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 A Virtual Postcard.

 

 

 

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.

How to Find the Right Dog Walker

how to find the right dog walker
Guest Post
Emily Conklin – Gladwire

How You Can Find the Right Dog Walker

If you’re like thousands of other puppy parents, you’re finding it difficult to fit regular walks into your busy schedule. You don’t have to feel guilty about short changing your pooch when there’s probably a dog walker right in your neighborhood who can take up the slack. While getting the kid next door to walk your dog might seem like a good idea in a pinch, enlisting the services of a professional dog walker may be a safer, more sensible approach.

If you don’t know where to look, finding a reliable surrogate who will take good care of your dog can be a challenge. Find the right dog walker with a few simple tips.

Look Locally

Even if you live in a small or mid-sized town, chances are there are a few professional dog walkers or professional dog walking services in your area. You could start by looking on Craigslist, in the local classifieds, or on the internet for the right dog walker. However, dog-centric businesses might yield better results.

Many veterinarian’s offices have bulletin boards located in their waiting room advertising services for pet owners; they may even have a dog walker among their patients. Another place to try is a pet supply store. If there’s a dog park in your area, you might ask other pet owners who they use. Once you get a few names, it’s time to take the next step.

Go Social

Even if you choose a private dog walker rather than a service, chances are that anyone trying to build a business has a presence online. However, anyone can put up a social media page and call themselves a dog walker, so a little investigation is in order. Check popular sites like Facebook and Instagram to get a feel for their business. Look for photos of their walks and the other dogs they walk, including how big of a group they wrangle; if they’re regularly dealing with 10 dogs, will they be able to give yours the attention he needs? Is there feedback and interaction from clients on their pages and photos, or does the page seem relatively static and neglected?

Since we also know that many people put on a good show for social media, look for any links to a business website. If they have one, is it laid out like a reputable business, with information about licensing and insurance? Do they list services or specifics about how they conduct business? It’s also a good idea to Google the dog walker or their company for mentions on consumer sites like Yelp! This is a fairly objective way to learn if they’ve had any complaints about their services or rave reviews, and find out how long they’ve been in business.

Meet First

Much like when you’re looking for a daycare provider for your child or a contractor to work on your home, you should meet with several dog walkers before you settle on one. There’s some opinion out there that dogs know instinctively if someone is trustworthy or not. Arrange a meeting at their home or business, if they have an office. Observe how they approach your pet, and how your dog responds to them. What does their body language tell you? Do they seem calm and confident? Friendly? If you or your dog aren’t comfortable with them, you should probably pass.

You should come prepared with a list of questions so you can determine their routine, where they generally walk, and how they might respond to emergency situations. Some practical questions to start with might be:

  • How long do you walk the dogs, how many walks per day, and how far do you walk?
  • Do you walk in areas with heavy traffic or a lot of distractions?
  • How do you deal with dogs who aren’t well-socialized? Do you walk some dogs separately, or do you take them all together?
  • Do you walk the dogs with dog harnesses or just by the collar?
  • Are you the primary dog walker, or will there be other people walking my dog?
  • Do you have backup arrangements in the case of an emergency?
  • Are they willing to allow you to accompany them on a test walk to see how they handle your dog?

In addition to general questions about the walks themselves, it doesn’t hurt to delve a little deeper into their background and experience as it relates to the job. Points to cover include:

  • Length of time as a dog walker?
  • Any formal dog training classes or certifications?
  • Are they licensed and insured? Can they provide proof of both?
  • Do they have training in canine first aid?
  • Do they have a veterinarian or arrangement for emergency care in the case of an accident or medical condition?

Getting to Know You, Too

An attentive, conscientious dog walker will also have questions for you, or at least express an interest in your pet. Although it’s not a definite reason to pass, someone who doesn’t might be indifferent or neglectful. Honesty on your part is just as important as expecting full disclosure from them. You should be prepared to give them specifics about your dog’s personality, quirks, and any medical or behavior issues. Other important disclosures include how they get along with other animals or children and how they react to loud noises or traffic.

