Friday, November 21, 2014

6 Ways To Prevent Your Dog's Inappropriate Chewing

Have you ever come home and been stopped dead in your tracks upon finding that your dog has ravaged a piece of furniture, your favorite shoes, a rug, or even his own bed?   Don’t get angry, get proactive!   Inappropriate chewing is easily curtailed if you take preventive measures.

Puppies need to chew when they’re teething, similar to the way human babies do.  It’s also a way for dogs to investigate unfamiliar objects in their environment.   A Dog’s need to chew is natural and instinctual; one of the reasons for chewing was to keep a dog’s jaws strong and clean their teeth and gums.    The urge to chew doesn’t end when your dog becomes an adult, it continues throughout his life.
Isis did the Walk of Shame after ripping up poor Phoebe's bed.  I neglected to spray it with Bitter Apple spray; shame on Mommy.
There’s good chewing and there’s bad chewing.  Bad chewing is when your dog chews inappropriately and destructively.  There are several reasons for destructive chewing.

BOREDOM: Your dog may simply be bored.  He doesn’t have enough things to keep him occupied at home.

EXCESS ENERGY: Your dog may not have burned enough energy through physical activity.  He needs to release that pent up energy somehow and your couch might end up being just the thing!
My Snowdog gets even more energetic as the weather cools down!
ANXIETY: If your dog is anxious; separation anxiety or is just general anxiety, he needs to find a way to relieve his anxiety.  Attacking your shoes in a frenzy may be the only way he knows to get relief!

STRESS: Your dog may become stressed by changes in the household.  This can be anything from work being done in the house, guests staying over, moving, a new baby or pet joining the family, or anything else that is out of the ordinary.  He may not understand what’s happening or what to expect next and that could stress him out.

Here are 6 Ways to prevent inappropriate chewing

EXERCISE: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times; A WELL EXERCISED DOG IS A GOOD DOG!   Keep your dog well exercised with daily walks; quick potty walks are not enough.  Take him for longer interesting walks that burn energy and include lots of interesting smells.  Vary your route to keep it interesting.   Hikes or bike rides are even better.  
PLAY DATES: Arrange play dates with one or two other dogs a few days a week.  Dogs playing will go at it until they plop down with exhaustion!  When I invite Isis’ Golden Retriever friend Cooper over for playtime in our yard, I know I’ll have a seriously tired dog afterwards.  That’s saying a lot considering how much energy a Husky has!

Isis plays hard with her "boyfriend" Cooper!
DOG PARKS: Take your dog to a dog park.  If you work, go early morning or late evening before dark.  The dog park is both mentally and physically stimulating.  So many dogs to sniff and play with!  It’s like a play date times ten.

Isis meets up with her Husky friends at the dog park
DOGGIE DAYCAMP: On days when we need Isis to really burn energy but we don’t have the time – or the stamina – to exercise her we bring her to doggie daycamp.  Doggie daycamp is like a controlled dog park activity that lasts all day.  When my husband and I were both working full time putting in long hours, we took Isis to doggie daycamp 2 or 3 times a week.  One of us would drop her off at 7am on the way to work and pick her up before they closed in the evening.  It’s a great convenience.  Isis plays hard in daycamp.  When we pick her up, she's content and dead dog tired! 
TOYS: Make sure your dog has toys that will keep him occupied throughout the day.  Rotating toys will keep them fresh in your dog’s mind and will be more exciting each time he gets to play with them.  I keep the toy basket out of reach and out of sight.  I randomly give them 2 or 3 to play with at a time.  They get excited each time they see their “new” toy again!

