Ace and Beamer

Black Lab and Cat on bed together

These two have been sharing beds a lot lately, like almost all the time. This is the first winter they’ve done this in 9 years.

I could write about how sweet this is and how they’re friends.

Truth is, sometimes Ace lets out a ferocious snarl as Beamer approaches.

Sometimes Beamer smacks Ace right on the nose, stares him in the eyes and takes the bed.

Sometimes Ace moves away. Sometimes he holds his own. Sometimes he whines, looking to me to shoo that cat out of the way.

And sometimes they accept each other and they snuggle close. Or Ace pretends not to notice Beamer.

Or they’re just cold and old and this is the agreement they’ve come to after 9 years.

I try not to get involved. We have three pet beds and they both want this one.

They can work it out.

Do your pets cuddle together?

Related posts:

Dogs and cats cuddling – Dogs looking a little worried

Dogs and cats cuddling (10 photos)

Dogs and cats cuddling (10 more photos!)

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Dogs Remind Us of the True Gifts That Matter Most

I write fun posts about gifts for dogs, and of course many of us will buy new toys and treats for our dogs this season. And we should, if we want to.

But we don’t have to.

Because some things are better than presents.

Like a quiet morning run with your best buddy.

Or a good game of snow Frisbee.

Dog playing Frisbee in the snow

Or watching the sun come up.

Perhaps making homemade peanut butter dog treats (try flour, peanut butter and an egg – roll into balls, flatten with fork, then bake)

Or fetch with a stick.

Watching an old movie by the fire or by the glow of Christmas lights.

Learning a new trick.

Or just driving around with the windows down (and the heat cranked, depending on where you live)

Or singing duets. (Ace loves this!)

Yes, presents are fun.

But dogs remind us of the true gifts that matter.

Companionship. And mostly, love.

Me and Ace

Happy Holidays!

-Lindsay & Ace

(We’re good at selfies.)

How to Stop Your Dog From Peeing on the Christmas Tree

Has your dog ever peed on the Christmas tree?

I was horrified to hear my dog Ace lifted his leg on one of my parents’ indoor plants one summer. Not the Christmas tree but almost as bad.

I know a lot of dogs get confused when there’s suddenly a tree in the house, especially if it’s a real tree vs. a fake tree.

Imagine all those smells!

So how can you stop a dog from peeing on the Christmas tree or at least prevent the behavior? Let me know your ideas and tips in the comments. I’ll share my ideas below.

How to stop your dog from peeing on the Christmas tree

Stop your dog from peeing on the Christmas tree

1. Take your dog out for lots of potty breaks.

To decrease your dog’s likelihood of peeing on the tree, make sure to take him out for potty breaks more often than usual. Ideally, take him out for a long walk right before you set up the tree.

2. Don’t make any assumptions.

If your dog is a girl, she could still try to mark the tree.

If your dog is neutered, he could still try to mark the tree.

If your dog is normally potty trained, he could still get confused and pee on the tree.

If your dog did not pee on the tree last year, that doesn’t mean he won’t do it this year. He might be more territorial this year or more confident or maybe this year’s tree has more smells on it. Who knows.

Don’t make assumptions.

Also see my post: Stop your dog from marking in the house.

3. Don’t trust newly adopted dogs or visiting dogs.

Even if you’re told the dog is 99 percent potty trained, he could still try to mark the tree. Trust me.

Just because a dog is potty trained in his own home and in your home normally, that doesn’t mean he’ll know the tree is off limits.

The key is to supervise the dog at all times until you’re sure he’s going to leave the tree alone. Use a kennel/crate when you can’t supervise. You may need to go back to dog potty training 101 as in supervising constantly, preventing mistakes and rewarding with treats for going potty outside.

4. Keep your dog leashed.

Not necessarily all the time, but at least when you first set up the tree or when you first arrive at a new house with a tree. This is a good idea when you bring your dog into any new home anyway.

The point of the leash is to keep your dog in your sight at all times.

5. Kennel/crate your dog when you can’t supervise.

This is a good idea around the holidays anyway because there are so many tempting packages and decorations. If you don’t have a kennel, then leave your dog in a bedroom or other area that is dog proof.

6. Create an invisible boundary around the tree.

Dogs do respect boundaries if they’re given clear boundaries to begin with. If you decide a small area around the tree is off limits to your dog, simply tell him “no” or “leave it” when he approaches that boundary. Reward him with treats and praise for staying back.

7. Use a fence or gate to block the tree.

If needed, you could consider putting the tree in a room that you’re able to block off from your dog with a baby gate.

Another option is to set up an ex-pen around the tree.

This is basically like a “play pen” for dogs but instead of putting the dog in the pen you’re using the pen to keep the dog out!

This is not exactly my number one choice, but I know of more than one person who uses this option because of her foster dogs. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Some people love to foster dogs and still want a nice tree!

