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October 26, 2011

Party Puppy Pizza - Dog Treat Recipes

1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons wheat bran
2 tablespoons organic soy flour
2 tablespoons Beet Powder  or 1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1 tablespoon Anise Seed

½ cup yellow royal icing or White Yogurt Coating
2 tablespoons soy or real bacon bits


  • Put all the ingredients (except the icing) into your bread maker in the order suggested by the manufacturer.
  • Set the bread maker for the dough cycle.
  • When the dough is ready, remove it and divide it into 3 or 4 equal balls.
  • Roll each ball into a sheet that is about 1/4” thick.
  • Using a circle cookie cutter or a drinking glass, cut your circles and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Cover the pizza crusts with a clean dish towel and let them rise in a warm place, away from drafts, for an hour.
  • Bake the pizza crusts for 45-60 minutes at 300 degrees F. Check them after 30 minutes to make sure that they don't get too dark.
  • Turn off the oven and let the pizza crusts finish drying in the oven overnight. They will be dry and crisp when they are completely dry.
  • If you make the icing yourself, you can color it yellow (like cheese) with tumeric. Add a little at a time until you get the color that you want.
  • Sprinkle soy bacon bits on top for the pizza topping. If you prefer, you can use real bacon bits instead.

Pets and Tomatoes
At times, I have made Puppy Pizzas gourmet dog treats using tomato paste for the sauce and real mozzarella cheese for the cheese.

If you do this, make sure that you refrigerate or freeze the pizzas, as they will start to get moldy in a few days if stored at room temperature. This is true for many gourmet dog treats that do not have preservatives!

IMPORTANT NOTE: NEVER! EVER! give tomato products to a cat or kitten! While tomatoes are just fine for a dog, they can be deadly for a cat.

Dog Collars and their Appropriate uses - The Dog Nanny

Marcia Murray-Stoof CPDT,CCB

Collars should be introduced to your puppy right away. Do not be concerned if he initially scratches at it or shakes his head. Though he may resist wearing a collar, soon he will not even notice it is on. There are four basic types of collars: buckle collars, choke collars, halter collars, and prong collars. Buckle collars are the only collars recommended for puppies younger than four months of age, and the only collar that is safe to leave on any dog while unsupervised. Stronger dogs over four months old that pull hard on leads may need a choke collar, or in extreme cases, a prong collar...still, only when on a lead. Better yet, use a halter-type collar which gives you much more control and is less likely to irritate or damage the throat and neck area.

Your puppy will accept a lead (leash) much more readily if you introduce it gradually. Under your supervision, begin by letting your puppy drag the lead around the yard to get him used to the feel of minor pressure on his neck. As he walks around, follow him, then gently pick up the lead and walk with him. Keep the lead held high and speak in a friendly, encouraging manner as you walk.

At this early stage, do not look for the disciplined precision of a formal heel. Your goal is simply to get your pup comfortable with the leash and to walk with you without resistance. If he starts to pull out in front, gently reverse your direction and make a noise to distract your pup. No verbal commands should be used during this introduction. You are simply helping your puppy become accustomed to the weight and feel of the lead.

Taking the time to properly introduce your puppy to the collar and lead sets the stage for teaching your puppy the basic elements of obedience. The goal is to have your puppy accept a collar and lead calmly, without resisting.

For puppies, collars and leads with lighter hardware (buckles, snaps, and rings) are best. When grown, you can replace with heavy-duty hardware if appropriate for your breed. Be sure to check your puppy's collar size frequently and loosen it as your puppy's neck grows.

This detailed overview of the different types and designs of collars, leads, and leashes will help you choose the right style and material for your particular dog.

Different Types of Collars

Cotton Web: Cotton web collars are a lightweight, inexpensive choice used primarily for puppies in training. Not as strong as other choices, they tend to show wear more quickly than other material.

Nylon: Nylon collars are available in single-ply or double-ply thickness in a wide choice of colors. An excellent choice for most dogs, they are strong and have a long life. Choose a wider width and thicker styles for larger, stronger dogs.

Leather: Leather collars are very strong, attractive, and last many years. Leather retains its good looks and even improves with age.

Center Cord: The nylon cord is wrapped in either rolled leather or fabric. Also used in retractable leads with excellent strength characteristics.

Hardware: Solid brass is very strong and retains its attractive gold finish forever. Nickel-plated steel are for pet owners who prefer silver color, or choose brass plated. Swivel snap clasps on leads and turn with pets to reduce tangling. Collars -- Choose Traditional Buckle Collars with D-Ring in front, which allows hardware to hang freely under neck, or O-Ring in back for quick attachment. Lightweight yet strong, Quick-Klip Collars offer easy on/off convenience for pet owners who frequently take collars on and off.

