DESIGNER PUPPYS: Everything you wanted to know about raising designer or mixed breed dogs,
featuring The BOYZ: Prince Alvin His Cuteness (on left) and Sir Simon The Sad, Cockapoo pups.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Getting or Gifting a Puppy for Christmas?

If you know you are getting a new puppy for Christmas, prepare for the arrival!

If you are gifting a puppy for Christmas, make sure the recipient is a willing, responsible individual and that they are prepared for taking care of a baby dog.

Recipient of gifter - doesn't matter - read this post:

and consider a housetraining tutorial such as
The Perfectly Housetrained Puppy

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Most Unhappy Santa Pup Ever!

Simon the Cockapoo "posed" for this picture.
He hates the hat and it shows!

Santa Dog

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Your Dog's Close Encounter with a Raccoon Could Be Fatal

Cute But DEADLY Predators
When we moved to a new home, we noticed a family of raccoons in the woods behind us. Simon and Alvin warned us every night. Here's my post about Simon and the raccoons.

When I wrote the post, I didn't realize how dangerous raccoons can be to small dogs.They can eviserate a small dog quickly.

This is a quote from an article entitled  Why Raccoons Are a Very Real Threat to Dogs:
Here is a raccoon's modus operandi when it attacks a dog: The raccoon attempts to scratch out the dog's eyes. The raccoon rolls the dog onto its back and attempts to eviscerate it. Raccoons bite and scratch with amazing speed and ferocity. Their bites often penetrate the chest wall, leading to collapsed lungs. They may penetrate the abdomen, leading to septic peritonitis. They also have a knack for lacerating the urethra, causing urine to accumulate underneath the skin, resulting in terrible scalding and possible secondary kidney failure.
Not a pleasant thought at all.

I'm happy to report that Rocky, Ms. Rocky, and Rocky Junior have disappeared for the winter.

We are careful not to leave garbage by the woods, and we have fenced in the back yard (although that would not stop the raccoons). At least it keeps the Boyz from trying to attack the reccoons, which clearly would not end well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Excellent Option When You Can't Take your Dogs on Vacation with You

Lots of dog owners look for a reasonable option when they can't take their dogs/animals on vacation with them. 

You can board your dog, but do you really want your dog caged for the entire time you're away? The last time I boarded animals they all came back home with a serious case of fleas!

You can leave your dog with friends/relatives or pay someone to take him into a stranger's home. The question is - will your relatives (or the stranger) cater to their animals or yours?

Here's a much better option - get someone to house and pet sit for you - bring the caretaker to your house for the time you are away. And if the caretaker is a vet tech - better yet!

Case in point - we took a trip to Kentuckiana and then to Vegas for a total of 8 days. Our local vet has several techs who have known the Boyz since they were pups. One of the techs house sits and dog sits and has taken care of friends' pets with medical problems (giving shots and pills). It was perfect - what better person to stay with your dogs than someone who knows them AND can handle a medical emergency?

I admit I was nervous - new house and all. But it worked out perfectly. Of course the downside was the extra expense but that's gonna happen anyway when you board animals.

Check in your local vet office - chances are someone in the office pet sits or can recommend someone who does. Have a great vaca knowing that your pets are well-cared for!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

7 Questions You Should Ask Your Vet About Anal Gland Surgery

I ran across this article I wrote about Alvin's anal gland surgery. If your dog is a candidate for this operation, ask your vet the following questions prior to scheduling surgery for anal gland removal. The responses listed here are from Alvin's vet (also the surgeon):
How many surgeries of this type have you performed?
In 25 years of practicing, I've done hundreds of anal gland removal surgeries. None have resulted in incontinence. Note: We confirmed this response when we talked to one of the vet techs in the office. She had checked into the vet's anal gland surgeries when her dog was scheduled for anal gland removal. She called owners whose dogs had undergone the surgery. None of these dogs were incontinent post surgery.
What can happen during surgery to leave a dog incontinent post-surgery?
Cutting a nerve or muscle can cause incontinence post surgery.

Where is the surgical site?
The glands are located on the sides of the anus at about 4 and 8 o'clock. They will be removed and the skin stitched.
How long is the hospital stay?
You can check in the dog at the hospital beginning at 7:00 A.M. on the day of surgery. You can pick him up after 10:00 A.M. the day after surgery.
Does a dog require a special diet after surgery? 
The dog will usually eat his normal diet.

How long is the recovery period?
The recovery period is 10-14 days. The dog will wear an e-collar until the stitches are removed at the end of the recovery period. The e-collar prevents the dog from disturbing the surgical site by licking or biting the stitched areas.
What are the restrictions during recovery?
No running or jumping is permitted.
Leash walking only is allowed.
Lots of TLC should be given. We went shopping for a soft e-collar. Experience (Simon's knee surgery, Alvin and Simon's neuter surgery) has taught us that the hospital will provide an e-collar, but it's plastic and bangs into walls, door molding, and human legs.

Here's the soft ecollar we got him at Amazon:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Secret to Teaching Your Puppy Basic Obedience Commands

The following is a dog training discussion written several years ago. I updated it with an example I use every day to reinforce basic commands:
Recently I wrote an answer to a question on yahoo answers about common obedience commands. Interestingly, dumb questions can raise issues that impact all dog lovers. 
The yahoo questioner wrote: "But we went to puppy training class so he remembers SOME commands." My response: "Why doesn't he respond to ALL the commands taught in the training class?" 
Point Of A Puppy Training Class
The point of a training class is to familiarize you (the trainer) and your dog (the trainee) with the most common obedience commands. After the class is over, the dog will NOT retain the commands automatically. That's up to you! 
Puppy Learning (Your dog) and Puppy Training (You)  
Let's take a look at this issue from the standpoint of the way a dog learns. Do you show a puppy how to sit 10 times and then expected him to know the verbal command and the hand signal? And then you stopped his lessons? 
Puppy learning (your dog) and puppy training (you) are ongoing processes. For example, I was gone for a week on vacation. When I returned, Alvin (6 months at the time) wasn't responding to common obedience commands. No one had bothered to reinforce: "Sit," "Down," "Stay," and "Come" while I was gone. He hadn't forgotten them; he just wasn't used to doing them. 
The Puppy Training Secret 
Okay, it's not really a secret, but I got your attention. It's common sense. I had to jog Alvin's memory - every day. I remembered the professional dog trainer mantra from the "It's PAWSible! Dog Training and Puppy Training DVD" - incorporate the commands into daily living and make the dog work for his rewards. 
How exactly are you supposed to incorporate basic commands into daily living?Here’s an example: Before they get their dinner meal, the Boyz (Alvin and his brother Simon) must sit and stay before I release them with an “OK.” I’ll admit that sometimes Alvin refuses to sit, but both dogs don’t eat until he decides to comply. It only takes a few seconds. 
How Do You Learn How to Teach Your Pup the Basic Commands? 
Easy - you can search the internet for how to teach the basic commands. And you can find demos on youtube. For the most part, teaching the basic commands is easy. But getting the dog to retain the information requires a training process. 
The entire training process is the subject of videos and dvds developed by professional dog trainers who understand how to train dogs AND how to train you to train your dog. It’s a rare dog trainer who can do both. I discovered the best dog training dvd by trial and error. Here’s what I found.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

13% Weight Loss Boosts Cockapoo Dogs' Health

Hopefully, your pup hasn't reached this level of obesity!

My two Cockapoos, Simon and Alvin, age 4 years, were diagnosed by their vet as being overweight. He explained the health ramifications of overweight dogs - diabetes, heart issues, lameness, and osteoarthritis. This last two issues are confirmed in a study reported by holistic vet Dr. Karen Becker (see reference below).

The Boyz's vet suggested more exercise and a slightly restricted diet. So, a few months ago, when Alvin weighed 26 pounds and Simon the food addict weighed 36 pounds, we started them on Blue Freedom, a grain free dog food. 

Here's their new "diet:"

  • Reduced their total amount of kibs by about 1/4 cup per day, 
  • Cut down on the amount of treats they were given, and 
  • Added water-based foods like cukes, radishes, and peppers (a salad) 

We also encouraged a little more activity - playing in the yard and a longer walk around the neighborhood.

About 3 months on this diet, Simon had lost 5 pounds and Alvin, 3 pounds. Each dog lost 13+% of his body weight. 

Now we are trying to make sure they don't regain the weight by adjusting the amount of kibbles slightly upward and keeping the treats and "salads" stable. The vet's pleased and the BOYZ have more energy and a healthier future.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Simon the Cockapoo Dog and Rocky Raccoon

Sorry I haven't posted in a LONG time. We've been busy with moving into our new home.

Latest adventures with the BOYZ include close encounters with Rocky the local raccoon. We seem to have a family in the woods behind us. One night Simon sounded the deckside alarm. Rocky (a VERY large Rocky) was perched in a tree about 15 feet from the side deck.

I think Simon would lose a fight with a coon that size - sharp claws and all. Now we close the back door at night so no animal can come through the doggie door.

We got the BOYZ raccoon facsimilies. Simon has Rocky captured in the picture below.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

When the Perfectly Housetrained Puppy Regresses

Okay, I wrote The Perfectly Housetrained Puppy before we moved to a new home two towns away from the old residence. Prince Alvin had not messed in the old house in 4 years.

We moved. Alvin started marking his territory in the new house. He was eliminating in the new penned in area, but was clearing marking the brandy new beige rug. upstairs and downstairs. WHY?

Two Possible Causes
I came up with a plausible explanation - the trauma of the new move plus the new house sounds simply rattled high-strung Alvie. He is barking at every little sound.

The next possible cause explained by a new neighbor centers around the fact that the former owner had  a dachshund named Fenway. Alvin was claiming Fenway's territory for himself.

What I did
My solution was to block him off from the rooms where he was marking. It seems to be working. I just need to watch him carefully in Fenway's rooms - you know, the rooms with the new rugs!

Back to the Prince Alvin The Perfectly Housetrained Puppy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How You Can Have a Perfectly Housetrained Puppy

One word explains how you can have a perfectly housetrained puppy.

That word is R-O-U-T-I-N-E.

Whether you work, are a stay-at-home person, live in an apartment or house, have limited access to an outdoor area or not - it doesn't matter.

Establsh the correct routine for your puppy or dog and as long as the dog is sufficiently mature (about 4 months on average), you will get into the no-accidents-in-the house zone in a few weeks or less.

Want to know how to etablish dog or puppy housetraining routines?

Read The Perfectly Housetrained Puppy and start today!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Introducing The Perfectly Housetrained Puppy

Frustrated with a puppy or older dog who cannot get that your home is NOT his toilet?

What if you could stop the endless cleanups and the god-awful smell?

Transform your dog into a perfectly housetrained puppy by building the doggie routines that fit your lifestyle. As long as you stick to the established routine by practicing patience, persistence, and consistency, you will reach your goal. Sooner than you think, your dog will associate the door you go out of (to the outdoors or to his indoor area) with eliminating.

Sticking to a routine results in less frequent accidents and a cleaner and happier household.

How do you know when your puppy or dog is perfectly housetrained? If he hasn't messed in the house in the last two to three months, you're there.

How do you learn about these routines customized to your lifestyle?

Buy this new ebook: 

Get your pup started on his routine today!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Oops! Simon the Cockapoo Dog Ate an SOS pad!

More accurately, Simon shredded an SOS pad.

Can't blame the pup - I left the cabinet door open to the cleaning supplies.

What Happened
So Simon the thief stole a used mini SOS pad wrapped in a paper towel and shredded it on the living room carpet. He did NOT eat an entire pad (some larger dogs will swallow a pad whole).

Oops! Instant panic . . .  Is the soap toxic? What will happen if he ingested steel wool?

What To Do First
Call the vet. The vet tech who answered the phone suggested calling the poison center.

I figured out during my web surfing that the soap is an irritant, but not toxic.

The steel wool is a problem if a dog vomits the pad or pieces of it OR it gets stuck in the intestinal tract OR it pierces delicate tissue.

The Prognosis
Simon appears to be okay 24 hours after the incident.

You have to monitor the dog's condition and hope that there's no blockage (no pooping) or bloody stools. I read about one dog who had surgery to remove a pad. I'm sure that was painful for the dog.

I read about another pup who started shaking - probably because the steel wool was causing pain.

Lessons Learned
  • Some dogs will eat anything.
  • Call your vet as soon as you discover the problem.
  • Keep an eye on the dog for excessive drooling, watery/bloody stools, and obvious pain symptoms.
  • Button up the kitchen supplies! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stopping the 3 Most Annoying Puppy Behaviors - Part III

In the first post on the topic of stopping the 3 most annoying puppy behaviors , I mentioned puppy biting and mouthing.

The second post discussed jumping up on people.

This post talks about stopping (destructive) puppy chewing.

You know the story - the puppy ate the furniture, cell phone, shoes, socks, electric cord, whatever. I'm the PO'd owner of Simon who at 8 months of age managed to chew through the electric cord of a brand new laptop. One minute it was intact and the next second - it was chewed in half.

Why puppies chew
They're teething, bored, need exercise, or are exercising their natural tendency to chew. Puppies do not know what's appropriate to chew and what's inappropriate to chew. You have to show them.

How to Stop puppy and dog chewing

Take a look at these Seven Ways to Stop Dog Chewing.

Make sure you puppy-proof the house. Keep the puppy away from temptation, give him chewing toys, and his lesson learned (eventually) will be to stop destroying your stuff.

THE Best Chew Toy
Want to get your pup started on the right track? The single best chew toy is called Goughnuts. Alvin the super chewer has one and in two plus years, has failed to destroy it. He plays with the thing every day.

Note that he methodically dissects normal toys in under 15 minutes. So, why not not buy Goughnuts from the start? There is a smaller product called Goughnuts .75 for small dogs. Here's where you can buy Goughnuts:
Goughnuts, the Superior Dog Chew Toy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stopping the 3 Most Annoying Puppy Behaviors - Part II

In the previous post, I mentioned the 3 most annoying puppy behaviors - biting and mouthing, jumping up on peeps, and chewing. Mt. T in DC
This post focuses on the whys and hows of dogs jumping on people.

Why Puppies Jump Up on Peeps
Clearly, jumping up on people is a seriously annoying behavior that puppies do quite naturally. A small pup sees you walk through the door, wants attention, and the next thing you know, the paws are digging into your legs and the back of your knees (that was Alvin's fav trick).

Think about it - they are small, you appear monstrous, and the natural behavior is to do ANYTHING to get attention. Jumping seems to work, so the puppy gets into a pattern of doing that behavior. 

When we broke Simon of jumping (way past puppyhood), he cleverly found another attention-getting behavior - gifting. So now when we come home, we get a waggling Simon carrying around one of his toys. Not a bad substitute behavior!

How to stop dog jumping
Simple in concept, breaking this habit requires persistence, patience, and consistency.

Here's how:
Walk through the door.
Totally ignore the pup for 5 minutes, even if he jumps.

Do it consistently, every day until the jumping stops. It may take weeks or just a few times.
At this point, I got Alvin and Simon to sit and stay on command (they had learned these commands as young pups).

Reasons why ignoring a puppy won't work

  • You're not doing it consistently. You need to ignore the dog EVERY time.
  • You allow the dogs to jump up on visitors. If he can jump up on visitors, why can't he jump up on you?
  • All family members won't ignore the puppy when they walk into the house. There's always one jerk who thinks yelling and flaying arms works better. Guess what! That human behavior actually encourages jumping!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stopping the 3 Most Annoying Puppy Behaviors Part I

Sir Simon the Sad

Interestingly, the 3 most annoying puppy behaviors are all appropriate doggie behaviors. Unfortunately, they contradict human rules, so we spend our time trying to stop them, sometimes unsuccessfully.

The three most common and annoying puppy behaviors are as follows:
Biting and Mouthing
Jumping Up on People

I'll spend this and the next 2 posts summarizing the the whys and hows of stopping these puppy behaviors. This post addresses Biting and Mouthing.

Why puppies bite and mouth
If you could visit a pet store or a breeder with a litter of pups, you'd see puppies attacking each other by mouthing and biting. Sometimes that's the only way it's possible to get food. Sometimes they're just playing. It's what they do instinctively.

Regardless, it hurts when a puppy bites. Little needle teeth leave marks on human skin.

If you let the biting and mouthing continue, you will be stuck with a dog that could seriously injure you.

How to stop puppy biting
As a young pup, innocent-looking Simon (pictured) arrived with a biting and mouthing issue. We got him at ten weeks, two weeks away from being separated from his litter mates.

This article: explains how to stop puppy biting in detail. It's a simple and quick 3-step procedure.

Tips to stop puppy biting
A caution - do it over and over until the pup stops biting. Not every once and a while, but EVERY TIME the puppy starts to bite. Eventually he will learn to substitute another behavior for biting. Your persistence will pay off.

One more tip - EVERYONE who comes in contact with the pup has to follow the procedure to stop puppy biting. NO exceptions.

The 3-step procedure described in the link above worked for Simon. Give it a persistent and consistent try!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sidewalk Maze Confuses Bichon Cockapoo Alvin

Poor Alvin was frustrated by the sidewalk maze created by shoveling out the results of Nemo. At least he couldn't escape to China!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Got Cockapoo Puppy Issues? Here's How to Raise a Well-Behaved and Perfectly Trained Cockapoo Dog

This is a handsome royal blue chocolate merle cockapoo puppy. He's about 8 weeks old.

It'll be no accident if he is transformed into a well-behaved and obedient cockapoo dog in a few short months.

It's not a matter of luck that a pup like this becomes a model of good doggie behavior.

It takes work.

And patience.

And persistence.

And knowledge of the pup's wolf genetics, and his Cocker Spaniel and Poodle characteristics.

If you need help figuring out how to navigate your Cockapoo puppy's housetraining and obedience training, and could use tips for handling grooming and medical issues, buy the ebook Raising Cockapoo Dogs the Right Way.