Category Archives: dog parks

6 Ways to Socialize Your Dog with Other Dogs & People

By Linda Cole

Dog parks are great because they provide a place where your dog can interact with other canines on a regular basis. However, sometimes a dog that used to get along well with other dogs and people appears to have had a change of heart and isn’t too keen on being around other dogs, and you have no idea why. Even well socialized dogs need practice to stay friendly with other dogs and people.

Sometimes the problem isn’t with the dog, it’s with his owner. Because dogs are social creatures, we think they should always want to be around other canines. That’s not always the case. Some dogs just don’t like being with other dogs. We take our pets to the park so they can interact with other dogs and then don’t understand why conflicts develop. According to dog trainer and writer Diamond Davis, “It is actually more ‘normal’ for a mature dog to NOT be able to ‘play nice’ with strange dogs in a dog park.”

If your pet isn’t enjoying himself at the park, that doesn’t mean he isn’t socialized or is becoming aggressive. It most likely means he’s uncomfortable with other dogs at the park running up and getting into his face all the time. There’s a reason why dogs mark their territory and why wolf packs attack other packs that intrude into their space. Canines aren’t wired to socialize with dogs they don’t know, and we may unknowingly put a dog in a situation where he’s uncomfortable.

Socialization takes practice and it needs to be constantly reinforced to keep a dog friendly with other dogs and people. Teaching your dog basic commands is what helps keep him polite and under control when he’s not in the mood to be social. Think about it – we react the same way when our personal space is invaded by someone we don’t know who stands or sits a little too close when talking to us. If your dog isn’t the ‘dog park’ kind of canine, there are other ways to give him exposure to other dogs and people to help keep him socialized.

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Eight Great Dog-Friendly Cities in America

By Tamara L. Waters

Whether you are planning a permanent move or a vacation, knowing which cities are friendly and welcoming toward your pooch can make things easier for you and Fido. Before you go, it pays to do a little research, and the site dogfriendly.com has made it easier for you. They’ve  compiled a list of cities in America that are the most dog-friendly, which you can read here

When you’re looking for a city or town that is dog-friendly, you hope to find a number of businesses and attractions that will welcome not only you but also your pet. Whether the businesses allow you to bring your pet shopping or visiting with you, or they simply provide kennels or other amenities to your four-legged friend, being dog-friendly comes in many forms.

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Dog Parks: What to Know Before You Go


By Linda Cole

Dog parks have been around for a long time. They provide a safe area where dogs can run, play and socialize with other dogs. Knowing what to expect and what you need to know before you go, can make visiting a dog park a happy and safe experience for you and your canine companion.

I’m an advocate for dog parks. Every city should have a designated park just for dogs and their owners. It’s the perfect place for owners to gather and get to know each other, hold dog related activities and give their best friend a safe area to run off leash and meet other dogs. Dogs are social animals, and dog parks give owners and their dogs a chance to interact with each other.

Before your first visit to any dog park, make sure you are not required to obtain a dog park permit and dog tags for the park. It’s best to check out a park for the first time without your dog. This will give you an opportunity to read any posted rules that must be followed. You can observe the dogs and people using the park, see if there is anyone who monitors the park, and find out if there are dog professionals available who can answer questions. It also gives you a chance to talk to people and find out what their opinion is of the park.

Spending time at the dog park without your dog also gives you an opportunity to observe how other owners respond to situations in the park. You can find out if there are any problem dogs that are allowed to run while their owner ignores them, if some owners simply drop their dog off and leave, or if anyone has trouble controlling their dog.

The primary concern at any dog park is to make sure dogs and people stay safe. A dog who is properly socialized will interact and play with other dogs, but even a well mannered dog can and will get into fights. A basic understanding of a dog’s body language can be helpful when an approaching dog and your dog are about to meet each other. Dog parks aren’t for every dog, and knowing your dog’s personality and temperament can help you decide if this is an environment you want to put your dog into.

For a shy dog, your first visit is a good time to find out when there may be fewer dogs at the park. An off time would give your dog a chance to sniff around and get to know the area without a lot of distractions. This gives him time to learn new smells that will help him be more comfortable when it’s time to meet other dogs. It’s best not to take a puppy, a fearful dog or an overly aggressive dog to a dog park. It’s also best to visit the park without the kids.

CANIDAE is a proud sponsor and supporter of dog parks. Their most recent contribution of $15,000 was donated to the city of Redlands, California to help a local organization called R.U.F.F (Redlands Unleashed Fidos and Friends) in their dream of creating a dog park for the city’s estimated 15,000 dogs. Upon completion, the park will have one area for small dogs and one for larger dogs, and plenty of parking available for their owners.

Before entering any dog park, make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. It’s also a good idea to have your dog checked out by a veterinarian to make sure he’s healthy. Never take a sick dog to the park and if you encounter a sick dog while there, keep your dog away from them. Don’t forget to take a leash just in case you need to keep him next to you, and make sure to take plastic bags to pick up any deposits made by your dog.

