DOG for DOG is a movement to help as many dogs as possible. With every purchase DOG for DOG gives an equal amount of food to dogs in need.

Holiday Shopping Guide that Give Back to Dogs

by DOG for DOG Team 0 Comments

holiday gift guide by DOG for DOG or companies that give back

When shopping for the dog lover (or, more likely, lovers) in your life, you’re lucky to have a never-ending supply of possible things to get them. Whether it’s a gift certificate to Wag.com, something handmade and/or personalized from Etsy or a trip to the groomer for their pup – there’s plenty a dog lover would love to receive. Or maybe you’re looking for unique ways to treat your own pup this holiday season. Whatever the case, there are places and brands out there that you can shop and not only buy some dog related products but also give back to dogs in need at the same time! We’ve rounded up four below for you to check out.

1. Thundershirt. If you haven’t heard of them already, Thundershirts are specifically designed to comfort dogs experiencing anxiety, preventing panic attacks and other behaviors that affect lonely pups. The company has donated thousands of their products directly to shelters and adoption organizations across the country and you can donate directly yourself or request a donation through their website. Buying a Thundershirt for your own dog or the dog of a loved one helps further them in their mission to help all dogs.

2. BarkBox. BarkBox is a themed, monthly box service delivered straight to your door full of doggie goodies. Give the gift that keeps on giving! Simply choose a subscription package based on how long you’d like to receive boxes and how big your dog is and receive your goodies (a mix of toys, treats and food) on the 15th of each month. The BarkBox program not only offers an amazing gift to dogs but also donates 10% of all profits to shelters. With their BarkGood program, they work with over 3,000 shelters and rescues around the US and Canada! 

Amazon Smile donates to dogs in need with DOG for DOG

Photo by Humanity Road

3. Amazon Smile. Who doesn’t use Amazon on a regular basis? Do something super easy then and click through to their AmazonSmile program, where you can purchase products and hand-select a dog rescue to receive a portion of the proceeds. Over 2,100 rescues and humane societies are involved and it’s so easy – you click, they give!

DOG for DOG feeds dog in need

4. Dog for Dog. You didn’t think we’d forget ourselves, did you?! Our mission says it all – “You buy a bag of our food or treats, and we give another equal bag to a dog in need.” It’s that simple! By buying our brand, you are directly influencing the life of a dog in need in a shelter, and what dog wouldn’t love one of our tasty treats? If you’ve never ordered before, you can save 10% off of your first purchase by signing up for our newsletter, which will also get you receiving updates and stories about how you can further help out dogs in need in your own neighborhood.

 

Some other options?

  • Subaru. In the past seven years, the car company has donated over $9 million to the ASPCA as part of their Share the Love partnership.
  • Build-a-Bear. This toy company supports a number of good causes, including shelters like Red Rover and Oregon Greyhound Adoption, so you know you can feel good about spending your money here.
  • Monkeez Makes a Difference. Monkeez advocates for animal welfare through their children’s toys, selling an exclusive line of toys to raise money for the Best Friends Animal Society, the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the country.
  • Puppy Luv Glam. This girly clothing line for young tots and infants is all about the love of dogs. They use their products to encourage adoption over buying from breeders and currently donate $2 to the ASPCA for every (adorable) garment they sell.
  • Lush. The cruelty-free cosmetics line has a special line of hand and body lotions called Charity Pots, with one in particular supporting the Beagle Freedom Project, a rescue operation which specifically rescues dogs from laboratory testing.
  • Bissell. The makers of home care products and vacuum cleaners, mops and stain removers also run the Bissell Pet Foundation, which finds homes for pets in need. A portion of every Bissell product purchase goes towards their foundation!
  • Ikea. Ikea has joined with existing shelters to form Home for Hope, a campaign that places cardboard cutouts of adoptable dogs in their furniture displays to show people what their home would look like with a pet in it. The cutouts feature scannable codes for customers to track their favorite adoptable dogs on their smartphone. How cute and smart is that?
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Photo by @millandgrace

Feeling the doggie holiday spirit? This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the comments below, tell us where you shop that gives back to dogs in need and what dog related products you’re planning to stock up on this holiday season.

