Category Archives for "Tips"

3 Simple Tips For A Merry Christmas With Your Dog

By Jean Cote | Posts , Tips

Hi everyone,

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and to your dog(s)! This year has been totally amazing; we’ve grown and learned so much together. I even got a brand new bigger and better recording studio! (Stay tuned for an update on this)

Here are 3 simple tips to keep your dog “sane” during the holiday season:

  1. Exercise your dog before your guests arrive. An intense hour exercise session will do wonders for your dog. He will be more calm and relaxed and will deal better with all of the stress that comes with the holidays.
  2. Set-up a special room where your dog can retreat to if things get too loud for him. Place his bed or his crate in that room along with fresh water.
  3. Tell your guests not to give your dog any table food. You can set up a bowl of dog treats if you want them to get your dog to do tricks.

Got another tip? Leave a comment below! 🙂

How To Choose A Dog Successfully

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Tips

Deciding to offer a home to a dog is a big decision. You’ll be committing yourself to taking care of an animal for the rest of its life. The needs of any dog must be met consistently to ensure that this decision to have a dog works out perfectly. Exercise, mental stimulation with positive reinforcement and health requirements all need to be taken into account when working out how to choose a dog with success.

If you are a first time or inexperienced dog owner the first thing you must learn is not to choose a dog purely based on the way it looks. Breed research is a necessity. The new dog must be matched to your lifestyle. As a new owner, you will need to be completely honest about your own capabilities to take care of a dog.

Choosing a dog on looks alone can be a disaster. An example of this is the Border collie. This breed of dog looks stunning. Properly trained, exercised and socialized the collie is a beauty. If the dog is taken into a home as a puppy, not given sufficient exercise or socialization and eventually completely misunderstood, the Border collie can be extremely difficult to live with. If the dog’s needs are not met he will struggle with an excess energy that can manifest into unhelpful behavior. It is usually at around ten months to a year old that unwanted Border collies are given up by frustrated owners.

When deciding on the type and age of dog to take home, you must be honest with yourself about whether you can meet their needs. Luckily for us, all dogs have basic needs on different levels. When researching how to choose a dog you simply need to match the individual canine needs to what we are able to offer as a responsible owner.

Age of dog

Are you able to commit to the socialization and training needs of a young puppy? It’s not enough to offer a home to a puppy and simply allow it to act as it pleases. When taking on a puppy you will be committing to toilet training. Socialization and the requirement of teaching the young dog how to behave are a necessity. It is nice to have a puppy if you have the time and effort available to mold him into the dog you want him to be. It is also not necessary to have a dog from puppy-hood simply to have a well behaved dog.

The rescue world is full to overflowing of nicely behaved older dogs desperate for a kind and comfortable home. These adult dogs are of all shapes and sizes, have differing energy levels and stimulation needs. Good rescue centers in any area would be happy to work with you towards how to choose a dog that fits into the home you are offering. An efficient rescue center, dog trainer or behaviorist will assess your home and experience then match you with a number of dogs that would fit perfectly into your lifestyle.

Exercise needs.

You do not need to be an athlete or mountain climber to have a dog in your home. Many dogs need far less exercise and are happy with a potter around the local park every day.

Social needs and training

Different dogs will need different levels of training and mental stimulation. A dog bred for working, for example a jack Russell terrier, will have high requirements for mental stimulation. If you do not have the time to attend training classes or stimulate your dog’s mind in another way then you will need to choose a breed that copes well with a more relaxed lifestyle. The middle aged Staffordshire bull terrier will be more than happy to occupy the couch for a lot of the day, whereas a young setter would be dissatisfied with this as a lifestyle and probably unhappy.

So how to choose a dog responsibly will involve breed research, consideration of exercise and training needs and being honest with yourself about what you can offer to your new friend. By putting the effort into choosing the right dog before making any decisions you are most likely to succeed with the choice that you make.

10 Crate Training Tips

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Tips

The ultimate goal of crate training should be to provide your dog with a safe, cozy, and content environment that they can go to throughout the day and to sleep in at night. Once you acclimate your dog through crate training, it will also make it easier to travel and transport your dog to the groomer or the vet.