Leads (Leashes)
All pet owners should have a 6-foot lead for training and restraining that matches collar style. Almost all proper training is centered around having control of your dog. Leads are the only way to maintain in-close control.

Retractable Leads: are an excellent product for play time or come training as they allow up to 26 feet of freedom to roam and investigate smells, yet still keep the owner in control. Simple, push-button control lets you extend distance, lock desired length in place, and rewind slack.

There are many styles of collars to choose from depending on your dog's size and disposition, and your training need. For the majority of dogs, a traditional nylon or leather collar is sufficient. Other collars for specific situations are described below. This discussion does not include remote training collars.

Traditional Collars: Traditional collars are available in a variety of styles, colors, and widths and should ride high on your pet's neck, not loose so that it slides down near the top of his shoulder blades. Use a tape measure to measure your pet's neck, then add on two inches.

Collars should be snug with enough room to fit two fingers between your dog's neck and his collar. For your dog's safety, the collar should not be loose enough to slip over the pet's head. In addition to the risk of losing a pet that gets away, loose collars are more easily snagged on objects, and many pets die every year from accidental hanging. For this reason, collars should not be worn in wire cages. Collars should also not be so tight as to restrict breathing or cause coughing. Check collar size frequently on growing puppies.
Choose collar and lead width with hardware that matches pet's size. Smaller, lightweight choices are for small dogs and puppies, and wider, more durable styles are for bigger, stronger pets.

Every collar you own should have a current name tag attached to it at all times.

Harnesses: Harnesses, which go around the neck and around the shoulders behind the front legs, are recommended for dogs who have upper respiratory disease or diseases of the throat or trachea, such as a collapsed trachea. If a dog with an incorrectly fitted collar pulls on the leash, it places pressure on the throat and trachea, causing irritation and coughing. Harnesses relieve that pressure. However as all dogs pull with their chest, harness allow the dog to pull easily.

Martingale Collar: A martingale collar is made with two loops. The large loop is placed around the dogs neck and adjusted to fit loosely. The leash is then clipped to the D ring on the small loop. When the dog tries to pull their head out of the collar, the tension on the leash pulls the small loop taunt, which makes the large loop smaller and tighter on the neck-- preventing escape. When adjusted properly the dog is never choked, but the collar stays snug around the dog's neck (just behind the ears) until the pressure is released.

Halter-type Collars: will give you the best control over your dog. They give you control of your dog's head and when you have control of the dog's head, you have control of the dog. There are several brands of these halter-type collars including Halti collar and Gentle Leader. These collars look more like a horse's halter, with a band going around the back of the head, and another around the nose. The leash snaps onto the collar under the chin. When you pull on the leash, the dog's head will either be pulled down or to the side - this makes it virtually impossible for the dog to move ahead or pull you forward.

Incorrect use of this type of collar can cause, whip lash type injuries and in some cases have actually broken a dogs neck. Proper fitting and handling is required for these type of collars. Some people are hesitant to use the collar since they feel it looks more like a muzzle than a collar.

Chain-slip Collars: Chain-slip collars, also called check chain or 'choke collars,' provide effective training and retraining tools when used correctly and on appropriate dogs. These collars are most often used for dogs that are strong-willed, pull when on a lead, or those that do not respond to training when wearing traditional collars.

If you plan to use a choke collar on your dog, have a trainer show you how to use it correctly. Correct usage involves a quick 'tug-and-release' action (as opposed to a steady pulling) that tells the pet a different behaviour is desired. These collars should only be worn during training sessions, never in a crate, and avoided in pets with delicate tracheas, such as Yorkshire Terriers.

For correct sizing, measure your pet's neck and add half that measure again". There is a right and wrong way to put a slip collar on a dog. To correctly place a collar on a dog, the top ring on a properly-looped collar forms a letter P when you stand in front of the dog and pull it snug. If it forms the number 9, it is on backward and may not release immediately as designed, which may cause discomfort or gagging.

Pronged Collars: Pronged Collars, also called pinch collars, contain blunt prongs that protrude inward from the links. Designed for only the most stubborn pullers, they are temporary training tools used to change behaviour on dogs that do not respond to any other collar. Halter-type collars give you more control and are much less likely to harm your dog.

We have found that owners who know how to correctly train dogs rarely need these types of collars. Rather, they learned they were training their pet incorrectly, and were able to successfully train their dog using other collars after learning proper methods.


October 21, 2011

Winter Proofing Your Dog’s Paws - The Dog Nanny

Certified Professional Dog Training Instructor
Certified Canine Behaviourist
1963 Innisfil Beach Road,  Innisfil, Ont.  
Home:- 705-436-4158
 Cell:- 705-828-7460

Winter can be brutal on our dog’s paw pads. Exposed to the elements and toxic chemicals, the paw pads are at risk for drying, cracking, trauma, frostbite and chemical burns. Luckily, there are some tips and products out there that can help keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy this winter.

