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 Safety Tips for Kids

kid walking great dane

Teaching young kids how to act around dogs is very important in today’s dog-filled society. Whether it’s your family pooch or an unfamiliar dog walking down the street, you want to be sure that your child knows how to properly behave around a dog and how to be respectful towards both the canine and the owner. We’ve complied some helpful tips for teaching your kids their doggy manners and staying safe!

 

Always Ask Before Approaching/ Petting a Dog

One of the most important safety tips is to always ask the owner before approaching or trying to pet the dog. Kids will often get so excited to see a new cute dog that they want to run up to it and start petting him! Unfortunately, this can often cause the dog to be surprised/overwhelmed and may react in a negative way such as biting. Try this exercise, take your child to a popular dog walking area, and show your child by example how to ask the owner first before petting and then calmly pet the dog. With enough practise, this will become the child’s natural response when they see a dog in the future. If you want to go a step further, you can teach your kids the colour codes that some dogs will wear to indicate various meanings (ex., red means ‘Caution! Do not touch’, green means ‘I am friendly!’)

 

Too Many Kisses!

Dogs and humans show affection in different ways. This is an important piece of information for kids to understand. At an early age, kids learn to show affection by hugging their friends and family; so it only makes sense that they would want to show the same affection to the new cute dog they just met! Unfortunately, dogs don’t typically show affection by hugs or kisses, and often times when a face or head is very close to their head, the dog becomes uncomfortable and will try to bite. It should be fully explained and emphasized to kids that the dog does not like hugs or kisses, but he really likes being gently pet!

 

Don’t Bother a Busy Dog!

 

Have you ever encountered a dog with a new toy that just wouldn’t let go of it no matter what? No problem for many adults, but that can seem really scary to a young kid, and if the dog really loves what he’s chewing on, he may become aggressive to protect it. For this reason, it is crucial that kids learn to not approach a dog who is eating, drinking or chewing on something. Especially with new dogs, you don’t know if that dog is familiar with kids, or if the dog has any possessive tendencies that could turn aggressive.

 

It is important to always monitor your kids interactions with dogs to ensure they are safe and being respectful to the animal. To ensure your child grows up to be confident and polite around dogs, it’s always a good idea to re-educate yourself by speaking with dog trainers, watching youtube videos of dog behaviour, or even speaking with a knowledgeable dog owner. By becoming more confident around dogs yourself, your kids will follow your lead to have a happy life with canines!

Breed of the Week: Vizsla

vizsla

This week we are highlighting a Hungarian sporting dog with endless energy! The Vizsla (pronounced VEE-zh-lah) is a gentle companion, ready to go on any adventure with his owner!

 

The Vizsla is a lean, short-haired dog originating from Hungary in the 1800’s. Some Vizsla enthusiasts believe that the breed was actually created in the 9th century, it is more likely that this isn’t factual, there were many working breeds similar to the Vizsla around that time which is what creates the confusion on how old this breed is. There are several theories as to who are the ancestors of the Vizsla, the popular belief is that the Vizsla was created from the greyhound and Transylvanian hound dog. Also adding to the confusion of this breeds history is that ‘Vizsla’ in Hungarian means ‘Pointer’. So some references to the Vizsla from the 1800’s are actually referring to completely different pointer type dogs.

 

The way humans worked with dogs during the 1800’s was changing in that it was becoming less and less common to have one dog for locating game, another dog to hunt it, another dog to retrieve it. People were looking for efficient dogs that could do all of these tasks and for a wide variety of game (instead of just one or two kinds). Thus, the Vizsla was bred for these tasks, and did them all phenomenally. To add to the Vizsla’s already impressive resume, hunters were wanting this super dog to also be a great companion for the home. The Vizsla really was created with all of these amazing uses and desired traits in mind. At the same time that the Vizsla was becoming popular, Germany had begun creating breeds with the same traits in mind, such as the German long-haired pointer and the Weimeraner. Many Vizsla owners will tell you that the Vizsla is still the most affectionate of all the pointer type breeds to this day.

 

The Vizsla does not require much grooming at all. Regular nail clipping, making sure his teeth and ears stay clean is all you really need to take care of. The Vizsla does not shed too much, just small hairs that can be easily picked up with a roller brush.

 

The Vizsla is a highly active dog and would do better with a large backyard or wide open spaces as opposed to an apartment in the city. They require lots of exercise every day. Lucky for you, they typically get along great with other dogs and can play with their friends at the dog park all day. Being a working dog, Vizsla’s love to have a game with purpose such as fetch or Frisbee. But be sure that your Vizsla does not get possessive over toys. The intensity of some working dogs when not handled correctly can sometimes result in undesirable behaviours (such as protecting or getting aggressive over toys).

