Update on Tiny: Starting a new year in a new home!

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After being with us here at Happy Dogs for a few months, Tiny was getting a bit stressed and really looking forward to going back home, although he wouldn’t be going back from where he came.

So the chance arose for one of us to foster him. We all have dogs, some more than others, so some of us really didn’t have the space for him.

Somehow I knew from the start he’d be a perfect addition to my pack, if even just for a short time, and maybe I could find him a good home along the way. So I brought him home with me; he loved riding in the passenger seat of my truck just hanging his head out the window on the way, as if he knew where we were going. Once we got there, the meet and greet began! He took immediately to my Staffordshire Terrier, Ms. Maia. Chasing her around the house and playing, and cuddling later that night. I knew then that his home would be nowhere else but here with us.

Fast forward about a month or so, it’s Christmas time and Tiny has made his own special place here in our home.  We made sure his Christmas was a great one this year. Cookies, sweaters, and bones for all the dogs!

We’ve learned a lot about him in the time he’s been home with us. Vet records show he’s a lot older than what we were told when he was surrendered to us (we were under the impression he was 6 or 7; he’s actually 13!).

He has congestive heart failure and is on medication for it;  we are also working with him to lose a few pounds (He’s down from 16 to 14 now).  But most importantly, we have learned that he is content right here at home with us, and that’s where he’s going to stay.

He’s happier and more active than ever and we’re committed to giving him the best years of his life that we can.

So for the new year, Tiny will have all the love and couch cuddles he could ever wish for.

 

 – Casey Redwine

Daycare Attendant, Happy Dogs

Winter Foot Health for your Dog

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Keeping your dog’s feet healthy during the winter months is an important part of keeping your dog comfortable and happy.  Dogs need traction on the icy sidewalks and parking lots.  To help provide the natural traction of the paw pads, it’s important to keep the hair on their feet and in their pads trimmed, and it also stops the snow from sticking to the long fur and turning into ice balls when they come back inside.

You will notice your dog licking its feet to try to keep them clean.  Dogs with especially thick hair on their feet and in their pads, such as cocker spaniels, poodles, shih-tzus, and doodles, need our assistance to keep those paws healthy. Wet hair between toes can cause foot fungus because it is a dark, warm and wet environment. It is like walking around with wet socks on our feet. If the paws are trimmed, the moisture can dry faster when indoors.

If the hair on your dog’s feet is long and thick, we tend not to notice as readily how long the toenails have grown. Long toe nails make walking more difficult, especially for dogs that are older and arthritic, or have joint problems.  Think of trying to walk in the snow, up and down stairs, and getting in and out of the car with shoes that are a size too big for you .

         Or you can opt for snowshoes!

We all want comfort for our fur-children during the cold, unpredictable Indiana winter months. Here’s wishing you all a Happy New Year, and less time cleaning that melting snow that Fido leaves behind on your freshly cleaned floors!

I personally do not like stepping into a wet spot on my wood floors with the clean socks that I just put on!  Eeeeewwwwww   🙁

 

Jackie Quinn, Groomer

Gifts for Your Favorite Dog Lover

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The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and my shopping list is growing just as quickly. Every year it seems I have more people that I’m buying gifts for – partners, kids, parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, teachers, neighbors…..I could go on and on. Narrowing down ideas and pounding out a budget is time-consuming and sometimes incredibly stressful. It’s tough enough to find one perfect present, let alone perfect gifts for twenty or thirty people!

Luckily for me, a good number of the people on my list this year are dedicated, hardcore “dog people,” which takes quite a bit of the guesswork out of my shopping trips. As I’ve been browsing and brainstorming, I’ve put together a collection of unique items that are sure to please any dog lover on your list.

 

1.  Canine Caricatures

These adorable, fully-personalized pieces of art are perfect for any pup around, especially those that may have their fair share of quirks. When I was searching for an artist to illustrate my pack, I found several amazing options on Etsy. In the end though, I went with PAWtraits by Lauren, who specializes in animals, and I couldn’t be happier with her work.

