“5 Question Friday” is a new feature on That Mutt where I interview people who work with dogs.
Today we have Barbara Rivers from K9s Over Coffee, a dog blog about raw food, recipes, exercise and more. She is also writing about raw dog food regularly here on That Mutt!
Barbara owns her own dog walking and pet sitting business in North Carolina and feeds her two boxer mixes a raw diet.
She wrote an ebook called “20 raw meals for dogs.” It is a great resource for raw dog food recipes and learning how to feed a homemade raw diet.
Here were my 5 questions for Barbara:
That Mutt: What’s the worst raw feeding advice you’ve heard?
Barbara Rivers: That it makes the dogs’ human family sick. It’s really no different handling raw meat for doggie meal prep than it is handling raw meat for my own meals.
As long as common sense hygiene is practiced, no one should get sick. I wash my hands with hot, soapy water right after handling the pups’ raw meals and wash down any kitchen counter surface the meal prep was done on.
TM: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever encountered on a dog walk?
Barbara: That would be a shopping cart in the middle of a stroll through our rural neighborhood. We snapped a picture, of course, and posted it on social media 😉
TM: What’s something you’re doing that you’re most proud of?
Barbara: This one is only indirectly dog related – I’m learning to stand on my own two feet, financially. It does involve working in the pet service industry though – by running my own dog walking/pet sitting business and starting to work part time at a pet resort.
TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?
Barbara: You betcha!
I will say though that I was very strict about the pups not sleeping on my bed for the first 4 years of their lives. They did sleep in my bedroom, but on their own doggie beds next to my bed.
After experiencing some trouble in my relationship, the pups were allowed on my bed which I found to be, and still do, very comforting.
They’re sleeping on a doggie blanket that gets washed about once a week.
TM: Is there anything you want to say to That Mutt’s readers?
Barbara: Keep being the awesome audience you are! It’s always inspiring to read through the many comments Lindsay’s posts receive from you all.
Thank you, Barbara!
If you have any questions for Barbara on feeding raw dog food or on owning a pet sitting business, leave them in the comments below!
We’re all drawn to different types of dogs, whether it’s a certain breed like the German shepherd or a group of dogs like terriers. Or maybe it’s “giant breeds,” “mutts” or “rescue dogs.”
There’s something special about all these dogs, and those of us who live with them – whether it’s pitbulls, border collies or shelter dogs – know there’s something unique about them as a group.
So my question for you is:
What do you want people to know about “your” breed? Or your “type” of dog?
What misunderstandings are there around Australian shepherds or French bulldogs that you’d like people to know?
For example, I have a weimaraner and a black Lab mix.
Since buying a weimaraner I’ve heard and read a few comments about the breed that are not favorable.
Those comments are along the lines of:
“Weimaraners are neurotic.”
And, “Weims are cat killers.”
These are not comments I’ve read or heard once or twice. They’re generalizations about weimaraners that are repeated on blogs, forums, rescue sites, breeder sites and from professional trainers and veterinarians.
At least three professionals have said to me in an irritated voice, “Why did you get a weimaraner?” referring to my dog’s energy.
This made me feel bad about my dog, like there’s something wrong with him for having energy. Or that there’s something wrong with me for choosing the breed or for not “reeling in” his enthusiasm.
So … here’s what I’d like to say in defense of weimaraners:
1. Weimaraners are not “neurotic.”
In general, most weims have a lot of energy and they need to run every day. Some weims feel nervous or excited in public if they’re still in training, but they can be calm in the house. Some weimaraners can live in an apartment or small space with the right owner.
But please don’t assume every Lab or Lab mix is good with kids, good with strangers or easy to train.
Not all Labs make a good family pet or a good first dog.
Some Labs are aggressive around strangers, afraid of children or challenging to train.
My black Lab mix is perfect in many ways and sets a good example for “Labs” everywhere, but sometimes people put too much trust in a dog’s breed. Kids come bounding up to my dog as their parents smile simply because they see a “Lab” and they assume he’s safe.
Labs and golden retrievers can be great, but they can also have a lot of energy, excitement and nervousness. They’re prone to jumping on people and just like weimaraners they also need plenty of training, rules and exercise.
Dogs are dogs, and of course there are consistencies among breeds or groups, but it’s not fair to make generalizations. Sometimes there are myths or stereotypes around certain breeds that are not helpful, especially for the dogs waiting in shelters or rescue groups.
Hi everybody, “5 Question Friday” is a new feature I’m planning on That Mutt where I feature people who work with dogs in different ways.