If you’re new to crate training, here are 10 basic guidelines you can use to have a positive, productive training experience:

  1. Use the right size crate. The crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in comfortably, but it shouldn’t be so big that they can run or jump inside. If the crate is too big, the dog will not see it as a bed and will be more likely to soil in one corner and sleep in the other.
  2. Don’t reward barking. When you first approach crate training, your dog will probably bark or whine to get out. Do not under any circumstance let your dog out of the crate if he is barking because this will reinforce bad behavior.
  3. Always leave a water bowl inside of the crate. The whole purpose of crate training is to provide your dog with a secure, comfortable environment. It’s also important to give your dog access to water when he is crated for several hours at a time.
  4. Don’t leave your dog in the crate for too long. This is where crate training can quickly turn from a positive to a negative experience. Do not leave your dog in the crate for more than four hours at a time. If you have a puppy, don’t leave it in the crate for more than three hours. If you work long hours, consider hiring a dog walker or checking your dog into doggie daycare so that he doesn’t remain confined in a crate all day long.
  5. Take your dog outside immediately. Crate training can be used for several purposes, but it should always go back to housetraining. Even as your dog gets older, he should be taken outside immediately after opening the crate to reinforce this behavior.
  6. Keep the crate in a quiet place. This will help to teach your dog that his crate is a place for comfort and rest. Loud noises and distractions will only be likely to agitate and upset your dog while he is in the crate.
  7. Choose a comfortable dog bed. Your dog will need something comfortable to sleep on in the crate; a soft, plush dog bed will make your dog more attracted to his crate as a place of rest.
  8. Don’t let children or other animals play in the crate. Your dog must see the crate as his sanctuary, and once he does, he will likely become territorial. Respect your dog’s private space by keeping children and other pets out of the crate at all times.
  9. Choose a simple command to encourage your dog to enter the crate. You may want to use clicker training to train your dog to enter the crate or a short command like “House”. Once your dog enters the crate, praise and reward him with a treat.
  10. Don’t rush it. Crate training is a process that will take time and will provide the best results when it isn’t rushed or forced. If your dog seems uncomfortable entering the crate at any time, back up in your crate training method to allow him to acclimate.

Start slowly by keeping the crate door open with treats inside. After several days of this, close the crate door with the dog inside, and then let him out. After several more days, leave the dog inside for longer and longer periods of time until he becomes comfortable in his new environment.

How to Take Care of a Dog

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Puppies , Tips

Are you a new dog owner looking for information on how to take care of a dog? I have written this short article specifically for you so that you can give him the care and love that he needs to thrive in your home and bring you as much joy as possible.

Food is among the most basic necessity to take care of a dog. Puppies eat two or three times a day and grown dogs eat usually once or twice a day. You should feed your animal a high quality dog food, preferably the hard kibble to help keep his teeth clean. Dogs don’t need variety in their diet but for a treat you can offer occasional fruits or vegetables. Avoid feeding table scraps as these can be unhealthy. Chocolate should be avoided at all costs as it is poisonous for dogs in large quantities.

Your dog needs a safe, dry place to sleep at night and during the day. If your dog stays inside, invest in a bed that is the right size for your him and put it somewhere that is out of the way and comfortable. Dogs can also be content to sleep in a crate if they are crate trained, but place a towel or mat into the crate to help them stay comfortable.

If your dog is an outside dog, think carefully about the amount of care they are receiving. Many outside dogs aren’t as comfortable and content as they should be. Your dog should have shelter in the form of a dog house, and plenty of fresh water. Watch weather conditions carefully and if possible, allow your dog to spend the night inside your home or garage for its safety.

Dogs need to be cleaned and cared for. Regular baths will help with shedding and unpleasant odors. Trim your dog’s nails on a regular basis to avoid painful breaks or scratches. Long haired animals should be groomed frequently to prevent matting and to keep shedding to a minimum. You should also pay attention to the dog’s teeth. Certain bones, food and chew toys help keep dog teeth clean, but you might also consider brushing them if your dog is comfortable with it.

As the owner of a dog, it is your responsibility to keep him healthy. Take him to the vet regularly to stay current on shots and flea medicine. The vet can also give you advice about feedings and grooming. You should prevent any dangers to your animal such as removing or avoiding certain plants, foods or household items that can harm him.

