All posts by Baylor (the smart, mature dog in the pic)

Grooming With Two Dogs

One of the problems with having two dogs is grooming.   You wouldn’t think it would be an issue, but having two dogs definitely make this harder.

The breed of dog that you have will determine what kind of grooming you will need to do with them and we’ll cover some of the fun facts we’ve discovered about grooming a dog in another section.

Here we’re going to focus on the problems caused specifically by having two dogs.

In the good old days when it was grooming time, I got to sit in the boss’ lap and it was all about me… just the way I like it.    Then… Scout the puppy came to live with us.

The problem with having two dogs is that whenever the boss is doing something with one of us, two things happen:

  • The dog who is not included wants to help.
  • the dog who is not included wants attention too.

The result is chaos.   Apparently, that’s not a good thing because the boss isn’t very good at brushing one dog when the other dogs also insists on being involved.    Although… I think if she practiced a little more….

The Answer – Separation and Bribery

We solve the grooming problem that comes with having two dogs by getting treats.   I know… I think it’s a GREAT answer too!

When it’s grooming time, one of us gets hooked up to the banister with a small rawhide/bone, etc.    Of course, the other dog gets a treat too, otherwise we would only be interested in the treat instead of getting ready for grooming.

I always get to go first because I’m clearly the better dog!

Sit on the floor with the dog to be groomed in front of you.   Sit far enough away so the dog on the leash is in the same proximity (so they won’t freak out) but far enough that they can’t get involved and “help”.

Like everything else, start slow when you start brushing the dogs.   The whole brush thing is weird and we need a chance to get used to it.

This setup solves the grooming problems that come from having two dogs.   One dog is tied to the banister with a rawhide and the other dog has a smaller treat and gets all of the attention that comes along with grooming.    Everyone is happy.

When my grooming is done, we switch.   Then I get the bigger treat and get tied to the banister while the other dog gets brushed, etc.

Other Things To Know

This is a great way to get kids involved in helping with the dogs.   They can start by holding the dog as you start brushing her.

Another fun fact about puppies… sometimes (at least the one that lives with us) they aren’t very smart.   They sometimes think the tufts of hair that come off the other dog are treats.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

The Best Dogs For Apartments

We just talked a lot about how you shouldn’t follow anyone else’s list of “best dogs in apartments”.

The breed of dog you get should be based on how much effort you’re willing to put forth, your level of activity, the typical energy level of the breed and how much maintenance you’re willing to handle.

These are some of the issues you will have to consider when having dogs in apartments.

Now… I’m going to break my own rules and give you some specific breeds if you’re looking for dogs for an apartment.  This is a compilation of several other lists.

These are the breeds that are typically thought of when someone talks about the stereotypical dogs you can have in apartments.

Bichon Frise – 15 – 20 pounds, needs regular grooming and daily walks.  Is faithful, obedient and happy go lucky.  Playful and gentle nature.  Quiet dog not prone to the yippyness of other toy breeds.

Boston Terrier – Small terrier, is a good watch dog, needs some activity but will then lounge around

Boxer – One of the largest breeds that do well in apartments.  Has short hair, pleasant temperament and requires a daily walk

Cairn Terrier – Does require some exercise but doesn’t need large living space.  A tough little dog who wants people around

Chihuahua – Faithful, protective, about 5 pounds and easy to train and care for.  They can have barking issues.  They require little exercise and only need weekly brushing.

Cocker Spaniel – needs basic exercise, spends days lounging on the couch

Dachshund – need occasional exercise

English Bulldog – they snore, like to investigate outside but don’t really need/want much exercise

French Bulldog – friendly and outgoing but can be stubborn

Greyhounds – rep as athletes, but really couch potatoes.  Daily walk is all that’s needed, doesn’t have to be long walk.

Italian greyhound – 10 pound version of greyhound.  Love to run but love to sleep too.  Affectionate, gentle, submissive

Lhasa Apso – Less than 15 pounds.  Small lap dog, requires regular grooming, expects to be pampered.

Maltese – Expects to be pampered, needs regular grooming.  Docile and great apartment companion.

Mastiff – Big dog, but low energy due to massive size. Calm and even tempered and they don’t bark just for fun.  A few 20 minutes walks/day.

Pomeranian – 5 pounds, thrives on companionship

Poodle – Miniature and toys make great apartment dogs.  They crave companionship, need daily walks.  Toy requires least exercise, others need daily walks.  Require lots of grooming

Pug – 10 – 25 pounds.  Doesn’t require special care.  Take for short walks and he’ll sleep the rest of the day.  Friendly,affectionate, laid back.  Require regular short walks, grooming/clean wrinkles

Schipperke – 10 – 18 pounds.  Active dog, daily exercise is a must.  Likes to be involved in all aspects of the family.  Have a lot of energy, good for active apartment dweller.

