Tips For Having a Puppy With Children

There are many things to consider when choosing to bring a puppy into a home with children. One thing to think about is what type of dog will be gentle and tolerate the child’s behavior. Your new puppy is not just a pet, he or she is a member of the family and as such, needs to be treated well by everyone – especially the children.

Whatever type of puppy or dog you choose, some type of training will be in order:

  • Make sure your children are mature enough to have self control and understand directions. Very very young children just naturally pull hair, poke eyes, fall on the dog or puppy. All of these behavior are extremely hard on a dog.
  • One way to tell how your child will act around a dog or puppy is to take the child around a friend’s dog and see what your child does. Is your child hard on the dog? Does your child listen to you when you tell him “no” around the dog?
  • Small puppies, generally, are NOT the best choice if you have young children. In their own right, puppies are very much like small children themselves, and they will take a lot of time and attention. If you have small children also, your time is limited and your probably won’t have time to devote to the puppy to help it navigate it’s way to being a well trained dog.
  • Make sure your puppy or dog has the ability to get away from the kids in a safe place, like a crate or kennel in a quiet area of the house. You need to get away from your kids occasionally—so does your dog.
  • Understand that just by nature of being kids, the high energy, the screaming, the legs and arms going 90 mph, will always bring out the prey drive in your puppy or dog. Know what to do to address this.
  • Kids and dogs is a 2 way street. Don’t automatically assume your puppy or dog will “know” how to act around children. They must be taught, JUST as your children must be taught the appropriate way to act with a puppy or dog.

Consistency and repetition are the key. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”


By Popular Demand: Our Non-Toxic Solutions To Fleas

I was reading the Houston Chronicle Thursday, March 18 and on the front page was this headline:
EPA scrutinizes flea, tick products that it warns can be deadly to pets. You can read the article here.

We choose NOT to use these topical flea and tick products. They ARE a pesticide. The packaging specifically tells you to wash your hands immediately after using the product and to not let a child pet the dog if you have recently put the product on the dog. Think about that!

We choose not to use pesticides on our dogs because their health and well being is too important. The more exposure dogs get to pesticides or low-quality food that contains meats not even fit for human consumption, the greater their chance of getting cancer. Do you ever wonder why cancer is on the rise in the dog population?

It is more work — yes. But we feel it is our responsibility to protect the health of our dogs just as parents protect the health of their children.

So here is a list of the things we do to keeps fleas and ticks off our dogs in a safe, natural way:

  • Wash all pet beds in hot water and dry in the dryer to kill fleas and flea eggs.
  • Make a natural flea spray by cutting up six organic lemons, boiling them in a quart of water, and letting them sit for a few hours to steep. Use at least one fruit per pint.  Strain the lemon water into a spray bottle and lightly spray the pet’s fur. Be sure not to spray the lemon mixture in the dogs face or on any open scratches or wounds.  The oil in the lemons helps suffocate the fleas and the smell of the lemon will also help deter fleas.  This is the remedy I use most often.
  • Use Neem on your dogs and your dog’s beds.  Neem is a brown powdery substance that can be shaken on your dog’s bed and also shaken onto the dog and base of neck, between hips and rubbed into their coat.  It will kill the fleas.  Buy this from a reputable source so you can be sure it really has Neem in it. This is my second-favorite remedy.
  • Regularly vacuuming carpets and plush furniture also is important to rid a home of fleas and ticks. Be sure to toss out the vacuum bag so that the fleas and ticks do not crawl out of the bag after you shut off the vacuum.
  • Your most basic tool in fighting fleas and ticks is the underrated flea comb. It is simple to use and very effective in catching not only fleas and ticks, but flea eggs as well.
  • Use tweezers or a tick scoop to remove any other bugs and burrs.
  • You can dab some petroleum jelly on the comb to help make the fleas stick to its tines.
  • Comb your pet over white paper. If fleas are present, you will see tiny black specks fall on the paper.
  • To check your dog for fleas when bathing, place a large white towel beneath your dog. Fleas typically fall off when you rinse the dog, so you’re likely to spot them on the towel.
  • You can make a rinse from cider vinegar and water to rinse your dog with after you bathe them.
  • You can try Brewer’s Yeast in your dog’s food.  Lots of people say it works, I didn’t think it worked for us.
  • Be cautious with essential oils.  Dogs are very sensitive to them.  If you choose to use some essential oils such as rosemary or citrus do NOT let your dog smell the essential oils directly.  Their mucous membranes, sense of smell is much more acute than ours and this can cause problems.

