Breed of the Week: Kuvasz

kuvasz

Meet our lovable and courageous gentle giant breed this week, the Kuvasz! These big hairy dogs have a naturally sweet temperament and love to be around the people their family. Although having a Kuvasz may mean a lot more hair in your house, they make it all worth it with their wonderful personalities!

 

The Kuvasz is a very old breed originating from Hungary. Original Kuvasz’s were much larger than the ones we see today. During the 14th century, only royalty were allowed to own a Kuvasz. They became very popular with royals who enjoyed hunting game, as the Kuvasz was a great hunting companion. As time passed, the Kuvasz started to become more accepted for common-folk to own. Farmers were big fans of the Kuvasz as they made fantastic guard dogs for sheep and livestock. The breed continued to be used as a guard dog for livestock all throughout the 1900’s. This breed makes an excellent guard and watch dog as his size alone can be quite intimidating. They have a very loud and deep bark (but they only make noise when necessary) and they are naturally very wary of strangers.

 

Kuvasz today are smaller in size compared to their ancestors, but still remain to be known as a gentle giant. They absolutely love their family and are very loyal dogs. Kuvasz’s do have a tendency to be wary of strangers still, just like their ancestors; be sure to do a lot of socialization with them so they know not to be aggressive or fearful towards strangers. Although they may seem big and tough, they are sensitive dogs and respond best to positive training as opposed to any gimmicks or harsh training methods. Most Kuvasz’s are great with other dogs and pets, but some can be very nervous or anxious around them, so it is extremely important before deciding to get this breed, that you have committed to training and socializing your Kuvasz for the rest of this life (not just while he’s a puppy!).

 

The Kuvasz sheds quite a bit and also is prone to mats with that thick double coat of his. Be sure to brush him with a good quality slicker brush 3-4 times a week to keep his coat looking its best. They will also need to see the groomer for hair clipping on a regular basis. They amount of time in between grooms depends on the individual dog as well as how long the owner prefers to keep the hair, but generally every 4-6 months.

 

Kuvasz are great family dogs and will always stay loyal to their family. Although very bonded to ‘his people’, Kuvasz don’t typically have much separation anxiety. To keep him from developing separation anxiety, make sure to not make a big deal about leaving or coming home, wait until your dog is calm before giving attention and affection. The Kuvasz may not be for everyone as this breed generally needs continuous training and socializing throughout most of his life. But if you are looking for a wonderful and outdoorsy companion, the Kuvasz might be the right dog for you!

Breed of the Week: Borzoi

Russian borzoi, greyhound dog standing. Outdoor shoot
Russian borzoi, greyhound dog standing. Outdoor shoot

The last couple of weeks we’ve enjoyed looking at some rough and tumble working dogs that aren’t afraid of getting muddy! This week we’re switching things up and looking at one of the most graceful dog breeds around, the elegant and swift Borzoi!

 

The Borzoi breed was created by Russian aristocrats looking to have a hunting companion type dog who was extremely fast and brave enough to hunt large animals such as wolves. There are rumors that this breed dates as far back as the 13th century! Because of their remarkable hunting skills, the Borzoi was originally known as the Russian Wolfhound and the name was changed to Borzoi in 1936. And very suitable that they changed the name as Borzoi in Russian actually means ‘swift’!

 

This graceful breed is certainly a wonder to watch when they’re in full gallop! Their strides are as if they are floating along and their long locks just flow in the wind! Many Borzoi owners compare their dog to a cat as they are so light on their feet you often can’t hear them walking through the house! They are the epitome of the ‘gentle giant’. They stand at about 2’2???-2’8??? and weigh around 100 lbs when fully grown. They very rarely bark, making them not so great guard dogs. They can be a bit standoffish with strangers and should be very well socialized with strangers and young kids. The Borzoi is not always a good match for a home with small animals as they do have a very high prey drive and will chase anything that moves fast.

 

The Borzoi’s long hair should be combed through about twice a week to prevent mats and knotting. Due to their super silky hair, dirt just rolls off of them so you don’t have to worry about frequent baths. Depending on your personal preference, you can keep the Borzoi’s coat short, or keep up with regular hair trimming every couple of months. Be sure to speak with your groomer about the proper tools/products to use on your dog, as the Borzoi do have some special requirements (for example, it is recommended to never use a slicker type brush on this breed as it can damage their skin and coat).

 

The Borzoi can be a fantastic companion for an active family with lots of fully fenced backyard space. A happy Borzoi is one that is running in the wind! They need a gentle and patient leader for their training as they are very sensitive dogs. It’s a pleasure watching these wonderful dogs frolic and play, they will make a wonderful addition to any outdoorsy families!

