Looking for your dream pup? Gooddog.com can help!

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A lot of people ask me where we got Pax and why we picked our specific breeder. I researcher 25+ breeders. NO JOKE. There were very important qualities we looked for such as, how they handled the puppies, how many litters the moms were having, the breeding style, and the breeders personality in general. We had a wonderful experience and will be getting another dog from them in the future.

I’m a research nut and searched high & low for our breeder! Using a platform to help me connect to these breeders would have been super helpful! A website called, gooddog.com, can help dog parents do just that! Whether you are getting a doggo from breeders, shelters, or rescues this website can guide you. The Good Dog team and I recently connected about their new initiative and I thought it was such a good ideaI figured it would be helpful for everyone to learn a bit more! Below is more information about what they do and how they can help you find your new best friend! Take a look!

Gooddog.com

by Kaylin Marcotte

Good Dog is a new organization that helps people find the dogs of their dreams from responsible breeders, shelters and rescues.

Good Dog's mission is to help educate well-intentioned potential dog parents on responsible practices and connect them with good sources to put the bad actors out of business. Well-intentioned prospective dog parents often simply don’t know enough about what to look for and unfortunately end up inadvertently getting their dogs from irresponsible sources, like puppy mills. This not only harms dogs by fueling the broken system, but often results in complications for dog parents such as unexpected health or behavioral issues. Good Dog has pre-screened every member of their community so you can find a dog with peace-of-mind.

Good Dog also makes the process simple and convenient. They have a learning center with answers to questions like are you ready for a dog, how to work with a breeder or shelter, how to get your puppy home, and more. You can browse breeders and see the health tests, enrichment and socialization that they provide for each puppy, then apply directly all in one place.

All dogs deserve happy beginnings and forever homes. Good Dog shines a light on responsible practices and highlights vetted, ethical shelters, rescues and breeders to make it simple to find a dog responsibly.

To learn more:

Follow their campaign by checking out their instagram @gooddog & their website www.gooddog.com!

Are you ready to get a puppy? Make sure to sign up for our puppy mama tips by joining our tribe below!

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7 things to think about before you get a puppy.

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Getting a dog is never a good idea. It's a great idea. In today’s world more and more people are adopting furry friends to keep them company, improve mood, decrease depression/anxiety, support them while enduring hardships, encourage them to push onward, and of course to celebrate life!!

Getting a dog is also a really big idea. Caring for an animal or in our case, another family member is a full-time job. It’s a huge responsibility, and it changes your life for a large chunk of your life. For us, that’s exactly what we wanted, hoped for, and received. One of the biggest things that I share with people is that having a dog for us was never a hardship because we never expected it to be easy.

I want to make sure that I share my opinion up front- getting Pax has been the greatest adventure of our lives so far. He has brought my husband and I closer, he’s been my muse while growing my business, he has increased my happiness and filled my heart with such joy. Jarrod and I also had an ideal situation getting a dog which made the process more adaptable in our lives.

Here are some REAL things to think about.

1. Your social life. It’s really not fair to leave your pup for longer than 3-4 hours unless you have a planned event. Dogs are pack animals, and they miss you when you’re gone. If you’re like me - I think I miss Pax more than he misses me. Also, if you get wasted the night before you still have to get up at 6am to take your dog out to potty the next morning. If you want to jet out for a weekend, you’ll have to think about where your dog is going to stay. We’ve had some “ehh” experiences with Rover, and I’m so grateful nothing terrible happened, and it gets harder and harder to leave your fur baby when you know they aren’t going to treat them exactly as you would. That’s also a cost, right? Boarding your dog is a cost.

2. Budget. Getting a dog (whether you rescue or go through a breeder) is going to cost you money. From dog food to shots to random ear aches you’ll be spending more money on those things. Also, dog bow ties and bandanas aren’t free. #millennialproblems… What about when you go out of town and you have to pay for boarding. That raises another question, where will your dog stay?

3. What is your work schedule? If you travel Tuesday-Thursday you’ll need to prepare for your dog to be cared for which is more effort for you. Do you work 12-14 hours a day? Or even an 8-hour shift you’ll need to figure out how your pup will go potty if you don’t have a way they can go in and out.

4. Relationships? Your partnership will change. I am so grateful for the closeness, fun, and house full of love that having a dog has created in our life. But, I won’t lie and tell you that the intimacy hasn’t changed in my life. We can’t even hug without Pax jumping in or crying. My husband and I have been together for 8 years, so we are able to have frank conversations of what our needs are which is extremely helpful in regards to figuring out a plan to have a relationship without the dog. That’s another important concept to think about. If you are in a relationship how does your partner feel about getting a dog? If one of you are only half way commited to getting a puppy it will make it that much more challenging when raising the pup. Also, dogs can truly feel energy. Living in a home with frustration, stress, and resentment isn’t good for anyone!

