Monday, 26 March 2018

3 Must-Know Facts About Avoiding Dog Bites

March 26, 2018 0

Dog bites can be scary and serious. As a dog owner, it is as important for you to know how to prevent your dog from biting yourself or other people as it is knowing how to avoid being bitten. We'll show you what you need to know so you can stop a dog bite before it even happens.

1. You Can Avoid Being Bitten

Though there are exceptions, you can often avoid being bitten by a dog with a few simple precautions:
  • Never approach a strange dog, especially one who's tied or confined behind a fence or in a car.
  • Don't pet a dog--even your own--without letting him see and sniff you first.
  • Never turn your back to a dog and run away. A dog's natural instinct will be to chase and catch you.
  • Don't disturb a dog while she's sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies.
  • Be cautious around strange dogs. Always assume that a dog who doesn't know you may see you as an intruder or a threat.
  • Just as we teach our children to practice safety in other situations, we can teach them to be safe around dogs. The most important lessons for children to learn are to not chase or tease dogs they know and to avoid dogs they don't know.

2. Learn How to Deal with a Dog Attack

Sometimes, no matter how much you make sure you're on your best behavior around a dog, you can end up on the receiving end of an attack. If you are approached by a dog who may attack you, follow these steps:
  • Never scream and run. Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog. Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight.
  • If the dog does attack, "feed" him your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around. It will only get the dog more worked up.

3. What to Do if You're Bitten

If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic. Hopefully, someone else will be around to help by pulling the animal off of you, restraining it, and calling animal control or the police. If not, follow the steps above to diffuse the attack and then call for help as soon as possible and take care of your wounds. 
  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water. Contact your physician for additional care and advice. Even a shallow bite can become serious if bacteria gets in the wound, so be sure to take the proper precautions to prevent infection.
  • Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including his owner's name and the address where he lives. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw him, whether you've seen him before, and in which direction he went.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Have Pet, Will Travel

March 17, 2018 0

In the Air

Book your travel plans over the phone. You need to be sure you're following all policies on things like temperature restrictions and age and health requirements.
If you can, take a direct flight. You want to decrease the odds your big guy is left on the tarmac or mishandled by airline personnel if he has to be shuttled off with the baggage.
Get the right crate. Small pets can fly in carriers at your feet, but larger ones need to travel in USDA-approved crates in the cargo hold. Make sure it's large enough for him to stand, sit, and turn around in, so he's got room to stretch his legs and rearrange his position.
Label your mate. Write the words "Live Animal" on the top and at least one side of your pet's crate. Use arrows to show the proper upright position so he's not standing on his head. And write the name, address, and phone number of his final destination on the top.
Hold on tight. All pets have to come out of their carriers at the security gate, so be sure you have them in a good hold before you take them out. "If you take nervous, anxious cats out of their carriers, they'll climb you like a Christmas tree," says Megan Blake, host of the PBS series Animal Attractions TV, who's traveled over 110,000 miles with her cat, Tout Suite.
Be a pushy pet parent. If the plane is delayed or you're worried about your pet's safety, don't hesitate to insist that airline personnel check on him. His health is more important than your popularity with the flight attendants.

    At the Hotel

    Find out about fees. More hotels than ever are welcoming pets with open paws, but don't assume that because they're allowed you won't have to pay more. Most chains charge a one-time fee per stay but may also tack on an extra room-cleaning charge.
    Do your research. Check out sites like for pet-friendly restaurant and hotel recommendations and reviews of local dog parks, or try or
    Pick a pup-friendly chain. Loews Hotels, Westin, and Residence Inns have started perks programs including things like pet beds, leashes, collars and bones, maps of local walking routes, and even doggy room service. Choice Hotels, Best Western, and Marriott hotels allow pets in many of their locations nationwide, too.
    Keep your room in top shape. If you leave your pet behind when you head out of your hotel room, keep him in his crate or carrier -- you're responsible for any damage he causes, and those nice clean bed sheets will be mighty tempting!
    Ask your hosts first. If you're staying with family, check with them before you take your hyperactive pup or shedding-prone kitty into their home, in case they've got any allergies (or nervous children).

    At Home

    Vet the pet sitter. Your vet or groomer can make a recommendation of a reliable service; bring the sitter over to get acquainted with your pet before you leave on your trip. 
    Check out the facilities. Give yourself plenty of time to investigate all your boarding options. Drop in unannounced and ask for a tour to see where the animals are kept and how staffers handle them, so you can see conditions as they'll be while you're not there to check up.
    Prepare for boarding. Once you settle on a home-away-from-home, bring your pet in to interact with the staff and let them feed her treats and play with her so they're familiar to her. Older pets may be better off boarding with their vet, in case they need extra care.

    On the Go

    Whether you're on the road or close to home, check out the free Mo's Nose app on your iPhone, from the creators of the Mo's Nose book series. It's adorable, easy to use, and super handy: You can find everything from pet-friendly hotels to kennels, groomers, dog walkers, pet stores, parks, and dog beaches nearby (using GPS). Plus, if you choose the little icon of Mo (an adopted shelter dog) in the bottom corner, you'll get a listing of pet-related events and deals for owners that are offered in the area. The app works nationwide and will be available in the app store in June.

    How Pets Help People

    March 17, 2018 0

    Do pets make good teachers?

    Companion animals are natural teachers. They help people of all ages learn about responsibility, loyalty, empathy, sharing, and unconditional love -- qualities particularly essential to a child's healthy development.
    Through helping to care for a pet, children also learn to care for their fellow human beings. There is an established link between how people treat animals and how they treat each other. Kindness to animals is a lesson that benefits people, too.

    Can pets be therapists?

    Given the right animal, people, and circumstances, pets can indeed serve as "therapists." In animal-assisted therapy programs, a companion animal may visit with hospital or nursing home patients. For the program to be safe and effective, the animal must be carefully screened and the pet's caregiver must be trained to guide the animal-human interactions. When a specific therapy is desired, a credentialed professional should monitor the program. Even in less formal animal -- assisted activities, where the animal is introduced to an individual or group with no specific therapeutic goal, patients and staff often experience improved morale and communication.

    How do pets serve as helpers?

    Specially trained assistance dogs provide people who have physical and mental disabilities with the profound gift of independence. Assistance dogs are not classified as pets under the law, and they are allowed in public places where pets are prohibited. These dogs serve as the hands, ears, or eyes of their human partners and assist them by performing everyday tasks that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. Dogs may also detect changes in behavior, body language, or odor that precede seizures in their human partners, alerting them so that they may seek a safe environment.

    Can pets also be healers?

    Pets are good for our emotional and physical health. Caring for a companion animal can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment and lessen feelings of loneliness and isolation in all age groups. It's well known that relaxed, happy people do not become ill as often as those who suffer from stress and depression.
    Animal companionship also helps lower a person's blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And studies show that having a dog increases survival rates in groups of patients who have suffered cardiac arrest. Dog walking, pet grooming, and even petting provide increased physical activity that strengthens the heart, improves blood circulation, and slows the loss of bone tissue. Put simply, pets aren't just good friends, they are good medicine.

    Can pets benefit the elderly?

    Because many Americans are living longer lives these days, sometimes elderly people find themselves living alone because they have outlived loved ones, or because they live far from any family. There is a way, however, for the elderly to find new meaning in their lives, and to redefine what it means to be "young at heart" -- by adopting a companion animal from a local shelter.
    We already know that the many physical benefits pets confer onto people work for all ages, whether you're eight or eighty. If you're older, a pet can offer you a sense of well being, a sense of encouragement, and even a reason for living. Being responsible for another life can add new meaning to your own life, and having to care for and provide a loving home to a companion animal can also help you remain active and healthy.
    You may want to consider adopting an older animal, however, rather than a puppy or kitten or a rambunctious "teenage" pet. Older pets are move likely to be calm, already housetrained, and less susceptible to unpredictable behavior. Older animals are often more easily physically managed by elderly persons than stronger, excitable younger animals; yet older pets still confer the same medical and emotional benefits on their owners as younger animals do. Animal shelter staff can help potential adopters find the most suitable animal for their lifestyle, ensuring a great match between pet and person.

    Dos and Don'ts for Your Trip to the Vet

    March 17, 2018 0

    Let's face it: Visits to the vet can be stressful for you and your pet, whether you're heading in for a routine checkup or dealing with a serious medical issue. To get the best care possible, stay calm and use these smart strategies.
    1. Schedule a visit when nothing's wrong. Stopping by with your pet to say hello, get a treat, or just weigh in can make him less nervous on future visits, says Elizabeth Bradt, a veterinarian at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital in Salem, Massachusetts. When booking your appointment, ask the receptionist about the quietest days and times so you can get in and out of the office quickly.
    2. Prepare your pet. A large part of your dog's or cat's anxiety comes from being handled in unfamiliar ways. "To prep your animal for what will happen during a vet visit, practice stroking her in less obvious places, such as in between the pads of her feet, on her lips and around her tail," suggests Grey Stafford, PhD, director of conservation and communication at Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium in Litchfield Park, Arizona. Praise her for remaining calm as you do this and she'll get used to the process -- and hopefully breeze through the exam when it's her veterinarian's turn to do it.
    3. Bring treats or toys. A chew toy or some treats -- even a favorite blanket -- can make your pet feel more at home in his strange new surroundings. Guerrilla tactic: If you have a yoga mat at home, tote that along as well. "Exam tables are stainless steel for sanitary purposes, but the cold, slippery surface can be disconcerting for pets," explains Jessica Vogelsang, a small-animal veterinarian in San Diego. "Laying a yoga mat on top of the table will warm it up and give them some extra traction."
    4. Make sure your pet is secure. That means large dogs should be on leashes and cats and small dogs should be in carriers. "You may have the sweetest, most docile pet in the world, but the veterinary ­office can feel strange and scary and you have no control over who else might be in the office with you," says Dr. Vogelsang. And if your pet is a biter or scratcher, tell your vet ahead of time. "We don't mind," she says. "We just appreciate being prepared."
    5. Never approach other animals. Just because an animal has a cute face or is the same breed as your pet, don't assume that she's friendly, says expert Nikki Moustaki, author of Pocket Pups. And since pets in pain can be extremely sensitive and cranky -- and sick animals may be contagious -- save the socializing for the dog park.
    6. Come with questions. Taking a list with you helps cover a lot of ground efficiently and thoroughly and can open up a dialogue with your vet, says Liz Devitt, a veterinarian at Ark Animal Hospital in Santa Cruz, California. "Questions about how your cat's weight gain might affect her arthritis could lead to a discussion on heart problems or diabetes because your veterinarian knows an overweight ­animal is more at risk for these serious health issues," she explains.
    7. Ask about alternatives. When your vet recommends a treatment, speak up to learn about all your options. "Your dog might have knee surgery instead of taking anti-inflammatories, for instance, or get an MRI to check for injuries that don't show up on X-rays," Dr. Devitt says. Armed with that information, you can decide which course of action makes the best sense for you and your pet.
    8. Be honest. If you fib about feeding your dog table scraps or are embarrassed to admit that your cat got into the trash, your vet may order the wrong tests or take longer to diagnose the problem, says veterinarian M. J. Hamilton, of Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in New York City. Also, bring any supplements your pet is taking along with the labels from regular food and treats. The doctor can use this information to assess whether you're feeding your pet properly for his age, weight, and activity level.
    9. Do it every year. Animals age faster than we do, so their diseases sometimes progress more rapidly. An annual exam gives your vet a chance to find things like dental disease, arthritis, and heart conditions before they get too advanced. "Pets can't tell us when they're hurting," Dr. Vogelsang says. "We see things like rotting teeth, degenerating hips, and ear infections in pets who seem just fine. Owners often come back after we treat their animal for something they didn't even know was there and say, 'Wow, it's like he's 5 again!'"

    Caring for Your Pet When You're Ill

    March 17, 2018 0

    When you lose much of your strength or mobility, simple tasks like walking a dog or cleaning a cat's litter box can seem overwhelming. And if your immune system is weakened by HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney or liver disease, old age, or pregnancy, you must take extra precautions to avoid disease-causing agents that any human or animal-including pets-can transmit.
    Yet living with an illness or immunocompromising condition doesn't mean you have to live without your beloved pet. And, in most cases, you need not give up your pet. After all, research indicates that companion animals enhance immune functioning by decreasing stress levels and increasing levels of self confidence and self esteem. Pets provide us with a source of affection, support, and acceptance; enable us to feel needed and valued; and ease the pain, sorrow, and loneliness often experienced during illness.
    That's why, for someone with a serious medical condition, the psychological and physical benefits of pet caregiving usually outweigh the risk of acquiring an illness from the pet-provided that proper precautions are followed.

    How could pets increase my risk?