Schnauzer – Requires regular grooming and daily exercise.  Love human companionship.

Scottish Terrier – 15 – 20 pounds.  Needs daily exercise.  Touch and compact, loyal and protective family member

Welsh Corgi – 25 pounds.  Needs daily exercise but doesn’t need a lot of living space.

West Highland White Terrier (Westie) – Playful, lovable, requires some exercise and some grooming.  Good watch dog, faithful companion.

Whippet – Requires daily exercise.  Faithful family member, not a great watch dog.  Mid-sized greyhound look a like.

Yorkshire Terrier – Less than 10 pounds. Happy to spend the day on the couch, requires regular grooming.

What Kind Of Dogs Are Best For Apartments?

Are you trying to find out what dog breeds are best to have if you live in an apartment?  Most people will tell you that smaller dogs are better for smaller spaces.  However, I’m a 10 year old yellow Lab who lives with a very annoying 2 year old Lab in a small townhouse with a very, very small yard.  If we can happily live here, you can have just about any kind of dog you want to in a smaller space.

If you read 10 different articles about which breed of dog to pick, you will likely get 10 different answers.  The reason for this is that people think of “apartment dogs” in different terms.  Here are some of the more common “translations”:

  • A small dog
  • Low maintenance dogs
  • Dogs who don’t bark

Everyone has an opinion, but their opinions aren’t necessarily the best answer for you.

The good news is that you really can have just about any kind of dog in an apartment.  The issue is the owner not the apartment.

There are two things to consider when choosing what kind of dog to get in an apartment.

  • How much effort are you willing to expend?
  • What is your lifestyle?

Training

There are a couple realities to consider.  You live in an apartment.  This means you are very close to your neighbors.  It will be important that the dog is trained in basic obedience so they don’t really annoy all the neighbors.

If you’re willing to spend the time and energy training a dog who can be stubborn, go for it.  If you’re not, make sure you focus on breeds that are easily trainable.

For example, if you’re not willing to work on a potential problem with nuisance barking, stay away from breeds that typically have this problem.

Remember, if dogs in apartments get too annoying, the neighbors might complain.  If this happens enough, your apartment or townhouse complex could change the rules and make it illegal to even have dogs.  That would be bad.

You will also need to figure out how you’re going to handle the ugly reality of your dog’s poop.  Check here for some other issues you need to consider when having dogs in apartments.

Your Lifestyle

Once you’re set on how to handle training and dog poop, it’s time to look at your lifestyle.  It is much more important to find a breed of dog that fits your lifestyle than it is to find a dog that fits your apartment.

How much exercise do you get?

More importantly, how much exercise are you willing to help your dog get?

If you’re willing to take a dog on long walks twice a day, your options are nearly unlimited.  If you only want one walk per day, you should stay with a dog who can happily live with that.  If you don’t have to want to go for walks, you should only get a dog who doesn’t want/need any exercise at all.

Keep in mind that there are many ways to get exercise for dogs.  Check the link for some ideas.

Us Labs are very energetic.  We like lots and lots of exercise.   In our house, we get to go on long walks everyday.  We also get to go outside and play fetch during the day (attached to long ropes, because we don’t have a fenced in yard).  We also get to wrestle and play inside during the day too.

If high energy dogs like us didn’t get to exercise as much as we do, I suspect we would be in trouble… a lot.

When looking for great apartment dogs, don’t limit yourself to anyone’s list of the best dogs for apartments.  Decide how much effort you are willing to put into it.  Then consider your lifestyle and activity level.  Then find a dog that fits your lifestyle, not one that fits your apartment.

Your decision should be based on the dog’s typical energy level and maintenance requirements, not their size.


Dogs and Apartments & Townhouses – Things to Think About BEFORE You Do It

There are several things you need to check on if you’re planning to get a dog or dogs and you live in a townhouse, apartment, etc.

Apartment dogs
Apartment Dogs
Obviously you should be allowed to have a dog no matter where you live, but…. I’m a 10 year old yellow Lab so I have to think that!
Before you bring the dog home you need to find out:
  • If you can have dogs
  • If there is a limit on the number
  • If there is a limit on the size
  • If there are rules on pet waste disposal

Can You Have Dogs?

I don’t understand why, but I hear that there are some places where you’re not allowed to have dogs.   Make sure you don’t live in one BEFORE you decide to get a dog and bring it home.

I would guess that rules like these come from people a long time ago who had dogs, but didn’t take care of them and/or forgot that they had 6 billion neighbors.   They likely let their dogs bark too much and didn’t pick up their dog’s poop.   Both of these things probably annoyed the neighbors which resulted in new rules that said dogs were no longer allowed in the complex.