Take your time when introducing your dog to the park and other dogs. A dog who seems anxious, shy or upset should not be unleashed until he’s had a chance to get to know his surroundings and feels comfortable in them. The best way to ward off possible dog fights is to know your dog, understand a dog’s body language and be ready to leave if you or your dog becomes uncomfortable.

A well run dog park gives your canine companion a safe area to romp freely, and allows them to burn off pent up energy while you socialize with other owners. By observing and asking questions before you go, the experience will be fun and rewarding for you and your best friend.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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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.

Tips for Socializing a Puppy


By Ruthie Bently

Every dog training book I have ever read has chapters about socializing your puppy. After living with a dog that was not properly socialized when she was younger, I understand the importance of socializing a puppy. You don’t want to live with a dog that barks at the mailman and delivery people. Or one that barks at every sound they hear outside, whether it’s your kids playing in your yard or a loud car stereo going by.

On the other hand, a dog that has not been socialized can also be a “Nervous Nellie” and may go hide in another room or under a piece of furniture. They can even be afraid of sounds inside the house, like the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or clothes dryer. In a worst case scenario, they can become aggressive to other dogs or strangers that visit your home. So it is important to begin socializing your puppy as soon as you bring them home. But how do you go about it?

There are several ways to help you socialize a new puppy, and they don’t take a lot of effort. One good way is to enroll them in a puppy obedience class as early as possible, but make sure they’ve had all their shots first. Your puppy will get to meet other dog breeds, and by interacting with them will learn not to be nervous or fearful around them. When I took my first AmStaff to obedience class, I asked how many other dogs would be in his class. Since he was a younger, smaller dog, I wanted to get him into a class with fewer dogs. A smaller class is good because you can get more hands-on socializing, without overwhelming your new puppy.

The veterinarian’s office is also a good place for your puppy to have new experiences. They have a chance to interact with other pets and meet the vet and their staff. When you make your puppy’s first vet appointment, let the person you speak with know that you are bringing a new puppy, and that you would like help in socializing them. By having the vet and their staff make a fuss over your dog, your dog will learn that there is another place they are welcome to go and meet friendly people.

What about your local pet shop – are dogs allowed there? I managed one store in Illinois and we encouraged new puppy owners to bring in their dogs for a meet and greet. We asked for three things: 1) the puppy had to have a leash and collar (or harness) on; 2) we were allowed to give the puppy a cookie; 3) they should walk the puppy thoroughly before they brought it in to prevent “accidents.”

The place was large enough to negotiate with a puppy (or an adult dog), and the puppy got to help pick out their own toys and had fun being able to go into a store. Not only that, there were lots of people available (both workers and customers) to fawn over the puppy.

You can get your friends and family members involved in socializing your puppy too. Have a “meet the puppy” party, and supply puppy-sized treats in a dish by the door. CANIDAE Snap-Bits® are great for this; they are a perfect size, with a pleasant flavor, and they don’t have too many calories. Have the puppy next to you by the door and after the bell rings or they knock, open the door and hand the guest a treat for the puppy. If feeding your puppy between meals makes you uncomfortable, have the arriving guest get down on the puppy’s level and put out their hand for the puppy to smell, speaking to the puppy in a friendly voice and then have them pet the puppy. You can also ask a friend or family member with a dog to come over and meet your puppy. This way your puppy gets to meet other dogs in a safe arena under your supervision.

Are there any businesses in your town that hand out dog biscuits? Our bank has a treat jar right next to the lollipop jar at the drive through. Skye loves going for rides in the car, though I don’t take her with me when it is too hot or too cold out. By taking your dog for rides in the car when you can, they get used to going in the car and may be less apt to get carsickness, as it could be stress related. The dog park is a good place to meet dogs, but I recommend checking it out first before taking your new puppy. Go to the dog park and meet some of the other dogs’ owners, as well as the dogs, and see if you think your puppy is socialized well enough for that.

By following these simple ideas for socializing your puppy, you can meet new people and your puppy can make new friends as well. Nothing could be finer!

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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.

Pet Friendly Businesses and Fun Destinations


By Anna Lee

Thinking of going to the beach? Taking a day trip or mini vacation? If you’re wondering what to do with your dog, you will be pleased to know there are many businesses, parks, restaurants, and beaches that welcome your four-legged friend. More and more locations are jumping on the bandwagon too. I guess dog and cat lovers are finally making their wants and needs known, and businesses are listening. Thank you!

Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County, Florida

A vacation at the beach sounds good to me. Being able to find a place to let my dog Abby run free would make it that much better. Fort De Soto Park is one of six ‘Paw Playgrounds’ in Pinellas County that are dog friendly. Fort De Soto is a 2 acre fenced park that has 200 yards of soft white sand for your dog to run and play on. Pack yourself a picnic lunch and bring along some CANIDAE Snap-Biscuit® treats for the dog, and enjoy a fun day at the beach! What could be better than that? For more information, including maps and a virtual tour of the dog park check out their website.

