Dollar Tree for Dogs – The Good, The Meh, and The Never

Let’s get right down to business. You can find tons of great deals at the Dollar Tree – the one where everthing costs $1. You can get swindled, too.

The Good

Check this out ya’ll.

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Practically disposable rope & toys – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star

These things get trashed fast, even under the best of supervision. At $1, I give them away, and you can stock up for life.

Metal food bowl – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star

You actually can’t clean all the boogies out of a ceramic or platic bowl. Their surfaces are rough under a microscope and hold gross stuff. Metal is smooth under a microscope and cleans easily.

 

Treat Container – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star Lid that screws closed. I’ve thrown it in the dishwasher.

“Cat” toy – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star Secretly created for dogs, these are a must have to keep your dog busy, exercised, and trained.  Teach your dog to sit, wait, chase toy, get toy, and drop toy. Then you can play again!!!

Tug toys – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star

dogtoys

 

 

Again, totally priced to be abused.

You can go through one of these every week and still not break the bank.

 

 

Loose Leash Walking Training Tool – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star

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I’m not giving out all the goodies on this one. But trust me, its neat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flea Bath (blue Dawn dish soap) – $1

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This is the fastest way to get fleas OFF your pets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antibacterial Wipes – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star 

These things come in handy for grimy, training treat hands.

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“Place” mat – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny starImage result for tiny star

smallmat

 

Teach your small dog or puppy to go to “place” to stay out of mischief. (One of the most important things you can teach your dog!)

 

 

 

 


Ok, this is where things start to fall apart.

The MEH.

Best photo frame ever – $1 Image result for tiny starImage result for tiny star

dogphoto

So, this one is a mixed bag. I initially intended to glue magnets to the back of this. Except, it’s actually not flat, and you can’t hang against a flatwall. But its cute.

 

 

 

 

Nail Clippers – $1 Image result for tiny star

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These are only good for small dogs. They are pretty cheap and can’t withstand tons of pressure. The black piece that holds the cutters open also broke off, immediatly. Never to be closed again. It worked fine with my cat, Bobbi.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Never… Run. Hide. Scream. No stars.

The Wall of Nightmares  (Food?) – $1

These consumables from the Dollar Tree are terrifying. They’re out of date, from China, made with unnamed meats and digest, and other things known to the state of California…

foodwall

Poop bags – $1

poopbags

 

Skip it. You try to open the roll and the bags just start shredding. Plastic is incredibly, incredibly thin. Just pay the money for these!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scary, smoked, and out of date “bones” – $1

Do not buy these. From anywhere. These “smoked bones” split and crack and can be accidentally ingested resulting in very expensive, dangerous surgery. They’re also made in China.

ribbone

 

So now you know, get some cheapie toys and metal bowls and your life is set. Just buy or make your own foods or treats from highly reputable pet stores.

What I Wish I Knew Before Bringing Home a Dog

I’m giving out really good, free advice today including some great handouts from reknown veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Sophia Yin. 

 

  1. Find the dog that fits your family. 
  • Consider the energy level of the dog! Most dogs need upwards of 30-60 minutes of exervise every day. Every day.
  • Is the dog social or aloof with people or dogs? Is the dog easily excitable or relatively relaxed?
  • What job was the dog born to do? Dogs that wer
  • arn how to give the grooming, training, and veterinary care your dog will need ahead of time!

Don’t pick a breed due to its popularity.

This doodle is incredibly high energy, social, but requires early socialization and a lot of training to prevent bad manners – such as jumping. This dog may not fit with your family’s life style.

doodle

2. Be prepared to socialize. For life.

  • Begin as soon as your dog is up to date for his age. That means puppies 8-10 weeks old will only have had one set of vaccines. They are ready to begin now!
  • The most important time to socialize is until a puppy is about 14-16 weeks of age.
  • Socialization entails more than exposing  your dog to new things. Exposure isn’t enough – we must make those experiences positive.
  • Failing to socialize and train can lead to aggression or other undesirable behaviors. Behavior is the leading cause of death in dogs under 3 years of age.

Follow this socialization check list from reknown Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Sophia Yin. You can view the original here.

