Dog of the Week-Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever Dog Breed Pictures

Labrador Retrievers!

What is there NOT to say about a Lab?  Anyone who has ever owned a lab may never  own a different breed of dog.  Labs are smart, loyal, lovable, and will do whatever they can to please their owners.  Labs come in three colors like the ones pictured above.  The American Kennel Club standards for the breed allow three colors: black, chocolate and yellow. Blacks are all black, although a spot of white on the chest is permissible. Chocolate Labs range from light to dark chocolate brown, while yellow Labs range from fox-red to light cream. Yellow Lab coats also might appear golden, causing them to become confused with the golden retriever, which is a separate breed, each color has their own unique characteristics….or do they?  Some may agree or disagree

choc lab

Chocolate Labs

The crazy ones of the breed.  These dogs are high energy and require tons of exercise.  Although they are loyal, they are also retrievers and love a good game of fetch!  All Labs love swimming and have webbed toes to make them excellent swimmers.

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With this webbing also comes the issue of yeast infections between the toes. 

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If your lab is a swimmer, make sure to thoroughly dry between their toes to prevent yeast infections.  Ear infections are also common in Labs, due to a lot of swimming, moisture builds up in the ears.  Regular cleaning of the ears and ensuring they are dry  just like the feet, will keep your lab healthy.

Yellow Labs

Remember Marley and Me, the movie with Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson?  To me this is the perfect example of a yellow lab!  Yellow labs are strong willed and stubborn.  Each yellow lab  that I have met in my life have been that way.  Dragging their owners down the street during walks, running off when they got the chance, so many behavioral issues.  Yellow labs take a strong willed human to care for them, and someone who is more stubborn and determined than they are.

Image result for Marley and Me

With that being said, like any lab, they are great family animals and with the right training, can be great family dogs.  Remember to always be the Alpha with a yellow lab, as they need direction and do well when you are the leader.

Black Labs

The more docile of the group are the black labs.  They are more laid back and easy going.  They are easily trained and willing to help.  Unlike the other 2 a black lab is just as comfortable lounging around with his human as running around the dog park.  Like the other labs, they do have high energy and require a good amount of exercise to be kept healthy and active.  But they are just as happy to spend the weekend on the couch cuddling with their human!

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Black labs all seem to have these tender and loving eyes, that sparkle with excitement when they are about they are up to mischief.  But the eyes always have a sad look to them, like they are deep in thought and you can see into their soul, even as puppies.

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Have you ever owned a lab?  What is your color of choice?  Would you own another?  If so, what color would you choose this time?  The same color you have already had, or something different?

 

 

 

Dog of the week-Golden Retriever

Each week for a while, I want to take the time to give some basic information on one specific breed.  Each breed highlighted will give you some insight on whether or not you may want to get a dog like this or wait until I give more information on another breed you may like.

This week I want to highlight the Golden Retriever.  As many of you may already know I have sat for a few golden retrievers in my time, they are great dogs in my opinion, with a wonderful temperament for families with or without small children.  They are patient and loyal, and are always available with a tail wag when needed and of course a good snuggle.  Golden Retrievers are absolutely one of my favorite breeds.  They are beautiful to look at and are so much fun to play with!  They are super smart and easy to train, which makes them a great companion to almost anyone.

Golden Retrievers

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. The breed’s friendly, tolerant attitude makes him a fabulous family pet, and his intelligence makes him a highly capable working dog. Golden Retrievers excel at retrieving game for hunters, tracking, sniffing out drugs, and as therapy and assistance dogs. They’re also natural athletes, and do well in dog sports such as agility and competitive obedience.  With this being said, they also require a good amount of exercise in order to keep them sharp.  They do not adapt well to apartment living and prefer to be in a home with a yard where they can play, hunt, or herd.  They are especially sensitive to everything around them.  Which makes them great therapy dogs, because they are also sensitive to peoples needs and can be very calm when needed.

