Friday, February 24, 2017

How Fake Service Dogs Hurt Real Service Dogs

I was inspired to write this by a recent Facebook post on Lisa Bregant's Facebook page.  Her post has a great photo of a Golden Retriever with a message asking people NOT to pass their pet off as a Service Animal if they don't truly perform the functions of a Service Animal.  The photo was one Lisa shared from Frankie Franks Facebook page.  It succinctly states that:

"FAKE SERVICE DOGS CAN HURT THE REPUTATION AND ACCEPTANCE OF VALID SERVICE DOGS AND THE DISABLED PERSONS WHO TRULY NEED THOSE DOGS TO ASSIST THEM"  - Frankie Franks

It really bothers me when people try to pass their dog off as a certified Service Dog, or when they get a doctor to prescribe an "emotional support" dog just so they can bring their dog to a restaurant or on an airplane.  Faking Service Dog status hurts the reputation of true Service Dogs and could potentially cause them to lose access some day.


Don't try to pass your dog off as a Service Dog if he isn't. Doing so can be harmful to people with disabilities
Icy is a Therapy Dog, which is NOT the same as a Service Dog.  Therapy Dogs are NOT entitled to public access under the Americans With Disabilities Act, but Service Dogs ARE.
If you truly have a NEED for an emotional support dog, I'm all for it.  If you don't have a true need for a service dog, then in my opinion trying to obtain a service dog certification for your pet is the height of selfishness.  

A service dog should have a real need and perform a specific function(s).  When you fake it, you make it harder for true service dogs to gain acceptance, and cause people to perceive them in a negative light.  That could some day cause people with real disabilities, physical or emotional, to lose the ability to go to places the rest of us can access freely.  In turn, that would rob them of their independence and quality of life.  Would you really want to be responsible for that??


Here is my own personal Fake Service Dog experience.

We were selling a house we owned in another state, an investment property.  The renters moved out and we put a lot of time, work, and love into renovating the home and prepping it for sale.  Once it was all finished and looking beautiful, we listed it for sale.  We were proud of all the work we did and how well the house showed.

An interested couple came to look at the house early on and we were thrilled!  Their Realtor was very young, and clearly "green around the gills", but she was a nice young woman.  The first visit went well, nothing seemed amiss.  The couple and their Realtor returned again later to look at the home a second time.  But this time the Realtor brought a little Chihuahua dog with her!  It seemed odd for a professional Realtor to bring her dog to a showing.  The dog was adorable.  She informed me that the dog was 8 months old and was her "Service Dog".  Really??


Max, a real Service Dog puppy in training with my friend Barbara.  Barbara works with an organization that trains dogs to become Service Dogs that aid the disabled.

Can This Puppy Really Be A Service Dog?

First of all, where was the "Service Dog" on their first visit to the house  Secondly, an 8 month old puppy probably wouldn't even qualify to be a service dog yet.  It seemed unprofessional, but I'm an extreme dog lover so it didn't bother me that much.  Not until she put the dog on the floor and let her sniff around the living room, the room with brand new hardwood floors installed 2 weeks prior, and the dog promptly urinated.  She giggled and apologized profusely as I cleaned up her dog's mess.  Because of course she had no pet wipes with her to clean up.  OK, Strike One.

She then asked if I would mind if she let the dog off leash in the yard so she could "run around".  Again, I'm an extreme dog lover so I agreed.  Until the dog pooped in the corner of the yard beneath the beautiful palm tree.  Of course, she didn't have a dog waste bag with her or in her car.  Seriously??  Fortunately, I always keep dog poop bags in our car so I went and got her one.  Strike Two.


There's No Way This Puppy Is A Service Dog!

The couple ended up buying the house!  It was worth a bit of pee and poop to make the sale happen.  They came back a third time to inspect a repair we agreed to make prior to closing.  The Realtor brought the dog again.  This time she didn't have any water for her puppy!  She actually asked me if I had any bottled water for her dog.  Apparently she didn't have a water bowl with her either.   I gave her a bottle of water, which she gave directly to the dog, spilling some of it on the new hardwood floors.  It would have been Strike Three, but Who cares?  The nice new hard wood floors her puppy peed and spilled water on were theirs now, LOL!  

PIN this!
Therapy Dogs bring comfort and smiles to people in need.  They do not perform the important tasks that Service Dogs perform.  They are very different.  Therapy Dogs do not have the public access right that Service Dogs are granted by U.S. law.
As the couple left with their Realtor and her Fake Service Dog, my husband and I just shook our heads.  "There's no way that puppy is a Service Dog" I said.  We laughed about it, but I had to wonder, did she bring her pooch to every house she was showing?  If the dog was a Service Dog, where was the pup the first time they came to the house?  Does she try to pass her dog off as a Service Dog at restaurants, on planes, and other places are normally off limits to dogs?   I can only imagine this woman toting her obviously Fake Service Dog around all over the place, negatively impacting the reputation of real Service Dogs.