 

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3. Use a Crate 

  • Teach your dog to love the crate (immediately).
  • Practice using the crate for no reason so that you give yourself an opportunity to further your dog’s new found love of the crate.
  • The crate is a happy place – not punishment.

4. Supervise, constantly!

  • Listen, your adult dog is as intellectually developed as a toddler. Puppies, less so. Treat your dog like he’s got crayon on the wall.
  • You can’t entirely puppy proof your house. Some dogs will eat drywall and couches. I’m sure you’ve seen.
  • Use the crate when you are unable to supervise (and just for practice!)

5. Exercise

  • Know that exercise can make or break behavioral issues.
  • Your dog will not exercise himself in the backyard. If you think this counts, you’re in trouble.petparlor.jpeg
  • Consider hiring Pat Thompson and her team from The Pet Parlor to provide exercise and potty breaks during the day while you work or are away from home. 


Exercise-Dog-Graphic

6. Learn to identify stress, fear, and other undesirable behaviors in your dog – and other dogs.

  • Early warning signs can include destructive behavior, excess uncontrollable energy, lack of attention, signs of separation anxiety, and so much more.
  • Be prepared to rescue your dog from a situation if your dog displays excessive fear or inappropriate behavior.
  • Study resources like this. More information is also available from Dr. Sophia Yin to study more on body language.

 

other-products-body-language

7. Don’t get a dog and expect your kids to do all of the work.

  • Kids (and some teenagers) are not responsible enough to meet the complex needs of a dog.
  • Dogs require extensive supervision, socialization, exercise, and training which is difficult for children to entirely fulfill this role. 
  • Dog training is a family affair. Expect for everyone in the family to be involved! If you aren’t involved too, it will not end well.

8. Create and follow rules for your family and dogs (100% of the time!)

Here’s just a few of the rules in my house:

  • Rule #1 Privileges must be earned.
  • Rule #2 Say Please when you want attention, toys, play, food, anything really.
  • Rule #3 I control access to all resources. Ask politely.
  • Rule #3 You can come on the couch… but this is my seat.
  • Rule #4 You must wait for me to give you permission to exit a door, cross the street, or meet new friends.
  • Rule #5 Stay on your mat while all guests enter the house.

Practice Learn to Earn developed by Dr. Sophia Yin.

learntoearn9. You MUST formally train your dogs.

  • Begin training the moment you bring your dog home.

  • Training a dog is a life long affair. 

  • Plan to spend approximately 30 minutes training each day. Practice in multiple sessions for short amounts of time.

  • Accept responsiblity for your dog’s behavior. Failing to socialize and train may learn to undesireable, and even unsafe behavior. 

10. Begin loose leash walking immediately.

 

 

 

 

  • Do not wait a single second to start teaching this skill as many people rely on walks as their dog’s form of exercise.
  • Always use a leash with buckle collar with tags (or harness) unless in a safely contained area. Always. No exceptions. You ruin it for other everyone else when you don’t. 

11. Do Happy Visits at the Vet and Groomer

  • Always bring treats to practice addressing fear, and teaching manners in a busy place like the vet or groomer.
  • Don’t rely on a groomer or vet to socialize your dog. Desensitize your dog to frequent nail trims (and the Dremel) to prevent long nails for life. Frequent grinding can help keep quicks short.

12. Keep Kids Safe and Dogs Happy

  • Do not leave your children unsupervised with any dog for any reason.
  • Teach all children to interact safely. No rough housing, grabbing fur or tails, no sitting or laying on dogs, and never disrupt a dog while eating or sleeping.

kidsanddogs.png

 

 

 

15. ASK FOR HELP.

  • Don’t assume you know everything (or that I know everything!)
  • If you haven’t trained a puppy before, or its been a few years, its a good idea.
  • Do not rely on Google searches or unprofessional YouTube videos.
  • Ask before the behavior escalates so it can be addressed more quickly.

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I’ve learned from my mistakes. Doing so has given me the opportunity to learn new skills and ideas. May you take the opportunity to grow with your dog.

BONUS!