3 Reasons you Should Feed Your Dog Ginger

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3 REASONS YOU SHOULD FEED YOUR DOG GINGER BY DOG FOR DOG

Raise your hand if you get a tummy ache and immediately reach for the saltine crackers and ginger ale? A time honored remedy for feeling nauseas, the thing in ginger ale we’re really reaching for (outside of the bubbly carbonation) is the actual ginger root in the drink. Ginger works here most popularly as a digestive aid for an upset stomach, but that’s only scratching the surface of it’s potential benefits. From the same family as turmeric, the root of the ginger plant has been used as a spice and medicine in Asian, Arabic, and Indian cultures for ages for everything from osteoarthritis to cancer. Modern scientific research has shown that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, lowering cholesterol and as an aid in blood circulation.

Here are 3 reasons you should feed your dog some ginger.

 

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can consider adding this powerful root into the diet of your dog for a variety of conditions, as well as for general health maintenance. For nausea and/or vomiting, fresh ginger or a powdered spice version can help. If your dog is easily car sick, give them a few drops of ginger root extract about 30 minutes before a car trip. You can also give them a ginger capsule if they just get nervous riding in the car. Ginger is high in antioxidants, making it great in the fight against heart disease. It is also known to treat allergies as it can be administered as an antihistamine. One more? It can also help reduce cholesterol!

 

Ginger is great for bloat (gastric dilation volvulus), a life-threatening condition seen in larger breeds that involves the expansion of the stomach from built up food and gas that hasn’t been expelled. While the risks are great, no exact cause is known, making understanding and preventing it frustrating. According to materials written by Steve Marsden, DVM and Shawn Messonnier, DVM, ginger “may play a role in relieving or preventing bloat in dogs due to its ability to stimulate movement in the stomach and accelerate the emptying of the stomach.”

 

Another inflammatory disease, arthritis, is greatly helped by ginger, as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. A dog suffering from inflamed joints could gain some relief from taking ginger. As mentioned above, ginger is also believed to be a good addition to the fight against cancer, aside from the obvious benefits of treating the nausea common with cancer treatments. There is a study that shows great promise in using ginger to treat heart worm disease in dogs, a difficult and risky affliction to treat. In the study, a reduction of heart worm larvae in concentration ranged between 83 and 98 percent in infected dogs treated with ginger.

 

How to give it to your dog:

 

how to feed ginger to your dog

SOURCE: http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/10/ginger-herbs-for-dogs-and-cats.html

 

  • Ginger comes in a variety of forms: powder, pill, tincture, tea and raw root. To administer in raw form, you should cut off the skin and finely mince the yellow part of the root.
  • Give ½ teaspoon for dogs under 35 lbs and ¾ for larger dogs
  • Can be mixed in with their food
  • Always start slow and gradually add into their routine

In the video: This week on Kitchen Tails, Dog for Dog founder and Pet Chef Rocky Kanaka walks you through how to make gingerbread cookies or your pup. Click the YouTube video above to get his full recipe.

More recipes on Rocky’s YouTube Page.

 

Cautions:

Avoid ginger if your dog will be having surgery soon or if they are pregnant or have anemia, as ginger can thin the blood. It can also lower blood sugar and blood pressure, so it’s best to speak to your vet before giving ginger to a dog with diabetes or any kind of heart condition. As always, it’s also best to consult your vet first if your dog is on medications or suffering from any health conditions.

Do you feed your dog ginger? Tell us about it in the comments, or let us know what other good-for-dogs human treats you love to share with your pup!

Tips to Overcome Shyness for Dogs

by DOG for DOG Team 2 Comments
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                                                                Photo by Jeff

 

So your dog isn’t exactly Mr or Miss Congeniality. We can’t all be social butterflies! But as is often the case with humans, dogs can become shy for a number of reasons – whether they’re a rescue you’ve gotten whose likely had at least one other home before you or you have a brand new puppy on your hands. Rest assured, it is unlikely anything you’ve done, and could very well just be in the nature of the breed or something from their life pre-you. The good news is that shyness doesn’t have to be permanent. There are ways to combat it to help your pups become more confident and less fearful of their surroundings.