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5. Ready to be less selfish? I see it in a good way - but I did stop taking care of myself for awhile - especially while he was a puppy. I felt guilt if I left, I felt overwhelmed when I took him places, and I felt so much love when I was with him sometimes I didn’t go anywhere at all. I stopped exercising and leaving the house as much for certain things I use to do (hello amazon & post mates). But it also brought me a new love, activities, and community.

6. Housing situation? Do you live with roommates? Is anyone allergic to dogs? How do you feel about mud on your couch? These are real realities. Today I took Pax to the dog park, and he rolled around in the dirt and then promptly laid down on my pillow when we get home. Can you even have a dog? Does your landlord let you? Are you in a big house with lots of room? How will your pup go potty?

7. Where’s your mindset? would you get upset if your dog laid on your pillow full of mud or would you laugh and grab another pillowcase? This one is super important. If you go into this experience #1 unprepared or #2 unrealistic expectations, you will absolutely get frustrated with your puppy. Being ready, willing, and able in my opinion seals the positive experience with getting a dog.

The truth behind "take your dog to work day".

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I am a researcher of all things. I like to know details and understand inner workings so I can be prepared and confident. This was no different picking our puppy. When we got the call, I went to work. First thing was figuring out how we were going to manage full-time jobs, graduate school (for me), and a packed social calendar. Fortunately, for me, I was working for a company that had a dog-friendly policy, and I was able to bring Pax to work with me every single day. Even luckier, my boss gave me “pawternity” leave where I worked from home for the first 2-3 weeks we had Pax. I have been out of the corporate world for 6 months now and the majority of those months I’ve been recovering from my boating accident. So, with all that said - sounds simple to have a dog at your office right? 

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Wrong! Your dog might be totally fine, but people are not. People are the problem (in a greatest possible way). People love puppies. People love teddy bear puppies. Imagine having one in your office! You’d probably do a “sneak by” 36 times in one hour! I know I would. I eventually had to put up a sign that said, “If I’m sleeping, please let me be. I need my beauty rest to look this cute.”  just so people wouldn’t wake him up. While Pax was at the office sleeping peacefully under my desk, I would be on coaching calls and taking finals in graduate school. I absolutely loved having my buddy with me all the time and he was just so great in the office. It took time for him to understand what happened there but after a short while he got it and just slept under my desk most days. Below are the most important things to think about when preparing to take your dog to work with you.

Here is my my bring your doggo to work day checklist

1. Portable water bowl 

2. Is your pup going to be in a crate? We brought Pax’s, but he never slept in it. Are you in a space that can be overwhelming to the dog with all the people that walk by? Luckily, I was in a corner and against a wall so it was quiet and we could hide out there.

3. Potty pads for when they are unable to go outside when your pup hasn’t completed the vaccines!

4. TREATS- I brought EVERYTHING from high value treats to keep his attention, chews/bones/kongs for meetings and back to back calls. 

5. Plan when you will take your pup out throughout the day. Are you in meetings most of the day? The younger they are the more you have to take them out.

6. Talk to your co-workers and make sure they are not distracted 

7. Talk to yourself and make sure YOU’RE not distracted

8. It’s ok to say, please let them be. It is. I promise. 

9. Try to manage less than 8 hours with your dog at the office- I noticed Pax would kinda lose it laying around by hour 6. 

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10. I brought tennis balls, towels from home, and CBD goodies for him. 

11. Patience and flexibility. It’s not going to go perfect because your pup is a living breathing thing!

12. Walk your pup if you can before going into the office to get some energy out!

13. HAVE FUN! If your dog is allowed to come to the office make it a positive experience rather than a stressful one.

HAVE YOU TAKEN YOU DOG TO THE OFFICE? I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! COMMENT BELOW AND SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH ME! WOOF!

Guest Article: Picking the right breed for your family!

I get this question all the time… “How do I know what type of dog is best for me?” We choose a F1 mini Goldendoodle for many reasons. First, I’m allergic to dogs…so strange since I grew up with them but as I aged I became allergic to them. Second, my husband and I want to grow our family in the next couple years and we know that Goldendoodles are great with children. Third, they don’t shed. Fourth, their temperament in general was just a disposition we wanted to be around all the time (we both love golden retrievers!). There are many many many other reasons why we decided on a mini Goldendoodle and I’d be happy to share- feel free to email me if you have questions about getting a fur baby!

I was so excited when Jessica from ourbestfriends.pet organization wanted to do a guest blog article on picking the right breed for your family. Getting a dog is a big decision and Jessica gives some great tips! Take a look below and make sure check out their website!

A Humane and Responsible Decision: Choosing the Right Breed for Your Family

by: Jessica Brody

The relationship between a pet and its owner can be a mutually rewarding and long-lasting one if you find  the right animal and breed for your family and lifestyle. A number of factors go into making that decision, one that should be taken seriously and with an objective consideration of the facts. It isn’t a cookie-cutter choice; there’s no one-size-fits-all pet. They each have their own requirements and temperaments, and some may be more suitable for you than others. There are many cases of people who have made hasty decisions and had to return a pet to the local Humane Societyor some other animal shelter. That’s bad news for the animal, who may not get another chance at being chosen. 

