Has this ever happened to you?  You step outside your front door just to get the mail but your dog goes tearing past you, bounding out of the house and into the street.  

How about this?  Someone comes to your house for a visit and as soon as the door is opened, your dog sneaks by and next thing you know he's roaming the entire neighborhood like he owns it. 

The Wait dog command could save your dog's life, dog training, train my dog, dog commands
Icy and Phoebe know to wait calmly for us to put their leashes on or to go through any doors.

Door dashing, as I like to call it, isn't cute or funny.  Your dog isn't just "being a dog" when he barrels past you through a door at lightening speed to get to the outside world.  It's a dangerous habit.  Many dogs get lost or hit by cars because they've door dashed.  How can you stop this behavior? 

The most effective way for us to ensure our two dogs don't door dash has been to teach them the "Wait" command.  Every time my dogs go through any doorway, they know to wait for our command before they proceed. 

Teach your do to Wait at the door , dog training commands, training dogs, dog obedience

We do this for our front door, the back door that leads into our secure backyard, the backyard gate, the car, and even the doors at our local PetSmart.  If there's a door involved, they have to look at me or my husband before they go through it.  I don't mean to be a drill Sargent, but I know how important it is for their safety.  The more the Wait command is a part of their everyday life the safer I know they'll be.

Dog Training Tips, dog training commands, Teach dogs the Wait Command, Dogs, Dog training, Dog Obedience training, dog safety
Phoebe knows to Wait before going through any door

On the advice of a professional dog trainer we started putting their leashes on away from the front and garage doors.  It helps curtail the excitement they associate with doors and going outside.

If you've never taught your dogs the Wait command, try this:

  • Start inside the house.  Put your dog's leash on just outside a CLOSED bedroom or other inside door your dog uses often.  Tell him to Sit and Stay at the door.

  • Staying in front of your dog, put your hand on the door to open it. Your dog may stand up or try to get ahead of you in anticipation of the door opening. Give a firm "Ah! Ah!, Wait!" and make him sit back down.  Keep your hand on the door until he settles and looks at you for direction.

  • Slowly begin to open the door.  As he tries to move forward, as he likely will, give him another firm "Ah! Ah!, Wait!" and close the door again.  Keep doing this until he gets the idea that unless he remains in a sit position and waits for you to lead him through the door, you will continue to close it. 

  • You'll probably need to do this a bunch of times before your dog gets it.  It may seem confusing to him.  How come suddenly Mom or Dad isn't letting me go in that room??  Eventually, he should get it.   

Once your dog get's it, perform the exercises on other doors over the next couple of days.  The garage door, the car doors, the backyard door, and so on.  He'll eventually learn that he needs to check in with you before he's allowed to go through any door.  However, if you can't seem to teach the Wait command successfully, get some hands on help from a professional dog trainer.

Has your dog ever door dashed?  How do you prevent your dog from dashing out into the street or other dangerous situation?  We love to hear from you, please leave us a comment and share your thoughts with us!

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: Kids Read To Dogs To Improve Reading Skills

One of the Therapy Dog programs Isis and I love participating in is kids reading to dogs, helping kids improve their reading skills.  Here's a pic of Isis sitting so nicely with a sweet little girl during her reading session.

I normally never photograph children in order to protect their privacy, but since you can't see the girls face, I couldn't resist snapping this photo of Isis intently "listening" to the story!

Check out my friend Jenna's recent interview with me about our Therapy Dog work on Love Is Being Owned By A Husky

To learn more about how kids reading out loud to dogs helps improve reading skills, see my post on Why Children Should Read to Dogs.


Is Your Dog Vaccinated Against Kennel Cough?

Kennel Cough is an upper respiratory illness that will make your dog miserable.  The Bordetella vaccine is intended to prevent Kennel Cough, a highly contagious illness that can be transmitted through the air or through direct contact with an infected dog.   If your dog gets boarded at a kennel or Veterinarian’s office,  gets  groomed, attends doggie day camp, or attends dog shows or competitions you may want to have a discussion with your Veterinarian about whether or not your dog should have the Bordetella vaccine.
My dog Icy checking in for day camp at PetSmart, looking like she owns the place!
The main symptom of Kennel Cough is a continual dry, hacking cough that begins around three to seven days after the dog has been infected, and can last for several weeks.  Kennel Cough can make your dog positively miserable as he coughs uncontrollably all day and all night.  Watching him suffer through it will make you pretty miserable too! 


So it's time to move but it's not time to buy a place of your own yet.  You scour the rental listings on Craig's List, Zillow, and everywhere else you can think of, but the majority of rental ads say "no pets" allowed.  You have 2 dogs and 3 cats, so now you go into panic mode.  Are you ever going to find a place to live that will welcome your furbabies?  Will you GASP! have to rehome them? NO NEVER!  You're so frustrated you want to rip out your fur - I mean hair.   You wonder, why on earth do landlords hate dogs so much?  I think I can shed some light on that.

