House Hunting For You and Your Dog

From time to time we are fortunate to have contributors to the Darwin Dogs’ blog, as we like to look at things from a fresh pair of eyes.   Our most recent contributor is Bernie the Boxer.  Special thanks to him for this blog post, and his amazing ability to type it out without opposable thumbs.  

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

You love your dog and want him to be happy. He greets you at the door when you come home from work, tail wagging and eyes staring at you with adoration. He senses when you’re sad and even snuggles with you as you sit on the couch drowning your sorrows in a pint of ice cream. So is it any wonder that when you begin house hunting, you want to find a house he’ll love just as much as you do? But how do you go about finding the right home for your dog? Read on for tips on how to score the perfect home for you and your precious pooch.

Pet-Loving Realtors

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

When you want to find a home, think about hiring a realtor who’s a dog lover. Realtors who adore man’s best friend are more likely to take your dog into consideration when helping you find a home. Some realtors may even get sellers to agree to let your pet visit homes with you as you check out different houses. This way, you get your dog’s opinion on the home too!

Style of Home

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

Determine the style of home you want. Do you prefer a two story? This might be a wonderful type of home for dogs who are young and spry. But what if your dog is elderly? Older dogs may not be able to climb a lot of stairs because of joint pain. Tiny dogs like toy poodles may not have the ability to scamper up a flight of steps. Consider these factors before deciding on a style of home.

Your Canine Companion’s Size

Boots and Bee Photography - by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – by Brittany Graham

Before you select a new home, consider your dog’s size. Larger breeds like golden retrievers and labradors need enough space to walk through rooms without knocking over your prized knickknacks. Trying to cram a super-sized dog into a one-bedroom home or condo might make your dog unhappy and uncomfortable.  If you own a smaller dog, tiny homes probably won’t bother him at all.  And don’t forget to consider the yard: small dogs won’t mind much if space is limited outside, but big dogs love expansive yards where they can romp and play.

Location of the Home

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Dogs are social animals that crave love, attention and companionship. You’re their entire world. So it isn’t surprising they don’t handle it well if you’re absent from the house most of the time. Dogs who are frequently left alone for extended periods of time develop separation anxiety. This leads to chronic barking, excessive chewing and other undesirable behaviors. Save you and your dog a boatload of heartache by choosing a home that isn’t too far away from your job. When you have a long commute back and forth to work, it takes time away from your furry friend.

If you still end up purchasing a home far away from work, enroll your dog in doggy day care or pay someone to pet sit him for a few hours.

Nearby Dog-Friendly Parks

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Do you long for a home your pet will adore? Consider buying a house near a dog park. Dog parks are amazing outdoor places where dogs run free, play and hang out with other dogs. Whether your pooch wants to meet some new furry friends or just lay out in the sun, dog parks are the perfect place to make it happen.

Getting Used to the New House

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Dogs love being the masters of their domains. So when you take a dog out of his usual territory, he may feel confused. Prevent this by letting him visit the house before you move in. Take him on a walk through the new neighborhood so he becomes accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells of his new domain. He’ll get the chance to see some of his new dog neighbors, and he won’t feel threatened by them.

Before your dog enters the house, take a towel from your old home and rub it against the walls and furniture of your new home.  Familiar scents from the old house will make your canine feel more comfortable.  Make sure you’ve tucked away any detergents, bleach, or other household cleaners you may have used to prepare the house for move-in—your pup might chew to ease the anxiety of his new environment, so keep anything toxic completely out of his reach.

As soon as your dog enters the house, let him explore the rooms. Show him where his dog bed and toys are located. And don’t forget to have his favorite blanket ready for him to snuggle against.  Of course, make sure he knows where his water and food bowls are located as well.

Don’t just find the perfect house for the humans in your family. Canine family members need to approve of the new house too. If you take the time to choose a home that fits the needs of your furry baby, he will grow to love the new house as much as you do!

 

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland Ohio

5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Cool This Summer

IMG_2165

 

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Since Spring has been so amazing enough to give us some hot weather it’s time to make sure our four legged friends don’t overheat. Since there’s been no time for any of us to adjust to the hotter temperatures it’s just as important to make sure our pups are staying hydrated and cool. Here are 5 things to help your pup stay cool this summer:

Don't worry, he didn't have to wait long.

Don’t worry, he didn’t have to wait long.

1. Ice cubes

This is a great treat for your dog that helps them stay cool and get some more water in them. Every once in a while throughout the day, I’ll make Porter do a trick (hey, nothing’s for free here) and I’ll give him an ice cube as his treat. No calories and keeps him cool.

IMG_1835

2. Bandanas

Bandanas can be a great help for you and your pup during the summer! You can soak them in water and tie them around your dog’s neck. It will help keep them cool. If you can time it right, you can even stick it in the freezer for a little. Not so it gets hard, but just a little frosty to help keep your dog even cooler.

dog bowl

3. Water, Water, Water

Make sure water is always accessible for your pup. If you are planning on a hike or on traveling, you can find super reasonable collapsible dog bowls just about anywhere. Make sure you’re keeping your pup hydrated enough.

icetreatmaker344385

4. Ice treat

You can buy large ice molds that will be even more enticing for your dog. You can even freeze veggies and treats inside so they get a surprise. This is a great way to keep them occupied as well.

41eead6438bbb2be21e6156191029a5d

5. Sprinkler

Not every dog will like this, however many dogs I have met love running through a sprinkler. It sounds silly and like you’ll get some great Facebook posts out of it, so run with it! They’ll have so much fun running in and out of it. They’ll be getting some much needed exercise as well as staying cool. Not much more you can ask for!

Remember, spring and summer are all about having fun and new adventures! But make sure everyone is staying safe, hydrated and cool enough throughout it!

Keep calm and pilot on

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

Slimming Down

Carr_0105-1

But in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks – John Muir

Here’s your challenge: Take a good look at your dog. Pretend that you haven’t seen him in 6 months and look him over. Probably 2 ears, 4 paws, a tail, and possibly some puppy dog eyes. But how about that mid-section. Does your dog possibly look a little thicker around the middle than he did 6 months ago? It’s possible and quite honestly, it’s probable.

Winter creates so many issues when it comes to ensuring we’re giving our dogs the amount of Activity they need. One of those issues is that your dog may have gained a few extra lbs over the winter. I mean, who hasn’t? However, having an overweight dog is a serious issue. It can be hazardous to their health and eventually affect life spans. So, guess what… it’s time to get out there and help your dog lose that extra winter weight!

Here are 3 ways you can help your dog get lean again:

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

#1. Find some adventurous trails!

We live in the land of the CLE, which means we have the most amazing tool to help our pups lose that weight right in our backyard. The Metroparks are a great destination to get out there and get some walks in. The options are endless as to what park to go to and the scenery is gorgeous. Especially this time of year, as spring has begun and new flowers and buds are popping up everywhere.

Take some time and find a new park to visit! This will keep you and your pup interested and have an extra spring in your step. The key is to stay motivated to get out there. So new adventures can help keep the boredom at bay.

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

#2. Substitute for some Veggies

Another option to help trim your pup down is to substitute his usual treats with healthy ones. Instead of handing out the bones, take some time to figure out what else motivates and interests your dog. Use veggies as a treat. Try giving your dog carrots, radishes or frozen green beans. You can always see if your dog likes ice cubes as well! It’s a good treat that they’ll love with no calories.

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

#3. Change your routine!

Start a new routine! In addition to your daily walks, how about in the morning or when you get back from work you work on the “over” command with your dog. If you have that down, have your dog jump over a broomstick, yardstick, or a box 10 times. Start a small change in your routine that will help your dog’s activity level increase and help your bonding time!