If you have natural ways to control fleas and ticks please share!

Dogs on Furniture – Yes Or No?


You come into your family room, only to find your dog happily snoozing in your spot on your couch! Now, for some folks this is not a problem–for others it is. When it comes to the touchy subject of dogs on the furniture, my vote is to YES, have dogs on the furniture. Yup, you heard that right, on the furniture. I would however, present the following clarifications:

  • There should be rules. Dogs should earn the privilege of getting on your furniture by at least, doing a sit. This should be followed by a command to get them on the sofa, like the command Up. After your dog performs a sit, simply pat the couch and say Up. So his getting on your couch is on YOUR terms, not his.
  • You should teach your dog a relocation cue (another place to go other than the sofa) and train this command frequently. Examples would be, go to your bed, or once off the couch just place your dog in a down by your feet in front of the couch. This teaches him that you can let him up, BUT, you can also tell him to get off and go somewhere else. If your dog has a tendency or potential to guard the sofa, doing this exercise frequently would help to minimize any resource guarding that could develop.
  • Dogs with strong leader type personalities or temperaments would have a greater tendency to resource guard space. The stronger this tendency, the more I would tend to limit time (IF ANY AT ALL) on the furniture.

You can circumvent a lot of these issues by deciding early on if you want your dog on the furniture or not and begin training the behavior as a puppy. If you decide somewhere along the line to change the rules, be patient, your dog can’t read your mind. You will have to patiently and consistently train him to stay off the couch. Also, if your dog came to you from another family, they might have allowed him to be on the furniture. You will have to teach him new commands to stay off the furniture. Again, yelling and punishment doesn’t get you much, so be patient and consistent and remember set your dog up to succeed so you are able to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative.


Separation Anxiety in Dogs – Causes and Cures

There are multiple reasons dogs can develop separation anxiety. Two of the most common are:

1) A dog is not allowed to learn “alone time.” This is usually the result of a member of the family constantly being with the dog or taking the dog with them whenever they leave. Dogs need to learn how to be alone. This alone time training should begin immediately when you get your dog or puppy. Most people get a new dog or puppy and plan to spend an entire weekend or a week’s vacation consumed with making the dog feel “part of the family”. This is all well and good, but you must allow the dog to be alone. Start out by crating the dog and leaving the room for 5 minutes. Do not return unless the dog/puppy is quiet. If you return when the dog or puppy is barking, whining or crying you have just told the dog that behavior works – it gets you back in its sight. The dog is now controlling your goings and comings.

Begin extending his alone time, incorporating actually leaving the house for extended periods of time. Do NOT make a big fuss when you either exit the house or return home. Departures and arrivals needs to be low key so you dog does not attach any “special” meaning to them.

2) Another factor in dogs having separation anxiety is lack of structure in the home. Dogs are very much like children, they do very well when they know what is expected of them, the rules never change and they need to say “please” for the things they want that have high value. Basic obedience such as simple sits and downs can work wonders in adding structure and leadership role into your relationship with your dog.


Review: Territorial Aggression

Hi, my name is Lori Latham and my dog is Maggie. I called Jim because Maggie was aggressive toward anyone that came over or anyone that would approach us, people or dogs, approach me or her when we were outside OR at home.

After I talked with Leila on the phone, as a first step, before I commited to do it, I already had a mind set change and I had a new understanding of the dog world.

That was what prompted me to go ahead and pay for the lessons and sign up.

After my first session with Jim I learned so many different things that Maggie, well, she became a different dog altogether.

But it was a combination, I think, of my mindset and my understanding of the dog world.  But also, Maggie’s understanding that I’m the leader of the pack and she’s the dog and she IS a whole different animal right now.  I am very excited!