Finally, dogs need love and attention. Your dog will love you unconditionally, and expects love and attention in return. Part of loving your animal is training him regularly. Once he knows your expectations, he will be more content and the two of you can live together in happy harmony.

It is rather easy to take care of a dog once you know how, and if you have any questions or comments please leave it below and I will try to address it to the best of my abilities.

A Dog Park is Fun, but is it Safe?

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Tips

dog_parksYour dog is learning each and every waking minute and maybe even when it sleeps. It may well figure out a good spot to sleep without getting disturbed. Either way, your dog will waste no opportunity in learning something; it knows no other way.

This leads to an important question… Who and what do you allow to teach your dog? Each day, I see dog owners allowing their dogs to run around in the local dog park with little or no knowledge of the past history, social skills, or even the names of the other dogs. Even if these same dog owners don’t allow such reckless play, they will often stop when meeting up with another dog, and allow the dogs to mix, again with little or no knowledge of the other dog. I believe both of these acts can potentially be counter-productive and negatively affect the relationship between the dog and the owner.

The Physical Dangers of a Dog Park
One risk of such unchecked encounters is physical injuries that may arise from a dog fight. Dog fights can flare up in seconds and result in physical damage which, aside from being very painful to your dog, can cost thousands of dollars to correct, and open up a whole world of potential legal implications.

There is also the risk of long-term, if not permanent, behavioral changes to your dog or the other dog. Again, it takes seconds, and it can create very big problems. Your dog may, from that day forth, show signs of aggression towards all other dogs, or it may nervously shiver all the time. Dogs can be affected in so many ways.

The Relationship Dangers
A trainer friend of mine once told me, “Give me fifteen minutes and a pound of liver, and I’ll make your dog forget you ever existed.” We like to think that our dogs will naturally gravitate towards us, but it’s not the case. There are quite literally millions of things that your dog would rather do than be with you, unless you are prepared to put a lot of ground work in to the relationship. Don’t believe me? Open your front door and see what the dog does. Chances are that your dog will dash out quicker than you can say sit.

When you allow your dog to play with other dogs at a dog park, you open the door to a whole new world, but a world where you don’t play a significant part, and that’s the real danger. You will rarely be able to compete with other dogs in the ‘how much fun am I’ stakes. Why make it harder for yourself by allowing unchecked play with other dogs at a dog park?

What do you think?
Do you think that bringing your dog to a dog park is safe? I know quite a lot of people who have bring their dog to a dog park regularly and say that it is great. But on the other hand I also know some people who have had their dog attacked at a dog park for no perceivable reasons.

Holding The End Of The Leash Properly

By Jean Cote | Posts , Tips , Training

There are many different kinds of leashes on the market today; each one has its own practical and aesthetic appeal. So holding the end of the leash is going to be different with each kind. When shopping for a leash, you will need to consider your dog’s size and age. Keep in mind that small dogs and puppies should have light weight leashes while larger dogs should have stronger and heavier leashes.

There are different lengths of leashes available; the majority of leashes come in 4-foot, 6-foot or 8-foot lengths. For training purposes, a 6-foot length leash is ideal and recommended. The longer leashes are used when your training requires you to be at a distance from your dog.

Nylong LeashLeashes come in many different materials. The most popular leash today is the nylon leash. Its low price tag, along with the variety of colors and designs makes it a popular item amongst dog owners. They are used in every day situations as well as dog training.

Leather LeashBut for those of you who want the absolute best, the leash of choice is made of leather. These leashes are more attractive, but most importantly, they are superior in strength and are much easier to hold a grip.

Cotton LeashThere are also leashes made out of cotton, which are also easier on the hands than nylon, especially if the dog tends to pull. Cotton leashes can be bought in very long lengths, some up to 30-feet long, making them ideal for training outside or in any unenclosed outside areas.

Retractable LeashRetractable leashes have gained popularity in the last few years. They have a unique feature to extend and retract automatically while the dog moves around. This gives the dog more space and freedom to walk while avoiding the leash from getting tangled in his legs. These leashes are usually higher priced than regular nylon leashes.

A retractable leash is definitely not recommended for dogs that aren’t already trained to walk on a loose leash. Many dog trainers believe that these leashes encourage the dog to pull; the mechanism of the leash creates a constant pressure on the dog’s collar, which leaves the dog unable to tell when the leash is tight or loose.