Physical suitability

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An honest assessment of your square footage, inside and out, should play a big role in your decision. If you’re living in a two-bedroom apartment, it’s unfair to bring home a great dane or a mastiff, even if your landlord allows dogs. A small or medium-sized dog, like a beagle, would probably be a better fit, or perhaps a cat. Many people like having a big dog roaming the property to ward off intruders, which can work as long as your yard is big enough to allow him to stretch his legs and enjoy some playtime. 

For convenience, consider installing a dog door to make it easy for your pooch to get in and out and an automatic feederto help him stay on a regular feeding schedule. Remember that a large pet needs a comfortable place to sleep with enough room to spread out instead of in a cubby hole that forces him to seek room alongside you in bed. 

Kids

It’s essential to consider the impact a pet will have on your children. Think twice before bringing home a large breedof dog, such as a pit bull, rottweiler or chow chow, which are active and powerful breeds that can turn aggressive suddenly and unexpectedly. It’s unfair to the animal, who might have to be put down after an attack, and you could scar a child psychologically as well as physically. 

Avoid aggressive breeds if your children are very young and apt to pull Fido’s tail just for the fun of it. A cat can be a safer alternative, though it may be necessary to have it declawed(be aware that many animal societies recommend against this, and many vets won’t perform the procedure unless it’s medically necessary). Don’t forget to consider allergies, which will be exacerbated by pet hair and dander. 

Unless you settle on a fish, be prepared to deal with hair on the furniture, on the carpet and in the corners and in air ducts. The hairier your pet, the more you’ll need a top-notch vacuum cleanerwith plenty of attachments for reaching into tight spots, and under chairs and tables. If yours isn’t up to the challenge, do some online research to find the best option for maintaining a clean home. 

Your schedule

How much time you can realistically expect to spend with a pet is another important factor and should be taken seriously. People with very busy lives and serious responsibilities at work that keep them away from home for long periods aren’t the best candidates for owning an animal that needs and craves love and attention. This is especially true of dogs, which are highly sociable animals. Here again, a cat can be a good option, but remember that cats require attentionas well and certainly won’t thrive in a neglectful living environment. 

Acclimatization

Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and a change of living environment can be an unsettling experience. Take care to make your new pet’s arrival as smooth as possible. Set up a space just for him, in a quiet spot in a part of your home that’s not as heavily trafficked as others. Be prepared to spend time with your new family member in the beginning to help him make the transition, especially if you’ve brought home a rescue petwho’s been subjected to abuse. 

It’s important to be realistic about providing care for the pet you choose. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll be spending hours every day with a pet, but you don’t want to bring an animal into a situation of benign neglect, no matter how unintentional. Use common sense and make a humane decision.

 

Courtesy of Pixabay.com.       

Link: http://www.ourbestfriends.pet

Pax's first road trip!

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Jarrod (my husband) and I love to travel. We usually leave the country 1-2 times a year and since we got Pax it gets harder and harder to leave. This year we decided to travel with him! Unfortunately, with my boating accident earlier this year we didn’t want to go to far or fly for too long so we decided on a road trip around california! 

Pax loves the car. I think part of it has to do with the fact that he’s been in the car since day once and we drove 6+ hours home with him in my arms. When we go outside he always runs to the car and thinks we are headed somewhere. 

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We get asked a lot about our top road trip tips. A few months ago I posted about Brittany & Layla’s road trip and her tips. So here I am to add to the list from our own experience. We started our journey in San Diego and stopped in Orange County, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Napa, Mendocino, & Santa Barbara. We chose those destinations one because we have family in several of them and also because they are very dog friendly. We stayed in hotels in San Francisco, Napa, and Santa Barbara. San Francisco we stayed at the Hyatt Regency - they are dog friendly! We stayed at a fabulous hotel in Napa called the Archer Hotel. They were absolutely pawesome!! Their concierge set up a wine tour for us at all dog friendly wineries. Lastly, in Santa Barbara we stayed at a Kimpton hotel called the Canary Hotel. Once again, beyond accommodating. We found all of these hotels through our chase points and then calling to confirm they are dog friendly. When we were checking in we had to fill out a few pieces of paper that references his breed/name/details..etc. Mendocino’s airbnb was very appropriate as it was on an apple orchid and had acres for him to run around. The restaurants weren't as friendly so we ended up staying in and cooking the few nights we were there.

Best way to find out if places are dog friendly is to google it, ask around, use yelp or bring fido. Most websites will also express if they are dog friendly!

Here are additional tips that I think are helpful:

  1. We mapped out our journey to spend max 3 - 3 1/2 hours in the car. the one day we drove farther than that we stopped several times to let pax out and give him water. 