    Although pets can do wonders for our physical and mental well being, they can get and transmit disease. To minimize the risk your pet poses to your health, you must minimize the risks to your pet's health. The key is to understand how best to care for your pet and to work with your veterinarian to keep your pet healthy.
    Certain pets are more challenging than others. For example, many exotic animals, such as reptiles, are more likely than dogs and cats to transmit certain diseases, requiring owners to take extra precautions. (The HSUS, in fact, recommends that exotic animals not be kept as pets.) Likewise, puppies and kittens may be more susceptible to disease and prone to play-oriented nipping and scratching. And new pets may come with incomplete or unknown medical histories. This does not mean that you have to give up your playful puppy or can't get a new pet. It simply means that you need to rely on a veterinarian or animal shelter adoption counselor to advise you on appropriate pet selection and care.
    No pet is guaranteed to be or remain disease-free. But your veterinarian can suggest preventive guidelines to keep a pet healthy, test your pet for parasites and other problems, and provide medical care to help a sick pet recover. And you can minimize risks for you and your pet by keeping your animal indoors, making sure he's well fed and groomed, and taking him to the veterinarian for vaccinations and annual check-ups.

    What can I do to protect myself?

    If you have a compromised immune system, follow these precautions:
    • Wash your hands after handling a pet.
    • Wear rubber gloves when changing a litter box or cleaning up after a pet, and wash your hands afterwards.
    • Keep your pet's nails short to minimize scratches.
    • Follow your veterinarian's advice on keeping your pet free of fleas and ticks.
    • Keep your pet indoors and use a leash outdoors to prevent your pet from hunting, scavenging, fighting, and engaging in other activities that expose him to other animals and disease.
    • Feed your pet commercial pet food.
    • Keep your pet's living and feeding areas clean.
    • Keep your pet's vaccinations up to date.
    • Seek veterinary care immediately for a sick pet.

    What can I do to meet my pet's basic needs?

    If your condition makes everyday pet care too challenging, you'll need to find outside assistance to make sure your pet gets the food, grooming, exercise, and general care he needs. When relatives, friends, and neighbors can't help, a nonprofit pet assistance organization may be able to lend a hand. Typically, these organizations help HIV-infected pet owners by providing everything from emergency foster care and animal transportation to dog walking, pet grooming, and litter box cleaning services.
    If you can use this assistance, ask local veterinarians, animal shelters, physicians, health care clinics, social service agencies, veterinary schools, and libraries to refer you to resources in your community.

    12 Steps For Perfect Pet Pictures

    March 17, 2018 0

    1. Use natural light. Avoid a flash so your pet doesn't look like a red-eye demon. Also, camera 
    2. flashes can scare your pet and send it scurrying for cover. Instead, use natural light by taking your pet outdoors or by positioning it near a bright window indoors. If your pet has a favorite perch or bed it sleeps on, move it closer to the window before the photo session.
    3. Don't shoot at high noon. Outdoors, take your pet's picture when the sun is rising or setting. If you photograph your pet when the sun is directly overhead, the resulting portrait will have too much contrast between light and dark areas. The best time to photograph is when the sun is coming in at an angle or when there is a slightly overcast sky.
    4. Aim for the eyes. Photographing pets isn't much different than photographing people. You want your photograph to capture the subjects' personality, whether they are human or animal. That's why you should always focus on your pet's eyes to reflect the true nature of your pet.
    5. Get down to pet level. One of the most common mistakes people make when they photograph their pets is to point the camera from their level. Inevitably, the animal ends up looking like a furry blob lost in the background. Instead, get down to your pet's eye level and photograph it as another dog or cat might see it.
    6. Timing is everything. Sometimes the best way to get a great pet portrait is when the animal is just waking up or going to sleep. A tired pet makes a great model. Certainly if you want to catch your pet in action (running, swimming, jumping), you'll need to get it a bit excited. But, for most pet portraits, you'll have better luck if your cat or dog is tuckered out and calm.
    7. Go to your pet. When you are ready to photograph your pet, don't drag it across the room by its collar and start snapping photographs. That will put your pet on high alert and make it nervous. Dogs can be difficult to pose. Instead, approach your dog where it is so that it is relaxed and calm.
    8. Use the element of surprise. If your pet isn't posed exactly the way you want it, try surprising it with a squeaky toy or high-pitched noise. Hold the toy directly over your head to encourage your pet to look directly at you. Or, have an assistant stand behind you to get the animal's attention.
    9. Try a long lens. If your camera has a zoom function or if you own a telephoto lens, it can be a very effective tool for pet photography. With a telephoto lens, you can get a great photo of your pet in a natural setting without your pet even realizing that you are stalking it. A telephoto or zoom lens will also allow you to experiment a little by zeroing in on your pet's face, fur, or body.
    10. Change the venue. Active pets can be a challenge to photograph. If your pet won't sit still, try moving it to a spot it is familiar with to slow it up a bit. For example, if your dog loves to ride in the car, let Fido hop into the passenger seat, roll down the window, and capture the image that way. For cats, try putting them on a safe shelf or the back of a chair so that they have to think for a minute or two about where to go next. Never put your pet in danger, but sometimes by moving your hyperactive animal to a different location, it will slow it down just long enough for you to squeeze the shutter.
    11. Watch the background. When you are trying to focus on an active animal, you don't always pay attention to the background. A messy living room or a cluttered backyard will ruin even the best photo, so think about the environment before you break out the camera. Indoors, pick up the kid's toys, scattered newspapers, or stray coffee cups. Outdoors, put away garden hoses, garbage cans, or bicycles.
    12. Mix angles. Vary the framing of your photos by including tight closeups, full body shots, and three-quarter images. That way, you'll have a lot to choose from and you might even capture physical features of your pet that you never noticed before. For example, by focusing on just your cat's tail, you might notice stripes, spots, or bits of color that didn't stand out previously.
    13. Be patient. Never turn a photo session into a wrestling match. If your pet won't pose exactly the way you want, stop the photo session and try again another day. The great thing about digital photography is that you can shoot endless exposures and easily destroy all the bad shots.

    Creature Comforts

    March 17, 2018 0

    Looking for a way to keep your pooch or pussycat off the sofa? Maybe -- just maybe -- providing your four-footed family friend with his or her very own comfy couch will do the trick. We gave our pet bed an off-white antiqued finish that should withstand gnawing. For a perfect-fitting mattress, sew a simple square pillow. It'll let Rover roll over in comfort.
    Note: Be sure to print out and study all instructions as well as the plans displayed on the last page of this article.
    You'll need intermediate woodworking skills and a few power tools to get the job done. Construction should take a day or so, plus several evenings for filling nail holes, sanding, and applying a finish. Cost: approximately $50.

    What You Need:

    • Table, radial-arm, or portable circular saw
    • Router
    • Tape measure
    • Chisel
    • Framing square
    • Combination square
    • Bar or pipe clamps
    • Drill
    • Hammer
    • Nail set
    • 80-, 100-, and 120-grit sandpaper
    • Paintbrush
    • Four 16-inch pieces of 2 x 2 lumber for the uprights (A)
    • Four 21-inch pieces of 2 x 2 lumber for the cross members (B)
    • Two 8-1/2 x 21-1/2-inch pieces of 3/8-inch plywood beaded-board paneling for the end panels (C)
    • Two 27-3/4-inch pieces of 1 x 6 lumber for the side rails (D)
    • One 22-1/4 x 27-inch piece of 3/8-inch plywood beaded-board paneling for the bottom (E)
    • Four 3 x 3-inch pieces of 1/2-inch lumber for the caps (F)
    • Four 2-inch-diameter wood ball finials (G)
    • Woodworker's glue, finishing nails
    • Wood filler
    • Primer and paint, or stain and clear finish
    • Pillow sized to fit the bed (approx. 22 x 28 inches)
    • Start with the End Frames

      1. Cut the 2 x 2 uprights (A -- see diagram on previous page) and cross members (B) to length. Next, rout a 1/4-inch-deep by 3/8-inch-wide dado, centered, along one side of each cross member. These will hold the end panels (C). Measure carefully and use a combination square to mark a 3/8-inch-wide by 3/4-inch-deep mortise in each upright. Position the 5-1/2-inch-long mortises 4 inches from the bottoms of the uprights. Rout the mortises and square the ends with a chisel.
      2. Now rout a 1/4-inch-deep by 3/8-inch-wide dado, centered, in one side of each upright to hold the end panels. Position the 8-1/2-inch-long dadoes 5-1/4 inches from the bottoms of the uprights.

      Construct the End Assemblies

      3. Use a framing square to map cuts for the two plywood beaded-board end panels (C). They should measure 8-1/2 inches high by 21-1/2 inches wide.
      4. For each end of the bed, glue and nail one end of both cross members to one upright, drilling pilot holes for the nails. (If you prefer, you can join the uprights and cross members with doweled joints.) Slide each end panel into place. Don't bother gluing them; a slightly loose fit accommodates expansion and contraction. Attach the second set of uprights to the cross members with glue and nails. Clamp the end assemblies until the glue dries.

      Attach Side Rails and Bottom

      5. Cut the 1 x 6 side rails (D) to length, then rout a 1/4-inch-deep by 3/8-inch-wide dado 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of each rail. Cut the plywood beaded-board bottom (E) to size.
      6. Attach the side rails to one end assembly, gluing one end of each rail to a mortise in an upright. Slide the bottom (E) in place, then glue the other ends of the rails to mortises in the second end assembly. Strengthen the mortise joints by drilling pilot holes and driving two finish nails into the side of each upright and through the rail ends. Clamp the joints until the glue dries.

      Finish Up

      7. Top each upright with a 1/2-inch-thick cap (F). Glue the caps in place; then drill pilot holes, and screw on the 2-inch-diameter ball finials (G).
      8. With a nail set, countersink all nailheads, then fill the countersink holes with wood filler. Sand all surfaces, inside and out, then apply the finish of your choice. We primed our bed, then brushed on a light-brown base coat followed by off-white glazing. Allow finish to dry thoroughly.
      9. Finally, set the pillow in place, and invite your pet on board.

    Friday, 16 March 2018

    Cute Knitted Collars

    March 16, 2018 0

    Needles & Extras

    • Size 10 1/2 (6.5 mm) double-pointed needles (dpns)
    • Size H/8 (5 mm) crochet hook
    • 3/4-inch-diameter button (we used JHB #1449 Paw)
    • Blunt-end yarn needle


    Note: This pattern is a 4-stitch I-cord and is worked holding both strands of yarn together.
    Cast on 4 sts. *Do not turn. Slide sts to opposite end of needle.
    Take yarn across back of sts and k4; rep from * until collar measures desired length (fits around dog's neck plus 1 to1 1/2 inches). Bind off until 1 st rem.
    Transfer st to crochet hook and ch 8; sl st into same st as beg ch; fasten off. Trim ends even with ends of Fun Fur. Sew on button.

    Skill Level: Easy

    Finished Measurements: Approx 8 inches long, plus button loop


    • Lion Brand Lion Suede (Art. 210): 100% polyester; 3 oz. (85 g); 122 yds. (110 m); bulky weight, 1 skein #125 Mocha

    Needles & Extras

    • Size 9 (6 mm) knitting needles
    • Size H/8 (5 mm) crochet hook
    • Button to fit button-loop opening (we used JHB #92825 Silver Pooch)
    • Blunt-end yarn needle


    Note: This pattern makes a 2-stitch I-cord along both sides, and the center stitch is worked in Garter stitch (knit all rows). The collar is reversible.
    Cast on 5 sts.
    Row 1: K3; leaving yarn at back of work, sl last 2 sts pwise; turn.
    Row 2: P2, k1, bring yarn to front of work and sl last 2 sts pwise; turn.
    Rep Rows 1 and 2 for desired length (circumference of dog's neck plus 1 to 1 1/2 inches). Bind off last row until 1 st rem; transfer st to crochet hook, ch 6, sl st into first bind-off st; fasten off. Weave in ends. Sew on button.

    Lucky Dog! Wrap Pillow

    March 16, 2018 0

    • Denim or twill (white, rose)
    • Prequilted fabrics (blue, yellow, olive)
    • Fabric paints
    • Piping
    • Stamps: Hydrangea, mum, gerbera, daisy, kalanchoe
    1. For the dog cushion cover, mix squares of white denim and prequilted fabrics. First cut the denim and prequilted fabrics into 7-1/2-inch squares, which includes 1/2-inch seam allowances.
    2. Stamp the denim squares, using a different paint color for each kind of flower. Create a layered look by overlapping the stamps, letting each layer dry before applying the next.
    3. Work on a covered surface, and let some of the stamps overlap the edges of the denim. Sew enough squares together to cover the top of the cushion, and add a bright border. Note: If you aren't re-covering an existing dog bed, consider using a worn sofa cushion. Or cover large slabs of foam with thick quilt batting for the base.
    4. From prequilted fabric, cut a bottom to match the pieced top, and cut and piece a boxing strip (for the sides). Continue by following Boxed Wrap instructions.

    What You Need:

    • 1 1/2 yards of matelasse fabric
    • 4 1/4 yards of 5/32-inch cord for piping
    • Polyester fiberfill
    • 2 2-1/2-inch-diameter covered-button forms
    • Heavy thread
    • Long upholstery needle


    The finished pillow measures 18 x 18 x 4 1/2 inches square

    Cut the Fabrics

    Cut matelasse fabric as follows: two 19-inch squares for the pillow front and back, one 5-1/2-x-75-inch strip for boxing (piecing as needed), and enough 1-1/2-inch-wide bias strips to equal 4 1/4 yards for piping.


    1. Sew piping. Beginning at the center of one edge of the pillow front, pin the piping to the right side so the raw edges are aligned and the rounded edge faces inward. Snip the piping seam allowances at the corners for a smooth fit. Sew the piping to the pillow front. Repeat to sew piping to the back.
    2. Pin the boxing strip to the edges of the pillow front, beginning at the center of one edge and sandwiching piping between layers; sew. Trim excess boxing strip, allowing for a 1/2-inch side seam allowance. Sew short ends of the strip together. Sew remaining edge of the boxing strip to the pillow back, leaving an opening for turning. Turn right side out and stuff firmly with fiberfill; sew the opening closed.
    3. Cover the button forms with scraps of matelasse, following the manufacturer's instructions. Use heavy thread to sew the buttons centered on the pillow front and back, pulling the thread tight between the buttons to create indentations.

    5 Easy Tricks to Teach Your Dog

    March 16, 2018 0

    One of the best ways to spice up your pet's life is to teach it some fun tricks. Trick training will stimulate your dog both mentally and physically and be an excellent way to bond with your best friend.
    Of course, all the tricks listed here are a lot easier to teach if your dog already knows basic obedience commands of "sit," "stay," and "down." Once it has those commands conquered, trick training is a snap.  If your dog has not participated in a basic obedience class, now is the time to sign up.
    As a general rule, training sessions should not last more than 10 minutes once or twice a day. It's also very important that you are in a good mood and willing to praise your dog enthusiastically when it performs well. Never get frustrated with your dog or use harsh physical force to make it perform.
    If you begin to feel frustrated or angry, stop the sessions immediately. Your pet will never perform well if you can't remain calm and positive. And always end each training session with playtime so that your pet links its training to a favorite activity. Here are five easy tricks you can teach your dog.
    1. Roll Over
    Put your dog in a "down" position. Then, put a treat in your hand and move your hand slowly behind your dog's neck. Your goal is to get your dog to turn its head backwards without standing up.
    Then, as its head reaches back to sniff the treat, gently roll it over. As soon as your dog rolls over, give it the treat and praise your dog enthusiastically. Repeat the process and as you start to roll it over, say the command "roll" and when it goes completely over, treat it and give praise again. Do this for five to 10 minutes.
    Try again later in the day for another five to 10 minute session. Eventually, your pet should understand that the command and the rolling process are directly linked. After your pet rolls over when asked, you no longer need to offer a treat each time.  Always praise your dog when it performs correctly, and don't get frustrated if it doesn't seem to be catching on right away. Stop the session if you can't stay calm and relaxed.

    2. Shake Hands

    Teaching a dog to shake hands is generally pretty easy because some dogs naturally raise their paw when asking for a treat. Start by putting your dog in a "sit" position. Then, put a treat in your hand and slowly move it towards the ground near the dog's paw.
    As the dog raises its paw in anticipation, use the verbal cue "shake," give it the treat, then praise your dog enthusiastically. As you practice this, hold your hand gradually higher so the dog must raise its paw higher to gain the treat. Your goal is to have the dog raise its paw to chest height.
    Keep practicing and always use the same paw for training. Eventually, once the dog holds its paw up on command, you can switch to the other paw. The key here is to use another command such as "other" so the dog learns that one command works for its right paw and the other for its left. Once your dog is shaking hands on command, you can start to eliminate the treats and offer happy praise instead.

    3. High Five

    As your dog masters the "shake" command, it's a simple matter to teach him to do a "high five." Start by working on the "shake" command, but begin to hold your palm out and as the dog hits your palm, give the command "high five." Treat and praise your dog immediately. Your goal here is to get the dog to raise its paw as high as possible and to touch your open palm.

    4. Speak

    Encouraging your dog to bark on command is easy if your pet is naturally vocal, but it can take a bit longer to train if your dog is on the quiet side. Start by getting your dog excited by tossing a ball or talking in an excited tone. Then, put your dog in a "sit" position and wave a treat by your dog's nose. Keep waving the treat without letting your dog see it until your dog whines or cries. As soon as your dog makes a sound, reward your dog with the treat.
    Repeat the process, but use the command "speak" as your dog begins to make noise. Do not reward your dog until it makes noise. And, always tell your dog "hush" or "enough" and walk away when you want your dog to stop.
    Note: If your dog has a tendency to bark excessively, use this trick only when your dog is in a sitting position. Barking at everything that walks by your front window should not be encouraged and should never be rewarded with treats or praise.

