Erica F.'s profile

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2015-08-26 16:52:42 -0500 answered a question helping my dog lose weight

The great weight-loss mystery. :)

  1. Reduce the amount of calories you're feeding. As people I think we look at food deprivation in very severe terms, but even cutting 5-10% of her calories in a day can make a significant difference without impacting the perceived amount of food. Slow and steady.
  2. Limit treats, especially highly processed dog treats and people food. Instead you can find dehydrated chicken/turkey meat treats with zero added ingredients at most pet stores. Also, try substituting with some fresh berries and veggies on occasion. If your dog isn't used to fruits/veggies it might take a bit for them to warm up. My dogs go bonkers over strawberries, blueberries (forget about it!) and cucumbers which are lower in calories and denser in nutrients than most dog treats.
  3. Exercise. Dog parks are great for this because your dog can end up running around more with other dogs while you walk the park or hang with other dog lovers than you could give them walking on a leash. Even silly things like placing the water bowl in a different part of the house than where they usually congregate, same with food. Make them have to walk around the house more just for their basic daily routine.
2015-08-26 16:42:55 -0500 commented question Why does my dog now eat his poop after we changed dog food?

Second Yvette's comment. This is a common behavior in horses too - they'll eat their own manure if the quality of the food is low, they're not digesting the nutrients or don't have the necessary gut bacteria.

2015-08-26 16:40:20 -0500 answered a question Questionnaire for New Clients

I think questionnaires are great - there's quite a bit of information that can be covered in a Meet & Greet, but having it down on paper as well can be really useful once the sitter is with your dog and needs a quick reference.

I usually leave a long list of information for my sitter about each dog, even though she's watched them several times I don't expect her to remember every intricate detail so this fills in a lot of gaps in case she has a quick question and I can't be reached immediately during a stay. :)

2015-08-26 16:36:00 -0500 answered a question What are resources to figure out what is the best dog for me?

I'm a big fan of lists to help get clear what I'm looking for and how it will fit into my current lifestyle; in this case the "it" is a dog. :)

Some good questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you want to adopt or buy outright (usually related to whether you're cool with a mixed-breed dog or you really want a purebred)?
  2. Do you have a size preference? You might have limited/unlimited space where you're living, or just prefer a certain size dog.
  3. Low or high-maintenance characteristics? Longer-haired dogs or those that require regular grooming/clipping will take more of a time commitment than those that don't. Also dogs that shed a lot you'll want to take into account how you'll manage that in your home.
  4. Low or high-energy characteristics? Are you an active person or prefer to chill? You want a dog that fits well with your personality and lifestyle.
  5. Trainability and intelligence? As much as we might want to say every dog is trainable in the right hands (and I believe it), you'll want a dog who responds well to your individual approach. Are you good at being consistent, calm and encouraging to your dog? Or do you need a dog that's more forgiving of any inconsistencies?

Of course you should be flexible enough to compromise based on your specific situation for the good of the dog. For example you might really, really, really want a purebred border collie but you live in a 500sq ft apartment in the city and gone the majority of the day - you might expect your highly intelligent and active dog to feel a bit bonkers in this situation.

Go visit shelters and hang out with the dogs. PetFinder is also good for connecting you with dogs that are available for adoption through smaller rescue groups.

If you're set on a purebred dog, google search some of the characteristics you're looking for and research the breeds. You can lookup local breeders for those breeds that you connect with the most and talk to them about their dogs.

Being prepared with even a basic outline of what you're looking for will help you out when you're suddenly surrounded by all those cute puppy dog eyes. :)

2015-08-26 16:20:30 -0500 asked a question What's the best way to start with clicker training?

I've been interested in using clicker training with my dogs for quite a long time; but the biggest inhibiting factor is knowing where to start.

Any suggestions on reading, video or course resources to learn how to start from the beginning?

2015-08-26 16:03:45 -0500 commented answer Dog food advisor?

I also like that they allow visitors to comment on the reviews and provide additional details like recent recalls and experiences with the food/company.

2015-08-26 15:50:02 -0500 answered a question Who here has actually placed a Rover yard sign in a dog park?

I haven't seen any Rover signs at our local dog park yet, but there are notices posted occasionally (dogs for adoption, etc) posted on the entrance gate.

I figure why not - like most things the worst you might get is a "no, you can't do that". :)

2015-08-26 15:47:37 -0500 answered a question Blood in dog urine

Just to tye into Laura's response regarding Cranberry Juice - you can also buy Cranberry Pills that make administering to your dog a breeze.

See http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nbsbnoss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=cranberry+pills

2015-08-26 15:44:26 -0500 answered a question Tips to stop MALE dogs from urinating all over your house

I second the remark on using belly bands, I've found they are worth their weight in gold. Amazon sells them at a reasonable price, and you can also buy a bulk box of overnight slim pantyliners to use in them for cheap with free shipping usually.

2015-08-26 15:37:13 -0500 answered a question What is the best, dog-friendly way to kill a bees nest?

I second Laura's recommendation to relocate the hive if they're a valuable variety for pollination - need all the pollinating bees we can get! A lot of beekeepers will actually do this for free, do a quick search online for local beekeeping groups to find someone in your area.

If they're not a good kind to have around or you can't find someone to relocate them, peppermint oil is toxic to bees, wasps and hornets. There are some non-toxic sprays on the market that use only peppermint oil as the main ingredient and they're very affordable (plus it'll make everything smell good!).

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2015-08-26 15:33:33 -0500 answered a question Does your dog bark at bigger dogs?

Yes, my little hairless Chinese Crested will get right up in a big dogs face and bark as meanly as possible. Most big dogs just ignore him but he's lucky he has backup from my pitbull mix when they haven't taken so kindly.

At dog parks I put a collar on him that beeps and vibrates (instead of a shocker) and this works great to dissuade him from acting like such a toughy.

2015-08-26 15:29:25 -0500 answered a question How do I to stop my dog from barking at animals on TV?

hahahaha, sorry to laugh but my little ones do this whenever I'm playing Skyrim and battling a dragon. They just lose it over the dragon and are determined to help slay it.

(I should note, I'm less upset than hysterically amused when this happens. They're good protectors.)

I haven't come up with a solution to the problem myself, but interested in any other ideas submitted to this thread.

2015-08-26 15:12:53 -0500 answered a question How does a dog sitter handle a stay with a dog who is shy and shakes when he gets nervous?

I have a super anxious dog who does not handle being watched by strangers well.

He's hidden behind the washer in the laundry room barking and terrified before and it's no fun to get a call when you're out of town that the sitter can't extract your dog from his kennel because he's so afraid.

I've tried Thundershirts, suggesting ways for her to approach him so he's less uncomfortable.

Best two tricks that have helped make leaps and bounds in progressing to him being comfortable enough to curl up on her lap and ask for belly rubs were:

  1. Meeting at the dog park; we have a super awesome sitter we found through Rover who will meet us at the dog park when she has the time so I just text her whenever we plan on heading that way and if she can she meets us there. It's a more relaxed and neutral environment for him to become familiar with her.
  2. Liverwurst. Yup, he's never been a food-motivated dog when he gets nervous (and believe me, we've tried every one of his favorite treats and foods) but on the last stay our sitter resorted to offering him up some liverwurst and he became putty in her hands.

    Also, I think it helps that I don't coddle him when he gets anxious or nervous. I don't punish him either, I just try to stay neutral and give him the space he needs to gain some confidence without encouraging him to get aggressive out of fear.

Little dogs, what can I say. :)