Interactive toys will keep your dog mentally stimulated.  A Wobbler toy filled with some kibble or treats, or a puzzle toy are good choices.
Isis & Phoebe love this puzzle toy!  I hide treats under the pieces, they figure out how to move the pieces to get to the treats
BITTER SPRAY: Bitter spray is your friend!  You can spritz it on furniture and other objects your dog may have taken a liking to.  The day I brought Phoebe home I was horrified to glimpse her putting her mouth on the rungs of my dining room chair to have a chew.  I gave her a firm “Ah, Ah!!”, but she kept going back to the chair.  I broke out my trusty Bitter Apple spray and proceeded to hose down each and every chair leg in the house!  I also sprayed around the couch and pillows.  Bitter spray has been a savior in our home.  When Isis was a puppy I went through tons of it.  I’ve even sprayed shrubs and plants I didn’t want the dogs to snack on.  Keep up the spraying for a few days and your dog will quickly realized that the item he so desired to chew on now tastes disgusting!
Has your dog ever eaten the couch, your shoes or other object?  How did you handle it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UPDATE: Long Term Shelter Dogs Finally Adopted!

During October, Adopt A Shelter Pet month, I spotlighted some very special adoptable dogs.  Today, I'm happy to share that most of the dogs spotlighted on my blog have been adopted into loving homes!!  I'd like to thank each and every one of you who shared my posts and retweeted my tweets to help get these wonderful dogs the exposure they needed to find homes!  I can't say whether or not our efforts alone got them adopted, but I know how important it was for these dogs to be SEEN; to get out of the shadows and into the limelight!  

Khalua: ADOPTED!!
5 year old KHALUA was surrendered to the shelter by her owner 8 months ago. Although she doesn't do well with other animals, Khalua deserves a Happily Ever After.  She has that now after finally being adopted 2 weeks ago!

Gator: ADOPTED!!
6 year old Pit Bull mix GATOR, who had been at the shelter for over 7 months, finally found his Furever home last week!  Way to go Gator!  Must have been the hat that did the trick (-:

Cascade: ADOPTED!!
I was pawsitively elated when I arrived at the shelter this morning to find that my darling girl, 6 year old CASCADE, was adopted yesterday!  A staff member told me that a lovely woman came in asking to meet Cascade after reading about her online.  After spending quality time together the woman adopted her!  This really made my day, as Cascade had been at the shelter since June.  I'm SO happy for Cascade and her new mommy!  I'll miss you my sweet girl, be happy in your new home!

Charon: Finally out of the shelter, being loved and cared for by a rescue
CHARON, a 6 year old Pit Bull mix had been at the shelter for 7 months.  He was adopted, but returned the very next day because he wasn't housetrained. He also has arthritis.  A wonderful Rescue organization stepped forward to help, getting him out of the shelter and into a home environment.  I know they'll take great care of Charon and find him the right Furever home!

CLAUS, a 2 year old Boxer mix has been at the shelter since July and is still waiting for a Furever home.  I hope this sweet boy finds a loving home soon!

I hope you don't mind that my Wordless Wednesday is a Wordy Wednesday - I really wanted to share this news with all of you and thank you for helping me get the word out about these dogs!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Adopt A Senior Dog Month: Seniors Adopting Seniors!

November is ADOPT A SENIOR PET MONTH!  I love when seniors (the human kind) come to the shelter to adopt senior dogs.  I think they understand and relate better to older dogs than many other people.  They understand the benefits of having an older dog, and they know the value of having a few more years under your belt!

Choosing an older dog rather than a puppy or a very young dog, and carefully considering the breed, will help you find a dog that is the right fit for your golden years.  Here are some tips for choosing a dog once your lifestyle has mellowed:

The sweet, mellow Japanese Chin.  Photo source: Wikipedia
Choose a breed of dog that isn't high energy and one that isn't going to drag you down the street during walks.  For example, Huskies and Border Collies are strong, high energy dogs.  The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Japanese Chin however, are much more mellow!

Siberian Huskies are strong, super high energy dogs that require LOTS of exercise!  This breed is not for the faint of heart.  They also shed like crazy, but I love 'em!
Many dog breeds such as the Havanese or French Bulldog don't require a lot of living space or lots of exercise.  If you still lead a very active lifestyle however, Golden Retrievers are active dogs who are easy to train and have a wonderful temperament. If you have the time and desire to volunteer, Golden Retrievers make great Therapy Dogs too!