The moral of the story is…. if you do live in a townhouse, apartment, etc where your neighbors are close and you ARE allowed to have pets, make sure you are a responsible pet owner.

Is There A Rule Against Having A 2nd Dog?

I’ve heard that there are dogs around who actually like to live with other dogs.   Well… I’m not one of them.   Check out The Real Story to see why but I can tell you the short story is that my life was great, then the boss brought home this new dog who bites my ankles all the time.   I’ve heard that things get better once they get out of the puppy phase, but we’re soooo not there yet.

Anyway, if you live in a place that has pet restrictions, make sure that having a two dogs isn’t one of them BEFORE you decide to take the plunge.

Is There A Size Limit?

Another thing you need to consider is whether there are rules about the size of the dog.

You will definitely need to know what you’re working with before you get the new dog.   Size can be a little tricky.    I was the runt of my litter and we thought I was mostly done growing when I came to live in the townhouse.

I’m a small for being a Labrador Retriever, because I only weigh about 50 pounds (depending on how much time I’ve spent at grandma’s house recently) but that is still about 10 pounds more than we thought I would weigh.

Luckily our weight limit is 50 pounds so it’s ok for me to live here.  I would be really, really crabby if I had to leave after I decided I liked it here just because I grew too much.

The other dog that lives with us now (Scout, because I get in trouble when I don’t use her name) came from the Animal Rescue League.   She was part of an “unwanted liter”.   They knew she was half-Lab, but didn’t know what the other half was except to know that because of her size it was obviously much smaller than a Lab.

She only weighed 9 pounds when she came home at 10 weeks old.   At 11 months she’s under the limit but has surprised everyone by growing to 45 pounds.

So while all dog breeds have average sizes, it’s good to remember that each dog is different.   We have two female Labs in our house but instead of the average size of 65 pounds we’re at 50 and 45.   We could have just as easily been 65 and 70.

Are There Rules About Pet Waste Disposal?

Dealing with your dog’s poop and getting enough exercise for dogs are the two biggest issues for dog owners who don’t have a huge back yard.   We’ve got a lot of information about both topics on the site to help you figure out the best ways to handle this.

It is critical that you have a plan for how you’re going to handle pet waste disposal BEFORE you bring the dog home.

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You really can successfully live with dogs in an apartment, a townhouse or a house without a yard, it just takes a little preparation and planning.   So… make sure you know the rules and regulations from the apartment/townhouse Association before you bring home a new dog.   Also make sure you’re willing to live with whatever rules they have.

Let us know what you think about having dogs in apartments, townhouses, etc.

Learn Where and How to Let Your Dogs Exercise In Public Places

There are many ways that you make sure your dogs exercise.

Taking dogs to public places
Taking dogs to public places

Taking us out to public places is one of them.

I really, really like to go places and meet people.   I’ve heard “the humans” talk about how this is really good for our socialization too.

There are a lot of public places that are great places to get exercise for dogs.   However, it’s critical to always, always, always remember that you are in a public place.

Some people (the “good” ones) love dogs and will want to talk to the dogs and pet them, but others will not want anything to do with them.   (Although I can’t possibly figure out why!)

It’s important to be considerate of others and always maintain control of your dog.   Even though “the bad people” don’t want to interact with your dogs, it’s still important to respect their wishes.   They are in a public place too and shouldn’t have to deal with animals if they don’t want to.

Don’t let your dog approach people when they’re in public.   Let the people come to your dog (if they want to).  If you let the dog say Hi to everyone they want to, you’re going to annoy a lot of people.   Some will love it, but some will be annoyed.

The other item is that you need to be ultra-responsible about picking up after your pet.   You absolutely cannot go anywhere without having a full stock of pet poop bags with you.    I would even recommend that when you have to throw your pet waste bag into the trash that you double bag it.   It will help prevent the odor from being bad and it will show people who see you that there really are responsible pet owners out there.

You must, must, must, must pick up after your dog.    (Are you sensing a trend here?)

“Leftovers” are very annoying for non-dog people, but they are also annoying to dog owners.  When we take walks it drives the boss crazy because I have to stop and smell every single dropping that someone very rudely did not pick up.

Where to Take Your Dog

There are a great many pet-friendly places to take your dogs to get exercise.

  • Parks
  • Athletic fields
  • Dog parks
  • Pet stores
  • Soccer games

Parks

Take a long rope with you and look for an unoccupied space.   A long rope allows your dog to roam more freely (and smell all kinds of good stuff) and run after a ball or a frisbee.   If you take a tennis ball with you (and you already taught them to fetch) the dog will be really, really, really happy.