  2. Pax wasn’t hungry at his normal hours probably because of all the new settings so we brought a cooler of all his my ollie and put his bowl in there and kept trying to feed him when we stopped

  3. Call hotels & activities (we went wine tasting for example) and find out if they are dog friendly or check out online. 

    1. Yelp is helpful (and you can search within the reviews) for dinner reservations in most areas

    2. Bring Fido 

    3. Plain old google 

  4. Bring ALL grooming supplies 

  5. Pack towels - never know when you’ll need to wipe some paws! 

  6. Treats, chews, and only a few toys

  7. Google local vets in the area before going 

  8. Make sure you understand local laws 

  9. Google dog parks and read the reviews!! 

  10. We brought both a pop up bowl for water and a dog water bottle for him 


Hope this was helpful! Enjoy the road! xo

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Toxic & Non-Toxic Plants for Dogs

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When Pax was a little puppy, we noticed that he kept ripping leaves of our dracaena plant. We would find the leaves scattered around the house. At the same time, we saw he would throw up or have an upset tummy while displaying lethargy. When we went to the vet, they ruled out all parasites and other possibilities. I shared with our vet about the dracaena plant, and she let me know that it is mildly toxic to dogs and we should move the plant.

Luckily I am a black thumb and have a lot of fake plants in my house, but I do have three real ones. A fiddle leaf fig “figgy cent” who has since past (rest in peace), a snake plant, and the dracaena. Once I learned that specific plants could be dangerous for Pax, I began to research the ones we could not have in the house. Also, I just decided that being black thumb suited me and I’ll stick to the fake ones :)

Please be mindful with purchasing new plant babies and introducing them to your furry baby some of them can cause serious effects.

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Here are just 12 toxic plants to dogs:

1. Autumn Crocus

2. Azalea flowers

3. Daffodil flowers

4. Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) houseplant

5. Tulip (especially the bulb)

6. Sago Palm (extremely poisonous)

7. Dracaena Plant

8. Fiddle leaf fig

9. Snake Plant

10. Ivy

11. Pathos (Devil’s Ivy)

12. Caladium (Elephant’s ear)

IF YOU ARE A GREEN THUMB! Don’t fret! There are dog-friendly plants to fill your house with :) Not all dogs eat plants or flowers so you may not even need to worry. However, just in case, make sure you know which plants are toxic vs. non-toxic and the signs to look for.

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Here are some SAFE plants for dogs!

1. Windmill Palm

2. Purple Basil

3. African Daisy

4. Creeping Rosemary

5. Heuchera (Coral Bells)

6. Pineapple Sage

7. Polka Dot Plant

8. Canna Lily

9. Fennel

10. Snapdragons

For more questions take a look at the following links. The ASPCA & Humane Society both have entire lists of toxic plants for dogs. Always talk to your vet and do your research! Below is also a list of dog-friendly options.

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/dogs-plant-list

https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/poisonous-plants-to-pets.pdf

https://www.rover.com/blog/10-safe-plants-dogs-can-add-almost-garden-right-now/

Tips for when you work from home & have a dog!

Working from home has it’s major perks. One of the best parts about working from home is hanging out with my best buddy all day. It also has it’s benefits such as increased happiness, reduced stress levels, increased productivity, more hugs and exercise! But it’s not just as simple as us gazing into each other’s eyes all day. Many times throughout the day I feel guilty about Pax in the house too long or not surrounding him with furry friends all day. So, I make an effort (well, I use to before the accident) to take him on a good 20-25 minute morning walk a 15 minute late afternoon walk and take him to the park in the evening every night to run around with all his little friends. Right now, it’s been tough since I don’t mobility to take him walks and I can tell he gets restless. However, dogs are very intuitive and he’s been sleeping a lot while I’m recovering. When I’m on conference calls or have meetings I don’t have an office with a receptionist taking packages or answering other phone calls. It can get a bit noisy when I’m in my home office and amazon delivers in the middle of the day and Pax decides he’s the man of the house and says hello to the mail man.

Here are some tips that might be helpful! 

  • Exercise your pup in the morning- they will then be ready for nap time! It will also be a great way for you to start your morning. 

  • If you can try and take a break at your lunch time and take your dog out for a quick walk to stretch both of legs!

  • Don’t take yourself so seriously! Your pup might want your attention, bark, walk on top of your keyboard- it’s all OK! Enjoy these moments- they are reminders not to take life so seriously! 

  • Hire a dog walker. Even though you are at home and you might feel like you “SHOULD” be able to do everything your job might not allow you the flexibility. This is a great opportunity to hire a dog walker or a friend that has a flexible schedule could help out as well. 

  • Try puzzle games to entertain your pup while your working away at your desk. 

  • LET GO of the mom guilt. It’s OK to entertain your pup and play a round of tug a war a couple times and give them a big belly rub. 

  • It might be easier to let go of guilt to set up designated play times. It is also important for you to stay in charge and not to let whimpers distract you or to give in. 

  • You may want to try crate training if your pup is a chewer or provide proper mental stimulation! 