My girl Phoebe, a Havanese/Lhasa Apso mix is a total cuddle-bug!  She was about 5 years old or so when we adopted her
Some dog breeds are easier to train than others.  My Husky, Isis, was a challenge to train but my Havanese-mix, Phoebe, is so eager to please that she learned basic obedience commands on her own, just by watching me with Isis!

If shedding and the cost of grooming are a concern, look for a dog that's lower maintenance.  The Keeshond is a good choice.  They are a fairly mellow breed with a wonderful temperament.  Looking at a Keeshond, you'd never know that they shed very little and are surprisingly low maintenance.

My friend Paulette's beautiful Keeshond, Tebo.  He and Isis are good friends and both are Therapy Dogs.  Keeshond's are surprisingly low maintenance!

Other dog breeds that have gentle temperaments, lower energy levels, and are easier to train are; the Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie), Bichon Frise, Miniature Poodle, and the Papillion to name a few.

If you are ready to find a senior Best Furfriend Forever, search for breed-specific rescue organizations as well as shelters. One of the benefits of rescue organizations is that they usually have a smaller number of dogs than shelters.  Their dogs typically live in a home environment which helps rescue staff get to know each dog individually.  They can typically provide a lot of information about each of their dogs and will help you select the right dog for your lifestyle.  Refer to my list of 8 questions to ask before you adopt a dog, as you search for your new BFF!

Click here for more benefits of adopting a senior dog, and to read about my favorite senior dog adoption - a 10 year old blind dog adopted by a military Veteran!

There's a senior dog out there who needs you, so go out and  fetch him!

Do you have a story to share about a senior dog you've adopted?  Leave us a comment, we love hearing from you!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


During our last cross country road trip, we happened upon this rest stop in the Southwest and wanted to get our dogs out of the car for a potty break.

One of these signs is not like the other, one of the these signs just does NOT belong!
Barely 3 feet away from the Pet Exercise area is a sign that warns about scorpions and snakes!  Things that make ya go HUH?!  Needless to say, it was a really fast potty break.  If you're planning to travel with your dog, be aware of potentially dangerous areas for your pet, even at rest stops!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I hope everyone enjoyed Veteran's Day today.  I am in awe of the brave men and women who serve.  They are far braver than I could ever aspire to be!

On this Veteran's Day I thank the men and women who served in all branches of the U.S. Military.  You make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy our precious freedom and for America to maintain it's strength.

I am filled with gratitude to all those who serve, but my heart was with one special Veteran today -   my Dad.  My Dad was a WWII Marine.  He received the Purple Heart following the battle of Tarawa.  He was always Marine tough, but he adored his family and would have moved Heaven and earth for us. 

My Dad passed away 2 years ago, just shy of his 95th birthday.  I remember how he always encouraged me to be independent, to live life on my own terms, and not be afraid to take chances. When I was young and single I wanted to buy my first house.  My Mom was aghast!  Not many single women bought houses 20 years ago, they waited until they were married.  She argued with me, saying it was too much responsibility and risk and tried to discourage me from buying the house.  My Dad, a man of few words, pulled me aside out of Mom's earshot and said "You buy that house, it's a good investment.  I know you can do it".  He was right, it was the smartest investment I ever made!  There are so many stories of strength and encouragement from my Dad that I'm remembering today.  My only regret is that we never got to take him to see the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C.  He would have loved it.  If there's a WWII survivor in your life, consider sending them on one of the free Honor Flights to see the monument dedicated to their service.

Happy VETERAN'S DAY everyone!  To all who have served, you have my eternal gratitude!

We can't all be heroes.  Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by. - Will Rogers
Here are links to 3 of my favorite Veteran's Day blog posts I'd like to share with you:

Barking From The Bayou:
Jones Natural Chews:
Oz The Terrier:

I didn't realize Remembrance Day is celebrated in Canada on the same day as Veteran's Day.  I'm adding a link to this beautiful post from Love Is Being Owned By a Husky and wishing a belated Happy Remembrance Day to our Canadian friends!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Dog The Therapist: Teaching Kids About Fitness

Isis and I have been having lots of fun participating in the Paws2Read program at our local library.  If you've read some of my previous My Dog The Therapist posts, you know that it's a reading program for children, where the kids read out load to a Therapy Dog to help improve their reading skills.