Many protective balms are available to help protect your dog's paws, and even some human products can do the trick. Do your research. Once you find the balm that you like, take these steps: 
Before using the balm, make sure the paw is ready. Good grooming is essential for healthy winter feet. If your dog has long hair use a clipper (beard trimmer with the shortest plastic guard equipped works well) to keep the hair between the paw pads short so that it is even with the pad. Trim the hair around the paws especially if they have a lot of feathering to make sure none of the hair comes into contact with the ground. This will help prevent ice balls from forming between and around the paw pads which can be painful and result in trauma. It also makes it easier to apply the balm to the pads. Keeping the nails trimmed is important year-round but even more so in the winter because long nails force the paw to splay out and make it more likely that snow and ice will accumulate between the paw pads.

Apply a thin even layer of balm just before going out for a wintery walk. After the walk wipe your dog’s paws with a warm washcloth to remove snow, ice and ice melt. Then apply another layer of balm to soothe any irritation and to keep them from drying out. Bag Balm can be found in most drug stores and pet stores. If you can’t find Bag Balm then Vaseline is an acceptable alternative.

Another good option to protect your dog’s paws is dog boots. These boots are made by various manufacturers and can be easily found online and in pet stores. They consist of a sock like boot with a Velcro strap to help keep them in place. Some have soles which provide the additional benefit of adding traction. These boots protect the paw by helping them stay dry and preventing exposure to salt and de-icers. Be sure to check that the strap is not too tight; the boot should be snug so that it doesn’t slip off but not so tight that it constricts the paw. Dogs tend to not to like wearing the boots at first so acclimate them to wearing them by putting them on your dog for short periods of time in the house. Praise them and gradually increasing the length of time as they get used to them.

Be aware that salt and most de-icers can be toxic to our canine friends. Try to keep your dog away from roads and sidewalks that have been heavily treated with salt and chemical de-icers. There are pet friendly de-icers available for use on your own sidewalks and driveway and you should encourage your neighbors to do the same. Immediately after a walk, wash your dog’s paws with warm water as described earlier to help prevent them from ingesting any salt or chemicals that may be on their paws. While outdoors, do not let your dog eat slush or drink from puddles near heavily treated roads and sidewalks.

Dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just as people are so use common sense as to how long your walks can be. Keep them short and watch for signs of hypothermia such as shivering, anxiety and moving slowly. 
Winter can be tough on our dog’s feet but good grooming and protecting the paws by using a balm or booties will go a long way to keeping your dog’s feet healthy.

Household, Garden Plants and your Dogs - The Dog Nanny

Certified Professional Dog Training Instructor
Certified Canine Behaviourist
1963 Innisfil Beach Road,  Innisfil, Ont.  
Home:- 705-436-4158
 Cell:- 705-828-7460

I commonly see and hear about dogs that get sick from the garden or garden products. I noticed this past weekend - tons of gardening going on. Mulching, planting, weeding. I went to Lowes and their garden center was BUSY! Anyway, this is "flower" month and I want to make sure you know what you need to know about planting a pet safe garden. Maybe your dog or cat doesn't go into the Flower garden - and if that is the case - good for you. But I know you also want to protect other animals from getting sick. 

Keep your garden and pet safe

The most commonly used lawn care products are of fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. When applied according to package instructions or by a qualified lawn care service most of these products are not harmful. Pets are primarily poisoned by contact with concentrated products. This may occur from inappropriate storage, failure to read package instructions, or by intentionally using more product than needed. Dogs are especially good at finding poorly stored containers, chewing them up and drinking the contents. Pet owners should be especially vigilant when using insecticides as these tend to have a higher degree of toxicity.
Dogs may be exposed by digging up treated earth, chewing on pellets, or rooting around ant mounds shortly after insecticides are applied.

Many pets chew on plants in the yard and garden. Fortunately for dogs, who for some unknown reason seem to enjoy eating grass and then vomiting, most grasses are non-toxic. Holiday ornamental plants such as poinsettias and Easter lily are often put outside for the summer. Ingestion of poinsettia stems and leaves may cause some mild gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting but is not deadly. Ingestion of all parts of the Easter lily causes depression, vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Left untreated most cats die of kidney failure. Tulips (bulbs), Lily of the valley and azaleas are all springtime plants that can be deadly to pets if ingested in large enough quantities. Dogs should be watched carefully when these plants are being cared for.

Most lawn seed and Mulch products are generally not associated with toxic problems in pets. Cacoa bean mulch is perhaps the only product known to cause poisoning in dogs. This mulch is made from the hulls of cacoa beans and when fresh has a rich, chocolate aroma associated with it. Some larger breed dogs have actually eaten several pounds of the mulch, more than enough to develop poisoning associated with the chocolate remnants. These over eager dogs should be kept away from the mulch until the aroma has dissipated. Generally a heavy rainfall or thorough watering is all that is required.