For situations when you need to keep your dog close to you, a traffic leash can be useful. Usually made of leather, traffic leashes are between 15 to 18 inches long and feature a large handle loop. A large dog can easily be held close to your body if equipped with a traffic leash.

Tab LeashWhen training agility equipment or any other activity that involves obstacles, it’s often recommended that people use a training tab or a short leash of about 8 inches long. The reason for using these short leashes is to avoid the dog from getting caught in the obstacles or in his legs, while still allowing you some control over the dog if the need ever arises. It is very useful when beginning training your dog as you can use the leash to lead him through an obstacle or catch him before he runs off.

Learning how to hold the end of the leash properly can avoid many potential problems. Many dog owners make the mistake of wrapping their leash two or three times around their hand. This can be very dangerous for you safety, since it leaves you unable to let go of the leash if you ever need to, especially when walking a bigger and larger dog.

A proper and effective way to hold the end of the leash is to insert your thumb in the loop at the end of your leash, and to grab the middle of the leash or any distance you need. With this technique you can add or remove length to your leash by grabbing further or closer to your dog.

Holding a Leash Step 1

Holding a Leash Step 2

Holding a Leash Step 3

Overall, holding the end of the leash is a personal matter and you may choose to hold it whatever way you like, but now you will know of a new way to hold it. Try it during your next walk and see if you think it could be beneficial.

Dog Body Language Guide

By Jean Cote | Behavior , Posts , Tips , Training

It is truly amazing to see that all dogs from all over the world has learned to communicate with each other using a universal dog body language. Whether you are from China, Europe or Mexico, all dogs communicate the same way. They communicate their moods and feelings by giving out signals with their body.

An encounter with a dog can be a lovely experience or a very bad one and is totally depending on how well you interpret dog body language.

In this universal dog body language, postures and movements express mood, rank and intention. These are clearly understood by other dogs but they can be confusing to humans. For example, a dog that is wagging his tail does not necessarily mean that he is friendly. It could mean that he is afraid and hope that you don’t hurt him or it could mean that he is getting ready to confront you and might lunge and bite you if you get too close.

To know what a dog is trying to communicate, you will have to look at the overall dog body language. He will be giving multiple messages through his facial expression, his tail and the way he is standing.

Some breeds make it easier to recognize the dog’s body language. Dogs that have long and curly tails with pointy ears will be much easier to recognize than a dog with cropped ears or a docked tail.

Neutral State: A dog which is in a happy emotional state will be less tense than when he is in an alert or aggressive state. His tail is relaxed and wagging; his mouth is slightly open, which might look like a smile to us. His breathing is slightly energetic depending on how happy he is. The facial muscles and the ears are relaxed. If he is very excited he may jump, bow, growl or bark. But the playful growls and barks are given at a much higher pitch than the ones indicating aggression.

Dog Neutral Stance

Submissive: In the universal dog body language, when a dog is frightened, he will try to make himself look as small as possible. They will draw back from anything confronting them, and they may even crouch on the floor. They will avoid any direct eye contact. In general, the tail is down or between the legs; they may lick their lips or nose in a nervous manner. As an extreme they might even roll onto their side or on their back to show their belly or even urinate.

Dog Submissive Stance

Dog Passive Submission Stance

Aroused: An alert dog will have tense muscles, ears will be forward and the face will have wrinkles. His tail may be out straight and wagging slowly from side to side. It’s very important to understand that a dog may become aggressive quickly, or he might just be wondering who is approaching or what that weird noise was. Either way, it’s very important to approach an alert dog with caution.

Dog Arousal Stance

Defensive Aggression: When a dog is in a situation where he believes he might be in danger, he has two options; he can either fight or flee. When a frightened dog is approached by another dog, his natural instinct is to run away. But if he is on a leash, he isn’t able to run away and he becomes more fearful, and it usually results in the dog attacking the approaching dog. To the untrained eye, this might look like the dog is very aggressive towards other dogs, but he is actually afraid of the other dog and wasn’t able to back away. We call this fear-aggressive.

Dog Defensive Aggression Stance

Aggressive Attack: On the other hand, the aggressive dog is much more likely to exhibit the fight instinct. Aggressive dogs will do everything to make themselves look bigger. They lean forward on their toes, they bare their teeth and their body and face stiffen, exhibiting very deep facial wrinkles. The ears move forward and the tail wags stiffly and slowly from side to side. And they stare directly at the threat.

Dog Aggressive Stance

Overall, it is important to learn to understand dog body language so that you can respond accordingly to every situation.

If your dog is being submissive, then get him to change what he is feeling by going for a walk or doing something to boost his confidence. If your dog is emitting strong defensive aggression then you need to warn others that are in the same environment of what is happening. Just doing that alone can prevent a dog from biting someone.

How to Make a Safe Dog Hoop

By Jean Cote | Posts , Tips , Tricks

So you want to train your dog to jump through a dog hoop? In this article, I am going to show you how to make a dog hoop that is SAFE for your dog.

When a dog jumps through a dog hoop, there is always the possibility of the dog injuring himself by accidentally hitting the dog hoop with his legs. So below, I will take you on a step-by-step guide to building your own safe dog hoop.

Equipment required:

2 small plastic hoops (approximately 22″ in diameter). You can find some very cheap ones at your local dollar store (my two hoops cost me a total of $2).

4 disc plastic magnets (half an inch in diameter or small enough to fit in the hole of the hoop). You could use any type of magnets really, but for the hoop to work well, you should use magnets that fits perfectly in the hole of the hoop. I purchased my magnets at for $4 (+ shipping).

Tools Required:

1 Metal saw to cut the hoops. You could use anything really, since it is only plastic. But I don’t recommend that you use a knife or scissors as you might injure yourself.

1 Hot glue gun with sticks. You could also use crazy glue or silicone, but the adhesive that you use must be strong enough to keep the magnets in place.


The first thing that you must do is separate the hoops. There is a union somewhere on the hoops that is hidden by a piece of tape. Remove the tape and take out the small piece of tubing that is holding the hoop together.

As soon as you detach the hoops, you will notice that they will expand. Place the hoops on the ground and pull each side gently until the hoops are completely loose.

Then place them one on top of each other, as to make one big hoop. Position both hoops so that the big hoop is round.

Draw a line where you will need to cut the hoop. In the picture, I have to cut the orange hoop.

Once the hoop has been cut, your next task is to glue the magnet inside each ends of the hoops. One very important thing to do before you glue them, is to check the polarity of each magnet. Each magnet has a north pole and a south pole, and one side can only attract the opposite.

For example, a north pole can only attract a south pole. So before you glue the magnets, I recommend that you mark down with a marker which sides are what.

Pour the glue from the hot glue gun into the hole of the hoop. Push the magnet inside and then put a piece of tape to hold the magnet. Then hang it upside down until the glue is dry.


Once you’ve done this for all four ends, remove the tape and tada!


That is pretty much it! Remember that if you’ve never trained your dog to jump through a dog hoop, make sure that you start LOW and to gradually increase the height. Keep it fun and enjoy your training!

10 Dog Christmas Tips to Celebrate the Holidays!

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Tips

Christmas can be a very hectic time for everyone as we are all busy during the holiday season with decorating, shopping, food preparation and hosting guests. But this time can also be stressful for our dog if he isn’t prepared to deal with the sudden changes during Christmas.

In this article, I will give you 10 tips that you should do in preparation for a happy dog Christmas.

1. If you are going to have guests over to your home at Christmas Day, it is important to give your dog plenty of exercise before your guests arrive. Take your dog for a long walk an hour or two before your guests begin to arrive. This will relief lots of excess energy I will make your dog calmer and more enjoyable for your guests.

2. If you are going to let your guests give your dog a treat, then it is important to tell them that they must sit your dog before giving him the treat. If your dog can perform tricks, then it is a great opportunity to showcase his skills and at the same time be very entertaining. Getting your dog to obey before giving him the treat will reinforce the hierarchy with your guests.

3. I recommend that you give your dog his meal / dinner before you begin your serving your guests their dinner. The reason is that if your dog is fully satisfied then he is less likely to bother your guests. You may want to give your dog a special dinner to make sure that he eats it completely. Perhaps a mix of dry kibble with a can of wet dog food would persuade him to eat it all and would give him a great dog Christmas present.