 

 

  • Identify the fear. It might feel like who or what a dog is shy over is random. But you can often work to identify the root issue by simply making a list of all of the people or places your dog is afraid of. Get as specific as possible, and become aware of your dogs “tells” and triggers. Do they hide under the bed? Shake? Whine? These will help you know when you need to manage his or her environment to help them move forward and past their fears. Many fears present themselves in four ways: freeze, fight, flight and fool around.
  • Start small and don’t push. Just like a shy friend wouldn’t want their first foray into a social atmosphere to be a massive house party, a shy dog shouldn’t be immediately thrown to the wolves. Start small by encouraging them. Dogs are aware of our own emotions, so try using a playful, warm tone when they’re in a situation they might be uncomfortable with. Keep excitement level regulated though, as fear and excitement can become two sides of the same physiological coin. If they’re still on the verge of worry, take them out of the situation. Always quit while you’re ahead!
  • Keep it predictable, within reason. You can’t shield your dog from every experience (nor likely should you) but shy dogs often do best with predictable, familiar patterns and fall apart when things seem or feel out of place. Keep their anxieties in check by establishing clear routines and using reward-based training. While a social dog is probably used to (and comfortable with) new people coming into your home, a shy dog will do best if they have a routine for this. For instance, you can teach your dog to go and lie on their bed when they hear the doorbell ring. This gives them a comfortable and safe space to retreat to. Train your human friends – no matter how dog friendly and knowledgeable they are! – to wait to be approached by your dog. Rushing over to ruffle their ears may come from a good place, but will likely not be a welcome greeting in the eyes of your pup.

Dogs with friends at dog park

Photo by Andrew Z.

  • Get them some outgoing friends. If your pup is great with other dogs and just anxious around humans, they will usually benefit from spending time with social doggie friends. Try walking them together, as there is evidence that an anxious dog’s fears can be eased by the company of a non fearful companion. This won’t immediately cure your dog overnight, of course, but it’s a small and important way to improve their quality of life and confidence-building in the right direction.
  • Train for confidence. Training a dog, even just a few simple behaviors, can greatly influence their confidence and overall attitude, which can lead to better reactions overall. There are three specific training exercises that can really help a dog’s confidence. One is to have them ask politely for everything. Train them to sit down before you give them treats, open doors, etc. This builds structure (which, as we’ve mentioned, is hugely stress-relieving) and teaches your dog to look to you for guidance. Mark all positive behaviors around people, whether it’s with a clicker or the word “yes!” and a treat. Do this whether you asked for the behavior or not, and the reward and your happiness can work as a coping mechanism to help them reduce their own stress level. You can also train your dog to watch you, often by using the command “watch me” when they begin to get nervous in public.
  • Work on both desensitization and counterconditioning. Think of what you’re afraid of. Spiders? Heights? Planes? No matter the fear, you know you cannot reason it away. Exposure to the thing that scares you simply scares you, making your palms sweat and your heart beat quicken. This is likely similar to what your dog is experiencing – an emotional and physical reaction. There are two important methods you can use once you’ve mastered basic training and identifying the root issues and triggers. Desensitization is exposure to the fear-inducing stimulus at a low threshold. Counter-conditioning is presenting a pleasant stimulus (a very special treat or time throwing the ball) in the presence of a scary one. So how exactly do you do this? First, figure out your dog’s exact threshold. Consider things like how close the person is, how many people are there and what they’re doing. Start by having a designated stranger (to the dog, not you – that might be weird!) come into the environment at a safe distance that the dog is still comfortable with. Each time they appear and your dog notices, start feeding them special treats. Once they leave, stop. Repeat this until your dog is good about looking to you for the good stuff when put in this same situation. Once they seem more comfortable at this level, have the stranger come a little closer (not leaps and bounds here, small increments over time). Repeat this over several sessions and days for as long as it takes. Be patient! The payoff is worth the effort.
  • Let the little guy set the pace. We get it – you think your dog is the bravest, smartest, sweetest thing on the planet. And we do too! But one of the most important things you can do as a pet parent is respect your dog’s fears and allow them to set the pace for improvement around new and scary things. Provide consistency, maintain his basic training behaviors and provide him with great things in the presence of fearful scenarios to help them overcome their fears.

 

Photo by globochem3x1minus1

                                                          Photo by globochem3x1minus1

It’s important to note that the tips here are most useful for a dog with a mild issue of shyness. If you’re dealing with more severe issues, you may want to consider speaking to your vet about medication that can relieve your dog’s anxiety and maximize his or her progress and also a trainer who could work on behavior modification.

 

Have a shy dog on your hands? Share your own stories and tips for socializing and helping more timid dogs in the comments below!

