I love them because it means you care about your dog enough to look for information. Following are questions that have been asked of me over the years. If you have one that is not answered, let me know because this will be a work in progress.
Feeding and Housing
What do you feed your dogs?
When I feed kibble I feed Flint River Ranch. Have been since about 2001. It was one of the first dog foods on the market that used human grade ingredients. Click here for more info or to buy some. I also feed raw - we used to call it the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet – now it’s simply called feeding “raw”. Click here for more about feeding raw. And click here for some good questions and answers about feeding “raw”. There is also some good dehydrated food out there… click here to read about that. I give them supplements, kefir and other good stuff. Read about that here.
I have a puppy. How many times a day should I feed him?
2-3 times a day… period. No free feeding. Put food bowl down for 10 minutes and then remove it. They will soon get the picture that they eat when you put the dish down. After picking up the dish… out to potty.. no playing at this time. By feeding a puppy on a set schedule, the puppy will go to the bathroom more regularly, making potty training easier and faster. now.. personally I would hand feed each time for a bit just so they know where the food came from. And don’t forget to allow for the fact that there may be training treats involved and if so, feed less for the meal. NO fat puppies!!
What would you do if your dog was choking?
The Heimlick Maneuver
Where do your dogs sleep?
Hhhmmmm… where all dogs should sleep… on my bed…
Do you crate train?
You betcha! Best way to house train a dog. My dogs would sleep in crates with the door open.. it’s their den. I actually had to remove crates recently because Olivia was hiding in them and I didn’t want her to live her life in a crate. After a bit, she became Queen of the Couch. (Yes I allow my dogs on furniture but if I want them to get down I will say “off” once and if they look at me as if to say: “No. I don’t think so”, we have a “discussion”. It’s rare that it happens after that.
Health and Vet
Do you have health insurance for your dogs?
Yes I do for Brita and Jake. There is more risk of something happening to them because of traveling etc. No I don’t for Olivia. She’s almost 13 and anything that would go wrong now I would choose not to correct. She is almost blind and almost deaf, can walk but not much and has outlived all the other of her generation. It would be “her time”. If you’re interested shoot me an email and I’ll have some information emailed to you. This is not for routine expenses – It’s sort of like major medical I guess.
Do you vaccinate your dogs?
Well, yes and no. They get the first set as puppies but then I have titer tests done and so far in all the dogs I’ve had and done titers, the results showed that they still had the antibodies from the previous shots. Don’t know what titers are? Click here. Of course, you have to do a rabies shot.
Do you take your dogs for VOM treatments?
You bet. Read about it here. I haven’t been to an acupuncturist but have heard they work wonders on dogs.
Do you license your dog?
Of course. Doesn’t everyone?? Go to your city, town or village and do it now if you haven’t done so.
Are you concerned about Bloat?
I’m very concerned. Brita’s father bloated and died. There is a good article here that talks about it and lists the factors that are associated with an increased risk of bloat such as:
- Raising the food dish more than doubled the risk for bloat.
- Speed of eating -Dogs rated by their owners as very fast eaters had a 38% increased risk of bloat
- Age: The study found that risk increased by 20% with each year of age. Owners should be more alert to early signs of bloat as their dogs grow older.
- Family History: Having a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or offspring) that had bloated increased a dog's risk by 63%.
If you had to transport an unconscious dog to a vet and you couldn’t lift that dog, how would you do it?
Read here about a doggie stretcher.
What training methods do you use?
Check out the course I wrote when I was a trainer at Bark Avenue Day Care and you’ll have many questions answered. It’s called K9 Companion and uses many of Michael Ellis’ training videos and has a link to his school website. If I have written anything that is in conflict with what he is saying… he is right. This course was written maybe 6 years ago and methods are constantly being updated.
Do you use a pinch collar?
You bet. I have larger dogs and if they would decide to take off while we’re walking I doubt that I would be able to stop them with a flat collar. I do not use it for correction but rather as “power steering”. Everything you ever wanted to know about collars can be found here. You have to use what works for you and your dog.