Any steps that you can take to help your dog burn a few more calories will not only help his weight but also will help your dog feel more balanced and take care of the Activity part of the PAW method that your dog needs.

So, get outside and get creative! And get your four legged friend back to the lean and happy dog that they should be.

Keep calm and pilot on
Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH

Helpful Hints for Your Dog’s Dry Skin

 

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Happiness is having a scratch for every itch – Ogden Nash

You know those Head & Shoulders commercials where the dashing man in the black suit has to brush the dandruff off his shoulders?

Or the girl, who’s at a fancy restaurant dinner, is suddenly pretending that she dropped her napkin so that she can scratch her scalp on the corner of the table?

Well, if there was one for dogs, mine would be the star. Porter, as you know, is all black. And his skin is very sensitive. So sensitive, that when we first got him we had to condition his skin to get used to wearing a collar. His neck would be rubbed raw just from simply having it on for more than a few hours.

So, when the winter hits, all bets are off. He doesn’t end up looking like a black dog, because now he has patches of dusty white where his skin is too dry. He gets itchy and uncomfortable.

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

This isn’t anything new to us. Most of us have a hard time with dry skin in the winter. It itches, it hurts, it cracks and it’s zero fun.

So here are a few tips on how to help your pup’s skin this winter if you’re facing the issue of dry skin:

Good Quality Shampoo

If your dog goes to the dog park or decides he needs to roll around in the mud (we’re hoping that it’s mud …we’re going to go with that it was just mud) you may feel the need to give him a bath after his lovely adventures. If you do, make sure you’re using a good quality dog shampoo. Check to see if it will help moisturize the skin. If you’re not into spending a lot of money on dog shampoo, Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo works well too and won’t dry out the skin too much.

Grab a Humidifier

So, we’re going to pretend this is for your dog, but really it’s for both of you. You can find reasonably priced humidifiers online. We have ours set up in the bedroom where Porter sleeps with us at night. This helps put some moisture back into the air and will help your skin out along with your dog’s. 2 for 1 deal!

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Olive Oil

You can give your dog some Olive Oil with his food 2 to 3 times a week. Start with about a ¼ of a teaspoon at first to slowly introduce your dog to this new additive. You can slowly increase it and if you have a large dog you can get up to 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil. Don’t start out with a lot first. Go slowly and then gradually increase it. When you can start to see the difference, then just stick with that amount.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil has the same premise as Olive Oil, but it has some added benefits. It helps with digestion and it could help prevent diseases down the line. Most importantly though, if you ask Porter, the best benefit is that it tastes amazing. When first giving Coconut Oil to your dog, start with a very small amount with their food. I started with less than ¼ of a tspn for Porter. I slowly worked my way up to ¼ tspn and now we’re at about 1 tspn. Which for him is plenty.

Again, start off slow so that you can make sure their stomach is okay with the new additive. Every dog is different. If there seems to be an issue, then stop using either of the Oils.

You can add this to their food 2 to 3 times a week just like the Olive Oil. Now, a disclaimer for all of you who haven’t tried Coconut Oil yet: It’s a solid. You can add it to your dog’s food as a solid if you’d like or melt it down to a liquid.

You can also use the Coconut Oil on your dry skin too. Just rub it in! Another 2 for 1 deal!

 

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

If you’re using enrichment feeders during meal time for your dog, first of all you’re awesome, secondly you can either drizzle the Oil over the food before it goes into your enrichment feeder of choice, or you can pull a small amount of food out of the enrichment feeder and let them eat that on their own with the new additive. The rest of the food would be in the enrichment feeder. You could even be an awesome owner and let them eat the small batch of food with the Oil on it as a little treat or snack.

If you have any more tips or helpful hints please feel free to share! These are just some of the things I have taken advantage of to help out Porter. If your dog’s skin is extremely dry and they seem to be in any discomfort then it’s time for a vet visit. Use your best judgement!

Keep calm and pilot on

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH