Saturday, 7 July 2012

And so here he is in the flesh! Charlie is now 5 and a half months old. I haven't been successful in dawg blawgging for sometime as to my hectic busy schedule, but sure have missed chatting about our Charlie. I've just made time to at least post this pic of him curiously watching me take his pic. He is now just over 11 pounds and is signalling to go potty when the need arises (so it took about 2 and a half to 3 months of persistence to attain this much anticipated success). He does a variety of tricks, follows a lead and leash without hesitation, responds consistently to a variety of commands and enjoys his family. He is slightly standoffish to strangers but we are continuing to provide him varied experiences in meeting new people.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Last shots - First Walk

Wednesday was our Charlie's last set of vaccinations and yesterday he was free to begin to venture beyond our yard. This is him after yesterday! Exhausted! 
When we started our walk, I could tell by his gait, light airy and quick, that he was excited venturing past his yard and usual block.  Though excited, he was still cautious and alert with a quick freeze stance with every unexpected sound. It was entertaining to watch. 
There were many things on our stroll that made him react in interesting and unexpected ways. I had no idea that my role on our first walk would be one of a great supporter and reinforcer. So many different things stirred a reaction.
When we came to a wooden bridge in our path it surprisingly gave him a start. He stopped short and wouldn't budge. After much coaxing and reinforcement, he crouched low and slowly managed to creep across. When we met walkers along the path, he'd stand still and begin his bark and was uber cautious about letting them approach to greet him. We came across no other dogs on our travels so am curious to know his reaction. 
I did manage to bring myself a small bag of treats for reinforcing correct behaviour on our walk (thinking commands like come and stay) but had no idea the amount of reactions that he would have to some of the most mundane things that would require support. I realized quick that on future walks I should be armed with a larger bag of treats to calm, correct and reinforce.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Dangers of Sugarless Gum and Your Dog

After a recent visit to the vet, we discussed common things found in the home that could be hazardous to our dog. Among them, something often found in a home with children is sugarless gum. Sugarless gum contains a sweetener called xylitol which is obviously harmless to humans but deadly to dogs. The natural flavouring in gum is often an attraction for dogs who unknowingly may consume the gum and its deadly toxin as was the case with Kelly Osborne's pomeranian who almost died from the ingestion. Xylitol toxicity should be treated immediately. Symptoms could include imbalance, immediate vomiting and seizures. Please advise your children of the dangers of sugarless gum to their dogs.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Protect Your Dog from Asthma Puffers

I recently read an article on hazardous household items that have the potential of harming your dog. One of the articles highlighted the deadly effects of asthma inhalers on dogs. Puffers contain a chemical called albuterol and every puffer contains many doses of the drug. Resources suggest that for some reason dogs are attracted to albuterol and so when your pet finds a puffer their natural tendency is to play with the container often perforating the exterior and releasing and eventually inhaling the harmful chemical. The effects of albuterol on your pet could potentially cause severe health conditions and possibly death. Symptoms of albuterol toxicity include; panting, uneven gait, lack of co-ordination, high blood pressure, vomiting. In the event that albuterol toxicity is suspected seek immediate medical attention for your canine. Ensure puffers in children's backpacks are kept away from your dog's reach.

The Havanese - A Double Coated Breed

Having adopted a double coated breed of dog, I was quick to understand that my little havanese's coat would require special grooming care...special meaning that grooming would be a task that should never go overlooked if I were to keep it long rather than in a puppy cut. Double coated breeds have an undercoat and a top coat. My understanding is that the undercoat, when not properly maintained, can be easily matted and once matted very painful to comb out. More often than not, the only resolution would be to do a shave and a shave apparently interferes with the natural shedding process which can have an impact on future coat growth. Some of the resources suggests that a shave will cut into the top coat and some dogs will suffer bald spots and spots that do not grow back. We take such pride in how nature has created our little boy's wonderful coat that we are committed to ensuring its daily maintenance.

Oral Hygiene Solution

Oral hygiene solution
just drop in your dogs water
Another product that Resident Expert and Elvis picked up for Charlie at the Bassett Hound Bustle was an oral hygiene solution that freshens your dogs breath while fighting plaque and tartar build-up. It is so easy to use, you simply drop a few drops in your dog's drinking water and you can expect results in as early as two days. Meant to be used on a continuous basis this product is not, however, meant as a substitute for a regular brushing program but a supplement to your dog's daily oral hygiene regimine. We are excited to get it started. Hats off to R.E. and Elvis!

Bassett Hound Comedy

"Poop Biscuits" All natural dog cookie
A real cookie of a treat! This is a souvenir Elvis brought back from the Bassett Hound Bustle for Charlie. Charlie had a chuckle when he left it smack dab in the middle of my son's beyblade stadium!