Dog Ex-pen around Christmas tree

8. Use a Pet Corrector or Doggie Don’t Device.

If your dog seems too interested in the tree and is not responding to a firm no, you could try correcting him with the Pet Corrector, which sprays compressed air at the dog. This won’t hurt your dog. It will just startle him a bit.

Another option is the Doggie Don’t Device, which makes a loud static noise at the push of a button. Use code MUTT for Free Shipping.

Doggie Don't review and giveaway

9. Use the ‘Leave It’ command.

Leave it comes in handy for so many scenarios and this is one of them. As your dog approaches the tree, you would tell him “leave it” and then reward him for moving back.

10. Use a belly band.

A dog “belly band” fits around a male dog’s belly so if he tries to mark in the house, the belly band catches the urine. It’s sort of like a diaper. You would want to continue using other training methods in addition to this because the belly band doesn’t actually teach him not to mark. It’s just there to save your tree (or your furniture, carpets, etc.)

Dog belly band

For females that mark, you can use dog diapers. These are actually available at quite a few pet stores because they’re used when females go into heat.

11. Praise good behavior.

Don’t forget to praise your dog for good behavior using treats and affection. Praise him for lying quietly on his dog bed or on the couch or whatever spot he’s welcome. Good boy!

So those are my quick tips!

What would you add to the list?

How would you stop a dog from peeing on the Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Win $500 For Your Favorite Rescue Group Or Shelter

[frame src=”” target=”_self” width=”620″ height=”325″ alt=”Win $500 for your favorite rescue group” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]

Help rescue dogs in your area by making a nomination

Note: That Mutt has partnered with to bring you this post.

Nominate your favorite U.S. shelter or rescue group in the “Best Friend’s Friend” contest and that group could win $500.

Click here to make your nomination.

(It only takes 3 mins.)

The nomination form is located at

All you have to do is put in the name and website of the group you want to nominate, plus your own email address for contact purposes and a sentence or two about why you’re nominating that group. It’s easy! I nominated my favorite rescue group in San Diego.

Important info to remember:


  • Nominations are open now through Dec. 31.
  • Voting will take place in January and February on You can vote up to once per day.
  • The winners will be announced after that!


Prizes – $900 total:

First place: $500 donation to the shelter you nominated. The donation will be made in YOUR name.

Second place: $300 donation.

Third place: $100 donation.

All three winners will also receive a permanent link to the shelter/rescue’s website from and a gold, silver or bronze medal to display on their own sites.

Win $500 for your favorite shelter

More details on the Best Friend’s Friend Contest

The Best Friend’s Friend Contest is a contest where you can win a $500 donation for your favorite shelter or rescue group. The winner is chosen through a voting process taking place in January and February.

headerThe contest was created by Rodney Blow, owner of, a website with information on dog training, dog care, dog health and more.

Rodney and his wife have three rescue dogs of their own: a 16-year-old Dalmatian named Roxy, a boxer mix named Sunshine and a boxer/mastiff mix named Rebel.

Rodney had the idea to start the Best Friend’s Friend Contest because he is dedicated to helping dogs in need but wasn’t familiar with the rescue groups in his area at the time. The company he used to work for would match all the contributions he gave to their local shelter, but since his retirement he has moved to a different state.

“I still wanted to help the rescues but decided to let others who knew their shelters make the determination on which,” he said.

[quote_right]”I still wanted to help the rescues but decided to let others who knew their shelters make the determination on which.”[/quote_right]

Rodney and his wife are clearly passionate about helping dogs in need. For example, he said their dog Roxy was kept chained outside in her previous home with little interaction. The original owner was going to take Roxy to the pound, but Rodney and his wife offered to take Roxy home instead.

“Thankfully, the lady accepted,” he said.

Their boxer/mastiff mix Rebel also has a serious rescue story.

“Rebel came from an unwanted litter, and the owner was just going to take them all out and shoot them in the head,” Rodney said. “My wife intervened and convinced him to wait until they were old enough and she would find them all homes. She was successful getting all four adopted – one by us.”

So as you can see, Rodney is committed to helping dogs in need. He said he plans to always use at least 10 percent of his website’s proceeds to go towards this contest, and he hopes that means the amount he’s able to donate will grow with time.

This is what the Best Friend’s Friend contest is all about.

Click here to make your nomination

Rodney hopes the Best Friend’s Friend Contest will continue to be a creative way to let his readers decide which groups are the most deserving of donations. Think of it as an annual shelter or rescue of the year award.

Quick reminders:

1. Nominations are open now through Dec. 31.

2. Voting takes place in January and February. You can vote up to once per day, so encourage all your friends to vote too.

3. The winners will be announced in early March.

Win $500 for your favorite shelter

I nominated my favorite rescue group in San Diego.

Which group will you nominate?

Take a minute to let me know in the comments!

