Puppy 101: 5 Best Ways to Train Your New Puppy

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I just got a 3-month-old Yorkie Puppy and I couldn’t be more excited. I named him Frankie and he is the cutest thing you will ever see on this earth. However, he is a bit of a little monster. While I adore his playfulness and that sweet puppy smell, he has been driving me crazy since I got him home. He’s been urinating and pooping anywhere he pleases leaving me exhausted every day from cleaning up his messes. He refuses to listen when I call him to come as he runs away as I approach him. Apparently, he thinks I am playing when I’m totally serious.

I may be a bit of an enabler here. I hate to hear him cry and I cater to his every whimper. I pick him up when he should be left alone, I feed him treats when he doesn’t deserve them, and when he does something wrong, like urinate on the floor, I pick him up and say, “no, Frankie, no pee pee in the house,” and then proceed to give him kisses right after scolding him. Nothing like giving affection for undesirable behavior; I know, I’m weak!

Finally, I decided it was time to get some help so I could break the vicious cycle of enabling.  So, when I took Frankie to his veterinarian for the last of his shots, he gave me some really great tips and advice on puppy training that I want to share with you that is starting to really work for me and Frankie!

  • Start right away
    This was where I made my mistake, but I’m working on it and overcoming it. Teaching your puppy where he can urinate and poop is very important for obvious reasons. If you have a small dog like I do, you may want to train him to go on a pad. Some people only want to have their dogs go outside. The key is consistency. Get to know your dog’s body language. They do have it. If he starts walking in circles, there’s a sure sign he’s ready to go. Immediately scoop him up and put him on his pad or outside.  If you start your puppy off the right way, you won’t have to struggle in trying to correct the undesirable behavior later. The same goes for showing him commands. The earlier the better.
  • Sign up for a puppy training class
    Puppy training classes are great for 2 reasons; 1. You get to have an expert guide you and give you advice as he’s training your dog. Take advantage of the time you have with a professional and ask a lot of questions. 2. Many puppy training classes are held in groups, so your puppy will be able to learn how to get along with other dogs and also to be friendly and social with people. Many pet stores offer these classes at very reasonable prices.
  • The simpler the better
    When you are teaching your puppy commands, don’t push him too hard. You can’t constantly correct him or keep telling him the same command incessantly over and over again. Take your time and spend just 15 minutes a few times a day. You can even break it down into a routine. Do your 15-minute sessions in the morning when you wake up, at lunchtime, in the late afternoon and if you want just before bedtime.  Just like babies, puppies have a very short attention span, and just want to move on to the next fun thing they can get their paws on. Just be patient and he will “playing dead” on command in no time!
  • Reward good behavior
    Dogs love to be told they are doing a good job, but they love food even more. Keeping small treats on hand to reward your puppy for good behavior was one of the best tips I could have gotten. My puppy now knows when I say, “Frankie you want a treat?” he has to perform a command first before he gets it. You will get great results with food rewards with your puppy. It reinforces the command and good behavior you want to get from your pup. Use flavors like beef and chicken. It works like a charm!
  • Keep up the encouragement
    Along with rewarding with treats, encouraging your puppy with a positive reaction is key. Try to steer clear from yelling or punishing your puppy. Remember they are still “babies” and need to be guided and feel loved. Having a loving and positive attitude with your puppy will even help learn faster. Just by saying, “good boy!” with enthusiasm will go a long way and give you lots of tail wagging and doggie kisses!

Top 5 Dog Foods for 2016

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Choosing the right food for your dog isn’t as simple as just finding the cheapest bag of food on the shelf. We must take in consideration where the food is made, the ingredients, and the nutritional value. After all we all want our faithful companions to live long and healthy lives. Some foods are dry and others are wet. Wet dog food tends to have less filler and more protein. It’s easier on the gums and if your dog has missing teeth, it can help out a lot.

Dry dog food is usually cheaper and will have filler, but it can help fulfill a dog or puppy’s need to chew. Both are equally nutritious and both serve a purpose. Deciding on what to get depends on what you’re looking for.  Keep an eye out for “Product of USA” printed on the label as these brands are typically the best to go with. It’s also worth looking up reviews for the dog food you’re planning on purchasing.  You don’t want anything that’s upsetting the majority of owners and the dogs themselves.