Bassett Hound Bustle 2012

Elvis has left the building! One of the rare times you will see Elvis, self-professed couch potato, off the couch was on Saturday when he attended the annual Bassett Hound Bustle at the Hamilton Burlington SPCA Off-Leash Dog Park. A yearly event, sponsored by the Bassett Hound Rescue of Ontario, Resident Expert and her beloved Elvis attended Canada's largest gathering of basset hounds to celebrate life with dogs. With parades, vendor booths, demonstrations, grooming stations and more, Elvis enjoyed carousing with some of the hottest looking hounds in the south. 

Monday, 28 May 2012

Coat Colours - A Closer Look at the Brindle

When we first began researching various breeds of dogs, we were mesmerized by the many choices in coat colours. So many so, I came to know all the names: brindle, sable, pied, chocolate, silver, salt and pepper and the list goes on, but with only a clear understanding of the obvious, like chocolate, tan, white, silver etc.. I never took a next step to understanding complex coats like that of a brindle. Today I decided to take a closer look. From what I gather, the brindle appears to be a mottled black or brown stripe, seemingly running the horizontal width of the body, on a solid coloured background. It is a very rich and warm colour that to me resembles a diffused tiger stripe. Very handsome.

Tail Talk

According to, your dog's tail has a language of its own. This site suggests that "The surer the dog is of itself, the more it moves its tail and says more things with it". 
Here is an interpretation, that this site suggests, of your dog's tail wagging.
  • Relaxed tail: Relaxation and comfort.
  • Hanging horizontal but not stiff: A sign of attention. The dog sees something interesting.
  • Hanging horizontal but stiff: The dog is confronting an intruder or someone or something unknown.
  • Upright tail: This is a sign of authority of a dog that shows itself dominant.
  • Upright tail and turned over the back: shows trust and self-control.
  • Downward and close to the hind legs: If its extremities are rigid and it wags its tail slightly, it shows "I'm not feeling well". If its legs are slightly bent it's a sign on insecurity.
  • Tail hidden between its legs: Fear or submission.
  • Raised tail and slow and rhythmic movement: The dog is on guard.
  • Wagging lightly: Is their normal welcome.
  • Wagging with broad circles: "I like you". When two dogs are mock fighting this movement confirms it's a game.
  • Wagging at a slow speed: When it's being trained it means "I'm trying to understand you, I want to know what you're saying but I don't understand yet". Once it finally understands, the dog wags its tail faster.
  • Short and slow movements: Shows that it's pleased. Sometimes its only wags its tail a few times when it's on the floor.
  • Wagging fast: Excitement to a desired activity or object.

What's an Indianapolis 500 Win Without Your Pooch?

Dario Franchitti and Ashley Judd celebrate Dario's Indianapolis 500 win with their pet pooches.

Why Does My Puppy Scratch His Bed?

It's been a week now since Charlie started this unusual behaviour that we find most comical to watch. We put an extra crate pad outside on the balcony to give Charlie yet another comfy spot to lie during rest sessions when playing in the backyard. Once he realized its presence, he began walking on top and scratching at it with both front feet at the same time. He was relentless at his scratching, increasing and decreasing his speed and never seeming to tire. 
After a handful of episodes, I started to worry that this was some form of repetitive behaviour perhaps indicative of something more serious so decided to see if I could find some answers.
The answers I found were nothing more than this behaviour was merely instinctual in nature. Dogs, originally of the wild, had developed this scratching behaviour to make a comfortable bed for themselves out of leaves, sticks and the ground and so over time this behaviour became an instinctual pattern. Other sources suggested that it was a territorial type marking again developed in the wild.
Sources suggested that if the behaviour was bothersome to families, pet owners could simply remind their dogs to stop the behaviour with their "no" command. I, on the other hand, see nothing wrong in allowing Charlie to be who he is and would never stop him from doing what he needs to do. If Charlie were to do the behaviour somewhere in the home where it were destructive, I would find ways to dissuade him from doing the behaviour in that location or providing other places that he could.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A Day in the Life - A Comic Puppy Story

First thing this morning, Charlie went out in the rear yard to do his morning business. It was a dewy morning, quiet and peaceful with only the sounds of the birds. He sniffed about, took care of his duty and sauntered to the side gate to stroll the front. The front grounds were usually as peaceful as the rear and we always enjoyed each others company on our morning stroll. However, this morning was not an ordinary morning. IT WAS GARBAGE DAY! Out of nowhere, as we rounded the car parked in our front drive, there was the most dastardly thing at the end of the drive.....the unsuspecting garbage can! Charlie spied it first! He immediately knew it was on trespass. Ears pricked up and he went into high alert. His body changed. He crept low and slowly made the advance, retreating with every sound. He started the low "growl and bark" to ensure the enemy knew they'd been spotted as he tried to flush them out. There was no surrender and so, after what seemed a lifetime, he went in for the sniff. He travelled the can's perimeter doing the sniff and maintaining the "growl and bark" and after he had shook him down and was satisfied to have "scared the enemy silly" went on his merry way to finish his grounds patrol. He was confident the enemy would never trespass again. Little does he know, he'll be back again next garbage day!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Meet Jack, the Havanese Jack Russell - When Your Pup is Not Characteristic of the Breed