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How to Give A Dog or Puppy As A Gift Responsibly

Now is the time of year when you’ll hear all that bullshit about never giving puppies as gifts.


We don’t need articles like that.

What we need is a guide on how to give a dog or puppy or kitten as a gift responsibly.

The rescue group I volunteer with has had more adoptions in the last month than ever because so many people want to add a dog to their families around the holidays. While this particular group usually has around 15-20 adoptions on a typically weekend, it had 38 adoptions the weekend of Thanksgiving! So awesome!

Adopting around the holidays makes sense for some people.

Time tends to slow down a bit from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 or so. Some people can take time off from work. Kids are home from school to help. The holidays are not pure chaos for everyone, believe it or not. It can (and should?) be a peaceful time.

Josh and I stayed home for Christmas last year, and it was the most relaxing week and a half I’d had in a long time.

So here are some ideas for giving a family member a puppy as a gift … responsibly.

How to give a puppy as a gift responsibly

1. Go out and choose the puppy together.

Perhaps the most obvious idea is to simply adopt or buy a dog together as a family around the holidays. This will be exciting enough. The dog doesn’t have to be a surprise. It’s better to involve everyone and make a family decision.

In some cases, you may be able to coordinate with a shelter, rescue group or breeder to pick up the dog or puppy on Christmas Eve or Christmas after you have chosen him, but getting the dog anywhere around that time would be just as exciting and meaningful.

2. Surprise your kids with a card about getting a dog.

If you want to surprise your daughter with a puppy, you can still do that. Just surprise her with a card that says something like:

“It’s time to get that puppy you’ve always wanted. Let’s go pick one out together this month. Love, Mom & Dad.”

That would still be an awesome surprise, right? But it allows you and your family to choose the dog responsibly together, taking your time to choose the right one.

3. Offer to pay the dog’s adoption fee.

You don’t have to go out and buy or adopt a puppy for your husband as a surprise. That’s probably not a good idea. But what you could do is offer to pay the breeder or pay the adoption fee when your husband is ready to choose a dog. This shows your support and is almost as exciting as giving the actual dog.

Adoption fees from shelters and rescues range from about $50 to $400 depending on where you go. Breeders often charge much more than that, so you might want to offer to pay a percentage. 🙂

4. Give dog supplies.

If you know your son wants a dog, wrap up a nice leash or dog bed and give that as a gift to show your support. Leashes and beds are fairly neutral as far as the gender of the dog and size of the dog. If you know the type of dog he wants, you could give him a nice collar. Other options could be dog toys and treats, gift cards or offering to buy a kennel or food.

We all know the costs add up fast, so any type of gift like this would be appreciated.

Pitbull puppy

5. Pay for training, grooming or dog daycare.

Dogs are expensive! If your boyfriend wants a dog, offer to pay for the first round of dog training classes (typically around $150), grooming ($50+), dog daycare or a dog walker for his future dog. I suggest a handmade card or note and then paying for the training, daycare, etc., when the time comes. Your boyfriend may want to choose the specific trainer or daycare.

Another expense you could offer to cover could be the puppy’s future spay/neuter surgery (assuming your boyfriend wants the dog altered) or the first vet visit.

6. Give a picture of a puppy or a stuffed toy dog with a note.

If your girlfriend wants a puppy, how about surprising her with a framed picture of a puppy with a note about picking one out together? Or giving her a stuffed toy puppy with a card about choosing the real thing together?

[quote_center]If your girlfriend wants a puppy, how about surprising her with a framed picture of a puppy with a note about picking one out together?[/quote_center]

7. Offer your services for help with the dog.

If your best friend wants a dog, how about giving her a gift like offering to pet sit for free or offering to take the puppy out for a midday potty break? Or maybe giving her some of the dog supplies you no longer need?

If you live far away, you could offer to pay the dog’s first boarding fee or pet sitting fee when your friend comes to visit you.

8. Donate to a rescue or shelter your loved one supports.

If your mom is involved with dog rescue, she probably has a specific group or two she regularly donates to or volunteers with. More than likely, she will want her dog to come from that specific group. Trust me, as a rescue volunteer myself, I know it would mean a lot to her if you made a donation to that group in her name.

I suggest a card that says something like:

“Mom, I know this rescue group means so much to you so I donated $100 in your name. Who knows, maybe it will help your future dog. Can’t wait to meet the lucky dog you choose.”

So, as you can see … giving a puppy as a gift doesn’t have to literally mean you surprise your brother with a puppy. There are a lot of creative ways you can “give” someone a dog without surprising them with an an actual dog.

Obviously, getting a dog or puppy is a big decision and the primary caregiver of that dog needs to be a part of choosing that dog.

OK, now I want to hear your ideas!

Have any of you ever given or received a pet as a gift?

What advice would you add to this list?

Related posts:

Christmas is the perfect time to get a dog

Cats as Christmas gifts

Christmas dog shaming

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