As you work outside be sure to take an extra moment or two to protect your pets. Read all package instructions carefully before any applying products to your lawn or garden. Be sure not only that it is safe to use around your pets but that you are mixing or applying it correctly. Check with your local garden center about the safety of plants you are putting in your garden. Finally, be sure to close the top tightly on all containers and put them in an area where your pets do not have access to them.

With a little careful planning, you and your pet can enjoy a safe and relaxing garden environment. Whether you're planning a large garden to feed the family or decorating a small space with hanging baskets and containers, here are a few factors to be considered.

Plant Selection

Plants and flowers are nature's attention getters. Their fragrance, appearance, and cool shade they create are natural attractants for you and your pet. Curiosity often leads pets to consume the flowers and foliage of ornamental plants, which can produce irritating and sometimes life threatening side effects.

Plants for a Sunny Location

If the location of your garden, gives you 4 or more hours of direct sunlight, a day, you have a long list, of annuals and perennials from which to choose. Annuals grow from seed and last one growing season. They are good choices for fast, instant color impact. Garden and discount centers will offer a wide variety of annual plants at economical prices. Perennials return year after year from growth at the roots, they are a little more expensive, but do not need to be planted every growing season. Most gardeners have their favourites and mix both types for the longest possible color show. Safe choices for sunny locations include:

  Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)
  Snapdragons (Antirrhinum sp.)
  Cosmos (Cosmos sp.)
  Calendula (Callendula sp.)
  Petunia (Petunia sp.)

  Bee Balm (Monarda sp.)
  Phlox (Phlox sp.)
  Roses (Rose sp.)
  Catmint/catnip (Nepeta sp.)
  Coneflowers (Echinacea purpura)

Plants for Partial Sun

If your garden receives less than 4 hours of direct sunlight a day, the following list of non-toxic annuals and perennials requires less sunlight.

  Primrose(Primula sp.)
  Butterfly flower(Schianthus sp.)
  Spider flower (Cleome sp.)
  Nasturtium (Tropaeolum sp.)

  Columbine(Aquilegia sp.)
  Coral Bells (Heuchera sp.)
  Turf Lilly (Liriope sp.)
  Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus)

Shade Gardens
A shade garden receives little to no direct sunlight, although the sun may filter through the trees for dappled light. Plant selection for these areas may include the following:

  Begonia (Begonia sp.)
  Impatiens (Impatiens sp.)
  New Guinea Impatiens
  Violet (Viola sp.)
  Coleus (Coleus sp.)

  Bugbane (Cimifuga racemosa)
  Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)
  Astilbe (Astilbe sp.)
  Queen of the Meadow (Filipendula ulmaria)

Vegetable Gardens
If you're interest is vegetables, you'll need 4 or more hours of full sun for most plants. Keeping your pet out of the vegetable garden may be your biggest task, especially when plants are young and fragile. Some clearly visible fencing may help. Avoid hardware cloth as pets can become entangled. Motion detector sprinkler systems can be useful in keeping pets and wildlife out of newly planted areas, and are not harmful. Most vegetable plants do not pose toxicity problems with a few exceptions. Onions, chives and garlic, which a lot of pets do like, contain compounds that, if ingested, can cause anemia. The leafy part of the potato plant, and the green part of the potato skin contain compounds that are toxic if eaten in sufficient quantities. Fruits also contain toxic chemicals in their seeds/pits. Apple, plum, cherry, apricot and peach seeds/pits contain cyanide, which can cause fatal seizures.

The 10 Least Wanted
The following is a list of plants that is best to avoid altogether due to their toxic nature. It is not a comprehensive list, if you are considering any plant of which you are unsure; consult your local plant nursery.
  Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
  Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  Morning Glory (Ipomea sp.)
  Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)
  Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
  Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
  Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
  Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
  Precatory Beans (Arbus precatorius)
  Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)

Lawn and Garden Chemicals
It is very easy to reach for a chemical pesticide, fertilizer or fungicide when faced with a problem in the lawn or garden. Fortunately for the average home gardener, safer alternatives are available for most commonly encountered problems, reducing the risk of a toxic exposure for your pet. You would not think that your pet would have any reason to consume these products but sadly they do, either intentionally or inadvertently and these types of poisonings are all too common. Remember before applying any product to your lawn, vegetables, or ornamental plants to read the label and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Many of these products are designed to persist in the environment days to weeks after application, so a pet can have an exposure days to weeks after initial application.

Alternatives to Chemical Pesticides
If you notice damaging insects on your plants such as aphids, spider mites or thrips, these insects can be eliminated or reduced by a simple spray of water. These soft-bodied insects are easily dislodged. Adjust the nozzle of your hose so a firm spray will not harm your plants and wash them away. If you have only a few plants, use a good stream of water from your watering can and a little hand washing. It may take a day or two but an infestation can be cleared by no more than a good shower!