Are your dogs Therapy Dogs?
Not any more – click here to read the final post.
Do you train Service Dogs?
No. I trained a dog (Tori) who became a Psychiatric Service Dog. Click here for her story. I’m training Jake to be my service dog. When I have back “issues” I can not bend over to pick things up. Click here for his story.
Do you use e-collars (aka remote trainers, electric collars, shock collars)?
Absolutely I do. The term “shock collar” goes back to when the collars had 3 settings – low, medium and high. A certain type of trainer would call it “frying” the dog”. It makes me cringe to think of that. Today’s remote training collars can have a dial with 100 levels and if they are used correctly it’s nothing more than a Tap on the Shoulder. Read “The Truth About Shock Collars” here. Read here about the premier dog trainer here and check out her school that I attended back in 2003.
How do you feel about underground fencing?
I think there is a place for it. In a subdivision where no fences are allowed, it is better than nothing at all. My concerns are:
- It doesn’t keep other dogs/cats/deer/skunk/bear/etc. out.
- If a dog goes through it chasing a rabbit/cat/deer/etc. they may not come back in.
My friend, Marilyn Tokach, wrote an article about it here.
How do you introduce a new or visiting dog?
VERY carefully! There are so many variables here that it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Probably as many variables as there are personalities of dogs. There may be no problem at all or there might be REAL trouble. One thing I do think is best… do it in a neutral place. You’re on your own on the one.
What is a Puppy Scavenger Hunt?
AAHH… Socialization at its finest… J
What is NILIF?
An acronym for Nothing in Life is Free! I’ve had to use that philosophy many times with certain dogs. Ari for one – Jake also! There is NO free lunch, if you want a paycheck you have to work for it!
What do you do when you get a new dog or puppy?
Well.. a scavenger hunt, crate training, NILIF and what I haven’t mentioned is that I hand feed the new addition for weeks so he or she clearly understands that I went out and got that food that is going clearly straight to his or her mouth. Regarding hand feeding – I’ve also done it on more than one occasion when one dog or another was starting to get an attitude or if there was an upcoming trial.
What titles have you put on your dogs?
Coming soon when I figure it out. …..ok… here ya go… Titles on my Dogs
What seminars, classes or workshops have you attended?
Coming soon when I find the list.
Favorites and Miscellaneous
- Vet – Great Lakes in Neenah - Dr. Jeff saved Ari’s life. I like him!
- Animal Communicator – Marilyn Tokach - Pure Spirit Animal Communication
- Groomer – Lisa’s Pet Grooming in Appleton
- Day Care
- AKC Dog Club – Winnegamie Dog Club – Menasha
- ID tag
- Kong – The Monster Ball
- Training aid or tug – Wing-a-Ball
Are you a breeder?
No…. never have been, never will be…. There are too many bad German Shepherds being bred out there with no regard to whether the hips are good, other genetic problems or temperament. Good GSDs are amazing dogs; bad ones can be downright scary.
Where can I get a “nice” German Shepherd?
My idea of “nice” and yours may be different. I always ask: “Do you want a pet or a working dog?” Not everyone should own a German Shepherd Dog. I’ve talked people out of getting a German Shepherd when I realized they just weren’t ready to commit to what it takes to own one. (or any dog) Not all GSDs have the same temperament and drive. Best thing for a pet – check with a rescue. Here is a good one. German Shepherd Rescue Alliance of Wisconsin. If you want a working dog, you should not be asking this question.
Anything else you’d like to share?
- Make sure you are in the group of owners called DINOS and you are not an MDIF.
- Learn as much as you can about the BODY LANGUAGE of dogs. There are lots of good websites out there. These were the first 3 that came up when I googled “dog body language”…. There are lots more so don’t hesitate to explore on your own!
So there you have it! If I get questions I haven’t answered I’ll add them but in the meantime… enjoy your dog!