4 Cool Products for Dogs, and Their People

THE FURMINATOR: With a Siberian Husky in the house, we can’t live without serious grooming tools like the Furminator.  If your dog has a thick double undercoat and sheds like it’s snowing, this tool can save your vacuum… and your sanity!  The Furminator can be pricey at pet stores, but we found it much cheaper on Amazon, for about $18.  There’s one for cats too.
The Furminator dog grooming tool

Photo from the Furminator web site.  They're not exaggerating, we have brushed this much fur off Isis with the Furminator ourselves!

THE RAKE: A Rake is an affordable tool that is also really good for dogs with a thick double undercoat and lots of shedding.  Several companies make a rake style brush, they can be found at most pet stores and online for about $8 - $12.
A Rake grooming tool.  Several companies make rakes
SAFESPOT LOCKING LEASH:  An adjustable locking dog collar and leash that can give you peace of mind if you need to leave your dog unattended for a SHORT period of time, like if you need  to run into the bank or a store.  It has a sturdy, uncuttable steel cable that secures your dog to an object.  It’s made of Plastic/steel/nylon webbing.  A bit pricey at $69 but may be well worth the price considering that upwards of 2 million dogs are stolen each year!  Remember, this is only if you need to leave your dog for a very short time – not for an hour while you go shopping.  Never leave your dog for more than just a few minutes no matter where you are or how safe you may think it is.  You can find it on the Orvis web site at  www.orvis.com
Photo of the Safespot Locking Leash from the Orvis web site:
SQUEEZABLE TREAT DISPENSERS:  I love these!  They are great for training, treating, or for busy toy purposes.  There are a few varieties of squeezable treat dispensers on the market.  Rather than giving your dog messy bits of chicken or peanut butter, or buying expensive bags of treats, you can instantly treat your dogs with a lick of peanut butter or bit of other squeezable treat.  I like to load up the dispenser with peanut butter and chill so it’s cool and lasts longer.  PAWW Treat Toob is a great treat dispenser product that’s relatively new.   I like that the Treat Toob is easy to fill and transparent, so you can see how much is left inside.  It comes in a few colors and you can write the contents on the bottle’s label window.  About $8.95 on Amazon.   Squeeze Bones is another type of squeezable treat dispenser which dispenses hard treats.  Dogs chew on it dispensing treats themselves.  This is a good type of treat dispenser to use as a busy toy, keeping your dog engaged for awhile.  You can use it as a reward after a training session or as a keep ‘em busy toy.   Both types of dispensers are easy to fill, easy to dispense, portable, and re-usable over and over again.  If your dog is a serious chewer, I’m not sure how long the Squeeze Bones will last, some reviewers indicated it may not be great for strong chewers.  Photo of an orange Treat Toob from Amazon's web site:

Check back frequently for more cool products for dogs and their people!

Test Your Knowledge of Dog Trivia

Q: What is the tallest breed of dog?  
A: If you guessed the Great Dane, you’d be wrong.  The tallest breed is the Irish Wolfhound.

Q: Which US Presidents had Scottish Terriers living with them in the White House? 
A: Former President Franklin D Roosevelt had a Scottie named Fala, who was famous in his own right.  In 1944 Roosevelt gave the infamous “Fala Speech”, refuting allegations that Fala was costing the taxpayers money!  Former President George W Bush’s presidential Scottie was named Barney.  He became quite famous, starring as himself in several BarneyCam films.  He once bit a Reuters news reporter, as well as the PR Director of the Boston Celtics.  Bad Presidential Doggie!  Bad!

 Q: An impressive statue of a dog in New York City’s Central Park honors the lifesaving heroics of which breed of dog?
 A: As Isis would proudly tell you, it’s the Siberian Husky!  A team of sled dogs saved the town of Nome, Alaska from a diphtheria epidemic in 1925 by delivering life saving serum.  Sled dog teams were the only way to transport the serum to Nome during extreme blizzard conditions.  The lead dog of the last relay team to reach Nome was a Husky named Balto.  The Central Park statue is of Balto, and honors the sled dogs and mushers that risked their lives in treacherous conditions to save the people of Nome. 

We took Isis to Central Park in NYC this Fall.  She was thrilled to see the statue her idol, Balto!   The plaque on the statue reads “Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice, across treacherous waters, through Arctic blizzards from Nenana, to the relief of stricken Nome in the Winter of 1925”  “Endurance  Fidelity  Intelligence " 
Q: What breed of dog is the beloved comic strip character Snoopy? 
A: Snoopy is a Beagle

Q: What breed of dog were Marmaduke, the dog from the Jetsons cartoon, and Scooby Doo? 
A: They were all Great Danes

Q: Which breed of dog is known to have “lifeguard” abilities?
A: Despite their large size and fairly low activity level, the Newfoundland, or "Newfie", was bred to work with fishermen on their boats.  Their muscular build, double coated fur, webbed feet and strong swimming ability make them ideal for water rescue.  A Newfie named seaman even accompanied explorers Lewis and Clark on expedition.


photos of Irish Wolfhound & Newfie obtained on Wikipedia

Here Come The Westminster Dog Show 2014 …. MUTTS?!