There is a learning curve related to letting your dogs exercise by running on a long rope, check out the related post to help you with it.

A dog poop bag is a must.

Athletic Fields Athletic fields are great too because they usually have fences so you don’t have to use a rope.   However, make sure to check for signs, some fields won’t let you use them for dogs.   I would also recommend that you limit the usage of athletic fields to the off-season because of this.

When we get to run free anywhere when we don’t have a rope, the boss still attaches a short (5-10 feet) leash/rope to us.   I think she does this so that “just in case” she has to chase us down we’ll be easier to catch.

dog poop bag bag is a must.

Dog Parks

We’ve actually never been to a dog park.   We never get to do anything fun… well… except play ball, and play outside and chase frisbees, and take long walks… ok… I guess we do get to have fun, but we’ve still never been to a dog park.

Our community is building one that will open this summer.  If you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll tell you all the stuff you don’t know about dog parks after we start going.

Remember… you are still in public and a dog poop bag  is still a must.

Pet Stores

I know, I know… you can’t really get exercise for your dogs in a pet store.   However, there are soooooooo many cool things for me to pay attention to it’s almost like getting some exercise and it’s definitely good for my socialization.

There are other ways to let your dogs exercise that don’t involve public places.   There is more information available on the Exercise For Dogs page.

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What do you think?    What are your favorite public places to get exercise for dogs?

A Tired, Old Dog

(Author unknown)old dog

A dog who was a little bit older and tired looking came to visit me the other day.  He just wandered into my yard.

When I looked at him, it was apparent that the dog was fed and taken care of.  He also had a collar so I knew he had his own home.

I petted him on the head, then went inside…  he followed me.

He walked down the hallway to a quiet part of the house, laid down, curled up, and took a nap.

A little while later, he woke up and went to the door so I let him out.

This same pattern repeated every day for a couple of weeks.  He came, slept for a while and then left.

After a while, the curiosity got to me.  I wrote a note and attached it to his collar.

The note was directed to his owner, whoever they were, and asked if they knew that they had an awesome dog that came to visit me everyday so he could take a nap.

I wondered if the dog would return after that, but just like clockwork, he came back the next day.

This time, he had a different note attached to his color.

It said:  “His home includes 6 children and several of them are not yet three years old.  He’s tired and needs a quiet place to take a nap.  Can I come next time?”

Problem Solver – Pet Crate or End Table… Or Both?

Wood Dog Crate

wood dog crate
Double Duty in Your Living Room – Dog Crate That Looks Like a Table

This is a problem solver that you probably never thought about before.

On one hand, if you have a new puppy, one of the things you absolutely must have is a crate.

Puppies just don’t know the rules of the house and what you consider ok and what is not ok.  The best way to deal with them is to get them a great crate and keep them crated when you’re not able to watch them.

This is also the fastest way to train them.

Of course, depending on the dog, you may need that crate for a longer period of time.  Some dogs quickly learn that it’s NOT ok to chew the pillows, jump on the counters, scratch the leather couch and pull down the shower curtain just because you aren’t around to stop them.

Some dogs don’t.

I’m pretty sure our evil new puppy Scout (the kid in the picture at the top of our site) will be in a crate f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  I’m the dog in the picture who is much wiser and well behaved.  I stopped having to live in a crate when the boss was gone when I was about 1.

Anyway…

One of the problems with dog crates is that depending on the size of your dog, they can be huge… and nobody really wants a big, wire box sitting in the middle of their living room.

The solution – wood dog crates that are made to look like tables.

These are relatively new to the pet industry, but have become wildly popular over the last few years.

People love them because it really is a dog crate, but it looks so much like a regular piece of furniture that it totally blends in with the other decor of your home.

If you need to find a crate for your dog that is functional, but looks fantastic, these are great options.

 

 

 

 

I’m Trying To Be A Good Dog

(Author unknown)being a good dog

Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good Dog.

I will not eat the cats’ food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.

The sofa is not a ‘face towel’.

The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

I will not play tug-of-war with Dad’s underwear when he’s on the toilet.

Sticking my nose into someone’s crotch is an unacceptable way of saying ‘hello’.

I don’t need to suddenly stand straight up when I’m under the coffee table.

I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house – not after.

I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.

I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.

The cat is not a ‘squeaky toy’ so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it’s usually not a good thing.

Problem Solver – Double Dog Leash

Sporn Double Dog Leash Sporn Double Dog Lead

There is one thing that most people don’t think about when it comes to having two dogs, that is, until they go for a walk.

Unless you have perfectly well behaved dogs, (which is no fun at all!) where one stays on the left side and one stays on the right, you’re going to have a big problem.