If you work from home and have tips- comment below! 

Hi, My name is leave it!

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Pax's middle name should be leave it or drop it or NO and  I've heard from so many other  puppy parents that they have the same challenges. I have also received many questions in relationship to puppy training which I am not adequate to answer since I am not trained in dog behavior....only human :)

I feel so fortunate to have connected with Nicole Parayano with PupScouts Dog Training to answer some of your most frequently asked questions! Now, there are MANY MANY MANY different types of dog training out there and some techniques work better for different dogs so just know that when working with your pup!

Here are Nicole's answers to your questions: 

1) Should my puppy go to dog training? Absolutely! There are so many options that you can look into! You may find a great trainer in your area that can give you awesome one-on-one guidance with you and your puppy, or you can enroll your dog in group training sessions which tend to be a great opportunity for your pups to socialize! Some families might choose to self-train, while others might opt for sending their pups off to a board and train program. Regardless of which way you go, training your pup is essential! A tired pup is a happy pup, and by training with your dog, you are stimulating their brain, and get them physically AND mentally tired! Training helps build a firm foundation and a positive relationship between you and your pup, and who doesn't want that?! By training basic obedience commands, socializing, exercising, and understanding your dog's needs, you will likely avoid problem behaviors that many families run into.

2) How young should i take them? Training begins the moment they come home. My beloved Cookie, who passed away last year, entered my life at 8 weeks old, and the moment I took her home, we worked on potty pad training and responding to her name. The very next day Cookie adjusted to wearing a collar. Little things that might seem meaningless all serve a purpose! Every interaction with family in the home was made a positive one. You might not know it, but your dog is watching you and they are learning that the things that they do cause you to react in a certain way. Puppies have a short attention span, so depending on their age, you're lucky if you can get 5 minutes in! Of course, when you get a new dog they have to adjust to their new life in their new home. After all, we've just flipped their lives upside down! They've been taken from their littermates and their momma, and now here they are, with new sights, new sounds, and new smells! Try not to overwhelm them and go at your own pup's pace :) It's never too late to start training with your pup, however, the earlier that you can start, the better!

3) How does training help? Training builds trust and it also creates mutual respect. Training is also a great solution for energetic dogs! You stimulate the brain and make them think. By using all that mental energy, they'll be pooped in no time! Training may also save your dog's life. For example, someone leaves the front door open, and Fido bolts out the door! A quick, "Fido, come!" would make him turn around and head safely into your arms. Another reason why training your dog helps is because fewer trained dogs end up in a shelter when families invest some time and effort every day to commit to training with their dog. 

4) Which parent is the alpha? Anyone can be a leader in your dog's eyes if you have a history of reinforcement with them. The respect is earned, not given and I don't believe that there has to be ONE leader. Your dog will interact and work with both parents, in their own way. However there might be times when you are both together, and Fido seems to gravitate toward mom more than dad. For example, Cookie, my previous pup was phenomenal with all of her basic obedience commands, her tricks, and her ability to distinguish a specific scent. She listened perfectly with me, and she also performed just as well with my partner. But put us both in the same room with her and she'd likely choose me (almost) every time. The respect is there, but because I spent the most time with her, fed her the most, trained with her the most, etc., I had a slightly stronger bond with her. If you want your pup to listen to you equally, then you both need to put the same amount of work and effort into training with your pup.   

5) How can i get my dog to listen to me? When your dog doesn't listen to you or your commands, it can definitely feel quite frustrating. What I find helpful is allowing my dog some exercise before training. If they've got pent up energy, how can they focus on you when all they want to do is GO, GO, GO? Allow them some time to release that energy and then work on training. It's also important that you remain consistent with training. Sit down with each member in your household to ensure that all the verbal commands, hand signals, rules, and boundaries are all the same among everyone. If one person lets Fido on the couch and you keep telling him to get off, he's receiving mixed signals! Another thing to keep in check is your energy. Dogs will listen to and respect someone who is calm and assertive. Dogs feed off your energy and your body language and if you are nervous, unsure, or angry, you're giving off the vibe that you aren't in control. Lastly, if your dog isn't listening to you, maybe it's because they don't actually understand what you're trying to relay to them, so go back to the basics and work on whatever it is that you're doing needs to work on. Training takes a lot of time, and hundreds of repetition and reinforcement for the dog to perform the way you want them to. 

