Dealing with Cujo Canine, How to Make Dog Walk More Manageable

Dear Inquisitive Canine,

I adopted Isla (German Shepherd mix) from a shelter about a month ago.  She’s approximately 9 months old now and she’s very sweet…95% of the time.  However, despite some prior exposure in her young life, to walking on a leash, we can be out for a walk or on a potty trip and for no apparent reason she will go all Cujo on me.  Writhing, bucking, and biting…anything that might work to free her from the restrictive nature of the leash.  There are no other dogs present, no people, no stimuli to warrant Cujo showing up.  She’s just royally ticked off that she’s on that leash and by golly, she wants to be free of it.

The best I can do at this point is to get a death grip on her collar, which affords me some protection from those pearly white, sharp teeth, and calmly talk her down off the ledge.  Sometimes that works on the first go, sometimes not.  Even if I have treats on me, for other pursuits (sit, down, stay), I feel like giving her a treat, once she’s calm from the meltdown, will give her the wrong idea.  I even bought a muzzle, but I’m 64 years old and getting that sucker on her is simply NOT happening.  I am in the process of de-weeding a fenced area in my back yard and giving her the supervised opportunity to burn off some pent up energy, but that may make it worse when she is leashed.

Any suggestions, short of getting one of those padded suits (which won’t bode well in a Texas summer) and toughing it out?

Thanks,

Isla’s Worn Out Mom

Dear Isla’s Mom,

Sounds like you’re both getting quite the workout! It also sounds like there are a few challenges that definitely need to be addressed. We’d be happy to provide a few dog training tips.

  • Triggers – although you mention there’s no apparent reason, if the “Cujo behavior” keeps happening, there is likely a trigger somewhere. Even if it’s an internal trigger such as, “We’ve been out here for X amount of time and now I’m bored and frustrated.” Consider the time-factor. Is it immediate? After she has gone potty? Is it the overall pace of the walk? Would she rather run than stroll?
  • Function of the behavior – Keep in mind that all behaviors have a function – to either get something or avoid something. Does Isla enjoy the Cujo game with you? If she does, and you don’t, then switch up the game. Reinforce the behaviors you like and want, before she goes into her whirling dervish mode. Walking nicely on leash is what you want, yes? Teach her that skill and reward her with treats, petting, praise, and anything else you can give her while out in public. (A game of tug or fetch perhaps?) If you teach and practice those skills first, then she’ll know what the right choice is.
  • Treats – what types of treats are you using? For a situation as challenging as leash walking, you might need to up the game. Higher value such as little bits of boiled chicken or steak might be more motivating for her. Isla will let you know what she prefers. And, make sure she’s hungry. (Not starving.) If you’re feeding her a big breakfast, then going on a walk, she’s less likely to want food. So, use her meals to your advantage while training her.
  • Shape her behavior – because of her age, and this particular challenge, you might want to start out with shorter but more frequent training sessions. Instead of 30 minutes, go for 2-3 10-15 minute sessions. This is especially true if she starts going Cujo at a certain point. For instance, if she’s fine up until the 12-minute mark, then go for 10 minutes. Give her a break then go again. This might be a bit more inconvenient for you, initially, but once she’s trained you’ll be able to venture out for longer periods. It’s also good to practice in lower distracting environments – around your home and yard, before heading out to the streets.

Remember to reward behaviors you like and want, teach Isla what you want, and set her up for success so she learns what the right behavior is and can make better choices.

Traveling With Dogs, Stress-Free Strategies

Summertime means vacation time. And for those of you with dogs, you don’t have to miss out. Traveling with your pet is both great for you and your furry friend, but there are a few things you need to consider before packing the treats and hitting the road.

Luckily, New York travel company AllTheRooms is here to help you out. The following are a few tips on how to make travel with your pooch less stressful while ensuring your vacation together is a barking success.

Take a Trip to the Vet

One of the first and more important things to do with your pet before going anywhere out of town is to schedule a visit with your dog’s vet. Ideally, you’ll want to do this with as much advanced noticed as possible (but still within any specifically required timeframes), in case advanced medical care is required. The doc will check to make sure your dog is in good health and suitable for travel. You’ll also want to notify them of where you will be traveling, as your dog might need specific vaccinations.

Confirm Your Mode of Travel and Requirements

The actual journey part of your trip may be the most difficult and potentially stressful time for your pet, so be sure to follow these simple tips.

  • If you’re driving to your destination, think about places you’ll be seeing – and potentially stopping at – along the way. It’s best to not leave your dog alone in the car, especially in a strange environment. Will you be able to bring your dog with you? Will someone be able to watch them? Having another human friend along would be best, so you can tag-team the supervision. Even during shorts stops, like filling up your tank, can cause anxiety if your dog isn’t familiar with their surroundings, so plan accordingly.
  • If you plan on traveling to your vacation spot by plane, train or boat, be sure to confirm with the transport company beforehand that your dog will be allowed on board. Follow any rules or regulations in place and your journey should be much more comfortable for you both. Planning ahead is key!
  • No matter which route or method of transportation, remember your dog’s needs along the way. Breathing some fresh air, stretching their legs, taking a potty break, drinking water – and maybe even consuming a snack can help them feel like they’re getting a little vacay in too.

