Category - Advice

Is my dog scared of me?

scared-dogHi DTB

I recently adopted a 3yr old pit mix female who has taken very well to my 11 year old daughter but is very skittish around me, me being a male. I have tried the treat trick and she still doesn’t like to come to me. If I sit on the couch not that I condone this behavior, I have allowed her to come up next to me but she still is very apprehensive. Understanding this is a new environment for her, are there any other suggestions to help with comforting her towards me. Thank you for your time.


Hi JD.

So as you have probably already guessed, it is likely that your dog was previously abused by a male. She obviously has trust issues, and as is typical, has associated all males with this behavior. The main thing that is going to change this is simply time. Try not to raise your voice around her, and do things like raise your hands quickly or make loud noises in front of her. It can take dogs 6-12 months to really bond with their new owners, even if they have not been abused, so this too will take time. You don’t want to create other behavioral issues by allowing her to do things that you do not want her to do though, ie: get on the couch. So treat her as you would any dog that you want in your house, but always be conscious that she is nervous. Never force her to be patted or moved close to you if she is uncomfortable, just let her come to you. Treats are always good to help encourage her, but it has to be on her terms.

Over time I am confident she will learn to trust you!


Dogs & Water | How much do dogs drink?

Left to their own devices, and with a free supply of water, a dog will drink as much water as they need to without needing to behappy-dog prompted.

However, leaving a dog with access to an unlimited supply of water is not always an option… so how much water should you leave for your dog?

The type of dog you have, the size of your dog, age of your dog and general health of your dog all come into play when figuring out how much dogs drink. The basic rule is that your dog should drink an ounce for every pound s/he weighs, but this is just that, a basic rule.

There are dog breeds, like Mastiffs, that produce a lot of saliva and drink a large amount of water.

Naturally, play time and warm weather will make your dog drink a little more than normal, but it could also be a sign of illness or infection – your dog may be trying to flush out toxins.

If you’re not sure, your vet will be able to give you some advice so your pooch stays well hydrated.

Drinking a lot of water is fine, but keep an eye out for drinking far more than normal, or a lot less than normal – both signs that you need to visit your vet.

How much water does your dog drink? Do you give him/her free access to water or do you fill up a bowl as needed?

Let us know in the comments below.

Welcome to our Pack

Are you a new puppy parent? Perhaps you’re just revisiting puppy parenthood?

Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

Not only do we have the best dog memes to help you keep your humor during those trying nippy times, we’ve also composed a guide to puppies to help you through your first few months together. dog-meme-7What are you waiting for? Get started now. Click here.

Don’t forget to let us know how you get on, and send us a few photos along the way.

Good luck!

Dog Training Tip

Here’s a question we are asked often – how do I get my dog to stop eating poop?

Whether it is their own, that of another dog, or of cats that wander into your yard, this is not a problem you want to have to deal with.

You’ll find a full explanation here, but this tip will stand you in good stead when dealing with stray poops and other undesirables your dog deems treat-worthy.

Are you ready?


Teach your dog to “Leave it!”

It will take a bit of practice, but putting your dog on a leash when you go outside and giving it a gentle tug with the “Leave it” command will eventually help you avoid strange smelling dog breath.


Have you tried something that worked? Share it with us below. LEAVEIT


Dogs and their Teeth | Healthcare


By the time your dog gets to about 2years old, s/he should have had their teeth looked at by a professional who will be able to give you an indication of how frequently to go for follow up treatment based on their findings.

It is a good idea to make home dental care a regular part of your routine to keep your dogs’ choppers in good health and your veterinary costs down.

Avoiding bones that splinter easily, and rather stick to things that are softer than your dogs’ teeth like rubber balls. Look out for treats and chews that help reduce plaque and tartar build up.

The rough texture of dry food will keep your dogs’ teeth clean, as will dry biscuits. Dental chew sticks can also be found at your local pet store.

Of course, you can also brush your dogs’ teeth. Although your dog may resist the ‘activity’ at first, but with enough repetitions it will eventually become part of normal life. If your dog protests too much you might need to go for a check-up, as there could be gum sensitivity. Make sure you get a toothbrush and toothpaste that is approved by the AVDC – a flavor like chicken will make the task a bit easier for you to administer. Dental wipes are also available as an alternate option.

To get your dog used to brushing start with massaging his or her gums for a few minutes and gradually build up to 30 minutes, holding the head firmly but not fighting.

Your dogs’ breath will also give you an indication of tooth and gum health. A particularly foul-smelling stench, loss of appetite or excessive vomiting and drinking can indicate that it is time to pay a visit to the vet. Pink gums (rather than red of white) are a sign of healthy gums.

Is there something that worked well for you and your dog? Let us know.


Q&A: When Good Dogs Go Bad


I have a 4 month old husky / shepherd mix. I’ve had her for 2 months and from the start I did crate training. At first she was fine but now she hates her crate. She soils the crate at night cause she knows I’ll have to take her out of it to clean, she barks and howls until you let her out and she shreds the bedding when you ignore her. It’s not like I don’t take her out at night either. I’m at a loss. I can’t leave the house during the day without hiring a pet sitter because she chews the crate when you leave for short amounts of time.