6) My dog pulls on their leash, how can I get my pup to stop!? This can depend on how old your dog is. As a puppy, it's normal for the dogs to pull back and "halt". Puppies are likely to refuse to move forward, chew on the leash, pancake to the floor, or pull back because wearing a collar and a leash is totally foreign to them. However, if your dog is older, they're likely pulling, instead of anchoring themselves to the ground. When walking with your dog, sometimes a quick "U-turn" helps. A "U-turn" is when you're walking forward, notice them pulling, and you quickly walk in the opposite direction. This requires a lot of patience, time, and treats. I always carry treats on me, and you can also try a luring method. What you can do is take a treat, keep it close to your dog's nose, and begin walking with them. When they are at a pace and placement that you like, you can release the treat to your dog, followed by verbal praise, and the command that you choose to call it ie: "heel". Begin walking forward again with another treat luring your dog to match your pace and stay in a position that you approve, and then release the treat! In order to have a harmonious walk, you need to practice, practice, practice! Some trainers find that standing still until the leash relaxes works, and that is definitely something that you can try doing as well.  Reward FREQUENTLY, walk ROUTINELY and remember to keep your energy in check. The more frustrated you are with the situation, the less likely your dog will want to focus on learning with you. I like to practice leash walking skills in the home first, so your dog is free of any distractions, and then you can eventually begin the same practice outside. 

7) How much food should I reward my dog with? It depends on your dog's age. If you are using treats to reward your dog, good for you! But make sure that you are using low-calorie training treats that are small and chewy because with training and treat rewards, you're likely going to be giving them a ton of treats! Bigger treats that take time to chew on take time away from training because you're spending several seconds waiting for your dog to finish just that first treat! Some younger pups can use their kibble for training in the beginning. You can use their whole cup of breakfast/dinner, or half of their breakfast/dinner for training if you feel so inclined. Keep in mind though, that you want to gradually wean off treat rewards. Once your dog has mastered the given verbal command and/or hand signal, you can replace a treat with a pet on the head, a belly rub, verbal praise, etc. But the goal is to eventually remove treats from the equation. If your dog is given treats every time for the same command, they will likely lose interest and no longer perform the command as consistently if you stop the treats cold turkey.

8) My dog has a social anxiety problem, how can I help him? It's so important to socialize your puppy at a young age to avoid having social anxiety. However if it seems like your dog already is socially anxious, you should start slow with public interactions. See what exactly makes your dog anxious or fearful; is it another dog? A specific person or type of person? Is it the sounds of cars passing by? Figure out what exactly makes your dog anxious and work your way toward desensitizing and normalizing those things to your dog. Desensitizing your fearful or anxious dog requires a lot of time, patience, and positivity! Take it slow. It's important that you don't cuddle them or try to comfort them when they are in their fearful mode, as this reinforces the scared behavior and teaches the dog that it's okay to be afraid because they will be rewarded with hugs. Make every outing fun. The process of socializing your dog and desensitizing your dog can vary depends on how badly they react to whatever it is that is scaring them.

9) Every time I leave my pup at home they are crying for me.  Sounds like your pup is anxious! Or bored. Your dog probably isn't used to being along or having their own separate downtime, away from you. This could be a small form of separation anxiety, and it's definitely something that you want to take care of ASAP. First and foremost, I like to use a crate for my dogs while I'm away. I can leave my dogs in their crates for short amounts of time with a toy and that way they aren't having any accidents while I'm away or destroying everything around them in a panic frenzy. Whenever your dog is crying, whatever you do... DO NOT give in and return to your dog. This will teach your dog that if they cry, mom or dad will always come back, and this allows them to control the relationship. You need to desensitize your dog to you leaving them alone. Start small and give them short amounts of downtime to themselves while you're home. Leave them alone and stay just outside the door, quietly. Eventually, distance yourself further and further, and increase the length of time in which you are away from your dog. When they're quiet, you can come back to them and calmly let them out (feel free to give them a treat too!). But you just don't want to let them out until they are quiet. It's also helpful if you leave them after they've exhausted their energy! A good way to exercise them is taking them out for a walk before leaving, having some playtime, etc. It's best not to leave your dog home alone or away from you while their energy is off the charts! Leave them when they are calm, do not make a big deal out of you leaving or coming home, and set a daily routine! I like to calmly acknowledge my dogs after about 5 minutes of coming home when they're also calm(er). Another thing you can try doing is leaving them alone with a puzzle toy or Kong toy stuffed with PB! Give them something tasty to focus on instead of you leaving. 

10) To crate train or not to crate train? I love crate training. A crate or kennel serves many purposes! If you haven't been reading this in order, I've mentioned the positives of using a crate quite a few times :) Just a few of the positives about crate training: - It's the quickest way to potty train! - Provides a safe space for your pup and keeps them from getting into anything harmful while you're away. - Creates a den and their own "safe space".

11) How to stop puppy nipping and redirect?  As a puppy, it's completely natural for them to want to chew on things. They are exploring the world around them and are unaware that their teeth are razor sharp. Your puppy also doesn't realize how much is too much when using their mouth. There are a few things you can try doing. 1) I like to yelp really loudly or loudly say, "OW!!!" and ignore my dog for several seconds after they've chomped a little too hard. Gradually by continuously "removing" playtime and yelping loudly, your dog will learn that biting too hard takes away the fun time. 2) When your pup bites too hard, yelp loudly, wait until they've stopped, and then try giving them a treat that they CAN chew on in place of your hands. 3) Keep tons of great chewing toys available for your dog to play with and chew on. Some toys are interactive and are only fun to your dog when you're playing with them, so if they go for your hands, immediately redirect them to chewing on the toy instead! Remember, your puppy is probably teething right now and needs lots of things to chew on. They will soon begin losing their teeth and it's not very comfortable for them. As they lose their teeth, you can also try soothing them by giving them frozen or cold toys to chew on, it helps with numbing their gums a bit. Eventually, their razor little teeth will turn into adult teeth.

12) How do I know what aggressive play is between puppies? Dogs use signals to communicate with one another. You can tell a dog is trying to play when they "play bow". A "play bow" looks like your dog's rear end is up in the air while his front half is down. This is displayed just before a dog begins to play with another dog. Another way you can tell that a dog is playing is when your dog looks like they're panting, but their mouths are open wider than normal; you can just see in their faces that they are happy, bouncing around, and having fun. I recommend you look into pictures and videos of what aggressive and play body language truly look like to get a sense of what your dog is trying to communicate with the other dog. If things begin to get too heated, separate the two dogs for "time out" several minutes before beginning to play again. This will take time, but eventually, the "aggressor" will learn that this behavior takes away the reward (playing) and they will learn not to behave that way. Keep an eye on the pups, notice the signs, and interrupt their playtime before it gets too crazy. Playing with other dogs is healthy and a great way to not only burn off extra energy, but it's also a fun way to socialize.

13) How much exercise does my dog need? The amount of exercise your dog needs is dependent on 1) the breed type 2) their size 3) their age 4) their health. For example, a Yorkie will not need as much exercise as a German Shepherd. A 12-year-old dog will not require as much exercise as a 6-month-old puppy. While most families simply take their dogs out for walks or to play fetch, there are various ways to exercise your pup! - Training and having them work for treats (Remember that training and teaching your dog new tasks or commands, or simply reinforcing old ones helps to exercise the brain!) -Setting up small (or large) obstacle courses - Scenting/tracking and using their noses and brains - If you have multiple dogs, let them play together and tucker themselves out. Figure out what works best for your dog :) 

14) How to stop digging holes? Digging is a natural behavior in dogs. Your dog could be digging for various reasons: - They're bored and they find that digging at the moment relieves them of their boredom 2) They're trying to escape (anxiety due to separation, something that is scaring them such as thunderstorms, etc) -They smell something or hear something that is enticing to them in the ground 3) They are digging to create a hole to cool down in and escape the heat 4) They're trying to hide their toys/treats. So if you're trying to stop your dog from digging holes in your backyard, you need to figure out the "why". Why are they doing it? And go from there. If they are chewing to get away from the heat, provide them some more shade in the backyard or somewhere to cool down or bring them in.. If they are digging due to boredom, give them toys that they can play with. If they are digging because they're afraid of a thunderstorm, bring them in. If they are digging because of a smell or something in the ground, get rid of rodents that are enticing them and look into finding some sort of digging deterrent. -Make sure they get enough exercise before leaving them out by themselves as well. If you catch them in the act, stop them as they're doing it with a loud "UH UH!!" or whatever "negative" marker word you have for your dog. 

15) Does my dog know how to swim? A dog will naturally begin "doggy paddling" when they're in the water, but that doesn't mean they're capable of actually staying afloat. Some dogs might even be quite fearful of water! You can deduce what the case may be for your pup, but I highly recommend purchasing a floaty vest for your pooch to wear when in the pool regardless! Better safe than sorry!

Nicole is a professional dog trainer in Las Vegas, Nevada. She has been training for several years and has excellent reviews from her clients. For more information about her training services please check out @PupScoutsDogTraining  and at https://m.facebook.com/PupScoutsDogTraining/?ref=page_internal

 

Roadtrippin' with Brittany & Layla!

Recently, I went to Italy and wasn't able to bring Pax with me. The worst. Most of you know already what happened during Pax's rover stay and it got me thinking about how cool it would be to take Pax on vacation so I could 1) never worry 2) be a complete control freak 3) watch him see things for the first time 4) Bring more smiles and belly rubs to him!  Good reasons right? We do have some trips coming up and we plan on taking him. Luckily, this community is so global and incredible he will have playmates all over the country as we explore around. SO HOOMANS make sure you holler at me once I let you know our upcoming destinations! 

Puppy mama, Brittany, must have been on the same wave length as I have been because she emailed me about her upcoming road trip with her pup Layla. She has FANTASTIC tips on how to prepare for a journey like this with your pup and I'm so excited for you all to read about it. Make sure you follow their journey when they hit the road on June 30th-July 8th by following Layla's instagram @layla.doodlebug for pics and videos! Brittany is also looking for dog friendly recommendations in Nashville and Atlanta so if you have any make sure you DM her!

Here is Brittany & Layla's Story (including awesome tips!)