Jack(l) and Charlie (r)
Jack takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'
About a week after Charlie first came to us, we introduced him to an 8 month old pup named Jack, and Jack and Charlie have been best friends ever since. Jack is a purebred sable havanese purchased in the fall of last year from a reputable breeder in south central Ontario. Jack is not your typical havanese. He is full of unbridled energy that never seems to quit, and has since earned the nickname "Jack the Havanese Jack Russell". Since our friends took Jack into their family, we have often had the discussion of how prospective owners come to choose a dog based on the "typical" characteristics of the breed, however, when chance would have it that the dog you select does not match the "typical" characteristics where do you go from there? Jack's family is a busy family with both parents professionals with fast paced high stress jobs, two kids in the primary age group, a big home, pool, and active social life. So, when the pet that they decided on ended up not being the low maintenance, medium energy dog that they bargained for, their ideal of house, family, dog and white picket fence turned upside down. Jack ended up being an intense, high need and high energy dog, who after even four/five hours of straight activity, doesn't want to stop. He requires continual stimulation and attention which can put pressure on an unsuspecting family. I don't think it would be uncommon for families to feel disappointed with their choice in pup when their new family member ends up not entirely being what they expected, but think that once the family comes to terms with the unexpected needs of the dog, they should immediately begin to formulate a plan for changes that they can make to meet the needs of the dog in order to ensure healthy growth and development (it seems in puphood, every second counts). Jack's family, a busy one with a sporadic schedule knew that it would be challanging to maintain the rigors of their new dog. They quickly made modifications to their plan for Jack in order to ensure he received the additional stimulation he needed. One of the ways, that they have found beneficial is fostering the relationship between Jack and Charlie. Working closely with our family, the 2 families have found a way to help each other. With our varied schedules we have come up with an arrangement that freely allows either of us to arrange dog playdates when an extended crate time may be forthcoming. As we are both committed to healthy development of our pups and want our boys socialized with other pets we take every opportunity to allow the boys to play and so when one is off to work, shop, errands, appointments, if the other is available, even for a portion of the time, the boys enjoy time together in one of the yards. This reduces crate time, allows socialization and provides an outlet for Jack to expend his energy. Looking beyond dog walkers and dogsitters but looking towards almost an extended family for Jack, this family has allowed Jack to be the Havanese Jack Russell he was born to be.

Top 10 Most Popular Dog Tricks (Planet Dog's Doglopedia)

  1. Sit
  2. Shake a Paw
  3. Rollover
  4. Speak
  5. Lie Down
  6. Stand on Hind Legs
  7. Beg
  8. Dance
  9. Sing
  10. Fetch

Monday, 21 May 2012

Treat Protectiveness in Puppies - A Case of Food Aggression? Part II

We had our first exercise in providing Charlie with a highly favoured treat and asking him to give it up. My strategy, because he had initially growled at my son when my son tried to pick him up when eating a treat, was to have my son deliver the exercise, but as we got underway I soon realized that he would not be able to handle the situation even with me by his side. I decided that I would complete the initial training and when Charlie was successful at giving up highly desirable items I would have other members of our pack practise the willful give up. So we gave Charlie the treat and he immediately ran to find an area where he could enjoy (my first mistake was not leashing him before, as he gave us a cat and mouse game in order to be in a position to request the treat). I followed him to the spot, got a hold of his collar and asked him to give. He continued to gobble. I took the end of the piece at which time he hastily tried to tug to keep to himself. When I got the piece I told him "Good boy, Give". I fed him the liver snap and then gave him back his treat and continued to stay close watching him eat. I repeated another several times with the remainder of the chew treat until the chew was complete. I performed the task again with another whole chew and by the end of the 2 chews, there was a definite less frantic way about him as my face sat close to where he was eating and he remained in the same spot while eating rather than finding a secure spot. I will continue to train in this manner until he knows he must submit when commanded. Subsequent training will ensure Charlie is leashed so he cannot not depart with the treat; will reinforce "gentle" retrieval from and to my hand (he is in a haste to get the favoured treat so tends to hurriedly and haphazardly take and chew making an accidental bite a possibility with my hand); will practise willful giving up and return of the treat.

