Category Archives: Play

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?

2 Ways to Feed your Dog a Raw Bone without the Mess

There are two different kinds of raw bones. Raw meaty bones which are supplemented for a meal, and marrow bones. Raw meaty bones tend to be softer bones, such as duck necks, many people are concerned that dogs eating bones is bad. Eating bones are okay as long as they are not boiled, or cooked. Cooked bones shatter and splinter easily and can get lodged in the digestive track. I am leery on buying certain smoked bones too, the only time I get them is from our local butcher who I know process them correctly and safely.  Because I don’t feed my clan a raw diet, I only feed them marrow bones which are a recreational treat not a meal substitute.

Can You Feed Raw Meaty Bones on a Kibble Diet

Yes and no.  If this is something you’d like to try, then I recommend feeding a bigger meal of kibble in the morning (or evening) and then feeding the raw meaty bones in the opposite meal.

The dog’s digestive system processes kibble and raw meet differently, with kibble the stomach needs to create more acid to break down all the additional fillers. Which feeding the two too close together can be taxing on their systems. It can lead to dog’s vomiting or having diarrhea this happened in Ginny a few times, however only when she got knuckle bones. Which I found out why – the knuckles are much richer due to the cartilage and fatty deposits. If I followed the alternative meal times she was completely okay with the knuckle bones. But with George it doesn’t matter he can eat kibble then straight to a bone, each dog is different but it is best to follow the guideline in case your dog is like Ginny.

How we serve raw Marrow bones to our dogs…

Blankets and Beach Towels – If i have to feed the bones inside versus outside in the grass, I lay down the dog’s blankets or towels. They both know, ‘on your blanket’ or ‘take it to the blanket’, which helps when they want to bring you their yummy prize. What helped get them to accustomed to eating on their blanket/towel is only use this towel or blanket during bone feeding time. They will soon associate it to this time and will always go to their blanket, another tip is to always lay it out in the same spot every time.

Feed Outside – The most ideal situation to feeding them their bones is on a nice dry day. I lay both their bones outside and sit out there with them enjoying the sunshine catching up on social media. Having them eat them outside leads to know bloodied messes and no slimey drooly messes too, it is a win win situation.

What About Marrow Bones?

Marrow bones are not raw meaty bones, they’re recreational bones.  Many raw and kibble feeders give their dogs raw marrow bones, but there are some risks.  Here are a few guidelines I’ve learned about feeding dogs marrow bones:

  • don’t boil the bone – cooking/heat hardens the bones and causes a risk of tooth breakage and/or ruptured intestines.
  • always feed under supervision – if you notice your dog trying to chew up the marrow bones, take it away.  Although it’s raw, there is still a risk of tooth breakage or bone splintering. Our dogs chew the meat off the outside (great for flossing) and then chew/lick the marrow out (lots of nutrients).  When they start eating the bone, I trade them for a treat and toss the bones.
  • don’t let the bones sit out – I’ve been told that bones harden over time, becoming a risk to teeth.  I don’t know how true this is, but I’ve heard it from several people so why take a risk?  The cost of tooth repair is high; replacing a used marrow bone is affordable.