Hi Alexie. husky-puppy

You have a few options that you can try. If you have an appropriate space, and are not set on sticking with the crate, you could try and close her in a laundry room or bathroom. This gives her a little more space but still confines her so you don’t have any accidents or destruction issues in the house (make sure there is nothing around that she can get). If she chews up her bed, I would just put an old towel down for now.

If you want to stick with the crate, it is important to put her in there frequently for short periods of time. No matter which you choose to do, this is the strategy you want to use. (You can put a bone or a stuffed kong in there with her so she has something fun to do when you go for longer periods of time).

I would put her in, pick up your keys, walk out for a few minutes and then return. Make sure when you leave you show no emotion. You put her in close the door, and leave. When you return you open the door and let her out. No big hellos or goodbyes, make coming and going a ‘non-event’.

Make sure you give her a good walk before putting her in for a long period of time. For dogs, sometimes even negative attention is better then no attention.

By four months, she should be starting to be able to hold her bladder through the night. Make sure you feed her no later then 5pm, and no water after 7pm. Take her out to relieve just before you go to bed and put her in the crate/room. If you do have to get up in the middle of the night, give her no attention. Simply take her out or just clean it up and put her back in. It should in no way be fun for her.

An appropriate crate is small enough so she would really have to sit in it. If you have her in a huge crate she can move away from the mess. The concept of dogs do not like to mess where they sleep only works if she literally cannot move away from it. By four months I would say you should be starting to ignore the barking in the crate. Typically the first night is very hard, the second night a little less so, and by the third or fourth night they settle down quickly because they learn it is not getting them what they want…your attention!

Let us know if this helps!


Q&A: Potty Training When It’s Raining


I have a wonderful 2-year-old female poodle mix that was brought up here to WA from Southern CA by a rescue group. We have a pet door going onto the deck/back yard and on nice days, she goes outside to potty. The catch is, we’re in Washington, known for our rain, and she WILL NOT go outside if it’s wet out. She’s usually pretty good about using the potty pads though will miss them occasionally. My goal is to get rid of the pads and have her going outside always since she’s free to go in and out on her own. How can I get her to do this when it’s wet outside? Thanks!



Hi Elaine.

Yep, some dogs just hate the rain! My own dog will hold it for 10hrs if it means avoiding the rain!

There are a few things you can do though to help this. Firstly, it may be worth buying a rain jacket for your dog. This will alleviate the feeling of the rain falling on her coat, and she may feel more comfortable. Secondly, grab your umbrella and take her out when it is raining. Just getting used to it helps a lot of dogs. As a two year old, she should be able to hold her bladder for many hours. I would say get rid of the puppy pads and take her out on a leash before you go out. Make sure she relieves herself, and then of course take her out again as soon as you get home. The pads are really an excuse for her not to go out at this stage. If you are home, again take her out on leash every few hours. Over time, she will get used to it. She may never like it, but she has to realize the option is either hold it or get wet…and there is only so long she can hold it!

Good Luck!


Cats and Dogs

While there are many families who are strictly ‘Cat Families’ or ‘Dog Families’ there are a number who prefer to have a mix of animals in their herd. If you’re part of one of these hybrid families, you’ll know that dogs and cats can actually get along, it just takes a bit of time and patience to introduce them.

First things first – remember that dogs are pack animals and will take their cues from you. This may require you to make some changes in your cat-loving home if you wish to introduce a puppy or dog into your family.

  1. Make sure your puppy is relaxed. Giving him or her a snack, meal or taking him for a walk will help with this.
  2. Provide a safe environment within which you can expose the cat and dog to each other, keeping the dog on a leash to begin with.
  3. Set boundaries – make sure your pup understands that nipping the cat or chasing it is not going to make you happy. A firm “No” should do the trick if repeated.
  4. Keep interactions short to begin with, removing your puppy from the room if s/he gets too excited.
  5. Make sure you give your cat lots of attention when you are alone without the puppy.

A final note – if you’re bringing a puppy into what was cat territory, remember that claws can hurt your puppy so guide him/her around the cat, and be patient.

Have you had experience introducing a dog into a cat household? What helped?

Email us to share your dog training

Dealing With Puppies That Nip and Bite

The question we are asked most often is undoubtedly this: “How do I stop my puppy from biting / nipping me?”

The answer is not simple, but we’ve laid out a few steps in this guide.

To get you started, we thought we’d summarize the main message – Dogs don’t have thumbs so they use their mouths to get your attention and explore their world.

dog-meme-no-thumbsThe best thing to do as a dog-parent is to try to understand how your dog operates so that you can bridge the communication gap and help your pup put his best paw forward. Be vocal when your pup does something that hurts you so that s/he knows what they’re doing is wrong, and then look at teaching the NICE command so they can learn to take things gently. More about that here.

Let us know how you get on!


What to feed your dog

dog-food-in-bowlNow here’s something that happens often – people fall in love with a big-eyed fur ball named Spike, or Rover, or something along those lines, and they decide to make that pup a part of their family.

Off they head towards their home with their new fluffy baby, ready for a happy life filled with cuddles and slobber and chewy toys.

But as the family gathers round their table for dinner, the dog starts to yap and you wonder what on earth to put on his plate.

Luckily for you we’ve put together a guide to help you figure out what your dog needs to eat, and how much he needs to eat.

Follow this guide and you’ll be on your way to a happy, healthy and full pup. Good luck!

Is your food on our list of recommended treats? Let us know.