This is an Amazon Affiliate Link:



It's wrong to fake having a Service Dog.  If you don't really need one, please don't do it!  It's not worth degrading the amazing, fascinating work performed by true Service Dogs.  Those dogs are not only heroes but they are an important part of our society.  They can give a disabled person their freedom, their independence and quality of life.  We owe them so much more respect than Faking It, don't you think?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Puppies Behind Bars; Pups being raised in prison for a life of service

From Adorable Puppy To Invaluable Service Dog, an Info-Graphic shard by Petco

What did you think of this post?  How do you feel about getting a "service dog" certification for the sole purpose of bringing one's pet to places dogs are normally not permitted?  Please leave us a comment and share your thoughts!  We love hearing from you?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Dog's Backyard Adventure

I was recently reminded that my dogs don't need to travel somewhere in order to have an Adventure.  Sometimes you can find adventure right in your own backyard! (this post contains an Affiliate link)

A week or two ago we got a lot of snow here, nearly a foot of the white stuff.  Being a Siberian Husky, Icy was loving all the snow in our yard.  She was leaping through the snow like a Gazelle, trying to play fetch with a ball that kept getting lost in snow, and having herself a good time.  I felt a little bad though.  I felt like she should go somewhere and have some real fun in the snow with other dogs.  But the dog park hadn't been plowed out and many of the roads were still in bad shape.  


Have a backyard adventure with your dog
Icy loves playing in the snow, but it's lonely out there in the white stuff by yourself!
As I watched my neighbor take his Golden Retriever, Cooper, outside for a potty break it dawned on me.  Why not invite Cooper over for a play date in our snow filled yard!  Icy loves Cooper, they've been crushing on each other for a few years now.  


A fun Doggie Playdate in the yard
Icy invited Cooper over the play in the snow with her, but he kept hogging the ball!
I knew Icy and Cooper would have a blast playing together in the snow so I walked over to them and issued the invitation.  "Sure!" Cooper's Dad said and we walked back to our house together.


Dogs playing in the snow together
Icy gives Cooper the Play Bow signal, saying she's ready to PLAY!
I must say, it was a brilliant idea!  The dogs had a blast running and playing in the snow together for over an hour.  My husband and our neighbor would throw the ball and Cooper, being an excellent Retriever, would find it lodged deep in the snow right away.  Icy never seemed to get to the ball first, but she didn't mind.  She had her canine bestie with her, and that's all that mattered.


A backyard doggie playdate.  Dogs love playing in the snow
Catch me if you can, Cooper!  Wooo! Wooo!
Here's a 26 second video of some of their Doggie Play Date fun:




Needless to say, Cooper tired her out pretty good and Icy slept really soundly that night.

It just goes to show you that you don't always have to get in the car to have an adventure, sometimes it's waiting for you right in your own backyard!

Amazon.com Affiliate Link:  



If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

** With all the pet food choices out there, it can be overwhelming.  Now you can talk to a bona fide Pet Nutrition Expert from Natural Balance that can help you select the right food for your pet.

** How I became a Ninja Road Tripper with Dogs!

** Teach your dog to Roll Over in 3 East Steps!


What kind of adventures does your dog love?  Tell us about it in the comments, we always LOVE hearing from you!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Pet Nutrition Experts Are Here To Help YOUR Pet #WeBelieveinNB

There are so many pet food options out there, it can be overwhelming!  Don't you wish there was a bona fide pet food Nutrition Expert to help you determine which food is the best option for your pet? Well, I have good news for you, there is!  

Each member of the Natural Balance® Customer Care Team is a Veterinary Technician with a degree in Animal Health Science.  Not only are they highly qualified, they're totally committed to pet health and wellness!

Natural Balance Pet Food is all natural and comes with a Buy With Confidence Promise!
Premium Quality Proteins, Fruits and Vegetables with NO Artificial Flavors, Corn, Wheat, Soy, By Product Meals or Refined Grains in Natural Balance Pet Food.  That's what I want for my girl Icy!

This post is sponsored by Natural Balance® and the BlogPaws® Professional Pet Blogger Network™. I am being compensated for helping to share our thoughts about why we believe in Natural Balance as a quality food for our dogs, DOGS LUV US AND WE LUV THEM only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Natural Balance Pet Foods is not responsible for the content of this article.

Natural Balance has a variety of premium natural pet food formulas to choose from.  Their Nutrition Experts are Veterinary Technicians that can help you find the one that's just right for your pet.  Nutrition Experts on staff in Natural Balance's Customer Care Department are ready to discuss your pet's unique nutritional needs and tastes to help you find the best food for your pet.