 

If you are lucky enough to be able to bring your dog to work every day, the Vizsla may just be the perfect dog for you! Vizsla owners will lovingly describe their Vizlas as ‘Velcro dogs’ as they never leave your side. When you have a Vizsla, you have an extra shadow. Be sure to play confidence building games with your Vizsla and to practise staying calm when coming or going as to not encourage separation anxiety. They generally get along great with strangers and are very gentle with kids. Just as with any breed, you should always socialize your dog early with other dogs, people and animals to help them be confident adult dogs.

 

The Vizsla is a very active dog who loves to go for a run then cuddle up with you on the couch. He will stick to you like Velcro and follow you everywhere you go. One of the most affectionate of the pointer-type breeds, the Vizsla is an amazing companion to the right owner/ family. Ideally they should go to a home with lots of space to run around so they can get out some of their endless energy. The Vizsla is an amazing dog that could win both athlete of the year as well as best cuddle buddy!

Winter Safety Tips for your Pup!

dog winter

Around this time of year we all get to enjoy some beautiful snowy scenery. When out and about with your pup in this chilly weather it is important to be prepared to make sure your pup doesn’t get too cold! We’ve assembled our winter safety tips list to help keep you and your pup having fun in the snow this winter!

 

Double Coat vs. Single Coat

First things first, figure out if your dog has a double coat or a single coat. Most spitz-type dogs or super fluffy looking dogs will have a double coat that better protects them from the cold and helps to insulate heat. Examples of some dog breeds with double coats are huskies, golden retrievers and bernese mountain dogs. If your dog has a single coat he can be more susceptible to frostbite in very cold temperatures. It would be a good idea to invest in a high quality winter coat for your dog if he has a single coat. If you are unsure what type of coat your dog has, you can look up his particular breed online, ask your groomer or ask your vet. Keep in mind, even some dogs with double coats may need a winter jacket before going outside in the cold. Use your best judgement when it comes to your dog. One example of a dog with a double coat that may still require a winter jacket is the Yorkshire terrier. Even though they have thick fur, their tiny bodies can’t withstand that cold wind for too long!

 

Paw Care

If you find your dog gets dry or cracked paws in the wintertime, it may be a good idea to invest in some dog booties for him! Dog booties (although may feel weird to your dog when first trying them) will help to protect your dogs paw pads from getting too cold as well as drying out too much. On the other side, if your dog has very furry feet, it would be wise to take a trip to the groomer to get them trimmed. Excessive hair on the feet and between the paw pads can get wet running in the snow all day and then quickly freeze, keeping that frosty ice on your dog’s feet. And when your dog comes in from the snowy backyard, be sure to wipe down his feet with a dry towel to help them warm up faster (and help prevent puddles in your house as any ice or snow melts!).

 

Walk in the Sunshine!

If you find your pooch is getting too chilly on your morning or evening walks, try adjusting your routine so that your walks are when the sun’s out! This will dramatically help keeping your pup warm. Like most of us, we have busy lives where we can’t adjust our schedules to walking the dog during daylight hours, so look around for some knowledgeable dog walkers who can take your dog out. This doesn’t mean you have to pay for a dog walker year round, most dog walkers are more than happy to accommodate seasonal clients. So when you get home from a long day at work, your dog has already been tired out (without getting too cold!) and will only need a quick bathroom break before bed.

 

It is so important to make sure you and your dog are prepped and ready before taking on this cold weather. With these helpful tips your dog is sure to stay snuggly warm!

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: Chinese Crested

chinese crested

Our not so fluffy breed this week is the Chinese Crested Dog. If fur all over the house is a big concern for you, you may be interested in the Chinese Crested Dog! They are mostly hairless and can be sweet little companions to the right owner.

 

Although one would assume the Chinese Crested originated from China, which is surprisingly false. The origin is still much debated but most experts believe the breed to have originated either in Africa or South America as both continents have very similar native breeds. Some people would also argue that they have to have originated from Mexico because of their similarity to another hairless dog native to Mexico (the Xoloitzcuintli). Apparently when the breed started to become popular, many Chinese merchant ships would have Chinese Crested on board with them, thus giving the false impression that China is where they originated from. The breed became more popular as people were very curious about this breed and its very noticeable lack of hair.