Plan to Pack Smart

Like you would for yourself and the rest of your family, you also need to plan for what to pack for your pet. Important items we recommend include:

  • An ID tag: Make certain your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag that contains their name and your current contact information. If locations you’re visiting require a license or rabies tag, make sure you have that with you as well.
  • Paperwork: Take any required paperwork for your pet while traveling. Check you have your pet’s passport allowing them to travel (if required), details of their immunizations and any documents outlining any health problems they have or medication they are taking. These will come in handy if you end up having to take your pet to the vet during your vacation as well.
  • Their favorite item: whether it’s a ball, a blanket or a teddy they’re fond of, be sure to bring it with you to keep your dog feeling happy and relaxed.
  • Something to walk them with: pack your dog’s leash and anything else they would wear for walkies, such as a harness.
  • Toiletries: shampoo in case your pal gets muddy, and their doggy toothbrush to maintain good dental hygiene. Keep any medications they take on you, rather than in a bag, so you can quickly access them if you need to.
  • Food: make sure you pack enough food for the duration of the trip, as well as any treats and chews to keep their tummy full and their spirits happy.

Praise Your Pet

Traveling can be stressful for some dogs and to help them feel at their best, give them lots of positive reassurance throughout the journey. You’ll also want to positively reinforce them for minding their manners during your adventures together. Behaving well in the car, going potty in the right spot, minding their manners in public places (hotels, restaurants, bustling tourist areas) should be acknowledged with lots of fuss! Send the message that they’re great traveling companions. Use toys, treats, and cuddles to reinforce them – maybe even buying them a souvenir.

If your dog acts in a way that’s abnormal for them, they may be slightly stressed. Remember to stay calm yourself so you can think clearly and create a training plan to help. Speak soothingly to your dog and take a break from the journey if necessary.

Bon Voyage

We hope these tips help you and your pet prepare and have a great vacation. Stay organized, positive and safe and you’re likely to have a stress-free getaway with your pooch.


Sage Fitzpatrick is a travel blogger currently living in London. She can be found drinking tea, reading and traveling the world. When she’s not traveling she spends her time blogging about her travels over at AllTheRooms, the world’s first vacation rental search engine.

 

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Owning More Than One Dog

If you’ve been considering bringing a second (or third…or fourth…) dog into your home, you might be asking yourself questions such as “Should I” “Should I not?” As with most new endeavors, it should begin with a plan – of some sort. In the beginning stages of contemplation, your initial plan might begin with a general pros and cons list. So for this specific blog post, we decided to collaborate with fellow animal advocate Allie Cooper of PetPaw&Tail18. She has graciously provided some helpful info to help you start your journey into answering questions you may have.


There are numerous benefits of having a multi-canine household. But this of course also comes with additional responsibilities. The following is a little pros and cons list we’ve developed for dog owners, to help answer the “should” questions, along with any others they may have come up with. 

Pros

Helps Dogs Socialize

PetMD explains that dogs may go into fight or flight mode when faced with strange people, animals, and environment, resulting in experiencing increased stress. Dogs who are not used to being walked in public, seeing new faces and smelling other inquisitive canines might appear shy or even display signs of aggression. It’s very important that puppies get accustomed to these situations early on through force-free puppy classes, where he or she can be introduced to other dogs, people, and situations.

Professional dog trainer and author of Plays Well With Others Pat Miller claims that playtime with other well-trained dogs can teach them social skills. This may result from reading and mimicking appropriate body language and displayed behaviors. Although, it’s vital to ensure that the introduction is gradual and that the older dog they are learning from is well-behaved and non-aggressive. This can help your new puppy become more comfortable, less fearful, and grow into a healthy and happy pooch.

As for older pets, the senior pet wellness article posted by Maryville University adds that they may benefit from getting socialization and companionship, depending on their personality. However, getting older dogs accustomed to other dogs and unfamiliar environments might take more time and patience as they may have already become set in their ways.

More Companionship

Dogs have long been considered man’s best friend and have proven their place as great companions. Having more pets can enhance the physical, emotional and social benefits of pet ownership such as feelings of love and delight. It may also provide more opportunities to create bonds with other pet owners and animal lovers.

More Incentive – and Options for Exercise

Owners will be encouraged to get more exercise when walking or playing with their pets. The study published by BMC Public Health revealed that dog owners added an average of 22 minutes to their daily walk compared to those who did not have dogs. They walked at an average pace of 3 miles per hour which falls under CDC’s prescription for moderate intensity exercise. Considering that lack of movement is linked to obesity, having more than one dog can help owners become more active and health conscious. Furthermore, if different dogs require different exercise durations and methods, owners can provide each dog with what he or she needs while getting twice (or more) exercise sessions themselves.

Cons

Added Expense

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Of course, having more than one pet also means having more than one mouth to feed, more than one cuddly body to groom, and more companions to bring to the vet.

Time Magazine’s report shows that small to big dogs typically cost $1,001 to $1,448 annually. The breakdown does not include fees like spay and neuter services or other types of resources that dogs with special conditions might require.

Increased Risk for More Chaos

Dogs will be dogs. And, when humans neglect them, they will often entertain themselves. Sometimes their choices can be good, like playing with enrichment toys or their siblings. Other times, he or she might decide to partake in behaviors we humans would deem destructive. It is the owner’s responsibility to watch after them, train them, and keep them happy and entertained.