Ways Your Dog Says ‘I Love You’

dog heart

It’s pretty easy to see when humans are showing their love or affection for one another, kissing, hugging, hand-holding, etc. But do you know all the little ways your dog tells you he loves you? You may be surprised to learn some of the almost unnoticeable ways your dog is saying ‘I love you’.

 

Yawning (When You Yawn)

When humans yawn from seeing another human yawn we often think ‘yawns are contagious’; but really, it is a sign of sympathy. When you are more attached to the person who is yawning, you are more likely to also feel the urge to yawn as you are unconsciously showing sympathy for the person. Crazy thing is, dogs do the same thing! Recent studies have shown that the more bonded the dog is to the person who is yawning, the more likely they are to yawning. Of course, we also know that yawning in dogs can also be a sign of anxiety or anticipation, so be sure to analyze the situation if your dog is nervous, excited to go somewhere, or just taking the time to say ‘I love you’!

 

Wiggling Their Eyebrows

 

According to the Behavioural Processes Journal, a Japanese Study revealed that dogs are likely to wiggle or raise their eyebrows when they are reunited with someone they like! In the study, dogs were observed when exposed to various toys, strangers and their owner. The results showed that there was unpredictable movement towards the toys and strangers, but consistently dogs would move their left eyebrow in some way whenever they saw their owner! When studied further and discovered that dogs often have the same reaction to other dogs that they know well, this tells us that dogs moving their left eyebrow definitely has a correlation to the relationship they feel they have with the person or dog.

Wanting to Sleep Near You

Whether sleeping on your bed or in his own dog bed near your bed, dogs want to sleep near someone they feel close to and trust. In dog world, sleep is a very vulnerable state, this is why most wild dogs or wolves will sleep in a pack as there is safety in numbers. But you will rarely find a dog sleeping near someone they don’t trust. In their eyes, the safest place to sleep is with you because you are their protector, and they love you for it! It’s a huge compliment when a dog trusts you enough to sleep close to you and definitely shows their love.

 

These are only some of the ways our furry companions tell us they love us. And every dog is different, so your dog may have even more cute ways that he says he loves you that we haven’t discovered yet!

Making New Doggy Friends

dog friends

Are you looking for a new best friend for your pup? Has he been looking a little bored or lonely lately? Well, if you aren’t looking to add another dog to your family, a great solution is to find new playmates for your pup! We’ve put together our favourite tips on making new doggy friends.

 

Neutral Territory

One of the great things about going to the dog park, is that very rarely will you find dog’s being protective of the dog park itself. When you bring another dog into your home, your dog may feel he needs to protect the home and instead of trying to be friends, he may worry that his home is being threatened by this visitor. Having dogs meet on ‘neutral ground’ takes away those feelings of having to protect or guard the area and makes it much easier for dogs to play together and bond.

 

Similar Minds

When looking for a new best friend for Spot, you may find that your dog often gravitates to playing with certain breeds or certain sizes of dogs. This is not to say that opposites don’t sometimes attract in the dog world; but your border collie may not be having fun playing chase with a pug if the pug can’t keep up! Often times this is most true with highly active breeds such as border collies or dalmatians. They enjoy chasing and being chased….and going really really fast! So if their doggy buddy can’t keep up, you may need to look around for other high energy play times to really tire your dog out and help him get the most out of playtime.

 

Positivity

It can be very beneficial to use positive association when trying to help your dog bond with a new friend. Giving affection or praise after your dog had a long play session with his new buddy, will really enforce the thought of ‘I had a lot of fun today with that new dog and my owner was happy with me! Good things happen when I play with that dog!???. Be careful though to not create any jealousy between the dogs. If they are in the middle of interacting with each other, it may not be the best time to offer a treat as this could cause jealousy in the other dog and he may react aggressively, creating a negative experience. If you are unsure about creating positive associations for your dog, it is best to consult a certified dog behaviourist for advice.

 

With these helpful tips your pooch is sure to become a social butterfly!

Dog Friendly Birthday Cake

dog eating birthday cake

Looking for ways to make your wonderful dog’s birthday even more special? Why not make him/ her a homemade birthday cake (completely safe for dogs to eat!). Here is a simple recipe to make your dog’s birthday unforgettable!

 

Makes one 8??? round cake

 

Cake

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

3/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 egg

 

Frosting

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

 

To make the cake, grease an 8??? round spring form cake pan. Whisk your dry ingredients together (whole wheat flour and baking soda). In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients together (peanut butter, applesauce, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil and egg). Combine your wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just comes together (don’t overmix). Bake for 30-40 min at 350 degrees F.  Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.

 

When the cake is cool, whip together the greek yogurt and peanut butter until thoroughly combined and use as frosting for the cake. If you want to go a step further and personalize your pet’s cake, you can melt down some carob chips to pipe ‘Happy Birthday’.

