DIY Training Tools

There are lots of tools out there to help train your dog — from clickers and training discs to fancy treats and toys. But if you’re a frugal sort of person, you might prefer making your own training tools at home! Training discs are great for distracting your dog and giving you the opportunity to grab his attention. Basically, they’re a series of metal or plastic discs on a ring. Guess what — you can get the same effect from a home-made shaker. Take an empty soda can and rinse it out. Drop a small handful of pennies inside and … Continue reading

Kunekunes Come to the Animal Kingdom

I’m not a huge fan of zoos. I’ve been to enough in my lifetime that I’ve seen many small local ones, where a poor bored black bear ambles restlessly on a barred cement slab the size of my bedroom. If a zoo doesn’t take proper care of animals I can’t stand to visit it (as shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who reads my articles on the Pets Blog), and as I make few trips into cities that narrows down my list. But when a zoo is done right, then I love it. My husband and I love nature documentaries … Continue reading

Bad Weather and Active Pets

Fall and winter in the Pacific Northwest often means rain. And rain means MUD! There are days I want to walk my dogs in hip boots and a full-length coat (at least I have the coat, in a muddish shade of brown so the splatters don’t show). There are some days I don’t want to leave the house at all. Lally (my boxer mix) is the same way! She’s a funny little girl: she hates the rain, and hates getting wet. On days when the skyfall is constant, it’s hard to get her more than a few steps outside the … Continue reading

What Gives Us the Right to Treat Our Pets That Way?

As I’m watching The Greatest American Dog, I can’t help but wonder what gives us the right to treat our pets certain ways. It’s something I think about from time to time anyway, but more so now that I’ve been watching the challenges on the show. Abusing Their Trust? Our dogs trust us unconditionally. It’s about as close to a true unconditional love and acceptance relationship as you can get. Is it right for us to expect them to do certain things? Not only expect them to, but in some cases demand them to perform. Take the personality episode for … Continue reading

Do You Ever Feel Your Dog’s Not Living Up to His Full Potential?

I get both really inspired and really down on myself after I interview people like Beth Terrell or Joani Ascher. Inspired because they’re doing neat things with their dogs, like teaching them how to dance or grooming puppies to be Seeing Eye dogs. Down because Murph’s one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever had. I often wonder if I’m holding him back from living up to his full potential. At the beginning of this year I resolved to change that. I was determined to look into enrolling Murph and myself in a pet therapy program. Then my mom got sick … Continue reading

An Interview with Beth Terrell about Her Dancing Puppy, Luca

People who are active with their pets intrigue me. And when I say active, I mean doing things like doing agility training or enrolling in therapy dog programs. Back in February, I participated on a panel with some fellow Middle Tennessee Sister in Crime authors, one of whom was Beth Terrell. We got to talking about things outside of writing, and she told me about how much fun she’d been having with her little puppy that she got about a year ago. Specifically, she was raving about the puppy dancing classes they’d been taking. I thought that’d make a fun … Continue reading

How Do You Help Your Dog Make Friends?

Yesterday, I was thinking about my dogs and their social life… or lack thereof. They don’t have any super close puppy pals at the moment, though we have had them in the past. I realized that we do have two likely candidates for friendship right here in the building. Our next door neighbors have an adorable little Chihuahua mix named Brownie — Moose and Lally have met the little guy before and seem to like him. I’ve seen Lally making the play bow at him, which is a good sign. She wants to play with him. I think the little … Continue reading

Throwing a Puppy Shower—Step 3: Games

What would a shower be without games? Here’s some suggestions for games you could play at your puppy shower –with both human and canine guests. Games for Human Guests • Guess Pup’s Weight: Provide pens and slips of paper for everyone to write down what they think your new puppy weighs. Closest wins! (Make sure they also include their names so you know who guessed what.) • Agility Course: This one will also be under the canine guest list, but wouldn’t it be fun to see their people run it too? Fastest time wins! (Might have to improvise on some … Continue reading

Being a Responsible Dog Owner

Today is Responsible Dog Ownership Day, which I believe was started by the American Kennel Club. If you live in or near New York City or Raleigh, North Carolina you might already be aware of the AKC events schedule there today. But those won’t be the only ones. According to the AKC website, last year over 350 clubs and organizations held Responsible Dog Ownership Day events. The AKC has a link on their website where you can select your state to find events near you. The purpose is to educate pet parents on all manner of thing with events like: … Continue reading

Dog Days of Summer Deals for Dogs at Doctors Foster and Smith

There’s not only a red tag sale going on for cats at Doctors Foster and Smith, but also great deals for dogs. Again, since we’ll be moving soon, I’m trying not to buy anything Murph absolutely doesn’t need. But here’s some things that caught my eye anyway: • Beef Flavored Aspirin, Berrier Joint & Hip Treats, and Hip Bones. Murph’s got mild hip dysplasia so I’m always looking for ways to treat it or lessen it’s impact. The aspirin’s 15% off now, the other two are both 20% off. • Booda Treat Stick. Murph’s a chewer and loves things to … Continue reading