Choosing the Right Dog Food

USA, Illinois, Metamora, Close-up of bowl full of dog food

If you are a new pet parent then you have probably already been doing lots of research already on which food brand to buy for your pup. If you’ve owned your dog for a while now, you may be frustrated with some of your dog food choices or confused on what’s best for your pup. Today we will discuss some ingredients that can really benefit your dog as well as what common dog food ingredients to avoid and why.

Most people are aware with all those dog food TV commercials, that you really do want the first ingredient listed on your dog food to be meat. Which kind of meat is really up to you, depending on if your dog has any food allergies or sensitivities. Dogs are recommended about 15-30% of their diet to consist of protein, while puppies require a little bit higher at 22-32% (due to their growth).

Despite what you might be hearing, grains can actually be good in your dog food. Whole grains, not fillers, are carbohydrates that will give your dog energy. Some dog owners may be concerned about gluten allergies in their dog as we hear about it fairly commonly in humans. In reality, gluten allergy is very rare in dogs compared to humans.

Some ingredients that are less than desirable to be in your dog food would be fillers such as corn gluten and meat by products. These ingredients have very little nutritional value for your dog and are typically used in cheaper dog foods to add more content to the food while also keeping the cost low.

While there are other types of diets that you can provide your dog (a raw diet for example), if you are searching for the right kind of kibble we are sure these tips will help you with your decision. Choosing the right food for your dog is imperative to helping them continue to live long and healthy lives!

Breed of the Week: Weimaraner

weimaraner

One of the most beautiful and majestic hunting dogs, our breed of the week is the Weimaraner, commonly nicknamed, the ‘Weimy’. These highly active dogs are unexpected goofballs and constantly keeping their families entertained.

 

The Weimaraner was bred in Germany in the 19th century. The dog was bred to be a hunting dog for animals such as deer and boar. Today’s Weimaraners are still widely used as hunting dogs. These dogs love working all day in the fields and certainly have the energy for it! For this reason, this breed probably wouldn’t do so well in a small apartment. They love to run in big open spaces and just as with other active breeds, if you do have a working dog living in a small space, ensure that they are getting plenty of exercise to help not feel so confined.

 

No excessive grooming required for this breed! They typically have a short, all over-grey/silver coat. While you don’t need to bring this dog into the groomers for a hair trim every week, Weimy’s still shed and will need frequent brushing (as well as other basic hygiene upkeep like nail trimming, ear cleaning, etc.).

 

Although you may find many hunting dogs to be quite serious and maybe even a little standoffish, the Weimaraner surprisingly has a quite goofy personality! They love to do lots of ‘play bows’ with their doggy friends. They get along great with other dogs and small kids (when properly socialized), and they love to make you laugh. Even in a game of fetch, you may find your Weimy doing crazy spins of excitement waiting for you to throw the ball! They are very playful dogs when not on the job. But once they get to work, they are all business and their focus is like no other.

 

If you’re in need of an excellent hunting dog, or maybe just an active and loveable companion, the Weimaraner can suit many different lifestyles. Just ensure that they have enough space to run around and lots of activities to fill their day!

Potty Training Your Dog

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Potty training your puppy is one of the most important milestones in their training. For most owners it means no more little ‘accidents’ in the house! It’s also a huge confidence booster for your pup when he knows he has done something right and makes you happy! If you’re looking for a ‘piddle-free’ home, read on for our potty training tips!

 

Frequent Potty Breaks

To really succeed at potty training your dog, you need to give them many opportunities to do what you are asking of them. If your dog is still a puppy, we recommend anywhere from 5-7 breaks every day (for about 10 minutes each). It is best if you also try to time the breaks about 15-20 minutes after they’ve finished the meal as this is most likely the time that they have digested and are ready to do their business. Why so many breaks? The more opportunities you give your dog to go to the bathroom, the more likely it is that they will go and that will give you your chance to praise them for going to the bathroom!