4. Tell your guests to never give your dog any table scraps. Although this seems like a no-brainer you would be surprised on the amount of people that would drop something and wouldn’t think there is any problems letting your dog eat it.

5. Depending on how many guests you are expecting at Christmas, it may be favorable to ask one of your family members to entertain your dog in another room until all your guests have arrived. I wouldn’t recommend locking up your dog if he isn’t used to it, but strangers walking in to your home may be a little overwhelming to your dog.

6. If you are going to unwrap presents then I recommend that you do not let your dog play with any of the wrapping paper. That is because it could potentially cut them while they play with it or they could eat it which may cause digestion problems. The last thing that you want to do on Christmas is having to go to an emergency pet hospital because your dog ate something he wasn’t supposed to.

7. Give your dog something to do while your guests are in your home. You can take a Kong and stuff it with peanut butter or pieces of cheese and it will take him a while to get all of the goodies out. There are also those new “intelligent” dog toys that require dogs to solve puzzles before they can get to the treat. I don’t know the specific name of these toys but I’m sure if you Google it that you will find what you are looking for. Perhaps you could purchase this “intelligent” toy ahead of time which would be a great dog Christmas present!

8. If there are children coming to your home make sure that you tell them not to chase the dog. A dog will bite a child if he feels threatened or afraid, especially if a child is chasing him. It is important to supervise children and to make sure that they are treating your dog properly.

9. Prepare a quiet room or move your dog’s crate into a quiet room so that if your guests are too loud for your dog, then he will have a quiet environment to go to.

10. If your dog loves to play then make sure that you instruct your guests on how to play nicely with your dog. Sometimes guests have a little alcohol in their system and they can get carried away by throwing toys too high or down stairs which could potentially injure your dog.

To have a merry dog Christmas, all that is needed is a little common sense and some planning ahead of time. If you have any more tips, please leave a comment below…

How To Make Your Own Dog Toy In 7 Easy Steps!

By Jean Cote | Posts , Tips

If you are like me, every time you go pick up some dog food at the local pet store you simply can’t resist the temptation of walking in the dog toy aisle. And you can’t help but notice how cute some of the dog toys are and how much your dog would love one.

But then, you start to remember how your dog chewed up to pieces his last dog toy that you bought him and how it cost you over $20. The last dog toy that I purchased my dog was a fabric tug-toy, it lasted about a week before it ripped and started to fall apart. So for the last two years I have been making my own dog toys, ones that costs a fraction of the pet stores and that are of much higher quality.

In this tutorial, I will show you exactly how to build your own dog toy from materials that can be purchased very cheaply at your local fabric store. There are many different fabrics to choose from and they all have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

When choosing a material for your dog toy, make sure that you test its strength by pulling on each sides and look for rips. Some material will leave fuzz balls or fur all over the your floor. My personal favorite is pool table felt. Usually people will sell their used pool table felt because it is a little bit dirty, so you can purchase those for very cheap, for under $5. A pool table felt will allow you to make several dog toys.

Let’s create your dog toy…

Step 1. Start by cutting three strips the length of the fabric; make them as long as possible. Once the dog toy is finished it will only be about a quarter of the length of the strips.


Step 2. Tie a normal knot at the top of the strips and make sure that it is very tight so that the dog toy doesn’t come apart once it is completed.

Step 3. Take the knot in your hands while the strips are hanging off your hand.

Step 4. Take the strip that is the farthest away (yellow arrows) from you and bring it over towards you. Then take the left strip (blue arrows) and bring it over the middle strip. Then take the right strip (green arrows) and bring it over and under the two strips.

Step 5. Tighten each strip equally and you will have your first knot. The tighter you make your knots the harder the dog toy will be, but if you tighten it lightly, the dog toy will stretch while you tug.

Step 6. Repeat the same thing over and over until you have the desired length. Above is a picture of a few knots done in a row.

Step 7. When you are finished, complete the dog toy by doing a final knot at the end. The final knot is exactly like be beginning knot. There are alternative patterns to knot your dog toy so that it goes in a spiral. I will write more tutorials in the future.

Here are two pictures of my dog Chase tugging with hew new dog toy. She really loves it!

Have fun with this! Experience with all sorts of different materials and lengths! Share your thoughts and comments below…