Category Archives: Snap-Bits

Basic Supplies Needed for a New Dog

By Ruthie Bently

Bringing home a new dog, whether it’s a puppy or an adult, is like bringing home a new baby – you need to be prepared, and you need supplies. You should have a collar with an identification tag on it in case your dog gets lost. Even if you have a fenced yard for your dog to play in, you should have a leash for those trips to the vet or walks around the neighborhood. I suggest a six foot nylon leash unless your dog is an adult and not chewing anymore. Nylon is a sturdy material and stands up to most things except a determined chewer. Six feet is a good length, as it gives your dog enough room to step away from you to go potty and still gives you enough control. It will also keep your dog from tripping you up by accident.

You will need a supply of dog food of course (I use the CANIDAE Grain Free, four meat meal formula) and you will probably want dog treats too (I use both CANIDAE Snap-Biscuit® and Snap-Bits™ treats). You’ll want to get a set of bowls for their food and water; I prefer stainless steel because they are easy to keep clean and resist rusting. I’ve had the same set of bowls for over twenty years now and have never had an issue with rust. When I got my first puppy I bought bowls for the adult size dog that I knew my puppy would be when full grown. This way you only have to make the purchase once. I have a set of three quart bowls, which are a good size for any medium to large sized breed.

When you need to confine your new puppy or dog, such as when they need a time out or you just need a break, a dog crate is nice to have on hand. Dogs, like their wolf cousins, have an instinct to “den” and a crate is a good place they can call their own. If you have an aversion to crating your dog but aren’t quite ready to give them the run of the house, a pair of dog gates is a good way to confine them to a specific room. A washable fleece pad is a perfect choice for a teething puppy, and if your dog is past the chewing stage you can get them a regular bed so they have their own place to sleep.

Don’t forget to buy some toys to keep your new dog occupied. I like to have an assortment of chewing and interactive toys, and Skye also has a flying disc and a 10” ball she can chase in the yard, as well as sterilized and nylon bones for when she is on her own. She also has a cotton rope tug but isn’t allowed to play with that herself. If you choose a stuffed toy for your dog, don’t leave them alone with it and keep an eye on them when they are playing with it to prevent them from tearing it to shreds.

Dog shampoo is good to have on hand for a bath or spot cleaning if your dog rolls in something. I have an oatmeal based shampoo and a dry shampoo for Skye because I like the ease of giving her a spot bath if she gets her feet dirty after a walk in the mud. Make sure you get a shampoo made specifically for dogs though. The ph of a dog’s hair is different than ours, and you could harm their skin and coat by using shampoo made for people. You can also find tearless dog shampoos that won’t burn their eyes.

If you plan to groom your dog yourself, you will need a brush and comb suitable for your dog’s coat. You’ll also need a set of nail clippers and styptic powder for when their toenails need clipping. Grooming your dog is a great way to bond with them. Other items you may want to consider are a scooper for the yard and biodegradable poop bags for walks. Natural cleaners and deodorizers are handy to have for those unforeseen accidents, and an anti-chew product is a good idea for a new puppy.

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.

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Dressing Your Dog on a Budget

By Ruthie Bently

Everyone has been hit by the bad economy and I have come up with a wonderful way to help dress your dog, without having to spend a lot of money. This will work whether you are looking for a t-shirt, sweater or winter coat for your own dog.

My boyfriend was recently laid off and money has been tight lately. However, we have always been thrifty. Most of our household heat comes from a wood stove, we grow our own vegetables and raise chickens for their eggs, go to garage and yard sales during warmer weather, and when making trips into town we try to carpool with other family members. Although our winter wardrobes have been taken care of and the cats have longer hair coats so don’t need any outdoor clothing, my American Staffordshire Terrier, Skye, is different.

Skye is on medication, and one of the side effects is a hair coat that is thinner and shorter than normal. While her hair does get longer when it gets colder, it isn’t what it could be. Skye will forgive me for saying this, but she is a wimp when it comes to cold. At night she will burrow under the blankets so that only her nose is sticking out, and she stays that way all night long. The problem for me is my dear little wimp loves to go for rides with me, no matter what the weather. I don’t take her when it is too cold, but she has to see the vet every six months for tests. Since the vet is an hour away, I have to be able to take her with me during cold weather, and she needs to be warm enough.

I stumbled on the solution to dressing my dog on a budget when I was in a little resale shop this summer. While going through the clothing racks I found a child’s sweatshirt and wondered if it might fit Skye. The sleeves looked a bit long, but the chest was wide and it had a hood, which was a plus because it would keep the wind out of her short ears.

