Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Interactive Dog Toy--Stuffed Tree Trunk

About a year ago we found this fabulous interactive dog toy at a pet store on the mainland.  This toy was a tree trunk filled with stuffed squirrels with squeakers in them.  This is a GREAT type of interactive toy!  My dogs just loved it, but over the last year it has definitely seen its share of wear and tear!  Recently I was VERY excited to find a similar interactive toy.  This is almost the same, it is a tree trunk, but with squeaky owls inside instead.

This is our newest interactive dog toy.  As you can see from the picture above, the toy comes with 3 smaller squeaky toys that are stuffed inside the bigger toy (the tree trunk).  There are 3 holes in the tree trunk where the dog must pull the toy out of the hole to get it.  I absolutely love these types of toys and very highly recommend them for your dog!  We also often stuff extra squeaky toys into the tree trunk as well.  Our dogs very much enjoy working to pull out their squeaky reward to play with.  This is a great toy for any dog, but I especially recommend them for dogs that need more entertainment when left alone.  This toy is not only physically stimulating for your dog, but mentally stimulating as well.

Here I am re-stuffing the toy.

Caravaggio pulling out an owl.

Nekita working out her own owl.

This toy is so fun, I'm tired now!


Another version of the toy with squirrels. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Antlerz Dog Bones

I had repeatedly been hearing about this amazing new dog chew bone called "Antlerz."  This is a real deer or elk antler for dog chewing.  After hearing so many of my clients talking about it, I decided to try them myself.  As far as a chew toy goes, I give it a very high rating.  My dogs both enjoyed the Antlerz bone and became very engaged in chewing it.  It is a very healthy bone for dogs as well, since there is nothing artificial added to the product; it is just straight up Antler Bone. This bone does splinter into very small pieces after a while, however, and I would therefore not recommend it for aggressive chewers.  Otherwise, I would highly recommend this chew for your pup.  Great product, fairly inexpensive, it lasts a good amount of time, and they come in many different sizes.

We got one of the larger sizes for our dogs.

Nekita working her way into her Antlerz bone.

Caravaggio very much enjoyed his!

The bone is getting smaller.

Nekita with a small nub of bone left.

Caravaggio finishing off the bone pieces.

Both my dogs very much enjoyed their Antlerz bones.  I would say the bones lasted about two weeks for Caravaggio and Nekita.  Both of my dogs enjoy bones and chew them fairly quickly.  
Depending on your dog's level of chewing, your bone may last a lot longer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trainer Tips--Dog Friends

This month's Trainer Tip is about finding friends for your dog.  Your dog needs other doggie friends just like we need other human friends.  Dogs help teach each other things also.  I often use both my own dogs in training other dogs.  Balanced dogs can help teach other dogs boundaries, proper ways of playing, and the importance of being part of the pack.  It can be even easier to meet new dog friends than you might think.  You don't have to go to a dog park or pet store for your dog to meet friends, there are dogs most places you go...on a hike, to the beach, around your own apartment building or neighborhood, or even on your daily walk.  Remember to always ask the owner if your dog may say hello to the new dog before you allow them to meet.  Some dogs were never properly socialized and may not like meeting other dogs.  To avoid this possible future with your own pup, be sure to introduce your dog to as many new dogs and situations as possible.  The more socialized your dog is with other dogs, the more balanced your dog will become, and the better off you'll be.

Caravaggio met another Great Dane outside a client's apartment complex.

Vaggy and his new friend.

Caravaggio met the largest Weimaraner I've ever seen after a hike at Honolua Bay.

Dora met 2 new dogs on a beach walk.

Dora also met a cute puppy later on the same beach walk.

Puppies playing.

Your trainer can help you make friends too.
Dora met Kahiko on our pack walk, they hit it off right away.
They played for a long time even after the 2 hour hike.
If you live in an apartment building that accepts dogs,
your neighbors probably have a dog too.
Caravaggio met a new dog neighbor of ours, Mia.
She's so cute next to my black pony of a dog.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Breed of the Month--American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

A.K.A. "AmStaff"

Color:  All colors: solid, patched, particolor
Height:  Males:  18-19 inches/  Females:  17-18 inches
Weight:  57-67 lbs
Life Span:  10-12 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Allergies, cataracts, cancer, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism spinocerebellar ataxia, hives, congenital heart disease, progressive retinal atrophy.

Coat:  Close, stiff, short, glossy
Country of Origin:  United States

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

Descended from mastiff-type dogs, the AmStaff was developed from bull and terrier type dogs to catch and hold wild game for hunters, and used to manage bulls by butchers.  The American Staffordshire Terrier was popular in bear and bullbaiting until it was outlawed in 1835.

Athletic, intelligent, strong, and tenacious, the American Staffordshire Terrier gained notoriety over the years for his affectionate nature with his family and his loyalty.  The breed became increasingly popular in the United States as a hunting and guard dog.

The AmStaff is adept at guarding, hunting, herding and weight pulling.  This breed can be aggressive towards other dogs if not properly socialized and trained.  The AmStaff is a very powerful breed and I would not necessarily recommend them for the first time dog owner.  Properly raised, the AmStaff is a wonderful breed and holds a special place in my own heart.  As soon as my family has really settled into our new lives in Maui, Hawaii, we will be looking to adopt an American Staffordshire Terrier (or more likely a mixed dog with this breed) to add to our pack.

The many dogs labeled "Pit Bulls" are very powerful dogs that need proper training and socialization.  Please do not get this breed if you are not willing to put in a large amount of work in training and basic obedience.  The "Pitbull" has gained a very bad reputation in the United States over the years as being a vicious, unruly dog that attacks for no reason.  This happens because many, MANY people who get a powerful breed such as the AmStaff do not raise the breed correctly, and end up adding to the stereotype.  I have witnessed this problem first hand many times.  When considering adding a dog to your family, you must consider what breed is the right one for you and your family.  It is not about what you think might look cool or that everyone else has.  Please do your research before considering adding any power breed to your family.  Do not add to the problem!  We need AmStaff owners who will take responsibility and raise a power breed to be a well-socialized, calm, balanced member of society.

Visit the Pit Bull Awareness Coalition to get facts on many power breed myths.

When comparing the AmStaff with the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT), it is noted that the AmStaff is more friendly with children and people in general.  There are very few differences in the two breeds, and many people and organizations consider them basically the same.  The AmStaff is generally shorter, seemingly smaller, and generally has a slimmer-looking nose.

The American Staffordshire Terrier is a high-energy breed that requires an extreme amount of exercise. The AmStaff requires several fast-paced walks each day to keep him from developing destructive behaviors.  The AmStaff also requires a large amount of mental exercise to keep him happy and healthy.

The coat of the American Staffordshire Terrier is easily cared for with regular brushing and bathing.

It is important to learn to read the body language of the AmStaff.  This is one of many reasons I do not recommend them for a first time dog owner.  Smart and responsive, the AmStaff will excel at training when proper positive reinforcement techniques are used.  Socialization from early puppyhood throughout his life is vitally important to raising a well balanced AmStaff.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Trainer Tips--Dog exam

As part of raising a well balanced dog, its important to remember the little things as well.  This month's trainer tip is about not only preparing your dog for regular vet visits, but reinforcing your leadership as well.

I always encourage clients to do everything the vet might do when they go for a visit (aside from drawing blood).  These means you should practice things like touching your dog's paws and looking inside your dog's mouth and ears.  Doing these types of things helps your dog learn to remain calm during a vet visit, but also reasserts your position as the leader.  It's also a good idea to check your dog over for fleas and ticks every so often.

To practice this, I check my dog's entire body over about once a week.  I will run my hands through the fur over their entire body, looking for bumps or unusual marks and parasites like ticks.  Starting this process by going over your dog's coat is the best way, because you can very easily make the experience pleasant by treating it like attention, petting, and a doggie massage.  Don't forget to touch along the dog's tail, and lift it up as well.  Many times vets will need to take a rectal temperature if your dog is sick.

After your pet has relaxed a little, move onto the dog's legs.  Touch and slightly squeeze your dog's legs from the top all the way down (this is how vets may check for a leg injury).  It is important to touch the feet and look between the dog's pads as well.  Get your dog comfortable having his legs and/or feet held and examined by you.  Remember to always remain calm.

After you have examined the rest of the dog's body, move onto the head.  Again start by treating the exercise like a massage, with petting and praise for calm behavior.  Hold the dog's head in your hands and slowly move it side to side as a vet would do to examine them.  Look into your dogs ears and touch them.  Finally lift the jowls of the dog's mouth to examine the teeth, then open your dog's mouth and look inside.

All of these exercises will come more naturally to the dog the more that you practice them.  Again, the number one thing to keep in mind is to STAY CALM, but firm.  Do not perform this exercise if you are not in the correct state of mind.

These exercises will make your vet visits much more enjoyable and less stressful for both you and your dog, and your veterinarian as well.   In the future if your dog ever ends up having any health issues, it will be easier for you to apply the necessary medication or treatment to keep your loved one happy and healthy.

Below are some pictures of this exercise.
Dora and her owner will demonstrate.

Check the dog's body.

Go down each leg squeezing just a little.

Check the paws.

While examining the dog's body, 
be sure to look for unusual marks, lumps, and ticks/ parasites.
Treat this like a massage for your dog as you move your hands around.

Go down the back legs and lift the tail.

Don't forget the paws.

Check inside the dog's ear.

Lift the gums and check the teeth.

Open the dog's mouth and look inside.

It is also a good idea to have your dog used to 
being grabbed by the scruff of the neck without reacting in a negative way.

Their practice payed off and Dora was very good at the vet.

Such a sweet girl!
Good job Dora!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

MHS Mobile Adoption--Kihei

As always, I was happy to help out the Maui Humane Society with their mobile adoption event in Kihei today.  It was a real blast.  

Try and stop by any one of the Maui Humane Society upcoming events, or stop by the shelter itself!

Just a few cute pictures from today...

Pono was today's lap dog.
What a sweet boy!

Everybody loves Pono, even the other dogs!

Pono waved at cars for us :)

Stop in at Maui Humane Society today!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

MHS Canine Outing--Banyan Tree, Lahaina

I was very happy to help out at the Maui Humane Society (MHS) Canine Outing under the Banyan Tree in Lahaina today.  MHS brought 5 different dogs to hang out and meet people.  I want to thank the many people that stopped by and said hello, and an even bigger thank you to all the people that donated money.  We all had a great time, and the dogs enjoyed themselves too!

Below are some pictures from the day.

If you are thinking about adding a new member to your family, please visit the Maui Humane Society and check out the many loving animals they have for adoption.  Also check out the MHS Facebook for great pictures and updates.

Athena & Pono, a 5-month-old pit mix.
He was a super mello sweet heart!

Love the ears!

Another volunteer with Cody, a terrier mix.

Hanging out and saying hi in a beautiful spot.

All the pups got lots of love :)

There's a treat down here somewhere.

Two sisters, blue heeler mix.

Pono saying hi.

He was amazingly calm all day.  
This dog has the perfect calm temperament!

Athena & her new friends.
Funny enough, the 2 pups in this picture I wanted to take home :)