More Mistakes to Learn From

  1. Supervise your dog on a tie out. Use a secure harness (never a collar of any kind).
  2. Don’t leave your dog unsupervised in the back yard. They may climb fences, fight with neighbor dogs, or even dig a hole to China.

 

Surviving Rain & Fireworks

It’s that time of year. Rain. Pouring rain. Oh then a little sunshine—boom!— the fireworks have started. Now is not to late to start preparing your dog for noisy holidays and seasonal storms. If you’ve found your dog hiding in the bath tub, these are not polite suggestions but rather requirements for a healthier dog. Call me for help. Hiding dog

Many practical suggestions for thunderstorm fears also apply to other noise phobias. Today we’ll discuss management, easy ways to prevent stress, and what may help in the moment. This blog is practical advice. Please seek professional consultation if your dog hurts himself or damages property.

Let’s begin by offering the best piece of advice anyone can give – for FREE – right now: exercise your dog more. You heard it here first folks! Exercise before scary events helps dogs relax in advance and can even increase feel good brain chemicals that last beyond the time of exercise. Exercising regularly increases these benefits.

But after you’ve exercised your dog’s body, it’s time to enrich his mind. Mentally stimulating games and toys give you the opportunity to wear out your dog’s brain. What activities make your dog think? Try using puzzle enrichment toys to keep him busy during stress and further tire him out. And of course, teach him new things! Nothing helps dogs relax more than a tired body and mind. Training itself can be a huge boon to dealing with stress but learning new ways to communicate reduces our dogs anxiety while building confidence. All of these are management techniques.

If you have added exercise, mental and physical, and it wasn’t enough, take a step back and make sure you really gave your dog enough exercise. Seriously. Most dogs, like their humans, don’t get enough exercise.

Next, we can evaluate a few over the counter products that can work to relieve anxiety including sound phobia. A personal favorite is the Thundershirt wrap which acts like a hug for your dog. It’s a fabric shirt that has Velcro for easy fitting. It can make such a difference! It’s also worth trying a tight t-shirt in its stead. Note: Be careful to have your dog wear the Thundershirt during calm times as well as stressful.

July Third by Herbsmith

I am am a tremendous fan of July Third which is an over the counter calming chew made by Herbsmith. It’s aptly named – start using the product regularly for chronic anxiety or the day before for specific phobias.

I have used July Third with my own dog on a number of occasions such as extended absences, trips to the vet, storms and fireworks, and when our routine is out of whack. I was sold on this product when we used it during a 6 week long remodel at my house. I’ve been recommending to clients since. Do note that results vary and it’s always a good idea to ask your vet before adding this to your dog’s diet. This one is easy to find on Amazon.

Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP)

There are a number with pheromones that mimic those given off by mother dogs. I have mixed reviews personally but I have had a number of clients benefit. For best results, use a plug in pheromone as well as a spray product on a collar or Thundershirt type product. Pheromone collars are also available but as this is a chemical product the collar can irritate the skin of some dogs.

Through a Dog’s Ear

This is an easy one. Consider leaving calming music on during stressful times to reduce stress. Be careful not to only play music during stressful times or the music may begin to predict stress. Many people simply leave the radio on and that’s a great choice. Kick it up a notch and play calming music for dogs. Try playing Through A Dog’s Ear any time you want your dog to relax. Available on Amazon. We play this CD during every class at Laurie Tuttle Dog Training.

Veterinary Intervention

Ultimately, I am a huge fan of veterinary intervention. Veterinarians can rule out under-lying causes for behavior such as pain and can identify if medication should be used for fearful behaviors. A veterinarian may suggest prescribing something for your dog. If your vet is not familiar with behavior treatment, he can schedule a phone consult with a veterinary behaviorist. You can refer him to the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists at dacvb.org to consult on your case. Sometimes these consults are free. Remember that a treatment plan including medications may require additional follow up and will absolutely require a Behavioral Consultant or a Certified Professional Dog Trainer as well as a commitment to to following through.

An Important Note: Sometimes vets prescribe acepromazine (or “Ace”) for noise phobia. Acepromazine is like a “chemical straight jacket” as it paralyzes your dog so he doesn’t act out inappropriate behavior. Your dog is still conscious during this process. It increases fear levels because our dogs are consciously afraid but unable to retreat to safety. This drug has a sedative effect where many other medication choices do not.

