Thank You, Ace

When your dog is reaching 10 years old, you start to think of all you’ve been through together.

With Ace, I have so many memories.

Like the time Josh and I took him on his first camping trip. In April. In Minnesota.

It was 2 degrees Fahrenheit that night in Itasca State Park, something close to a record low for that date. I’d only had my dog for three weeks and already he was sleeping in my sleeping bag. This wasn’t to spoil him but to keep him alive!

Ace and me camping in Itasca State Park

Or, not too long after, when Ace ran with me in a 5-mile race in Fargo. He was determined we were going to win that race!

And how he visited my Grandma in the nursing home, sat near her bed one night while (I realize now) I was really telling her goodbye.

He was with us on the shores of Lake Superior when Josh asked me to marry him. Later, he was at our wedding ceremony.

I’m not sure I can count all our camping, boating and hiking adventures in Minnesota, North Dakota and California. Or how many times he dove head first into any body of water.

Ace in Maplewood State Park

My black Lab mix Ace fetching a log

my black Lab mix Ace

My black Lab mix Ace at the ocean

We brought him into Canada, to Thunder Bay, and back.

He went tubing with me in Detroit Lakes and we lost his tennis ball. Another weekend, he swam for nearly two hours as my friends and I played frisbee in the lake. We could touch the bottom; he could not.

And not only these things, but my dog led me to start a business, a blog, to follow my passion for writing, dog training and dog rescue. He introduced me to dog agility. He’s helped me make and maintain friends I would never have even met otherwise (you know who you are).

He forces this introvert to leave her apartment! OK, the couch, even.

Thank you, Ace.

I’m so thankful for this dog.

My black Lab mix Ace and me


Teach Your Dog to Stay on Her Bed – Trusty Tails Treat Kitchen Review

Note: That Mutt has partnered with Trusty Tails Treat Kitchen to bring you this post.

Just leave a comment below to enter our giveaway for a sample pack of three bags! Click here.

If you’d prefer not to have your mutt hovering and drooling while you’re eating, one solution is to teach her to stay on a dog bed.

This sounds nice, but of course it’s more challenging than you might think.

In this post, I’ll go over a few tips and reminders for teaching a dog to stay on her bed. The treats we’re featuring today are from Trusty Tails Treat Kitchen.

Trusty Tails treats are hand mixed in small batches in Hoboken, N.J. They’re made with 100 percent all-natural, human-grade ingredients. I can tell the treats are made with care and love. You will not regret buying these or sending them to a friend’s dog as a holiday gift.

Use code THATMUTT10OFF to save 10% at checkout on orders $14.95 or more. Order here.

Three tips to get your dog to stay on her dog bed

Black Lab mix Ace on his bed

Tip #1: Praise while the dog is still staying.

Cheddar Cheese flavor Trusty Tails Treat KitchenGive your pup verbal praise with treats and attention while she’s still on the bed. The treats and praise should come only while she’s staying so she’s not tempted to jump up to get the treat.

Then, release her with a word like “free!” or “done!”

Of course, the treats also have to be something highly valued your pup is willing to work for.

Trusty Tails treats come in three varieties:


  • cheddar cheese
  • apple & coconut
  • peanut butter & honey


Which flavor would your pup like to try? Let me know in the comments! 

Tip #2: Start off with really short stay sessions.

I mean short distances AND a short timeframe.

Like, you’ll probably have to stand right next to the dog bed at first and keep the stay to just 10 seconds.

If even that is too challenging, you might need to put a leash on your dog and even step on the leash to keep her still.

My dog holding Trusty Tails Treats

Tip #3: Return and reward often.

If your dog is getting up often, it’s likely because:


  • The challenge is too great (distance or time)
  • She’s testing you and your seriousness
  • She’s learned she gets your attention if she gets up


I always train my foster dogs to stay on a dog bed, and one thing they figure out fast is if they get up (break from stay) they get my attention because I go over and put them back.

[quote_center]One thing they figure out fast is if they get up, they get my attention… [/quote_center]

I’m extremely stubborn and will return a dog to her bed 10 or 15 times. Obviously this isn’t ideal because what is it really teaching the dog? She’s either making a game out of it or she’s getting frustrated.

So what’s better?

The solution is to return to your dog often when she’s still staying (so, before she gets up) and to give praise and treats for staying. Then, leave again. And then return again with more treats! See?

Trusty Tails logoAt first I have to return to the dog every 30 seconds. Then maybe after a few training sessions we’re able to work up to every 2 minutes, then 5 minutes, etc., until I can actually eat a whole meal while she remains in a stay.

Obviously this requires lots of practice (and patience!) in short sessions with highly valued rewards. Some dogs will get it instantly because they’ve already learned a solid stay. Others need to start with the basics and take longer to catch on.

More info on Trusty Tails Treat Kitchen

Trusty Tails Pet Care was founded in 2006 by Heather Gaida. The business offers services such as pet sitting and dog walking, and she started making treats for her clients’ pets around the holidays.