Pumpkin is a Miracle Food for Dogs

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Pumpkin is a Miracle Food for Dogs

 

 

It’s fall you guys and you know what that means – pumpkin everything! Pumpkin carving, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie! Luckily, this is one sweet treat your pups can actually take part in, as pumpkin is great for dogs and a meal staple for a lot of furry critters. Pumpkin pie may be a classic fall dessert and comfort food for humans but it also regulates digestion and the oils contained in the seeds and flesh of pumpkins support urinary health in dogs and cats. Nice! It’s no wonder Cesar calls it the “miracle food” for dogs!

 

So why is pumpkin so great and how are pet parents using it for their pups? While raw pumpkin is not ideal, many pet parents are simply adding a dash of canned pumpkin to their dog’s food bowl, dolloping it on top or swishing it in with the rest of their food and a bit of warm water. Pumpkin can help with an upset stomach, and is known to promote a shiny coat and help with a pup’s immune system. Canned pumpkin is high in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol and loaded with beta carotene, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamins A and C. The fiber alone in pumpkin can act as a binding solution through your dog’s digestive tract, absorbing excess water and therefore helping with things like diarrhea (and, funnily enough, constipation as well)!

 

Some vets have stated that the oils contained in the seeds and flesh of pumpkins support urinary health in dogs, especially if they have had kidney or bladder stones. Regularly adding pumpkin to a dog’s diet who has dealt with these issues can help with that. Our pups need fiber to stay regular just like we do, and pumpkin is a great source for that. Non-sweetened or spiced, pumpkin can help, and you just need to base the amount dispensed on the size of your dog. Tapeworms and other intestinal parasites become paralyzed by cucurbitacin, an amino acid found in pumpkin seeds that acts as a natural deworming agent. What works best for this is to grind up fresh or properly preserved pumpkin seeds into a powder and give your pup one teaspoon three times a day, mixed into a marble sized portion of canned food. Additionally, pumpkin is a great, whole-food source of carotenoids, and food based versions of beta-carotene yield a greater anticancer effect that supplemental based forms.

Photo by Jim B.

Photo by Jim B.

Pumpkin can also help with weight loss, so consider soaking dry kibble with a teaspoon of canned pumpkin for those looking to shed a few lbs. The mushy kibble makes them think they’re eating more, while the pumpkin fiber helps their tummies feel full. Lastly, the antioxidants and essential fatty acids contained in pumpkin seeds can help moisturize your pet’s skin and fur from the inside out.

 

Overall, pumpkin can add a healthy punch of moisture to a dog’s diet, which is especially important for those dogs who consume highly processed and dehydrated kibble. Composed of nearly 90% water, pumpkin works great in contrast to many moisture-deficient pet foods that have a dehydrating effect on the body, as they require increased secretion of gastric acid and pancreatic enzymes to promote digestion. Adding pumpkin not only helps with that, but decreases heat in the dog’s body by doing so!

 

The best way to store leftover canned pumpkin is in the freezer, as it will only last about a week in the fridge. You could try putting extra canned pumpkin into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Then, you have little pumpkin pups to serve up or you can thaw them out as you need them!

 

This week on Kitchen Tails, Dog for Dog founder Rocky Kanaka walks you through how to make a pumpkin pie for dogs. Click the YouTube video to get his full recipe in the video description.

 

Five pumpkin-based recipes to make for your pup this fall:

 

 

Do you feed your dog pumpkin? Tell us about it in the comments, or let us know what other good-for-dogs human treats you love to share with your pup!

 

Training Dogs to Act Properly Around Kids

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Training Dogs to Act Properly Around Kids

 

Featured Image by Dogs by Lori

If you’ve got a dog at home – or more than one! – and have a baby on the way, you’re likely beginning to think about how your pup will react to having a new, tiny human added to the dynamic at home. It’s a fair and valid concern, as this new addition will greatly impact not only your own life but thusly the life of your pets! Or maybe you’ve already got young children at home and are recently beginning to think about ways to train your pet to better interact with your kids. Whatever the case, and whether you have the most calm, sweet of dogs or a more hyper or needy youngster in the home, there are several things you can do to prepare your pup for life with a baby or young child. We’ve rounded up some of the best advice available on raising kids with dogs and how best to train your dog to properly interact with your kids. Know that, like any training, reaching these goals will require diligence and consistency. If you’re able to start on some of these things before the child comes home, you’ll have things set in motion before your life becomes crazier than you ever imagined it could be!