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General Information

Retriever Info

Photo credit: dogtime.com

The above information can be found here
As you can see, the Golden Retriever is a very well rounded dog, needing plenty of exercise, but not for long periods of time, they are playful, fun, loyal and do not tend to run away.  You do have to carefully monitor food intake for your Golden Retriever, because they do have a tendency to put on weight easily.  They are also very well known for the amount of hair that they shed on a daily basis.  If you do not like vacuuming every day, or cleaning up hair, then the Golden Retriever is probably not the dog for you.  They are easy to train, but you cannot train them not to shed.  Golden Retrievers do not like being left alone and would rather be in the company of their humans or at least the company of other dogs to play with. A good #doggiedaycare is almost essential unless you are a stay at home parent, as they love to play with others (2 legs or 4). 

Key Takeaways for today…

  • all around great dogs
  • easy to train
  • lots of grooming
  • potential for weight gain
  • high energy levels in short bursts
  • great therapy dogs
  • wonderful family dogs
  • loyal dogs
  • friendly towards other dogs
  • friendly towards strangers
  • weather tolerant
  • prefer to be in groups

Leave me a comment about your experiences with Golden Retrievers!  Have you owned one?  Would you own another?  How did you deal with the hair?

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies

What can be said about Puppies?

Puppies, while we love them, they can be a ton of work.  Before you run out and adopt a new puppy, take the time to realize how much work they really can be.

Puppies

Potty Training

While we all know that potty training can be difficult for some puppies, some are easy to train.  What options do you have for training your pup?

Crate Training

One option is crate training.  Crate training can be stressful for both you and your dog.  If not done properly, crate training can cause fear of the crate, stress, and anxiety in your dog.  Some very helpful tips can be found on Cesar’s Way .

One of the most essential tips for crate training your dog is to make sure to get your dog accustomed to spending short periods of time in the crate before leaving them for long periods of time.  Dogs who have been abandoned or spent time in shelters may be more afraid and stressed than other dogs, mainly because they already know what it is like to be locked in a cage.  Make the cage a happy place to be with treats and toys.  Something to chew on is a plus as it will keep the puppy occupied for a short time.  15 minutes of stimulation for a dog is plenty and will mentally exhaust them so that they will nap.  Show the puppy that even though you are leaving, you will return.  Leave them for a few minutes to start with and return.  Then for longer periods of time, and return.  Showing the puppy that you will eventually return, and not because they are barking or whining.  Even though some puppies can be quite shrill, be sure not to run back if they start to cry!  They need to accept that you cannot come running every time they cry, just like children.

Pee Pad Training

I am personally not a fan of pee pad training for a puppy.  This still teaches them that it is okay for them to go potty in the house.  To me this is not acceptable.  Teaching a dog bad habits that you will just have to break later, is not ideal.  Unless you are okay with buying pee pads for the duration of the dogs life, and are happy to keep cleaning the mess up every day, this in not something that I recommend.  However, it is something that people do and it is an acceptable way to train your dog to potty in one spot and not all over the house.  More information on Pee pad training can be found here

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Helpful Tips for Potty Training

  • Keep the puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away his/her food between meals.
  • Take puppy out to eliminate first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. Also, always take him/her outside after meals or when he wakes from a nap. Make sure he/she goes out last thing at night and before he’s/she’s left alone.
  • Take puppy to the same spot each time to do his/her business. His/her scent will prompt him/her to go.
  • Keep him/her on a leash so you know when the puppy has done his/her business
  • Stay with him/her outside, at least until he’s/she’s house trained.
  • When your puppy eliminates outside, praise him/her or give him/her a treat. A walk around the neighborhood is a nice reward.

Behavior Training

Behavior training is another thing to consider before jumping in to get a puppy.  Some puppies are easily motivated to do what you want them to do on command, and others are a bit more difficult.  Behavior training can be done at home with little money, just invest some time spent with the dog each day training, usually in increments of about 15 minutes a day(puppies have a short attention span).  Other dogs may be a bit more difficult, or have issues that you are unable to address on your own.  When this happens, you may need to invest some serious dollars in order to hire a dog trainer.  The best dog trainer in the world of course is Cesar Milan, and I refer to him frequently in my blogs.  He has many helpful tips on training dogs on his pages.  If you ever have a question about dog related anything and you cannot find it on my blog, see his page Cesar’s Way

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Treats seem to be a favorite of most pets, in my experience, I have found this the best way to train a puppy.  Most dogs, with a bit of time and a few treats, can be taught basic commands.  Sit, roll over, stay,  beg, all can be taught using treats.  To keep your dog from becoming food aggressive, while they are eating, just toss in a couple of treats.  Each time you do this move your hand closer and closer to the bowl until you can reach your hand into the bowl with no response from your dog!  This is one of the best tricks I have learned yet.  Of course, all training has to be the same for everyone in the family.  One person cannot use sit and another use down for the same command.  If you want your dog to sit use simple one syllable words like sit.  If  you want your dog to lay down use commands like down or lay.  Dogs can understand simple one-two word phrases.

 

Key Takeaways for Today

  • Training requires time
  • Training is not for the faint hearted
  • Training needs to be the same with every person in the home
  • Everyone should participate, so the the puppy listens to everyone
  • Potty training can be a long process
  • Stay away from pee pads unless you want to spend your life cleaning up after your dog

Losing money is the Pits

Times they are a-changin!

This week I was reminded as to why i have all my clients sign a contract.  And why each time the contract is modified it is a good idea to keep records of said changes.  I recently was trying to be nice and help a family out, and it ended up biting me in the rear.  So I am going to tell you about my experience, that way hopefully someone can learn from my mistake besides me.

The Back Story

On May 8 2017 I was contacted by a man, lets call him Frank.  Frank was in desperate need to find someone to keep his dog for him for 2 weeks while he and his family found a place to live that would accept dogs.   Something had gone wrong during the purchase of their new home and they were staying with his parents.  The parents would not allow the dog in their home.  A friend of mine had kept the dog for 2 weeks, before letting Frank know about me and my dog sitting service.  I spoke with Frank on the phone and since it was such a long stay, and because I was trying to be nice, I agreed to a discounted price (much lower than my standard rate).  I met  with the wife and daughters to pick up the puppy, had the wife sign the contract, and we went on our way.   I took the dog home and we began our adventures together.  They sent with her about half a bag of food (Ol Roy) and a couple of bowls.  Upon arrival at home, I decided that the poor dog was not going to eat the food that they brought for her, as they were having trouble getting her to eat it in the first place, and because I feed my dogs a higher quality food and she seemed undernourished, so she could just eat from our food. 

Introducing Sparkle

Sparkle

Some Issues we encountered

Sparkle was a very cute German Shepard mix and was a bundle of energy and extremely fun to play with!  However, she did have some behavior issues that we had to work on.  She was really bad at jumping on people, especially my grandson (4) when he had food.  We were able to break that habit, but the one that we never did break was the fact that she would piddle on the floor when she was excited!  New people, doorbell rang, anything that got her excited, she would just squat and pee.  She could spend an hour in the back yard with our other puppy and come in and would still pee on the floor.  Also she dug many holes in the back yard, which is not a huge deal and easily fixed with some dirt, so not one of the major concerns. 

Two weeks is up

So the two weeks passed without much incident, things that are fairly easy to deal with and can be expected with any puppy.  I have not heard from Frank in about a week or so, I send him a text asking when I can expect the puppy to be picked up.  His response (he is a truck driver) he is stuck out of state and could I keep her for another 2 weeks.  After a bit of discussion in regards to the amount of the bill if I kept her an additional 2 weeks, I agreed to keep her until he was able to get back in to town and find a home for his family (still trying to be nice and still not having ANY payment).

Fast Forward to June

So after nearly a month of having this puppy, again super cute and fun, but still with a few behavior issues, I message dad and tell him that the puppy needs to be picked up by Friday afternoon as I have a concert in Tampa to attend, and need the puppy to be gone.  He had arrived home and we agreed to meet at an undisclosed location for him to pick up the puppy.  I got to the location, and waited and waited and waited…finally messaged him (as I still needed to drive to Tampa for the concert) to see if he was getting close, said he was close, so I waited.  Thirty minutes late, he arrived with his family, and no cash with which to pay me.  Said he needed to run in to the place and get some money from the ATM.  And so I waited with the wife while he ran into the store. During this time frame the wife tells me that they need someone to just keep the dog for 4 more days.   Frank comes out and could only get part of the money that he owed me from the ATM at one time and being the sucker that I am, I agreed to keep the dog for another 4 days, but told them she had to be picked up Tuesday(by now June 6) morning because my mother in law was coming in to town and staying at my house, and didn’t really care for puppies much.

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Still nothing has been changed as far as the contract is concerned.  We had not changed the dates, and we had not changed any pricing.  So Tuesday June 6, 2017 rolls around, and I had told him he would have to call my son as I would  be at work and unable to deliver the dog to him.  (We are now 30 days of dog sitting)  He tells my son that he is coming to pick up the dog and my son tells him that is fine as we are home.  I had taken the day off work as 2 of our 4 cars had temperament issues that day, and decided not to run correctly that day.  I was in one car to go and pick up the mother in law from the airport when Frank showed up to pick up the dog.  Suffice it to say that I did not have much time to talk to him.  I asked him to wait outside while I brought out the dog (so she would not pee all over my home before the mother in law came in) and ran into the backyard, where she was playing with one of my dogs, got her attention, put her harness on her and took her through the garage.  I told him I can wait until Friday (per his request) for payment because I really have to get to the airport to pick up my mother in law.

  sad dog

Friday rolls around, I have heard nothing from Frank since he picked up his dog, even though I sent him a message apologizing for being quick at pick up but was due at the airport.  I sent him a message (Now June 9) asking him about payment.  He sends me a message that he is not happy with my services and that he is not going to pay me.  Stated that i brought the dog out of the garage she was panting like i had not given her any water( there is ALWAYS a fresh clean large bowl of water in my back yard,,, and he said that she had a scratch on her eye.  The scratch could have happened during play, that happens sometime with puppy teeth, they are sharp and puppies like to chew on each other for some reason. And had to have happened that morning, as the scratch was not there the night before.  These are the water bowls at my house today and every day they look like this.  I have 125lb dog, I have to have XL water bowls around and plenty of fresh clean water.

 

 

At this point I am livid and decided that at that point, all new clients would be required to pay me in full at the time of booking.  This may not happen, I am pretty lenient where dogs are concerned.  I did not charge this guy for the baths the puppy got while she was with us, or the nail trim she received, or the holes she left in my yard, or the quality food that she ate while she was there, and for him to act like I neglected this poor helpless puppy left me with a very sour feeling in the pit of my stomach.  This has been the story of my life, try to be nice to someone and end up being on the bottom of the barrel for it.  There are several mistakes that I will not make again.

Key Takeaways

  • Always alter your contract when there is a change
  • Always get signatures to said changes if possible
  • Always require some type of down payment (typically I charge 1/2 at time of booking for new clients)
  • Remember that you are running a business and not a charity
  • Make sure the contract is legible
  • Make sure you have good contact numbers for all parties involved
  • Ensure that you receive payment before turning pet over to owner or have them sign a promissory note on when they intend to pay you
  • Make sure your contract stays up to date, if the customer moves, be sure you have their new address
  • If there are any new dogs, be sure they have a contract as well

I have learned many things from this latest venture, and I am a little disappointed since I gave him such a large discount on the sitting to begin with.  Frank ended up with almost $1600 in services for a mere $400.  I am depressed and angry at this point I am considering small claims court.  If anyone has any information on the small claims process, in Florida, please let me know, either in comments below, or via message if you have my number.  Feel free to comment below, there are so many things wrong with this situation, I am just at a loss for words, but needed to vent, and that is what this blog is for, so fire away!

 

 

The Facts on Food

FonzieSome things to know…

Often times in my blog you will see me reference you to Cesar Milan’s website, I think the man is a genius and if I can find the answers that I seek on his page, I will refer you to him, as he is the master of all things “dog” as far as I am concerned.   From training to feeding, he knows so many things about dogs, I am in awe!  In the article below, one of his colleagues,  Dr. Sherry Weaver, discusses some of the ins and outs of dog food and some choices that you as a pet parent need to make.  I found the article informative and clearly written so decided to share with you, my readers!

Dog Food Choices

Options, options, options…how do you choose?

Every “expert” out there will have their opinion on what your dog should eat, how much he/she should eat, and how many times a day your dog should eat.  In this bloggers opinion, what you feed your dog, depends on you, your dog, their eating habits, whether or not they have any food allergies, whether or not they will eat the food you put down, and SO many other things.  There is no tried and true way of feeding your dog the RIGHT food, only the food that is right for your dog!  I know dog owners who have fed their dog Kibbles and Bits for his entire life, and the dog is 13 or 14 now and healthy.  As with so many other things with dogs, they have their own ways of doing things.  While they are not as difficult as cats to understand, they do have their moments. 

Pros and Cons of a Raw Diet for your Pooch

Raw food

Raw Diet can have some pros and cons, you would have to weigh the difference in the two and see whether or not you are willing to chance the cons, or whether you think the pros outweigh them.  Each dog is different, and each human owner is different and you will just have to work your way through different dog foods until you find the right fit for you and your dog.

rawvsdryPros of Raw

  • Shinier coats
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved digestion
  • Smaller, firmer stools
  • Better weight management

Cons of Raw

  • Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria – including E. coli and salmonella
  • May be deficient nutritionally
  • Airway obstruction and choking on bones 
  • Bowel obstruction and intestinal perforations 
  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Time consuming
  • More expensive

I found nothing on statistics of how often the cons occur or whether these are common occurrences or rare occurrences.

I found this article to be very informative as well and wanted to share it with you.

Top 10 Myths about pet food

I have finally located a dog food that my dogs seem to like to eat that does not effect my dogs skin issues!  It is called Loyall and it is made by Nutrena! 

Again sometimes, you just have to figure it out!

What brand of food do you feed your dog?  Raw or dry?  Have you experienced any side effects from a raw food diet?  Leave a comment below, or as usual a pic of your pooch!

 

Before you JUMP in and get a dog consider this…

diving dogs

First things first, getting a dog is a lifetime

and lifestyle commitment.

With so many breeds of dogs, how can you possibly know what type of dog is a good fit for you, your family, your lifestyle?  One thing to keep in mind is, a dog adopted is yours for life, it is very traumatic for a dog to be taken home and then returned to a shelter, if you adopt, please be in it for the long haul.  There may be issues and you have to be willing to teach your dog to trust again.  Someone he/she loved dropped them at the shelter, so their ability to trust you may take months to accomplish, but trust me it is totally worth the effort in the end! 

There are many valuable resources available for dog lovers to help them choose the right breed of dog to fit each of these categories and more.

Direct Links

Last week in Bathing…Or Grooming? I linked you to this page Various Dog Breeds for a different reason, and that was to share a group of dogs that need more grooming than others.  However, this site also provides a few details on what the breed is like if you click on one of the pictures.  If you have an idea of what breed of dog you would like, click on it and see if the dog has characteristics that you are looking for in a companion.

The American Kennel Club (#AKC) has a page with a quiz you can take to see if they can match you with a breed.  When I filled out the quiz , it gave me a list of a bunch of dogs, and then provides you a link to search for puppies.  Take the quiz for yourself and see what you get and share your results in the comments below.