Most dogs see a walk as an opportunity to smell EVERYTHING.  That includes old gum wrappers on the right side, then a spot on the left side where another dog peed 6 weeks ago, then back to the right side to look at a butterfly, then behind you…

That’s fine with one dog, but with two dogs, and two leashes, this becomes a big problem pretty quickly.  The leashes get tangled and wrapped around your hand and in no time you have a complete mess.

The Sporn Double Dog Leash solves this problem for you.

The end you hold is a comfortable, padded handle.  Then the other end of the leash breaks off into a “Y” so you can hook it to two different dogs.

However, there are two things that make this double dog lead such a great problem solver.

The first is a very cool swivel piece that we call the magical twirly thing.

The magical "twirly thing".
The magical “twirly thing”.

This means that when your two dogs trade sides of the sidewalk 6 billion times in the first 3 minutes of your walk, the twirly thing will just twirl around… and not get tangled up.

The second thing that makes this so cool is the fact that it is adjustable.  At our house, we’re always walking with two 50-pound Labs.  Since we’re the same size, we both get the same length of the leash.

However, if you had a dog who was 20 pounds and another who was 60, you would need to give the big dog a longer leash (because of their longer body size).

Of course, you also have to make sure you get the right size of leash so the hardware is strong enough.

If you have any questions about this, let us know!

Having Two Dogs On A Chain, Lead Or Rope

OK… you took the plunge and got a 2nd dog, now what?  17845023_s

Since I’m an old dog who was used to being outside on a rope by myself, there was an adjustment when the evil new puppy came to live with us.

Hopefully you are already aware that the biggest issues you have to deal with when you have a 2nd dog are how to handle your dog’s poop and making sure to get exercise for dogs.   You absolutely can’t let the dog poop pile up or you are asking for all kinds of unpleasant trouble.

Here we’re going to talk about how to handle the back yard if you’re using a chain/rope to let the dogs go outside.  There are definitely a few things that are different when you add a 2nd dog into the mix.

In addition to dog poop and exercise, another big issue you will have to figure out how to handle is having two leads/ropes/chains in the back yard.  There are two main issues:  1) The danger of a rope getting wrapped around one of the dogs, and 2) Ropes getting tangled up and in knots

Dogs Getting Wrapped In The Rope

It’s important that you make a rule (and consistently enforce it) that the dogs can’t “play” when they are tied up.  We like to play and wrestle, but when we’re tied up it’s too easy to get a leg (or worse) wrapped up by the rope.  Since we’re wrestling, when something gets wrapped up, it gets really, really tight really, really fast.  That can be really, really bad.

If you leave the dogs outside on their own you will also need to frequently check on them.  At our house I like to lie in the sun on the patio and our 2nd dog likes to leisurely wander… around me.   The boss has to sometimes come outside and unwrap us.

Ropes Getting Tied In Knots

This is one of the biggest hidden secrets to having two dogs.  It’s called the “twirly thing”.  OK, that’s not what it’s really called, but it’s what we call it.

Having two dogs can be complicated when you do anything on a chain, leash or rope.  You can get these things for leashes or you can get them from the hardware store and attach them to your tie-out post.  Then attach both leashes, chains, etc. to the twirly thing.

The result is that the dogs can walk around and not get the ropes all twisted up.   Instead of the ropes getting twisted up, the one end just twirls around.  i.e. “the twirly thing”.The magical "twirly thing".

If you’re thinking about getting a 2nd dog, this is a must-have.  We have about six of them.  We have one on the double dog lead we use when we take walks and we have one in the backyard attached to our tie-outs.   We also have one on the really long ropes we use when we get to investigate the whole side yard.

Most pet stores have these attached to a the double dog leads that they sell.  You can get them for your backyard tie-out, etc by going to any hardware store.

Check out some of the other information we have about the problems you will encounter when adding a 2nd dog to your household.

Also check out the other posts related to having a 2nd dog.  Sign up for our cool newsletter if you want us to keep you updated as we continue to add stuff to the website with more information about having a 2nd dog.

Does anyone know what the twirly thing is called?  You would think that since it’s such an important gadget have when you have a 2nd dog, the boss would know stuff like that…

Problem Solver – Put Dog Poop Directly Into Your Septic System

Doggie Doo Drain Dog Waste Sewer Line Attachment

dog waste sewer line attachment
Gold Standard Dog Poop Solution

This could possibly be the greatest invention in the history of the world!

OK, maybe that it a bit of an exaggeration, but if you have dogs and you don’t want the dog poop to sit in your backyard forever, then it’s really, really, really awesome.

You could put it in the trash can, but that gets really smelly, both while it sits in your mini trash can in the back yard, and when you put it in the big trash can on trash day.