 

  • Understand your dog. Vicki DeGruy wrote in the Dog Owner’s Guide, We need to realize that dogs are not little people in furry costumes. They don’t think in the same way that we do. They look at the world around them with a different perspective. Most of their actions are instinctive. A dog will react to situations according to what his instincts tell him unless these instincts are overridden by the consistent training and socialization he needs to receive from his owner throughout his life. What can be done to prevent dogs from biting children? I feel that, first, it’s essential to understand that almost any dog will bite under the right circumstances. Second, a dog is a dog, an animal whose behavior isn’t the same as humans and can’t always be predicted with 100 percent accuracy, no matter how friendly or reliable he is.” It’s easy to feel like your dog will just naturally love and tolerate your little one the same way that you do. But the reality is that you, especially if you’re a mom, are programmed to love and care for your child. It’s in your bones. Your dog doesn’t have the same emotions running through them and they don’t have the same relationship with your child that they have with you, who has raised and nurtured them. So while even you might feel mildly irritated when your screaming child runs over to you and hits or pulls at you in frustration, imagine how your dog will feel receiving the same attention! No matter how well you train and work with your pup, it’s important to work with your child too on how best to interact with dogs.

 

  • Start small, with basic commands. Obedience training and socialization are absolute musts for a dog who’ll be spending time with children. A dog without training to fall back on will act according to instincts only, and so dogs need to be taught to obey commands under all circumstances, no matter how distracting your life is about to become. Simple things like “sit,” “come” and “leave it” could greatly help you as you juggle both your human baby and your fur child. With your drastically changed routine, your dog’s schedule will change too, and out of necessity, they’ll get less of your time and attention. That’s why it’s so great if you can start working on all basic commands and get them down pat before the baby arrives. Consider a training class or personal trainer if time constraints are a concern.
Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Dog For Dog

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Dog For Dog

 

  • Gradually introduce your dog to their new life. Four months before the baby arrives, gradually begin to introduce your dog to new experiences, sights, sounds and smells that they will likely encounter when you bring home a new child. Associate these new things with rewards, as this will help your dog learn to love life with a baby. One to two months before the baby arrives, anticipate the changes you’ll likely be making to your dog’s daily routine and start to make those changes. If you plan to nap during the afternoon, start taking occasional afternoon naps. If you plan to feed or walk your dog at different times of the day, start moving to those new times early. Of course, life with a baby can be very inconsistent and hard to plan for. If your dog is Type A and used to a certain routine, you may consider preparing them for chaos by feeding them at all different times. For instance, if your dog starts standing over their food bowl at 7 AM, start feeding them at random times between 6 AM – 10 AM. If you’d prefer to keep an absolute regular schedule (or if you feel that doing otherwise would really affect your dog’s happiness), consider getting an automatic feeder for their feedings and a dog walker for their walks. You can also look into dog daycare options for ways to give your dog a break and get them out of the house to socialize with other pups, something you will have less time to do once the baby arrives.
  • Make new rules now. Although your instincts might tell you to lavish your dog with love and attention while there’s still time, this will only lead to a bigger letdown later on. Instead, start scheduling short play and cuddle sessions and gradually give them less attention at other times of the day. Schedule them randomly though so that your dog doesn’t learn to expect them at certain times. If you don’t want your dog on the furniture or bed after the baby arrives, introduce that new restriction ASAP. If your dog is a barker, that’s something you’ll want to get under control now, so that they aren’t waking the baby at naptime or during the night.
  • Work on more advanced verbal commands. Once you’ve mastered some basics (sit, down, stay, leave it, coming when called), you can begin to work on more verbal commands that could come in use once the baby is home. Training your dog to wait at doors until you tell them to enter and teaching them to “settle” (lay down or retreat to a safe spot to lay down) can help dogs learn to control their impulses. Work with your dog on jumping on people, as this can become dangerous if you’re holding the baby. Even if your dog wasn’t originally crate trained, consider getting them one and teaching them to see it as their safe place. This way they have a cozy place of their own to relax when things get crazy at the house.
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Photo by Debbie L.