Their Veterinary Technicians are highly trained and have a background in Animal Health Science.  They are well versed in the unique nutritional needs of pets and are committed to helping you find the perfect food for your pet.  You can phone, email, or Chat Live about your pet with a Natural Balance Veterinary Technician.


Qualified Natural Balance Nutrition Experts 


Natural Balance Nutrition Experts all have degrees in Animal Science or Animal Health.  Some even have Masters degrees in animal nutrition!  They really know the unique nutritional needs of pets. When you contact Natural Balance you'll actually be talking to a highly trained Veterinary Technician with a background in Animal Health Science.

Call, send a message, or chat live with a highly skilled Nutrition Expert about your pet's unique needs.  Visit Natural Balance on their website for contact details:


A Natural Balance Nutrition Expert can help you find the right pet food to meet your pet's needs.
Visit the Natural Balance website to Call, Message, or Chat Live with a Natural Balance pet Nutrition Expert.

The fact that Natural Balance Nutrition Experts have a background in animal health and nutrition makes them uniquely qualified to talk with you about your pet's nutritional needs.  They are ready to answer any pet-related questions you may have!

Natural Balance pet food is made with premium quality ingredients and backed by their Buy With Confidence Promise™.  If you're not happy with the Natural Balance pet food you've selected, you can return the uneaten portion of the food to where you purchased it for refund or exchange.  You can also contact a Natural Balance Nutrition Expert who will be happy to help you select another formula to better fit your pet's nutritional needs and taste.





** Learn more about the Natural Balance Buy With Confidence Promise™ by visiting the Natural Balance Website! **

PREMIUM QUALITY INGREDIENTS


Natural Balance carefully selected formulas feature high-quality meats proteins, complex carbohydrates and nourishing fruits and vegetables.

Natural Balance pet food is made with premium quality ingredients
Natural Balance pet food is made with High Quality Meats and Proteins, Complex Carbs, and Fruits and Vegetables.

SAFETY TESTING


Natural Balance extensively tests 20 to 25 batches of food and treats every day! They don't just do one test, they test for 9 known contaminants.  You can even go to their website, enter the product date code on the package, and view your food's lab test results!  Not many pet food companies do that.

The best pet food is both healthy and safe!  Natural Balance performs extensive safety testing on their food and treats daily
Natural Balance tests their food and treats for these 9 known contaminants

NUTRITION EXPERTS


Nutrition Experts are just one contact away.  Let them help you find the perfect Natural Balance pet food formula for your pet.

Qualified Pet Nutrition Experts at Natural Balance are available to help you select the right food for your pet
Find the right pet food formula for your pet by talking with a qualified Nutrition Expert

100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE


Natural Balance wants you to be happy!  If you're not satisfied with the Natural Balance food you've tried,  bring the uneaten portion back for refund or exchange. A Natural Balance Nutrition Expert can help you select a formula that is better for your pet's unique needs.
Natural Balance wants you to be happy with their pet food so they offer a guarantee

I've been feeding Icy Natural Balance since she was a puppy.  She needs a high protein, high quality food for her very active lifestyle.  I feed her the Natural Balance Limited Ingredients Diet formula that's grain free and contains single source protein.  It's helped her grow up strong, healthy, and active! 


I believe in Natural Balance because I believe in their Premium Quality Ingredients, Safety Testing, Nutrition Experts and a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

My dog deserves Premium Quality Proteins, Fruits and Vegetables with NO Artificial Flavors, Corn, Wheat, Soy, By Product Meals or Refined Grains.  Your dog does too!  

Visit the Natural Balance website to find the food that's right for your pet.  Talk with a Nutrition Expert and check out the Natural Balance Buy With Confidence™ promise!



FOLLOW NATURAL BALANCE ON



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Natural Balance. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Be A Ninja Road Tripper With Your Dog

We love fun and adventure with our dogs! One of the things we love doing most with our dogs is taking exciting road trips together.  The first road trip we took with Icy and Phoebe, however, was a series of mishaps.  We were totally unprepared for a long trip with two dogs!  I packed everything but the kitchen sink for the dogs and embarked on an 8 day cross country road trip with no dog friendly hotel reservations made.  We didn't realize how many things could go wrong on a road trip with dogs when you don't have a well thought out plan.  (this post contains an Amazon Affiliate link)

Fast forward 5 years and we've got pet friendly travel down!  We are Ninja Road Trippers with our dogs!  With a little preparation, there's no reason to leave your dog home when you embark on that dream adventure out on the open road
.  


Tips for a road trip with dogs
We pack just one bad for all the dog's stuff on our road trips!



"YOU LOVE YOUR PETS.  WE LOVE YOUR PETS, TOO" 

This post is sponsored by PawCulture™ and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share PawCulture but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. PawCulture is not responsible for the content of this article.