The other big problem is that when you usually have to put it in plastic bags first, and those sit in the landfills for like a billion years.

This is a better solution.

It’s actually a handy little device the connects directly into your sewer system, but don’t worry… you don’t have to be a professional plumber to attach it.

It simply screws into your clean-out.  (don’t panic, this is really easy)

It installs in just a few minutes and there is no assembly required.

All you have to do is screw the Doggy Doo Drain directly into the clean-out for your sewer system.  You might not know what this is, but trust me… there is one outside your house.

When the dog does his/her business, all you have to do is scoop it up and place it in the funnel.  The dog poop goes directly and immediately into the sewer line… where it belongs.    When you rinse out the funnel with your garden hose, you will never even know it was there.

You don’t have to smell it after that, your trash cans can smell like regular trash cans and you don’t have to feel guilty about the environment.

This is the very definition of a problem solver!   It’s a win-win for everyone.   Nobody has to step in dog poop in the back yard, nobody has to smell it and the plastic bags don’t sit in the landfill.

Grass Assassins

Not all dogs are Grass Assassins, but I am definitely one of them.   When I don’t pay attention to where I pee, after a few weeks we end up with a patch of grass the size of a dining room table that is dead.

That doesn’t really bother me, but the boss didn’t seem to be too happy about it.   She yelled at me about it, but I didn’t have any idea what she was talking about… I thought I just wasn’t supposed to pee inside the house, right?

There are quite a few options available for how to handle lawn repair from dog damage.

We thought we had the answer when she built a rock pit/sandbox.   Of course, this only gives me a place to pee where I won’t kill the grass.  If you’re looking for options on how to handle your dog’s poop check here.

It worked ok when the weather was nice, but in the middle of winter it became a problem because the snow and ice made it too slippery.

The task was made a little easier when she figured out that using a weed eater made it much easier to dig up the dead grass, but it still looked like a bit of a pain.

But still, every winter I stopped using it until the spring, which means we had more dead grass to deal with.   That meant every spring she had to retrain me to pee on the rocks and had to go through the arduous process of digging up the dead grass and growing new grass.

 

The Answer – Build A Rock Pit And Use Dog Friendly Ice Melt

  • Dig up the sod in an area at least 3’ x 5’.
  • Put in a border (this will be useful to help keep the rocks in the pit.   You can find these at any Home & Garden store.   The height of the border will depend on how you want to handle mowing.   Our border is shorter than the grass so that the people who mow the grass don’t have to trim around it.
  • You should also dig up another couple inches of dirt inside the border so the pit is deeper.   If you don’t do this, the rocks will spill out into the grass when the dog squats close to the edge.
  • Add a light spray of grass killer if you want to make sure that no weeds come through.
  • Add a layer of rocks.   Regular River Rock is the best because of the smooth edges.   The size of the rocks depend on the size of your dog.   If the rocks are too big, it’s harder for the dogs paws/toes to stay steady when they squat.   We originally used rocks the size of a golf ball for me.   We recently changed to the large pea size and I like those a lot better because they don’t make my toes have to work so hard to stand on them.
  • Train the dog.  This is the easy part because we’re sooooo smart.
  • It’s usually pretty easy to tell when a dog has to pee.   For most people it will be easiest to start first thing in the morning and when you come home from work.
  • Take the dog directly to the pit.   Hold their collar/leash so that they are in the middle of the pit.   Make them stay until they pee.   Like everything else… give them a treat.

It may take them a few minutes the first few times.   Since it’s a new surface to them, they will likely think they’re NOT supposed to pee there.   Follow the regular training guidelines when house training a dog (take her outside to the pit, say “potty” or whatever word you use, make her stay there until she pees, then give praise…)

Other Things To Know
If you live where there is a winter season you may need to watch for ice.   During/after a storm the dog will not want to squat/balance on the ice covered rocks and will start peeing in the snow… especially since the grass is covered up now.   If you spread pet-friendly de-icer it will keep the area ice free and usable all winter.

Make sure it is pet-friendly!!!   Most of the regular stuff can be dangerous for us.

You may need to occasionally spray the pit with kennel spray (link) if it begins to smell.   There are a lot of options for urine odor remover.

Make sure you get the kind that does NOT say “stops repeat behavior”.   This is a difference between the spray that is designed to clean and stop the animal from peeing there again and the kind you want that just cleans it.

This is the one we found that looks the best.

Another option is to give your dog pills that are sold to stop their urine from killing the grass.