This is my 10 month old doodle, Layla Bug. From day one I have taken her with me as often as I could whenever I went to dog-friendly places. We started training rather early and will have 25 weeks of classes under our belt by the end of summer. Layla is a great dog, don’t get me wrong, but I never want people to get the impression that she was just “naturally” social, obedient and a good car rider. I’ve raised her that way! I exposed her to a lot of car rides, smells, sounds and people as often as I could. 

I’ve been taking Layla to the dog park and working with her in training with hopes to be able to trust her in any setting and be confident in her obedience. We have finally gotten to a place where I know for certain that she will listen and I don’t have to worry about her putting us or others in danger due to lack of obedience. 

With all of that, I’m planning a road trip! Just Layla and myself. We live in St. Louis and our last stop is Atlanta. We are making stops to hike and stay in Nashville. It’s been so cool to see more and more places accommodate our pups! As I’m sure you can imagine, this takes a little bit of extra planning. On a regular road trip, you get hungry and you stop. With a dog, you have to consider them too! It’s never okay to leave her in the car alone and another advantage of stopping (for me, anyway) is to take a break and stretch my legs. Our pooches need that too! I’ve been tracking the route I’ll likely take so that I can plan those stops with dog-friendly places. I also know myself, I don’t want a super specific plan. So instead of having a super specific route, I’m just going to have a few options for stops. That way we can stop when we need it. 

Layla and I have traveled a lot together but this will be our biggest adventure to date! So I’ve listed a few tips that have helped us be a great travel team. Note that each dog has their own needs and personality—not everything will work for you. And you may have tips that don’t work for us. And that’s cool! 

  • Tip 1: know your pup! If they are super unpredictable, it may be good to wait a little longer for an extended trip. For me, I want to know that she will be good in the car and good out in public. This means no jumping and minimal barking.

  • Tip 2: start small! We’ve done a handful of just hour long trips. My mom lives about a half hour away, so that helped us build up to an hour. If I’m running errands, I try to go to dog friendly places so that she can come with me...even if it means an extra trip. I’ll go get groceries, come home and then grab Layla to go get dog food at Petsmart.

  • Tip 3: go to a training class! And it’s not necessarily because your dog doesn’t know “sit” and “down”. It’s actually a great way to socialize your pup with all types of dogs and people under a watchful professional. That can build more confidence for those times you are eating out on the patio next to other people and dogs that walk by.

  • Tip 4: pack accordingly! Just like a kid, your dog needs special things packed too. Toys, bowls, water (and lots of it!), leash, poop bags, any harness that helps, treats etc. I plan to pack food only for the days that we are on the road. I know we can buy food when we get there and that’s one less thing taking up room in my car. I’d also add wet wipes for potential muddy paws.

  • Tip 5: be flexible! Don’t make a plan that doesn’t leave room for flexibility. There may be more or less stops than expected. You may find a city or park you and your pal really like and decide to stay longer.

I’m excited to see how this trip goes. I’m sure I’ll learn more things along the way and I’m sure I’ll have a few plans that fall through. And I’m fine with that. If all goes well, road trips may be a more frequent thing for us! 

<3 

Make sure to follow Layla's journey! One thing I would add to your upcoming journey humans is to do your homework! Reach out to your Instagram community in different cities and ask about dog friendly places so you have ideas on where to go! If you don't have it already "Bring Fido" app talks about dog friendly places around the country! 

Do you have travel tips that you would like to share! Make sure you join the tribe and send in your story!! 

Puppy pals!

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Watching your pup play with another pup is a proud parent moment. The first place to learn about compatible playmates is at puppy kindergarten. When you take your puppy to a safe place like that, you learn about what is aggressive play and what is just playful roughhousing. This is very important for when you take your pup out to the dog park or in real life experiences because then you know how to react when it’s happening. Once he felt comfortable playing in settings like kindergarten (took a few weeks for him to settle in completely) he started playing with lots of puppies both his size and a little smaller. It was apparent who was a good fit for him because he didn’t want to stop playing around. His tail would be wagging, and they would take breaks when they needed to. Many parents get nervous when dogs are vocal (barking, whining, making sounds) while they are playing and the majority of the time this is nothing to worry about. Pax does not bark unless he’s amped up or a little frustrated! It is also important to interact with the owner. If an owner is not paying attention to their dog or doesn’t seem to care what their dog does really and that is opposite of you the match might not be as good as you’d hope. Dogs take after their owner’s personality, demeanor, and emotions so if you are a chill, go with the flow, and patient owner your dog will respond very much in those ways as well. Puppies play great together especially if they are of similar age. It is fascinating to watch nonverbal communication between two dogs because they instantly know if they want to play together or not. Puppies can smell each other out from a mile away! They play almost the same and can typically be a great match as older dogs may be annoyed with the puppy energy and playfulness. However, older and more prominent dogs may also be compatible matches for your dog. Just notice how they interact, is the bigger dog laying on it’s back letting your pup jump all over him? Is the other dog wagging its tail and posing in a down dog fashion? Those movements are signs that the dog wants to play and does not view the other dog as a threat.