Category Archives: Lisa Mason

Getting Fit with Fido: Exercise You’ll Both Enjoy

By Lisa Mason

Now that summer is officially here, it’s time to head outdoors with your dog! Going for walks and changing up the pace is a great way for both you and your four legged friend to get some exercise. However, there are lots of other ways you and your dog can get fit and have fun in the sun at the same time.

Dogs love to play fetch. You can throw a ball, a toy, a Frisbee or a stick and they will happily chase it down and bring it back to you. That’s great exercise for the dog, but you are just standing there waiting for him to come back. Change up the rules and race your dog to the object you throw. He will catch on pretty quickly and will run faster to beat you to the prize.

Build a “walk the plank” structure in your back yard. You will need four or more concrete blocks and a sturdy board (at least 6 feet long and 2 feet wide). Place the board on the concrete blocks spaced evenly. You don’t want the board to sag from you or your dog’s weight. Step up at the end and walk across the length and step down at the other end. Encourage your dog to do the same thing.

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Let’s Have a Birthday “Pawty” for Fido!

By Lisa Mason

Most pet parents are as proud of their four-legged kids as other parents are of their human offspring. Why shouldn’t a dog owner throw their little fur bundle of joy a huge birthday bash, complete with all of the finery that other birthday boys and girls get? There is no reason, and the idea of a dog’s birthday party is starting to become quite popular.

Your dog’s birthday “pawty” can be as small or as elaborate as you would like. If the birthday party is to be a small affair of just family members, it can be accomplished quite easily. Remember that your canine birthday boy or girl can’t eat a traditional birthday cake with all of that sugary frosting. You can easily find recipes online to make your pup a special cake, and there are also bakeries that specialize in dog-safe baked goods.

Wait to offer the birthday cake until after your dog has eaten her regular food. If you can convince your family, spread a blanket on the floor and have everyone sit in a circle. You will have no trouble getting your birthday dog to crowd into the center. You can sing Happy Birthday and then let each family member hand feed your dog a piece of his birthday cake. Your dog will be thrilled with all of the attention!

Inviting Guests

If you plan to invite guests to the birthday celebration, some dog bakeries have a party planner on staff that can handle the entire affair for you, but it may be out of your budget. You can still throw a wonderful birthday “pawty” for your dog and all his canine friends without breaking your budget.

It’s a sure bet that you have pictures of the dog on your computer. Use a photo to make simple invitations and send them to all of his canine pals. Don’t forget to mention whether or not you will be accepting gifts. It is a good idea to either say, “No gift is necessary” or “If you’d like to bring a gift, Fido prefers CANIDAE food and treats.”

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Choosing the Right Toys for Your Dog

By Lisa Mason

Your dog will become bored playing with the same old toy day after day. The toy will lay there untouched and he will look at you mournfully. This means he has lost interest in that toy and needs another one. Multiple toys of different shapes, materials and textures will allow your dog to choose the right toy for his mood.

Every Dog Needs a Chew Toy

Chew toys are a must for your dog. Sometimes a dog just wants to chew, and if he doesn’t have a toy, your furniture and shoes may be in trouble. Chew toys will satisfy the need to chew, and it will also exercise your dog’s jaws and help clean his teeth.

Make sure to pick a chew toy that is appropriate for your dog’s size. If the chew toy is too large for your dog to get a good grip on, he will get frustrated and find something else to chew on. If the chew toy is small, a large dog could choke on it.

Other Great Choices for Dog Toys

Balls and Frisbees should be next on your dog’s toy list. Even a small dog will enjoy chasing a ball or a Frisbee, and its great exercise for them. Small dogs that don’t play outside a lot will enjoy rolling the ball around the house and trying to capture it. Give the dog several balls in varying sizes. A ball should just barely fit in the dog’s mouth for him to carry it, or it should be larger for rolling games. Never let a large dog play with a tiny ball as he may choke on it.

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Do Dogs Need Canine Friends?

By Lisa Mason

There are a lot of different opinions about whether a dog needs to have other dogs around them to have a happy life. Some will say that their tiny little dog hasn’t seen another dog since it left its mother. Other pet owners will clutch their small dog protectively when a larger dog approaches. They worry that the small dog will get hurt rough housing around with the bigger canines.

All the while that we humans are holding our small dogs in our arms to keep them out of harm’s way, typically the dog is struggling to get free to go play with the other dog. We keep our dogs indoors and away from other dogs because we fear that another dog may have fleas or some other disease that will infect our dogs. We in fact baby and protect our dogs to the point of making them social outcasts.

Dogs are Members of a Pack

Dogs are social animals.  Let’s not forget that they are descendants of wolves who ran in packs. Let’s not forget that our dog’s ancestors lived in the wild and were quite capable of taking care of themselves. We have domesticated dogs so much over the years that they are now totally dependent on humans for their every need. Dogs used to run in the wild, in packs. The pack leader, or head canine, kept the pack under control and taught the smaller pups how to interact within the pack’s circle.

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Traveling with Your Dog

By Lisa Mason

Traveling with your dog is different from traveling with cats. If you have an upcoming trip and you want to take your dog along for the ride, there are a few things you should know first and that you should prepare for. Let’s explore this topic for a bit to help you prepare.

Should You Bring Him or Leave Him?

One of the first questions to ask yourself when traveling with your dog is if you should even bring him along or not. To find your answer, consider where you are going and for how long, what method of travel you will take, if your dog has traveled before and if he likes traveling.

If you consider leaving him instead, how will he be cared for in your absence? Do you have a dog sitter you can trust or will you be using a kennel service? Have you researched the kennel and the conditions your dog will be in?

If you plan on taking your dog, will your destination be dog friendly? If your dog has traveled before, how did he react? Are you prepared to handle any behavior issues that may arise while traveling to unfamiliar territory with your dog?

Driving with Your Dog

If you and your dog both like traveling by car, a road trip can be an excellent way to spend time together. Try to plan your route ahead of time with dog-friendly stops along the way (hotels that allow pets, dog parks, dog-friendly rest stops, etc.) and be sure to pack the car with your dog’s safety and comfort in mind as well.

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Teaching Your Dog to Hand Target

By Lisa Mason

First time and seasoned dog owners can benefit from training their canine companions to obey various commands or perform certain tasks and tricks. Hand targeting is just one of many training tools used. In fact, this version of “come” is easy to teach, easy to learn, and can be taught by dog owners of any age or experience level.

About Hand Targeting and Its Benefits

Hand targeting is a command that teaches the dog to touch his nose against the palm of the hand. As with the more basic and simple verbal “come” command, hand targeting is considered basic obedience. It should be mastered thoroughly before the dog and trainer move on to more complex tricks such as “sit pretty” or “jump.”

Benefits of this training command vary based on the desire of the trainer. It can help teach a dog to respond to visual cues, which can be beneficial when calling the dog from far distances or even for more complex future training such as agility training. It can help teach a shy dog to be more trusting of new people, and it can be beneficial to dogs who are hearing impaired.

How to Teach a Dog to Hand Target

To start, a container of their favorite CANIDAE treat should be on hand at all times. In the beginning, it is beneficial to rub the treat against the palm of the hand to help encourage contact with the dog’s nose. This is considered the easiest and most efficient way to teach hand targeting, as the aroma draws the dog’s nose in.

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