Behavioral Tips

Why you should be talking to your dogs

Do you talk to your dog?

I totally do! I can't help it, they're just so cute.

Even though our dogs don't understand the actual words we are saying, they pay attention and are sensitive to the tone we use when talking to them. If you feel like you might be a little crazy for talking to your dog, I'm here to tell you that science says you're actually not and that’s it’s good for both of you!

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1. Strengthens your bond

The more you talk to your dog, the stronger your bond will grow… easy as that! They may not understand your language, but they do understand your facial expressions, mannerisms, and tone of voice. Through these different cues they get the gist of what you're trying to communicate to them. Eventually, they will learn some of the words you repeat through association, and pretty soon you two will have a language of your own! 

 

2. helps puppies & rescue dogs feel more comfortable

Again, they don't understand exactly what you are saying, but they can tell if you have good or bad intentions. Using a calm voice can be very soothing and help them to feel more comfortable in their new environment. The more you talk to your new friend, the more they will come out of their shell!

 

3. dogs are social creatures

Dogs do not enjoy being isolated - they need attention and interaction to thrive. They are very social animals and need to form a bond with other creatures to flourish. If you have more than one dog, you'll notice that they have their own way of interacting with one another - whether they play nonstop or prefer to quietly lay next to each other, they like to know someone else is there. So talk to them and let them know you're there. 

 

4. You will love it!

Nothing makes me happier than a dog wagging its tail back at you when you’re talking to him. One thing I love that Boomer does is when he decides he would like some attention. He will randomly look over at me and let out a little noise like "hey, over here!" and I’ll happily talk back to him. A fun little exchange like this will help lighten your mood and show you how wonderful it is to share a bond with an animal that loves you!

Why you shouldn't pick a breed just for looks

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Left: Dalmatian, Right: Siberian Husky

Left: Dalmatian, Right: Siberian Husky

How gorgeous are Siberian Huskies with those big blue eyes? Or how unique are Dalmatians with all of their spots?

I know it's tempting to get a beautiful dog like a Husky or Dal for their looks, but so many people forget to consider breed temperament and needs when choosing a pet. 

A Husky and Dalmatian might look really cool when you're walking down the street, but are you able to physically and mentally exercise them to their specific needs every day? If not - be prepared for excessive barking, destructive chewing, stubbornness, and other naughty behaviors you won't want to deal with.

These are just two popular examples of breeds that owners usually pick for their looks, but there are so many other breeds (and rescue mixes!) out there than can still provide you with a loyal friend, even if they don't have spotted coats or blue eyes!

 

Be Realistic

Unless you are willing to mold yourself into the owner that a specific breed needs, let go of the aesthetic you like and admire them from afar instead. You must be honest with yourself and where you are at now as a dog owner - don't say you will start running once you get a specific breed, if you don't even run now and are somewhat of a couch potato. Instead, look for a dog who can be a couch potato with you - then you don't have to force yourself to exercise! And if you all of a sudden become an avid runner and you two happen to become fit together, even better!

 

Do research

Picking a breed takes a lot of research, but here are some fun places to start! These quizzes can give you a good starting point for which breeds to do even more research on past your results on these quizzes, and remember to be honest with where you are at now as an owner - rather than where you want to be. 

I took a handful of quizzes and these two seemed the most accurate and realistic regarding the questions asked and results!

Life factors you need to consider when picking out a dog

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It's always fun to get to pick out a puppy from a litter or bring home a rescue from the shelter, but new owners need to make sure they know what they are getting into. When an animal is in your care, they completely depend on you to provide for their every single need. It might seem like a fun idea to bring home a new pet, but there are some major questions you should ask yourself before doing so.

 

1. Do you work full-time?

Some breeds have the label "velcro dog", this means they love to be attached to your hip and want to know your every move. Dogs that love attention and companionship don't do well sitting at home alone for long periods of time. Breeds like Golden or Labrador Retrievers are a great example of velcro dogs. 

 

2. How much do you exercise?

Get a dog that matches your current fitness level, don't exaggerate or think about where you want to be in the future, that wouldn't be fair to do. Some dogs have exercising needs that are more than you can handle and it would be unfair to not provide them with that very important need. Always keep in mind, a tired dog is a happy and well-behaved dog. 

 

3. Do you have kids?

Some breeds don't care if you climb all over them like a jungle gym. While other breeds are very aloof and are not fans of being pulled or tugged at. The current age of your kids is important to consider when getting a dog. If you have a toddler running around, a breed like a Chow might not like their spaced invaded. Or if you have a teen who is on the cross country team, an active breed like a Siberian Husky might be a great running partner for them. 

 

4. What's your living space like?

Do you live in an apartment, house, or townhouse? The bigger the dog the more room they take up. Do you have a yard? Is it fenced? Some breeds, like Terriers, are notorious for digging and escaping yards. Is your home full of nice furniture and expensive art? In that case, a high-energy breed like a Pitbull might not be for you, maybe go for a smaller breed like a Pomeranian instead.

 

5. How much money do you want to spend?

Again, the bigger the dog the more space and costs. A dog bed for a Chihuahua vs. a Doberman will be incredibly cheaper. The same idea goes for their food, vet costs, toys, etc. 

 

6. DO you already own another dog?

You'll want to add a dog that gets along well with your current dog. But even more importantly, you'll want them to have similar needs. It's much easier when all of your pets have the similar exercise requirements. 

 

7. Will you provide mental stimulation?

All dogs absolutely need this! However, smart dogs like Border Collies and Poodles need it even more. A bored dog can cause more chaos and destruction than you can ever imagine. You can provide your dog with different types of puzzle toys and work on some short training sessions to keep them focused and out of trouble.

Here's how to get an amazing photo of your dog

 
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I don't know about you... but this is a very hard task for me! 

You'd think with my blog that I'd be a master at taking photos of dogs! The issue is my boys hate having a camera pointed at them, they always  look away so they're absolutely no help. I've learned that they aren't naturals in front of the camera, and because of this I've had to figure out how to get them to look at me and hold a pose!

While I'm still learning all the time, I have a few tips and tricks I've picked up along the way!

 
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1. Bring a special treat

Always bring a very fragrant food that they rarely get to have. A great example is bacon or anything made with fish. Hold the treat to their nose so they can smell it and then pull it up to your face or above your head. You will be able to capture their full attention and you will be able to see the focus and excitement in their expressions.

 

2. Get their attention with noise

If your dog is toy motivated and can't resist the sound of a squeaker, use the noise to quickly get them to turn their head towards you. This will get great photos with their ears perked and eyes alert. If you don't have a squeaky toy, make some crazy noises! I've had people walking by turn their heads and laugh because of the noises I was making trying to get my dogs' attention! Do what you gotta do for a good photo!

 

3. Bring another human

An extra set of hands is so helpful! It's difficult to juggle a handful of leashes, treats, and a nice camera... especially while trying to get animals who don't speak your language to pose! Have that person hold a toy or treat directly behind you to get the dogs to look in your direction. 

 

4. USE a trick to make them stand still

A great one to teach is "watch" so they can make eye contact, or at least look in your general direction on cue. This is taught by holding a treat to your nose while using the command "watch" or whatever else you'd like. You can also use your pet's name so that they learn to look directly at you when you call them. And of course, every dog should know come and stay - especially if you're taking photos out in public!