 

Don’t Reprimand

Of course there are many different believes on dog training in general. We don’t see much benefit to reprimanding your dog if they’ve had an accident inside the house. This can include speaking loudly/negatively toward your dog, bringing their nose to the ‘scene of the crime’ and saying “no???. As most people know, dog’s live in the moment, so when you bring them over to their poop or pee in the house and say no, they likely do not comprehend that we are telling them “look at this pee that you did an hour ago, I don’t want you to do this again???. They just know you are making them get really close to their pee and may not know why! So it is generally best to just ignore it, definitely don’t praise them for it but don’t reprimand them either. Just continue to praise when they do they right thing outside!

 

Praise! Praise! Praise!

As we mentioned briefly in our other two tips, it is so important to praise your dog when they have gone to the bathroom outside. Without that praise, they won’t know that they are doing what you want, so they may not be inclined to do it again. And timing is very critical! Pay attention to your dog and the second that they are going to the bathroom, get your excited voice going and start telling your dog how amazing they are! If you aren’t paying attention and give them praise 5 minutes after they’ve already gone, your dog may not understand what he is getting that praise for.

 

If you follow our potty training tips consistently, we are confident that in no time your dog will be potty trained and you will have no more little ‘piddles’ in your home.

Breed of the Week: Pug

Have you been searching for a super cute dog that doesn’t require too much exercise and will make you smile with their daily antics? Look no further than our breed of the week, the pug! These clowns of the dog world are always making their owners laugh and enjoying life with a great big smile!

 

Pugs are believed to be an ancient breed originating from China. They were considered prized possessions by their emperor owners. Pugs were even sometimes given their own private room and servants granting their every wish! Throughout many years of breeding, the fawn colour with black mask became the most common; but they can also come in brindle or black.

 

This wonderfully charming breed gets along great with everyone! Just as with any breed, it is important to properly socialize your puppy. With some socialization, the pug gets along fantastically with strangers, kids, cats, dogs, you name it! You won’t need to worry about hours of exercise to tire out a pug! They are pretty well-known for being couch potatoes. You will likely need to stay on top of their food intake and exercise to ensure they don’t get overweight.

 

The Pug requires minimal grooming. Although they do not need any sort of hair trimming, they can shed quite a bit! To help ensure your couches aren’t covered in hair, make sure to give your pug a good brushing at least every other day. Depending on how many facial wrinkles your pug has, it is very important to keep those folds clean, as well as any folds around their short curly tail. You can pick up pet safe wipes from your vet to help keep your pug comfortable and clean.

 

If you are in need of a cute companion that will keep you laughing with their goofball personalities, you should definitely consider adding a pug to your life!

Dog Park Etiquette

            The dog park is a great place to have your dog get out some excess energy and meet new dogs as well as new people. When at a dog park, it is important to know the proper dog park etiquette to keep it an enjoyable place for everyone. We’ve put together 3 easy tips to help you and your furry friend get the most out of your time at the dog park!

Scoop It!

Nobody at the dog park wants to clean up after someone else’s pet, so be sure to watch your dog(s) carefully if they are doing their business. You are completely responsible to clean up any messes your pet leaves. This ensures a better experience at the dog park for everyone. If you notice someone else’s dog doing their business, it is common dog park courtesy to politely let the owner know.

Keep Up With Vaccinations!

Be sure to always have your dog up to date with his vaccinations so that he (as well as the other dogs at the dog park) are much less likely to contract anything. Many dog parks also now require that your dog be spayed or neutered; this reduces any accidental pregnancies and many people believe it reduces the chances of fighting amongst male dogs.

If your dog has recently had a stomach bug or other small illness, it is best to keep them home just as you would keep a small child home from daycare if not feeling 100%. This also goes for fleas, ticks, etc. Dog parks should be thought of like a children’s daycare, you want to make sure they are up to it as well as preventing passing on anything to the other dogs.

Interact With Your Dog!

The reason most people bring their dog to a dog park is to play and run with other dogs. If your dog sees you sitting on the bench looking at your phone the whole time, he may end up just hanging around you instead of playing! Or if you have a more independent dog, he may get into some trouble such as playing too rough with other dogs, digging holes, jumping fences, etc., if he knows you aren’t watching him. So be sure to keep moving around the dog park (this also helps with your dog’s recall as he will constantly be looking to where you are). This helps you be more aware of how your dog is playing with the others and ensuring he is not misbehaving as well as making sure other dogs are not being too rough with him!

If you follow these simple tips you are sure to be one of the most popular people (and dog) at the dog park!

Breed of the Week: Briard

briard

Our super hairy, fun-loving breed for this week is the wonderful Briard! A large breed dog with a lot of energy and a lot of brains! Let’s take a closer look at this gentle and family-oriented breed.

This Briard is originally from France and mentioned in records from as far back as the 12th century! They were used primarily as working dogs to guard livestock (most often sheep).

With their history in protecting livestock, they can sometimes be quite defensive and protective of family members they have strongly bonded to. It is important to heavily socialize this breed to ensure they are not wary of friendly strangers. The stamina it took for their ancestors to work on the farm all day is evident in the energy level of today’s Briards. This breed requires a lot of exercise to stay calm and content. They get along great with kids and are excellent dogs for active families.

This breed is very intelligent and is a quick learner! You will likely fly through basic obedience and your Briard will be asking to learn more and more! Briards do great in agility competitions with their excellent combination of high energy and high intelligence.

It is easy to see that the Briard has a lot of hair! Resulting in daily brushing to avoid tangles and gunk in that hair, as well as regular hair trimming.

One of the oldest breeds in France, the Briard can be a great addition to your home and family. Ensure your Briard gets enough daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy. The Briard is a gorgeous dog that will bring your family endless joy!

Preparing for a New Dog

Bringing home a new puppy or adopting an older dog is a very exciting time! You’ve discussed it with your family and decided everyone is ready for the new responsibility; but maybe you’re worried you are forgetting something? Don’t worry! We’ve prepared a few tips to help make your new dog feel right at home!

Supplies

Here is a list of the supplies you will need ready when bringing your new dog home:

  • Dog bed & blankets • Food & water dishes
  • Dog crate • Toys
  • Food & Treats • Leash/ Collar/ Harness/ Halti
  • Poop bags & potty training pads
  • Grooming items (brush, nail clippers, shampoo)

Of course, this is just the main supplies you will need. When you do get your dog and walk through the pet store together, you will find there’s a whole world of cool dog gadgets, toys & training tools. You can spoil your dog with just about anything! Organic dog treats, dog clothing, automatic feeders, mini dog couches, the list goes on!

 

Plan for Emergencies

It is a great idea to have a vet established that you trust and that you can take to for regular check-ups, vaccinations, etc. It is also very important to have an emergency vet in mind in case your pet needs immediate vet attention. This is essential to have especially if your regular vet is not nearby or has regular office hours that close around 6pm. If your pet needs immediate attention in the middle of the night, you will be thankful to have your emergency vets’ number on hand.

When we talk about emergencies, we don’t just mean vet visits. If you want to take an impromptu trip or last minute need to go away for work, you want to have a plan ahead of time of who will be looking after your dog if you can’t take him with you.  You will need to decide between a variety of options such as leaving him with family or friends, putting him into a boarding facility, have him stay in home boarding, etc. For every one of these options, you should establish them before you actually need them. Which family member can take him? Are they prepared to have a dog with them and for how long? If going to a boarding facility or staying with someone who offers home boarding, it is smart to have him stay for 1 or 2 nights prior to make sure he enjoys it there and the care is up to your standards.

Though it might be a very hectic few days when preparing for your dog and introducing him to his new home, make sure to slow down and appreciated those initial moments of learning and bonding with your new dog. Now that you are fully prepared for your dog coming home, you can really enjoy getting to know your new family addition!

 

Breed of the Week: Leonberger

 

For all the giant dog breed lovers out there, here is the great, majestic Leonberger! The dog bred to look similar to a lion (mane and all!). This gentle giant is a great companion for the whole family and always ready for a photo opportunity!