#5: Purina

Purina is a really good brand of food that isn’t too price. Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE, and Purina ONE Beyond are the superior brands of Purina products. Some people avoid Purina because they use poultry by-products and corn. They also consist of grain products, which may cause slow digestion in your dog. Recently Purina has made some changes by adding more soybeans to the food. Because soybeans are high in protein its speculated that this would decrease dependency on meat making it the ideal replacement.

#4: Natural Balance

Natural Balance comes in a few different varieties. Some variants include canned food, Dry food, rolls, and threats. Rolls provide dogs with healthier skin and can even replace full meals. Natural Balance at one point was extremely popular amongst trainers. This provides the canines with all the nutrients they needed to stay healthy and ready for the next command.

#3: Pedigree

I’m sure when you go into your local grocery or convenience store you may have seen the Pedigree’s big yellow bag of food. They make many different types of canned food, about 9 types of dry foods, and even more varieties of treats. They have the right food for any kind of dog (puppy or old, small or big). Not only that but they have foods for particular health needs like oral care, healthy coat and skin, and weight problems. Despite being popular it comes with a price. Pedigree has content of poultry by-products and meat-and-bone. Because the general dry food is plant based, the source of protein is from the poultry.

#2: Wellness Dog Food

This brand of dog food has high quality ingredients like real meat at human a human grade level. There is no corn or any by-products. Like Pedigree, Wellness offers a huge variety of food choices. Some are used for specific health concerns and some are used only for specific types of dogs. If you take a trip to the Wellness website, you can see the many different varieties of foods and how detailed they are with supplying specific types of dog foods for specific reasons. At Wellness they believe that food should not only sustain us but should also protect us so that we may live longer and healthier lives. With that philosophy in mind, you could imagine the care they have for making good quality foods for our canine pals.

#1: Orijen

Orijen dog foods use above average ingredients in their foods. Their food is rich and varied in fresh whole meats. Dogs benefits from a diversity of prey so Orijen features meats, organs and cartilage from an assortment of cage-free poultry, free-range red meats and wild caught fish. The foods are protein and meat rich, and also have a limited amount of Carbohydrates. They replace potatoes and rice with low-glycemic and regionally sourced fruits and vegetables. The brand also lists their ingredients with the source’s names attached. All ingredients are from local producers who they trust. Take a look at the reviews for Orijen products as well. Almost all of them are positive.

Choosing the right food for your dog is really all up to your personal preference, budget and how healthy you want your canine friend to be. If you have been using an undesirable food for a while, you can reintroduce a better grade food easily. Just be careful and wean them into the change!

Protecting Your Pets Legally (Yes…That’s a Pun)

Unfortunately not all things are meant to be and nothing lasts forever, that includes relationships. While this is a bit of an odd topic, it’s one that I feel strongly about and I think it’s important to cover. I promise I won’t always be such a downer with my topics in the future!

Before you purchase a pet with your significant other you should discuss who would keep the animal in the event of a break up. Even though it may seem drastic, I would even recommend that you get a contract created that establishes who will have control of the pet should you two choose to split. This way you’re legally protected if a divorce or separation takes place.

All this said, sometimes your partner won’t let go of things so easily. It’s very hard to say goodbye to a pet and your spouse probably grew closer to the pet as you lived your lives side by side. Pets truly become a part of the family and it’s very hard to let go, they can feel like your own children.

If you’re running into this issue the best thing to do is hire an attorney. Believe it or not the assignment of pets is something that comes up often in divorce proceedings and any experience divorce lawyer would be able to walk you through the process and make sure your pets are protected.

Now I can’t speak for those of you who live in other states, but if you live in New York and you’re you’re looking for a divorce attorney I’d strongly recommend Amanda Reilly who’s based out of Suffolk County. She’s helped me in the past and is a bit of a pet lover herself (that’s always a plus in my book!). Trust me, there’s no better Suffolk county divorce lawyer.

Are you experiencing a separation with a pet in the middle? Leave me a comment or send me a message and I might be able to share some advice!

If Your Pet Could Talk!

Ever wonder what your pet would say if they could speak? I know I personally have a voice and personality in mind for my tiny pomeranian (sometimes I’ll even have conversations with her when nobody’s around, don’t tell anyone!). This great infographic gives some insight into what your dogs might say if they were able to speak. Do you have any phrases to add? Maybe “Your shoes? I just found dinner!”.

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Basic Pet Safety


When I was a new pet owner I was always extremely stressed. I was always wondering if I was doing the right thing, giving the right food, and taking proper care of my little furry bundles of joy. I thought it would be a good idea to put together some basic tips for any new pet owners out there to get you on the right track and put your mind at ease.

Collars and leashes

Dogs mainly require a leash when out with its owner so a collar that fits is essential. Collars come in an array of colors and sizes. Depending on the size of the dog, the owner should buy accordingly. Owners should also keep in mind that the fur on the dog will be thick or thin depending on the season. Owner should buy collars that are adjustable.

Fur coats tend to be thicker which in that case the collar may fit too tight around the neck of the dog. Summer season will have the opposite effect and the collar may slip off. If you wish to buy a harness collar for your furry friend also be mindful of the season change as well.

So now that we have collars covered,we’re on to leashes. If your new addition to your home is on the small size or a puppy buying a short leash is always fitting. Retractable leashes also can be of service when training the young pup.  Larger dogs who are trained or not could use an extended leash just to move around a bit more.

Cat lives matter too, let’s not leave them out of the equation. If your furry feline friend is quiet, mysterious maybe a little mischievous you may want to buy a collar with a bell on it. Cats fur changes, however not as much as dogs, so you can find a collar that is adjustable.

The most important thing that an owner can do for their furry friend is buy a name tag. Branding your animal so to speak will allow for other people to return the animal to its rightful owner. The tag should have the name of the animal, address and phone number for identification purposes.

Shots and Vaccines

People undergo a variety of shots and vaccines. Animals, though some may not think so, are just like people too. Shots and vaccinations protect our furry friends from a slew of dangerous bacteria and viruses. 

Small animals like hamsters and guinea pigs may only need one shot a birth, but larger animals such cats and dogs need annual shots and vaccinations. Cats and dogs may carry bacteria, viruses and rabies when not vaccinated. Owners should visit the nearest veterinary facility days after a litter is born in order to keep them safe. If the animal is older, they should return yearly to the vet to receive the rabies vaccination and anything else that may be necessary.

Grooming, fleas and ticks

It is very important to keep your animal and their living quarters clean and tick/flea free. If you notice your animal scratching vigorously it may be time to take them to see a vet specialist or buy flea and tick applicators. If you take the “buy off the shelf” route, make sure you buy the most trusted brand so you don’t have to continue to repurchase the applicator again. Carefully read the directions on the box and apply when necessary.

If you take the veterinarian route, ask questions and understand the procedure they will perform on your pet. Grooming your pet will also make them feel great. Bathing is key, whether it’s at home or at a grooming place. Use soap according to the animal and size of animal. Towel dry and brush their coat until completely dry. Its highly recommended by vets that you file the nails of your animals.

Grooming doesn’t stop with just washing your pet, you should also wash their bedding and blankets for a proper clean. If you have smaller pets that live in cages or tanks, such as fish, hamster’s, snake’s, hermit crabs etc. you should thoroughly wash and re-bed the cage or tank on a regular basis.

Staying active and Outdoors

Pets who have the opportunity to hangout outside, like dogs, should have the chance to socialize and interact with other dogs. Seasons will affect your dog’s mood, for instance winter in some states will change your dog’s personality as they’re no longer able to play outside. Summer will excite your dog because they get to play outside more often. Remember that if your dog’s fur will grow short you may want to buy a sweater to keep them warm in the winter.

Summer will bring the heat, so dog sunscreen or spray will help protect their skin along with frequent water breaks. When keeping your dog inside a vehicle remember to roll down the windows during the summer. Keep dogs off hot asphalt as their paws can’t withstand the heat.

Cats make their own fun, sometimes on our couches, so you should buy some catnip and scratchers to keep them entertained away from the couch. Smaller animals that are bound to cages should utilize a wheel or a ball to retain exercise or hop around like our bunny friends. Staying active and being outdoors will reduce stress on the animal and delay any health and muscle problems.

These helpful tips will keep your pets safe!  Owners round up your furry squad and hit the parks and beaches and have some safe pet fun!