Monthly Archives: July 2010

Watch New Canidae TV Commercials

Canidae TV Commercials

Exclusive Sneak Peek

We are excited to share with you our new CANIDAE television commercials starring some of our own Special Achiever sponsored dogs and a few of our friends.

We hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did making them!

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Training Dogs to Respond to a Silent Whistle


By Linda Cole

Whistle training is usually only done by hunters or herders to control their dog while out in the field. But using a silent whistle to give your dog commands has its advantages. I started using a silent dog whistle years ago when I learned that my Siberian Husky was an escape artist. Instead of having to walk the neighborhood yelling, I could simply blow on the whistle and she could hear it better than my voice. Training your dog to respond to a silent dog whistle is just like teaching them to come to you when you call them using a voice command. It’s easy to do, as long as you are consistent, patient and have plenty of treats and praise for your dog.

A silent dog whistle makes little to no sound that humans can hear, but dogs and even cats hear it loud and clear. The only thing we hear is our breath as it goes through the whistle. You may hear a whistle depending on how you have the pitch set. But it isn’t very loud to us because the sound the dog whistle emits is up in the higher range we can’t pick up.

If you have an outside cat you would like to train to come to the dog whistle or would like to train your inside cat to respond when you blow the whistle, the same training techniques used for a dog would be applied. Cats don’t always come when called, but they may surprise you if they think there’s something in it for them, like food. A sharp blast gets their attention almost as good as a can opener, and all cats understand what that sound means.

Depending on where you buy your dog whistle, the price can be anywhere from $1.50 up to $50.00. You don’t need an expensive whistle, and the ones under $10.00 are just fine. You can buy them with or without a lanyard, but I’ve found having a cord attached to the whistle makes it easier to find because you can hang it in a convenient spot and hang it around your neck when using it.

Training your dog to respond to a silent whistle

The first thing you need to do is decide which commands you want your dog to learn. The dog whistle works well for calling your dog if you’re hiking and he’s off leash, if he’s a country dog that’s wandered down to the back forty or if he has become lost. You can use the whistle inside the home as well and train your dog to come, sit or stay by using long and short whistles. There is no wrong way to do it. Start by getting your dog accustomed to the sound of the silent dog whistle. If your dog is out of the room when you blow it and responds to the sound, give him a treat and praise.

Once you have his attention, pick one series of whistles for the command you want him to respond to. For instance, I use two short whistles for “come.” If you want your dog to sit or stay, you will need different whistles for those basic commands. Each time your dog does what the whistle asks, give him a treat and lots of praise.

Using a silent dog whistle is just like using your voice. Be patient and only use the series of whistles meant for each command. When your dog is in the same room with you, it’s best not to use the whistle and a voice command is more appropriate.

If you are blowing the dog whistle and your dog pays no attention to it, adjust the pitch on the whistle and keep testing it until you see your dog’s ears move. That’s an indication he does hear it. It’s very important to keep the whistle tuned to that particular pitch and frequency, because just like the sound of your voice when you speak a command, your dog will learn what that sound means and respond accordingly. Like any training session, make it a game and have plenty of CANIDAE Snap-Biscuit® or Snap-Bits™ treats around to reward him.

One of the worst feelings I ever had was the first time my Husky pulled out of her collar and took off. That was when I began checking into silent dog whistles and started using it around the dogs to get them use to the sound. The only command I’ve taught the dogs is to come when I blow the dog whistle. Hopefully, if one decides to roam, the silent dog whistle can help them find their way home without me yelling and disturbing the neighbors.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

CANIDAE Sponsors Surf Dog & Donates to Pet Food Drive


By Julia Williams

Mere moments after I finished writing my last article on Teaching Your Dog to Surf, I learned that the most famous of all surfing canines has joined the ranks of the CANIDAE Special Achievers. I’m talking about Surf Dog Ricochet of course, the amazing canine who uses her remarkable surfing talent to raise money for charity. Surf Dog Ricochet is a perfect fit for the CANIDAE dog sponsorship program, which began in 2006 as a way to support extraordinary canines and their devoted owners.

The dogs selected for sponsorship must be good ambassadors in their chosen “vocation,” be it dog sports, search and rescue, service and therapy work, police work, or conformation. These dogs all eat CANIDAE food, naturally, and their good health and ability to excel at their jobs helps promote the many benefits of a premium-quality holistic pet food.