Soap and Water
If your insect problem is more serious, add a teaspoon of dish soap to a gallon of water and use it in a garden sprayer. The soap is an irritant to a lot of insects and can help break down the protective barriers of their external skeleton. There are commercial insecticidal soaps available that are less toxic than most chemical alternatives.

The "black gold" of the garden, recycled kitchen and yard waste can be combined to produce the best garden fertilizer at no cost and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. It can be applied to the lawn and garden twice a year and it will replace the essential nutrients that growing plants and grasses require.

And Don't Forget

Sometimes we forget the simplest things! Put your pets inside when mowing the lawn. A lawn mower can make a projectile out of a stick or rock that can injure your pet. Paint your garden tools a bright color such as red or yellow so you can see them out in the yard. Many pets step or trip on sharp garden implements. Store your chemicals out of reach and in their original containers. Don't assume your pet will not be interested in consuming these products. If there is a toxic exposure or consumption, call your veterinarian immediately with the information from the product label. Keep your pets inside when applying any chemicals to the lawn or garden. With a little planning you and your pet can enjoy a safe and beautiful garden..

October 19, 2011

Beef & Bacon Birthday Cake - Dog Treat Recipes

3 Pounds extra lean ground beef
3 Strips lean bacon
2 Eggs
1and1/2 Cups Bread Crumbs (you can substitute with low salt crackers)
1 Cup Shredded Carrots

In a large bowl, combine your ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, and shredded carrots, mix these ingredients well; if your mixture becomes a bit dry you can add a little water. Fry the bacon, removing excess grease; Crumble, and add to the mixture, or if you prefer you can use the bacon and or carrots as decoration. Mold your meat mixture into a round cake shape making sure to keep the same thickness from middle to edges. Bake in covered baking dish at 350 for an hour and a half.

While your meat cake is baking, you can prepare your frosting. For frosting we will use organic instant mashed potatoes, just prepare per box instructions, and frost your meat cake. A healthy option for frosting, is mashed whipped sweet potatoes. Some dogs can be sensitive to potatoes if you prefer you can easily use blended cottage cheese. A great idea for piping is melted cheese, natural cheese spread, or simply add natural food coloring to your potatoes or cottage cheese.


What Your Dog’s Bark is Telling You

Certified Professional Dog Training Instructor
Certified Canine Behaviourist
1963 Innisfil Beach Road,  Innisfil, Ont.  
Home:- 705-436-4158
 Cell:- 705-828-7460

Statistics from the North Shore Animal League indicate that roughly 10 percent of all dogs adopted from U.S. shelters are eventually returned because of behavioral problems. But recent studies by the Humane Society have gotten to the heart of the matter, revealing that a full 41 percent of those problems specifically involve excessive, distracting, and often hostile barking. If there’s happy news to be gleaned from all this, it’s that most goodhearted rescuers hang on to their yappy adoptees and simply suffer sans silence. But the bad news is that that’s not really healthy in the long run for man or canine. Rather than keeping an endless supply of earplugs on hand, it is best to try identifying the cause of bothersome barking, which isn’t as tough as it sounds. There are generally four basic triggers—and each carries a very clear message.

"I’m bored"
When I took on the case of Bella, an adorable Jack Russell/Italian Greyhound mix, the little dog’s antics were about to get his owner slapped with an eviction notice. At the apartment complex where Bella resided, she barked nonstop the entire time her adoptive mom was at work, ceasing only once she came home at night. The complex manager liked Bella’s owner, but when other tenants began complaining loudly, she didn’t feel she had a choice: Do something about the barking, she said, or you’re going to have to move out.

A notorious barker when she was at the shelter, Bella also yelped incessantly whenever she was in a car, and was overtly hostile toward other dogs. But it wasn’t long before I got to the bottom of things. It turned out that high-energy Bella got only 15 minutes of exercise a day. So while separation anxiety was obviously a factor here, it was merely symptomatic of a much greater problem: Poor little Bella was bored out of her mind.

In the widely acclaimed behavior guide How Dogs Think, psychologist and author Stanley Coren asserts that in a case like Bella’s, how long a dog barks has everything to do with the message being sent. “The underlying rule,” he says, “seems to be that the longer the sound, the more likely the dog is making a conscious decision about the nature of the signal and the behaviors that are about to follow.” Taking into account the rate of repetition, Coren notes, is also critical to accurate interpretation. “Sounds that are repeated frequently, or at a rapid rate, indicate a degree of urgency.”

