1. Continue our routine of 30-min morning walk and longer evening walk. Add a short afternoon walk or training session. He needs more interaction.
What’s going really well with our puppy?
1. Remy is doing really well with potty training, thanks to me for taking him out often! And thanks to the crate for giving me a break.
2. Remy is good at leaving my three senior pets alone. He realizes they are boring and grumpy.
3. This dog can already go for 30-minute walks at least. Thank God. I can’t imagine how energetic he’d be otherwise!
4. He’s very smart and picks up on things quickly.
5. He’s learned to wait for his food and water, up to about 15 seconds until I say “OK!”
6. He is friendly with strange people and dogs and not afraid of much.
7. He sleeps through the night 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and usually we wake him up. He also settles in his kennel throughout the day as long as he’s had some play and interaction. Thank God.
8. For the most part he’ll hang out quietly in my office while I work.
Our puppy challenges so far
Our issues are probably pretty normal:
1. He bites us a lot and will continue to do so for awhile I’m sure. He gets really wild in the evenings. Why is that often the case?
2. My older dog Ace is actually being a bit out of line with aggression. He’ll lunge at Remy when it’s inappropriate like if Remy simply walks by. So I’m mostly managing that for now as I know Ace is not feeling good. Thankfully Remy leaves The Grump alone!
3. Remy seems to get fixated on certain things like picking up rocks or having to touch every single oil spot or other spots on the street. He also gets obsessed with the cat scratching post and the towels our cats sleep on (not cool). Re-directing him doesn’t always work so he usually ends up in a “timeout” for a few minutes.
4. He pulls on the leash hard already so we’ll have to start using some sort of training collar. I don’t want him to hurt his neck and I want my walks to be enjoyable.
5. Feeding time can get a little “exciting” around here with a food-crazed cat and a hungry-hippo of a puppy.
So that about sums it up. What have I gotten myself into? 🙂
What puppy advice do you have for me? Or, what puppy questions do you have?
Let me know! Please and thank you.
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Note: Thank you to one of my readers, “KL,” for contributing this essay.
When adding a dog to the family, the question of source may be fraught with peril.
Family and friends will weigh in, often passionately.
Look online at dog sites and you’ll find essays, editorials and even heated arguments regarding the merits and morality of breeder vs. rescue.
After you bring your dog home, you’ll get comments (a friend told a coworker that she rescued and the response was an approving, “Good”; my breeder pup elicited surprisingly nasty input from total strangers).
I’ve had three years to process my reactions to the debate, as well as my online reading on the topic and my own experiences getting to know both good breeders and a good rescue group. My conclusion is there are good and bad in both camps, and that despite what some people might say, a good breeder and a good rescue have a fair amount in common.
A wealth of articles exists listing signs of a good breeder or good rescue. I do not believe that the criteria on these lists are all true.
While the details look different and there are breeder-specific criteria and rescue-specific criteria that are beyond the scope of this piece, these similarities are greater than one might think.
So what do good breeders and good rescues have in common?
1. They’re trying to be great matchmakers.
A good breeder gathers data from prospective puppy buyers:
Why do they want a dog of this type?
What are their daily lives like?
Who already lives in their home?
What are their goals for the puppy?
They want to match a puppy with the right temperament and right energy levels with each home.
The work a knowledgeable breeder can do with taking this information and matching it up against what they know about a particular pedigree and what it’s likely to produce is nothing short of amazing.
A good rescue’s matchmaking looks a little different because they’re evaluating the individual dogs in front of them rather than going on educated prediction, but they’re essentially doing the same thing: taking data given to them by their adoption applicants and trying to find just the right fit for each dog in their care.
Both good rescues and good breeders want to make placements that are as permanent as possible, because it is in everyone’s best interests for the placement to be successful.
2. They’re supportive of owners.
Before I even brought my puppy home, I was invited into an extended family of puppy buyers. At my fingertips were my breeder, owners of other puppies she’d bred or placed, and other future owners like myself. They were never any farther away than my Facebook account, which was a tremendous resource in terms of preparation and a great source of support and ideas after my puppy came home.
Good rescue volunteers also stay in touch with adopters and facilitate a network of any interested new owners, both online and off. I see them at training workshops catching up with adopters, getting updates on the dogs, and offering support or pointers if needed.
Both good breeders and good rescues are excited for new owners’ successes and when there are roadblocks, they can serve as a point of contact. If they can’t help directly, they can recommend someone who can.
3. They’re supportive of fellow breeders/fellow rescuers.
Good breeders are collaborative and put the improvement of the breed they love above their own egos. They share information and work together on breedings. They cheer for each other’s dogs, even when they’re the competition. They may have different ideas of best practices, but they respect other breeders’ rights to make their choices and shape their breeding programs according to their values.
Likewise, good rescues are in it for the dogs. They’ll be fine if another rescue pulls a dog first, as long as he’s safe. They might trade foster space or a transport when they can. They aren’t fighting over differences of opinion. For good breeders and good rescues, the interest is in the dogs, first and foremost.
4. And most of all, they’re supportive of each other.
This is the most important to me personally, after the thought I’ve put into this issue. It was remarkable to me that even amid the vilification that comes their way from some in the pro-rescue camp, I have never heard one breeder, once, berate the practice of rescue or those who do it. Breeders can be a great resource for rescues – who is more of an expert on a particular breed than someone who has dedicated time, love, and effort to studying and raising them?
While not every good breeder is personally involved with rescue, breed clubs can partner with rescues and open their resources to rescue owners as well as puppy buyers. Resources include training classes and workshops, club-hosted performance trials, dog sport contacts, and the simple act of welcoming these volunteers and owners as part of the larger group.
Good rescues, meanwhile, acknowledge the important role breeders play. This might mean recognizing the power of language and refraining from using divisive phrasing like, “Adopt don’t shop” in marketing or social media. It can mean inclusive foster/adoption policies allowing consideration of working, sport, or show homes with intact dogs.
It might mean that when a scanned chip comes up with a breeder’s name, that breeder is their first phone call, no judgment; after all, the important thing is getting the dog to a safe place. It might mean including breeders on a board of directors and being willing to work with a breed club.
The bottom line is that truly good rescues and truly good breeders will openly treat one another as partners, not pariahs.
Note: This review is sponsored by Bully Bundles. Use code THATMUTT to save 10% on any order.
What is Bully Bundles?
Bully Bundles is a monthly subscription service for bully sticks that delivers to your door.
The company offers 6-inch and 12-inch bully stick chews for dogs. You pick the number of sticks you want delivered (up to 60!), and your subscription automatically renews each month.
The bully sticks from Bully Bundles are sourced from free-range, grass-fed Brazilian cattle, according to Bully Bundles. These bully sticks are 100% beef, and yes, they’re made from a bull’s penis.
Bully Bundles Review
The bottom line:
I really love this convenient, delivery concept and the bully sticks are high quality. My puppy Remy loves the bully sticks and they have seriously saved me from some puppy madness in the last two weeks! The bully sticks keep my hyper little puppy busy and calm when I’m trying to work. He likes these better than rawhides.
It’s a monthly delivery of bully sticks! Such a fun idea most dogs will love! It’s similar to subscription boxes for dogs, but you know exactly what you’re getting each month.
I’m unaware of any other company that focuses specifically on bully stick subscriptions.
Pros of Bully Bundles:
Much cheaper per stick compared to most stores! A single bully stick at two local pet stores in my area are over $8 each for small sticks! Six-inch sticks from Bully Bundles are $2.67 or less.
The prices for the different bundles are very clear on the website, including the price per stick.
The bully sticks are 100 percent all natural, according to Bully Bundles. No preservatives or chemicals.
Made from free range, grass-fed cattle. No growth hormones or antibiotics used on the cattle, according to Bully Bundles.
You can pause your subscription or cancel at any time.
Bully sticks are generally safe and easy to digest.
These are tough and last my puppy a long time.
So much easier than going to the store. I like to simplify/automate everything possible.
Good option for people with multiple dogs or people who foster or volunteer with rescue groups.
The bully sticks are made from cattle in Brazil vs. cattle from the United States. This doesn’t matter to me. *Update on this below.
Just two types of chews to pick from – standard 6-inch sticks or standard 12-inch sticks. I like the simplicity. Others may wish there were more varieties of chews, especially if their dogs get bored. Maybe pig ears or braided sticks, etc.
Bully Bundles wanted to follow up on why it uses cattle from Brazil:
“Most USA cattle are actually kept in pens, are grain-fed, and injected with antibiotics and hormones while most Brazilian cattle (including ours) are free-ranging, grass-fed, and receive no antibiotics or hormones. Not only are these latter conditions more humane for our cattle, but they also result in healthier bully sticks for our dogs … And our sticks are still USDA and FDA approved just like sticks from the US would be.”
Would I sign up for Bully Bundles?
No. Not at this time. I do not need this many bully sticks at the moment for one little puppy. *Update: It’s getting more tempting to sign up.
However, I will definitely pay the $16/month for 6 small sticks if Remy ends up going through his bully sticks that fast. I would much rather sign up for a monthly delivery than stop by Petco every month. $16 is not bad for high-quality chews that last.
Would I recommend Bully Bundles to others?
Yes! I highly recommend you sign up if your dogs need a regular supply of chews, especially if you’re already buying bully sticks at the store. You will most likely save money by ordering these bundles.
How to stop a dog from barking at people on walks?
Well, first thing to do is determine why the dog is barking at people.
The most common reason dogs bark at people on walks is due to fear.
The dog could be afraid of new people or certain types of people (children, people on bikes, men, people wearing hats). Or, the dog could simply be startled easily by new people and things in general.
Dogs could also bark at people due to:
1. Excitement. “Hey! A person! I love people! Yay!”
2. Frustration (due to excitement). Not being able to reach that person fast enough due to being on a leash. See my post: Leash aggression.
3. Protection or resource guarding. Although this often stems from fear & feeling the need to protect from the “threat.”
How to stop a dog from barking at people due to fear.
Since fear is the most common reason for a dog to bark at people, let’s use that as our example. My tips are below. I always welcome you to leave your own in the comments.
If your dog is barking due to excitement, a lot of these tips should still be helpful.
Here are the steps I would take:
1. Make a list of your dog’s exact triggers. Be specific.
Try to pinpoint exactly when your dog reacts. For example, Honey barks at men wearing hats or tall men once they are 10 feet away. Or, Bentley barks at children once they are 15 feet away, especially if they are running or on bikes.
Your dog might have 5 or 6 different triggers. Brainstorm with family members or roommates so you get the most accurate list.
2. Find a highly valued food reward your dog loves.
Dry dog biscuits might not cut it. You may need to use hot dogs, string cheese, pieces of real steak or hamburger. For actual dog treats, I find that Droolers work well for most dogs. For others, a squeaky toy or a ball might work better.
Find something your dog is willing to work for even under stress (but you’ll be working just outside of when your dog is normally “triggered”). Ideally, you’ll find something that can be broken easily into little pieces.
3. Use the right training collar & walk your dog at your side.
The best training collar or harness will be different for each dog depending on all sorts of factors like your own comfort level, the size of your dog and what makes it easiest for you to control your unique dog. Some options include a slip lead or a Gentle Leader.
The reason the right training collar is important is so you have control over your dog and can prevent pulling and lunging.
I also recommend you keep your dog at your side with little slack in the leash. This is not about being “dominant” but simply if you have your dog at your side he will be easier to control. You won’t have to “reel him in” if you come across a trigger. He’ll also generally be calmer if he’s at your side and less likely to be out in front ready to “protect” you.
4. Work with your dog on basic commands within her threshold.
Head out for a walk with your dog using your dog’s training collar and treats. Seek out her “triggers” but stop just far enough away so she doesn’t bark or react. Shower her with the treats. Then, TURN AND LEAVE before you get close enough to trigger a reaction. You want her to be like, “Wait! Why are we leaving? I want more treats!”
Eventually, you want her to associate her “trigger” with treats instead of fear. Like, “Oh, kids on bikes! That’s great! Where’s my string cheese?”
The goal is to change her emotional response over time.
Other tips that can help:
– Make sure you do not rush. Very slowly increase the challenge over several weeks.
– Enroll in a group obedience class so your dog learns to work and focus on you around distractions. The controlled environment with understanding people is helpful!
– Work on obedience training in general. This builds confidence and trust.
– Order the book Feisty Fido by Patricia McConnell. It’s a short little book that goes over a desensitization guide in detail in a step-by-step format. Such a simple concept (a little more challenging to actually do) but oh so helpful! I highly recommend it.
UPDATE: Balanced Blends launched its website and is now taking orders. (The successful Kickstarter campaign is over.)
Balanced Blends is a new raw dog food company that delivers pre-made, frozen raw diets to dogs and cats.
The company launched a pre-order Kickstarter campaign (April 26) with promotional discounts on its raw diets.
Balanced Blends is a fully funded company, and the Kickstarter campaign was designed to give people a chance to order the food at the “early bird” rate.
Balanced Blends is now taking orders on its website. Click here.
Here’s how the campaign works:
The Kickstarter campaign is a promotion where pet owners can:
1. Pre-order raw dog food and raw cat food at a discounted price + free shipping. (These specials are limited, so it’s best to order as soon as possible.)
2. Receive an extended special rate for up to six months.
For example, 10 pounds of the beef dinner for dogs will be $70 ($7 per pound) after the campaign, but anyone who pre-orders would receive the food for $40. (Savings of $30.)
Balanced Blends raw dog food review
Balanced Blends recently sent my dog Ace and two cats some of its frozen raw dinners to try. I charged a fee in exchange for my honest review.
What is Balanced Blends?
Balanced Blends is a new raw dog food company that delivers frozen, pre-made dinners to your door.
Dinners are available for dogs and cats in beef or chicken varieties, and the company said it’s planning other varieties such as rabbit and turkey. Food is delivered to the customer’s door, and you can sign up for regular deliveries.
The food is made with raw meat, bones, organs, fruits and veggies, vitamins and minerals. The recipes are formulated to meet the AAFCO’s nutrient profile, according to Balanced Blends. (The cat food does not contain produce.)
The bottom line:
This is a high-quality food I would love to feed my pets on a regular basis if not for my senior dog’s current health issues that prevent us from feeding raw at the moment.
I am an advocate of raw dog food diets and even wrote a raw feeding guide, but my pets are currently eating dry food. They got to try Balanced Blends as a treat.
The cost of Balanced Blends:
The regular price of the Balanced Blends raw diets will be:
Dogs – chicken dinners: $6/pound
Dogs – beef dinners: $7/pound
Cats – chicken dinners: $7/pound
Cats – beef dinners: $8/pound
(Free shipping on orders of 20 pounds or more.)
Where to buy:
You can pre-order the food at a promotional rate through Kickstarter. After the Kickstarter campaign, the food will be available for ordering at the Balanced Blends website.
Update: You can now order Balanced Blends.
What’s unique about Balanced Blends?
1.It delivers. Balanced Blends also offers an easy-to-edit subscription program.
2. Transparency. Balanced Blends stresses that potential customers should ask any questions about the food, operations, etc.
3. Food safety. Balanced Blends said it uses high-pressure processing in its final packaging to eliminate re-contamination. It also uses a “test and hold” protocol where the food is lab tested by a third party and released for sale only after pathogen test results come back negative.
4.High percentage of meat. The raw dog food diets are 90 percent meat, organs and bone. The raw cat food diets are 99.5 percent meat, organs and bone.
Pros of Balanced Blends raw dog and cat food:
The price per pound is very easy to calculate based on how the website is organized. (Not always the case with other companies!)
The company sets high standards for food safety.
Made with organic fruits and veggies (for dogs) and no fruits and veggies for cats (they don’t need’m!).
Subscription program available & can cancel, edit or pause anytime!
Full list of ingredients listed on the label and the website.
Meat is not organic (however, this helps keep the price down).
Some pets can’t have chicken OR beef, and those are the only two options available (so far).
Estimated delivery for the pre-orders is not until June – Just have to be patient!
Cost is high but not as high as some of the other raw dog food companies. (Plus free shipping on 20 pounds or more.)
Packaging is not easy to open & not resealable. I just put leftovers in large Ziploc bags.
Would I buy Balanced Blends?
No, the cost is too much for me at this time. Also, I’m feeding dry food at least temporarily due to a potential auto-immune problem with my senior dog.
Would I recommend Balanced Blends to others?
Yes! It’s a high-quality food I would feel comfortable feeding my pets if not for my senior dog’s health issues. I recommend it to raw feeders or those interested in getting started with a raw diet.
How about the rest of you …
Are you interested in feeding Balanced Blends?
You can do TWO things:
1. Visit the pre-order Kickstarter campaign. (Early dog specials are limited, so order sooner rather than later.)
2. Leave any questions about the company in the comments and I’ll get them answered.
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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