Category Archives: Love

3 Ingredient Dog Cookie

Here is a quick cookie recipe to try this afternoon for your dog! It only uses three ingredients and likely you already have them in your pantry. Rolling these out and cutting them with a pizza cutter is a great quick way to make small training treats instead of constantly having to break bigger cookies into smaller chunks.

I like making these and having them on hand for stuffing them into George’s Kongs too. Make sure you use peanut butter without xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is very poisonous to dogs.

A great advantage to this cookie recipe is you can make them super hard and crunchy by baking them longer and leaving them to cool over night in the oven to harden and try out. Or bake them for less time, once cooled store them in an air tight container to keep them soft and fresh.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups oat flour (whole wheat is fine if your dog doesn’t have allergies)
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 1 1/4 cup hot water
  • additional flour for rolling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl till well combined.
  3. Spread out on a floured surface, kneed into desired thickness.
  4. Cut out shapes with either a cookie cutter or a pizza roller.
  5. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven off and let them cool overnight.

Cooking times can vary depending on if you want super crunchy cookies, or softer cookies. Just make sure to keep checking them in the oven so they don’t get too crispy or burnt!

 

How to Help a Fearful Dog at the Vet

Some dogs actually love going to the vets, where some dogs going to the vets can be a very stressful ordeal. The main thing to keep in mind whether your dog loves the vets or hates it, is to keep it positive.

The best way to help your dog associate the vet’s to a none stressful outing, is to visit the vets office as if you would the pet store. Do it frequently, do it weekly if you have to! Of course, you should ask the staff if this is OK ahead of time and perhaps agree on a specific time when the office is generally not too busy. Explain that you want your dog to view the vet office as a fun place to visit, and perhaps the receptionist could even give him a special treat each time you arrive.

If the staff isn’t too busy they can even come out from behind the reception desk and pet your dog to help them relax! The goal with each visit is for your dog to what to stay at the vet’s, when it’s time to leave they wont want to with all the treats and loving they are getting.

With Ginny, the biggest regret I have is not socializing her enough during her fearful times. I would foster a situation, plan my route for the least human interactions she would in counter. Especially with men. If we were in a store, I would avoid any sort of situation of them seeing her. Which wasn’t always the easiest with a huge English Mastiff. But had I have gotten her out and having more introductions with people her fear and her confidence would have been eased when going to the vets.

Warn the Vet Ahead of Time and Plan the Trip.

When I had to switch vet offices later on, I had to explicitly ask for a female vet. And explain to them that she could not be seen by a male vet, not for fear aggression. But because she will be in the corner peeing herself (no joke).

Once the vet got to know Ginny on the first consultation, from there on out she always greeted her in a calm manner. When it came to actually examining Gin, the vet always got down on her knees and would sit beside Ginny checking her over. Bringing treats in her pocket always helped too when Ginny was feeling extra shy.

If you have a smaller dog that has to be placed up on the table, bring a towel, or a small dog bed for them to sit on versus the scary table.

Act Like Going to the Vet is no Big Deal.

If you’re nervous, your dog will be more likely to feel nervous as well. The more your work yourself up playing the what if game in your head, the more likely your dog will start to react to that nervous energy.

Do you have any tricks you use to help your dog go to the vet?

6 Ways How Dogs Show Love

We often show affection to our dogs by hanging out together, petting them, hugs and kisses, talking to them, spoiling them and so on. But do you know how dogs reciprocate the love? Sometimes dogs appreciate and like our kisses and snuggles, other dogs just put up with it.

So how do dogs actually show their love?

1. Nuzzling
Dogs will poke their nose into your elbow, on your thigh wherever and burrow and rub against you slightly. It’s their way of showing they are happy and content you are with them!

Ginny use to do this frequently if I was sitting working on something, she would walk right up, stick her head or rather force her way onto my elbow and just sit their wagging her tail drooling on me. It was her way of saying hi and I love you, what are you doing? Pet me please.

2. Resting next to you
Some independent dogs wont always give you clear affection signs. Rather if you notice them always sleeping at your feet, or beside you on the couch. That’s their way of showing their love for you!

George and Ginny, even though not independent dogs, where ever I am, whatever room I am in (including the bathroom) they had to follow me and flop down at my feet. Even if I was coming right back, just grabbing a glass of water they would get up follow me through the house than go right back to where they were.

3. Play!
Since dogs bond with humans through play,  he or she will initiate play like tug of war or fetch. George always brings me his huge JW Cuz for me to throw into the air and him catch. Neither of my dogs ever play fetch, they just look at me like you threw it you go get it. I have more luck with Oswald then those two.

However it is important to note, some dogs are showing their affection, other are attention seekers. It’s not always the case, but some dogs will just want attention. They might be sitting next you pawing, whimpering, or barking.

4. Tail wags
A dogs tail can show a number of emotions ranging from happiness to fear and fright. A dog with a tail wagging, and a loose wiggly body usually means the dog is happy and content.

5. Licking
Some dogs show affection by licking us, George only does this when he’s accidentally ‘hurt’ one of us during playtime. Grabbed the wrong end of the rope, or dropped the bone on our toes. This can be a learned behaviour from another dog, or something that we encourage. For George it was a learned behaviour from watching Ginny play with us.

6. What about jumping?
I tend to see a lot of little dogs that bounce at the side of their owner like a rabbit. Now some people think its cute, but it’s not something most of us appreciate! Especially if that dog is anything bigger than 15lbs.

I’ve always discouraged jumping up onto people, it’s not a behaviour I want in my large breed dogs. They could easily knock someone over! However this is typically how dogs greet one another.

What are some other ways you’ve noticed how dogs show love?

The Top 3 Leashes for Dog Owners

Depending on what activities you like to do with your dog, you may need different leashes for each situation. Choosing the right leash can also depend on your dogs behaviour on leash. In this post, I’ll go over a couple of more popular leash options and the scenarios each leash could be used for.

The basic snap leash
Snap leashes are your typical nylon, leather,  or cotton leashes that snap onto your dog’s collar. Most snap leashes are either 4 or 6 feet in length. This type of leash is often the go-to leash for dog owners for everyday use like walks, visiting the vet, going to a pet friendly store, etc. They come in all sort’s of colours and designs, but you have to watch out on the quality and the right sizing of the snap! Make sure you are using the correct size of snap for your dog, a teacup breed will need the smallest of snaps, where a large working breed will need the largest.

Check chords
A check chord is a longer lead anywhere from 20 to 50+ feet in length. This kind of lead is helpful when you’re working on obedience training such as teaching your dog to come when called or to stay. It’s a safe way to begin transitioning to off-leash work.

With George he loves to wonder while on trails, I trust him fully off-leash but a lot of the trails we frequent have by-laws that dogs must remain on leash. This is a great alternative, it allows him to meander around and sniff trees while not being restricted to a 6′ leash. I could use a retractable yes, but I will get into that later on!

The slip lead
Slip leads are often used for training because they allow the handlers to give slight corrections. They are kind of like a martingale collar in the sense when the dog pulls, the lead tightens but loosens when the dog is walking correctly. A slip leash is great for teaching your dog good manners in more exciting or stressful scenarios such as walking in new areas or visiting the vet or groomer. The leash gives you more control than a normal snap leash and eliminates the need for a training collar.

Slip leads are great as a training tool, but should not be used as an everyday walking leash as you cannot control how tight the lead is around the dog’s neck. You don’t want to risk damaging their windpipe or trachea, worse strangling them.

Other types of leashes

The martingale leash – Similar to a slip leash but is limited in how far it will tighten. I’ve seen some trainers prefer this over a slip lead, especially if the dog is a strong puller.

Retractable leash – A great leash for casual scenarios where you want to allow your dog a bit more freedom. A retractable leash is also a nice option for transitioning to off-leash work.

I have tried using a retractable leash on my walks with George and Ginny, but still have yet to find one that gives me the same confidence and control over them as a basic snap leash. So far George’s count for breaking retractable is up to 2 and Ginny 1. Plus, when a 130lb dog wants to run after a squirrel, a small simple locking mechanism isn’t going to stop that train! Plus once the dog reaches the end of the 15′ or whatever the length is, they get all their momentum going.

Retractable leashes are great for the right situations and dog, but sometimes they’re not always safe and reliable.

Traffic lead – This is a very short leash, no more than 2′. It is gives something more than just the collar to grab onto if needed during off-leash practice. They can also be great option for dog sports, such as agility or flyball! They are short enough not to get tangled, yet you’re still able to grab and re-gain their control.

I used the traffic lead in combination with a halti while training George to walk nicely, the traffic lead and halti gave me the ability to control what he’s sticking his nose into and to greet people a little more nicely then a big dog nose in the face. George being so tall, I like to be able to control where his head is and too make sure he isn’t trying to snack on someones lunch while walking through a crowd.

Tab Leash – An even shorter version of a traffic lead, they have the same benefits as a traffic lead but being even shorter in length.

What kind of leash do you use for walking, training or dog sports?

Common Fears in Dogs

Ginny was one of those dogs that grew to become fearful of everything after she was abused by a pet sitter. It got to the point where her own breath on a cold morning spooked her. Going out for walks, she’d almost crawl around every bush or car expecting something to jump out at her.

It became quite frustrating having this 130lb English Mastiff, terrified of everything in site. It was like tip toeing around, carefully planning outings or making sure the phone charger cable wasn’t too close to her. It didn’t matter how many times she was exposed to it, if by chance say the laundry basket was in a different spot she’d act terrified all over again.

Thankfully, even though dogs develop all kinds of different fears, they can be taught that those scary things are okay and learn to trust you in a situation and eventually those fears will diminish.

Common fears in dogs

  • thunderstorms
  • fireworks
  • veterinary offices
  • kids
  • men
  • strangers
  • riding in the car and
  • separation anxiety

Why do dogs develop these fears?

“Fear can come from two different sources, nature vs. nurture,”

The “nurture fear” develops through a pet’s environment and experiences, she said. This type of fear is usually easier to train through. Such as in Ginny’s circumstance, where the abuser caused her fear, which we eventually worked with her to rebuild her confidence.

“Natural fear,” on the other hand, is part of a dog’s DNA and can be linked to different breeds, she said. These kinds of fears can be more difficult to train through.

An example of natural fear in a dog would be how herding breeds tend to be high energy and prone to separation anxiety if they are placed in homes with owners who don’t allow the dogs to constructively vent their energy.

How to help a dog overcome her fear

Dogs often develop fears if they haven’t been exposed to them, or, in the case of thunderstorms or fireworks, they don’t like the loud noises. Most dog fears can be addressed and corrected but must be done in a calm safe manner.

What worked best for Ginny was repetitive positive exposure to her fears, which also meant building up her confidence. Praising her lots with love and treats during scary situations and keeping her focused on me versus whatever it was helped her learn and rebuild the trust that had been broken.

Somethings like her fear of men had to be worked on slowly in small increments, just allowing a man to speak to her and her not barking was a huge step. Or her allowing a man to even look at her without her diving between my legs. It took one incident with an abusive pet sitter, but over 3 years to allow a man to pet her.

One customer that frequently came into the pet store had a small dog who was rescued and was terrified of being touched. I shared with her these tips that worked for her, and hopefully gives you some ideas on the repetitive positive exposure method.

  • Work with your dog when she is already calm and quiet
  • With treats nearby, gently pet your dog’s head and body or areas she enjoys having touched.
  • As she remains relaxed, offer a small treat.
  • As you progress the touch to move toward areas she commonly resists, offer more treats as a distraction.
  • Keep training sessions really short, but repeat the process several times a day.

They key is to slowly, safely, and calmly reintroduce/introduce the dog to face their fear, not forcefully or aggressive as that puts more stress into the environment. Another important step is to keep the same tone in your voice, a pleasant non-cooing tone. If you coo ‘everythings okay, come on baby’ your dog is going to read your body language of your uncertainty and not trust the situation.

Does your dog have a fear of something?