The key is to find out what works for you and your dog. Adding exercise and mental stimulation is great for every dog. Adding over the counter products may help, too. Ultimately if you don’t see improvement quickly, it is the time to find a qualified vet who knows behavior and will work directly with the Certified Professional Dog Trainer (like me) or Certified Canine Behavioral Consultant. Please message me for vet suggestions.

There’s help! Just remember it takes time and effort!

The Pet Parlor

Hi guys! As some of you know, I started pet sitting for Pat Thompson at the Pet Parlor. It’s an amazing job! I drive to houses to care for furry kids big and small. We always potty, always play, always snuggle, and always photograph. It’s a great alternative to leaving your pet alone all day! Plus, you’ll rest safe knowing your pets are in our experienced hands while you go on vacation or just a night out.

A4D9542D-049E-4EAD-BD6A-43F15A0EFE83Contact Pat at The Pet Parlor at 219-588-3628 or visit online at www.petparlorpro.com!

Puppy Class & Socialization – When to start?

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The Late Dr. Sophia Yin

The truth is that puppies need to start vaccines as early as possible  so they can begin a group class as early as possible. Training at home should start even earlier – the moment you bring your new bundle of joy home.

Socialization goes hand in hand with dog training. Do note that socialization does not simply include meeting dogs or a visit to the PetStore. It means very carefully evaluating if you puppy is afraid of something and addressing it with a Certified Trainer. This key socialization period is about 8 to 14 weeks. You can see why its important to get that first set of shots as early as possible! Please view this link to Dr. Sophia Yin’s excellent socialization checklist!  It’s an oppurtunity to explore the things that you not realize you needed to socialize. Remember that phobias and fears frequently escalate. Don’t hesitate to call me to address the issue.

But what happens when your vet says that your puppy needs all 3 rounds of shots and rabies before leaving the house? Just in case, print out the linked articles for your vet. Ultimately make being an advocate for your dog is the most important part! If you live and are seeking a vet, in Lake County, IN, I highly recommend St. John Animal Clinic in St. John. Their contact information follows.

The real problem is your veterinarian may not be aware of the guidelines from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB). The AVSAB “encourages veterinarians to recommend puppies be socialized before the vaccine series is complete.”

Shockingly they go onto say “While veterinarians are appropriately concerned about infectious disease in young puppies, the fact is that behavioral issues—not infectious diseases—are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age, according to the AVSAB. Veterinarians contribute to these behavioral issues when recommending pets be kept away from possible germs until their vaccine series is complete, the AVSAB stated.” Here’s a link to this article Early Training and Socialization from the AVSAB. Here is yet another link from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Remember socialization and training are for life!

St. John Animal Clinic

CONTACT INFORMATION

8661 Wicker Ave.
St. John, IN 46373

Phone: (219) 365-8531
Fax: (219) 365-1032

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday: 7:30am – 8:30pm
Tuesday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Wednesday: 7:30am – 8:30pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday: 7:30am – 6:00pm

Saturday: 7:30am – 12:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Closed New Year’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Riding in the Car

I’ve been thinking about one of our dog’s favorite past times quite a bit lately. The warmer weather is here and our dog’s heads are hanging out the car window, no doubt capturing each and every scent. The problem is there’s nothing safe about this scenario. You would never let your child run free in the back seat (or gasp! the front seat).

Your dog poses an amazing distraction to you as a driver. I hear time after time how Poochie has to sit up front. Don’t forget how dangerous the air bags are! If you are in a wreck and the air bags deploy with such force, you are risking your dog’s life!

While it’s not the perfect way to transport your dog, a car approved harness that was scientifically tested by the Center for Pet Safety can be one option. It helps strap your pup in the backseat safely. No air bags, no roaming, no distraction. Studies have shown that these offer less than ideal safety but they are always improving. Seat belts work by attaching a car approved harness to the seatbelt. It is the best option for larger dogs who can’t be crated in the car.