PawCulture shares inspirational stories, pet parenting lifestyle articles and tips on being a better pet parent for the pets in our lives. With diverse content from travel and adventure to heartwarming adoption stories to pet parenting how-tos, PawCulture has something for every pet parent.  Their mission is to Inform, Inspire, and Entertain devoted pet parents with Helpful Advice, Useful Tips and Superior Storytelling.

I recently read a great article in PawCulture magazine on 10 Dog Dangers That Can Derail Your Vacation.  I could totally relate to that article!  We encountered a few of those same mishaps during our first major road trip with Icy and Phoebe, but we learned how to overcome them and now we're pros at traveling with dogs.  That article inspired me to share our three most memorable road trip mishaps so you can avoid them and have a fabulous adventure on the road with your dog!

Of the three most memorable dog travel mishaps we've had, I'd have to say the most stressful one occurred on our very first long road trip with Icy and Phoebe.  We were driving cross country from Phoenix to New York, it was the first of many cross country trips we'd later take with our dogs.  We had taken them on a few road trips prior to that, but never more than a couple of hundred miles away.

NO ROOM AT THE INN


We wanted to make the most of our long road trip by visiting interesting places along the way.  I had only made a reservation for the first city we were visiting and figured we'd have no problem finding dog friendly places to stay along the way.  Why would we, we were armed with the AAA Pet Book and had internet access via our cell phones, right?  After the first two cities we began having trouble finding hotels that would accept our dogs.  It was December and even though several places were dog friendly, all the pet friendly rooms were either booked or way too costly!  It was extremely stressful for us, which in turn stressed out the dogs.  Pets can sense when we are upset!

We were excited to finally arrive in Hot Springs, Arkansas, one of the more interesting places we planned to visit along the way!  Unfortunately, every dog friendly hotel we called from the road said they were booked.  At this point I began to panic.  Hot Springs is pretty deep in the Ouachita Mountains.  It took a long time to get there, we'd been on the road for so many hours.  We were exhausted, cranky, and hungry.  We needed to find a place to stay!   When we finally found a place that would take us, a very low end hotel chain, they quoted me a price over the phone, but when we arrived 30 minutes later somehow the price had gotten significantly higher!  I couldn't argue, we had no other options.  The room was awful and it was a noisy hotel.  The service wasn't good either, but beggars (or those who failed to make advance reservations) can't be choosers!

We loved Hot Springs and had a great time visiting, but I definitely learned my lesson - book pet friendly hotel accommodations in advance!  The next day I made some phone calls and booked lodging for us the rest of the way to New York.  Ahhhhh, I breathed a major sigh of relief!

Plan ahead for stress free travel with pets
With a little advanced planning, your road trip with pets can be stress free and relaxing
These days I try to make reservations for every night of our road trips in advance.  If we can't for some reason, I know that sticking close to major Interstate highways will usually yield at least one of the top 3 affordable pet friendly hotel chains, including the Red Roof Inn, La Quinta, and Comfort Inn.  These places are usually very consistent and will often accept cancellations as late as 4pm on the day of arrival.  That really gives us peace of mind and flexibility!

Hotel Chains that are dog friendly are often independently owned and operated.  Sometimes they can, and do, refuse to accept pets or have size restrictions for dogs.  In addition, pet policies change frequently; a hotel that's pet friendly today may not accept pets tomorrow.  Some states are less dog friendly than others, which can make it more challenging to find pet friendly lodging.  Have a plan before you leave your driveway!

PAWS FOR  INJURY

Another mishap was when we took Icy out for a late night potty break in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The hotel had a tiny dog walk area but it was poorly lit.  We didn't notice that she had stepped on something sharp, probably broken glass.  On the way back to the room we noticed she had sliced open her paw and was trailing blood down the hallway!  I did pack a small first aid kit, but I didn't have any gauze pads in it.  I had hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, one large bandage and a sock to protect a paw in case of injury.  I didn't realize that paw pads could bleed so much!  It was really scary, especially since the bleeding wouldn't stop for what felt like an eternity.  We had to use a towel from the hotel to apply compression and finally stop the bleeding.  We couldn't get to a Veterinarian until the next day.   Now I pack a fully stocked pet first aid kit, with plenty of gauze pads.  I have to say, we almost always need the first aid kit when we travel.  If it's not Icy in need of medical attention it's my husband!

STINK, STANK, STUNK!


On one of our road trips we had stopped at a hotel for the night.  It was time for their potty break so we took the dogs to the hotel's potty area.  Before we knew what was happening, Icy and Phoebe had both rolled in some kind of incredibly STINKY stuff!  We thought they had just enjoyed a roll in the lush grass.  When we got back into our room the smell hit us like a ton of bricks.  "UGH!!  What is that stench!?" It was bad.  I mean really bad.  It smelled like fertilizer, incredibly fresh, potent fertilizer.   You know what I mean, the way it stinks when the gardener has just put it down all over every inch of the yard and you can't even open the windows!

On road trips with dogs, be prepared for unexpected issues
Dogs roll in stinky stuff, it happens.  Bring cleanup provisions!
I had brought a travel size bottle of dog shampoo with us.  We bathed both dogs in the hotel bathtub and dried them off.  We used every drop of the shampoo we brought along, but Icy and Phoebe still smelled!  Not quite as badly but still, it was most unpleasant.  At least we could breathe again though, so that was good.  

The next day we got back on the road and drove with the windows open - along Interstate 40!  After nearly an hour, like a golden ray of sunshine I spotted a PetSmart sign!  "PULL OVER!!" I shouted.  We pulled in and within three hours both dogs were scrubbed clean by the PetSmart angels groomers.  Whew!  I now bring not only dog shampoo with us on road trips, I also pack grooming wipes and grooming gloves in case my girls decide to revel in their own kind of Splendor In The Grass on future road trips!

Making advance dog friendly lodging reservations, packing plenty of shampoo and pet wipes for stinky incidents, and always having a well stocked pet first aid kit has made dog travel much more relaxing for us.  Now we're always up for new adventures on the road with our dogs!

I've found so many helpful and inspiring articles on PawCulture.  It's a great resource for all the things I'm interested in as a pet parent like  Pet Tips & Advice, Pet Lifestyle, and my personal favorite, Pet Travel and Adventure!  There is a ton of great content to read and share on PawCulture.  As a pet parent, I really feel like they GET ME, and that's so important.


Find Inspiration!  
Celebrate the unbreakable bond between pets and their people by visiting the PawCulture web site. You'll find lots of information, inspiration, and entertainment on so many of the things today's pet lovers want to read about.



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Have you visited PawCulture's web site yet?  Leave us a comment and tell us!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PawCulture. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cute Dog Trick; Roll Over

Tricks training is a great bonding activity to do with your dog.  It's so much fun! One of the easiest tricks you can teach your dog is to Roll Over.  It mimics one of a dog's most natural behaviors, rolling over!

Begin by putting your dog in a SIT position.  Give her a treat as soon as she sits.


Teach your dog to Roll Over
Start with your dog is the SIT position

Next get your dog to lie DOWN.  Give her a treat as soon as she goes into the Down position.


Teaching your dog to Roll Over is one of the easiest tricks to teach dogs
Put your dog in a Down position before teching the Roll Over sequence

That should be easy enough, right?  Now we begin to teach the roll over movement by luring the dog to roll over.  

> Starting with your dog in the DOWN position, place a treat near her nose so she can smell it.  Slowly begin to lure your dog to roll over by moving the treat to her side, staying very close to the body.
An easy to teach, cute dog trick is the Roll Over trick
With a treat close to your dog's nose and body, begin teaching the Roll Over sequence

> Continue luring your dog with the treat close to her nose and body.  Work towards getting her to roll onto her back.  
Using a treat as a lure, train your dog to Roll Over
Keep the treat close to your dog's nose so she can smell it and "follow" the treat through the Roll Over movement

> Continue the lure, still keeping the treat close to her nose and body, until she rolls all the way over onto the opposite side.  As soon as she completes the movement, "Mark" the behavior and praise her enthusiastically!  You can Mark behavior by either using a training Clicker or with a word you use to mark training behavior.  I use the word "Yes!" in my training sessions.
A fun dog trick is to train your dog to Roll Over on command
Continue luring your dog through the Roll Over trick using a treat close to the dog's nose

> Once you've done this entire sequence several times and your dog is picking up on it, add the verbal cue "Roll Over", putting a name to the trick.

When you put it all together in one motion you have the completed Roll Over trick!  You may need to reinforce the ROLLING OVER movement several times.  If your dog appears confused, go back to luring her through the motion using a treat close to her nose and body. 

Phoebe learned to Roll Over very quickly.  Here's what the Roll Over trick will look like:



Once your dog masters roll over, you can perfect the trick by creating distance.  The ultimate goal is for you to be able to give the "Roll Over" command from 3 to 6 feet away.  
You dog will probably slip up a bit when you first try to give the Roll Over command from a distance, but that is totally normal.  Just move back in closer and try again until you can achieve distance when doing the trick.

Not every trick is right for every dog.  Although my dog Icy loves rolling over on her back in the grass, she did not like doing the Roll Over trick at all.  I think it might be because she has a very long back and it may not be comfortable for her to roll over on command so I just focus on other tricks with her.  Tricks should be fun for both you and your dog!  You don't want it to become an unpleasant chore.

If you discover that your dog isn't comfortable with a trick, no matter how easy it may seem to  you, move on to another trick.


*** REMEMBER ***
> Always use Positive Reinforcement methods when training, never yell at or hit your dog!  If you're getting frustrated that your dog isn't paying attention or isn't getting the trick, take a break.

> Keep training sessions short, about 15 - 20 minutes at a time. If you do much more than that your dog may get bored or frustrated.

> Be Patient, training takes time.  If you feel your dog just isn't getting it after awhile, the trick may not be a good fit for your dog!  Just like people, every dog is an individual, don't push him into something he's not comfortable with or that is too difficult for him - try a different trick!

> And most of all, Have FUN!  Tricks training should feel like play for both you and your dog.  It's also a great way to strengthen the bond you have with your dog.

YOU CAN GET PET SUPPLIES, INCLUDING DOG TRAINING PRODUCTS LIKE TRAINING CLICKERS, TRAINING BOOKS, AND TRAINING TREATS AT PETSMART  FOR A LIMITED TIME, GET FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $19 (affiliate link)

PetSmart

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like:

Where's My Dog, a show stopping dog trick!
The adorable Play Dead dog trick
Dog Training Doesn't End with Puppyhood, it's a lifelong endeavor.
More Dog Training and Behavior tips

Do you enjoy tricks training with your dog?  What's your favorite dog trick?  Leave us a comment & share, we LOVE hearing from you!

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Dogs Poor Dental Health Leads To Health Problems #OrateneOralCare Giveaway

February is NATIONAL PET DENTAL HEALTH MONTH!

Dog dental health isn't just about clean teeth or the unpleasant smell that goes along with bad breath.  Pet oral health is an important part of your dog's overall health, so you don't want to overlook it!  Your pet's mouth is an ideal place for all kinds of bacteria to grow, including plaque which hardens and becomes tartar.  This can throw off the balance of normal, healthy microbial flora and lead to serious oral health problems.



PET DENTAL DISEASE CAN LEAD TO SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS


According to PetMD, one of the largest online resources for pet health information, 78% of dogs over the age of 3 have some form of dental disease.  It's the most common health problem effecting dogs.  Pet Dental disease can consist of:  

* An accumulation of Plaque on the surface of the teeth, which then hardens and becomes Tartar

* Gum inflammation and infection, called Gingivitis
* Tooth root abscesses
* Broken or lost teeth
* Periodontal Disease, one of the most common conditions in dogs and cats, causes damage to the gum, bone, and tissue around the teeth.  Toxins from periodontal disease are absorbed into the dog's blood stream and can cause infections.  This can lead to more serious health problems, potentially damaging kidney, heart, and brain tissue.  


Pet Dental Health Care is important to pets overall health
Poor oral health in pets can lead to serious health issues
Pets taking medications are especially prone to dental health issues.  They can develop very bad breath and may have more plaque, which can lead to serious oral health issues.


Oratene® Brushless Pet Dental Care products can help improve your dog's oral health!




This post is sponsored by Oratene® and the BlogPawsTM Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about Oratene brushless pet oral care products for Pet Dental Health Month, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Oratene is not responsible for the content of this article.





Oratene's line of Brushless Pet Oral Health Products  make it easy to kill harmful bacteria and germs, and remove plaque biofilm in your dog's mouth.  Their products break down plaque and biofilm, and specifically target the harmful odor causing bacteria and microorganisms in the mouth. It freshens your dog's breath while maintaining a healthy oral ecology.

Oratene products are especially beneficial for senior pets, pets with special health conditions like Diabetes, and pets who are taking medications for behavior, pain, allergies, heart problems, thyroid dysfunction, or urinary incontinence.  


Many pets taking medication can experience a change in the quality of saliva.  Although pets may still have saliva and drool, this condition is called "Dry Mouth".  Pets with chronic Dry Mouth develop severe halitosis (very bad breath), and accumulate plaque which can lead to tartar and tooth decay. 

Oratene's line of Pet Dental Care products restores oral balance, reduces harmful bacteria & yeast, and dissolves plaque biofilm.  

One of the products in their line of pet dental care products is the Oratene Water Additive.  It's a flavorless concentrate you add to your pet's water each day that provides a safe, healthy way to conveniently keep teeth clean without brushing!


Oratene Water Additive provides brushless oral health care for pets
Oratene Water Additive helps keep pets' teeth clean without brushing

HOW DOES ORATENE WATER ADDITIVE WORK?

> Oratene Water Additive contains two patented, natural enzyme systems, the LP3 Enzyme System and the MD2 Enzyme System (Mutanase + Dextranase).  

> These enzymes inhibit harmful odor-causing bacteria and remove plaque biofilm.  The LP3 Enzyme System destroys bacteria and fungal microorganisms while restoring the oral balance in a pet's mouth.  The MD2 Enzyme System makes plaque water soluble and unable to bind to the teeth.


IS ORATENE WATER ADDITIVE SAFE FOR MY PETS?