  • Master “go away.” It may sound harsh, but this is one of the most important verbal commands that you can train your dog. This will enable you to control their movements and interactions with your baby. You can use this cue to tell your dog to move away from the baby if they’re crawling towards them and the dog seems uncomfortable. It sounds funny, but many dogs wouldn’t have even realized that moving away was an option! If your dog learns that leaving is an option, they’ll never feel trapped in a stressful situation and therefore won’t be forced to express their anxiety by growling or snapping. So how do you do it? Show your pup a treat and say “go away,” tossing the treat four or five feet away from you. Repeat this sequence many times. Then, you can refrain from tossing the treat until your dog starts to move away. Say “go away” and act like you’re throwing the treat. When your dog moves in that direction, even slowly or just a little bit, say “yes!” and toss them the treat. After many repetitions, try waiting until your dog takes several steps away before you say “yes” and toss the treat.
  • Train your dog with hand targeting. If your pup gets nervous or timid, teaching them to target your hand with their nose will give them something to do when they’re around the baby. This can make them feel comfortable and confident, as many dogs enjoy having a “job” and being stimulated.
  • Read everything you can! We’re glad you visited us here, but don’t refrain from really exhausting your search on best ways to prep your dog for baby. In particular, the ASPCA has a host of great information that we think you’ll find helpful.

 

 

Still having issues? If your dog continues to have problems acclimating, showing any signs that set off alarm bells for you, be prepared to call in a trainer or behaviorist who are equipped to help you deal with the issue. While it’s our feeling that many issues can be corrected with hard work and patience, we understand that your child’s well being is of the utmost importance to you. If you begin to think that rehoming your pup is the best thing to do, consider speaking with loved ones in your family and friend group who may be able to take your pup, whether it’s just for a while or as a new forever home. This way, your dog will stay a part of your life. If this isn’t an option, you can reach out to local rescues about best next steps, as they will likely have resources you weren’t aware of.

 

Want tips on how to work with your kids to properly interact with your dog? Check out our reverse of this story here. In the comments below, tell us your own experiences and advice for introducing and acclimating dogs to life with a child at home!

Jamie Chung Celebrates the DOG for DOG Mission!

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Jamie Chung Celebrates the DOG for DOG Mission!

Jamie Chung, actress, blogger and pet parent to an adorable rescue dog, Ewok, joined in on the red carpet celebration of DOG for DOG’s DOGSFOOD launch in PetSmart. Rocky Kanaka, DOG for DOG’s founder and star of Save Our Shelter, popped in a few photos with the dog-loving actress, and thanked her for coming out to support DOG for DOG and PetSmart’s new joined mission to feed dogs in need.

With every sale of DOGSFOOD at PetSmart, DOG for DOG will donate an equal amount of food to PetSmart Charities partner animal welfare organizations and their dogs in need.

Top Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Around Dogs

by DOG for DOG Team 1 Comment
Top Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe Around Dogs

Featured image by Open Arms

Deciding to get a dog when you have children of any age is an important decision and one we know you won’t make lightly. While adding a dog – no matter the age – to a family with children can be a rewarding and amazing experience both for the dog and the child, there are many factors to consider. The same goes for families that already have a dog and are planning to or are already pregnant. In this case you’re likely already considering how your new human addition will warm to your resident fur child. No matter which situation you’re in, there’s a host of available information out there on how to best acclimate your new brood so that everyone is getting everything they need. We know this is a sensitive and serious subject matter, and wanted to round up our own best tips for how to teach kids to best interact with dogs!

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Photo by Barney Moss

 

  • Supervise and monitor. Even if your dog is the most gentle, sweet pup around who you haven’t seen any issues from, you’ll want to make sure you keep time spent between your children and your dog supervised. This is especially true for dogs getting to know new kids but should remain true for when you’re adopting a new pup as well. As children get older, tips you’ve taught them early on will become easier for them to remember and replicate over time, so it’s important to set those guidelines up from the start so that they begin to understand the best way to interact with their pup. Obviously, even if meant in a sweet way, most dogs don’t understand or like being chased, pulled and prodded. Many young kids might be prone to coming up behind a dog or petting it too hard. Teaching your children to always approach a dog head on and to be gentle when interacting with them will help your dog feel at ease with tiny humans.
  • Teach proper manners. Once your child knows how to approach your dog, let them know not to hover over them, and to play calmly. Avoid eye contact and refrain from letting your child pick your dog up, even if they are small. Explain that the dog likes to be left alone at times, and that it’s important to give your pup personal space that should be respected, especially if they are sleeping or eating or playing with a bone. You can use the age old “treat them how you would like to be treated.”