If you have time to go out for walks only once a day, you’ll want to make sure the entire group can go together successfully. If you need to take the dogs’ separately, then you’ll need to adjust your schedule. Will each walk be shorter so you can meet your time commitment? Or, will you need to recruit help?  In addition to our recommendations for hiring a dog walker, make sure this professional can handle caring for multiple dogs at once.

Pawfect Mutt Match or Canine Conflict?

Change can be good, but it can also be challenging. 

If your resident dog is used to flying solo, he or she may look at you in disbelief when meeting their new sibling. On the flipside, he or she might be head-over-paws in love! Take into account there will be an adjustment period – for everyone, dogs and humans – and that the timeframe will be different for each one. 

Training and management can help you all get through the process. If your current dog has behavioral any challenges that need to be addressed, we recommend you do so before bringing another animal into the family circle. (Keep in mind that things can change again once the family dynamic changes).

Final Thoughts

Responsible pet ownership means that you also have to think about how your pets might react to having a new pet in the house. Take some time to weigh these pros and cons before signing the adoption papers, while making sure that everyone — man and animal — is on board for the new pet.


This post was written exclusively for inquisitivecanine.com
Submitted by PetPaw&Tail18

PetPaw&Tail18 runs her own shelter in Ohio with her life partner. She is the proud owner of two beautiful Labradors, Molly and Kiki—Molly being the first rescue of the shelter. She dedicates her life to saving and finding mutts a loving home and cannot imagine not having a dog of her own.

How to Dog-Proof Your Rental

We’ve recently been discussing with friends and clients concerns when moving with a pet. Finding rental properties where pets are allowed seems to be challenging. What can be more challenging is keeping a place once you do find one. How can you and your dog (or cat) impress the landlord?

Being inquisitive ourselves we decided to reach out to folks who are experts in this subject. Luckily we found blogger Angela Pearse who is willing to share some of her tips.


Convincing your landlord that a dog living with you is a good thing could be easier said than done if they’ve had a bad experience in the past. But if you know how to pet-proof your rental they might be swayed. Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog, these tips will help prevent your canine from getting into trouble whenever your back is turned.

Dog-Proof Garbage Can

Dogs are scavengers at heart and an easy to access garbage can is too tempting to ignore. You don’t want your dog raiding the rubbish whenever you’re out and causing a mess, so a dog-proof garbage can is a must.

For dogs with a high IQ, you’ll need one with a latch on the lid and a pedal at the bottom. Place it in the corner so they can’t topple it over. If that still doesn’t work, keep it in a locked pantry or laundry room with a closing door.

Pet-Proof Carpet

Rental carpet can take a beating when you have a dog living with you. Even if your dog is housetrained, reassure your landlord you will take steps immediately to pet-proof the carpet/flooring while dealing with any accidents that may occur. You can also consider getting an area rug so that your hardwood floor or tile is protected from any accidents.

Another way you can ensure that carpets stay pristine and fur-free is to make sure your dog is groomed. Trimming nails and claws will also help prevent snags on carpet pile and scratched floors.

Keep their food and water bowls in the kitchen or on a mat to prevent spillages and always wipe their feet after being outside. If you feed your dog with enrichment toys, make sure messes are confined to washable areas.

Dog-Proof Your Furniture

If you’re renting a fully furnished apartment, knowing how to dog-proof furniture is important. Otherwise, you could come home to a shredded couch, gnawed table leg, or some other ‘surprise’ from your furry friend. Please note, if your dog is destroying furniture, takes steps to determine why. It could be related to their physical health, emotional well-being, or simply boredom.

Using positive reinforcement training for teaching them to discriminate where they are allowed to hang out and where they aren’t is important too, so you can trust leaving them alone. Poncho wrote a lovely post teaching this very thing. Check out his tips here.

Again, keeping on top of grooming is essential – things such as nail trimming and cleaning paws will reduce the amount of damage and dirt on floors and furniture.

Some other tried and tested ways you can dog-proof the furniture to keep it looking as good as new include:

  • Buying slipcovers for the couch and armchairs
  • Using removable cushion covers for a quick wash
  • Buying an inexpensive pet seat cover (towels and blankets work great)
  • Regularly using a lint roller to remove fur 

Pet-Proof Your Flooring

Fido may think it’s fun to scoot around on the wood or concrete floors, but your landlord won’t take kindly to scratches and nicks from your dog’s toenails. Here are some ways you can pet-proof flooring:

  • Paw grooming – regularly cutting and filing nails so they don’t dig into floors
  • Buy some inexpensive but heavy rugs to use in dog traffic lanes
  • Apply a layer of protective wax, treat light scratches by reapplying wax
  • Dog booties – condition your dog to wear protective booties

Create a Pet-Friendly Apartment

Part of ensuring your rental is adequately dog-proofed is creating a safe environment for your pet. This can involve using child-safe gates to block off certain areas or keeping doors to the laundry, bedrooms, and bathrooms closed when you’re not using them.

To be extra safe, place medications, cleaners, and laundry supplies in a high cupboard or shelf out of reach. This also goes for foods like chocolate which is toxic for dogs if eaten in large quantities, and you know your dog won’t stop at one square! (Many humans are guilty of this too, so who can blame them).

Another thing to think of when dog-proofing is to cover your electrical cords and place dangling wires out of reach. Some dogs like to chew on cords and end up receiving nasty burns for their efforts. Chewing can also cause wires to short out, spark and start a fire.