Find a dog for you Quiz!

My Results

blog dog

My Results

 

Helpful Tips from the Humane Society on Choosing a dog

Dogtime dog Quiz

My Results

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Pedigree Dog selector quiz

My Results

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In a previous post, Paws-a-itively Drooling over Apps I introduced you all to my pack, in that pack are a Mastiff, a Ridgeback, a bulldog mix, and a bull terrier, if you remember correctly.  As  you can see, I chose dogs that these quizzes seem to think are right for me on at least 3 occasions!

Selection is Key

The type of dog that most people choose, should fit well into your lifestyle as well as your family.  While some dogs may be great with small children, they also may be higher in the energy department and require more adult attention.  They may knock a baby over in their eagerness to be close to the child or forget that they child is smaller than them and accidentally knock them down.  Children should be supervised closely when in the presence of any dog. 

If your family is on the go, choose a dog that will like to go with you, hiking, swimming, running, sporting events, dogs need an active social life as well in order to be well mannered.  Start with them at a young age, to avoid any fears associated with strangers.  Some dogs are naturally energetic and will jump on you or your family, some will just want to give puppy kisses ALL the time.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Whatever type of dog you choose, be sure that the dog is loved, sheltered, safe, loved, happy, loved, exercised, and most of all loved, and they will do their best to be your very best friend.  All dogs do their best to please their owners, so be sure that you are sending very clear signals to your dog as to what you want them to do, then everyone is on the same page and nobody goes away dissatisfied.  🙂

Key Takeaways…

Clicking on the above link to be directed to the AKC webstie which will show you the types of dogs in that category as well as the characteristics of each breed!  Good luck in your search and let me know what you decide!

Bathing…Or Grooming?

To Bathe, or to Groom?

I have been asked by some readers and clients whether grooming or bathing at home is best for your pet.  The tried and true answer here is that it depends on the dog in question.  Some dogs require more grooming in order to maintain the proper cut style for a particular breed.  Find a list of those particular breeds here.   However, you may still need to do a wash between grooming, so here are some helpful tidbits. 

My Opinion

Personally I prefer to bathe short haired dogs at home, they do not require much in the way of cuts, therefore bathing at home is perfectly fine.  If you can make it fun, it can be an enjoyable time for you and your dog.  It also creates a perfect time for bonding with your pet.  Dogs do not care if they are clean, and actually prefer to be dirty and stinky, and if they think that they can get out of bath time by acting a fool, then they most certainly will act a fool to avoid that particular case.  Cesar Milan has great pointers on how to make bath time more enjoyable for both you and your pet.

How to Bathe your Dog

bubbles

Choosing the right shampoo

Choosing the right shampoo also depends on the type of dog you have, the type of fur on that dog, the color of the fur on the dog, and the skin type of the dogs your are bathing.  So many things go into selecting the proper shampoo for a dog.  One of my dogs has super short hair, dry skin, and has allergies to certain products.  Therefore I have to be very careful as to what products I use or feed to him.   He is prone to bacterial infections of the skin which then require antibiotics 2 times a day for 3 weeks to get cleared up (we have yet to determine what causes this on him).  I found a list of the top 10 dog shampoos which I am happy to share with you, however, I have never heard of any of them in my 7 plus years of #dogboarding or #petsitting.

Top 10 dog shampoos and conditioners

Should you condition your dog?

Again we can start with my opinion on the matter, I would say that any dog with long hair you should use a conditioner on.  The ones that come to mind the most are Golden Retrievers.  Having the long beautiful coat is a signature of the Golden Retriever and you always want them looking their best.  However, they are also on the list of dogs who require the most grooming, so if you have a GR you may be better off taking them to the groomer.  However, between grooming, if you need to give a bath, conditioner is recommended by this blogger!

soapy dogs

Picture credit: Pinterest.com

Which is your choice?  Do you bathe at home, or take your dog to a groomer?  If you use a groomer, post before and after pics!  I would love to see them!