 

Even though this cake is delicious, make sure your dog doesn’t eat too much at once! A 1/8 slice of this cake is a reasonable serving size for a medium-large breed dog. To ensure you don’t have so much leftover, invite some doggy friends to share in your dog’s birthday festivities! Just be sure to check for any doggie allergies first!

Breed of the Week: Papillon

papillon

This week we are looking at one of the oldest spaniel breeds, the Papillon. Also known as the Continental Toy Spaniel, this dog is most recognised by its fluffy ears that resemble butterfly wings. A friendly and energetic dog, the Papillon is a great companion in a tiny package.

 

The Papillon is one of the oldest known breeds in the world. This breed dates back to the 15th Century! Their exact origin is still unknown to this date, but suspected to likely be Belgium, France or Spain. As depicted in many old paintings, we have come to find that many famous historic figures loved this little spaniel. Marie Antoinette was known to carry her little Papillon around with her quite often. The breed originally had droopy ears, it wasn’t until the late 1800’s that Papillon breeders started breeding for erect ears. During this time that the erect ears became more popular, any Papillon’s that did not have erect ears came to be known as the Phalene (meaning night moth). Interestingly enough, even through years of breeding for either erect or drooped ears, when a Papillon gives birth, you can have pups with erect ears and ones with drooped ears within that same litter!

 

If you are looking for a dog that won’t leave fur all over your house, then do not get a Papillon. These guys shed a lot and need to be brushed at least every other day. If you want to maintain the classic Papillon haircut then you will be going to the groomer about once a month. If you are okay with him not looking absolutely perfect or if you prefer the puppy cut (short hair all over) then only need to visit the groomer about every 4 months. Be very gentle when you are brushing the Papillon as they do have a lot of fur, but it’s not thick. The Papillon doesn’t have a double coat like some other breeds, so be sure to have a soft touch when brushing to not accidentally hurt or scratch the dog’s skin.

 

The Papillion is a sweet and friendly little dog. When properly socialized, they are often very friendly with dogs, cats and new people. These little guys are high energy and very intelligent (imagine a tiny border collie). They need to have adequate physical and mental stimulation every day to not bored and get into trouble. Papillons are very light-footed and fast, meaning they can be great escape artists. It’s important to work on your Papillon’s recall early on (as well as teach them to stay within your property when off leash) to ensure that when you open the front door, they don’t run out.

 

When owning a toy breed such as the Papillon, safety is a big concern. Even a short fall down some stairs or accidentally stepping on your dog if he’s quietly running by your feet, can seriously injury their tiny bodies. So be sure to look around your house and ‘tiny dog proof’ it to make sure they aren’t at risk of getting hurt or getting stuck somewhere.

 

The Papillon can be a fantastic companion to an active owner. They do great in apartments and don’t take up much space! With that in mind, they will need time outside to run around daily and get out all of their energy. Be prepared for trips to the groomer and maintaining your dog’s coat in between grooms. The Papillon is a wonderful and happy little dog that can be a lot of joy to the right owner!

Managing Your Dog’s Weight

dog-with-scae

Have you noticed a little extra pudge on your dog lately? Or maybe you’ve started to notice them losing weight. Our furry friends can’t manage their weight on their own, they need our help to provide them with adequate exercise and proper nutrition. Here we will discuss how to help manage your dog’s weight and keep them happy and healthy!

 

When we are looking to lose a few extra pounds, most people will start going for an extra walk, talking the stairs when possible, basically just increasing how many calories we are burning throughout our day. The same goes for your pup! You can’t just tell Spot to drop and give me 10 push ups! You have to get moving with them! Small changes added to your daily routine can go a long way. Increase your walks together by 10 minutes. Add in an extra game of fetch or Frisbee. The added bonus to helping our dog’s get more exercise is we often get healthier along with them!

 

Not only do we need to look at how much calories our canine companions are using throughout the day, we also need to consider what calories they are putting into their bodies. And when I say ‘they’, I actually mean ‘we’; often times the owner is the culprit to providing too many treats or table scraps which can add to your dog’s waistline. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, the first thing to do is eliminate table scraps. If you want to continue giving your dog treats, give up any unhealthy treats and instead use your dog’s kibble! This helps you give him smaller portioned treats and assuming you have a high quality kibble for your dog, it will provide him with much better nutrition than those cheddar bacon treats! Alternatively, you can also use ‘raw’ treats such as washed and peeled carrot pieces.