Final Thoughts

You’ll have a much easier time finding a pet-friendly apartment if you can demonstrate your dog is well-trained, knows how to make good choices, and is not likely to destroy any furniture, carpet, or walls.

If you have to leave your dog for an extended period of time, ensure their physical and mental needs are met. Enrichment toys, exercise, fun and games, doggy daycare, dog walkers, and pet sitters can help meet their needs while keeping your new rental place pristine. Who knows. Your landlord might not even believe you even have a dog.


Author’s Bio

Angela Pearse is a blogger for Zumper who frequently combines travel with freelance writing. She’s passionate about Art Deco hotels, historical novels, Netflix, hiking and healthy living.

Celebrating Dogs, Your City, and Adventures Together

Santa Barbara, Shoreline Park
Ringo watching the sunset at Shoreline Park – a favorite walking place!

This is my city. This is my dog. I’m participating in Rover.com’s Tail of 20 Cities, celebrating our inquisitive (and oh-so-photogenic) canine Ringo Starr, along with our beautiful city, Santa Barbara, California.  But wait, there’s more! Rover.com has recruited 19 other photographers from around the world. You can check out all of the photographs on their Tail of Twenty Cities Photo Journey web page.

We chose this photo of Ringo taking a sunset-watching break at Shoreline park because it is one of our favorite places to walk, romp, meet friends, and relax.

Want to get into the lights-camera-action? You too can join the fun by posting your own pic of your pooch, repping your city with the hashtag #RoverCities!

 

How to Find a Dog Trainer You Can Trust With Your Pup

How to Find a dog trainer you can trust

Whether you just brought home a new dog, or your current canine companion is exhibiting a concerning behavior, you need to find a dog trainer you can trust.

The search for a well-trained, reliable dog trainer is harder than you might think. With so many dog trainers advertising their services on open sites like Yelp, you might find yourself entrusting your precious pup to the wrong person.

How to Find a Dog Trainer

If you’re wondering how to find a dog trainer and who to trust, we can help.

Here at IC HQs, we understand just how difficult it is to find a qualified dog training professional. One person’s website offers one opinion, while another’s recommends something completely different. Friends and family offer their advice only adding to your confusion. How do you filter through all the friendly advice, suggestions, and online searches?

Not to worry, we’re here to help you find a dog trainer by addressing common questions, and providing the information and resources you need, to find the right trainer for you and your four-legged friend’s needs.

Let’s begin with some common questions and concerns.

Are all dog trainers created equal?

No, they’re not. First, it’s important to note that the dog training industry is unregulated. There are no official government bodies that oversee the practice of training dogs. Additionally, there are no official universal rules, policies, procedures or gold standards. This basically means that anyone can call themselves a trainer, and do whatever he or she wants – whenever and however they see fit. Some dog trainers don’t even have a business license!

Thankfully, there are independent organizations that have addressed these concerns, including the Academy for Dog Trainers, Karen Pryor Academy, the Pet Professional Guild, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), and International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).

These groups, and others like them, have developed higher standards of practice on a global level. They screen their applicants, require testing for certification and recertification or membership, and provide educational resources — among other things. Although dog trainers aren’t required to become certified or apply for membership in order to train dogs – certification proves that he or she has become proficient in their craft, following the latest in training research and best practices.

What’s their real training philosophy and approach?

The dog trainer’s approach should be straightforward, transparent, and self-explanatory. If they are claiming their techniques are “the best” and/or “most humane,” then they should have evidence to back up those claims.

Utilizing subjective jargon can be misleading, which can cloud decision making for the pet owner. Is this person describing training methods that enhance the experience for both dog and owner? Does it sound like the experience will be enjoyable for both the dog and the handler? Or, is this person promoting a “unique” approach, while implementing outdated techniques, including those that can cause fear or discomfort to the dog? Keep in mind that while addressing overall goals of the client, training should still be fun throughout the process — for everyone.

What’s with the title?

You are likely familiar with such designations as positive reinforcement trainers, cookie trainers, clicker trainers, e-collar trainers, and balanced trainers – to name a few. As mentioned above, there are no gold standards when it comes to training dogs. However, the person’s title, or what they refer to themselves as, will likely tell you a lot about their methods. For instance, trainers who are certified through the CCPDT will refer to themselves as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. This title indicates he or she practices positive reinforcement methods as outlined in the CCPDT’s Code of Ethics.

Titles such as “balanced trainer” often means they practice dual approaches. They may combine positive reinforcement with fear-based techniques, including physical corrections (i.e. alpha rolling, kicking, kneeing, collar corrections, choking with a prong or choke collar). E-collar trainers also implement punishment based techniques, with the addition of electronic (shock) collars.

Fear-based techniques are outdated, and the trainers who use them may not have an education on animal learning theory or science-based techniques, are unaware of progress within the industry, and don’t have a grasp on the fallout of coercion and aversives.

Trustworthy dog trainers will use transparent, clear, and consistent content throughout their website and social media pages. Those who use a force-free approach will talk about using whatever motivates the dog to want to participate in the training plan, focusing in on rewarding wanted behaviors, and teaching the dog what the best behavior choice is — without instilling fear.