Preparing for Charlie's First Groom

Charlie is quickly approaching 16 weeks. He is receiving his final round of shots next week at which time I am anticipating his first groom.
For the last week or so, I pondered the idea of bringing him in earlier because I have found the fur under his paws is outgrown and almost covering the pads of his feet, making running and stopping a slippery event. I also see that the area around his bottom is quite outgrown and seems to be holding onto some of the mess after toileting (I have had to give him half baths a few times to wash his bottom area) and finally the fur around his eyes is beginning to catch the inner corner of his eyes. I have, however, opted to wait another week to ensure his safety as he will be in a place that is frequented by many other dogs and do not want to jeopardize his health.
I have been talking around about this first groom and what to expect as well picking up tips on what I could do to help Charlie's first visit at the groomers be a positive one and one that he would look forward to in future. Since we first got him, I have done daily grooming with the slicker brush so he thoroughly enjoys his morning brush and had him perch on a footstool for his brush to get him used to an elevated height much like a grooming table. We have rubbed, brushed and played with all of his body parts so he is quite used to being handled everywhere, including feet, mouth and ears.
I have just started to comb around for a groomer (no pun intended). I am looking for a number of things inside the actual physical shop. I have heard that when looking around for a groomer perhaps consider a shop that has a rubber mat on the table which will help make a less alarming feel than a stainless steel tabletop. Obviously, look for a calm atmosphere. It was also suggested to have Charlie engage in rigorous play, prior to taking him on his first groom, so that he is relaxed and energy levels are on a low so there is less energy to add to nervous energy. We are in love with the Havanese coat and cannot wait for length, so a true cut is not in my cards. I will only be asking for a clean up in the eyes, feet, and bottom area.

Treat Protectiveness in Puppies - A Case of Food Aggression? Part I

In almost all respects our puppy Charlie has been everything we ever expected. So when we began giving him these wonderful 100% pure chicken strips last week and he became very protective of it, we were thrown for a loop. A friend of mine, who I am sharing alot of pup experiences with (as she has her own new pup), came for a play and brought Charlie one of these new strips to try. He adored it and so we purchased a bag the next day. When he was given the new treat, his behaviour or body language seemed to change. He showed an almost "every man for himself" type of look. He took the treat and ran to a protective place, behind a chair. I initially thought it was cute that Charlie was so in love with his new treat and that he likely wanted to enjoy his "pleasure" by himself. It wasn't until my son had to crate Charlie, who happened to be eating his treat at the time, showed some protectiveness of the treat by giving a growl. Unusual, because we have practised since the beginning to have someone (whether one of the kids or my husband or I) sit for short periods of time with Charlie while he ate to get him comfortable with us around his food so he would know that there was no threat to his food. So, the protectivenss (growl) with the treat was surprising. I hate to use the word aggressiveness as I tend to think a growl shows protectiveness and a bite shows aggressiveness (if this is not the appropriate language in the canine behavioural world, please excuse the faux pas). When my son reached to take Charlie out from under the table, he growled. My son looked at me in dismay as if to say "where's Charlie?". What had happened to our playful, fun loving little furball? I didn't know what to think. So, as usual I began to source out the driving force behind this behaviour. After consulting a number of sources, I am now satisfied that Charlie doesn't have a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality, but he is simply canine. My best answers indicate that Charlie is canine and his behaviour is canine and instinctual  and it is our task as responsible pet owners, who want to harmoniously live with our dog, to teach Charlie that when his pack leaders (whether my son, me or anyone else in our home) make a request of him that he must give up his treat or whatever else he is doing, as he is and always will be the "lowest on our pack pole". I have resolved that the best course of action would be to purposefully begin to train him to give up what is his when he is asked. We will first reward a behaviour by giving him a chicken strip. After a few minutes I will have my son, armed with a highly favoured liver snap, approach Charlie and ask him to "give" the treat. From here on end we'll use the word "give" as the command word for Charlie to give up whatever he has at the time. After two times with the word "give", I will then have him offer the liver snap in exchange for the strip. Once the strip is delivered he will praise him for giving and Charlie will be given back the strip. We will repeat two more times and then let him enjoy his treat. We will continue to practise this method of giving up for the next few days until Charlie gives up his treat on command and with no exchange of treats. We'll have everyone in our pack practise this exchange with Charlie to help reinforce that all in our household are higher in status than Charlie and that he must surrender all that is his on demand. Our goal is that Charlie will learn and know that he must always give up what he believes is his when asked by somebody else in his pack. We will keep you posted on our success.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Disposing of Dog Waste from the Yard

As our pup continues to toilet in the backyard, we have come up with an organized, sanitary and secure manner of waste disposal so as not to put doggy waste in the garage with the regular garbage. We purchased a food recycling waste bin with a clipping lock and placed in a discrete spot in the yard (the green colour blends into the natural setting). We lined the bin with an indoor kitchen garbage bag. Each time we pick up puppy waste, we simply drop the waste bag in the bin and clip shut. The clipping mechanism makes it inaccessible to other animals and seals in any odours. Once garbage day arrives, we simply remove the full liner and dispose the waste with the regular garbage. This handy disposal system keeps doggy "do" outside and never inside the garage. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Canada's Top Dog Friendly City

Toronto, Ontario, Canada makes number one on the top Canadian dog friendly cities! Toronto hosts 40 pet friendly hotels, including the Westin Harbour Castle, Beach Motel and Cosmopolitan Toronto Hotel Spa (hotels charge a minimal fee of $10-$15 per dog nightly), and 36 dog friendly attractions, including PawsWay, A Pet Discovery Centre and the Holt Renfrew Flagship Department Store at Bloor and Yonge Street in the heart of downtown. 

Question of the Day

In the divorce settlement, who got the family dogs, Tiger Woods or Elin Nordegren?

Charlie Meets the Slicker Brush

Puppy's Mild Reactions to Vaccines

Several weeks after Charlie’s arrival we took him to receive his second set of shots. The first set was provided by the breeder and in most instances if you adopt a puppy at the 10 week mark, the first round will have already been done by the breeder and you will be required to take your pup for the second and third vaccinations. For this visit, I was actually quite nervous for him and really didn’t know what to expect. The vet, in her soft-spoken, mild manner provided treats on the examining table for him while she administered the shot. He did not react in the slightest to the actual physical shot, however, there were some changes later that day that I wasn’t expecting. About 4 hours, post vaccine, Charlie vomited once. He had a decreased appetite and decreased activity as well as seemed depressed. He was definitely not himself, but a quick call to the vet confirmed that mild reactions were apparently normal for the first 24 hours post vaccination and if symptoms worsened to follow-up with vet the next day. By the next day Charlie was back to his charming little self. So, for the next round of shots I will know that these mild changes are perfectly normal.

Charlie in Charge

Charlie at 15 weeks
Here's our Charlie, the little culprit who inspired this blog! Charlie is now 15 weeks and soon due for his final round of shots when he'll be free to explore the world. This is his favourite rock in our front garden and from there he is able to monitor the street, guard his home and bask in the summer sun. 

Top 10 Friendliest Dog Cities in North America

If you are looking to travel this summer with your pooch, it is worth doing a little research to find a dog friendly destination that will allow you to enjoy a host of activities with your dog. There are a great number of destinations who offer pet friendly hotels, restaurants, boutiques and shops as well as dog walking tours and pet activities. Below is a list of the top 10 friendliest dog cities in North America.
  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  3. Orlando, Florida
  4. New York City, New York
  5. Chicago, Illinois
  6. Seattle, Washington
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Long Beach, California
  9. San Diego, California

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Canine Custody Cases

Separated couples fighting for custody of pets is not uncommon, but spending a whole heap of money on lawyers fees to fight the battle is. Recently in the news, a New York man who separated with his girlfriend has spent upwards of $60,000 in legal fees trying to regain custody of the couples pet dog. Craig Dershowitz, a New York resident, unsuspectingly saw his ex-girlfriend move to California with their pet dog, Knuckles, and has been to court fighting for the return of his dog for the last 6 months. I would suspect that couples who are not on good terms or have an axe to grind might scoop the pet dog in an attempt to hurt the other partner, either on the emotional level or so it may seem on the financial level. The question of the day remains,  would you pay a hefty price tag like Craig Dershowitz for the return of your pet?

Fact or Fiction?

  1. The basset hound has the longest ears of all dogs.
  2. Dogs sweat from the pads of their paws.
  3. A typical dog has 36 adult teeth.
  4. No breed of dog has webbed feet.
  5. Sirius Black from the Harry Potter series takes the form of a dog.

  1. Fact.
  2. Fact. A dog radiates heat from their tongue.
  3. Fiction. An adult dog has 42 teeth.
  4. Fiction. The Portuguese water dog is an example of a breed that has webbed feet.
  5. Fact. Sirius Black takes the form of a giant shaggy black dog.