 

The standard for the hairless Chinese Crested Dog is to have no hair on the body, some hair on the face, neck and feet. Chinese Crested Dogs also come in a variety known as the ‘powderpuff’ and looks like a completely different dog breed! The powderpuff has thick, soft fur all over its body. Even though the hairless variety is typically more desired, the continuation of the Chinese Crested breed depends on the powderpuffs! Breeders have said that when two hairless Chinese Crested’s are bred together, there is a high risk of the litter not surviving in utero. So when breeding, you need to combine a hairless Chinese Crested with a Powder Puff to produce a healthy litter. Within that litter, there will be both powder puff varieties as well as the hairless variety. You could also breed two powder puff varieties together, but then you would be unlikely to produce any hairless varieties in the litter (and the hairless is more popular/desired).

 

Chinese Crested Dogs love following their owner everywhere. They often become very bonded to one person and can be quite standoffish with strangers. Although a gentle breed, the Chinese Crested is generally not a fan of being messed with by young kids or rough housed by rambunctious puppies and can become aggressive just like any dog when overly stressed. Owners should definitely socialize their Chinese Crested early on with strangers and other dogs. It would also be wise to teach the Chinese Crested how to stay calm instead of reacting aggressively in stressful situations. You can do this by working with them on confidence building exercises as well as being near stimulating situations (such as a puppy walking by) and teaching your Chinese Crested to focus on you and stay calm. This will eventually help them learn how to stay calm on their own.

 

Chinese Crested dogs are not overly active, they enjoy staying on the warm living room couch all day! They only require basic exercising, about 1 or 2 long walks a day depending on the dog’s health and age. Even though they enjoy lounging around, you’d be surprised how fast they can run! They will often get sprints of high energy where they run around as fast as they can for a short while, then lazy the rest of the day!

 

The Chinese Crested Dog is a loveable little friend for the owner who enjoys having a little shadow follow them around. Although mostly easy-going, they do get their high-energy moments! They require a good amount of socializing to ensure they enjoy their time spent with other people and doggy friends. With their fascinating breeding requirements to continue the breed, and their vastly different varieties, you can be sure you’ll have one of the most interesting breeds in the neighbourhood!

Flyball! What It’s All About!

flyball dog

This week we are learning all about Flyball! A fun competition for you and your dog to get into! Read on to learn about the history of this fast paced competition and what you and your dog can gain from taking part!

 

Flyball was created in Southern California in the late 1960’s by a man named Herbert Wagner. Flyball was created as a different take on scent hurdle racing. In scent hurdle racing, dogs are required to jump over a series of hurdles, at the end of the hurdles they are giving the option of several different objects to pick up. They must choose the correct object (only one of the objects matches the scent that they were given at the start of the race), then bring back the object to the handler, jumping over each hurdle again. Whichever dog is the fastest and most accurate in bringing the correct object, wins!

 

A similar premise to scent hurdle racing, in Flyball, dogs have to jump over a series of hurdles, at the end of the hurdles is a spring loaded box that releases a tennis ball when pressed/jumped on by the dog. Once the dog presses on the box and has the tennis ball, he runs back over the hurdles to his handler. Once again, the fastest dog or Flyball team, wins!

 

The sport of Flyball is fantastic for all breeds. You’ll find just about every type of dog can get excited about this sport, whether it’s a Chihuahua or an Irish Wolfhound! Although many dog breeds can get involved in scent hurdle racing, typically the dog breeds with more scent receptors will have a higher success rate. With Flyball, all your dog needs to do is run, jump and catch! This is a great way to drain out some energy from very active dogs, and it even gives them mental stimulation so you can be sure they’ll be exhausted when they get home! High energy working breeds such as the border collie love to get involved with Flyball. They get to run as fast as they can, and they use their brain power to really focus in on the task at hand (get that ball!).

Flyball is not only great for getting out some energy, but also for strengthening your bond with your dog. Spending all day together at a Flyball competition or spending an hour practising, simply spending that interactive time together will bring you two closer, and your dog will likely give you even more cuddles for it!

 

Feeling inspired to get your dog started? You can easily find Flyball groups looking for new members on the North American Flyball Association website.

Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect: Part 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dogs can make fantastic pets, but did you know your dog might not just be a cute face, he could also be detecting things you weren’t even aware of! A lot of dogs can detect changes in the earth as well as in the human body, simply with their great sense of smell! You’d be surprised to learn all the things your dog might be detecting without you even realizing it! Continuing from last week’s ‘Amazing Things Dogs Can Detect; Part 1’, here is the rest of our list of fascinating things dogs can detect!