Those dog trainers who express their use of treats, as well as “dominance” or “corrections”, give a cloudy picture as to what their methodology is. Are they putting a spin on their training approach and using these terms to help market themselves? Do they really have their clients’ best interests at heart? Techniques that risk injury should raise a red flag.

But, which method is best?

Pet owners can choose between force-free, positive reinforcement; mixed training combining both positive reinforcement and punishment; or punishment-based training. The former uses anything that motivates the dog to want to participate throughout their training. This approach teaches your dog the skills to make the right choices while focusing on wanted behaviors.

The latter uses fear-based techniques for the purpose of decreasing undesirable behaviors. This approach focuses on unwanted behaviors and doesn’t teach the dog how to make the proper choices.

For too long force-based techniques have been used, because they were part of our culture. Thankfully, progress has been made over the years, proving that while these training techniques can work, they are outdated and unnecessary for training dogs — or any animal.

Performing a Google search on the fallout of using punishment to train dogs yields several results. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior composed a lovely Position Statement on the Use of Punishment explaining the pitfalls and risks when using these techniques. This resource will provide unbiased information along with additional links to reputable studies.

Now that I know what to look for, where should I start?

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of different dog training approaches, you’re ready to begin your search. Searching for a dog trainer is similar to searching for any service-based businesses. Asking for referrals is a great way to find a trustworthy trainer. Veterinarians and other pet owners are a great source for finding qualified professionals.

Yelp is another popular source for finding pet trainers. Just be sure to do your due diligence, read reviews and learn about their approach and methods before committing to their services.

We recommend the following resources (in no particular order) for help in finding a qualified dog trainer:

How do I know I’m making the right choice?

Cyrano the PapillonKeep in mind that humans are animals too. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. Conduct an interview, and ask questions. Use your research skills to review their website, reviews and social media to vet them thoroughly before entrusting them with your canine companion.

Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned dog owner, with each new experience brings new needs and goals. Finding a professional dog trainer who will listen to your needs, develop a plan that works for you and your dog, provides proper education, and supports you along the way can lead to a more pawsitive experience all around.

With the right dog trainer, you’ll have more time to be with your inquisitive canine. Use our tips to find a dog trainer you can trust.


Wanna join the conversation? Just head to the comment section below. Care to share pics and videos of your inquisitive canine? We invite you to post on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter – Tweet to us and we’ll Tweet ya back!

How to Be the Pawfect Guest — Getting Your Dog Invited Back

imgresWhether your inquisitive canine and you have been invited for a happy hour event at your neighbor’s condo, a weekend at your friend’s home, or a month-long stay at your cousin’s lake house, you want to ensure you get invited back. In the past, we’ve discussed how to help your inquisitive canine be the pawfect host so we thought we’d hit the other end of the spectrum and address ways to set your precious pooch up to be a poster dog for being the pawfect dog guest.

With holiday weekends around the bend and summertime on the horizon, we here at IC HQ’s wanted to share some of what we think are helpful tips to ensure that your canine is a gracious dog guest.

Tips For Getting Yourself — and Your Dog — Invited Back

Make sure everyone is on board with hosting a bow-wow! While the person you’re visiting may give you the thumbs up to bring your furry baby, consider others who may be in the mix during your visit. While Uncle Bob might be totally comfortable around dogs, little Sally may be afraid of them. Additionally, consider leaving your inquisitive canine at home if she or he doesn’t play nicely with other animals (or vice versa, with the pets that belong to the people whom you’re visiting).

Keep it clean and tidy. No matter how gracious your hosts are, creating extra work for them shouldn’t be part of your visit. Cleaning up after yourself is key, and similarly, tidying up after Fido is essential, too. Remember to follow the fur trail, and wipe down, sweep, use a lint roller, or vacuum as you go. This goes for dirt and other outdoor debris, and food and treat remnants as well. You’ll also want to make sure toys are picked up and beds/crates/dog mats are kept in a discrete location and are not tripping hazards. Lastly, ask your hosts how they would like you to leave the place before you leave. Check and double check to make sure you’ve picked and packed up everything, and restored order to any chaos you and/or your canine may have created.

Be like a stealthy Ninja! Are you up at the crack of dawn to take your dog out for a walk or to play in the backyard? How about moonlit walks before bed? Your host might have a different schedule, so keep this in mind when you and your inquisitive canine are roaming about.

BYOS (Bring Your Own Supplies). Pack what you need, without relying on your host to provide anything for your dog — including towels! Dogs are, for the most part, simple creatures, but through domestication, it seems their “essentials” list has grown. Depending on the type of visit, you’ll want to remember to pack what you need, including a leash, harness, collar, bowls, food puzzles, toys, food and treats, medications, grooming aids, waste bags, a bed or crate, and towels.

Reinforce your host’s behavior. Ya gotta love folks who welcome guest dogs into their homes. Show your gratitude from the get-go by giving them, and perhaps even their pet, a little gift. You can also express your appreciation by taking them out for a meal or to some place they enjoy. Lastly, follow up with a handwritten note. (These never go out of style, no matter how hi-tech our society gets). You might even include a photo of your dog at their place as a remembrance, letting them know your inquisitive canine appreciates them, too.