Preventive Dog Dental Care Starts in Puppyhood

I met for lunch today with the Resident Expert and we chatted about, non other than, life with Charlie. I shared successes, challenges and memorable moments with Charlie since we last touched base and she seemed to enjoy hearing them as much as I did sharing them. However, it did seem clear that there was an area I was missing. This was not the first time she asked me about progress with preventive dental care and this was not the first time that I had said that I really hadn't been there yet. R.E. urged introducing Charlie to the toothbrush during puppyhood to ensure that he was comfortable with having a daily dental routine in adulthood. R.E.'s basset hound, Elvis (pictured under Paw-Parazzi) is so comfortable with his dental routine that he often sits beside his toothbrush some mornings waiting for his daily brush. She offered that preventive dental care would help in keeping Charlie free from a host of tooth and gum diseases and serious medical conditions and suggested a number of ways to help remove plaque on Charlie's teeth including feeding dry kibble and providing chew toys such as ropes. However, she couldn't stress enough that the number one way to remove dental plaque and tartar formation would be to brush his teeth and that I should begin to research some reliable and popular canine brushes and pastes (many which are meat flavoured found to be favoured by dogs). She suggested looking for products that were easy to use and apply which would help to ensure we would continue with a daily routine. She also suggested researching an oral dental rinse, simply added to Charlie's water and that there were many reliable online sites that showed "how to" videos to brush your dog's teeth. So, I have now resigned to do my homework. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Top 10 Dogs in Pop Culture

  1. Snoopy
  2. Texas A & M's Reveille
  3. Scooby Doo
  4. Eddie from TV show "Frasier"
  5. Pound Puppy Toys
  6. Painting "Dogs Playing Poker"
  7. Song "How Much is that Doggie in the Window"
  8. Georgetown's Jack the Bulldog
  9. The Song "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
  10. Brian Griffin from animated TV "Family Guy"

Dog Lit 101 - "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be"

Farley Mowat, one of Canada's most celebrated authentic authors who wrote prolifically about life and times on the Canadian prairies gave his audience a closeup look at the relationship between a boy and his dog with the "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be".  Published in 1957, this narrative cycled the Canadian public school literature circles for many years after that and in it gave a glimpse of the natural and pure love between child and animal. If you can dig this book out of your library or pick it up at your local bookstore, it is worth a read and remind yourself of how innocent childhood memories were once made.

The Penny Has Dropped!

Eureka! The Penny has dropped! After a busy weekend with family, friends and Charlie I was blessed today with the fruits of my labours in regards to raising Charlie. Yes, the penny dropped! Today Charlie asked to go potty! I am over the moon. I just spent 30 minutes calling friends and family to relay my excitement over our little boy's success. It has been 5 weeks since we have had him and 5 weeks that I have relentlessly supervised his every move. From crating nightly to crating when not able to provide direct supervision to giving never ending praise after outdoor potties to bells on the back door and indoor accidental setups with correction, our Charlie finally got it. Late this afternoon while at my computer he went to the front door and began to whine (something he has never done). I immediately jumped up and took him on leash to his potty area in the rear yard where he immediately had a bowel movement. I raced inside grabbed the liver snaps and congratulated this wonderous feat. Then, several hours later he went to the back door and began batting the closed drapes. Again, I dashed up, opened the door and he raced out to his potty area and went, without leash, and I have been doing cartwheels ever since! I am so excited for tomorrow!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Charlies Got the Nibbles

Since the second day we got our Charlie he has showered me with ear and neck nibbling which are tiny little nibbles with his front teeth that are actually quite enjoyable...almost like nibbling corn off the cob. To this day, I only lay down on the floor and call him over and he will start this seemingly affectionate interaction. I have tried to find one answer, on a number of occasions, to this interesting behaviour and have come up with several possibilities; some resources suggest it is puppy behaviour that is mimicking the nibbling on the mother's teet or flea nibbling and others suggest it is a sign of affection like kisses. My biggest hope is that its the latter and that I mean as much to him as he does to me.

Raising Charlie - Royal Guard Stance

We have had Charlie a month. He is a strong presence in our family and what I love about him most is that he loves his pack. There's nothing sweeter than watching our new puppy stand on his front porch, back legs stretched like the royal guard, defending his home and pack against the whistling wind or a honking duck. The royal puppy guard stance is priceless. Signs of the stance are as follows:
1. Back legs stretched ready to pounce on unsuspecting enemies.
2. An air of bravado displayed with a puffed out chest.
3. Barking commences with the rustle of an attacking leaf.
4. Eyes are strategically scoping the most calculating of ferocious grasshoppers.
5. Maintains position on porch so as not to come under fire of approaching hounds.

Poisoning Symptoms in Dogs

  • Drowsiness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Excessive salivation
  • Labored breathing or changes in respiratory patterns
  • Disorientation, over-sensitivity to light or noise, apparent hallucinations
  • Ataxia, or wobbly gait
  • Muscle tremors or convulsions
  • Alterations in color of the gums and mucous membranes
  • Strange odor on the breath or emanating from the skin
  • Sting or bite marks, in the case of poison by a spider, snake, or other venom producing creature
  • Burns inside the mouth or on the lips, from eating caustic chemicals

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Do Dogs Look Like their Owners?