We’ve never been a big fan of stuff like that because:

  • The boss is lazy and would have to remember to give the pills every day
  • We don’t like the idea of giving us medicine just because the boss doesn’t want to deal with something

Another product we tried was the spray that basically paints the dead grass green until it regrows new grass.   As you would expect, I found that it’s a funny color of green and it stands out, and it would take the entire season for new grass to replace the dead grass.

I don’t know why, but for some reason when I pee on the concrete patio, it smells.   It sometimes happens when there are thunderstorms.   Use the kennel spray from above and it goes away.

You can check out the other options for handling lawn repair here.

We’ve shown you quite a few options here.  Which ones do you think are the most successful?

Protecting Your Dogs From YOU

Dogs are awesome. 7980699_s

In fact, I’ve heard many people talk about how they like their dogs more than they like a lot of people. I could have told you this, but I’m a dog, so I’m a little biased.

However, just because we’re awesome, doesn’t mean that we’re the same as people, so you can’ t treat us like that.

Protect Dogs From Themselves

With a dog, you have to remember… you are the adult in the relationship and it’s your job to protect us. Sometimes you have to protect us from ourselves, because no matter how old we get, some of us still like to eat EVERYTHING.

Although, if you insist on seeing us like you do people, you should think of us as really little people. More specifically, you should treat us like little kids who still want to put everything they can grab into their mouth, even if it’s bad for them.

Babies don’t know any better, and we don’t either. Well, I know better because I’m 10, but our evil new puppy doesn’t know any better and tries to eat socks, ink pens, bottle caps and anything else she can find on the floor.

It may sound funny, but stuff like that can really do damage for a dog.

Protect Dogs From YOU

Not only do you have to protect us from the things we want to eat that are dangerous for us, you also have to protect us from YOU.

There are a lot of things out there that are dangerous for us that people just don’t know about. Sure, a lot of people do these things anyway and nothing bad happens, so they think that means it’s ok.

You can cross a lot of times without looking both ways and nothing bad will happen. Does that mean it’s ok to do? No. That means you’ve been lucky so far and you should change your ways before something bad happens.

With that in mind, here are a few things you should be careful of in regards to your dog.

Bones Are Bad

Everyone knows that dogs love bones, but that doesn’t mean we should have them. This is especially true of chicken or turkey bones.

Those types of bones have a tendency to break or splinter when they’re being eaten. This can be a really bad thing as those sharp, splintered pieces travel through our digestive systems.

The bad things can include internal injuries, bleeding and even stuff that is a lot worse.

People Food is Bad

Letting your dog clean your plate or eat dinner scraps seems harmless… until it isn’t.

The truth is that there are many kinds of people food that can be very dangerous to us dogs, and you probably don’t know what they all are. Since you don’t know what all of them are, why risk feeding us people food that could end up being really harmful?

Things as simple as onion rings or grapes are like poison to a dog’s system.

Food Recalls Are Bad

You’ve seen recalls in the news for “people food”, right? Things as common as eggs and peanut butter have been recalled over the last year because they were determined to not be safe.

Dog food and treats sometimes have the same kind of recalls. Keep an eye on the news to make sure you’re not feeding us stuff that has been determined to be unsafe.

Better yet, subscribe to updates from your vet’s website so you can be updated.

Having Two Dogs – Playing Fetch

Having two dogs isn’t the problem… the problem is the new dog.   (At least that’s what I think, but don’t tell the boss I said that.)   When we play fetch EVERYTHING is supposed to be for me.   The problem is that since the new dog came, she thinks everything is for her.     I never get the toys anymore…

  • Take turns chasing the ball
  • Throw 2 balls in different directions

                   

Take Turns

Sometimes we take turns chasing the ball.   The puppy wasn’t very good at this at first (imagine that) and had to be held by the collar for a long time when it wasn’t her turn.  Since I’m (cough) a little older (cough) than the puppy, I get tired a lot sooner than I used to.   Because of this, sometimes the new dog gets to chase 2 balls before I get my turn again, because this gives me more time to rest.    This also let’s the “more energetic” (i.e. more annoying) dog get more exercise which makes her tired.   I’ve heard a lot of people say “a tired dog is a well behaved dog” and it sounds like there is some truth to this.

Use Two Balls

The other thing we do sometimes is each chase our own ball.   Of course, the puppy doesn’t always know how this works and has the attention span of…. something that doesn’t have a very long attention span.    If her ball was tossed, she chased it but if my ball was tossed too soon she gave up on her ball and chased my ball.   I found this really annoying.

You also have to be careful to not throw both balls in the same place.   Again… the new dog usually sn’t that smart and she sometimes has trouble deciding which one to chase.   That leaves me confused and I usually have to wait for her to decide which one she wants before I can figure out which one is mine.

Playing Fetch on a Rope playing fetch

We’ll write more about this topic in another post, but make sure you’re really, really careful if you’re playing fetch with two dogs on ropes.    Using ropes is a great way to exercise your dogs if you don’t have a fenced-in yard, but having two dogs means you have to be much more careful.

Make sure you know where both ropes are every time before you throw the ball.   We could get hurt really bad if the rope gets wrapped around a leg when the other dog takes off to run after the ball.   You could also get a really ugly rope burn if you’re not paying attention.

Check here for more information about the problems and solutions related to Having Two Dogs.

Puppy Help – Potty Training

The whole potty training thing is bad.

I hear the human people talk a lot about figuring out how to potty train a puppy.  It’s hard to believe, but somehow the puppy doesn’t seem to know she’s not supposed to pee in the house.

That means you’re going to be cleaning up “mistakes” for a while.  Yippee.

Puppy Potty Training Isn’t Easy
This is the thing that everyone forgets when they think about getting a new puppy… how much of a pain they are.

Here is what happens:

Potty training a puppy

  • They forget all about the problems
  • They get a new puppy (hopefully not an evil one like ours) and go on and on and on about how cute they are
  • Then… they remember the problems
  • They complain to their friends
  • Their friends always say “you forgot how much of a pain puppies are, didn’t you”?   It happens every – single – time.

Our puppy Scout pee’d in her actual kennel a couple of times, but that seemed to stop when we did two things:

  • Reduced the size of the kennel (by putting a box in the kennel) so she didn’t have as much extra space.
  • Caught” her in the act so she could be corrected right away.   This is pretty important when learning how to potty train a puppy.

How To Potty Train A Puppy
Learning how to potty train a puppy isn’t about hitting them with newspapers, yelling at them or rubbing their nose in it.   It’s about TEACHING them that they’re supposed to pee outside and helping them be successful at it so they learn faster.

The one item that is crucial when training a puppy is having a kennel.   We’ll cover that in more detail in another post, but just know that you must have one, you must use one and the dog actually doesn’t hate it.
They will have to pee as soon as they get out of the kennel and immediately after they play.   This isn’t just stuff that people say… it’s true.   If you take them outside immediately after these two events, the potty training thing will be much easier.   fyi… the younger the puppy, the more “immediate” applies.  Scout usually pee’d on the way to the door for the first week, then each week was able to hold it a little longer.
When the puppies comes out of the kennel, they have to pee.   Take them immediately outside or to the pee pad if you’re using one.

Play with them then immediately take them outside to pee… yes… again.   Put them in the kennel to nap (because they do this a lot).

Follow a pattern with the new dog.   Kennel, pee, play, pee, kennel, pee, play, etc.

When you take them immediately (get the picture?) outside to pee, take them to the place you want them to pee and say whatever keyword you’re going to use until they pee.

When they do pee outside in the place they’re supposed to, you’re supposed to make a fool of yourself.   What I really mean is that you should be super excited for the puppy and let them learn that peeing outside is a good thing.

You get much, much, much, much faster results when training your dog from positive reinforcement than with negative.   I know I’m a dog and it sound like I’m just saying this because I like the positive stuff better, but it’s actually true.   If you ask anyone who actually knows how to train a dog they will confirm this.   If you happen to talk to someone who does not agree with this, you are getting very bad advice… they only think they know what they’re talking about.

Pee-Pads
I don’t think the experts are a big fan of the pee-pads, but we liked them.  When the evil new puppy started to pee in the house she got moved immediately to the pee-pad.   It made a much smaller mess if she could be moved to the pee pad instead of having to go all the way to the door.    The boss seemed to like this.

The trade off is that getting truly potty trained probably takes a little longer, but you have much less of a mess to deal with in the interim.

Towels
The clean up got a lot easier for us when we decided to use towels.   The boss gathered up all the ratty white towels and put them on the kitchen counter.   She also put a few in the kennel (because it’s easier to wash towels than it is a blanket when they get pee’d on).

When the evil puppy pee’d on the carpet, we soaked it up with a towel, sprayed the carpet with a vinegar/water mix and tossed the towel in the bathroom sink.   fyi – they have a lot of other stuff also available to make clean up easier.

When the sink got full, we tossed the towels in the washing machine.   Using the same color of towel made the laundry easier.   This also works best if you do NOT use fabric softener on the towels because it helps them absorb the bad stuff better.

Then we ran the carpet cleaner on the pee’d on areas once a week until the puppy finally learned not to pee in the house.   It took forever because she’s really not that smart… but I’m not supposed to say that out loud.

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The more often you take them outside so they can successfully pee where they’re supposed to, the faster your carpet will be safe!

You can see some of the products designed to make the clean up process easier here.

Did you forget how much of a pain puppies are before you got yours?