Skills fit for cotillion! Now’s the time for your dog to be at the top of his or her manners game. Being well-versed at sitting, lying down, going to his or her bed on cue, being quiet around distractions, leaving things alone when asked, and politely greeting people (and other animals) should be rock solid. This is no time for teaching new behaviors; this is, however, the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how wonderful your dog is. I would add in leash walking and coming when called too, as these behaviors are always needed, no matter where you go.

Know the boundaries. Make sure your dog and you understand where his or her “bathroom” is, as well as sleeping quarters and lounging locations. Will your dog be allowed on furniture? Even if he or she is, designating a special blanket or towel for your inquisitive canine to use will protect the environment while also subtly conveying to your hosts that you respect their home. When it comes to house training, take your dog to the requested outdoor spot to do his or her business, and then positively reinforce the appropriate behavior — so that he or she knows where to go. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your dog to help prevent unfortunate incidents.

Help your pup be the perfect dog guest. Visits should be fun and festive for everyone — including the host. A well-mannered inquisitive canine and self-aware guest set themselves up to be invited back every time!


Wanna join the conversation? Just head to the comment section below. Care to share pics and videos of your inquisitive canine? We invite you to post on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter – Tweet to us and we’ll Tweet ya back!

How Dog Moms Can Celebrate Mother’s Day With Their Canine Kids

Dog Moms Deserve a Special Day with Their Furry Companions

Whether you’re a mom to human children or a parent to a beloved pet, it’s all about the relationship. Mothers share a special love and bond with their babies that’s unlike any other; the care and nurturing they provide deserves to be celebrated every day, and of course, especially on Mother’s Day.

I remember all the celebrations I shared with my own mother. She protested that she never wanted to be fussed over, but I always found Mother’s Day to be the perfect opportunity to do just that. Breakfast in bed, helping out more around the house, going places she enjoyed, and baking a special chocolate chip layer cookie pie especially for her. These are among my favorite memories, as I knew that at least once a year my mom enjoyed being doted on.

Let’s face it, when it comes to the relationship with our canine companions, it’s often maternal-like. Being that I’m a new dog mom again, Ringo and I have been discussing ways we can celebrate this special holiday together. He wanted me to share these ideas with your inquisitive canines to help them plan a fun day for you, too.

Take a pleasant walk in your favorite place. This one is simple, budget friendly, and without time constraints. Plus you won’t need a reservation. To make it even more fun, bring along a couple of treats — for the both of you. You can reinforce your dog for those behaviors you like, and treat yourself because you deserve it! Also, bring your phone along so you can snap some selfies to commemorate your special day together.

Take on a arts and crafts project together. Contact your local art studios to find out if you and your inquisitive canine can schedule a date to create. Whether it is the paint-your-own-pottery or sketching a picture of your dog, there are fun and unique classes to be found around town. The original inquisitive canine, Poncho, and I used to frequent Firefly Ceramics. We created a pretty set of soup bowls and serving platter that we decorated with his paw prints. That’s a gift that keeps on giving – whenever I use the platter and bowls, I always think of my precious Poncho.

Have a traditional Mother’s Day lunch, brunch, tea, or cocktails. Going out to eat on Mother’s Day is a big deal all across the country. You can go out for brunch in the morning, then tea or happy hour in the evening. Call ahead to make sure the establishments you choose are fido-friendly. You might even be able to share a meal, provided the foods you choose are on your dog’s diet, and not those you should avoid.

Do a mother-mutt photo shoot. Nowadays it’s easier than ever to capture each step of your day with photos and videos. But what do you do with all the great content? How about creating a photo album, scrapbook, or framing that that special Mother’s Day selfie?

Make a gift to your favorite canine charity. If you’re not the shopping type, you might want to help your favorite animal advocacy group. Make a donation of your dog’s toys, beds, or blankets that he or she doesn’t use any longer; a monetary donation is helpful, too.

Picnic in the park, on your deck, or in your backyard. An alternative to making reservations is to get a table for two (or more) at a local park, beach, or lake. You can even set up your picnic blanket in the backyard, front porch, deck, or in an indoor fort. The purpose is spending time together. You can also include some hand-feeding, capitalizing on training and reinforcing those behaviors you like.

Take a day trip. Hop in the car to explore a nearby place that you’ve never been before – you might find fido-friendly areas you didn’t know existed! The Bring Fido website allows you to search specific areas for places that are more dog-friendly. You never know, you might discover a brand new favorite destination!

Make this Mother’s Day special by including your four-legged baby in the festivities. Dogs are the embodiment of unconditional love, and we know that your inquisitive canine would love to pamper you with more than just sloppy kisses and snuggles… although that’s a great place to start!

From all of us at IC HQ’s, we wish all the dog moms out there a pawsitively wonderful Mother’s Day!!


Wanna join the conversation? Just head to the comment section below. Care to share pics and videos of your inquisitive canine? We invite you to post on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter – Tweet to us and we’ll Tweet ya back!

Who’s Rescuing Whom? What to Think About When Adopting a Dog

Thinking about bringing home a new canine companion? Things to consider when adopting a dog.

What to think about when adopting a dogIn honor of Adopt a Shelter Pet Day (April 30th), I thought it would be an ideal time to discuss ways to approach this life-changing decision. After all, it’s not just your own life that is impacted; it is the inquisitive canine’s life as well.

Here are several things to consider when thinking about adopting a dog of any age, from puppy to older.

First of all, ask yourself, WHY?