 

 

 

 

 2.  Personalized Clay Ornaments

I stumbled upon this amazing little Etsy shop two years ago, but at the time they were already swamped with holiday orders and I had to wait until the following spring to place my order. But let me tell you, it was  worth the wait! These adorable little ornaments are 100% custom-made to match your dog exactly, and will look phenomenal on your tree.

3.  Kurgo Loft Hammock

This is the perfect gift for the adventurous dog parents whose pups tag along everywhere they go. The water-resistant hammock protects the seat from mud, tears, accidents, and all sorts of other mishaps while the hammock style keeps your dog more comfortable and less likely to end up on the floor or the console. The fabric is durable and washable, and will last for years if properly cared for. One size fits most medium-sized makes and models, but may not be appropriate for extra large SUVs or trucks. Find it and others at kurgo.com.

4.  Monthly Toy/Treat Subscription Box

 

This is one of those gifts that could be for the human or the dog, but both will be appreciative! There are a number of services out there now that offer subscriptions for boxes of goodies to be delivered to their doorstep each month. Some of them offer a variety of toys and treats, some are relatively customizable, but each one promises variety and new surprises in each box. Some popular ones are BarkBox, Pet Gift Box, and my personal favorite, Real Pet Food.

 

 

5 . The Dogist

This charming book by the instagram-famous thedogist is a photo collection of 1000 dogs on the streets of New York City and beyond. Each photo is accompanied by a sweet or witty caption that offers a glimpse into the life of the pup in the frame. The Dogist makes a great coffee table book that will please recipients and their guests for years and years to come. The Dogist book is available at Amazon and other major retailers.

There you have it! Whether you need something cute and personal or something useful and rugged, one of these awesome gifts is bound to be a hit for any dog lover on your shopping list. Not to mention, these are some great ideas to toss out there if anyone comes around asked what YOU would like under the tree this year!

Taylor Herr

Director of Training at Happy Dogs

Shoo flea, Please don’t bother me!

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Fall is the worst time for our enemy “The Evil Flea “.  Just because the weather is turning colder and we have had a few frosts does not mean those pesky insects are gone.  They are in fact making their last desperate efforts the multiply before they go underground for winter.  A flea can survive underground for 200 days. If we do have a real freeze that is where they go to survive ! As soon as the temperature is above freezing they are out there again searching for their blood meal on your poor dog.

 

 

 The flea dirt you see on your dog looks like dark brown granules.  It is actually dried blood left to feed the flea larva that hatch out of the eggs the fleas lay.  It is of the utmost importance this time of year to be diligent about keeping up with a flea bath, and follow your monthly flea preventative. Dogs can be very allergic to the flea bites, chewing themselves and leaving brown stains on their fur, which is a stain from the dogs saliva.  If your dog is losing hair, your vet can give the dog something to help relieve the itch and stop the endless cycle of chewing.

 

 

Do not feel hopeless in your quest to fight the fleas.  If you surrender the fight, the fleas will get worse, and we do not want them to “Win the battle”.

 ~ Jackie Quinn, Groomer

Tiny…the story of One Happy Dog!

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Tiny’s Transformation

Every now and then here at Happy Dogs, we encounter dogs with unusual, sometimes tragic, home circumstances. That was the case for Tiny the Chihuahua, who was surrendered to our care. Here is a glimpse into his story:

One Friday afternoon, a desolate, overweight, and seemingly handicapped Chihuahua came hobbling through our doors. He was surrendered to one of our long time employees, who had been asked to help with his ill human companion. We came to know him as Tiny and little did we know the huge impact he would have on us all.

Tiny came from a loving home, but due to the difficult circumstances his owner was going through, his living conditions were sub par. Tiny’s owner became unable to care for herself, let alone anotherliving being. Eventually she came to terms with the fact that Tiny needed more than she could provide, and she made the difficult choice to reach out for help.

From the moment he stepped through our doors, it became apparent that Tiny would need a lot of TLC in order to be a “Happy Dog.” He hung his head in the corner of his enclosure, couldn’t walk across gravel, and often panted excessively due to being overweight. We were told that he wasn’t potty trained, as he was forced to eliminate wherever he could find a spot inside of his house. Tiny was just plain sad, and clearly wasn’t living the life that he was meant to have.