Preparing Pup for the Grooming Table

Since the first day we got our Charlie we were armed with a slicker brush and medium comb. My family fell in love with the long chocolate hair of the havanese and so going in knew that our boy would always wear his hair long. Understanding that the long haired havanese would require much grooming attention we knew that Charlie would have to be introduced to the brush very early. Day 1 we gave him his brush as a toy and after much barking and wrestling with his new found friend, he soon became complacent to its very existence. We then took it in hand and each day worked it a little on all parts of the body, giving treats at the end of his stint. Once Charlie was able to sit on command, we had him sit for short periods of time with collar and leash while we brushed. We soon opted for a footstool in our family room to act as the pseudo grooming table. He is now very comfortable sitting on the footstool while having his daily groom (which ends up being a few times a day) once my daughter has her turn playing hairstylist. It will be another month when we actually do a formal groom and we'll let you know how that goes.

Giving Medicine Tabs to your Dog

The no mess way to give tablets to your dog is simple. Have a treat and tablet in one hand. With your other hand, slide your pointer finger into the side of your dog's mouth to pry open. Slide the tablet as far back into your dogs mouth as possible. Quickly provide the treat. The tablet will be down in no time. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Puppy Poisons in the Kitchen

The following are a list of items often found in the common kitchen which are actually toxic to puppies.
1. Chocolate
2. Grapes & raisons
3. Onions
4. Fruit Pits and seeds
5. Rotten and moldy foods
6. Macadamia nuts
7. Alcohol and yeast dough (uncooked)

10 Tips to Successful Housebreaking

1. Feed first as puppies will fill up on water first if they can.
2. Toilet pups anywhere from 5 to 40 min. after feeding.
3. Watch for your puppy's toileting signals (sniffing, circling, sprinting, etc).
4. Secure a command you will use for toileting ("go potty", peepee, etc) and repeat and reinforce.
5. Provide 100% supervision of your puppy and when unable, crate your puppy (your puppy's natural instinct will prevent it from soiling its own den).
6. Reinforce your command while your puppy is doing its business and give uber-praise after his duties.
7. Choose one spot for your puppy to relieve himself and take him to the same spot every time.
8. Monitor your puppy's washrooming times (if you feed on a regular schedule, your pup will go on a regular schedule).
9. Washroom first thing in the morning, after play or excitement, after waking up and approx. 30 min. after eating.
10. Set your puppy up to have an accident, supervise closely, catch him in the act and provide a learning lesson by disrupting his duty with a loud "aagh" or clap and then take him directly to his relief spot while reinforcing the washroom command.

Housebreaking Charlie

We have been housebreaking Charlie for the last month using the crate with great results. I would say we have had a 95% non-accident rate and the 5% of accidents were because someone elses eyes had to supervise  him during my absence. I am proud to say that I have come to know Charlie's bowel movements very well. Charlie, as well as all dogs, have a short digestive system, and usually require a bowel movement within 5 to 40 minutes post meal. This natural blessing has allowed me to identify a very specific window of when Charlie is about to go. And pardon my French, but I am also able to tell by his plain old derriere. It seems as though slightly before Charlie is about to go, I notice his rear end becomes slightly pink and has a swollen look to the rim. He does a fair about of sniffing, may dart a few sprints and then begins to circle before giving the big heave ho. While he's going, I gently tell him "Good potty" and when he's done give him the big congratulatory pat, release him from his leash and off he goes to play. He goes first thing in the morning, after his lunch and then again in the evening. I'm happy to say there are many signs and signals to notify of Charlie's upcoming bowel movements and to all dogs movements that will give you ample warning that the deed is soon to be done.

Puppy in the House - Introducing Your Pup to Your Home - Slow and Steady

Well it will be a month this Thursday that we welcomed our Charlie Brown, the chocolate havanese, into our family. I can count the number of times on one hand that he has been in our basement and on our second floor. We have limited his activities to the first floor of our home. The limited boundaries aids in both housebreaking and keeping an eye on our little lovebug when outside the crate. I have noticed that when we do bring Charlie to a new area of the home, he instinctively looks to potty after a few minutes of sniffing the new room....which we view as an opportunity for a wonderful "learning lesson". Once he starts, we quickly interrupt his attempt to potty with a loud "aaagh" or clap and scoot him outside to finish his business. More often than not he is not able to finish his business as it seems as though the urge to potty in a new environment may simply be an instinctual response rather than a need to "go". The limited space of the first floor seems more than enough to engage Charlie for now and as his housebreaking progresses we will then consider to bring him for extended times on other floors in our home.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

If You Let Him, He Will Chew

If you let him, he will chew! Responsible pet care includes providing your pup appropriate and healthy opportunities to chew. When we got our instructions from our breeder, we were told no raw hide (not digestible with puppies immature digestive system) and no pig's ears (possibiity of salmonella poisoning) but to provide twist ropes. Charlie never touched a twist rope. We scoured the local pet stores in hopes of finding something that could help him relieve his chewing needs. We came across a brand called Nylabone which offers a line of digestible chewing items for puppies. Charlie gives them 3 thumbs up!

