Breed of the Week: Chow Chow

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Here comes the Chow Chow! A bouncy, fluffy, energetic teddy bear that loves his family! This dog is an independent thinker and some say this breed acts more like a cat than a dog!

 

Chow chows are believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Originating from Mongolia, they were kept by Chinese emperors to guard all of their valuable possessions. Some emperors kept as many as 2000 Chows! The breed started becoming very popular outside of China after Queen Victoria gained interest in them, and then in 1895 a breed club was finally formed for the Chow Chow. Now in the modern world, many celebrities have fallen in love with the breed too! Sigmund Freud’s daughter became a Chow breeder and Martha Stewart would often bring her own Chows onto her television show.

 

As you can probably guess by looking at these big fluffy teddy bears, the Chow would be considered high maintenance for grooming. They require daily brushing, sometimes twice a day if your particular Chow is a heavy seasonal shedder. Basic grooming like nail clipping, teeth cleaning and bathing will also be required. Some owners choose to shave down their Chows, but most groomers will recommend against this due to the Chow’s ‘double coat’. When dogs with double coats are shaved, it often leaves the hair to grow back much coarser than it was before, as well as diminish it’s naturally ability as insulation in colder weather. So we highly recommend that you don’t shave your Chow Chow’s coat, but instead simply keep up with brushing and your Chow will be feeling comfortable as well as keeping stylish!

 

Chow Chows are very family oriented. The family unit they grow up with they will often bond to for life and be very loyal companions. Chows are often independent and serious type dogs and do not like to be ‘messed with’; for this reason they should be carefully monitored around young or rowdy children. Chows need to be heavily socialized when puppies to ensure they are not too standoffish or weary of strangers, as well as to become comfortable around children and other animals. Most Chows have a natural tendency to be very friendly with cats, probably because they act so similar in mannerisms! Although they are almost always calm and almost lazy inside the home, they do still require a fair amount of exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

 

Chows are a wonderful choice for individuals or families looking for a laid back dog that will always be happy to see their owners. Loved by many celebrities, this dog gets along great with cats and can get along well with kids when socialized early. The Chow Chow will love to go for a long run with their owner and then relax for the rest of the day at home. So make sure to consider the Chow Chow when looking to add a new dog to your home!

Ways to Help Your Dog Relax

Most dog owners at one point or another have seen their dog in an anxious or stressed state. It can be unfortunate to watch your dog feeling stressed, especially when you don’t know what to do. So to help you and your pup feel more at ease during those anxious times, we’ve put together some helpful tips to ease your dog into a more relaxed state of mind.

 

‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’: What we mean by this is when your dog sees you acting calm and speaking in a low, soothing voice, he will also be in a calm state of mind with you. Dogs read our body language very well and respond to it immediately. If you are talking in a way that gets your dog excited, then you can only expect him to be excited! The more you practise being calm in your own life, you will quickly see your dog becoming calm right along with you.

 

Go For a Run!: Have you ever noticed going for walk quickly improves your mood? The same goes for your dog! Making sure your dog is properly mentally and physically stimulated helps to ensure they are not redirecting any excess energy into being anxious. A tired dog is much more likely to be calm and relaxed as opposed to a dog who hasn’t had a walk all day!

 

Thundershirt: Using a special design of ‘pressure points’ (but not painful), the thundershirt helps anxious dogs by fitting snugly and applying pressure to make the dog feel more secure. Similar to how a baby feels when being swaddled, the thundershirt fits tight on the dog’s torso and makes most dogs feel safe during anxiety-inducing instances such as thunderstorms, loud noises, vet visits, fireworks, etc. Although the thundershirt may not work for every dog, many dog owners have found a lot of relief with this product.

 

Whether you decide to use anxiety-reducing products or simply talking in a less excited tone to you dog, the best way to help your dog stay in a calm state of mind is patience and consistency. Especially if your dog is prone to being anxious, sometimes the best method is to ask a trainer or behaviourist on what long term exercises you can do to help your dog. Just as we don’t want to be constantly stressed, our dogs shouldn’t have to be stressed either. Making sure to watch our own behaviours and staying in a calm state of mind around our dogs will help them to relax.

Breed of the Week: Golden Retriever

golden-retriever

Possibly the most well-known dog breed anywhere, our breed of the week is the ever classic Golden Retriever! This breed has been popular in TV & film, and commonly thought as the most family oriented breed. If you are considering adding a Golden Retriever to your life and family, read on to learn more about why we love them so much!

 

Goldens originated in Britain in the 1800’s. To develop the Golden that we know and love today, breeders crossed various existing breeds such as the Newfoundlander, Irish setter, and various water spaniels. The breed was used to retrieve water fowl for hunters. When the hunters would shoot the fowl, the Golden Retriever had to quickly swim out into the water and bring the water fowl to his owner. The task required the dog to be accustomed to the loud noise of the gun, as well as energy and focus to swim out into the water all day.

 

The loving and happy Golden Retriever is a wonderful family pet. They get along great with kids of all sizes, cats, dogs, you name it! As with every dog breed, even Golden Retrievers need to be socialized early to reinforce their love for everyone! Goldens have a lot of energy and will need daily walks as well as regular hikes or some other form of energy-draining activity. They are very intelligent dogs and will often learn all of their obedience very quickly. To help keep them from boredom, try playing some games that mentally stimulate them or teach them a new trick such as bringing you your car keys! They do very well learning tricks involving ‘retrieving’ considering their history.

 

Golden retrievers do require daily brushing, sometimes twice a day as their hair can easily tangle after a few hours of playtime! Depending on your particular golden, many owners will bring their Golden Retriever once every few months to have their ‘feathers’ trimmed. ‘Feathers’ being that wispy looking hair off of their legs and tail. You may find you need to bathe your Golden every month or so as they have a tendency to get dirty when playing. They gravitate towards playing in the dirt or muddy water. We would recommend investing in a sensitive shampoo that is advertised as safe to use for frequent dog bathing, as you don’t want to dry out your dog’s skin by bathing too often.

 

If you’re looking for an all-round great companion that greets everyone with a wagging tail, you are sure to love the Golden Retriever! They do great with most living situations; even in small apartments, as long as they receive enough exercise. They are gentle dogs with lots of energy that have a way of quickly becoming your best friend for life!

Fast and Healthy Dog Treats

dog-chef

We know you put a lot of thought and care into what your dog eats. Whether it’s a reward during a training session or just a midday snack, you want to be sure your dog’s treats are yummy and nutritious. We’ve put together a couple of dog treat options/recipes that you can be sure your dog will beg for more!

 

Raw Carrots

After washing, peeling and chopping into bite size pieces, raw carrots are an inexpensive and nutritious treat for your dog. Most dogs absolutely love the taste of carrots which explains why they are commonly used in dog foods. They are packed full of vitamins that keep your dog feeling his best as well as low in calorie so they are a great idea for training treats! Not only are they super nutritious, their crunchy texture as helps in cleaning your dog’s teeth!

 

Frozen Apple Treats

Especially good on warmer days, your dog will absolutely love frozen apple treats!

2 Cups Apples (peeled, cored, pureed)

1 Cup Plain Non-fat Yogurt

1 Cup Water

Mix all ingredients together and pour into an ice cube tray. Let freeze for 6-8 hours.

These treats will not only help to keep your dog hydrated, apples are also a great source of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. The yogurt in this treat is a natural source of calcium for your pooch, and contains probiotics to help keep your dog’s digestive tract healthy!

 

With these easy to prepare treats you will always be ready when your pup is in need of a snack! Have these ready to go during your training session or going out for a walk. These healthy additions to your dogs diet will help them meet their required daily nutrients and keep them living happy and healthy lives!

Breed of the Week: Schipperke

schipperke

Have you heard about our latest breed of the week? The Schipperke! This little black fox-looking dog is not super well known but wins over your heart at first play! They are active little dogs with a constant smile on their face. Read on to learn more about the Schipperke!

 

The Schipperke was originally bred in Belgium as a very effective watchdog. Their ancestors are a larger breed with similar looks, known as the ‘Leauvennar’.

 

With their natural instinct to watch and protect, you can be sure you are safe with the Schipperke watching your family and home. They are definitely a small dog with a huge personality and confidence, with these characteristics they definitely need to be heavily socialized with people to ensure they don’t become standoffish or aggressive towards new people.

 

These little guys never run out of energy! To keep them happy and healthy you will need to spend a lot of time together exercising as well as keeping them mentally stimulated (they are a very intelligent breed). They would do very well in agility competitions. You could also teach them games to get out some energy at the same time as giving them mental stimulation. A great game to play with your Schipperke would be ‘search & rescue’. This game consists of having your dog facing away from where you will be hiding a toy. Once you’ve hidden the toy, tell them ‘find it’, and once they have found it and brought it back to you, give them praise or a treat! This helps to drain some energy, keep them mentally stimulated, build their confidence (the pride they get when they’ve found the toy), and strengthening your bond!

 

The Schipperke typically has an all-black coat, but can also come in brown (chocolate), cream, black and tan and red. Although the other colours (aside from black) can be quite rare to find. This dog really does look like a little black fox with their furry bodies and tiny little legs. As well as their fox-like pointy nose and ears. When they open the mouths they almost look like they are smiling at you!  They will require trips to the vet for a hair trim about once a month, along with all their other basic grooming needs (brushing, nail trimming, etc.).

 

The Schipperke can do well in a household with respectful children (not too rowdy, so possibly not great with very young kids). Just as with any breed, they should always be socialized early. Whether living with a single person or a family, this dog just wants to live an active and busy lifestyle. Schipperke owners quickly bond with their wonderful and sweet companions and always feel protected with them around!

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!