 

The Leonberger was bred in the 1800’s in a German town called Leonberg. Breeder’s combined various other already existing breeds such as the St. Bernard, Newfoundlander and Great Pyrenees to create the majestic giant; carefully bred to resemble the town’s lion crest. Leonbergers were originally bred to be watchdogs working with farmers to help protect the livestock. Throughout the years, the Leonberger has been used for search and rescue, water rescue, guarding livestock, and of course, a family companion.

The Leonberger has a very recognisable coat that is always thick and plush. They tend to be dark brown or black around their face, with a brown/gold coat (similar to a lion’s coat). You will find some Leonbergers may not have the typical black or dark brown face, we still think they are gorgeous but unfortunately Leonbergers without the standard black face are not able to be shown in competition. This breed is not for someone looking for a low maintenance or low shedding dog. This giant breed has a lot of hair! It is gorgeous to look at, and hopefully you don’t mind it being everywhere in your house too! Daily brushing is essential for this breed!

Leonbergers have the very typical gentle giant personality that most giant dog breeds have. They are typically very confident dogs that don’t scare easily, but also quick to become submissive when playing with a friendly dog or interacting with people. Generally good with strangers but keep in mind they were at one time used to guarding so be alert of your dog possibly trying to protect you if he believes you are in danger. Leonbergers are famous for being great around kids; but may accidentally knock down small children simply due to the dogs large body. These are definitely sturdy dogs that are always more than happy to go anywhere with you. You never have to worry about a Leonberger slowing you down on a big hike! With that said, they don’t require an absurd amount of exercise. Just as with most giant breeds, after an hour walk, they are more than happy to lounge on the couch with you for the rest of the day.

If you haven’t heard of the Leonberger breed before, we definitely recommend you dive even further in your own research on the wonderful breed. They are such a wonderful companion. Whether you want a Leonberger to guard some livestock, or just a big fluffy dog to cuddle up with and keep you warm, the Leonberger is an excellent choice and fits in to a variety of different lifestyles.

Train Your Dog to Come When Called!

 

One of the most valuable things you can teach your dog is to come when called. Otherwise known as their recall. When a dog has good recall, you can go virtually anywhere with your dog off leash and be able to fully trust that he will keep watch of where you are and come back when you ask him to.

Before we dive into the process of teaching your dog good recall, you should keep in mind some breeds may be harder to train, but not impossible! Many dogs that were bred for scent tracking such as beagles, bloodhounds, etc., can take longer to teach ‘come’ as they get distracted by interesting scents (scents that are usually more interesting than us or even the treat we might have). But don’t be discouraged, it really isn’t impossible, it just may take more time and it is so important that you stay positive and consistent for successful training.

The most popular way to teach you dog ‘come’ is to simply have them on leash and while holding that leash, ask your dog to ‘come’. When he does come, give him praise and a treat! If he doesn’t, then simply tug on your leash gently pulling the dog towards you and when he reaches you, give him praise and a treat just as you would if he did it on his own. This will help communicate with your dog exactly what you are asking him to do (you are after all teaching him a word he’s never heard before!).

When your dog seems to understand it, you can then continue to use longer and longer leashes so that you are then challenging him to come to you from a farther distance. Don’t be discouraged if your dog did great on the short leash but not on the longer leash! Even on the long leash you can gently pull him in towards you and give praise when he reaches you. It is very important to not continuously keep repeating the word ‘come’ as it will let your dog think he doesn’t have to listen to you the first time, he can come when he feels like it. If you ask your dog to ‘come’ and he doesn’t, don’t repeat the word, simply pull him in towards you. You want to teach your dog that if you say the word come, he is expected to run to you right away.

If your dog gets really good at the long leash exercises, you can start introducing some distractions to challenge him. Have a friend walk by, or a friendly dog hanging out nearby. Slowly you will be able to introduce more and more distractions that your dog will learn to ignore and only focus on what you are asking him to do.

In no time at all your dog will be enjoying life off leash and you can live worry-free knowing that no matter what distractions are happening around you, your dog will reliably come back to you.