 

It’s important to not only discuss when your dog is looking a little too roly poly, but also to take notice if your dog has started losing weight. If you notice dramatic weight loss in your dog over a short amount of time, make sure to book him in for an appointment with your regular vet for a check-up. If his weight loss is accompanied by any other symptoms such as fatigue, lack of appetite, increased thirst, you should take him to the vet immediately to ensure there isn’t a more serious health problem. When you notice weight loss in your dog, try to think of reasons why, did his food change? Has he been out exercising more? Always try to use your best judgement if his weight loss makes sense, or if it requires a vet visit. Weight loss in dogs under 8 months generally is not normal and should be addressed with a vet immediately.

 

Just like us humans, dogs like to have lazy days too (especially certain breeds). Too many of those lazy days combined with too many yummy snacks can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and potentially lead to health problems down the road. To keep your pup at his best, ensure that he is eating proper portions of high quality food. Combine that with adequate exercise every day and your dog will be healthy for years to come!

Breed of the Week: Brussels Griffon

brussels-griffon

Have you ever noticed a furry, pug-looking dog at the dog park? Well you might have just seen our featured breed this week, the Brussels Griffon! Lot’s of personality, and hilarity packed into one little dog. These guys will surely make you laugh on a daily basis.

 

The Brussels Griffon originated in Belgium in the early 1800’s. They were owned by coachmen and used to hunt rodents in the stables were the coachmen kept their horses. They were cross-bred with the pug and a type of Belgian terrier. Later added to the mix was the King Charles Spaniel and the English Toy Spaniel. Once these secondary breeds were added to the making of the Brussels Griffon, it resulted in the many coat variations we see today in the Brussels Griffon.

 

The Brussels Griffon comes in many different colour variations such as beige, black, red and black & tan. They can have a smooth coat or a wire-coat. The smooth coat Brussels generally have shorter hair that is easy to maintain and requires minimal grooming. The wire-coat will need regular trips to the groomer for trimming. The classic Brussels Griffon haircut is a short body and head, with longer hair around their mouth making it look as though they have a beard.

 

This great little dog adapts well to any sort of housing. They do fine in apartments or condominiums, generally only needing one good walk a day along with bathroom breaks. The most important thing to these dogs is to be with their owner at all times. They adore humans, especially the ones they have bonded with and dislike being left alone (sometimes resulting in being destructive). Brussels Griffon owners would do well to not accidentally enforce their anxious tendencies such as a big, exciting reunion when coming home from work. Dog breeds who are more inclined to developing separation anxiety should always be greeted in a calm manner and even ignored until they have settled down. Responding to an anxious dog with excitement when you’ve been separated for a period of time can result in increasing their anxiety in the future.

 

These dogs can get along fantastically with other animals when properly socialized and are generally good with strangers. If you think you’re ready for a loving little bearded dog, consider bringing in the wonderful Brussels Griffon to your home!

Choosing the Right Groomer

Red Toy Poodle puppy sits on a white background

 

Bought your first pup and looking for a new groomer to maintain their stylish looks? Or maybe you’ve been to other groomers already and are not completely satisfied? We’ve put together a few tips to help you find the right groomer for you and your four-legged friends!

 

Look Around!          Did you notice that gorgeous looking poodle walking down the street? Or maybe that handsome Bichon Frise? Next time you see a well-groomed dog at the dog park, ask the owner where they go! A great looking groom is free advertisement for a groomer and shows you their skill level. Try to keep an eye out for dogs similar looking to your dog to get a better idea of how the groomer will be with your particular dog. Every groomer will have some breeds they are better at. Just because your groomer can do a great groom on a cocker spaniel, doesn’t mean they will do a great groom on your miniature schnauzer.

 

Ask Questions!       When you are entrusting someone to maintain your pet’s lovely coat, it’s normal to be a little anxious for your first few grooms. So prepare a list of all your questions ahead of time and ask the groomer before your first groom. Find out how familiar they are with grooming your particular dog’s breed, how many years they’ve been grooming for, their full list of services, etc. Think of as many questions as you can to really get to know your groomer and what type of service you will be provided with.

 

Check Certifications!         You always want to be sure that your groomer is properly certified for all the services that they offer. Many groomers are self-taught and/ or self-employed, but they are still encouraged to become certified as a groomer/ pet stylist in Canada. As well, they should be certified for several other services if they offer them, such as treating fleas and ticks. Beware if your groomer offers any services that require anesthesia such as teeth scaling (different from teeth cleaning which is typically done with dog toothpaste and toothbrush). These procedures should be left to your veterinarian for the health and safety of your dog. Complications can arise with these more invasive services/ procedures and you want to be sure there is a team of trained staff to be there for your pet as well as the proper medical equipment found in a vet’s office.

 

Whether you want a new ‘do’ for your new Bouvier, or trying to find a calm groomer for your senior coton du tulear; these tips are sure to help you and your dog find the most compatible groomer for you!