Business Matters

Once you’ve found someone who both you and your pet feel comfortable with, it’s time to get down to business. Get a firm price for services and payment arrangements. Some providers charge a flat rate that’s payable even if your dog misses a week or a few days, others charge by the hour or by the day, and still others charge by the month. Work out a payment schedule that works for both of you. You should also ask about about cancellation policies and other potential expenses or charges that might crop up. Get everything in writing, if possible.

When your schedule and Fido’s collide, it’s time to look for solutions. Luckily, there are many dog-lovers who provide services to help pet parent’s like you give your furry baby the fresh air and exercise they need when you aren’t able. We all want the best for our dogs. Finding the right dog walker is well worth the effort.

 

References

https://www.sfspca.org/sites/default/files/documents/dog-hiring-dog-walker_0.pdf

https://barkpost.com/how-to-find-and-choose-the-right-dog-walker/

 

 

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!

 

2018 is the Year of the Dog

It's the Year of the Dog

3 Ways to Celebrate the Year of the Dog and Your Inquisitive Canine

2018 is the Year of the Dog according to the Chinese zodiac. It’s the perfect time to celebrate and appreciate your loyal companion. There are several ways to show your furry friend you care, and The Inquisitive Canine can help you think of a few.

2018 is the year of the dogWhat does the Year of the Dog mean?

There are 11 animals and one mythological creature that make up the Chinese zodiac. The dog is the eleventh animal, which means it’s been 12 years since the last Year of the Dog. Children born between February 16th, 2018 and February 4th, 2019 will have the dog as their Chinese zodiac sign.

What does it mean to have the dog as your Chinese zodiac sign?

People born under the sign of the dog are said to be loyal, friendly and kind – just like our four-legged friends. They are less likely to seek money and power and more likely to try and make the world a better place.

Famous people with the dog as their zodiac sign include Madonna, Michael Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa.

Let Us Help You Celebrate the Year of the Dog

Celebrate your dog all year long by nurturing your relationship. Here are just three ways The Inquisitive Canine can support and grow your owner-pet bond in the New Year.

New Classes

The Inquisitive Canine is offering several new classes in the first half of 2018. We’re offering Dog Behavior Workshops in February and April, and a course on preparing for pet adoption on April 30th. Learn more about our workshops and sign up to reserve your spot.

TransPaw Gear Harness

Adventuring with your canine has never been easier. Our TransPaw Gear pet harness enhances the human-canine bond. It offers multiple locations for leash attachment, providing you with choices to match any activity. Canine comfort lead the design, so your canine can move freely with special comfortable support behind the upper area of the front legs and snug shoulders fit. Learn more about the TransPaw Gear harness and shop the dog harness on our product website.

Training Tips & Tricks

Visit the Doggie Blog to learn free tips and tricks from Joan Hunter Mayer and our knowledgeable guest bloggers. Whether it’s tips for finding the right dog trainer for you and your pet or how to teach canine nose-work, the Doggie Blog is the place to gain valuable insights.

This year is the Year of the Dog, so show your courageous canine they matter by dedicating your time and establishing a deep bond.

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.

Ever since the Inquisitive Canine was founded in 2005, Joan Hunter Mayer’s life has gone to the dogs — and she couldn’t be happier! A certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant, Joan not only loves seeing her canine students succeed, but also enjoys empowering dog parents with a valuable education to enhance their relationships with their dogs for life.


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!

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

Ringo-Chewy-2

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!

A Tail Waggin’ Resource for All Your Canine Communication Needs

Canine CommunicationCheck Out This Resource for Better Canine Communication

We recently wrote about understanding dog body language, but what about other forms of canine communication? Care to brush up on your Doggish-to-English language skills? Discover reasons for raised hackles, growling, and paw raises? How about learning the differences between your dog’s variety of barks?

Well, have we got a special treat for you! Our fellow certified trainer friends and colleagues have officially launched their iSpeakDog website, dedicated to canine communication, and we’re beyond thrilled. (You can tell just by our body language – smiling, jumping for joy, and whoo-hooing around the office!)