Nashville, TN

Traveling to Nashville soon and taking the family dog with you? You won’t be alone. Nashville is going to the dogs, and they don’t have to be country music fans – but it helps! Nashville has a fantastic dog friendly park system, with three dog parks that are open from dawn to dusk. Check out the Nashville Dog Parks by logging onto their website. The site offers lots of information on hours of operation and what they expect from their visitors.

There are also several Nashville restaurants that allow pets to dine with their owners at outside tables. You must realize that Fido can only join you at the outdoor tables, no dogs allowed inside the restaurants. Check out: 12 South Tap Room, Jackson’s Bar and Bistro and Calypso Café at this website.

Don’t hold back on a hotel – book the Lowe’s Vanderbilt Hotel which is not only dog and cat friendly, but offers doggie and kitty room service, plus gifts for your pet! They also have pet sitting and pet walking services available. It is quite an impressive hotel, and the fact that it’s pet friendly is even more impressive to me. Check out their website and decide if you and your pet would like to vacation in the lap of luxury. Photos of the hotel and information on their other amenities can be found here.

Lowe’s also has a pet friendly hotel at their Cornado Bay, CA location where your dog can learn to surf. A night’s lodging and surfing lessons is expensive. At $449 a night they won’t be seeing Abby and me any time in the future!

America’s Favorite Past Time – Baseball

Did you know you can take your dog to the ball field with you, on a specific pet friendly day that is! This event started in 1996 when the White Sox offered the fist “Dog Day” and was an instant success. Some of the festivities include parades, various competitions, vendors with products and services, and many of these events are fundraisers for animal related organizations. The thrill of the day is being able to have you dog sit with you in a special dog section and watch the game! Just a few examples: the Atlanta Braves have “Bark in the Park,” the St. Louis Cardinals have “Pooches in the Ballpark” and the San Francisco Giants have “Dog Days of Summer.” Check with your baseball team’s particular website to find out more about these special dog days.

Vacations no longer mean leaving the dog or cat at home. Doors are opening and it makes me smile to think I could take Abby to a great beach in Florida and a fantastic park in Nashville, or enjoy a ballgame together. What a life!

Read more articles by Anna Lee

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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.

Camping With Your Dog

If you are anything like my family and I, as soon as the weather turns nice we start planning an escape. At least once a year we escape to the north shore of Lake Superior. While I haven’t tried camping with my dog yet, this year is the year I just may. If you are like me and want to share your passion for the outside with your dog, there are a few things you need to consider before you take your dog camping.
First of all, if this is a fairly long trip you need to make sure your dog won’t get carsick. Your dog’s shot records should be up to date and you should obtain a health certificate from your vet to provide this information in case an official (park or otherwise) needs to see it. Will you be able to be with your dog and supervise them 24/7? This is important and you can get thrown out of a state or national park if you don’t follow all rules and regulations; this includes your dog too. Many parks have “quiet time” rules, after which you should not be making noise that may keep other campers awake. These rules also apply to your dog and a park will not tolerate a dog that barks all night long. While service dogs are allowed in park buildings, regular pets are not. What kind of wildlife resides in the park you want to visit? If there are bears or other large predatory animals, you want to avoid any run-ins with them. A dog bell is a good idea; this will help you hear your dog and might protect them from predators.
Check the rules and regulations of the park before you go: Is your dog allowed in the park you want to visit? Do you need to pay an extra fee for your dog? Some parks do not allow pets of any kind and you should make sure that you find out before you go, so you can avoid any disappointments or fines you may incur by bringing your dog. Check the National Park Service website. Each individual state has a governing body for their state parks, it is usually the Department of Natural Resources, in some cases it is the Department of Agriculture. A number of dog friendly state parks are listed here.
Suggested supplies you may need and should consider when camping with your dog:
  1. If your dog is on medication, enough medication to last for your trip and a few days extra.
  2. Enough of your dog’s regular food to last for the duration of your camping trip and a few days extra.
  3. Consider bottled water, some parks don’t have water available depending on the season.
  4. A collar that fits properly and has the correct identification on it.
  5. Bowls for food and water.
  6. Interactive toys for your dog. You never know you may have a Frisbee champ in the making.
  7. Health Certificate if that is required. Even if it is not, it is a good thing to take with you.
  8. A 6 foot leash for walking. (Note: A retractable lead is not allowed, 6 foot is the limit and is strictly enforced.)
  9. A dog crate if you have one, in case you are going somewhere your dog is not allowed, or need somewhere safe to confine the dog. Many parks want you to be able to contain the dog.
  10. Blankets or bed for inside the crate, if your dog needs to spend time there.
  11. Waterless shampoo for those unforeseen mud puddles.
  12. Flea and or tick spray (depending on the time of year).
  13. First aid kit for you and your dog. (Should include tweezers for picking off parasites.)
  14. Tie out cable.
  15. Tie out stake.
  16. Dog Bell.
Dog coat or sweater, possibly boots (depending on the weather where you are going).
By using your own common sense and abiding by the rules and regulations of the park you visit; camping with your dog can be an enjoyable, fun experience for you both. They get to spend some extra quality time with you, which will make that special bond you have together stronger. You can make some wonderful memories and take home some great pictures of your best four-legged friend.

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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.