Surf Dog Ricochet was slated to be service dog but was released from the program because her interest in chasing birds could be a risk to a person with disabilities. Undaunted by this change in her life plan, Ricochet perfected her surfing techniques and discovered another way to help people. Ricochet’s inspirational story of how she went “From Service Dog to SURFice Dog” has touched millions of lives worldwide, and to date she’s raised over $30,000 for her charitable causes!

Surf Dog Ricochet eats the CANIDAE Grain Free All Life Stages formula which helps her stay healthy and strong. Previously, Ricochet was plagued by chronic ear infections, but since switching to CANIDAE she has been free of that problem. Because she is an extremely active canine, she needs a high quality food to maintain her energy, stamina, and performance.

Surf Dog Ricochet embodies all of the qualities CANIDAE looks for when choosing canines to sponsor. Ricochet and her human companion, Judy, live a lifestyle of helping others by “pawing it forward,” while raising awareness and funds for both human and animal causes.

Speaking of good causes, Judy recently asked CANIDAE if they’d be willing to help out the “Dog Days of Summer,” a drive to collect food and supplies for shelters all around the world. The Dog Days drive was organized by Ricochet’s friends at BlogPaws, an online resource for pet bloggers. BlogPaws was founded by three passionate pet lovers/bloggers who are dedicated to supporting rescues, shelters, and the people who work so hard to help homeless, abandoned and abused pets.

As many of you know, CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods is a very generous company with a long history of charitable giving. They were happy to lend their support to this great cause for shelters, and donated 350 pounds of premium-quality CANIDAE dog food and FELIDAE cat food to the drive. Ricochet split her food donation between two shelters, the San Diego Humane Society and the Rancho Coastal Humane Society.

You can help BlogPaws and the Dogs Days food drive too, but only if you act quickly, as it ends on July 31st! For information on how to contribute to this worthwhile cause and help the homeless animals in your community, click here.

CANIDAE is proud to welcome the extraordinary Surf Dog Ricochet (aka Rip Curl Ricki) as the newest member of their Special Achievers team. If you haven’t seen the Surf Dog Ricochet video yet, you really should – because the touching story of how this beautiful young golden retriever found her true calling and is changing countless lives as a result is one that every pet lover should see.

Photos courtesy of Diane Edmonds and Judy Fridono

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Create a Fun “Pet Theme” Garden


By Tamara L. Waters

Do you love gardening and pets? Creating a garden in your yard is a great way to add organic and natural elements, and if you are an animal lover, a fun garden idea is to create a critter garden – or a garden with an animal theme. There are a number of plants that have animal names, and this is a good project to get the kids on board with. The end result can be whimsical and will delight visitors.

Choose Animal Plants

Plants that feature animal names are the plants of choice for an animal theme garden. There are a number of plants that include the words “cat” or “dog” as well as plants that have other animal words in the name. You can choose to create a garden that is focused on a specific animal (either dog or cat), several animals, or go with a theme of specific types of animals (ocean animals, farm animals, zoo animals, mythical animals and more).

Specialty Animal Garden Plants

Check with local garden centers and nurseries for suggestions of plants that will work in your area. Search online for seed and plant catalog retailers for availability of plants.

A zoo animal garden could feature Zebra Grass, Zebra Plant, Zebra Vine, Cowardly Lion Begonia, Tiger Brocade Begonia, Tiger Cub Begonia, Bengal Tiger Canna, Panda Bear, Elephant Ear and other plants.

Other potential garden themes would be a flying creatures garden (Butterfly Weed, Batface Heather, Bird of Paradise, Parrot Flower, Partridge-breast, Crowsfoot, Batwing, Japanese Birdsnest Fern and Cardinal Flower, to name a few); a forest animal garden (Pet Me Porcupine, Foxtail Fern, White Rabbit Foot) or a farm animal garden (Donkey Ears, Chicken Gizzard Plant, Goatsbeard, Horsetail, Cowstail).

Dog and Cat Garden

For pet lovers, creating a garden that features dog or cat themed plants is fun and offers a beautiful variety of plants and flowers. You can create a garden that shows your love of canine or feline friends – or both.