The folks who are heading – and tailing – up this breakthrough event are sharing all-things-dog-communication. This FREE informational platform includes everything interactive from Q&A to how-to videos. You’ll find an abundant collection of resources to help decipher what your inquisitive canine may (or may not) be saying.

Starting on March 27, 2017, their kickoff launch has a calendar week filled with free webinars. There are also handy downloadable handouts, including this one: three questions to help you speak dog. You can even join in on the campaign and iSpeakDog-ify your own images – just remember to add the #iSpeakDog tag!

Sydney J. Harris once said, “The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

Thanks to the iSpeakDog crew and their array of resources, information is within reach and readily available for you to become an expert at canine communication.

#iSpeakDog

No Dog Left Behind: Making the Case for Canine Education

Why Society Should Value Canine Education

Education is important — so much so that it’s written into our law… for humans.

In the United States, there are compulsory education laws, which mandate that children attend school (public, private or home) by a certain age, and state they are not allowed to drop out (should they decide to) until a specific age. These laws were developed to help literacy rates, protect against child labor, and to better the population as a whole. Unfortunately, there’s no such law to promote canine education.

Why You Should Value canine educationIf we, as a society, promote the importance of education for people, then I propose that it’s high time we advocate for a similar system for inquisitive canines. Dogs (and other non-human animals) are becoming more a part of our everyday culture. I submit that we will only benefit if we establish similar requirements for our canine companions in order for them to not only adapt, but also to contribute in positive ways and gain wider acceptance.

Why Canine Education Matters

According to this recent Harris Poll, 95% of Americans consider their pet as part of the family – I know I certainly do! So if this is the case, then why not go above and beyond the birthday present, special homemade treats and spa sessions by giving our dogs a canine education that not only enhances their home life but also allows them to become an upstanding member of society?

One reason I became a certified dog trainer was because I wanted to be able to bring my own dog to as many places as possible. My rationale was that if all dogs were well-mannered, then they would be welcomed by more people and into more places, and eventually would help change our “no dogs allowed” culture to “courteous canines welcomed.”

How great would that be? (Bark once if you agree, twice if you enthusiastically concur!)

I know there are some naysayers out there gasping as they read this, and I realize that some places might not be appropriate for dogs (i.e. commercial kitchens, operating rooms for humans, etc.), similar to certain places not being appropriate for young children. However, I believe with the right kind of training, many places that are currently considered off-limits for dogs could be perfectly fine, and even preferable with their presence.

But was does “well-mannered” look like? And what education would be necessary to achieve it?

In my opinion, the same guidelines used for therapy dogs would be a great starting point. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs must hold an actual certification. This is not to say that service dogs don’t perform specific tasks – most do. However, owners aren’t required to show proof. Therapy dogs, on the other hand, go through detailed training with their handler and then have to complete a certain number of supervised visits where they are observed and given feedback. (Yes, this is a test!) Once these steps have been completed, they provide references and more to complete their application. And, therapy dog handlers are required to carry their membership card whenever he or she is “on the job.”

Organizations That Support Canine Education

There are several organizations devoted to supporting canine education and humans in the therapy dog certification process including, Love on a Leash, Therapy Dog International, and the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen. Each of these programs requires dogs to be proficient in specific skills in order to perform duties to help make people feel happy, relaxed, and safe. These include:

  • Being able to sit, stay, lie down, and come when called around a variety of distractions, and without the use of treats to reinforce them
  • Allowing strangers to pet and handle them, including tugging on ears and tails
  • Being approached by strangers, including those behaving erratically
  • Being tolerant and accepting of loud and/or unfamiliar noises
  • Show no signs of being fearful or aggressive

Wow! Imagine a world where dogs were better behaved than us humans! It seems to me that if these skills are good enough for therapy work, they would be more than sufficient for general public interaction.

And just as children respond best to education with the support of their parents or other loving adults, dogs also thrive when we humans work on canine education with them– and in the process, we become better trained ourselves.

So here’s my question to you inquisitive pet lover: What do you think about mandated canine education – and if we get people and their pups to participate, should society as a whole, welcome dogs into places they weren’t previously allowed? I say, no dog left behind!


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!