Thursday, January 22, 2015

Red Solo Cups and Baby Bulldogs [Video]

Baby bulldogs -- what would be cuter? These tiny puppies can be no older than a few weeks and they are clearly playing with red solo cups. I guess that means they are very smart dogs! So what would it be like to have a baby bulldog in the family?

I did a little research and found out a bit about these cute little dogs. According to the site, “How to Train English Bulldog Puppies” by Louise Lawson, bulldogs are very smart and also very stubborn. If you don’t start training them at 8 weeks, they will be training you. That sounds suspiciously like what happened with my Peyton sometimes, even though he’s not
a bulldog.

Did you know that short-nosed breeds can overheat easily? I had no idea that they would, and Louise says that is why you should always crate short-nosed dogs in crates that get good ventilation, like a wire crate.

Louise goes on to share some great suggestions to train a baby English Bulldog puppy, and it could go for other puppies, too. I know I’ll incorporate several in my routine, including working on obedience commands.

What’s the cutest thing your pup did when he was a tot?

Friday, January 16, 2015

What My Vet Wishes You Knew

While in my veterinarian’s office the other day, we started talking. She mentioned that there were so many things that most veterinarians wished that their clients knew. She believes that her patients could get better care if they would just do a few things differently while also adding a few things to their pet care routine.

The first item on her list is a yearly checkup. The yearly checkup is an opportunity for her to hear all about how my dog Buffy is doing. Regular checkups give the Vet the opportunity to catch any problems that may come up with all pets (especially with cats). Cats can hide their illness and injuries until it is too late.

The second item on the Vet’s list is dental care. In addition to preventing cavities and infection, good dental care can prevent some heart and kidney diseases. I kinda felt like one of “those” pet owners when I purchased the pet-specific toothbrushes and chicken flavored toothpaste…guess I need to get over that.

Here’s an interesting fact for you, did you know that about 52% of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight? Veterinarians say that on average, a pet that is overweight lives two years less than one that is average weight. Pets, like my Buffy, that could normally deal with some bone issues find that they are in too much pain to survive them if they are overweight. I’m feeling better about keeping her on that diet because I don’t want to lose her to obesity.
Overweight pets are also at higher risk for other ailments like arthritis and heart disease. To prevent all my pets from becoming obese, we pay attention to portion control, and they get NO people food. The other side of the equation is to make sure that everyone gets lots of exercise, both physical and mental, so lots of games and lots of walks for all of us.

Which brings me to Dr. Lawson’s fourth recommendation: hygiene routine. Part of our bedtime routine now includes brushing those canines, and our weekend chores include baths and pedicures (and the wrestling matches that are probably good exercise for me, too). Bath time works well for also checking Buffy’s skin and looking for strange lumps and bumps that don’t belong. We also make sure that the first Saturday of every month is preventive medication day – Frontline, Heartgard, etc. By creating a schedule, I’m less likely to forget preventative care and just like my pets, I love routine.

Finally, Dr. Lawson said that she wishes that everyone knew that veterinarians don’t mind if you get a second opinion or request a referral to a specialist. The veterinary professionals welcome all the information they can get. With information, they can take better care of your family members. Veterinarians don’t even mind when you do web research and share the results of your searches, as long as you make sure you’re searching credible sites with quality information. That is good to know since I’m almost an Internet junkie and look up all the information I can find about what is happening with the health of my crew.

Here’s a handy chart to keep next to the family calendar or somewhere you’ll notice it to help remind you of your pet’s health routine...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Setting Us Up for Success in 2015

After the fun and frivolity of the holiday, I feel the guilt over the extra pounds, extra couch time, and extra fun. I feel extra pressure to set some goals for the New Year so I can get my life “back on track”. Spending time with my dog, Peyton, is at the top on my resolutions list.

Tasha Eurich, Ph.D. says in her article, “The Science Behind Successful New Year’s Resolutions” that there are a couple of secrets to keeping your resolutions. One way to be successful is to work on only one thing at a time. Eurich reminds us that the late Stephen Covey advocated putting first things first, pick the resolution that will give you the biggest payoff and work on only that. I know that the time I spend with Peyton is always has the biggest payoff for both of us.