Dog Safety & Summer Holidays

Summers here and its all about safety and holidays! Get the lawn chair and the kiddie pool for your pup. It’s easy to get caught up in the picnics and festivities, we sometimes miss signs the of stress and the general safety of our dogs.

First, let’s talk signs of distress that may occur during the holidays, storms or fireworks, in a situation with too many kids and adults and even other dogs. Be sure to read the BEET. BEET stands for body, eyes, ears, and tail. It over simplifies canine body language but B gives you a starting point. Look for stiffness in the body or cowering and look at E for eyes, partially white eyes. Then look at E for ears. If they are tucked, your pup may be under stress. Finally the T in tail. A tail waving to high may mean trouble. Just like a tail too low. We want tail about neutral height and preferably wiggly summer time tail! Learn more about canine body language thanks to Victoria Stilwell.

1. Do NOT EVER leave your pet in the car. No, leaving the windows open does not work. Keep them at home or with lots of water and shade WITH YOU!

2. Leash your dog with ID tag at all times. More dogs are lost during holidays than any other time of the year.salty dog kisses

3. Cooked bones are dangerous for dogs. They are usually thin enough to cause choking in and of itself but all cooked bones will splinter.

4. Avoid leftovers. Tons of harmful chemicals lurk in those hot dogs and other processed foods. Not to mention the condiments we slather our food with. Think about the sodium, sugar, and uber fat load. Just skip it.

5. Finally, train them for all summer events. Teach them to not jump on guests, not to beg for scraps at summer barbecues, and even to go to a kennel on cue in the event you or your pup needs break. If you are seeing any of these issues, call me at (219) 973-7538.

Happy Summer!

Why is my pup eating grass?

Its true. Our pups tend to eat that early summer grass. This could be caused by a number of medical conditions from upset stomach, low quality food, or intestional parasites so you should seek out a vet’s advice just in case. A student of mine just contacted me to ask how to get her dog to stop eating grass so let’s help everyone with this frustrating problem!

First off, the simplest answer is usually the best answer. So here goes – your dog probably just likes to eat grass. Which of course changes nothing so we then ask the same question as any problem. If you don’t like what your dog is doing, teach them something to do instead. So of course there are a ton of options but I have a couple of favorites!

Dog eating grass

One is to teach a solid “leave it”. “Leave it” means to “stop what you’re doing and look at me”. It’s a fabulous safety cue but it also allows you to give your dog another cue just in time to stay out of mischief (i.e. “leave it” followed by “sit”). The best way to learn this is in a class setting where a Certified Professional Dog Trainer can coach you through the process.

The other is to take your dog out on a leash and work on loose leash walking skills. You absolutely need a trainer to learn this one but if I had to summarize loose leash walking would be to teach your dog to be at your side offering lots of eye contact. Dogs who know how to walk on a leash will offer plenty of eye contact – so much so they’ll ignore that silly grass.

For more information, check ask about home lessons or our upcoming classes here!

Grass?!

It’s true. Our pups love grass. There can also be a variety of medical conditions going on so you should seek out a vet’s advice just in case its a poor diet or intestional worms. A student of mine just contacted me to ask how to get her dog to stop eating grass so lets’s help everyone with this frustrating problem!

The answer is the same as any problem. If you don’t like what your dog is doing, what would you rather have your do instead? So of course there are a ton of options but I have a couple of favorites!

One is to teach a solid “leave it”. “Leave it” means to “stop what you’re doing and look at me. It’s a fabulous safety cue but it also allows you to give your dog another cue just in time to stay out of mischief. The best way to learn this is in a class setting where a Certified Professional Dog Trainer can coach you through the process. I’ll give it a try. Drop a yummy treat on the floor and cover it with your shoe. Your pup should immediately start sniffing, maybe even licking your shoe. Wait until they look at you and then mark and reward. Much better to see in person!

The other is to take your dog out on a leash and work on loose leash walking skills. You absolutely need a class to learn this one but if I had to summarize loose leash walking would be to teach your dog to be at your side. Dogs who know how to walk on a leash will offer plenty of eye contact – so much so they’ll ignore that silly grass.

For more information, check in home lessons or our upcoming classes here!