That’s right, the Westminster Dog Show has finally opened it’s doors (a tiny crack) to “All American Dogs”, basically mixed breed dogs.   For the first time, the Agility competition part of the show is now open to mixed breed dogs as well as purebreds.  The traditional Westminster Dog Show begins this week February 10th and 11th, but on Saturday February 8th, the Show will host an Agility competition that is open to both purebred and mixed breed dogs.

Tune in to watch dogs every bit as beautiful and special as any purebred work through a timed obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave posts and other objects.  The Agility competition isn’t the pritzy part of the Westminster show, but I would argue that it’s the most exciting part.  You can bet I’ll be routing for a former shelter dog to rise up like Rocky Balboa and win this Agility competition!

I know there are a few folks with their noses up in the air over this, but personally I’m thrilled that Westminster has decided to include all dogs in Agility, the ultimate canine athlete’s test of skill, speed, determination and pure heart!  Any dog can be great, any dog can be a champion, if we give them the chance.

What do YOU think about The Westminster Dog Show opening up the Agility competition to all dogs that want to compete?  Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment.

My Furry Valentine

On Valentine’s Day, who better to spoil and show some love to than your devoted canine?  Here are some fun Valentine’s Day activities to share with Your Dog.

Take any kind of jar, and fill it with hart shaped treats or dog friendly cookies.  Decorate the jar with stickers or ribbon.  It’s a great way to say I Love You to your dog, or give as a Valentine to someone else’s dog.

You can find several kinds of heart shaped treats for your jar.  At Petco, you can pick & choose goodies from their treat bar.   They cost about $4.95 per pound and you get a lot of treats in a pound.  For Valentine’s Day they have pink, purple, or natural colored heart shaped treats.  The treats have Valentine messages on them such as “Hug Me”, Kiss Me”, “I Love You”, and “XOXO”.   I got this bag of treats for about 79 cents.
You can also find packaged heart shaped cookies and treats at pet stores, or better yet make your own if you have the time.  I found this bag of heart shaped Salmon flavored treats at the Dollar Store.  They are so cute, and my dogs went nuts over them – they love Salmon!     
Check out It’s The Dog’s Life for some really good dog friendly recipes.  The Saint Lover, as the author is called, has a recipe for Applesauce Peanut Butter Cut Outs in her K-9 Cookbook tab on the site. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!     http://itsthedogslife.com/treat-recipes/peanut-butter-applesauce-cut-outs/ . 

I got a plain black collar at the Dollar Store for a buck and jazzed it up with pink adhesive rhinestone strips from the craft store.  The strips peel & stick on and they stay on really well.  I added an inexpensive heart shaped charm with pink rhinestones I found at a pet store. 


HOST A VALENTINE’S DAY YAPPY HOUR  for some of your dog’s favorite playmates. 
You can host a yappy hour in your own home, or check out local pet boarding facilities, wine bars or local hotels and restaurants to ask if they happen to be hosting one themselves (many host them regularly). 

Serve dog friendly cocktails, treats, and dog friendly (non dairy) ice cream.  You can whip up doggie “smoothies” made with cooked chicken or beef, fruit and plain yogurt mixed well in the blender.  You can add some banana, peanut butter or applesauce for more flavor.  Whatever concoction you come up with, make sure you use only dog friendly ingredients, nothing  that contains chocolate, onion, garlic, raisins or other ingredients that can be dangerous for dogs should be served.  My Canine Crudite Platter post (December, 2013) lists dog friendly foods you can serve.

Set up games for the dogs such as the shell game.  Hide treats under one of three plastic cups, each dog takes a turn sniffing to find it.   Place one or two interactive dog toys out, like the one in my What Will the New Year Bring For Your Dog? post (January, 2014), and let the dogs have fun figuring out how to find treats hidden within them.    Search online for a fun new trick and teach it to your canine guests.  These games can be lots of fun for the dogs and their owners.

At the end of your Valentine Yappy Hour give out treat bags,  Jars of Hearts, or bling collars you’ve made as party favors to each guest, or raffle them off as prizes for the best Valentine’s Day outfit.

JOIN A VALENTINE’S DAY CHARITY WALK OR RUN  with your dog, giving some love back to your community.  Search online for “Valentine’s Day Dog Walks or Runs” in your area.  If there aren’t any, get a bunch of friends together and  organize your own dog walk, or gather donations for a local animal welfare charity and deliver them together.

TREAT YOUR DOG TO A RELAXING MASSAGE at the end of a long Valentine’s Day.  Your dog will love this quality time spent with you, her ultimate Valentine!  Check out Modern Dog magazine’s article on how to massage your dog: http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/how-massage-your-dog/2028

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your Furry Valentine, however you decide to spend the day that celebrates love!