> Oratene Water Additive does NOT contain any CHLORHEXIDINE, XYLITOL, ALCOHOL, OR CHLORINE COMPOUNDS, so it's safe for dogs and cats to use daily!


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WIN A BOTTLE OF ORATENE WATER ADDITIVE!  


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Oratene Water Additive 
was great news for me.  I've had a hard time trying to brush Icy and Phoebe's teeth.   I tried really hard to brush their teeth.  I read how-to articles, I watched videos, but it was such a struggle trying to brush their teeth.  It was becoming so unpleasant for them, and for me, that I just gave up. 


 2 PUMPS OF ORATENE WATER ADDITIVE IN 4 CUPS OF WATER - THAT'S IT!
I've been looking for an effective way to clean their teeth without stressing them out.  Although my dogs don't take medication and don't have "Dry Mouth", they are both showing signs of deteriorating dental health.  Oratene's Water Additive is perfect for us!  I've been  using it for a few weeks now and it's great.  It's so easy and convenient to use and the dog's don't even notice it's in their water.  Their breath doesn't stink so much anymore either!

If your dog is taking medication, or if you just want to improve their oral hygiene and bad breath, give Oratene Water Additive a try.

Note: According to Oratene, the Water Additive can be used with a pet water fountain however "the filter MUST be taken out or it will remove the active compounds and it will plug up the filter."

Oratene Pet Dental Care Products are available at Petco stores and other retailers, as well as from Veterinarians.


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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Oratene. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Adopted Dog Has Fear Issues, Now What?!

Walking through the shelter aisles to see what adoptable dogs were there was part of my routine.  As an Adoption Counselor at the county shelter, the first thing I did after signing in for the day was to see which dogs were still in the shelter from my prior shift, and who had been adopted.  I was elated when animals from the prior day had been adopted, but my heart would sink when I'd see the same ones week after week.


Dogs with fear issues can be helped with proper training
This is one of my favorite photos of Phoebe, my once fearful dog
I was checking the cages to see what new dogs had arrived.  That's when I first saw Phoebe.  As I walked the aisles I spotted a cage with two small dogs I hadn't seen before.  They were so adorable!  The female, whom I later named Phoebe, was white and fluffy.  The male looked similar but had some black on his ears and feet.  The kennel card said they were found together "in the field".  In the field didn't mean they were found running through a meadow of flowers somewhere, it's the term used to mean the animal was found in the streets, in the desert, or perhaps in a parking lot.  They were approximately 3-5 years old.  Like most animals that come into the shelter neither were spayed or neutered.  They had no ID tags and no microchip.   


ADOPTING A FEARFUL SHELTER DOG


After the required Hold Period, the shelter spayed and neutered both dogs and placed them for adoption.  As I looked through the cage and made little squeeky noises to get their attention, the male came over to me and I pet him.  Phoebe however, was out like a light, still groggy from her spay anesthesia.   

A couple of days later I was back at the shelter volunteering.  As I did my "rounds" I came upon their cage and noticed the male dog was gone.  I had a momentary flutter - he's been adopted!!  But the moment didn't last, the kennel card said there was a problem with his neuter surgery site and he had to be sent back to the clinic.  Phoebe was alone in the cage.  I tried to interact with her but she just lay in her bed, not responding.  I think she was depressed at losing her home and her friend. 

Throughout the day I'd walk by her cage and softly talk to her, trying to coax her out of her bed and over to the door of the cage.  I opened it a few times and pet her.  After a couple of hours she started to stand up and come to the cage door when I walked over and wag her tail.  This was progress!

Long story short, I fell in love with her and ended up adopting Phoebe that day.  I had no idea she would soon exhibit extreme fear issues!   I brought her home and introduced her to my Husky, Icy and my cat, Maggie.  No problem, that went just fine.  I put her in the guest room in a crate, giving her time to adjust to her new home and having her own space.  I used the crate to help her feel safe and to potty train her if needed.


MY ADORABLE ADOPTED DOG HAS FEAR ISSUES


Later that evening, my husband John returned from work and it was time to introduce him to little Phoebe.  John and I sat on the bed and I picked her up for him to pet her.  She seemed to stiffen and didn't interact with him at all.  I put her on the floor and John got down on the floor as well, not far from her.  Suddenly she LEAPED into the air - I swear she jumped 2 feet in the air - and immediately bolted into her crate, cowering in the corner!  My husband and I looked at each other, stunned.  What just happened??  We couldn't imagine what frightened her so much.

Over the following days and weeks we came to the realization that the dog we adopted was terrified of men.  She was even terrified of young boys!   Every time John went near her she would cower and try to hide.  If he was in the same room, she would not even eat her food!  If he walked across the room she would circle away and avoid contact with him.  She looked so wary, as though she expected him to kick her at any given moment.  The consensus among the trainers and behaviorists I talked to was that Phoebe was likely mistreated by a male in her home before she came to the shelter.  