Today we have Colby Morita, the blogger from the site Puppy In Training. Colby has been raising and training service dog puppies since October 2006.
I had five questions for Colby:
That Mutt: What’s the worst puppy raising advice you’ve heard?
Colby Morita: Back in the 90s, several of my college roommates brought home puppies. I’m not sure what they were thinking because raising and training a puppy should not be taken lightly.
Unfortunately, they did not do much to get their puppies acclimated to their new home.
Back then I knew nothing about raising a puppy, but I took it upon myself to get these two little pups, affectionately known as Stinky and Pepper, used to their new lives. I was able to teach them some basic obedience like “sit” and “down,” but potty training them was a beast!
Looking back, I know why potty training was so difficult. I was advised to rub our puppys’ noses in their accidents. Needless to say, this archaic method of training never worked for either Stinky or Pepper. This advice has sat with me for so long I even included it as advice to avoid when potty training your puppy.
TM: What’s something you do regularly that other people think is crazy?
Colby: Most people think raising a puppy for 18 months then giving him away is crazy.
In fact, anytime I try to recruit new puppy raisers the #1 reason they say they would not puppy raise is because they think giving the puppy back would be too difficult.
Be patient. Puppies don’t get trained overnight. It can take weeks, months, years, to accomplish your training goals.
Guide Dog puppies aren’t fully trained until they are about 2 to 2 1/2 years old. Be consistent, stick to routines. Your puppy will learn new behaviors, good and bad, much quicker if you’re consistent and stick to routines.
TM: Is there anything you want to say to That Mutt’s readers?
Colby: In the near future we plan on starting our own Puppy In Training Puppy Raiser Program to help individuals with disabilities regain their independence.
If any That Mutt readers are interested in raising a service dog puppy, please let me know by leaving a comment below or send us a message through the contact form on the Puppy In Training blog.
Thank you, Colby!
If anyone has any questions about raising or training a service dog puppy, leave them in the comments!
When I walk my weimaraner Remy, I try to rotate between training him to walk at my side and giving him freedom to walk in front.
Most dog trainers seem to think it’s OK to rotate between “training” and “freedom” because it’s unreasonable to expect a dog to heel or walk perfectly at your side for an entire 60-minute walk.
Heck, it’s hard for some dogs to focus for even 2 minutes! We’re asking them to walk painfully slow and ignore everything interesting.
So, my questions to you are:
1. Do you rotate between “training” and “freedom” on your dog walks?
2. How do you communicate to your dog the difference between the two?
First I want to comment that I don’t think it’s as simple as “training” vs. “freedom.” Remy and I have at least 3 different “modes” on our walks.
We have 3 walking modes:
Mode 1: True training walks. This is where Remy and I are both really focused and we work on heeling and obedience commands like stand, stay and down. We do this for about 10 minutes most mornings.
Mode 2: Power walks where I hold Remy at “heel.” To be honest, he’s pulling almost the entire time when we do this. I still tell him “heel” but I’m keeping him in place with a tight leash. About 50% of our walks are like this, so a good 3 hours per week.
Mode 3: Freedom walks. I let Remy walk in front of me, pee on things, sniff, etc. He’s usually pulling, although not hard. This makes about the other 50% of our walks, so at least 3 hours per week.
I wanted to point out the above to give you an idea of what our walks look like. It’s not so simple as “training” vs “freedom” because of those walks where I’m holding him at a heel.
*In the comments, let me know if you have similar “modes” and how often do you spend time in each?
How does your dog know when it’s OK to “check out” from training?
Here are two ideas that can potentially make things clearer for you both:
1. Use two different commands/cues.
One word for when you want your dog to walk at your side. One word for when you want to let your dog take a break.
My words are “HEEL” for working on heeling and “BREAK” to signal take a break.
I usually say it’s best not to repeat a command, but when working on “Heel” I repeat it a lot. I also repeat “Break” when I want my dog to have freedom.
2. Choose two collars or a harness and a collar.
Clip the leash to one collar or harness for training and to the other collar or harness when you’re not training.
My friend who is a professional dog trainer (Hi, Christine!) suggested it can be helpful for a dog if you clip the leash to the front of your dog’s harness for training and to the top of a harness when you’re not training.
What do you guys think? Would this be helpful for your dog?
For example, she said she uses the Freedom harness for her dog because it has a ring for the leash in two places – at the dog’s chest and on the dog’s back. So with that one tool she can easily switch the leash from one spot to the other.