Faced with the fact that a return to the shelter might mean euthanasia, Bella’s owner got the message, admitting she’d been selfish in not devoting more time to developing an exercise regimen that would address Bella’s considerable needs. With my help, she worked out a rigorous daily walking routine, as well as a morning ritual that involved brief but increasingly lengthy periods of separation, meant to prove to Bella that her owner’s leaving did not signify permanent abandonment. When I returned to the apartment complex several months later, Bella was still happily ensconced, and there wasn’t a tenant to be found who’d heard her barking.

“I’m spoiled”
With Prada, a pampered Pomeranian, the pup had become a Class-A brat. She worked herself into barking fits when she didn’t get what she wanted, and worse, used her considerable charms to attract houseguests’ attention, only to turn on them—growling in a threatening way—once she’d succeeded.

Prada had a weekly toy allowance of $100, was swaddled in cashmere, and was regularly treated to gourmet meals. To minimize her time alone, she often went to work with one of her owners.

The problem, though, wasn’t that Prada had been allowed to live out a doggie daydream, but, rather, the mind-set of her owners. Guilt- and grief-stricken over the loss of Prada’s mate, Gucci, two years earlier, they’d done everything they could to make things up to Prada, and to themselves. Yet it took just one walk with Pomeranian and parent to pick up on the “hysterical energy” that was spurring the dog’s frequent barking bursts and schizoid bouts of growling.

Prada required the standard rehabbing rituals—learning to walk the walk, being given toys only when she was in a calm-submissive state—but it was her owners who really had their work cut out for them. They were overindulging the dog to make themselves feel better. “I had to convince them of that, and get them to convince themselves that, even though they still loved Gucci, it was time to let go.” Once Prada’s owners were able to change their guilty mind-set, their histrionic energy abated and they were able to lead their pack of one with calmness and clarity—and belligerent barking became a thing of the past.

With dogs as with humans, say those in the know, it’s the context in which a sound is uttered—be it a word or a bark—that ultimately determines its meaning. In the New York Times bestseller Inside of a Dog, author Alexandra Horowitz writes, “A sound a dog makes while wagging merrily means something different than the same sound delivered through bared teeth.” But more important, she says, “there is reason to believe dogs and all non-human animals respond ingenuously. In many cases, a sound will have a reliable effect on those in the vicinity: think Fire or Free Money!”

Or, as was the case with pampered Prada, You need to cut the crap! As I myself have often noted, dogs do not lie.

“I’m confused”
Sonny, a rescued German Shepherd, was a huge hit at home with his owner and with dogs at the local park, too. The problem for Sonny, unfortunately, was everybody else. An early experience with animal control officials had so traumatized him he was left with a permanent fear of strangers, which he demonstrated by barking loudly and incessantly whenever one approached. This became especially problematic for his owner, who counseled adults with special needs and liked to bring Sonny along to the center where she worked. Whenever one of her clients tried to pet Sonny, the dog would bark madly until the client retreated in fear—at which point Sonny himself would dive under his mom’s desk and spend the rest of the day cowering.

“When his owner first rescued him,she told me that as he hid in his crate trembling, she petted him over and over as a means of assuaging his fears. But what she actually did by offering affection when the dog was fearful, was reward the fear, giving off weak energy in the process. “When he got hungry, he would’ve gotten out of his crate, then she could have offered him food—and the food would have become affection.”

And though she obviously meant well, Sonny’s owner hadn’t set herself up as an authority figure with her gentle attempts to coax him out from under her work desk either. Rather than making herself powerful, she was asking for a favor. When a dog shuts down and won’t move,it’s like with horses. You just have to bring him out and get him out; bring him out and get him out. Then he sees he doesn’t have a choice.”

Sonny, and his owner went for their all-important walk, I encouraged her to project the kind of authoritative energy that she routinely projected with her clients—rather than acting as though she were dealing with a scared, unpredictable dog and knew it. As she began to practice walking with authority, it got easier and easier to be authoritative in all of her interactions with Sonny. And as his leader’s confidence blossomed, so did Sonny’s confidence in her—and his fears abated in equal measure.

Secure in the hands of a confident leader, Sonny not only abandoned the barking-and-cowering routine but went on to actually assist his owner in her work.

“I’m Scared”
When four-year-old Hootie—a budding agility-course champion—was just 18 months old, his promising career came to a screeching halt. He and his owner were heading home from practice one day when a team of skateboarding teenagers whizzed by at lightning speed, shouting loudly, and coming so close to Hootie they nearly clipped him. From that moment on, the Australian Shepherd was gripped by an intense fear of kids that not only made life difficult in general, but made agility competition nearly impossible. At the briefest sighting of a teen in a crowd, Hootie would immediately freeze up and start to bark.

Hootie’s owner told me how terrible she felt about what had happened, and that she felt responsible for not having protected him.” But feeling responsible wasn’t the worst of it. “She also told me, that every time she was with Hootie and spotted a teenage boy, she’d begin to anticipate all the bad things that were about to happen.”

Curing Hootie’s panic-based barking required a three-pronged approach. His fear of kids could be addressed only by having him face them head on—and to that end, we worked with dog confident children whom, were brought along on Hootie’s first rehab-centered pack walk. Once the dog understood the boys posed no threat, I kicked things up a notch, putting Hootie through a new kind of obstacle-course training, in which the kids themselves served as the obstacles. He was tentative at first, but it wasn’t long before Hootie was flying over the kids, leash-free.

Now that his owner understood that the sight of a child didn’t have to send Hootie into panic mode, she was able to visualize positive outcomes to future encounters. And the energy those positive pictures engendered helped regenerate Hootie’s confidence: If his leader was feeling good about teens on the scene, why shouldn’t he feel good too?

Alexandra Horowitz notes that a dog’s sensitivity to our emotions—particularly when those emotions involve our own fears—can’t be underestimated. “It is likely that dogs do smell fear, as well as anxiety and sadness,” she says. “Mystical abilities need not be invoked to account for this: fear smells. [When a person is fearful], pheromones are produced involuntarily and unconsciously, and through different means: damaged skin may promote release of them, and there are specialized glands that produce chemicals of alarm. In addition, the very feeling of alarm, fear and every other emotion correlates with physiological changes—from changes in heart rate and breathing rate, to sweating and metabolic changes.”

With his fears identified and faced, and a leader who no longer fueled them with her own frenzied thoughts, Hootie stopped barking and got back to agility training. And if the sight of a teen ever did happen to spook him, a brief introduction by his owner was all it took to bring him back to reality.

Pumpkin Biscotti - Dog Treat Recipes

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/4 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup water 
2 tbsp canola oil 
1 large egg 
1 tsp vanilla 
4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl whisk together pumpkin honey water oil egg and vanilla. Stir in flour baking powder and baking soda until well incorporated. Knead until dough holds together. Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape each piece into a log. Flatten logs to make about 4" wide. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 30 min, reduce oven to 300 degrees. Cut each log into 1/4 inch slices . Place cut side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes longer or until hard. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 30 days. Hope you like the recipe. 


October 17, 2011

Can Your Dog Read Your Mind? - The Dog Nanny

The Dog Nanny
Certified Professional Dog Training Instructor
Certified Canine Behaviourist
1963 Innisfil Beach Road,  Innisfil, Ont.  
Home:- 705-436-4158
 Cell:- 705-828-7460

Can Your Dog Read Your Mind?
To anyone who is familiar with the eerily human-like qualities of man's best friend, the news that dogs can read your mind shouldn't come as any surprise. The latest research adds to growing evidence that dogs can interpret both human body language and general behavior, and use it to their advantage.

"Dogs and [human-raised] wolves are capable of distinguishing between a person looking at them, someone who's paying attention and someone who's not," said Monique A.R. Udell, lead author of a study published recently in the journal Learning & Behavior. "They're more likely to beg [for food] from someone paying attention to them."

Researchers have been learning more and more about the surprising capabilities and intelligence of Canis lupus familiaris, better known as the domestic dog.

One recent study found that dogs have the developmental abilities of a human 2-year-old, with the average dog capable of learning the meanings of 165 words.

"Over the last five years or so, we've been trying to understand how dogs and relatives of dogs such as wolves respond to social companions," explained Udell, who was a researcher at the University of Florida in Gainesville when the study was conducted.

"The idea behind this particular study was to try to understand how it is, for example, that dogs can use cues of attention to predict what we're going to do next and use that information to decide to beg for food from one individual and not another?" she continued. "How is it that dogs make us feel that they know what we're thinking?"

The study involved groups of pet dogs, stray dogs from a shelter and hand-raised wolves (named Tristan, Miska and Marion, among other monikers) who were comfortable around humans. Two people stood about 6 meters apart, one of them looking directly and continuously at the dog or wolf. The other person had their vision blocked, either with a bucket over their head, a book obscuring their face or because their back was turned. Both humans held a piece of food.

"On average, both dogs and wolves were significantly more likely to be begging from the person looking at them when the other person's back was turned," said Udell. But levels of sensitivity did vary by how domesticated the dog or wolf was. "Domesticated dogs were more likely to beg from someone paying attention to them, but shelter dogs and wolves who don't often see a person reading books were not likely to get that cue," Udell related. "So it does seem like specific life experiences really do matter in this context."

The findings, said Udell, are "important because previous research suggested that something happened to dogs during genetic domestication that made them begin to think like humans. This shows that wolves are capable, if reared with humans, of [picking up human cues]." "Animal people in the scientific community have known for some time that dogs are pretty smart and very good at reading our body language," said Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk Program of the Humane Society of the United States. "This shows that something about dogs or wolves inherently allows them to read humans far better than other animals can."