We watched as Tiny struggled to do minimal activities, but day by day he continued to improve. In the first two weeks he began to shed some of his weight that kept him from properly walking and made him very uncomfortable. We adjusted his diet and allowed him to exercise as much as he safely was able to, and we noticed a big difference in Tiny. As the weeks went on we could tell that his well-being had greatly improved and he had become very comfortable with our staff.  Tiny was healthier and happier, and seemed to be a totally different dog.

Fast forward to now, a month and a half later, and Tiny is completely transformed. He no longer is the seemingly old, depressed Chihuahua that he once was. When we start letting the dogs out for daycare each morning, he runs as fast as he can, even across the gravel, to see his furry and human friends. Tiny even wants to play and will play bite our hands to get us to pay attention to him. When my coworkers and I talk about Tiny, we simply say that he is the HAPPIEST dog we have ever seen.  Our staff absolutely adores Tiny and we’re thrilled about his transformation during his time with us. It’s dogs like Tiny that make our job so rewarding. So whatever Tiny’s future may hold for him, he will forever hold a special place in our hearts. He is still in our care until the right situation arises for him.

By Eden Howells, Daycare Attendant

Steph and Lucy

Building a bond with your groomer!

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Here at Happy Dogs, we feel it’s important to keep our groomers up to date on the latest techniques and grooming styles.  For us to groom your dog to meet your expectations in an efficient and timely manor, it is vital that we stay current in our industry on these important skills.   As a young, learning groomer, I thoroughly enjoy expanding my mind to see things in different perspectives.

I recently attended the All American Grooming Show in Wheeling, Illinois so I could improve my knowledge of the different styles of dog grooming, handling, and care of our pets.  I participated in de-matting classes, learned about and used some of the latest dog products on the market, and also witnessed top show groomers compete in various grooming competitions.

I can assure you that not one groomer grooms the exact same way, which is why it is extremely important to pick a groomer you enjoy and stay with them!  Not only does this keep you, the dog owner, happy and ensures a job well done each time, but it also helps to build trust and a strong bond between your dog and it’s groomer.  Forming this personal relationship between owner, dog, and groomer results in a win, win solution!  For you and your dog’s best grooming experience, we encourage you to stop in to meet our groomers, or contact us via telephone or email.

Get out there; find your groomer, and build that bond.  A genuine bond between you and your groomer that can last a lifetime!

– Stephanie Hiatt, groomer

Why does every dog go through a temperament evaluation?

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Being the new kid can be tough for humans, but did you know it can be tough for your pup as well? Even dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs can get stressed out in a new environment with new dogs to interact with. All dogs are good dogs, but our off-leash play environment isn’t perfect for every dog.

 While some dogs thrive in group play, some prefer to just hang around people instead. Our temperament evaluation process helps the transition into our daycare playgroup feel welcoming, fun, and determine if it’s a good fit for your pup.

The first thing we do is get your dog acquainted with the environment. We begin the evaluation while the playgroups are outside so it’s calm and quiet in our indoor daycare area. This allows your dog to get to walk around, get used to how the floor feels, the smells, the sounds, and get to a balanced state. Every dog is different so we take as much time as needed for the dog to feel relaxed with the surroundings whether it takes a few minutes or more than an hour.

Once your dog is comfortable we determine which playgroup will be the best fit. This is determined based on a combination of breed, age, energy level, and information about the dog’s personality at home. One dog is brought in to have the first meet and greet with your dog. We observe closely how your dog greets, interacts, or avoids the other dog. If your dog is calm and still in a balanced state, or enjoying some play, we will continue to introduce more dogs from the playgroup. Once we have introduced all the dogs from the playgroup to your dog the real fun begins.

 

We will move the group to one of our outside yards. Our large back park gives lots of room for the dogs to run and romp around. Often this is when your dog really starts to have a good time exploring and playing. It is covered in our canine turf so your pup won’t get dirty, but they might get wet playing in our pools or fountains!