Measuring your dog for clothes should be done while they are standing. For the length, you should measure from the base of their neck to the base of their tail. It helps to also measure the dog’s leg from the shoulder to the wrist (carpal). Use the leg measurement for the sleeve length so your dog won’t be tripping over the sleeves. I also measure the width between Skye’s legs which helps determine the chest size I need, as she is a deep-chested dog.

The main difference between clothes made for us and those made for dogs is that human clothes sometimes fit your dog better if they are put on backwards. For example, a t-shirt with a picture on the front gets worn so the picture is on the dog’s back. Jackets get put on and zipped up the dog’s back. If your dog is a bit touchy about trying on or wearing clothes, use a treat such as the CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ to help get them dressed.

Some resale shops do not take returns especially if the item is on sale. Make sure you take a tape measure and your measurements along with you, as most shops will not let you bring the dog in. Don’t limit yourself to resale shops, however; also check yard sales and your local recycling center if they take clothing. Also, many thrift stores have a “discount day” when their prices are lower.

I went when their prices were 50% off and got Skye several sweatshirts, t-shirts and a jacket for under $5.00. You can use the same measurements for buying costumes or holiday clothing for your dog. Remember that anything you purchase should fit comfortably on your dog. It can be snug but not binding or your dog may have trouble maneuvering and not want to wear it. Make sure that when it is on your dog they have enough room to urinate or defecate or you will be washing frequently.

You can use child sized booties for your dog’s feet if it isn’t wet outside, just purchase two matching sets. I haven’t had too much luck finding good boots, as a child’s boot weighs so much more than a dog’s boot. Skye even has her own brand name jacket that I found at a thrift store for $2.00; it is pink and purple, and has a zip-out polar fleece lining. I put it on her and zip it up the back and unless it is extremely cold here, she goes for a ride.

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.

Save a Life: Adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound

By Ruthie Bently

An associate of mine in Colorado mentioned recently that two of the dog tracks in the state had gone out of business. He was concerned about where the greyhound dogs would be going. Now there are organizations that will try to get the racers from the track so they can help the dogs live out their lives in a good home. I have had personal experience with retired racing Greyhounds, and they are wonderful dogs. However, as retired racers they do need some special consideration due to their unique characteristics.

While all dogs are pack animals, track Greyhounds are used to being with large groups of dogs since birth. It is very important to let them know early on that you are the alpha dog, as they will take over if you let them. It is not uncommon for a Greyhound to follow you, the pack leader, from room to room.

A Greyhound is related to Salukis, Afghans and other sight hounds, and is descended from southern wolf strains. They have an independent nature due to originally being raised to hunt with other hounds and develop pursuit strategies spontaneously while chasing prey. Their eyesight and senses of smell and hearing, are all very keen. They are not predators, though they have been trained to chase lures, which is in their nature.

It has been reported that some retired Greyhounds no longer wish to race. Don’t let that fool you and trust them off leash; it is a Greyhound’s natural instinct to run. They can sprint for short periods of time at a speed of 45 miles an hour. No matter how well-behaved you may think the dog is, if a Greyhound sees something to chase, nothing will bring them back to you if they are off leash. It can even be a challenge when they are leashed, since they are so strong.

Because they have never known a breed other than Greyhounds, they may be shy, frightened or confused around other dogs, and they are usually not familiar with cats. Most have never been able to be carefree puppies. As such, you may find they have some behaviors that need to be acted out (like chewing), but they do outgrow them. They also do not know how to play games, climb stairs or sit, because they were never taught; they can learn, however.

Greyhounds are very smart dogs. Though sensitive, they can be independent, are sometimes shy, inquisitive and gentle. They love walking (always leashed!), are usually used to a leash, and can learn simple commands quickly. Since they are taught to race at a very young age, a class in obedience training is recommended. You may also have to reinforce their house training by walking them outside several times a day, until they understand that the house belongs to you so they don’t mark there. Though they may be several years old when you adopt them, there are things they didn’t have a chance to learn as puppies, so remember to be especially patient with them.

Greyhounds are great learners, and like cats they will rub up against you. They need to wear a coat or sweater when outside, because they are so lean they don’t have a layer of fat, and can be affected by rain or cold weather. They are used to being crated from a young age and you should continue the practice, since they see their crate as a safe haven. Depending on what they were being fed at the track, they may not be used to eating kibble and may need a period of adjustment. This deep-chested breed can be susceptible to bloat, so it’s best to feed them at least twice a day.

Since they will probably not be getting the same exercise at your house that they did at the track, watch the food and treats closely so you don’t overfeed them. A small dog treat like CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ has few calories and is a tasty addition to the biscuit jar. Due to their height they can knock things off tables with their tail and may want to counter surf. It’s also a good idea to put the garbage can out of reach, and put a gate up when they are in a room by themselves.

Greyhounds love to sleep with their owners if they are allowed. Just make sure there is enough room on the bed for both of you. I have known several Greyhound dogs, and they make wonderful companions. When you take the time to adopt a retired racing Greyhound, you have not only made a friend for life, you have saved a beautiful creature.

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.

Basic Commands for Dogs: Heel and Stand

By Ruthie Bently

“Heel” is one of the most essential commands you will want to teach your dog. It is used for your most basic exercise, a walk, and your dog should be able to do it correctly. You don’t want them to stray into traffic if you are walking along the shoulder of a road or on a narrow sidewalk. When your dog is heeling correctly, they will be standing (or sitting) at your left side, depending on what command you gave them.

To teach your dog the heel command, gather your leash in your left hand and get your dog to stand next to your left side, with their shoulder against your left leg. With the leash still drawn up, begin walking slowly and repeating the word “heel” to your dog. I have found that using this method works very well, as the dog does not have enough leash to stray away from you. Do a few circuits of your yard or living room, and come back to your original position. When the dog stops next to you again, tell them “heel” and then offer them a treat such as the CANIDAE Snap-Bits™. Do this for a few days, with about three training sessions per day, and reward the dog every time they do the command correctly. If you don’t want to use biscuits, you can just praise your dog or offer them a favorite toy (although giving them a toy may distract them from the rest of the training session).

After two or three days, begin letting out the leash. If the dog begins walking away from you or straying from your side, stop moving. At this point, the dog usually looks around at you to see why you stopped, so say the word “heel.” Sometimes the dog will come back to you, sometimes not. If the dog does not immediately come back to you, begin reeling up the slack of the leash until the dog is again at your left side in the heel position and repeat the word “heel.” It won’t take long for your dog to get the idea.

“Stand” is another very important command for your dog to learn. If you have a large dog, getting them to stand in the bathtub while you are bathing them is a blessing, not to mention brushing them after their bath. It is also easier for your veterinarian to examine them if they will stand on the table or the floor so the vet can look them over for any health issues. If you have a show dog and are going to show your dog in conformation, you need to teach them to stand. The judge examines the dog’s teeth, coat, spine and general physicality when the dog is standing, and they should not move.

I teach it by putting the dog at heel while standing and then telling them to “stand.” I walk in front of the dog while they are still standing and tell them to stay while putting my hand in front of their face, and back slowly away while still facing the dog. I practice this command several times, and use praise and a cookie when the dog obeys. If your dog is lying down you can reach under their tummy and raise them up into a standing position. If you do this, you need to steady your dog as you are raising them up. Once they are standing in one place, give the command “stand” and praise them when they stay still. Again you will need repetition if your dog doesn’t get it right away.

It takes lots of love, patience, praise and treats to be successful at teaching your dog these and other commands – but the rewards of having a well-trained dog are worth it!

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.

Tips for Teaching Your Puppy His Name

By Julia Williams

When people adopt a puppy, one of the first things they usually do is name him. But once you’ve decided what to call your furry new friend, it’s just as important to begin immediately teaching your puppy his name. Why is it so essential? Because once your puppy learns to respond positively and immediately to his own name, teaching him other basic commands (such as sit, stay or lie down) will be much easier. When your puppy knows his name, you will be able to get him to focus his full attention on you instead of his surroundings. Thus, teaching your puppy his name is a fundamental base for any future training.

Your first objective is to teach your puppy that when you say his name, he must immediately stop whatever he’s doing, turn his head and look directly at you. With consistent training and patience, your puppy will eventually understand that the sound he hears is his own name. Later, you can teach your puppy that the sound of his name will be followed by a command.

Step One: Take your puppy to a quiet place with no distractions, armed with some dog treats (CANIDAE Snap-Bits™ are perfect treats for puppies) and a few toys that your puppy enjoys playing with.

Step Two: Put your puppy on a long lead, which will help you to keep him from wandering off if something attracts his attention elsewhere.

Step Three: Using a happy tone of voice, say your puppy’s name.

Step Four: If your puppy looks in your direction when you say his name, immediately reward him with a treat and praise, such as “good doggie.” Puppies are usually very attracted to the sound of your voice, and will naturally look towards you when you speak. By giving him a treat and praising him, you reinforce the desired behavior. Only say your puppy’s name once; if he doesn’t respond, you can gently tug his lead or touch his leg so he turns to look at you.

Step Five: Hold a treat up near your face so that your puppy has to look directly at you when you call his name. Doing this will ensure that you have his full attention.