Posters hanging in the library reading room encourage kids to READ!
The kids select a book of their choice, or bring their own book to read to Isis.  When we head to the library, I always bring a couple of books myself just in case.  Sometimes a child will select a book that is either too challenging for them to read or well below their reading level.  If the book is too challenging, the child struggles a lot and reading the book becomes an unpleasant chore for them.  If the book is too easy, the child gets through it really fast and it's boring for them.  Rather than send the child back out to search for another book, I offer them one of mine.  This saves time because each kid only gets 15 minutes to read to the dog.

Isis in the library reading room with the book Getting Healthy with Harley.
Recently, I added a wonderful book to my repertoire.  It's called Getting Healthy with Harley, by Dorothy Wills-Raftery, and beautifully illustrated by Michelle Littler.  I won the book in a contest sponsored by Dorothy on her blog, FIVESIBES.  Yes, Dorothy actually has 5 gorgeous Siberian Huskies!  The book is the second in a series of children's stories based on the lives of her Huskies; Gibson, Wolf, Chloe, Bandit, and of course, Harley!   Getting Healthy With Harley is about Harley getting inspired by a visit to his veterinarian to motivate his Husky siblings to get fit and healthy too! 

Isis is showing you one of the pages from Getting Healthy with Harley
The story is both educational and delightful!  Several of the kids in our reading program got to read the story to Isis and really liked it.  One such child was an 11 year old boy who came in with his 5 year old brother, who was not able to read, and their Mom.  The older boy was a good reader and had gotten through his book quickly.  He still had some time so I asked if they would like to read Getting Healthy with Harley.  The younger boy asked his older brother to read the story to him.  Both brothers sat closely on either side of Isis to read the story. 

The boys really liked the book, especially because it's about Huskies and Isis is a Husky herself!  When they finished, I thanked them for reading the story to Isis and told them what a good job they had done.  They high-fived each other.  I then had Isis high-five both of them w/ her paw!  They got such a kick out of that!  The boys and their Mom all laughed and Mom took pictures of them with Isis!  As we said our goodbyes I asked if they liked the story.  They younger boy nodded vigorously and said YES he liked it a lot.  Although it was below his reading level, the older brother said he thought it was a good book too and clearly enjoyed reading it to his little brother.

Note: I did not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for writing about this book.

Does your public library have a Therapy Dog reading program?  If not, have you asked about it?  Leave us a comment, we always want to hear from you!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: What Does YOUR Dog Love Most About Fall?

Fall is such a beautiful time of year.  We moved from the East coast to the desert Southwest 8 years ago but we miss the change in seasons, especially Fall!  Both Isis and Phoebe are from Arizona, but when we take our frequent trips up North or back East they love to experience the different seasons!  Here's what they love about Fall.

LEAVES! When the leaves fall down & swirl around them, Isis & Phoebe are mesmerized!  This photo was taken during a visit to East coast, in October

EMPTY BEACHES!  The beach may be too chilly for us peeps but it's perfect for dogs!  Here's a pic of Isis during a romp on the beach in Southampton, NY.  See my post on 100 Places To See With Your Dog: The Hamptons, NY

HIKING!  Fall is the perfect time for a hike with your dog; the weather is cool and comfortable and in many parts of the country the Fall foliage is breathtaking!  We love to head North to Sedona for fabulous hiking!  See my post on 100 Places To See With Your Dog: Sedona, AZ

Fall is a great time to hike right here in Phoenix too!  The blistering hot Summer is over and temps are warm and comfortable.  Perfect hiking weather!  This photo of Isis was taken during one of our many hikes at Phoenix North Mountain. 

What does YOUR dog love most about Fall?  Please leave us a comment, we love hearing from you!!