    5. Dance

    Although almost any dog can be taught to dance, the smaller breeds are typically easier to train. Getting a Saint Bernard up on its hind legs can be challenging, but lively dogs under 40 pounds can quickly learn to cut a rug. Start with your dog in a sitting position and hold a treat in your closed hand near its nose. Slowly lift your hand over and slightly behind the dog's head so the dog looks back and begins to stand on its hind legs. As soon as your dog stands on its hind legs, praise the dog and give it the treat. Repeat the process until your dog stands quickly and sturdily on its back legs.
    Then, begin moving the treat above the dog's head in a small circle. You want your dog to twirl on its hind legs. As soon as the dog begins to step in a circle, use the term "dance" and offer praise and the treat. Use the treat as bait to get the dog to stand up and turn in a circle. Again, this trick is easier to accomplish with small, agile dogs. Avoid this trick if you have a breed prone to back trouble such as a dachshund.

    Thursday, 15 March 2018

    8 Fun Games for Dogs

    March 15, 2018 0

    1. Indoor Obstacle Course

    It would be nice to buy a fancy agility course, but not everyone has the money (or space) for it. But that doesn't mean you're out of options! You can get creative by making a DIY obstacle course with everyday objects like old pillows, blankets, and stools.
    Clear out your living room so that your dog can run and jump without hurting himself or any valuables. You'll want to walk your dog through the course a few times, but once he has the hang of it you can stand at the end of the course and call him. If your dog is a quick learner, have fun mixing up the course and adding more hurdles.

    2. Magic Cups

    You'll want to find an open space with hardwood floor (or a similar surface) to play Magic Cups. Instruct your dog to "sit" and "lie down" while you set up the game.                                                          
    Gather three large cups and a tennis ball. Place the tennis ball under one of the cups and then shuffle all three cups in front of your canine companion. Then, tell him to "find it." You might have to help your pup find the ball the first few times until he gets the hang of it. When he finds the ball, reward him with praise and a treat.
    Need help with the basics? Get our best dog training tips.

    3. Hide and Seek

    Hide and Seek is a great game for the entire family -- your pup included! All you need is your dog's favorite toy or treats. Have your dog sit and stay in one room while you hide in another. Once you're settled, call your canine. When he finds you, reward him with the toy or treat.  

    4. "Easter Egg" Hunt

    It doesn't need to be Easter to play an egg-hunt inspired game! Stuff your dog's favorite treats inside of a treat-holding toy and hide it in your house or backyard. Make sure your pooch is in another room so your hiding spot stays secret. Then, have your canine come into the living room or backyard and watch him hunt the treasure down.

    5. Round Robin

    This is another fun game for the whole family. Have each person grab a handful of treats and then sit down around the living room. Take turns calling your dog's name. Each time he comes, reward him with a treat and praise. When your pooch has become an expert at the game indoors, take him outside where you can spread out even further from each other.   

    6. Stair Sprints

    To play this game you'll need a stairwell and a ball. Start at the bottom of the stairs and command your pup to "sit" and "stay." Throw the ball to the top of the stairs and then say, "Go!" Let your pup dash up the stairs as fast as he can, but have him return down the stairs at a slower pace to avoid injury. This game is an excellent energy burner, but it's only for dogs that are more than a year old. Younger dogs have developing joints and are at risk for long-term injury.

    7. The Muffin Tin Game

    The Muffin Tin Game is a household favorite, and for a good reason. It's simple to set up and perfect for dogs of all ages. You'll need a muffin tin (a twelve-muffin tin works best since there are more chances to play) and a ball to fit in each hole. Standard tennis balls work great. You'll also need treats or smelly food. ( recommends Swiss cheese or cooked chicken.) Cut the treats into small pieces and place them at the bottom of the muffin cups. Then hide the treats by putting the tennis balls on top of each one. Once you have the game set up, place the entire tin on the floor and encourage your pup to check it out!

    The goal of the game is to get your dog to remove the ball so he can get to the treat. One of the challenges of this game is for the dog to remember where he's found a treat and where he hasn't -- especially if he rolls a ball from one hole to another. Your canine might need help on the first few rounds to get the hang of it, but don't make it too easy for him! When he's found all of the treats, feel free to play it again. If you only use small treats, you can play the game a couple of times a week without upsetting his diet.  

    8. Cleanup

    Cleanup time is way more fun when your dog can help! You'll need to train your dog to understand the command "put it away." Teach your pooch to pick up a toy, carry it to a basket, and drop it inside.

    To play the game, scatter a bunch of toys in a small area, point to one, and say, "put it away." Repeat until your dog has deposited all of the toys in the basket, giving him treats along the way. Increase the difficulty by spreading out the toys or even hiding them. Pretty soon, you'll have a canine cleaning companion!