Step Six: Swap a toy for the food treat, and use a few minutes of playtime as the reward for looking at you. Experiment with different treats, toys, and tones of voice to learn which ones are the best motivators for your puppy.

Step Seven: Repeat steps one through six several times during each training session until your puppy consistently looks at you when you say his name.

The next step in training your puppy to respond to his name is to introduce distractions. The goal is to teach your puppy that no matter where you are and no matter what else is happening around him, he needs to give you his full attention when you say his name. Try training him with other family members in the room, outside in your garden, at the local park or at someone else’s home.

Training your puppy in different environments or with distractions will likely be much more challenging at first (both for you and your puppy), but it is a great way to reinforce what your puppy is learning. Remember, your puppy wants to please you, so help him do that by remaining patient and taking this stage slow.

When teaching your puppy his name, it’s important that this sound only be associated with good things. In other words, try not to use your puppy’s name when you are scolding him. Otherwise, he will form a negative association with his name and may become confused or refuse to respond to you when you call his name.

Key points to remember:

* Keep your training sessions short (five or ten minutes at a time, several times each day), and keep them fun.

* Train your puppy before a meal so he’ll be more motivated to get the food treat. Just remember to account for the extra food in his daily rations, so as not to overfeed him.

* If more than one person will be teaching your puppy his name, make sure everyone understands what to do and uses the same technique.

* Be sure to give lots of praise along with the treat or toy reward, and always end each training session on a positive note.

If you follow these simple tips, your puppy will learn his name in no time at all!

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.

Introducing a New Dog to Your Other Pets

By Ruthie Bently

Have you ever brought home a new dog and had a battle on your hands? How do you go about introducing a new dog to your other pets or animals without that happening? It depends on the situation. I have had to go through it several times with three of my dogs, most recently with Skye. Introducing Skye to my other animals was probably the toughest, because although Skye was used to other American Staffordshire Terriers, she had never seen a cat, geese or chickens. Being a Terrier breed, she has an instinctive prey drive.

I have to admit I was a bit worried about Skye meeting the animals, because she and her cohorts were known for chasing after any animal that was unlucky enough to wander into their exercise yard at the breeder’s.

I am never foolish enough to let Skye loose outside her dog yard when the chickens are out. She has and will chase them if she can, and she does race along the inside of the fence when they are in my garden.

When she first came home, she was accosted by a gander that felt he had to let her know who was boss. Skye in turn, let him know she did not appreciate having her tush pinched by his beak, by taking off after him and giving him a run for his money. I knew how fast Skye was and realized she could catch the goose if she chose to. Skye just wanted to teach him a lesson, which he passed on because none of the geese ever bothered her after that.

I was blessed, because I was able to acclimate Skye into our household with a minimum of fuss. For the first several nights, we crated her and gave the cats time to get used to her. They could walk up to the crate safely and check Skye out without her being able to get to them and vice versa. I actually told my cat Munchkin (who had been pining since Smokey Bear passed away) that Skye was her new dog, and she should keep an eye on her. In fact, before we had the dog run installed I would leash walk Skye around the property, and Munchkin would frequently accompany us.

If you are introducing a new dog to an existing dog, the best way for them to meet for the first time is on neutral territory, which belongs to neither dog. Contact a friend or relative that doesn’t own a dog and see if they would be willing to let you use their yard for the introduction. Make sure that both dogs are leashed and introduce them gradually. Use a friendly voice and have treats like CANIDAE Snap Biscuit® or Snap-Bits™ treats on hand. Watch both dogs for any sign of aggression and separate them if you see any growling, hackles being raised, or any other sign.

Before adopting a new dog, you might want to provide them with a blanket to sleep on and bring it home before you bring them home. Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell and in this way you can give your resident dog a new smell to get used to before the dog comes. Before bringing your new dog into the house, it is a good idea to remove any food dishes or toys that belong to your original dog. They can cause conflict and provoke a fight if your first dog is territorial. It is a good idea to segregate the new dog by using a crate or keeping them in another room, until both dogs can get used to each other. This process will also work if you are introducing a new dog to your cats.

For pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, ferrets or birds, have an adult family member hold them and introduce the dog while they are leashed. This way you have some amount of control. Watch your dog for any signs of extreme interest, which could include lunging at the other pet, barking or even snapping at them. Depending on the dog’s response, age and breed, you may want to keep the pet in a room that the dog is not allowed in without supervision. If you have a puppy and get one of the above mentioned pets while your puppy is still young, you will have a better chance of them getting along. Some dogs are just so driven by instincts that you can’t unteach them.

Our household revolves around not only the humans that live here, but our animals as well. By using these simple methods of introduction, you too can have a harmonious household with multiple species as family members.

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.