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Fun Stuff
A Dog and His Bucket
August 18, 2016 at 6:52 am 0

Do you love anything this much?

We found this hilarious video of a labrador retriever posted on Reddit by user cdal233. In the post, he said he made a video for his mom's birthday of her lab who absolutely loves his red bucket. 

What's your dog's favourite toy?

Does your dog have a toy that it loves this much?

Share your photos and videos with us on our Facebook page

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Ask-a-Trainer Thursday
Ask-a-Trainer Thursday: How to Pick a Puppy
June 2, 2016 at 8:26 am 0

Ask-a-Trainer Thursday

Welcome to our regular blog feature called Ask-a-Trainer Thursday. We take questions from our social media audiences and then ask a positive based trainer for their advice in each situation.

This week, Jess Croezen of Impressive Canines answers one of the most common questions she's asked as a trainer: "how do I pick out a new puppy?".

 

How do I pick a puppy?

When looking for a new puppy, I tell clients to do their research.

If you’d like a purebred dog, find a breeder that loves their job and has a passion for raising amazing well rounded family pets. A good breeder will let you meet the parents and grandparents of the litter (if possible). They’ll also happily supply you with testimonials about previous litters and tests which prove their health background and genetics are in good standing. I also recommend spending as much time with the litter you are looking at as possible and if you feel uneasy at any time, don't feel bad about moving on and continuing your search.

boxer puppies

image from blog.thecozypet.com

When spending time with the actual puppies, I look for the ‘middle of the road’ personality. A lot of people like the one that runs up and wants to be the centre of attention all the time, or the shy quiet one in the corner. I want the happy one that likes to be with me, but also enjoys exploring and playing with their littermates. Ideally the puppy should seem calm but also happy-go-lucky.

Does that mean that the other puppies are not a good choice? Not at all.

The in your face kind of personality may test you a bit more. They might get demanding, need a lot of mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis or get bored easily for example.

The shy pup hiding in the corner on the other hand might be more prone to developing fear, separation anxiety, or need some confidence building. They may also require a lot of positive socialization exposure as well as might struggle a bit more with change such as a new home and may be nervous with a highly active family.

These are just some examples and it truly depends on each litter and each puppy. In some litters all of the puppies can seem pretty similar personality wise.

Some of the really good breeders I recommend actually pick a puppy for you based on your lifestyle, your experience with puppies and knowledge of that specific breed. Another breeder I’m familiar with, will choose a puppy for you based on whether you want a pet or show dog. She will also ask you if you prefer a male or female and if you have a preferred colour. After sorting through all of the criteria she’s collected, she will pick the pup that she believes is best suited for you.

litter labrador retriever puppies

image from waggingtails.ca

Another important aspect to be aware of when picking a new puppy is genetics. Genetics can play a big role in the puppy’s health and temperament. If the parents seems really loud and intense (or alternatively really shy and submissive) those traits may show up in your puppy. This is another reason why meeting the family beforehand is an important part of choosing a puppy.

I also like when the breeder has exposed the puppies to different real world scenarios: polite children, various sights, sounds, smells, and gets them comfortable wearing a collar and leash. Being exposed to all of these things at an early age means the puppy is less likely to find issue with them when they are older.

 

Adopting from a rescue

Another option for finding a great puppy or dog is to consider adopting from a rescue group. Rescue dogs are a bit different because most of the time you can't get an accurate history on them or see the relatives. It can also be hard to tell the exact breed (or breeds) sometimes.

Fortunately, you can get a good sense of personality when you meet them. Rescue groups are also experienced in dealing with lots of different dogs and will be honest if they see issues or problems you may need to train through when you get your dog. If the rescue you are looking at is in a foster home you can get a really good sense of what they are like in a home environment from their foster family.

If the dog is coming from a humane society setting, I tell my clients to just keep an open mind because it can be a harder environment for the dogs. The dog may be nervous, vocal or hyper simply because of the environment. In a home setting, the same dog may be totally fine. I know of one particular dog that would intimidate people when he barked in the humane society setting based on his stress levels, but in a home setting is a very sweet, quiet boy.

 

I'm here to help

I am a firm believer that if you put your mind to it and take the time and patience to understand how your dog thinks, feels and thrives, all dogs and puppies can be amazing.

Before you consider getting a dog, it’s important to be honest with yourself and the kind of lifestyle you have. Not all dogs can handle quiet, inactive homes and others won’t do well in an active and busy household.

If you’re thinking about bringing a dog into your life, I do offer assistance. I’m happy to help you find a reputable breeder, or evaluate a rescue — so feel free to contact me for further assistance.

dalmation litter

image from ovulationpads.info

Unless the pet store specifically offers pets from a rescue or humane society, it’s best to stay away from these places. It’s hard to walk away from a cute puppy, but in many cases, these dogs are from puppy mills and can cause you big headaches (and vet bills down the road).

No matter what kind of dog or puppy you choose for your family, training should be considered mandatory. Find a good positive based trainer and teach the dog to become the kind of family you want them to be instead of trying to undo bad behaviour down the road. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and you’ll be so happy when you have a dog you can take with you anywhere.

For more information on finding a puppy or to inquire about my school or classes, please feel free to contact me at Impressive Canines using the information below.

 

Do you have a question?

Do you have a question about dog behaviour in general or why your dog acts a certain way? Leave your question in the comments below and we’ll get a positive based dog trainer to answer it for you.

 

 

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Dog Advice
Don’t Buy a Puppy from a Pet Store
May 14, 2016 at 2:29 pm 0

How much is that doggy in the window?

The answer is: usually much more than you initially expected. Even though it can be hard to walk by those sad, cute little faces, you can end up with a lot more than you bargained for. Leaving you with the potential for an empty wallet, unhealthy dog and sometimes a broken heart. 

In the vast majority of cases, dogs (and cats) that are sold in pet stores are from puppy mills. Not sure what a puppy mill is? They're "unregulated breeding facilities owned by disreputable breeders". An article from Dogster goes on to describe them as places where "dogs are often bred far too frequently, are kept cramped together in squalor and are not socialized with humans. In addition, these these breeders do not always care about the health and strength of the breed, which often results in genetic illnesses, poor health in general and unlikable personality traits."

golden retriever puppies cage

image from Dogster.com

All of a sudden that cute puppy isn't so cute after all, huh?


A sad story about a puppy from a pet store

Cruella is the story of a dog from Guelph who was bought at a pet store in Southwestern Ontario and ended up having serious health issues. The little puppy cost her owner Susan more than $4,500 in vet bills within the first month of her being home.

In a story written by the Guelph Mercury, Susan says on the day she bought Cruella, she was at the mall looking for a television. She and her daughter walked by a pet store and decided the ever-so-cute black and white shih-tzu/poodle cross was too hard to resist.

Six days after Susan and her daughter brought home Cruella from the pet store, she had lost weight and was no longer active. She lost consciousness when she was taken outside to pee and that's when her family rushed her to the vet. 

Cruella ended up having parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease. She spent a week at an animal hospital on intravenous and drugged up on medication until she was fully recovered.

The pet store refunded Susan her $700 when confronted about how sick their puppy got, but Susan said she'll spend the next two years repaying the $4,500 loan she took out to pay for Cruella's vet bills.  

puppy mills canada

image from nopuppymillscanada.ca

Canadian law and puppy mills

Quebec is Canada's puppy mill capital. According to Humane Society International, although puppy mills exist all across Canada, Quebec hosts a large portion of Canadian puppy mills due to their poor legislation and enforcement of commercial dog breeding operations. 

Fortunately, some cities across Canada are starting to pass laws that prevent the sale of cats and dogs from puppy mills. Back in 2011, the city of Toronto passed a by-law stating that cats and dogs sold in pet stores must come from shelters, humane societies or rescue groups. 

Just this year, Ottawa has set in place a new by-law (similar to the one in Toronto) which restricts the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. The stores will have to provide a certificate that indicates the source of the pet that is being sold. Pet stores that currently sell commercially bred cats and dogs will have five years to transition to the adoption-only model. Some say (myself included) that five years is too long to transition into these new laws, but at least it's a step in the right direction. 


How can I help?

  • Start by informing people you know. Let them know the dangers of buying puppies and kittens from pet stores that aren't from a rescue or humane society. Many people don't see any harm in bringing home a dog or cat they see in a shop window, but that's part of the problem.

    The reason why puppy mills continue to operate is because they continue to be profitable. I know it's hard to walk by that cute puppy saying "please take me home" but you have to remember that it's part of a bigger picture. Not only may you end up with a very sick puppy like the story of Cruella above, you're feeding an industry which profits off the systematic cruelty of animals. Google 'puppy mills' and if you're not already convinced they are horrible places, you will be.

    husky puppies pet store

    image from youtube.com

  • Show your support. There are many groups on Facebook such as People Against Puppy Mills of Ontario which you can join to keep up to date on laws and legislations as they change. If you see something happening in your local city, get involved! 

    Even before something is happening where you are, don't be afraid to email your city councillors and let them know how important these laws are to you. You have the power to make a difference, you just need to speak up. 

  • Are you thinking of adopting a dog or cat? Make sure it's either from a reputable breeder, such as one listed on the Canadian Kennel Club website, or from a local rescue organization. Again, part of stopping puppy mills means hitting them where it hurts — their wallets.

    Here's a list of a few local rescue organizations where you can start the hunt for your new best friend:

    Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue

    Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society

    Guelph Humane Society

    Cambridge & District Humane Society

 

 

Make sure that you're following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not only do we share pictures of cute dogs and interesting articles, we also share pictures of animals looking for a forever home. You might just meet your new best friend when you least expect it. 

 

 

 

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Dog Advice
How to Stop Your Dog from Digging
May 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm 0

Spring is in the air

The nice weather finally feels like it's here to stay and that means we're outside a lot more. The snow has melted, the birds are making nests and our dogs are helping out with the landscaping. 

If you're like me, you love your dogs, but you don't always appreciate how they modify your backyard. Whether it's from boredom, to make a bed or just because they feel like it, your dog can decimate gardens, plants and overall just ruin the look of the yard you've worked so hard to maintain. 

dog digging hole

image from reddit.com


It's natural

First of all, digging is instinctual. Just like barking, some breeds dig and others don't. That means stopping it entirely is next to impossible. Instead, you're going to want to redirect the behaviour to teach them that it's okay to dig, but only in a certain area. 

To do this, burry some toys, treats, or whatever he or she likes in an area you designate as okay to dig. When they start to dig there, praise them and let them know they've done good. If you catch them digging in another area of the yard, fill the hole and redirect them to the digging area you'd like them to dig in.

Don't punish your dog for digging, they won't associate the punishment with what they are doing because they don't see digging as doing something wrong. Instead focus on redirecting and teaching them a new pattern of behaviour. 


Reasons dogs dig

There are multiple reasons a dog might dig and each will have it's own solution. The Humane Society of the United States, lists a few main reasons a dog may dig:

  • Need for entertainment — if you leave your dog in the backyard for a long period of time, they may get bored and begin digging as a way to entertain themselves.

    To fix this, give your dog regular exercise — two good walks a day should help. You can also enrol in a dog training class which will help to mentally stimulate your dog and keep them mentally occupied. 

  • Hunting prey — if you've got some other friends from the animal kingdom making a home in your backyard, your dog may dig to try to get at them. 

    Contact someone in your area to humanely rid your property of your unwanted guests. This should help to stop your dog from digging to try to uncover those new playmates. 

    dog digging

    image from petful.com

  • Seeking comfort or protection — most of the time when my dogs dig, it's because they want to create a hole to lay in. The dirt can make a cool bed on warmer days and I'm sure with their years of experience, they've learned how to dig the equivalent of a memory foam mattress out of dirt. 

    The solution here is to bring your dog indoors more often or provide them with a dog house so that they have an area to rest in that's comfortable. I let my dogs have one area that they can make into a bed, and that's it. Well, I try anyway.

  • Trying to escape — if your dog is digging around the fence, specifically at the bottom, they're more than likely trying to escape so that they can explore the world without you. Obviously this is very unsafe.