Do Landlords Hate Dogs?  Why landlords don't allow pets, Apartment hunting with pets
Icy when she was a puppy, chewing Gumby to bits. 


My Husky, Isis, is SNOWDOG DREAMIN' on such a Winter's day! 

Isis is happiest when she's frolicking in the snow!  Here she is last Winter, visiting family on the East coast.  We live in Phoenix so we don't get any of the white stuff.

Gorgeous snow covered mountains, way in the distance could be seen from Northern Phoenix last month when a whopping 10 inches of snow fell in Sedona.  A real rarity!

The same snow covered mountains way in the distance as seen from Northern Phoenix, where it was in the 60's.  We wanted to head up North to Sedona, but much of the snow was gone in just a couple of days.  Isis was very sad, she wanted to go so badly!

Phoebe is no snow bunny.  She prefers to always be warm and cozy.  No Thank You mama, I will stay right here in my zebra bed where it's nice & warm!


Have You Seen This Video of a Little Girl Controlling 6 Dogs?

I don't normally post on my blog on Saturdays, but I just saw this amazing video on the news today and had to share.  This little girl is so competent and capable, she's definitely got a bright future as a Dog Trainer!

It's no surprise that the video has gone viral, but the sad part is that, no surprise, a lot of misinformed people have been vehemently criticized the family for putting the girl in what they deem an unsafe condition simply because her family dogs are Pit Bulls.  We should all be so lucky to have a pack that is this well trained and well behaved!

Of course, some news channels were just chomping at the bit to make a sensation out of this and criticize the family.  One ignorant news anchor actually pointed out that the girl got "injured" because one of the dogs stepped on her foot - Really?!  My Husky steps on my foot every day!  Has that guy ever even had a dog?  If the dogs were Standard Poodles, Saint Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Chihuahuas, or any other breed, I would be having this conversation.

These dogs are beautiful and so is this incredible little girl!  The only thing I have to say to the people who have criticized this family is this:


What do you think of this video?  Would you applaud or criticize this girl's parents?  Please leave us a comment, we want to know what you think!

I decided, a little late, to join the Monday Mischief BLOG HOP!!

100 Places To See With Your Dog: Sedona in the Fall

Less than 2 hours North of Phoenix, Arizona is the spectacular Red Rock Region known as Sedona.  When we lived in Phoenix, we were lucky enough to be able to visit Sedona often.  Each time we went, it was more spectacular than the time before.  It's our very favorite hiking place, with limitless hiking trails, nearly every one of them dog friendly.  A few weeks before Christmas we decided to head up there for a couple of days of hiking with Icy and Phoebe.

Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip.  I hope you enjoy them, and if you ever have the chance to visit Sedona I hope you'll go!  You will be amazed at the natural beauty and dog friendliness of this incredible town!

Little Phoebe surprised us with her endurance in making it so far up the mountain!

Pausing for a photo op on our way to the top.  OK, so really we "paused" because I was about to keel over - it's a long way up!


Last weekend we headed to one of the many outdoor malls here in Phoenix to do some shopping.  In the grassy plaza area we saw these two gorgeous wolves.  Beautiful, aren't they?

Two beautiful wolves, a male and a female hanging out at the Mall!
The male seemed a little protective of his "woman", the female wolf.  Although he permitted people to take pictures of them, the owner advised people not to get too close to the male wolf, and not to crowch down next to him.

One of the owners said they were "mostly wolf".  I'm not sure what that means exactly.  Lots of people were asking questions so I didn't want to badger them with direct questions on that.

Look!  One of the wolves is hiding in the trees.  JUST KIDDING!!  This is my Husky, Isis, but tell me she doesn't look like a Wolf in this photo!  LOL!
In the U.S. there are laws and restrictions around ownership of wolf-dogs and of course wolves.  The rules vary state to state, but wolves and wolf-dogs are illegal in more than 10 states.  If you are thinking of owning one, please do your research and be very cautious about understanding the laws regarding ownership of these animals.

My friend Jenna, from the blog Love Is Being Owned By a Husky had done an interview about wolf-dogs with Rebekah, from the blog My Rotten Dogs.  Check it out!

If you saw wolves at the mall, would it Freak you out, or Delight you?  Leave us a comment, we always want to know what you think!


Thinking of Joining a Gym? Work Out With Your Dog Instead!

Let’s see, just how many gym memberships have fallen by the wayside because I never used them?  I hate working out at a gym.  It’s expensive.  I have to drive there, find a parking spot, secure a locker - Darn ! Did I forget my gym lock again?  I have to then wait for a machine and wipe the sweat off it 'cause the last person didn't.  And why is everyone  at the gym always infinitely thinner than I could ever aspire to be??  As if that wasn't reason enough not to go to the gym, don't you feel like it’s a giant petri dish of plague?  Why not ditch all that unpleasantness in favor of working out with your dog!