The entire process usually takes a few hours. Once we have completed your pup’s evaluation we will call you to update you on how everything went and answer any questions you might have. The success of your dog’s first day helps them feel safe when they return for daycare or boarding in future.

 

After going through our temperament evaluation, you can be confident that your pup won’t get picked on for being the new kid and will have a great time playing with friends!

******

by Ashlie McCormack

Flirt Pole: The dog toy that changed my life

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If you could only supply your pack with one toy for the rest of their lives, what would it be? It’s a tough choice, I know. I have a ball-crazed border collie, an aussie with an unhealthy attachment to his stuffed shark, and a hound dog that thinks a lightning bug is the greatest thing in the world. How could I choose just one toy?! Well, hopefully I’ll never have to, but just in case, I’ve settled on an answer.

Behold, the flirt pole.

I’ve found that a majority of pet owners have never heard of such a thing, which makes it all the more fun to introduce. The flirt pole – a.k.a. absolute magic – is one of the only toys that all five of my dogs go completely nuts over. And on paper, it’s kind of ridiculous. My dogs are obsessed with a chunk of fleece tied to a stick?

Yes, yes they are.

This handy thing is my go-to tool for quick bursts of exercise, building muscle definition, and even improving impulse control. It doesn’t require a giant backyard or any other special equipment aside from the pole itself. And as for the poles, you can make them easily enough if you’re a DIY-er, or they’re available online for around $30 or less. And I’ll be the first to say it was one of the best investments I’ve made.

Once you have the pole, all you need is a dog with a little bit of toy drive or instinct to chase a moving object. As long as they’re interested in catching what’s on the string, you’re all set. Depending on the dog, you can implement rules as far as how long to tug, when to drop, and having them lay down to start again. Changing the speed, direction, and height at which you move the toy will keep your dog engaged for as long as you let the game last.

Admittedly, some dogs just aren’t into it, but for those that are, this thing will become your best friend. It’s perfect for owners whose dogs’ energy outlasts their own since controlling the pole is much less taxing than chasing it. A session with the flirt pole can replace a walk entirely or it’s a fabulous pre-walk game to help settle them down.

For me, it’s an awesome way to exercise each of my dogs individually and give them that one-on-one time on days when I can’t make time for more. 

It’s also important to note that a few dogs aren’t well-suited to a toy like this one: growing puppies, older dogs with poor joints or mobility, and dogs that are overstimulated easily may not be good candidates for a flirt pole.

Taylor Herr

Who Needs Grooming?

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All dogs can benefit from routine grooming! You don’t need to have a poodle with a show coat to reap the rewards of a professional groomer. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and coat types require some level of coat, nail, and ear care.

We’ll start with the obvious types (i.e. poodles, shih tzus, yorkies, havanese, doodles). These dogs definitely require regular grooming which is at least every 6-8 weeks, sometimes more depending on the amount of coat you want to keep on your dog. These dogs also need regular maintenance done at home in between their grooming appointments, your groomer will appreciate it!

Next up we will talk about the semi-obvious types (i.e. golden, aussies, terriers, collies). Dogs like these may not look like they would require the attention of a groomer but they most certainly do! A groomer can not only tidy up the overall look of your pet, but you would be amazed at the amount of undercoat (all the stuff you vacuum up from your floors, sofa, etc) that we can get off of your dog during an appointment. Also check out our fantastic deshedding service! Again, every 6-8 weeks is ideal to keep your pup’s coat in tip top shape.

Now on to the not so obvious types (i.e. labs, shepherds, huskys, viszlas, boxers). These types of dogs typically have a short coat that would seem like they don’t need the professional attention of a groomer but they benefit greatly from routine grooming. We don’t typically have to do much hair cutting on dogs of this sort but again, the undercoat we can remove is beneficial to them and your sweeper! Regular nail maintenance is crucial also. Nails that become overgrown cause a myriad of health problems for your pet. Again, every 6-8 weeks is a good time frame to keep your pet in optimal shape.

If your dog falls in to one of these categories (it does!), then your dog could use the expertise of a professional groomer!

Jenn Morgan

Training for the Everyday Companion

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Laying a good foundation to help our dogs be better pets

“I don’t want him to do any extra work! He won’t like that!” “She’s just here to keep me company, why would I bother teaching her all that stuff? We won’t ever use it.” “We already took a class with him. What a waste that was – he’s already forgotten it all.”

Trainers hear it all the time. While a growing number of pet owners are getting more involved in the world of training and behavior, there remains a steady population of those who couldn’t be less interested. Some believe training obedience to be a waste of time and energy, while others even find it cruel to make their dogs work for anything at all. As a trainer, this type of mindset frustrates me terribly. As a dog owner, it leaves me completely baffled.

Yes, it’s true that many training regimens and programs these days are too much for the beginner or even long-time dog parents. The industry is advancing quickly to keep up with the fast-growing world of dog sports and events, and the end is nowhere in sight. This can certainly be daunting, but even the pros had to start somewhere. Whether you hope to trial in agility one day or just need to fine-tune your furry companion’s manners, the benefits to basic training are countless.

The most obvious perk is a better behaved dog. No matter how much you adore your four-legged buddy, there is almost definitely at least one thing he does that drives you crazy. Maybe it’s a bad recall, maybe he jumps to greet guests, or perhaps you’ve been struggling with something such as housebreaking. Training allows you to replace these naughty behaviors with acceptable ones instead of having to manage these issues for the rest of the dog’s life. And for those who aren’t facing any major behavioral mishaps at home, training absolutely still has a place in your dog’s routine. For me, I wanted a dog that performs party tricks like fetching a cold can from the fridge. You may be looking to season a travel companion to see the world with you, or maybe you’re looking for your calling doing therapy work as a team. Training will get you there. If nothing else, you’ll strengthen your bond and the mutual respect between dog and owner will grow infinitely, once again leading to a happier, more peaceful life together.

Not only does training help make life with our dogs a little bit smoother for us, it also gives them a steady framework for how their world is supposed to work. Training builds a dog’s confidence and allows you to clearly set the expectations you have. Once your pup understands what you’re asking of him, he knows what to expect in the future when he’s faced with the same thing.

You see, dogs don’t understand situational boundaries. There can’t be gray areas – either something is allowed or something is not allowed. So many of us are guilty of trying to show love by occasionally breaking our own rules, but the only thing this does is create confusion.

Another argument against dog training as a whole is buried in the methods. We have old school owners who use old school techniques pitted against a newer generation of force free advocates who are looking to change the game entirely. Frankly, it can get mean and nasty if you get caught in the wrong spot, but it’s still not a valid excuse for not training at all. Simply find a trainer whose methods align with your beliefs, or spend some time studying on your own and use techniques that you personally agree with. Find a mentor that you can reach out to with questions. Every dog is different and so is every handler, so it may take some time to find a balance that works for you. As long as you remain respectful and keep your dog’s best interest at heart, the progress will come naturally with patience and persistence.

Finally, one more reminder when it comes to this collective indifference toward our dogs’ behavior is that training isn’t ever over. Taking one class through a major retail chain isn’t going to result in a rock star of a dog that never makes one mistake. In more than a decade of training, I’ve never stopped taking more classes and meeting more trainers. There are conferences and seminars for that sort of thing too. I always learn something new, and oftentimes it’s something that I never would have been exposed to had I not reached out to others. If you think your dog is a lost cause because he barely graduated from Fido 101, think again. Sometimes it just takes more repetition, other times very simple changes in technique or environment can lend to new success.

Long story short, when you undertake any kind of dog training, the dog isn’t the only one being trained. You’re going to learn plenty, too. I absolutely believe that every dog has something to teach you, and they’re not always easy lessons. But despite the struggles and the setbacks, there’s no excuse not to train your dog. He deserves the effort. After all, if you could give him a world that makes perfect sense to him, wouldn’t you?

by Taylor Herr
Daycare Attendant and Trainer