    The best way to stop this is to bury chicken wire under the dirt so that your dog doesn't want to dig there any more. You can also place some large rocks in the way, or bury the fence one or two feet under the earth so they can't get out. 


Breeds that dig

As I mentioned, some dogs are just bred to dig. Here's a small list of some common diggers and why they dig from DogTime.com

  • Nordic dogs, such as Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and Samoyeds will dig to keep themselves cool on hot days. They're also natural hunters and may dig to follow a scent they've found in the yard. If there was an award for being escape artists, these dogs would also be consistent nominees for the top prize.

    dog digging sand

    image from dogloveit.com

     

  • Terriers are another group of diggers. They were bred to hunt underground animals like gophers and weasels. It's in their genes to dig. Once they've caught scent of something, they'll try to dig their way to get at it. 

  • Shelties and Border Collies might dig out of boredom. These are smart dogs and they need to be kept entertained. Try filling a kong with treats or exercising them more regularly to prevent digging. 

If you're looking at bringing a new dog into your home and digging in a concern, iHeartDogs has put together a list of 15 dog breeds that dig the most.

Remember that digging is just one aspect of a dog and it is somewhat preventable with the advice I've mentioned above. Don't say no to a breed just because they're on this list. You might miss out on the best friend you could have ever asked for. 



Do you have a digger? What do you do to help keep your backyard looking good all summer long? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.



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Dog Advice
Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds: Do They Exist?
May 10, 2016 at 6:26 am 0

Do you suffer from allergies?

Achoo! Red eyes, sniffling and an uncontrollable urge to sneeze. Sound like you? It sounds like me. Allergies are terrible. Fortunately, I feel like mine have gotten less severe as I've gotten older and really only affect me in the fall or when someone freshly cuts their grass. 

For some people, their best friend is what causes them to feel congested and sneezy. So what causes allergies then? Is there really such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog? What can you do to help if your dog makes you sneeze?  These are some of the questions we're going to answer today. 

Boston Terrier

image from vetstreet.com


What causes allergies?

Despite what many people think, it's not actually the hair of your dog that's causing you to sneeze. According to WebMD, it's typically it's the dander (flakes of dead skin) as well as the saliva and urine that tickle your oversensitive immune system.

As someone who lives with two very hairy and heavy shedding malamute mixes, I can attest to this. I often get comments along the lines of "I could never live with a dog who sheds so much because I'd be sneezing constantly". I tell these people that I never sneeze because of my dogs — even during their heavy shedding seasons. I explain how it's the dander, not the hair that causes allergies.


Do hypoallergenic dogs exist?

There's actually no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. Some dogs can cause fewer allergy symptoms than others, but that depends on both the breed and the person with the allergies. 

Many non or low shedding dogs are sold as being hypoallergenic, but as we mentioned above, the hair of the dog isn't what causes your allergies in the first place. 

Bullmastiff

image from barkingbad.ca

How to prevent allergens

DogTime.com gives some simple tips for how you can live with a dog in your home, even if you suffer from allergies:

  • Establish a dog-free zone in your home, such as a bedroom, and install a HEPA filter to help with allergens floating in the air

  • Keep curtains and rugs to a minimum and vacuum frequently

  • Giving your dog a weekly bath can reduce allergens in her fur by up to 84%

  • Get yourself allergy shots from your doctor, these can help to reduce symptoms you're experiencing


Non-shedding and low-shedding breeds

So you have allergies, but you still want to have a dog. I can definitely sympathize. Here's a list of 25 non-shedding and low-shedding dogs from PetBreeds which should cause you to react less. You can also consider buying a smaller dog as their smaller size means they will produce less dander and therefore should affect your allergies less. 