 

Thunderstorms       Most of us are very familiar to being woken up in the middle of the night to our dogs acting anxious, and then an hour later, there’s a thunderstorm! Could there be any correlation? Are our dog’s psychic? Well, no, your dog might not be psychic, but he can definitely smell that thunderstorm or rain on its way! Have you ever stepped outside the day after a storm and thought, ‘wow, it really smells like rain today’? Now think about your dog’s incredible sense of smell, if humans can smell the rain, you better believe our furry friends pick up on that scent way before we do. Typically they start to notice the different smell in the atmosphere 30-60 min before it even starts to pour!

 

Diabetes                   We’ve had service dogs around for years and they have provided their owners with independence and confidence. One of the amazing things service dogs can be trained to detect are changes in blood sugar levels within the human body. This being extremely useful for individuals who are diabetic. When blood sugar levels drop dramatically, our bodies produce chemical changes that dogs can pick up on when they sniff our breath and skin. This can give diabetic individuals peace of mind when they are out and about. Blood sugar levels can drop drastically in the body and sometimes the individual won’t notice until it’s a serious emergency. Trained service dogs help these individuals by alerting them so the owner can have more time to get their insulin. These types of service dogs are best suited to individuals who have unpredictable and dramatic changes in the blood sugar levels.

 

Anxiety         At some point we’ve all heard the old saying ‘dogs can smell fear’. While this is in fact accurate, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog will then become aggressive. Most dogs will actually recognise an individual who is fearful of them, and often avoid them. But can dogs really smell fear or are they just looking at our facial cues? The answer is, both! Dogs (especially ones we’ve bonded to) are very good readers of our facial expressions and that definitely plays a part in them recognising our fear/ anxiety. But dogs actually do rely on their noses in this situation too! When we start feeling anxious, our bodies pump blood faster, we release adrenaline, start sweating and releasing pheromones that dogs pick up on.

 

We’ve discussed some amazing things that dogs can detect. Some owners may find their dog can sense even more things than we’ve listed here! It is truly remarkable how our furry friends can sniff out and sense oncoming rain and the earth’s magnetic field. We are lucky to have them in our lives!

 

Breed of the Week: Boxer

Boxer dog

Meet our sweet and lovable breed of the week, the Boxer! An active breed that loves spending time with their family. It’s easy to fall in love with this charming breed, read on to discover their wonderful attributes!

 

Developed in Germany in the late 1800’s, the Boxer is considered part of the ‘Molosser’ group which all bulldog breeds also belong to. His ancestors are the English bulldog, and an old mastiff-type breed that does not exist anymore, called ‘Bullenbeisser’. The Boxer was originally bred for hunting large animals such as deer and wild boar. They were trained to take down the animals and hold them until their hunting master could get to the animal.  Boxers were bred with the intent to make the perfect hunting companion. The strength and determination of a bulldog, combined with the stamina and size of the Bullenbeisser (small mastiff-type dog). Everything about the Boxer breed was very intentional, even their colouring. The brindle colouring of many Boxers was specifically created by breeders to help them camouflage when on the hunt.

 

The Boxer completely suits their name as anyone who has watched a Boxer play, knows how much they like to ‘stand up’ and use their front paws (and they look like they’re boxing!). Which makes sense considering the large prey they were bred to hunt, it was natural for them to go on their hind legs so they could reach the neck of their prey. As this action of jumping up is so natural for these dogs, one of the most valuable things you can teach your boxer is to not jump up on people. Once taught, this breed will often require management on their manners; meaning even when they’re an adult, you may still need to do training sessions once in a while on how to properly greet a stranger and not jump.

 

Boxers are one of the most family friendly breeds you will find. They love to spend every minute of the day with you. When properly socialized, they get along amazingly with kids, but be sure to watch them around very young kids as the boxer’s boisterous energy may knock young children over! They are very active dogs and will need to be with an owner who has an active lifestyle to match. They are able to adapt to apartment living if they have sufficient time running around and getting out their energy.

 

If you want a dog that doesn’t require regular trips to the groomer, the boxer might be your next dog! They don’t require any hair clipping, but they do shed and require regular brushing at home, along with bathing, nail clipping, etc. Also be sure to inspect and wipe out their facial wrinkles as needed to ensure they stay clean and don’t get infected or irritated.

 

The wonderful Boxer can make a great companion to an active individual or family. Be sure to teach them early on not to jump on people, and continue to maintain those manners throughout their lives. If you think you can handle the energy of these playful wonderful dogs, then consider bringing a Boxer into your life!