October 14, 2011

Exercising Your Pet’s Body and Mind - The Dog Nanny

The Dog Nanny

Just like humans, dogs and cats need exercise, and for the same reasons. Exercise is critical to maintaining good health. It tones muscles, boosts circulation, strengthens bones, and helps prevent obesity. But physical exercise, as important as it is, goes only so far. Your pet’s brain needs exercise too, to prevent boredom and depression. By channelling your pet’s energy into healthy outlets, you can help prevent it from contributing to destructive behaviours. And that makes everybody happier.

Physical exercise for dogs
Most dog breeds were originally created to perform a specific job — retrieving, herding, tracking, hunting, guarding, rescuing, and pulling carts or sleds. So the urge to work is in their DNA. But these days, most dogs kept as pets don't have a job to do. In fact, with family members gone at work or school for hours, dogs are in danger of being under stimulated. That's why some dogs resort to activities like excessive barking, chewing and hyperactivity, and why many trainers say that a tired dog is a good dog. The bottom line is, if you don't want your dog to be wired, get him tired.

Choosing the right exercise
The type and amount of exercise you choose for your dog will depend on many factors. His size and weight are important, of course, but so is his genetic makeup. If you have a dog with short legs, like a dachshund, you won't want to take him on a run with you. The same is true of short-snouted dogs, like bulldogs, who may have trouble breathing during vigorous exercise. Even dogs bred for racing, like Greyhounds, were never meant for extended sessions. Dogs tend to run in short bursts, stopping to sniff, greet other dogs, and do the things that dogs do. To be safe, consult with your vet before embarking on a running program. And if you do start, be consistent. Dogs don't fare any better as weekend warriors than people do.

Go fetch!
There are plenty of other activities that can give your dog a good workout and enable you both to have fun. Fetch is a big favorite, and can be played with balls outside and plush toys in the house.
Another great sport is frisbee because it requires your dog to anticipate how far the frisbee will go — an excellent mental exercise. Here's how to teach your dog to catch a frisbee:
* Start with a disc designed for dogs. (You can find these from Hyperflite, Hero or Aerobie.)
* Offer the frisbee to your dog and praise him when he takes it from you.
* Play tug of war gently and let your dog win.
* Roll the disc on the ground and encourage your dog to retrieve it.
* When you feel your dog is used to and interested in the frisbee, throw it a few feet way — but never at your dog's face. Praise him when he catches it and never show anger or frustration.
In no time, you'll be playing frisbee regularly.

Just for kicks
Another physical activity that's fun for both pets and humans is soccer. Use a medium sized ball or a hard rubber toy like Kong® that bounces in unpredictable directions. If your dog is social, you can bring him to a dog park (choose one that is securely fenced) and let him play with other dogs. This can be good for physical and mental stimulation.

Dive in!
Some dogs are natural swimmers. Others can be taught. If your dog shows fear or lack of interest, don't force him. Some breeds, like short, heavily built dogs (think basset hounds) are non-swimmers. But if your dog takes to water like a duck, swimming or playing fetch in the water is a great aerobic activity. Some dogs even go surfing!

Mental exercise for dogs
In addition to providing challenges to help keep your dog alert and happy, mental activities are a great way to bond with your pet. Dogs thrive on attention, and you may even find your dog returning the favour by being more attentive to your commands. One thing's for sure — you'll both have fun.

Make mealtime even more fun
Turn one of your dog's favourite times of the day (especially if you're feeding him BLUE) into a treasure hunt. Surprise him by putting his food bowl in an unexpected place and creating a kibble trail. Just be sure to account for the kibble trail in his overall daily food amount so he doesn't gain unwanted weight. If your dog is particularly good at tracking, you can vary this by placing small amounts of kibble in different areas around the house.

Tug of war
Some dog books advise pet owners not to play tug of war for fear it will encourage aggression and dominance in your dog. While recent research suggests this is not true, it's always best to let your dog know that you control the game.
* Choose an appropriate toy (never a sock or a leash) and use it exclusively for this game.
* Start by letting your dog know you're playing "tug," pick up the toy, and encourage your dog to take his end. When he does, give him praise or a treat.
* Tug a few times, then use a neutral command voice when you want him to "drop it."
* If your dog initiates the game, don't play. Wait until he gives up, then play with him. If he grabs the toy, end the game.
* Once you are playing successfully, you decide when the game ends. Reward his last "drop it" and put the toy away where he can't find it.

Name that toy
Each time you play with a certain toy, name it. Once your dog is familiar with the names of all his toys, put them on the floor and ask him for each toy by name. When he brings you the wrong toy, repeat the name and guide him to it. When he brings you the right toy, praise him and place it in his toy basket. Eventually, your dog may be able to put his toys away!

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