  • Chinese Shar-Pei

  • Airedale Terrier

  • Portuguese Water Dog

  • Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

  • Bullmastiff

  • Bichon Frise

  • Papillon

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback

  • West Highland White Terrier

  • Vizsla

  • Maltese

  • English Springer Spaniel

  • Brittany

    brittany spaniel

    image from purebreeddog.ca

     

  • Mastiff

  • Chihuahua

  • Boston Terrier

  • Shih Tzu

  • Miniature Schnauzer

  • Doberman Pinscher

  • German Shorthaired Pointer

  • French Bulldog

  • Havanese

  • Boxer

  • Poodle

  • Yorkshire Terrier

As with anything, make sure you do your research first. Shedding hair is just one aspect of a dog breed. Get to know the dog entirely before you make a decision. You want a dog that suits your personality and lifestyle too. Just having a dog that doesn't shed shouldn't be all that you make your decision based on. 

Do you live with allergies and have a dog? What do you do to cope? Is there a breed I missed that you think should be added to this list? Share your advice or suggestions in the comments below.


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Dog Advice
Can I Teach My Old Dog New Tricks?
April 27, 2016 at 11:06 am 0

The origin of an old saying

According to MythBusters, it was an English man who first coined the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". Fitzherbert was literally talking about dogs when in 1523 he wrote "the dogge must lerne when he is a whelpe, or els it wyl not be; for it is harde to make an old dogge to stoupe."

Today the saying is used in many contexts. Generally it's used to mean that it's near impossible to change someone who's set in their ways. But does it hold true when it comes to dogs? Does a dog, past a certain age, lose the ability to learn? 

old dog 2

image from yourdog.co.uk

You can and should teach an old dog new tricks

Not only can older dogs learn new things, it's important to keep them mentally stimulated (as much as it is younger dogs). I've lost count of the number of times someone has come to me with a dog that they exercise like crazy and can't seem to figure out why the dog is still unsettled. 

The answer in many cases can be a lack of mental stimulation. For most dog owners taking their dog for a walk every day makes sense. Whether they do it themselves or hire an awesome dog walker to do it for them, the idea of a dog needing exercise seems natural. It's easy to forget that dogs need to use their brains too. Dogs are smart, and teaching them to use their brains is both fun and rewarding. 

Teaching an old dog is like a broken elevator

So while teaching an old dog isn't impossible, it can be more difficult. It's why I always express the importance of getting a puppy trained when they are young instead of waiting until the dog is older.

Another old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" also applies here. Better to nip behaviours in the bud before they have to be untaught or retrained later on. 

dog elevator

image from kare11.com


Think about yourself. No matter how old you are, you're set in some of your ways. Getting you to change your habit takes effort. Whether it be to become more active, to eat healthier or quit smoking. Old habits die hard. 

I liken the experience to a broken elevator. Pretend for a minute that you live in an apartment building on the 5th floor. You've lived in this apartment for just over three years now. Each day you come home from work, enter the lobby press the up button and wait for the elevator to arrive and open its doors. Each day the same pattern starts to develop: Press button, wait... elevator doors open. Press button, wait... elevator doors open; etc.. 

The elevator is still broken, what do you do?

One day you get home from work and the elevator isn't working. You press the button like you normally would and you wait and wait, but no elevator arrives. Do you:

A) Say "oh well" and take the stairs right away (with enthusiasm)

B) Throw a rope with a hook attached up the side of the building and start climbing 

C) Frustrated, press the button repeatedly saying "C'mon you stupid thing.. work!"

old dog
If you were being honest, your answer was most likely C. It's the same with your dog. When you're trying to change behaviour, they're always going to try what worked for them in the past first. They'll take the path of least resistance (the elevator) before looking for another option (the stairs). 

Essentially when you're teaching your dog a new behaviour (or shaping an old one), you're teaching them about the stairs in the apartment scenario. In order to reinforce taking the stairs as the default behaviour you also need to reinforce that the elevator (the old behaviour) is broken - no matter how many times your dog tries to press that "up button".

If you're consistent, your dog will go for the stairs first because it is the path of least resistance that creates the same desired effect. Obviously the longer a dog has used the elevator (or their old behaviour), the longer it'll take them to learn to use the stairs. 

old dog bed
Old dogs still have lots of love to give

Training an old dog isn't impossible. It might take some time, but it can be done. All of us are stubborn in our behaviour patterns. Patience and consistency are the keys to creating positive change and teaching your dog a new trick. 

