Archive for March, 2009

Bauer Graduates from Puppy Class

Here is an update on Bauer (from Annie‘s litter)…. You are a model student…way to continue and expand on the training. I agree with you that Bauer definitely has a future as a therapy dog – the right disposition, temperament, and a huge jump on his training. Thanks for these.

Bauer Update at 3-4 Months Old

Bauer and his toys

Bauer and his toys

As some of you may know, Bauer recently graduated from Puppy Training…hooray! It was six weeks of puppies, treats and learning…all very much essential to the handsome dog Bauer is becoming. Without any fears or hesitations, Bauer joined his “classmates” as they started to learn who the true “Alphas” in their relationships were. Bauer loved every minute of being with the other dogs…so much that he didn’t listen so well at first! Slowly he realized that while we were around so many distractions, he still needed to keep his focus on Josh and I. He went in knowing how to “sit” and “lay down” and “paw” on command. He came out not only being able to “roll over”, “stay”, “bow”, “come”, “leave it”, release”, “watch”, “speak”, and walk very well on his leash, but being able to perform any number of these tricks on command, with distractions, and without treats! What a good boy!


Heartgard best for heartworm protection

Hopefully you read my post on the merits of Frontline Plus and how to save a few dollars in the process. Ok, now a word on heartworm preventative

If you live anywhere where there aren’t hard, killing frosts, you have no business stopping your heartworm preventative! Let me repeat: Treat your pet every singe month with a heartworm preventative if you live anywhere where some plants can survive all winter. Here in Illinois everything dies back or goes dormant for at least three months of the year: December, January, and February and these are the months that I stop heartworm treating my dogs. But this is the first time every that I did not treat for the full 12 months. Again, the reason I stopped was to try to save some money and it felt safe to me. But heartworm is a NASTY parasite and it will kill your dog. Don’t mess around. Prevention is easy but not all products are created equal.

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I have been treating my pets (Cleo the cat and all my dogs) for the past 20 some years with Heartgard. The dogs LOVE the meaty chew and even our nearly 15 year old gobbles it up. It is never difficult to get the medication into the dogs. But you have to have your vet’s prescription to purchase the medication so I always just bought it from my vet. However, last year I tried two things. First I shopped online and found that the same products were slightly cheaper on than at my vet. Second, I tried Interceptor. Shopping at PetMeds was a GOOD idea, switching products was not. See, I like Heartgard because it is easy to get the correct dose into my dogs and that dose covers other parasites as well; parasites like round worm and others. Interceptor says it covers other parasites too but the product comes in a hard tablet form and my dogs either swallowed it whole (the package said they were supposed to chew it for it to be effective) or refused to eat it. So I was forced to either jam it down their throats (which I did one month) or grind it up and mix it with some wet food – which was WAY more hassle than I wanted.


Frontline Plus is best for fleas and ticks

If you are like me, and live in a part of the world with four seasons you get to take a break from your flea and tick preventative. I stop treating my dogs after the first few hard frosts, usually sometime in late November or early December. But then, as spring approaches, I have to check my supplies. I try to keep enough on hand for at least one treatment in the spring before ordering my next years supply.

Frontline PlusI used to purchase my favorite preventative, Frontline Plus, from my veterinarian when I got my heartworm preventative. But with four dogs and the tightening of our belts this past year, I started doing some research to see where I could find the best deals. And I was shocked to find Frontline Plus online through Amazon for nearly half the cost of what my veterinarian was charging. I have heard rumors that the products on Amazon aren’t as high quality as the ones you get through the vet’s office but I find that hard to believe. It says Frontline Plus on the package, looks exactly like the packaging I get through the vet’s office, and works perfectly. I think the people who don’t trust it when bought online are just new to our online, global market place.

Here’s why I like Frontline Plus so much:

Pippen is 4 years old now

Pippen in 2005

Pippen in 2005

I received a set of photos from a puppy adopted nearly 4 years ago from our first pregnant mama dog (Bella) fostering experience in 2005. Bella was the mama and the puppy’s name is Pippin.

Notice the shared likeness to Hermes, Pippin’s brother and even to her mama, Bella. It is crazy how similar and how different puppies look from one another and from their mamas. Genetics…crazy.

It means so much to me to get pictures of and updates about my adopted puppies, thanks to Pippin’s family for emailing this to me!!  Please send in your stories and photos and we will post them!


March 12, 2009 • Tags: , , , • Posted in: Bella, story update • No Comments

Annie settles in

Here is an update from our beloved Annie’s new forever family…

Annie- January 2, 2009We can’t believe it has been nearly a month and a half since we made Annie a part of our pack. She is settling down well in her new home and learning the routine very quickly. Annie is also fitting in so well with our other two dogs. Lebowski loves to run after her as she flies across the yard fetching her Kong or freshly made snowballs that the girls make and throw for her. Even our fifteen year old, Tama has extra spring in her step ever since Annie came. She has brought so much joy to us with her enthusiastic spirit and playfulness.

The only habit of Annie’s that we are still getting use to is what we call her happy, slappy tail. Whenever we come home or let her out of her kennel her tail whips anyone and everyone in the room. Little bruises on our legs are a small price to pay for such a great dog. We thank H.E.L.P. and her wonderful foster family for all the care and hard work they provided to bring Annie and her puppies into their much deserved forever homes.

-Murray, Marsha, Hannah, and Mairin

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The WATCH and LEAVE IT commands

“Watch” means keep your eyes on my eyes. We teach this by showing the dog a treat while we place our face in their line of vision. As we give the treat we say “watch.” A dog will usually get this pretty fast. Then you can move the treat away from your face while tapping your nose with your other hand as you say “watch.” The movement of the treat-free hand draws the dog’s attention back to your eyes from the treat which they invariable track. As the dog’s eyes are on you, pop the treat in the dog’s mouth. The better your timing on this one the faster the dog learns it. Make sure you are only giving the treat while the dog’s eyes are on your eyes. Many dogs will avoid eye contact out of submission or respect and that is fine. Don’t demand direct eye contact from a submissive or young dog. Just make sure the eyes are looking toward your nose, forehead, or chin. As your dog builds confidence with this exercise they will look into your eyes.

“Leave it” means take your attention off of that thing (food, dog, person, goose poop, etc, and put it on me). To practice leave it, put a treat in front of your dog while he is on leash. Make sure that he cannot under any circumstance get to the treat! As you place the treat say “LEAVE IT” in a firm commanding tone and hold on tight to the leash. He will likely strain to get to the treat. Refrain from repeating the word leave it over and over again. Eventually, the dog will give up and often they will look at you…praise this immediately by giving them a treat from your hand (not the one on the floor) and saying “good dog” or something like that. The dog will then usually try to go for the treat on the floor and when they do you say “LEAVE IT” again in a firm voice and repeat. The dog will catch on fast. That is the first part of the exercise.

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March 3, 2009 • Tags: , , • Posted in: behavior, training, video • No Comments