I know many dogs have fear and anxiety issues.  I had seen fearful dogs at the shelter.  Fear issues in dogs can prevent them from being adopted, or cause people to return a fearful dog to the shelter.  If fearful dogs don't get the training and behavior modification they need, it can prevent the dog and his owner from living a full and happy life together.


HOW WE HELPED OUR ADOPTED FEARFUL DOG  


After the initial shock of learning that the dog we just adopted had fear issues, I knew we had to do something to address her extreme fear of men.  I searched for articles on training fearful dogs.  I re-watched some of Victoria Stilwell's positive reinforcement dog training videos I had seen on Animal Planet.  I knew that dogs with fear issues would benefit from training geared toward creating positive associations with the object of the dog's fear.  We needed to create positive associations for Phoebe with John and get her to love him, so we got to work!


Some of the things that worked well for us to address Phoebe's fear:



> When Phoebe was in her crate, we had John walk by and toss a treat into the crate without making any eye contact with her.

> Throughout the day, John would walk by her, but not too close, and toss a treat her way.  Again without making any eye contact.

> Over time we had John get closer and closer to Phoebe as he tossed treats her way.  Slowly decreasing the distance between them was important.


Treats help create positive associations for fearful dogs
Treats played a big part in helping Phoebe overcome her fear
These actions helped her see that when John was near, good things happened - treats!  Over many weeks, John progressed to the point of being able to give her a treat when he was seated in a chair with her only inches away.  Eventually, she learned to actually come over to him and get the treat.  That was great progress!

> We had John feed her all her meals, touching her dry food to put his scent on it.  He'd put the bowl down and walk away so she would not feel intimidated by him towering over her.  

We discovered that she was more fearful with him in a standing position.  When he was in a seated position he was a lot less scary to her.  Having his scent on her food helped her see that he was the source of her food, a very positive thing!

> John and I took lots of walks with both dogs together so she would know that she was now part of our family of four.   

This helped her get comfortable with our walking routine.  Having Icy on the walks seemed to give her a lot of comfort.  Walking together as a family probably felt like a natural "pack" behavior for her.  Walks were challenging at first, she wouldn't let John walk her and she tried to stay as close to Icy as she could.  I think she felt safer with Icy close by because in her mind Icy offered some form of protection.  

> After she was comfortable with our family "pack" walks, I wanted to get her to a point where John could walk her by himself.  If I became sick, injured, or had to go on a business trip he would need to walk her without me.  One way we dealt with that was for John and I to take her on some walks with just the 3 of us.  She wasn't as comfortable with those walks at first but we kept at it.  After awhile, I started by walking Phoebe for a few minutes, and once she had her walking groove on I'd gently pass the leash to John.  

She didn't even notice the leash transition!  Phoebe soon realized that is was ok for John to be holding the leash and she enjoyed all our walks together, whether Icy was with us or not.


Helping dogs with fear issues
Phoebe is now fear free, a happy, well adjusted member of our family!
Phoebe ultimately learned that good things happened when John was around.  Purely by chance, he discovered that she had a secret love of popcorn!  Discovering that popcorn was an irresistible treat for her was very helpful.  For a long time, John was the ONLY source of popcorn for her.  Needless to say, that helped our training progress quite a bit! 

The same could probably be done with a favorite toy or a new toy, making the object of the dogs fear, be it a person, thing, place, or noise the only opportunity the dog has to get that high value toy.

  

Fortunately, my husband was really wonderful throughout Phoebe's training.  He worked with me for months to help Phoebe get over her Man Terror.  I'd be lying if I said it was a quick & easy process.  It wasn't.  It took time and effort but it definitely paid off.  Phoebe finally came around and realized that John was her Daddy, not something to be feared!   In the morning, she loves to trot over to his side of the bed for the special neck rubs that only Daddy can give!

Phoebe is no longer a scared dog. Now she's a super confident, friendly dog who loves meeting new people - including those of the male gender!  She is such a joy.  I'm so glad we took the time to work on her fear issues allowing our sweet, adopted dog to become a wonderful addition to our family.

Working through her fear issues showed Phoebe that not all men are mean.  In fact, some of them will give you delicious popcorn!

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a professional dog trainer, nor do I play one online!  I share my own experiences and learnings, and what has worked for me.  Phoebe was fearful but never aggressive.  If your dog is fearful and Aggressive, I recommend working with a professional dog trainer who is trained to handle aggression in dogs.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

Want to adopting a pet?  8 Important Questions To Ask Before Adopting A Dog
Does your dog think he's a "Landscaper"? How to control your dog's digging in the yard
Moving house?  Tips for a Successful Move With Pets


Have you ever had a fearful dog?  How did you handle it?  Please leave us a comment and share, we LOVE hearing from you!