When training Peyton, I found that instead of teaching him to quit doing something, it was much more productive to have him learn a behavior that is more desirable to do instead, for example, he loves to chew. Instead of chewing up my shoes, I have provided a lot of other choices of chewies and taught him to find one when he needs to chew. Dr. Eurich says that the same can be done for humans. Maybe I can change my clothes when I get home from work and take Peyton for a walk instead of sinking into the couch and then trying to talk myself into getting up and getting out again. The extra incentive is that when Peyton realizes that this is routine, he will encourage me to continue walks when I get home from work. I know he won’t give up easily!

Finally, Dr. Eurich recommends that I practice my resolution every day A research study by . K. Anders Ericsson, Michael J. Prietula, Edward T. Cokely and Daniel Coyle all show by research that greatness isn’t born, it is achieved by consistent practice every day. They proved that marathon runners don’t have any different bodies than anyone else, they just train every day for the months leading up to the marathon. Not only will I do walks with Peyton regularly, I can do more challenging activities for both of us. 

What will we do next?! My mind goes directly to running a marathon. Peyton could do that with me, except I don’t like to run. I watch the dogs on television that dance and do tricks. I think we could do that. And maybe we can if we are consistent and I’m realistic enough to know it isn’t my personality. So what will work for us? So I decided to consult with Sam the Trainer to see if he had some basics skills that every adult dog should have. He said that every dog should be:

✔ Well socialized: good with me, family, friends, strangers, and other animals in any setting
✔ House trained: 100% trustworthy indoors
✔ Well-mannered: in home and in public
✔ Obedient: able to do sit, down, heel, come off leash and with distractions, obedient up to 100 yards from me and even if he can’t see meOk that gives me a few things to work on!  Sam the Trainer has some advanced skills that we can work up to like agility (I think we’d love to do this), retrieving on command and tracking.  This could be overwhelming. Then Sam the Trainer gave me some more advice, “Note that none of this comes automatically. To get the most out of your dog takes planning and effort.”

Karen Pryor is a clicker trainer (which I find fascinating), and she says that teaching nose targeting is the most important skill. For those of you who aren’t familiar with nose targeting, it is essentially a building block in dog training where the dog is taught to touch it’s nose to a target being held close to the nose. Karen says that if a dog has the nose target skill then you can substitute it, in a pinch, for another skill the dog has yet to learn. I’ll be looking into her book, “Fired up, Frantic, and Freaked Out”.

I know there is still a lot of research I need to do and then I need to come up with a written plan with a schedule. I also know that planning for our future is one of the most rewarding things I will do for both of us in the coming year.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bath Time Heaven: Barry the Pug in the tub.

My dogs know when it is bath time way before I even setup the bath. They scatter and hide. A task that usually takes a few minutes becomes an ordeal that takes at least an hour and involves wrestling.

Then there is Barry the Pug. This little guy practically begs for a bath, luxuriating in the warm water, the attention, and all the rubs. His owner has a little bath set up for him. I can
totally relate to the bliss this little guy feels. I also think there is nothing better than a warm bath.

The Pug in bath is video #23 of the series of videos made by Barry’s owner, David Stanton. Most of the videos are about David’s carpentry skills, however, Barry is an unusual dog and the video of him taking a bath has become so popular that David did another video of him. In this video, Barry is eating fruit. David says that Barry isn’t very fond of dog food and prefers fruit. His sister, obviously, prefers dog food.

Now Barry is a bit of a social media star, maybe we’ll get to see more of him and all his quirky ways. 

Have a video tip? Send them to us at

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12 Dogs Who Are More Excited About Christmas Than You Are

This puppy telling his secrets to the snowman.

This dog that just realized that there is a plate of free cookies by the Christmas tree?

This puppy all decked out in new Christmas clothes.

This dog that knows how to go sledding.

This pug shopping for his friends.

This dog helping his family decorate the tree.

This hound and his friend that are peeking at their Christmas gifts.

This terrier that just can’t wait for Santa to come.

This Pug and his Christmas cookie.

These sweeties and their warm reindeer gear.

This Corgi that loves to catch snowballs

These terriers that are all ready for Christmas brunch.

... stay tuned for more coming tomorrow! Click here to follow us on Facebook for more Fetch! Pet Care Blog updates!