Baby Gates Block Staircases for New Pups

New puppies do not know staircases! If you have an open staircase and are expecting or have a new puppy, consider yard sale hopping to find used baby gates. This is a cheap and inexpensive way to block open staircases. You don't want to invest a whole heap of money in a short-lived puppy proofing measure and you are sure to pick up a gate or two for a couple bucks.

Dog Hair Dryer

So I have washed Charlie a number of times since getting him and each time life gets easier! Easier until we get to the drying part. I have been using my blowdryer to try and blow him out but it is taking ages as i blow a small part, let him take a break and then go back to do another. After doing some research, I realized that not all hair is created equal. A dog's coat is far different than human hair and requires a far different dry. A dog's coat requires a high volume air blow that literally blows the water off the hair. There are a number of pet dryers on the market that do just that, reducing drying time than with a traditional human blow dryer. Depending on your price point, pet dryers fall into the following ranges
$25 - $35 brands such as Andis
$85 - $125 such as the Metro Quick Draw (professional grade) pictured

Puppy Proofing Your Home - Picket Spaces on Railings

When our little Charlie came home, we realized that we had overlooked puppy proofing details in and around railing pickets and staircases. With our Charlie having weighed in at 4 pounds when we got him, we had not realized that he could fit between the pickets of our railings on the second floor. In an effort to aesthetically and economically address the spaces between the pickets we visited our local dollar store and found rolls of black gardening mesh. We wove the mesh in and out of the iron pickets to provide a barrier so Charlie could not fit between the pickets. It blended nicely with the black iron pickets and was aesthetically discreet. We finished ends with black zip ties tied to last picket.

High Value Treats - Freeze Dried Chicken

We have tried a number of treats with our new havanese, but what seems to have the most impact on Charlie are freeze dried chicken treats. High in protein, low in carbohydrates, all natural 100 per cent pure chicken breast chunks are highly digestible and are a great training aid. Liver flavoured treats have also been a hit with Charlie!

The Havanese

The Havanese is a common toy breed known for its exceptional coat and friendly disposition. With spunk and devoted character, the Havanese, commonly known as a velcro dog, fits into any lifestyle. From professional couples to trendy urban families and the laid back suburbanite, the havanese will best suit those who need to be loved and adored. My family and I first fell in love with a wonderful sable havanese pup my good friends adopted into their family. We had been in the throws of adopting a furry friends for about 18 months and originally were destined for a mini schnauzer. After 18 months of deliberation we concluded that a havanese was our furry friend of choice. We were immediately attracted to the rare chocolate colour offered in the breed and with much ado began researching breeders both nationally and internationally. With few choices within Canadian boundaries, Mystykalsy on the east coast and Esenavah on the west, finding a solid chocolate pup was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We ventured south and found a good selection of quality breeders. 

The Best Pup Play Toy

All new puppy families are always searching for the best new play toy for pups. We've all spent about forty dollars too much in toys that our little wonders don't even take a second look at. I just stumbled on the ultimate toy! Try your pup with an empty water bottle. Remove the lid and wrapper and give the bottle a little squeeze and your pup will have tons of fun listening to the crackling plastic as he tussles and fights to overpower this inexpensive little toy!

Neighbourhood Cat Spraying My Doorstep

So, this is day 3 of the the neighbourhood troll who has since started spraying my front doorstep! Bewildered as to what was leaving their mark on my front doorstep I consulted with the Resident Expert who concluded that one of the neighbourhood cats was obviously ticked that Charlie our new pup had taken residence at our home. So, in an effort to take back his throne, the vagrant cat decided to mark his territory every night on our front door step. In an effort to remove the mark and dissuade the cat from coming back, I used a household cleaning product to first clean the mess and then finished with a pet masking spray to see if I could rid the step of the scent. The cat came back. Resident expert suggested using coffee grounds in the front bed and doorstep to deter the spraying cat.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

John Paul Pet - Paul Mitchells Pet Grooming Products

Finding the best grooming products is like finding a needle in a haystack. If you are anything like me, I am all about scent, scent, scent! First and foremost, I wont purchase a grooming product until I find the scent I love. I want my dog smelling clean and fresh and like he just came out of the dryer. Second on my list of priorities is finding a good quality product that will make my darling's coat, soft, manageable and shiny.