogs and humans in my car.
  2. I carry the full fanny pack for long treks, and the smaller blue one for dog park trips and shorter neighborhood walks.
  3. The dog deterrent spray is for dog attacks/fights only. Please educate yourself on this spray before using it.
  4. My full sized fanny pack has two water bottle holders. I will sometimes leave one empty to carry full poop bags in.
  5. I like to keep paper and a pen around in case I need to write myself or others notes. I like to limit my phone use while out on Adventures so I can focus on the dogs and prolong my battery life for any emergencies that may arise. (the portable charger only holds so much juice!)
  6. Bandanas make dogs look cute, but are also great to soak in water on hot days! They can also be used in first aid emergencies, or any instance where you might need a rag.
  7. Packs differ in cold weather by adding gloves, headgear, extra socks, hand warmers, yak tracks, and snow booties for some dogs. In hot weather I carry two water bottles with ice added, a bandana for each dog and one for myself, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
  8. You don’t have to carry a pouch around to collect trash and glass. It’s just something I do as a way to give back to the dog community.

I like to keep my packs stocked and ready for Adventuring at the drop of a hat! It’s also helpful for overnight trips. Just have to grab his bed and food and we’re off!

I would also like to give a quick shout out to everyone who helped make these packs! Thanks to City Thrift for having an old park ranger’s fanny pack for $8, thanks to Humane Society Thrift for selling the treat pouch for $1, to Sticker Mule for making some incredible stickers and magnets, Moo for always making the best quality business cards, and of course Amazon for selling first aid kits, portable dog bowls, and an endless supply of poop bags for super cheap! Shop local, but also don’t throw your money away! Most dog supplies get lost or damaged.

Tools of the Trade

When it comes to the right collar, leash, and harness things get kind of overwhelming. There are so many options, styles, shapes, colors, clips, ahhhh! But have no fear, here is a list of standard collars, harnesses, and leads for your guidance knowledge!

Collars

  • Standard Flat Collar– This is your basic collar that you can find in grocery store. They are usually made of a nylon or leather, but can come in various fabrics. These collars can be used with easy, loose leash walkin’ pups. They shouldn’t be used for sighthounds as they can easily slip over their heads. You can get these collars with a belt buckle style, a fastening clip, or a break away version. If you plan to leave the collar on while your pup is unsupervised, I suggest a breakaway collar so they can’t get snagged on something and strangle themselves.

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  • Martingale– This collar is a great substitution for the ol’ choke chain (see below). It consists of two loops, the larger going around the dog’s neck and the smaller clips to the leash. The larger loop is made of a nylon fabric, while the smaller loop is either nylon or chain. When the dog pulls, the smaller loop tightens. These collars are perfect for sighthounds with necks the same size as their heads, because they cannot slip out of them. Never allow the metal pieces of the larger loop to touch!

   martingalefabric     how-martingale-works-340     martingalechain

  • Head Halter– The most popular of these is a Gentle Leader made by PetSafe. It slips over the dog’s muzzle, but is not restrictive to their normal movements (they are able to pant, drink, and eat… they can give kisses too!) These collars keep the dog from dragging their nose along the ground and keeps them focused on you by turning their head anytime they pull. This collar is meant to be used for leash training and can be swapped out after you achieve loose leash behavior. It can be difficult for dogs to get used to this so be sure to have treats and patience with you!

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*Collars should fit so you are able to comfortably fit two fingers underneath.

Aversive Collars

  • Choke Chain– This is basically just what it sounds like. It’s a chain that tightens around your dog’s neck as they pull. These should only be used with guidance of a professional trainer, as they can often cause tracheal damage when improperly used. They should never be left on an unsupervised pup. Martingale collars are great alternatives to these. Never use on short nose dogs!

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  • Prong Collar– These collars are made of linked steel prongs that go into a dog’s neck when they pull. These are only used for dogs that are difficult to control and dogs that are aggressive. Again, these should only be used with guidance of a professional trainer. If you chose to use this collar, be sure to give you pup some naked time without it.

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Harnesses

  • Back-Clip Harness– This is a harness that attaches to the… back! This is great for loose leash walkin’ pups, but not the best for dogs that tend to pull. When you pull, they pull. This harness is great for short nose dogs!

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  • Front-Clip Harness– This clips in the front! Having the leash clipped to the chest of your pup causes them to turn toward you when they pull. With proper guidance, they will get bored of being turned sideways and this can lead to a loose leash walking dog! Some of these harnesses also allow for you to clip to the front and back.

frontcliponly    frontandbackclip

*There are so many style and fit options when it comes to harnesses that I can’t cover them all… it’s always best to get what suits your pup!

Leashes

  • Standard Leash– This comes in many fabrics, styles, and lengths. You can even get leashes that change length with the help of an extra clip! Again you should find a leash that is best for you and your pup. We have several options for different activities.

   ropelease      reflectiveleash      doubleclip

  • Slip Lead– These are usually flat nylon or a braided rope. They simply slip over the dog’s head and like a martingale collar, tightens as the dog pulls. Be sure to use these with proper knowledge as they can cause damage if used inappropriately on a pulling pup.

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  • Retractable Leash– These are the leashes that retract into a handle! Let me just biased-ly say, these are a big pet peeve for me. They offer little to no guidance from the human and allow the dog to control the walk. Normally when I see these used in the world they are used very carelessly and have left a bad taste in my mouth.

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This list was put together with years of frustration, pointless purchases, and victories. For more guidance ask your trainer, veterinarian, or check out the AKC website.

 

*Keep in mind that humans have a tendency to judge your dog’s behavior on their collar. Choke chains and prong collars often lead people to believe your dog is aggressive or difficult to manage. Standard collars cause people to see a friendly happy dog, even if they are not. Though we try to avoid stereotypes, our brains cannot escape it as often as we’d like to think.

What to Consider When Boarding your Pup

Throughout my years of dog care I have met a variety of dog parents. Some humans become very connected to their fur babies, and feel they are more than just a mere dog, while others simply got them to match the decor in their home. Yet regardless of what kind of relationship humans have with their pups, almost every pet owner is looking for the best possible care for their critters while they are away.

Here are some things I have learned about daycares, boarding facilities, and in-home sitters that you might want to consider:

  • Give yourself plenty of time before a trip to find a good pet care option. Waiting until the last minute could leave your pup in the hands of someone less qualified than if you look a couple months ahead, especially during busy holiday seasons. If you currently have pets, and do not have a pet sitting option, find someone you like now! Even if you never leave your house, it is always a good idea to have someone you trust that can care for your pets if any emergencies arise. (it’s an even better idea to find more than one place for your pets, in case the first is unavailable)
  • Meet the in-home sitter! If you choose to go the in-home sitting route, meet the sitter with plenty of time before your trip. Watch how they interact with your pets, have a list of questions ready for them, and make sure they have good references from other pet parents. Go with your gut! If you feel a person isn’t right for your pets, interview another sitter!
  • Take a tour of the facility you plan to use! This is a very important step in finding reliable dog care. Every boarding facility should offer a tour for new clients. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to see where your dog will be staying while you are out of town. They might offer odd hours for tours, based on the boarding dogs’ schedules, but if they refuse a tour altogether, red flag! Don’t forget your list of questions!
  • Think about the size of the pack and the daily environment. A lot of boarding facilities have large pack sizes, and house anywhere from 40-140 dogs. Some places have the space and staff for this many dogs, while others pack them to the gills simply for profit. Remember that tour you took? Was the facility loud and filled with barking? Were the playgrounds ample space for the amount of dogs using them? How many humans were on staff to watch the dogs? Were things clean and organized, or did the indoor rooms smell of urine? Though there are numerous facilities that look and smell like dogs use them as their personal toilets, and have little to no supervision during play, know that there are also boarding facilities that smell clean, look sanitary, and have friendly and caring staff constantly observing your pet. A larger boarding facility doesn’t always mean a good or bad thing. Some dogs could do well in these environments, but others can get very overwhelmed in larger pack sizes, and perhaps an in-home sitter is a better option.
  • Humans. This is the most important thing to consider in dog care. What are the humans doing? Are they with your dog at all times? Or is your dog in a room of 80 dogs and no human supervision? If you are using an in-home pet sitter, you normally only have to worry about one human. If you’re using a boarding facility, your pet is around a variety of faces and you often don’t get to meet the entire staff ahead of time. It’s always a good idea to observe staff while on a tour. Do they seem connected to the job and animal they are working with, or are they dragging their feet and mumbling under their breath? Even at the worst boarding facility, a caring and knowledgable staff can go a very long way. Those invested in dog care will always go above and beyond to make sure your pup receives the best care possible, regardless of the environment. 
  • Every animal is different. As you may know, not every pet will react the same to boarding. Think about what is right for your unique individual before committing. Do they like being around just a few dogs, or do they crave a larger pack? Would they do ok in a kennel throughout the day, or do they suffer from separation anxiety? You know your pet best, after all!

As I said before, go with your gut! You could always do a trial run before the big day arrives. Board your pup, or have them enjoy a day of daycare at the facility (or with the sitter) before you head out of town. If any issues arise, you’ll be close by. Plus you’ll get a night to yourself to be human!

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Hound for the Holidays

If you are lucky enough to spend the holidays with your dog, here are a few treats to keep them happy while you stuff yourself full of non-dog-friendly foods and drinks! More can be found at Rover.com

dogcookies

  1. Dog Nog
  • 7oz plain greek yogurt
  • 2oz baby food (organic sweet potato & chicken)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg (free range)
  • Peanut Butter Buddy Biscuits (use as a topper)

Combine yogurt, baby food, water, and egg in a blender until frothy. Top with a dog treat such as a Peanut Butter Buddy Biscuit

2. Frozen Pup Cakes

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • splash of unsweetened almond milk (or water)

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add almond milk (or water) to get the desired consistency. Pour mixture into muffin tins and freeze until fully solid. Pop them out of the muffin tray and serve em up!

3. Sweet Potato Treats

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (make 2 cups sweet potato puree)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel and cube 2 medium sweet potatoes and bring to a boil in a pot of water. Simmer on low for 15-20 minutes (until soft). Drain and puree. In a separate bowl mix flour, oats, and cinnamon. In a separate larger bowl whisk egg, puree, and peanut butter. Mix wet ingredients with dry. Pour onto a flour surface and roll dough out to 1/4-3/8″ thick. Cut out cookie shapes using your choice of cookie cutter shapes. Dough will be slightly sticky. Flour helps! Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let them cool and harden, then serve!

It’s always nice to treat your pet, but make sure they don’t over indulge this holiday season! Keep human dinner scraps clear from your furry friends reach! If you choose to share your bounty with your pets, make sure you set aside unsalted & unseasoned portions for them!

 

Surviving the Smoke

As the fires continue to burn throughout Oregon we ask ourselves, “How much more can I stand this campfire smell?!” Well if your pup could talk, he would be asking himself the same thing!

A dog’s sense of smell is about 10,000 times more powerful than ours! Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to our measly 6 million. And the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is about 40 times greater than ours. That’s a whole lotta campfire stench!

Not only are their senses of smell sensitive to the smokey air, but when a dog exercises they pant in order to keep their bodies cool. This means they are taking in gasps of air for an extended period of time. When you take your pup out to exercise in these smokey conditions, they will begin to pant and inhale the unhealthy air into their lungs. This air could effect even the healthiest of dogs, but is much worse for elderly pups, dogs that are overweight, and of course those with health issues.

Please be aware of the air quality in your town, and be sure to limit outdoor romps and hazardous air exposure.

“Pet owners who must walk or exercise pets outdoors should look for times of the day when smoke and dust settle as much as possible. On really severe days, designated with a red air quality warning, maybe only a quick outing in the yard is best. By all means, though, avoid intensive exercise during these periods of poor air quality.” -Dr. Robert Dyke of WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital 

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