Well, the dogs and cats loved Heather’s treats and … you can see where it went from there!

If you’re a professional who works with dogs, I’d highly recommend these treats as gifts to your clients’ dogs. Or, if you plan to give gifts to the dogs in your family, these treats are so cute!

Trusty Tails treats apple and coconut (2)

Trusty Tails treats are 100 percent made in the United States. They are handmade with locally sourced, human-grade ingredients and then baked in small batches.

And yes, the company says this means you can eat them too! I of course tried them. (I ate three.) They’re good! Honestly. Probably just a little too crunchy for most people.

The treats contain no gluten, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, added sugar, added salt or any additives or preservatives.

Instead, the treats are made with garbanzo flour, potato starch, peanut butter, flaxseed, coconut oil, honey and cinnamon.

Order Trusty Tails Treats here

*Use code THATMUTT10OFF to save 10% on orders $14.95 or more.

Trusty Tails Treat Kitchen three flavors

Giveaway – Win a prize pack of treats from Trusty Tails

Trusty Tails Treats apple and coconut*Congrats to Ray!

Trusty Tails Treat Kitchen is giving away a sample pack of treats to one lucky reader of That Mutt. It is the same pack Ace and I received so your pup will get to try all three flavors.

To enter the Trusty Tails giveaway:

Just leave a comment below to let me know your dog wants IN on the drawing. In what situation does your dog need work on practicing stay?

I’ll choose one winner at random on Thursday Nov. 26. Thanksgiving! Must have a U.S. mailing address to win.

Would your dog like to try Trusty Tails treats?

Make sure to let me know by leaving a comment!

Sign up to receive training tips & more in my weekly newsletter:

Do People Take Better Care of their Dogs than their Cats?

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Do you think people value their dogs more than their cats?

If you’re honest, do YOU provide the same level of care to both types of pets?

For me, it’s safe to say my dog Ace does receive better care than my two cats Beamer and Scout.

Why is this?

I don’t know, but I thought I’d go over the two main differences, veterinary care and diet.

Basic veterinary care – dog vs. cats

My dog sees a vet annually for a wellness exam. He also sees a vet several times a year for various issues that never fail to come up, so we’re in there about every other month (and blessed with a $250 bill each time). He also gets vaccinations every few years and an annual heartworm test.

On the other hand, I don’t bring my cats to the vet unless there’s an obvious problem. Since there never seems to be a problem, we don’t go, not even for wellness exams.

Tan tabby cat and gray tabby cat

Scout (the little gray one) hasn’t seen a vet since 2009. Beamer (the tan one) was there in 2014 to have his teeth examined.

I’m not saying this is right or wrong. I’m just telling it like it is.

My cats don’t venture into the world much. They are indoor cats. I don’t board them. I’m not fostering any other cats, so I just don’t see the need to vaccinate mine. They are 10 and 12 years old and have had multiple rounds of vaccines in their earlier years, trust me.

I know I should take them in for wellness exams, but all that really happens during these exams is they get their (racing!) hearts listened to and their ears looked at. I’m sorry, but it’s a joke.

Major veterinary expenses – dog vs. cats

Thankfully neither of my cats have needed any major medical procedures.

And then there’s our dog …We spent $1,800 on Ace one time (ER visit for pneumonia). I’m not sure we’d spend that much on a cat. I think we probably would, but there would be much longer discussions about it first.

[quote_center]I’m not sure we’d spend that much on a cat.[/quote_center]

With Ace, I pretty much just handed over my card without batting an eye, even though I didn’t have the money and had to pay with credit. (And that is not an option for everyone.)

We are planning some dental work for our cat Beamer, a cleaning, x-rays and I assume multiple extractions. I just assume we’ll be spending at least $700 there (welcome to Solana Beach where everything is 20% more expensive!), but we know it needs to be done and we’ve put it off too long.

We love him.

Diet – dog vs. cats

I feed my dog a variety of natural dry and raw brands. I spend a small fortune on his food, usually around $100 per month.

My cats, on the other hand … Sometimes I buy them a cheap, corn-based dry food. Sometimes I buy them a higher-quality brand, along with a natural brand of canned.

I know I should feed my cats the same quality of food Ace gets, and it’s something I am working on.

Gray tabby cat on the patio

Frankly, they love the cheap stuff and Scout sometimes refuses to eat the expensive foods. What I usually end up doing is mixing the two brands together. So I guess that’s progress.

So vet care and food are the main differences between the care my dog and my cats receive.

Do people value dogs more than cats?

I think they do, in general.

Is this because cats are a dime a dozen and you can barely even give them away for free? Maybe.

Is it because dogs cost more (in many aspects) so we value what we spend money on?

Is it because dogs are more loyal and protective? Is it because we bring them out and about into our lives?

I don’t know.

Tan tabby cat on his back

I love my cats very much. I love playing games with them. Scout and I play a chasing and wrestling game almost every evening. I like buying them toys and beds and food because it makes me feel good.

Beamer and I cuddle together with a blanket every single evening while we watch TV. He lets me hold him at any moment and he purrs and purrs.

Scout puts his paws to my face gently as if to say, “Hey, I’m here for you.”

They look me in the eyes, follow me from room to room. They gather wherever my husband and I are lounging. They want to be near us.

We love them. We are a family.

Do you value your dog more than your cat? Do you provide better care to one vs. the other?

Should You Eat Before Your Dog? Plato Pet Treats Giveaway

[frame src=”” target=”_self” width=”620″ height=”348″ alt=”My dog Ace with Plato’s Pet Treats” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]
Note: That Mutt & Plato Pet Treats have partnered to bring you this post.

Just leave a comment below to enter to win a Thanksgiving Feast for your dog from Plato. Click here.

I know people get all bent out of shape over anything that suggests “pack theory” in dog training such as eating before your dog.

But I actually did eat before my dog for quite some time after I adopted him.

No, this rule wasn’t necessary, but you know what it did? It helped me maintain a consistent routine for my young, rowdy dog, which is what he needed most.

I don’t think a dog will truly remember (or care) who eats first. What really matters is that he learns to follow whatever rules his family establishes and that he gets rewarded for it.

What rules do you set for your dog regarding mealtimes? Let me know in the comments.

Here are the two rules I set for my dog:

Rule #1: I provide my dog with some sort of “work” before he eats.

My Lab mix Ace with EOS Turkey treats Plato Pet Treats

I prefer to feed my dog right after his morning and evening walks so he’s had to “work” for his food.

EOS turkey and cranberry Plato Pet TreatsAll dogs are working dogs at heart and mine is no exception. Ace thrives if he’s given consistent expectations and challenges.

When he was younger and more energetic, his work was to go on a long run with me every morning. Now that he’s older and our walks are shorter, I bring along a couple of treats and we use the time to practice tricks or obedience commands.

I’ve been using Plato’s Turkey and Cranberry EOS treats. I put 3 or 4 in my pocket, and I can either break them into little pieces or give them to my dog whole.

Rule #2: I don’t allow whining or begging while I eat.

I taught my dog to lie quietly on his dog bed during my meals. I don’t even care if he stares at me from across the room; I just don’t want him in my face or whining.

[quote_center]Sometimes I eat first. Sometimes he eats first. It doesn’t really matter …[/quote_center]

This teaches my dog self-control, regardless of who eats first. Sometimes I eat first. Sometimes he eats first. It doesn’t really matter, but I can’t have him hovering and flinging drool everywhere. Gross.

How many of you are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or traveling somewhere with your dog this month?

Plato Pet Treats logoIf you need to keep your dog calm and quiet during a holiday meal (or during any gathering), a good option is to stuff some treats into a Kong or other toy.

The EOS from Plato Pet Treats are soft, making them perfect for stuffing into any type of puzzle toy.

I remember one year we had my husband’s mom visiting for Thanksgiving and Ace would NOT stop whining during our meal! (So annoying.)

The EOS would’ve helped our young dog settle down that year. And now that we’re contemplating getting a 2nd dog, guess what will come in handy for keeping a youngster occupied?

More info on the EOS treats from Plato Pet Treats

Leave a comment below to enter our giveaway!

Plato Pet Treats Eos Turkey Cranberry

Your dog will love the EOS treats any time of year, but they’d be especially cute to have around during the holidays because they come in three festive varieties:


  • Turkey & pumpkin
  • Turkey & sweet potato
  • Turkey & cranberry


The EOS are made with a single protein (turkey), and because of the limited ingredients they are good for dogs with skin issues, allergies or food sensitivities.

The treats are grain free, gluten free and do not include added sugars, by-products, artificial preservatives or artificial colors.

Plato Pet Treats are made in California with natural ingredients. Here is a great video that gives more info on the company. Well done.

Where to order Plato Pet Treats

If you would like to order Plato’s EOS treats for your dog, you can order a 12-ounce bag on Amazon. Order here.

The treats are also available at various retail locations. Search for a store near you.

Click here to order.

EOS turkey and pumpking Plato Pet TreatsGiveaway – Win a Free Prize Pack of Treats from Plato Pet Treats

Plato Pet Treats is giving away a Thanksgiving Feast to three lucky readers of That Mutt!

*Congrats to Amy A., Wehaf & Kimberly G.

The winners will each receive a large (12-ounce) bag of the EOS in each variety – turkey & pumpkin, turkey & cranberry and turkey & sweet potato. Retail value is $45 for all three.

To enter, just leave a comment below to let me know your pup is interested! What rules would the treats help your dog learn?

I’ll choose three winners at random on Thursday Nov. 19. Must have a U.S. mailing address to enter.

My mutt Ace with EOS from Plato Pet Treats

Would your pup like to try Plato’s EOS treats?

Let me know in the comments!

Sign up to receive training tips & more in my weekly newsletter:

*This post contains affiliate links.

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