Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

kissing tickle (you tube) Notice freezing

Babies should NEVER be allowed to pull up using a dog's leash and collar. This dog is being very tolerant at the moment but this one stops my heart! Notice how still the dog is, the tail, the closed mouth? All signs of stress not to mention the whites of the eye, licking lips and turning away. The more you are aware of how dogs communicate the better you can understand what your dog is truly enjoying or not. This one is stressed and NOt enjoying this!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Peace & Joy with the Family Dog

by Bette Yip, CPDT of Picture Perfect Pets

It’s that time of year again! Families are bustling about preparing for the holidays, leaving the family dog wondering why the humans of the house are suddenly less attentive.

This sometimes causes our dogs to seek out new and more creative ways to get our attention and amuse themselves, and sometimes, we humans don’t appreciate our dog’s choice of activities. To avoid potential problems this season, be proactive—start preparing your dog for the holidays now!

Each year this time, we trainers dole out the usual tips on management and training to help your dog be a welcome part of your holiday festivities, with maximum safety for all. You can find more of these tips in the Dog Training Tips section at .

Here, I’ll focus instead on the usefulness of getting your dog hooked on a few great puzzle toys to help her stay self-entertained when you need time to yourself for holiday activities. Teaching your dog to play with puzzle toys also provides your pooch mental stimulation and a little extra exercise, which will help her to relax better during naptimes. She may learn to enjoy these new puzzle toys so much that you’ll even decide to add a few extras to your doggie holiday gift list!

So, what is a “puzzle toy” for dogs. Most people are familiar with the classic Kong toy, which is a hollowed out piece of rubber meant to be baited with food filling so that a dog has to really work to get the goodies out. Since its introduction, the market has been flooded with innovative new canine puzzle toys. Brilliantly simple, and a favorite of every dog I’ve introduced it to, is Nina Ottoson’s Dog Pyramid, a self-righting fillable toy. As your dog nose-pushes it and swats at it to knock the goodies out, it pops itself back up. Feed your dog meals out of such a toy, and mealtime becomes a wonderfully tiring and enriching event in itself!

Another of my recent favorites is Premier’s Tug-a-Jug, made of a tug rope tied into a bullet-proof plastic jug with a removable bottom. The toy also has a nubby rubber hollowed out ball around the opening of the jug, for additional chewing entertainment. Put some small dog food pieces or treats in the body of the jug, along with a hunk that’s too big to come out, and with a little training, you can teach your dog how to grab the rope, fling the toy, paw the toy, chew on the toy—and eventually, empty out the small bits of food. Again, this makes for a creative way to feed dogs their meals while keeping them out of your hair for a while, too.

Some dogs figure out how to entertain themselves with puzzle toys easily without much human guidance. With each one they conquer, their problem solving skills grow, making the next puzzle toy that much more fun. Other dogs need a little more coaching to figure out a new toy. Learn how to get your dog hooked on puzzle toys in the Dog Training Tips section at .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

First things first

One of the most important things for expecting couples or families to do in the first trimester is evaluate who has best and least control of the dog/s and set a plan to strengthen the relationships to be more balanced throughtout the family. This is important especially once a baby arrives so that more people can assist in the mental activities for the dog and set boundaries for the dog. In families with older children that might be holding the baby and taking part in care taking they must also have control of the dog/s and be familiar with the boundary setting limits well ahead of time. Early on is the best time to begin looking at what cues will best fit into your home and help once a baby arrives.
Another good thing to consider is behavior that is unsafe for Mom or uncomfortable for anyone such as jumping or over reactive greetings. This is the time to put into action a plan that you can practice that sets new expectations that are clear and rewards appropriate behavior. Ex. all four on the floor = attention
So, evaluate, think, and plan and be sure to contact a Dogs & Storks presenter for help if you have questions!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Laughing Baby and Bubble Eating Dog (youtube) ADORABLE!


Hailey Riding Tiffany (youtube) Notice yawning

Notice the yawning this dog offers due to conflict and stress. Yawning is an important sign many owners do not recognize. Notice how your dog uses yawns.
Here she looks at the adult holding the camera for help but no luck. Then gets a glimmer of hope for a treat when the girl picks up the food bowl but that also led to nothing. Finally she has to handle it herself and get up.
Again, Dogs are quite tolerant until they are not and it is our job to set they are our kids up for success.

Riding Rudy (youtube)

I often wonder how dogs put up with us. This is a great example of how amazing dogs are and how rediculous we are. This is a great example of what NOT to do.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A hairy Presidential decision of the 4 legged kind.

Tuesday night we all listened as President-elect Obama presented his victory speech with great confidence. It was clear how ready he is to lead us towards change and how dedicated he is to promises even when it comes to the puppy for his daughters Malia and Sasha. Just like any family considering a pup the President has many things to take into consideration as their puppy will be a fifteen year long (or longer) commitment. Taking your time to find the right fit is important! Here are a few tips that may be of interest for the Obamas as well as anyone else considering a new family member.
The decision to get a puppy immediately invites a flood of warm fuzzy images. Who can resist that intoxicating puppy smell or the eyes that melt even those resistant to puppy love. As a, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), I encourage the Obamas and all families to prioritize temperament and personality traits instead of looks. Cuteness wears off quickly especially for kids once the puppy demonstrates normal teething behavior and destroys a favorite toy or two. The temperament of the pup is the key to a long-term match. Enlisting the help of a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) is a great way to get off on the right foot. A CDBC can guide you through the many options of pet selection and help point out the pros and cons of each based on your families needs and desires. It is terrific that many families want to adopt from a shelter or breed rescue as there are many wonderful dogs in need. Sometimes, however, this may not be the best choice due to the needs of the family. Another option is working closely with a reputable breeder so that you are able to visit the puppy and become familiar with its environment prior to bringing it home.
Puppy socialization is serious business and crucial for stability throughout life. A qualified reputable breeder will be certain to do their best to ensure that their pups are socialized appropriately and achieve developmental milestones with experiences that will set them up for a successful and long happy life. This is extremely important for the White House dog as they are exposed to all types of people and situations. Just this past week Barney snapped at a reporter who reached for him. Dogs that are around people must be socially appropriate and comfortable. It is equally important that the handlers become familiar with the likes and dislikes of their dog and recognize subtle signs of stress and know when to remove the dog from a situation when they might not be successful.
When it comes to breed rescue and shelter dogs I have had wonderful experiences placing adult dogs in homes with children. As a mother of three, CDBC and active rescue foster home provider I know first hand the importance of observations in a foster home. Foster home providers live with and determine the temperament and social capabilities based on observation in the home and surrounding environment. Often what we see is a mature dog with an established personality and temperament. This is a great benefit for many families.
There are many pros to adopting an adult dog but it is ideal to work with a professional experienced with temperament assessment. The Obama family will have their challenges looking for a dog that will not create an allergic reaction for Malia. Allergies vary and it can take time to find the right type of dog to fit this need. Fur and hair varies in all breeds and sometimes it can take time to sort out which will create a reaction and which will not. A great deal will depend on grooming habits and management of the environment as well.
The keys for a match made in heaven are these: identifying, as a family, the characteristics you want and need in a dog for your lifestyle, hiring a professional to assist in dog selection and temperament assessment, and carefully selecting a positive trainer for ongoing success that lasts a lifetime!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Barney bites reporter (youtube)

Notice all of Barney's body language. Shoulders stiff, down and turning away from the unfamiliar squatting man facing him. listen to how unsurprised the handlers were that Barney bit. It was their responsibility to remove Barney when they saw he was tense.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A bite of presidential proportion

Yes, even Presidents have challenges when minding their dog. White house furry resident Barney has bitten someone. The victim is receiving medical care. As the reporter said this they giggled and seemed shocked. The thing is that ...this is quite common. Dogs communicate so differently then we do. They require us to LEARN and continue learning so that we can live together respectfully. Why do dogs bite? Simply because they have teeth and this is one of their forms of communication. Biting is a last resort for dogs. When I hear that a dog has bitten I always know there is more to the story. Here are just some of the questions that run through my head.
Where did it take place? I mean exactly...was it near a resource? Was it outside of their home?
What was the person doing when the dog bit? Were they walking away, bending over to pet...what?
Who was there when it happened? Adult? Child? Unfamiliar people?
What was the victim wearing?
ETc there are so many things that help us get insight to why it happened and what we might be able to do to not have it repeat. Bites are NOT out of the blue. There is always a trail that may have been scuffed over or overlooked or excused away but there is always a trail. Our goal is to educate about the subtle communication dogs use that indicate their state of mind and responses. I encourage everyone to become familiar with these and pay attention to what your dog is really saying to you!
For more information please visit Doggone Safe

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dogs in America

There are over 74 millions dogs owned in America. This is a huge number of companion animals that we humans claim responsibility for. All too often dogs are thought of as furry children or furry people until a baby arrives. This leaves families and dogs in uncomfortable situations. Sadly the number of dogs that are turned into shelters or rescues is on the rise due to financial issues. We must do all that we can when we bring a companion animal into our home to make things safe and secure for their entire life. I began Dogs & Storks in 2002 after seeing how many German Shepherds in our rescue were surrendered or abandoned due to a lack of information and resources on how to safely prepare dogs for life with children. Misunderstandings between children and dogs can cost lives and it is important that we do all we can to socialize and expose our dogs to many new situations so that they can comfortably adapt once a baby arrives in the home. If you are expecting and your dog has not been exposed to many children or experiences then I encourage you to reach out now so that we can increase your and your dog's success once baby arrives. Please take some time and visit one of our presenters website for some wonderful and insightful articles on dogs. Dogs need us to respect their doggie side and direct them with proper boundaries to be successful in our world. This is our job when we bring a dog into our home. So, if you, or someone you know, needs support or has questions please contact a presenter in your area or email me
We are dedicated to increase safety and decreasing stress while including family dogs once baby arrives! Our dogs are in our lives because we invited them in. It is our job to do all we can to keep them safe and meet their needs even during challenging times.