Dog Plants

For dog plants, you can choose Wet Dog Plant (Illicium floridanum), Dog Rose (Rosa canina), Dog Violets, Dog Grass, Dogbane, Dogtail Cactus, Golden Red Twig Dogwood, Snoopy Begonia and Marmaduke Begonia for starters.

Cat Plants

A cat and dog garden isn’t complete without feline friends. Mixing plants with cat names along with dog name plants creates a fun landscape feature. For cat plants, try a few of these: Cat’s Whiskers (Orthosiphon), Scaredy Cat (Coleus Caninus), Cat’s Claw Vine, Cattails and Catmint.

Accessories and Decorations

Creating an animal theme garden means adding more than just plants. Accessories and garden decorations help complete the effect. Check with your local dollar stores and garden centers for decorations and resin or ceramic statues of animals that can be strategically placed in the garden area.

Adding statues and decorative items of all sizes can turn your animal garden into a delight for young and old as they meander through the area looking for hidden treasures. Choose some small decorations that can be placed in out of the way places which require visitors to search to see them. Kids will find this to be an especially fun aspect of your garden. Continue adding items so that each time a visitor drops by, the garden will be different and full of new surprises.

Be sure to verify the toxicity of the plants you choose if your pets will have access to the garden area. For more information about toxic plants, read Grass, Weeds and Plants Pet Should Not Eat and Plants That Can Poison Your Pet.

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Surf


By Julia Williams

A few months ago I told you about a wonderful dog named Ricochet who not only surfs, but uses her extraordinary ability to “hang twenty” as a way to raise money for charity. Before I wrote that article, I didn’t even know dogs could surf. As it turns out, Ricochet might be the most famous surfing dog in the world but there are many other canines who also love to shred the waves. CANIDAE staffer Diane Matsuura’s young Lab Hailey, pictured here, is one of them. She recently competed in the Loews Coronado Resort 5th Annual Surf Dog Competition in Imperial Beach, California with 65 other four-legged surfers!

Surfing with a dog sounds like a lot of fun and makes me wish I had a canine companion. I’m positive my cats would not enjoy surfing. I did find a video of a surfing cat in Peru whose owner claims she loves being out on the surfboard. However, to me (and many others) it looks more like a terrified cat hanging on for dear life lest she fall off into the ocean. Yes, some cats actually do like water, but I’d bet the farm that none would enjoy surfing in the ocean. Most dogs love water and swimming though, and this guy obviously adopted the wrong pet.

Never mind. I’ll get down from my soap box now and get on with giving you some tips for teaching your dog to surf. I won’t provide a full-on canine surfing lesson because that’s better left to the pros, like Surf Dog Ricochet. She’s written an excellent beginner’s guide to doggie surfing with tons of helpful information, which you can read here. Surf Dog Ricochet’s website also has links to qualified instructors, surf dog clinics and upcoming competitions.

You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to teach your dog to surf. You just need a surfboard, a doggie life vest, and a pool. Most people recommend a foam surfboard for dogs because it’s easier for them to grip. Small dogs should use a 6-foot board while larger breeds can handle 7 or 8-feet boards. Look for a dog’s life jacket with a handle on top, which will help you lift your pooch out of the water or back onto the board after the inevitable wipeout. If you don’t have access to a full-size pool, a small portable backyard pool will suffice, and small breeds can even use a kiddie pool.

Like any other canine sport, teaching a dog to surf requires time, patience and practice. The pre-water part of your surf dog training can be done indoors or out – basically any place you can set the board down. You want your dog to do three things: 1) form positive associations with the surfboard; 2) learn to get on the board themselves and be in the correct position, and 3) work on balance techniques.

For positive associations, some surf dog trainers feed the dog and give them belly rubs while on the board. You shouldn’t ever force your dog to get onto the board. But if and when they do, give them lots of praise and dog treats while they are still on the board. You want to reinforce the behavior of being ON the surfboard instead of getting off. The next step is to practice a “stay” command. Teach them to remain on the board until you give them a release command, so that once they’re in the water, they won’t try to jump off and swim back to you.