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Photo by Rob Bixby

  • Set them up for tougher scenarios. When your family is out for a walk or at the park, let your child know how best to approach new dogs (always check with the owner first) and make sure that they gently understand that not at all dogs are to be approached or played with. We know you never want to scare your child (or neither do we!) but it’s important that they understand that even when their dog at home is great with them, that doesn’t mean that all dogs out in the world will be the same. Just like we can’t anticipate that all humans will be approachable and nice in social situations, neither are animals! Your kids will mimic your own behavior, and so if they hear you always checking, “can I pet your dog?” they will know to do this as well. Remind your child not to run up to dogs, whether at home or in public, and to keep their hands at their sides, letting the dog sniff them first. Stand tall (never crouching to the dog’s level) and watch their tail and body language as you and/or your child engages with the dog. It’s also good to let your child know to never stick their fingers through a fence or crate with a dog on the other side. You can also talk to your child about how to respond in situations with the dog where they are worried that they might get bit or attacked. A popular method is to tell them to act like a “tree” (stand still and stare straight ahead until the dog leaves) or act like a “rock” if seated (curl up in a ball keeping his/her hands over their ears.) They can throw a backpack or coat off of themselves so the dog is distracted with investigating that item until they calm down.
  • Allow your child to become part of the routine. When possible, it’s great to let children be involved in the care, feeding, grooming and training of your pet. This instills both responsibility in the child and trust in the pet for the child being part of the pack. You could consider having a list of daily pet chores that the child can check off. Where feeding is concerned, be sure to monitor any interactions and to not leave food or water bowls out afterwards where kids can access them and play.
  • Reward good behavior. Just as we train our dogs with positive reinforcement, you can work with your child in the same way. When your child plays gently with the dog and approaches them in the right way, be sure to let them know! When they continue to do it right and see that they get good results each time (both from you and the pup), they’ll begin to understand that this is the proper way to interact.

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Photo by Tara Gamby

  • Respect Fido! We get it – your kid is your life and you want your dog to love them and respect them in the same way you do. But dogs are still animals, and it’s important to respect them and their nature as well. How a dog feels about children varies greatly, and is not always based solely on their breed or age or even whether they’ve been around children before. That’s why it’s always important to have precaution no matter your preconceived notions of the dog. Try not to force interactions between your canine companion and your child, as this could lead to negative feelings or anxiety for your dog. Let your child know that quick and/or loud movements or noises can frighten animals, and that it’s important to create a quiet and safe place for your dog.
  • Be prepared. If your dog continues to have issues, showing any signs that set off alarm bells for you, be prepared to call in a trainer or behaviorist who are equipped to help you deal with the issue. One of the first things they will likely suggest is making sure your dog has a safe and happy place to retreat you when they need space, whether it’s a crate or comfy bed or dog door that goes outside, where they can go when they need a little time alone. You can then make sure your child understands to give the dog space when they are in that place.

 

 

Bringing a baby home to a dog? Before the baby arrives at the house, it’s a good idea to let your pet smell blankets or clothing so that they become accustomed to the new smells. You can also play recordings of babies crying and run any new equipment like a swing so that they get used to the new sounds. Consider having a baby gate leading into the baby’s room instead of closing the door, so that the dog can still keep them in sight and not feel isolated. Never force interaction, and introduce them slowly. Be sure to arrange solo time with you and your pet too, perhaps while baby is napping. This helps them feel at ease during a time when they will likely not be getting the same amount of attention that they are used to.

 

Studies have shown time and again that dogs are an excellent tool in teaching children respect, empathy, responsibility and gentleness, traits that will serve them well throughout their lives. A bond between an animal and their young human can last a lifetime and enrich the life of both the pet and the child in ways nothing else will. Setting both of them up for success early on can be critical in keeping this bond safe and ensuring that it lasts.

 

Want tips on how to train your dog to properly interact with your kiddos? Check out our reverse of this story here. In the comments below, tell us your own experiences and advice for introducing and acclimating children to life with a dog at home!

6 Tips for Adopting the Right Match

by DOG for DOG Team 1 Comment
6 Tips for Adopting the Right Match

When looking to adopt a new dog – whether it’s an addition to your current pack, your first pup or you’re looking to have a dog again after some time spent solo – you’re obviously considering what kind of dog you’d like to have. You’re likely thinking about things like size, breed, personality traits and where you’ll get them from. These are all vastly important things to consider, but they certainly aren’t the only ones! In fact, it’s amazing how much we can obsessive over one detail of the process without really considering how important (maybe even more important) another detail is. With this in mind, we wanted to share some tips on what to look for and ultimately how to pick a rescue dog, whether you’re going through a shelter or rescue.


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Photo from Save Our Shelter – Tune in Saturdays. (Check your local listings!)

1. Don’t limit yourself to one place or too short a time-frame. It’s doubtful you need a dog by this weekend. We don’t have to tell you that taking in a living animal is a serious thing, both for you and the pup. Once you’ve made the decision to adopt, give yourself time to find the perfect fit. It may take several weekends of visits before you find a good match. And don’t limit yourself to one place either. A little research will likely lend more options than you might have thought available to you. Most towns, even small ones, have at least one rescue and one shelter, and more in a short drive. See what they all have to offer! What do you have to lose? (Besides literally wanting all. the. dogs.)

2. Do your breed research. We’re firm believers in being open-minded about what breed you adopt, especially since you’ll likely end up with a mixed breed pup and then the regular dominant personality traits get pretty muddled anyways. However, it’s still smart to look into the kinds of breeds you’ve been thinking about and see if it matches your lifestyle. Yes, Australian Shepherds are very, very cute. They also shed like crazy and need tons of exercise and attention, and that’s the more important fact to consider.

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Photo by George Bremer

3. Think about size, seriously. While we feel like the breed is actually less important than the personality and general disposition of the dog, we do think it’s very important to consider size. And not for the reason you might initially think! A lot of people don’t want a big dog because they assume that’s instantly more work, and we don’t think that’s necessarily true. A small dog can be aggressive, barky, sheddy, hyper, etc., just like a big dog can be easy going, lazy and quiet. You have to judge that dog-to-dog. The more important way to consider size is in your lifestyle. If you travel a lot and want to bring your dog with you, a dog 30 pounds and under is going to be a lot easier to have along on trains and plane rides, or even around town. Not a world traveler but really into runs in the park or hikes on the weekend? We’re not saying tiny dogs don’t like some exercise here and there, but a lab would probably make a better running buddy. Think about your own life and how you’d like a dog to fit into it. That should inform a lot of your choices!

4. Ask a shelter staff member, or rescue organizer to suggest a dog for you. Tell them about your lifestyle, about dog’s you’ve had or been around that you’ve loved and get their honest opinion. They see these matches made every single day – trust them enough to give the dog they suggest a chance!

5. Give an unlikely match a chance. Do you have a friend with an unruly dog that they love unconditionally? Of course you do! You are most likely going to bond with any dog you select and they will definitely bond with you, so don’t put too much emphasis on that initial connection.

Don’t worry if a dog you’re meeting is more interested in their current foster or volunteer. This just shows that the dog is loyal and can form strong bonds with their pack! Some dogs, just like people, are shy upon first meetings, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily shy dogs by nature. A pup might also have high energy after coming out of their pin, but that doesn’t mean they’re always hyper… maybe it’s their first time out that day! Try to spend at least fifteen minutes with each dog and really talk to their foster, volunteer or caregiver. Pepper them with questions about the dog to find out their personality and ticks. Most volunteers will be totally honest with you. They’re not trying to sell you a used car, they want the right person to adopt the animal they care for. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be bringing the pup back to them, and nobody wants to needlessly put a dog through that. They want to make the best match too, so that everyone is happy for the long haul.

Photo by zebarnebe

Photo by zebarnebe

6. Take some time to think. Once you’ve narrowed down your list (or maybe you’ve got a solo champion!) take the night to think about it if you have any reservations. Go check out another rescue or shelter the next day. While shelter dogs can get snatched up at any moment, you’ll generally have more time to decide about a rescue dog and a sometimes lengthy adoption process to go through. No matter the case, be sure of your choice and your commitment, because it’s a big one! Not finding a match? Don’t give up! It can take weeks or even months to find the perfect match, especially if you have specific needs or wants in terms of size or breed and age, etc. Trust us that anything is possible, and there is nothing you can’t find in a shelter or rescue somewhere with a little bit of patience. The more groups you speak with about what you’re looking for, the more you’re likely to find what you’re looking for. There is no need to settle!

We hope these tips help you as you move forward in your adoption process. Of course, there is always more to consider, so please leave your own adoption advice and stories in the comments below!

Header photo by Vicki Warwick