If you're interested in the MythBusters findings about training an old dog new tricks (mentioned above), you can find them here.

Senior dogs can be the hardest to find homes for. Many people prefer a young puppy instead of the old classic. Old dogs can have lots of love and fun left in them (we'll write about great reasons for adopting an older dog in another post). So if you're thinking of bringing a new dog into your family, consider adopting one in their golden years. 

Looking for an older dog? Contact the Grand River All Breed Animal Rescue or your local Humane Society of Canada and see what dogs they have searching for their forever homes. 



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Dog Advice
Nine Foods to Never Feed Your Dog
April 24, 2016 at 10:22 am 2

Do what mom says

Growing up, we had a dog named Jessie. She was a black and white cock-a-poo and no matter how hard she tried, there was always one consistent rule in our house: don't feed the dog from the table. My mom's reasoning is that once Jessie learned she could get food from the table, she would always try to repeat that behaviour in hopes of getting the same reward.  

Having two big dogs of my own now, I follow the same logic. There might be times that I give them food I can't finish, (sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.) but I won't feed them from my plate or when I'm eating. I make them work for everything they get. A simple "sit" or "down" is enough, but I'll write more on that in another post. 
golden retriever treats

Is feeding people food okay?

It can be alright to give your dog some of your food, some of the time. If you're thinking of switching them to a whole-food diet from kibble, make sure that you do it slowly. Introduce some lean meat and vegetables over a week, by changing ratios of that food to kibble. 

There's a lot of ways you can start to incorporate real food into your dog's diet, but it's probably best to talk to your veterinarian first. Dogs of different ages and types have different nutritional requirements. Your vet will know what's best for your dog and be able to recommend some things to try. 


Foods to never feed your dog

Another reason I don't feed my dogs my food very often, is that some of it just isn't good for them. Many foods that are delicious and good for us, could be poisonous to our canine companions. Here's a list of 9 foods to avoid feeding your dogs:

  • Alcohol — According to Dogster, there are a few reasons that dogs shouldn't have alcohol. Number one, their bodies just can't handle the alcohol. Another obvious reason is that the principle ingredients are bad for dogs and dogs are much smaller than humans (in most cases). This means they can become intoxicated or poisoned much quicker than we can.

  • Chocolate, Coffee/Caffeine — Chocolate and caffeine are bad for dogs and most people already know that. While it's rare to cause death in canines, petinsurance.com warns eating chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures. Different types of chocolate are more toxic with the general rule being the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.

  • Citrus — That sour taste we love so much isn't good for our dogs. Lemons, limes, oranges and especially grapefruits are very toxic for our dogs. Reactions can be anywhere from lethargy, depression, diarrhea, vomiting, photo-sensitivity, drooling, trembling and sensitivity to light. Fidosavvy.com adds that the peel, pith and seeds are the most dangerous parts of the fruit.
    dog eating watermelon

  • Grapes & Raisins — Veterinarians aren't quite sure why, but grapes and raisins can be very poisonous to dogs. According to Woofipedia poisoning from grapes doesn't affect all dogs, but when it does it can lead to kidney failure and as little as one grape per pound of dog is enough to cause an issue. 

  • Macadamia Nuts — Although not considered fatal, The Merck Veterinary Manual warns that macadamia nuts can cause your dog to get quite sick. They found that dogs who were given macadamia nuts would develop weakness, depression, vomiting, ataxia, tremors, and/or hyperthermia within 12 hours of ingestion. All of the dogs were better within 48 hours without treatment. 

  • Milk & DairyDogFoodAdvisor says milk and dairy products won't affect some dogs at all and others will experience accute intestinal distress (gas, diarrhea or vomiting). I give my dogs cheese once in a while and I haven't noticed anything wrong them. They're no more gassy than usual anyway. 

  • Onions/Garlic/Chives (Allium Species Plants) — Plants belonging to this group are popular in a lot of things that we cook, but are very toxic to dogs. Petinsurance.com says it can take up to two to four days for the symptoms to appear and these symptoms can include: breathlessness, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased respiratory rate, weakness, exercise intolerance, and collapse.

    file961289155422

  • Salt & Salty Snack FoodCan I Give My Dog...? says it's best to avoid giving dogs salty snacks like chips or pretzels. Excess salt in our furry friends can cause serious dehydration. They continue on to say that a few chips won't hurt your dog, just make sure there's lots of water around. Unless your dog has a serious illness, they should be fine. 

  • Xylitol — Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that's widely used as a sugar substitute. Naturally, it's found in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce and some varieties of trees. While this popular sweet substitute is safe for humans, it's extremely toxic for dogs. Dogs who ingest even a small amount can experience hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure or even death. More information can be found on the VCA Animal Hospitals website

No matter how much your dog begs, or looks hungry, it's probably best to avoid feeding them people food unless you know it's safe for them. It's not worth risking anything from a sickness to death. 

If you're looking for an easy way to give your dog food you can make at home, try out our Peanut Butter Dog Cookie Recipes. They incorporate banana, pumpkin and bacon into three separate recipes that your dog is sure to love. 



What are you rules regarding feeding dogs in your house? Do you share scraps with them or do you go all the way and feel them a natural diet? Share your thoughts on dogs and people food in the comments below. 

 

 

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surprised dog

image from petparent.me


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No obligation

That's it! There's no obligation to book any walks with us after that but when you do you'll automatically save 15%!

So when you're running late and can't get home to feed the dog, you've got a busy weekend planned or just want to come home to a tired dog after work - you have a reliable dog walker who's only a text, Tweet or Facebook message away. 

For Yard Clean Up, there's no long term contracts. You can choose to pay month-to-month and you can cancel at any time. We know that life can change and we want to be flexible to change with it. 

dog-phone

image from nutriment.co

Tell your friends!

Even if you don't have a dog yourself, tell your dog-loving friends. You'll still be eligible for our Refer-a-Friend program. 

We're happy to answer any more questions you have! Feel free to contact us

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TM News
Ask a Trainer Thursday!
April 20, 2016 at 1:32 pm 3

Get your questions answered!

We're introducing a weekly blog feature called 'Ask a Trainer Thursdays'. Each week we'll ask our social media audience for questions they want to have answered by a positive based dog trainer. 

dog teacher

image from dogocrat.com


We'll select one question at random and ask one of our dog training friends for their advice. 

So if you have any questions for a dog trainer: behavioural issues, training dilemmas or just why your dog acts a certain way - leave them in the comments below and we'll get you the answer you're looking for on the following week. 

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Dog Advice
Dangers of Retractable Leashes
April 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm 0

The idea seems good

As adults, we enjoy our freedom. We're able to go just about anywhere that our body can take us and apart from legal or physical restrictions, there aren't too many places we can't go.

It makes sense then as good dog owners, we want to give our furry best friends that same sense of freedom. To be able to sniff, walk and enjoy nature without the restrictions of a 4ft or 6ft nylon leash seems like a naturally good idea to most dog-loving people. 

Gadgets like retractable leashes are popular with dog owners. They provide a comfortable way to give you dog freedom to roam with the benefit of your dog still being safely attached to you. 

There are a few reasons why I don't like retractable leashes however. As both a dog walker and a dog trainer I've seen some dangerous yet avoidable situations caused by these tools.

1. Less control

When your dog is on a retractable leash, they have up 26 feet of leash length. That means there's a potential 26 foot radius away from you without any way to reel them in quickly if there was an emergency. This could potentially be a danger if there's traffic nearby or another not-so-friendly dog. All it takes it one jolt to send your dog running with little ability to stop them.

Sometimes the taut line of a leash can make the dog's chest puff up and make them appear more aggressive than they are. Other dogs can read this body language as a threat and react accordingly. What happens when your dog gets into an argument with another dog and it's 26 feet away from you?

dog retractable leash

image from dogs.thefuntimesguide.com

2. Reinforces bad training

Retractable leashes aren't great for training either. When I'm training a dog to walk on a loose leash, part of that training is to teach the dog that there shouldn't be any tautness in the leash. Eventually, your dog could potentially walk beside you without a leash because they're relying on your commands and body language rather than feeling something attached to their neck. 

As Dr. Karen Becker says, retractable leashes are an especially bad idea for dogs that haven't been trained to walk politely on a regular leash. By their very nature, retractables train dogs to pull while on leash, because they learn that pulling extends the lead.

dog retractable leash

image from dogster.com

3. Safety

It might not seem obvious but there have been cases of serious injury resulting from the use of retractable leashes. Burns, cuts and even amputation of a finger have happened from people trying to grab onto the rope of a retractable leash while their dog bolts away.

In an article written by Dog Time, they also mention that a dog can easily jerk the large handle of a retractable leash out of the human hand holding it. The sound of that big piece of plastic hitting the ground can frighten the dog and cause it to keep running.

Another thing to keep in mind is your centre of balance. When your dog is so far out from you, it totally changes your tipping point and makes it easier for you to fall over or be dragged to the ground if your dog decides to run quickly after something (a squirrel for example). 


Maybe, sometimes?

Can a retractable leash ever be okay? Well, maybe. If you're not confident with your dog completely off a leash and you're walking along a trail away from traffic and other animals, a retractable leash might work. Or if you were on a beach somewhere and you want to let your dog enjoy sniffing and swimming without being right next to you, a retractable leash might be a good choice. 

In either case, I'd personally opt for the non-mechanical type of leash. I'd buy a lead that was 25-100 feet long so that you can have the safety aspect without the potential for the retractable mechanisms to break. 

Do you use a retractable leash? What are your experiences with them, good or bad? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



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Promotions
Spring Clean Up Sale!
April 2, 2016 at 10:32 am 0

Winter is back... again

Update: this promotion ended April 22, 2016

Like it or not (my dogs love it), mother nature has decided that winter is back one more time. We're hoping it's the last time, but only mother nature knows what she has up her sleeves.

To celebrate a wildly successful spring, we're offering a promotion to the people who still have a yard they need cleaned up after the snow melts again.

Blog Banner Spring Clean Up Reduced

Act fast!

The first 25 people who order a Spring Clean Up, will pay just $50 (+HST) instead of $75!

In order to qualify, you must contact us to state your interest, but the appointment does not need to be set. When the snow melts, we'll contact everyone to see what date/time works best for them and guarantee to get the job done that same week.

To take advantage of this limited offer, please contact us on Facebook, via email or by calling us at 226.600.6003.

Have fun in the snow!

dog in snow

image from marustagram.deviantart.com

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Recipes
Peanut Butter Dog Cookies: 3 Different Ways
March 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm 2

For the love of peanut butter

My dogs love peanut butter, possibly as much as I do. While it can be entertaining to watch them lick raw peanut butter out of a kong or from a spoon, peanut butter is also a versatile ingredient that can be used in all sorts of cookie recipes. 

Dog licking nose

image from thatmutt.com

I've searched all over the internet and found three peanut butter dog cookie recipes that will make not only your dog, but possibly you yourself drool too. Even if you've never tried making homemade treats for your dog before, after seeing how simple these recipes are, you may never go back to buying store bought cookies again.


Bacon

image from sugardishme.com

image from sugardishme.com

Even though I don't eat much bacon myself, there's something about the smell of it cooking that makes me so hungry. It really goes good with just about anything and that's no different for your dog. I found this recipe for Peanut Butter Bacon Dog Treats and I'm tempted to make a batch just for myself. 


Pumpkin

Peanut butter pumpkin dog treats

image from all recipes.com


I know what you're thinking: finally. It's about time someone thought to put peanut butter and pumpkin together in one delicious dish. While I'm not sure it's a combination your dinner guests would enjoy, your dog is bound to love these Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Cookies from allrecipes.com

Banana

peanut butter banana dog treats

image from damndelicious.net

Peanut butter and banana go so well together, why shouldn't your dog be able to enjoy this classic combination as well? These Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats even use coconut oil for an extra health boost. 

So that's it. Three easy peanut butter dog treat recipes to keep your pantry stocked and your best friend very, very happy. 

Do you have a favourite dog treat recipe that you make? If so, share it in the comments below. 

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