This post is sponsored by DogNation.net.
DogNation.net’s Best Friend’s Friend Contest is seeking nominations for 2016’s “best” shelter or rescue group. It is accepting nominations now through Dec. 31. Make a nomination here.
You could win a $500 donation for your favorite rescue group or shelter by simply taking 2 minutes to make a nomination.
The top three winners will be selected through online voting.
The prizes include:
1st Place: $500 donation
2nd Place: $300 donation
3rd Place: $100 donation
The voting will take place online at DogNation.net in January and February. You’ll be able to vote for one group up to once per day.
Click here to nominate a shelter or rescue.
The organization must be a non-profit, typically a 501(c)(3).
Additional benefits to the winners:
- The donation will be made in the name of the person who nominated the group (you!)
- The first-place shelter will receive a permanent link to its website from DogNation.net.
- All winners will receive a digital medal (pictured) to display on the shelter’s own site.
How to nominate your favorite shelter:
Anyone can make a nomination. It only takes about 2 minutes, and you don’t have to work at the shelter or even be a volunteer.
1. Fill out the nomination form here. You’ll need to enter the name and website for the shelter or rescue group you are nominating. You can also enter an email for the organization.
2. Explain why you’re nominating that group. A sentence or two is all you need.
3. Enter your name and email for contact purposes. This is so the contest can verify your nomination. Make sure to check your email for a confirmation link. If you don’t see one, check your spam or email Lindsay@ThatMutt.com and I’ll help you confirm your nomination.
And if you’d like, leave a comment to let me know which group you nominated. That way I can tell people to vote for your group in January!
The online voting process:
The first, second and third place winners will be selected through online voting which starts Jan. 1 on DogNation.net.
Anyone can vote for one entry up to once per day Jan. 1 through Feb. 28. Encourage your friends to vote! I’ll send out an email reminder once the voting starts in January.
One unique thing about the Best Friend’s Friend Contest is you won’t be able to see how many votes each organization has until the very end. This is so people won’t know if their organization more votes than others or fewer votes than others. Since voting can occur daily, the leaders will likely change all the time. Results will not be announced until the last vote at the end of February.
More about DogNation.net
Dog Nation is a website maintained by Rodney Blow with information on dog breeds, dog training, nutrition and more.
Rodney is a follower of That Mutt, and he and his wife have multiple rescue dogs. He said he decided to create the annual Best Friend’s Friend Contest in order to support some of the most dedicated shelters and rescue groups around the country. Opening up a contest and voting process allows his readers and fellow dog lovers to choose the organizations they feel are most deserving of his donations.
Overview of the Best Friend’s Friend Contest:
- Nominations take place through Dec. 31.
- Online voting runs Jan. 1 through Feb. 28. There will be a first, second and third place winner.
- Three winners will be announced early March on DogNation.net.
Ready to make a nomination?
Let me know which group you plan to support!
Click here nominate your favorite shelter.
-Lindsay, Ace & Remy
What is Mighty Paw?
Mighty Paw is a company that designs high-quality products that make it easier (and more fun) to be active with your dog.
My weimaraner Remy and I have been using the hands-free bungee leash from Mighty Paw for running and hiking. The leash comes in a 3-foot version and a 4-foot version and clips to a light-weight, durable waist belt.
This post is sponsored by Mighty Paw. Follow the steps on the giveaway form at the end of the post (Rafflecopter) to enter to win a free hands-free dog leash and padded dog collar. 3 winners. Click here.
Mighty Paw hands free bungee leash review
My thoughts on the hands free bungee leash:
I did not expect to enjoy using a hands free leash because I’m a stickler on keeping my dogs at a tight “heel” and keeping them under control.
However, I found it enjoyable and relaxing to use the hands free leash on rural hikes and runs with my weimaraner Remy. This leash keeps me focused on enjoying time with my dog without nagging at him or worrying about perfection.
Sometimes when I just let him do his own thing, he falls into a nice pace at my side anyway. And if I need to grab the leash for a moment, it’s still easy to do so.
I like using this leash for running in the country when there are not other dogs or people in our path. My puppy does not have proper leash manners yet so I don’t use this leash for walking (he pulls). You certainly could if you have a well-behaved dog.
We recently took a trip to Yosemite National Park, and I enjoyed using the hands free leash for hiking with Remy.
What is the cost of the leash?
Use code MP20Mutt for 20% off anything in Mighty Paw’s Amazon store. Click here.
The hands free bungee dog leash starts at just $19.99 on Amazon. The cost goes up a bit depending on color or length.
The leash comes in either black or gray & green. There is a 3-foot version and a 4-foot version. I have the 3-foot gray & green version.
What’s unique about the hands free leash?
I like how the bungee in the leash absorbs the majority of the tension from Remy’s pulling, even if he darts in another direction. However, it maintains enough strength to keep him “reeled” in. (Specifically, the bungee has 14” of “spring.”) The nylon is also weather proof with reflective stitching for safety after dark.
The leash has a clip on each end so it’s easy to clip on and off the waist belt if you decide to use it as a regular leash or clip the leash around something as a temporary tie-out.
The waist band has two D-rings and the leash has a D-ring too so there’s lots of flexibility on what you can do.
Finally, if for some reason you’re not satisfied with the leash, Mighty Paw offers a 100% money back guarantee for 90 days.
Pros of the hands free leash:
- High-quality and affordable (starts at just $19.99)
- Appealing colors
- High-quality, lightweight yet durable
- Holds up to strong pullers and dogs up to 100 pounds or so
- Multi-purpose due to multiple clips and D-rings
- Allows you to maintain proper running form
- Gives you and your dog more freedom while you’re running or hiking
- Reflective stitching
- Weatherproof material
- With any hand-free leash, you obviously have less control of the dog.
- The product does encourage my high-energy weimaraner puppy to pull.
Would I buy this leash?
Yes. I never thought I would appreciate a hands free leash because, like I said, I’m firm on making my dogs heel. However, this leash surprised me. I really enjoy using it with Remy for running and hiking in the country, and the price is affordable.
Would I recommend the leash to others?
Yes, if you’re looking for a hands free leash for running, hiking or even walking, this is a high-quality product I highly recommend.
Use code MP20Mutt for 20% off anything in Mighty Paw’s Amazon store.
Giveaway – Win a FREE hands free leash and padded dog collar
Mighty Paw is giving away a FREE hands-free bungee dog leash and a padded dog collar to THREE lucky readers of That Mutt. *The winners have been selected.
Just fill out the giveaway form below (Rafflecopter) and follow the easy entry options such as leaving a comment or signing up for Mighty Paw’s email list.
(Anyone signed up for the $7/mo reward or higher on Patreon will automatically be entered into this giveaway.)
I’ll choose 3 winners at random on Saturday Dec. 10 and announce the winners in That Mutt’s email on Sunday. Sign up for That Mutt’s training emails here.
Does your dog want in on the drawing?
Let me know in the comments!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Note: This post is sponsored by Green Bark Gummies dog treats and Pipeline Pet Products.
Is your dog too smart? Here’s what I mean …
I have a problem.
My Weimaraner Remy speaks English.
Well, not really … but he’s the type of dog where I’m going to have to start spelling out W-A-L-K unless I plan on going for a walk right this second.
Ok, no big deal.
But here’s an example of a real adjustment I need to make for Remy:
His release word (to break from sit, down or stay) can no longer be “OK!”
“OK” is too common of a word. Meaning, if my dog hears “OK” in a conversation across the room, he’ll break from position.
Even if someone’s quietly talking on the phone like, “Jim, OK, that sounds good I’ll be there at 7.”
My dog hears: “Blerp, OK!!!!!!! Bla, bla, blerp.”
Now, you could argue that my dog should be taught that the release cue only applies when it’s coming from me while making eye contact. This works for my more mellow dog Ace who rarely challenges anything.
Or, I could just pick a different word.
Something like, “Free!” or “Break!” (Any word would work.)
How to get your dog to stay until you release him
Dogs need to know that “stay” really means “Stay until I release you.”
Otherwise, it’s a guessing game for them and you stand there repeating stay … stay, stay.
Just say “stay” once. Then release with whatever word you choose.
If you don’t have a release word for your dog yet, just pick one now and get started. Do you have a new puppy or new dog? Perfect.
(If you have a release word already, let me know what word you use.)
Rewarding my dog with treats while he’s still staying
It’s natural for dog owners to reward their dogs with treats immediately after the dog does something “good.”
However, when you’re working on the basics like sit, down and stay, it’s better to calmly give a treat while the dog is still staying.
That way, your smarty-pants dog won’t try to break from position early in order to get the treat (Remy!).
And if you have a dog who is explosive with energy, like Remy, getting him to just sit still is a challenge. So rewarding him when he’s actually attempting some sort of “calm” is important.