Most of us don’t use a Freedom harness (you can order one here), but the same concept could apply with any two collars or a harness. Christine is a positive reinforcement trainer, and she highly recommends the Freedom harness.
I’m trying this concept using a harness and a collar.
I have an EasyWalk harness, which is also designed to limit a dog’s pulling. It has a ring for the leash at the dog’s chest.
For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been having Remy wear his harness and prong collar at the same time, and I clip the leash to one or the other depending on what we’re doing. You could use whatever collar you want – a flat nylon collar, a slip collar or a Gentle Leader.
When I want Remy to remain at my side, I keep the leash clipped to his prong collar and say “Heel.”
When I want to give Remy freedom to walk in front, I clip the leash to his harness and say “Break!”
After trying this for a week, it has removed stress for ME.
Physically switching the leash gives me permission to check out from training.
Rotating between the two tools has definitely helped Remy and I both feel more relaxed.
When we’re working, we’re working. When we’re not, we’re not!
This reminded me of how some working dogs (guide dogs, police K9s, etc.) wear a harness or vest when they’re working or training. This helps signal to the public that the dog is working but it’s also a signal to the dog.
There are cons to using this method:
1.There are risks to clipping the leash on and off. Some dogs might dart away if you’re not careful. (Be careful!)
2.Your dog has to wear more gear. Remy wears his flat nylon collar, his prong collar and his harness so it gets to be a lot! No big deal in our case but it could get annoying depending on what you’re doing.
Sometimes if I know I’m not going to work on training I just leave the prong collar home and we use the harness the whole time or vice versa.
I also want to mention, you can use whatever two collars/harnesses/tools you want.
You don’t have to use a harness. You could use a Gentle Leader or a Halti for training and your dog’s flat collar for freedom walks. Or any combination. Your dog will likely pick up on the difference if you’re consistent.
Now, I’m curious what the rest of you think of these ideas.
Would you use two different collars? One for training and one for freedom? Or do you think that’s making it overly complicated? I’m not sure if I will continue it or not, it’s just something I’m trying for a few weeks.
Do you use two different commands/cues for training walks vs. freedom?
Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading and participating. Please share this post with others if you found it helpful.
Five Questions with Kimberly from Keep the Tail Wagging
That Mutt: What’s something you believe in that other people think is crazy?
Kimberly Gauthier: I believe that I’ve seen ghosts—a few times.
Sydney has growled at a spirit in the house; Scout has dropped a ball for one. A teenager died in a car accident near our property, I saw him walk across our porch that night. My father has visited me. And Blue comes back to visit us from time to time.
My boyfriend thinks I’m nuts and will mumble “this should have been a first date conversation.”
TM: What is the worst raw feeding advice you’ve heard?
Kimberly: The worst advice I’ve heard came out of my own mouth and I owe the person on the receiving end a big apology.
He messaged me about buying a family pack of chicken and planned to start raw feeding that evening. The worst advice was telling someone that they had to start their dog on a balanced diet and that’s not true. You want to slowly introduce some dogs to a raw food diet and he was doing it right by starting with one cut of meat—he could add liver, offal and new proteins every week or so as his dogs acclimated to the new diet. #KickingMyself
TM: What’s something weird that happens to you on a regular basis?
Kimberly: I hate the sound of people sniffing big globs of phlegm and swallowing.
I’m sure there aren’t many people who enjoy the sound, but I absolutely hate it because my mom had a friend who did this when I was a kid. It was so gross.
I must have said something horrible as a child, because Karma has arranged it so that I often end up sitting next to this guy who sniffles big globs of phlegm and swallows it. I’ve had to change cars to avoid him—it doesn’t always work.
TM: Do your dogs sleep in your bed?
Kimberly: Sometimes. My boyfriend and I sometimes work different schedules and if he has to get up early, I’ll sleep in our guest room so that he gets a full 8 hours of sleep, otherwise he’s kind of a jerk.
The dogs meet me at the bottom of the stairs on these nights because they know they get to join me when I sleep in the guest room.
TM: Anything you want to say to That Mutt’s readers?
Kimberly: Let’s improve our relationships in the pet lover community by keeping an open mind and asking questions before passing judgment.
And, when you finish reading this, please check out my new book, “A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs,” which is currently now available on Amazon. It’s a book that covers everything I’ve learned about feeding raw to four dogs over the past 4-1/2 years.
Blogger Lindsay Stordahl Lindsay Stordahl (with her mutt Ace) is the blogger behind That Mutt.
Blogger Julia Thomson Julia Thomson (with her mutt Baxter) writes regularly for That Mutt.
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