Incorporate your dog into your New Year’s fitness goals.  Your dog is always a willing exercise partner and will motivate you to get out & exercise, and stick to your program.  He'll never say "Ah, the heck with the gym, let's go out for chocolate martinis!" Think about your health, exercise and weight loss goals as you formulate how you can get yourself and your dog up and moving more. 
There are many ways to incorporate your dog into a workout.   Your dog is pretty much always willing, so just pick the days of the week and boom!  Instant workout plan, Instant workout partner!  My favorite activity to do with my dogs is Hiking or Walking.  We try to do these activities together at least 3 times a week for 40 minutes to around 2 hours for longer hikes. 

Walking, Running, jogging, biking, hiking, and Yoga with your dog (Doga) are all things you can do with your dog that burn calories, work your muscles, make you sweat and make you feel great!  Isn't that all anyone really needs from a gym?  And the cost?  Nada!   

Here's a rough estimate of calories burned by performing various activities:

  • WALKING 30 mins at 3mph: approximately  115 – 200 calories, depending on your weight

  • HIKING 30 mins : approximately 200-350 calories, depending on your weight

  • RUNNING 30 mins at 6mph: approximately 350-625 calories, depending on your weight
  • BIKING 30 mins at 10mph: approximately 215-325 calories, depending on your weight

YOGA burns calories as well, but I think the bigger benefit is improved muscle tone and flexibility.

So grab your dog and get moving!  You'll both get in better shape, which could even lead to less costly medical expenses in the long run for both of you.

One of the blogs I follow that has a lot of information on fitness for your dog is Slimdoggy. Check it out!

Do you exercise with your dog?  What other activities do you engage in with your dog that promote health benefits for both of you?  We love to hear what you think, so please leave us a comment!



Can You Afford Your Dog? Financial Peace of Mind

I recently read a great post on my friend Kimberly Dickerson's blog SAVING MORE THAN ME.  Her post was about what gives people financial peace of mind.  She discussed the need for a financial Emergency Fund as a cushion for life's unexpected blows.  If you are a Suze Orman fan as I am, you know exactly what that means!  When Kim was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2008 she had to abruptly leave her job.  Her emergency fund helped sustain her in the initial months.  Kimberly writes beautifully not only about how she deals with the challenges of MS, but about various Health and Wellness topics, her Pets, Travel, and other interesting topics.

Phoebe sometimes gets chilly at night so I bought her this fleece jacket
After 20+ years in the financial industry, I'm always drawn to topics about money.  While most people are watching American Idol or The Bachelor, I am watching the Suze Orman Show, Mad Money, and American Greed. I'm always touting the importance of having an emergency fund for financial peace of mind, so Kim's post really struck a chord with me.

What does this have to do with dogs, you ask?  This is still a dog blog right??   After reading Kimberly's wonderful post, it got me thinking about the cost of dog ownership and how much I spend on my own dogs.  Phoebe has a wardrobe almost as extensive as mine and Isis probably has more bling than Princess Kate!  The pet industry is a nearly $60 Billion dollar industry, but for many people the cost of pet ownership is daunting and can be a deterrent to adding a Furbaby to their family.  But there is a way they can add a dog to the family and still have peace of mind!

Phoebe sporting her new Winter coat, which I bought for a trip to Sedona


This YouTube video is so hilarious.  Some of you may have seen it before, but every time I see it, I can't stop laughing! I like the point it makes at the end, pets really do need a friend.  If your Furkid is an only child, think about adding a new Furkid to your family.


8 Ways To Show You're NOT Appreciating Volunteers

If volunteers feel appreciated and feel like they are making a real difference, they'll continue volunteering for your charitable organization and will give their very best each day.  If you fail to show your volunteers that they are valued, you will lose them.

My little Angel Paws
Volunteers want to feel valued.  They want to feel like they've made a difference to those the charitable organization is there to help. I've compiled a list of things charitable organizations do that make volunteers feel very UN-appreciated.

Black and White Sunday: Hungry Like the Wolf!

Hope you all had a very Happy New Year!  This is my first Black & White Sunday, I finally figured out how to convert a photo to black & white - I know, pathetic, right?!

Tell me Isis doesn't look like a wolfie!?


Happy New Year; My Dogs' Resollutions


We've said goodbye to 2014 and it's officially a brand new year, a fresh start filled with possibilities! I've been thinking about my New Years resolutions, which usually extend to my dogs as well.  One of the things I'd like to do with my dogs in 2015 is teach them at least 3 new tricks.  Here's a short video of one of my favorite tricks, which I do with Isis, "Where's My Dog?"  I learned this cute trick in a Tricks training class I took at PetSmart.  I hope it makes you smile, maybe even laugh!

One of my 2015 New Years resolutions is to learn some new tricks and spend more time doing tricks with both my dogs because: