We all get caught up in the frenzy of the holidays … parties, shopping, cooking and more. We usually stress ourselves out to the point where we’re exhausted by New Year’s if not before!
For dog lovers such as myself some of our most treasured members are our dogs. To make your holiday season less worrisome, we’ve found some great dog present ideas for your pampered pooch. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your computer because these all can be purchased online… no tiresome Black Friday crowds for you!
Interactive Dog Toys
Does your dog get bored when you’re not around? Suffer from separation anxiety? These dog treat toys will keep him occupied for ours and will challenge him both mentally and physically:
- Kong Genius Leo – $7.58. The KONG Genius Leo is named in honor of genius Leonardo Da Vinci and is designed to stimulate a dog’s curiosity and hold its attention.
- Kong Genius Mike – $6.93. The GeniusMike toy is made of a durable, non-toxic, FDA food-approved TPR material, these toys are perfect for average chewers. Link together the Mike and Leo toys.
- Kong Wobbler – $10.99. This toy can create hours of fun once it is filled with delicious treats. It wobbles, spins and rolls dispensing food along the way.
- Busy Buddy Tug a Jug – $9.69. This interactive dog toy provides multi-sensory appeal to keep your pet engaged.
- Bob-A-Lot – $9.97. Trying to get your dog to eat slower … have him work for it. Sizes small – large.
- Talk to Me Treat Ball – $14.24. Record a message to your dog so he won’t miss you so much when you are gone. Also dispenses treats.
- Nina Ottoson’s Interactive Puzzles – Starting at $13.20. A busy mind makes for a happy pet. A large selection of dog games and puzzles from easy to advanced.
Does your dog love to retrieve balls and Frisbees but you run out of steam before he does? Check these out … from the inexpensive to the higher tech.
- Chuck It – $4.99. Save your arm strength. This simple plastic toy allows you to throw a ball up to 400 feet!
- iFetch – $115. This indoor or outdoor toy does all the throwing for you, launching balls 10, 20 or 30 feet. Battery operated and up to 30 hours of play time.
Maksim’s Favorite Dog Treats
- Plato Salmon Strips – $5.31. Dogs love fish – Plato’s Natural Salmon Strips are made with only the best fresh Pacific Salmon and other organic, natural, premium ingredients.
- Blue Buffalo Joint Sticks – From $16.99. Blue Buffalo Joint Sticks are really tasty, all natural chew treats that help support your furry friend’s joint health. Plus, all that happy chewing will help freshen his breath.
And the very best dog present? I might be biased but a dog training lesson from Greg Knows Dogs will help you both. See your dog wants to please you, he just doesn’t know how. I can teach you how to communicate with your dog, so he understands your commands in a language he speaks. Once you two are on the same page, your holiday season will be quieter (no obsessive barking) less destructive (no chewing wrapping paper and bows) and calmer (no jumping on guests).
For a safe holiday season, purchase a gift certificate from Greg Knows Dogs by calling 614-859-0612.
With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it would be helpful to spend some time on reducing stress for you and your dog during this chaotic season. One way to reduce your stress is to be aware of dangerous holiday decorations and plants.
Good Greeting and Door Manners
Most of us have more visitors over the holidays — so calm and friendly greetings are very important. Make sure your dog has good door manners; start practicing them now if he doesn’t. My clients who are most successful with door manners practice this very, very often. You can also give your dog an extra long walk to tire him out.
Reducing Dog Stress
• Routine and exercise. Although a tired dog is a good dog, it’s also important to reduce stress by keeping a regular feeding and exercise schedule. My advice is to increase the exercise but try to keep it at the same time of day. Don’t skip his walks because you’re busy.
• Quiet. Does your dog have a crate or bed in a safe, quiet place? Dogs need to have a place to retire when they’re tired of our shenanigans. And instruct young children to stay away from the quiet place when your dog is resting.
• Calming. During the holidays I use a pheromone collar on Maksim to reduce his anxiety. The collars last 30 days so you can cover the holiday season with one collar. I like the Sentry Calming Collar and the DAP collar by Adaptil.
• Water. Dogs pant a lot when stressed; be sure to keep the water bowl full. And that means you will also want to let him have more frequent toileting opportunities.
• Table scraps. Your guests may be tempted to feed your dog some of the tasty food they’re enjoying. This could upset your dog’s stomach so be sure to review the canine rules with your guests.
One of your rules may be to close the door each and every trip out or in the door. You may even insist on ringing the bell each time so that you can practice your door manners. And I think it’s really important to have rules for this if you don’t have a storm door.
At Greg Knows Dogs, we want you to have a FUN and safe time with your dog. No trees falling over, no ornaments broken and no stomach aches!
Let’s make Halloween less scary for your dog by preparing her. Think about it … the doorbell ringing, people dressed up in costumes and ghosts jumping out of the bushes. Who wouldn’t be frightened? Here are some tips to ready your dog for a safe Halloween.
Make sure your dog’s id tags and microchip are up-to-date. I recommend you keep her collar on for this day, even if you don’t typically have a collar on her.
If she is lucky enough to get a costume, try it on before the holiday. Not every dog will tolerate being dressed up; you’ll want to know that before showing her off. You can put a themed bandana on her if she won’t accept the costume.
Trick or Treat night:
Bring all of your pets inside. There are too many pets reported missing after Halloween.
Put her in a separate room or put up a gate to restrict her from running out the door.
Or head the trick or treaters off at the pass. My wife and I usually take turns sitting outside with the candy while the other sits inside with our dog. If it’s a cold, rainy night, I always volunteer to stay with Maksim!
Keep the pumpkin, candles, and candy out of your dog’s reach.
Keep your eye out for dropped candies on your walk the next day. Our beagle, Winkler, was excellent at sniffing out dropped candies and wrappers. You already know the list of toxic food and candies, don’t you?
Thanks for reading these ideas and preparing for this scary night.
June 26 is Take Your Dog To Work Day – ironically, as a Columbus dog trainer, that is one place I don’t take my dog! That’s because my dog training lessons are all about YOUR dog and YOUR issues.
Take Your Dog to Work Day was originally founded by Pet Sitters International to raise awareness for the high volume of dogs that are homeless and encourage people to adopt a dog from a shelter. According to the ASPCA, 3.9 million dogs are placed in animal shelters every year and 1.2 million dogs are euthanized.
More and more companies are allowing their employees to take their dog to work, because studies have found that dogs in the workplace bring many benefits. For many people, work can be very stressful and intense, and what better way to chill out than to look into the adorable eyes of a dog? What a great way to take a break – petting a dog or taking him for a walk. It’s a great way to boost employee morale and motivation and to lower absenteeism. Plus, dogs often provide some much needed comic relief.
However, not every dog has the right temperament to go to work. First, it’s important he responds to basic commands like Sit, Stay, and Come. Otherwise when you get an office full of dogs that don’t know the basics of obedience training, chaos can ensue!
Here are some other tips to make sure that you and your dog are well prepared for the day. Planning ahead is key:
- Well exercised. Take your dog for a long walk or run before you go into the office. This will make him calmer and less hyper when entering a new environment. When walking through the building, keep your dog on a leash.
- Pet proof. You know those cords hanging from your computer? Or the rest of the apple you just threw in your garbage can? Make sure your office space is pet proof.
- Familiarity. Bring along his favorite blanket, cage, toys, water bowl and food. When you first get to the office, give him time to sniff around and become familiar with his surroundings. Need to attend a meeting that day? Bring a baby gate or playpen to cordon off the area.
- Be respectful. There may be employees that are allergic to dogs or heaven forbid, don’t like dogs. Make sure your dog is not intruding on people who may not be as happy as you that he is there. Know the pet-free areas of the office such as the bathroom, food preparation areas, day care areas, meeting spaces, etc.
- Clean up. Because your dog is in an unfamiliar place there may be some accidents or marking. Come equipped with rug shampoo, poop bags, paper towels and pet odor remover.
- Up-to-date. Make sure all his vaccinations are up-to-date or you could be putting other pooches at risk.
Most of all, have fun! This could be a great opportunity for your dog to socialize with a bigger pack!
Easter is almost here! Are you ready? Have you extended your invitations? Laid out your favorite recipes? Gathered everything for your baskets? Are your shoes polished? Is your dog ready?
We want our pets to enjoy the holiday, food and friendship as much as we do. But we should prepare our dogs for this influx of guests and abundant food. How are your dog’s door manners? Will she jump all over your guests? This is particularly concerning for elderly visitors and youngsters who can be knocked down. Door manners is probably the most requested training issue from my clients. And I think in-home dog training is the best solution for that misbehavior. Let’s work on the problem where it happens. Contact me at 614-859-0612 to get started.
In the meantime, there are a couple of actions you can take:
- You may need to keep your dog confined. If your dog needs to be kept behind a gate or in another room, make sure she has something to occupy her mind. Otherwise she may get bored and destructive and start chewing!
- Explain to your guests that your dog is not allowed to jump even if they say they don’t mind. It’s your house and your rules apply.
- Nervous or aggressive dogs should have a safe place to retreat. Make sure guests, especially children, know to leave her alone when she’s in her safe place.
- Timid dogs prefer to introduce themselves. Don’t allow your guest to invade her space. Be especially careful of the guest who claims to be a “dog person”. You know your dog best; don’t allow your guests’ bravado to overrule your experience.
- Exercise your dog prior to guests arriving. A long walk or vigorous game of fetch will help expend her energy.
- Make sure the water bowl is full. Stressed dogs pant more.
You may be tempted to let your dog be part of the celebration by giving her some of your Easter meal. This is not a good idea for many reasons. Do not leave food out or trash cans uncovered; those good smells are tempting. Avoid giving her “samples” of fatty or spicy foods. Also, avoid giving your dog cooked bones which splinter easily and could become choking or intestinal hazards.
And remember to keep those Easter baskets out of reach. The plastic grass, chocolate, sweets and products containing xylitol can be dangerous.
Finally, beware of toxic plants. Easter lilies can be poisonous to cats. As mentioned in a previous blog, amaryllis plants are also poisonous.
With these tips and reminders you and your dogs should have a healthy and happy Easter.