If your dog has never worn a life jacket, you should practice putting it on them and letting them wear it around the house. Once they’re comfortable with it, have them wear it for their surfing lessons. The last pre-water step is teaching your dog to balance on an unsteady board. Use pillows or cushions underneath the board to make it wobbly. When they master the dry land surf lessons, you can move on to a pool. Here, they learn to jump onto the board themselves, and you can push them around so they learn to balance on the board while it’s moving.

Once they’re comfortable being on the board in the pool, take your surfing lesson to a lake or bay where the water is calm. A perfect place for this step is somewhere that allows boating, which will create very small “practice waves” your dog can master before graduating to the ocean. Even if you don’t live near the ocean, lakes can still be a great way for your dog to have fun on a surfboard.

These tips are not intended to be a comprehensive guide to dog surfing. For that, please visit Surf Dog Ricochet’s website or enroll in a dog surfing school. And speaking of Ricochet, I have some exciting news to share with you about “Rip Curl Ricki” and CANIDAE in a day or two – stay tuned!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Making Pet Beds from Repurposed Items


By Ruthie Bently

I love going to auctions and yard sales; they are a great place to find inexpensive items you can repurpose or reclaim and use with your pets. Repurposing, which is different from recycling, means to give a new purpose or use to something. Reclaiming is the act of making something available for use or to rescue it from an undesirable state. If cash is limited, you don’t even need to go out to find these reusable items. You can make pet beds (including stuffing) out of your old blankets, pillow cases, mattress pads, sheets, towels, quilts and clothing.

If you have the time, you can sew your pet bed by hand. For large beds, you may want to use a sewing machine. You don’t have to be an expert with a sewing machine – knowing the basics and being able to sew a straight stitch is all you need. You shouldn’t need a heavy duty sewing machine, but it’s good to have several sturdy needles suitable for sewing heavier fabrics or multiple layers. Thread, a stitch ripper and sturdy pair of scissors round out the supplies list.

If you are totally helpless around a sewing machine, Velcro® is a handy thing to have. The fabric you choose will depend on how roughly your pet treats things. If it’s for a dog, their digging ability needs to be considered, as dogs will dig to adjust their bed to their liking, especially if it is used in their crate. Cats scratch things and while dogs don’t scratch in the same manner, you want to stay away from fabrics that have an open weave. Your pet’s toenails may get caught in it.

Some of the items you choose can be cut with scissors to fit your purpose. You may choose to sew items instead, depending on what you intend to use them for. If you’re making a simple mat for a small dog or your cat’s favorite sleeping spot, a mattress pad or quilt cut into four to eight pieces works well. Trim the elastic edge off the mattress pad, fold it in half and cut the halves apart. Take the remaining two pieces and cut again. If it is still too large, fold and cut the remaining pieces until you have the desired size. A simple whip stitch or straight stitch will keep the edges from raveling. If you want a thicker pad or more substantial bed, you can use a pillow case as a cover for the layers you have just cut. You can stitch thin pieces of Velcro to the inside edge of the pillow case’s opening to use as an easy closure.

If you’re using a quilt or a mattress pad to make a pet bed for a larger dog, folding in half and folding again creates a good size. Tacking the corners will hold it flat, but may make it harder to wash. If you just want a flat mat, folding in quarters and cutting as above works well. You can find dog bed patterns you can make online. Though some suggest using old couch cushions, I wouldn’t, since you don’t know what may be lurking in the foam of the cushion. Over time the composition of the foam tends to break down. You don’t want your dog to chew it up and ingest it either.

I have found making a bed from blue jeans to be an easy project. I rip the inseam leg stitches out up to the crotch, and stitch the fronts of the legs together at the center creating a new seam. I then sew a new seam by stitching the backs of the legs together. To make a bottom seam, I stitch the bottom of the pants closed where the feet would have exited. You can then stuff it with cotton towels or the items you created above if you want more layers. A blue jean skirt works well for a bed too, you only have to sew one seam. I would not suggest using Velcro on more than one seam if you have a dog that likes to shake things; you may come home to find stuffing all over the room.

Whatever item or items you choose to repurpose or refurbish to suit the needs of your pet’s bed, you are only limited by your imagination. You may never look at an old pair of blue jeans the same again. Not only are you keeping something from ending up in a landfill, you are giving new life to an item that still has life to give.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.