I’ll tell Remy “stay” and then pause for a few seconds, give him a treat, remind him “stay” again while I take a few steps back, then calmly return and give another treat and THEN release him. “Break!”
The treats we use—Green Bark Gummies
The treats I use for training my dogs are Green Bark Gummies. These are soft, healthy treats made with high-quality ingredients such as whitefish, chicken and duck. The treats include the patented NutriChia, which is a sprouted chia ingrained with three omega-3 fatty acids—ALA, EPA and DHA.
Green Bark Gummies are available in 4-ounce bags for $4.99 here.
Is your dog trained to stay until you release him?
What word do you use? Let me know in the comments.
To stop a dog from jumping, most trainers will say you should ignore the jumping and praise your dog when all four paws are on the ground.
The problem is, a lot of dogs don’t have the self-control not to jump when they’re excited, and people are not always consistent with which behaviors they reward!
That’s why for certain “bad” behaviors, it’s helpful if you can interrupt your dog just for a second—long enough to stop the “bad” behavior—and then praise.
A device that can help with this is the Doggie Don’t Device, a handheld dog training product that makes a loud, static sound at the push of a button.
This post is sponsored by the Doggie Don’t Device. You can use code MUTT for free shipping when you order a Doggie Don’t Device. Click here.
What is the Doggie Don’t?
The Doggie Don’t is a training tool that makes an unpleasant sound when you push a button. It is audible to dogs and people (it sounds like loud static, almost like a “stun gun”) and is designed to interrupt your dog’s bad behavior.
Ideally, the sound will cause your dog to stop the unwanted behavior for a second, allowing you to praise her. It is not designed as a punishment.
Have you ever pretended to knock at the door (or rang the doorbell) in order to get your dog’s attention? I have done this to get my dog to drop something in his mouth. It worked because it shifted his attention elsewhere momentarily. That’s what the Doggie Don’t Device can do.
Order the Doggie Don’t here – use code MUTT for free shipping
How to use the Doggie Don’t
First, give your dog a chance to respond to your command such as “off” or “sit.” Praise your dog if she listens.
If she doesn’t follow your command, use the Doggie Don’t one time to interrupt the behavior. Then, praise her for being quiet or for keeping her paws on the ground or whatever you’re working on.
Examples of when the Doggie Don’t can be helpful
1. ‘Counter surfing.’
Stealing food off the counters is one of those behaviors that will not go away if you ignore your dog. Every time your dog manages to grab food off the counters, she is self-rewarded!
If you have a counter-surfing dog, I recommend you teach her a command like “out” to mean “stay out of the kitchen” or to stay a certain distance from the counter. Then, use the Doggie Don’t if your dog does not move “out.”
2. Nuisance barking while you’re home.
I would use the Doggie Don’t for dogs that tend to constantly “alert” you to every little noise or dogs that are obsessed with barking at other dogs, rabbits, etc.
Just be sure you understand your dog’s “triggers” and why she is barking. For example, if she is barking out of fear, I would find a way to decrease her fear rather than use the Doggie Don’t. But if your dog is barking because she wants to attack every single squirrel, the Doggie Don’t can be a good training option.
3. Getting your dog to drop items on walks.
Some people have used the Doggie Don’t to prevent their dogs from picking up disgusting or dangerous items during walks. For example, my puppy tries to eat rocks, garbage, mulch, etc. The Doggie Don’t can be used to distract your dog and prevent him from picking up these items. It can also work to get your dog to “drop it” if he already has something in his mouth.
4. Jumping or pawing at you, invading your space
This is probably the most common problem I hear about from my readers! The Doggie Don’t can help stop a dog’s jumping, but it works best if you use it sparingly and as an interrupter vs. a punishment. It’s all about the timing.
For example, when you walk in the door and you know your dog is likely to jump on you, you would ignore your dog and give the “off” or “sit” command. If he tries to jump, you would push the Doggie Don’t Device button once and repeat “off.” Then praise your dog for not jumping.
5. Staying off the furniture
The Doggie Don’t could be used to prevent a dog from jumping up on certain furniture, similar to counter-surfing or jumping up on people.
I even heard about an example from an owner of a rescued Yorkie who said her dog attacked her husband every time he tried to get into bed! They ended up using the Doggie Don’t to interrupt this behavior!
What NOT to do when using the Doggie Don’t Device
I’ve had a chance to use the Doggie Don’t with my dogs for a couple of months and I have some recommendations on what NOT to do.
1. Don’t use it too frequently. Dogs tend to tune us out if we’re constantly “nagging” at them with our voice and it’s no different with a sound from the Doggie Don’t. Use it very sparingly and with clear intention. If you have to use it over and over or more than once within a few minutes, re-consider your timing or perhaps it’s just not the best device for that particular issue.
2. Don’t think of it as a punishment. Think of it as an interrupter.
3. Don’t use this on overly fearful dogs. You wouldn’t want to use this on dogs that are often afraid, sensitive or dogs that tend to react with aggression. On the other hand, overly confident, determined dogs might act like they don’t even hear it!
4. Don’t work on multiple behaviors at once. Choose one problem behavior to work on with the Doggie Don’t. Otherwise, you’ll be overusing it and your dog will tune out the sound, think you’re crazy or become desensitized to it.
Where to order a Doggie Don’t + coupon code
The Doggie Don’t is available on its website TheDoggieDont.com for $49.97. You can get FREE shipping when you use code MUTT at checkout.
Order a Doggie Don’t HERE.
Have you used the Doggie Don’t Device?
Let me know if it made a difference for your dog!
Yes, this is mostly a dog blog but I know many of you have kitties too and sometimes cats get overlooked!
If you already feed your cat a raw diet or if you have any questions about raw feeding, please leave a note in the comments.
Benefits of a raw diet for cats
This post is sponsored by Balanced Blends raw pet food.
1. A raw diet provides more moisture for cats.
I recently learned that cats typically do not drink a lot of water (like dogs do) so they depend on getting enough moisture from their food. The problem is, many cat owners feed their cats dry cat food and the cats don’t get enough water.
I learned this the hard way because one of my cats was having some issues with his bladder while on a mostly dry diet. If a cat doesn’t get enough water, it can lead to kidney and bladder problems down the road, especially for male cats.
Luckily, all we had to do was provide more water in Beamer’s diet through canned and raw food vs. kibble. It’s amazing what a difference this made! (And Beamer much prefers raw food to dry anyway!)
2. Cats are true carnivores.
Some veterinarians and other experts will say dogs are carnivores, and some will say dogs are omnivores.
But cats … it’s no question they are true carnivores!
Cats do not need all the carbohydrates found in many commercial foods, according to Balanced Blends. Their digestive systems are not designed to process high amounts of grains, and they do best with a high-protein diet.
I really appreciate how the raw diets for cats from Balanced Blends contain only meat, bones, eggs and minerals. It’s not that fruits and veggies are necessarily bad for cats, but they don’t need them.
3. Feeding a cat a raw diet is not as expensive as feeding most dogs a raw diet.
Let’s face it, cost is one of the reasons more pet owners do not feed raw diets. It’s generally more expensive to feed healthy, fresh food.
I hear about this barrier every time I write about raw feeding, and I completely understand.
At least with cats (and small dogs) you’re not buying as much food because they simply don’t eat as much. Yes, feeding your cat a raw diet is more expensive than feeding dry food, but it’s not as significantly higher like it is for, say, an 80-pound Lab.
4. Easier weight management.
When you feed your cat a raw diet high in protein (vs. carbs), it’s easier to help him maintain a healthy weight. (Raw feeders are also less likely to “free feed” their cats. Instead, they’re more likely to feed fixed amounts twice per day.)
Unfortunately, many indoor cats in particular are very overweight in the United States. We all know that obesity is linked to all sorts of health issues whether you’re a cat or a dog or a person. It doesn’t take a veterinarian to figure out that fit, lean cats are generally healthier and more likely to live longer.
5. Better overall health.
I believe a raw diet is the healthiest option for most cats. People who feed their cats a raw diet, as well as vets who support raw diets, often report their cats have healthier coats, smaller stools, healthier teeth, less shedding (fewer hairballs!), more energy and less allergies.
And while we can’t control everything, feeding your cat a high-quality, balanced raw diet should hopefully mean less overall visits to the vet. Ideally, this will end up saving you money on vet bills over time.
Balanced Blends – Get a starter pack!
Balanced Blends provides pre-prepared, frozen raw diets for dogs and cats. The meals are conveniently delivered right to your door.
The company is offering “starter packs” for dogs and cats so pet owners can try the food at a discount. Get 2 pounds of raw food for just $12 and free shipping. CLICK HERE.
Are you interested in feeding your dog or cat a raw diet?
What questions do you have?
Let me know in the comments!