Literally, make a list that answers the question, “Why am I adopting a dog?”

And then do some follow-up thinking.

For example, consider what you’ll want your new dog to do as a member of your family. Cuddle on the couch? Take daily walks? Accompany you to work? Be a companion to your children, partner, or another pet?

Once you understand why you you’re adopting a dog, then it’s important to ask how that will work within the confines of your current lifestyle. This may mean a change in your home life is necessary; it may even be what’s behind your why. Maybe becoming more active by walking is something you’ve wanted to do, and a new dog will motivate you to get you out of the house.

Timing is everything when adopting a dog.

If you’ve started a new job, or have plans every weekend for the next few months, you might want to consider waiting until you have the time to help your new family member acclimate to his or her new home and living conditions. Like all animals, dogs are adaptable, but having that extra time to be more involved will be key in helping the transition go more smoothly. Also consider whether or not your immediate future holds any major life changes. Adopting a new dog when you’re about to get married or move across the country could be too stressful and be worth waiting on until you are settled in.

Love is free, but pets are not.

Many shelters and rescue groups make it easy for dogs to be adopted out, with relatively modest adoption fees that range from free to about $200, according to Petfinder. From there, you have to take into account the necessities (basic gear like collars and leashes, food) and consider the luxury items, too. According to Petfinder, average annual costs the first year of owning a dog start at around $766 to adopt and get your household set up for your new pet. Petfinder estimates subsequent years start at an annual average cost of $526 and go up from there, depending on what’s going on in your dog’s life, and how much outside services you pay for (i.e. dog walkers and sitters, vet care, training, etc.) For the most part, dogs are certainly simple, loving creatures who don’t ask for much, but expenses can add up. Make sure you have the financial ability to take on caring for a pet for his or her entire life.

Identify the type of dog you want.

You may have in your mind a certain type of dog that you want – small or large, puppy or older, a specific breed – but keep in mind that selecting the right dog for you and your family is like choosing any other friend or mate. The choice should not be made on superficial attributes, but should really take into consideration things like behavior, temperament, common interests, etc. Truly consider how your new pet will fit in and enhance your life, and vice versa.

To help articulate those aspects of your dog-to-be, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where will your dog spend his or her days? At home alone, at doggy daycare, with a friend or family member, at work with you?
  • Where will he or she spend nights? In a crate, on a dog bed, in your bed?
  • Will you have time to groom your dog yourself or will you need to find a groomer?
  • Do you entertain a lot, requiring your dog to be around a lot of strangers, meeting and greeting?
  • Are you active, and do you want a canine running partner? Or is your life more sedentary? (Keep in mind a dogs’ size doesn’t necessarily match his or her energy level).

Breed is in the eye of the beholder.

Once you’re clear on the type of dog you want, then you may want to consider a certain breed. In my opinion, however, dog breed descriptions are subjective labels.

For instance, can you determine which breed I’m referring to with these attributes: powerful, fearless, watchful, energetic, friendly, and sturdily built?

What about: calm, affectionate, and friendly?

And then there’s: calm, tranquil, aloof and attentive, yet loyal, and alert.

The three breeds I’ve just described, based on information I obtained off of the American Kennel Club’s website, are Swedish Vallhund, Whippet, and Xoloitzcuintli, respectively.

I randomly chose these particular breeds to show that descriptive words used can overlap between all the groups. My point is that you should consider choosing your dog based not only on physical preferences, such as small or large, short coat vs longer coat but on his or her individual traits — especially personality traits; objective behaviors specifically. Realize that other variables, such as DNA mutations, environmental situations, prior learning history, and current conditions may make it such that your dog acts much differently than his or her breed description would otherwise imply. It also makes it imperative to find out as much as you can about the true nature of the pet you’re considering adopting. Be inquisitive!

April 30th may be the special day we recognize and promote the adoption of shelter dogs, but no matter the when, where, why, and how, it’s important to ask the right questions of not only the organization from which you’re adopting a dog but also of yourself and anyone else involved in the process, such as family members or roommates. After all, you want to do your best to ensure your new inquisitive canine will have a happy life with his or her new humans, and that she or he will return the favor in kind.

 


Wanna join the conversation? Just head to the comment section below. Care to share pics and videos of your inquisitive canine? We invite you to post on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter – Tweet to us and we’ll Tweet ya back!

Veterinary Nutritionist Dr. Cailin Heinze’s Recipe for Dog Feeding & Treating Success

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A Recipe for Successful Dog Feeding & Treating

Having a conversation about the best choices for dog food and treats is an invitation to open up Paw-ndora’s Box. So before I begin, let me first make it clear that I am not a vet, vet nutritionist or dog nutrition expert. However, I am a certified dog trainer and dog-mom who happens to be passionate about what she feeds her dog and what she uses for training.

Dog Feeding and Treating Done Right

For our new dog, Ringo, hubby and I wanted to start out on the right paw with his dietary needs. Poncho, the original inquisitive canine, had many dietary issues during the last few years of his life. Because of this, we admittedly had some emotional baggage when it came to choosing Ringo’s new diet. But instead of making decisions based on our own learning experience, friends’ opinions and what Professor Google says, we went to the experts.

First we checked with our local veterinarian, whom we adore and respect. She provided us with her recommendations and rationale behind her choices. Because she knew our history with Poncho, she was fully supportive when I asked for a referral to a board-certified veterinary nutritionist with whom we’d worked in the past, Dr. Cailin Heinze. Dr. Heinze is a specialist who teaches at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

In addition to our formal consultation, I approached Dr. Heinze about being interviewed about dog feeding and treating for this post. The following are highlights from our conversation and include some fantastic tips to help you make informed food and treat choices for your inquisitive canine.

Inquisitive Canine (IC): Mealtime is a convenient time to train, but what about other times during the day when someone wants to work with his or her dog? How important is it for healthy dogs to be on a specific feeding schedule?

Dr. Cailin Heinze (CH): Once a dog is house-trained, then it doesn’t matter all that much when meals are given. The biggest exception would be for dogs with a medical condition, such as diabetes, and for those pets that require medication that must be given either with food or on an empty stomach. While a routine can be nice for the household, most dogs will adjust just fine to variable meal times/training. If a dog’s regular food is used for training, I would suggest measuring it out every morning to avoid over or under feeding if the training schedule changes. Anything left at the end of the day can then be fed as a meal.

IC: When it comes to food labels, there seems to be a lot of confusing verbiage out there — everything from valid statements to marketing garbage. What should dog parents be aware of when they read a label on a can of food or on the side of a bag of treats?

CH: There is actually very little information on labels that tell you about the quality or usefulness of the food. We have a lot of stuff on the Tufts Vet Nutrition website about labels and terms. “Natural” is an absolutely useless term that is commonly used for marketing purposes only. It has a legal definition – not synthetic – but that doesn’t mean anything because there are lots of very dangerous natural things, including arsenic, lead, yew and mycotoxins, to name a few. There are also plenty of safe synthetic ones, including some vitamins and amino acid supplements.

IC: When choosing foods or treats for training, is it best to just use the dog’s own food as the first choice? What if that doesn’t motivate him or her? What other options work without having too much of a negative impact on the dog’s overall nutrition?

CH: If a dog will work for his regular food, that’s great. For otherwise healthy dogs, lean meats normally work well because they are lower in calories and of course dogs usually love the taste. There are also perfectly fine options for “tiny” training treats that are only a calorie or two.

Human foods, such as egg, meat, cheese or peanut butter, may also be good options. Just be careful about the salt, fat and total calories! Human baby food can also work, but keep an eye if there is any onion or garlic in the food or too much fat or too many calories.

IC: Are there ways to enhance or “dress up” a dog’s usual foods? Can you add or change anything or will this throw off the quality of nutrition?

CH: If you keep within a treat allowance of about 10% of the dog’s daily caloric intake, then you should be fine. For a healthy pet, you can add meats, fat and definitely fruits and vegetables to the main diet without much risk of causing big issues. This is assuming you are feeding an appropriate amount and type of regular food that is within the range of the feeding orders for your dog’s ideal body weight.

IC: You mention adding “fat” to the diet. Are you talking about fish oils or nut butters?

CHPretty much anything, as long as your dog does well with fat (some dogs can get upset stomachs or even pancreatitis if they eat too much fat) – chicken fat, lard, olive oil, flaxseed oil, tallow and even coconut oil. Keep in mind that a little bit goes a long way – about 135 kcal per tablespoon. There really aren’t healthy vs. unhealthy fats in dogs because they don’t get heart disease related to saturated fat like people do. As for fish oils, I generally give specific amounts.

IC: If a person needs to change up the treats in order to keep their dog motivated, what is the best approach? Keep within the same protein? Or is it better to stick with the 10% rule and watching for signs of tummy upset?

CH: The latter is fine. It’s probably good to use something for as long as it works before switching, just to avoid exposure to too many protein sources. That could be an issue later if any allergies develop. There is no real evidence that rotating or not rotating food choices makes a difference health or nutrition-wise.

IC: Are there any treat recipes that you would recommend? Or is it best to just go with simple commercial items that are easily accessible?

CH: Most treat recipes that avoid things like onions, garlic, raisins and undercooked animal products are probably fine, so long as you keep within the treat allowance.

IC: What top tips do you want owners to know when it comes to treats/foods for their dogs?

CH: Don’t overdo it. Outside of training, treats are often more important to the owner than the pet. Smaller is better! As an example, the first few bites of that cheesecake you eat usually tastes the best. If you stopped there you’d be thinner and healthier.

***

Well, inquisitive pet parents, as we’ve discovered, dog feeding, treating and training can create a recipe for success, not a disaster. And thanks to Dr. Heinze’s sage advice, we’ve also learned that less is more, keep treats to 10% of the daily caloric intake, and use your dog’s meals to your advantage. And finally, it’s okay to ration out portions and use them throughout the day for training.

When choosing the types of foods, it’s important to read between the lines of the labels and consult with your vet. If you feel like you need additional guidance, connecting with a vet nutritionist like Dr. Heinze is a great option to consider. For additional information, check out their website and Petfoodology blog where you can find a lot of information and resources for making informed decisions about your dog’s dietary needs.

Here’s a question for you, my inquisitive dog friends. How do you use your dog’s food for training? Do you turn dog feeding into training time? Take it on the road with you? We invite you to join the conversation below.


Wanna join the conversation? Just head to the comment section below. Care to share pics and videos of your inquisitive canine? We invite you to post on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter – Tweet to us and we’ll Tweet ya back!