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PUPPY SAFETY TIPS: HOW TO PREPARE FOR A PUPPY

Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-1Now that spring has arrived, many people may be planning to add a puppy to their family unit. While the precious little babes may seem like low maintenance, the truth is they require a lot of preparation and care. So here’s a brief checklist for first time puppy parents that overviews some important things to keep in mind before puppy comes home.

1) RESEARCH
This cannot be stressed enough. Researching puppy care in general, as well as the care required by its specific breed, is number one. Different breeds come with different needs which an expectant puppy parent should know about.

Keep a couple of reputable puppy books on your coffee table, or bookmark some informative blogs and websites on your computer, so that you can easily turn to a reliable source if faced with an unknown when your ball of fluff arrives. Be prepared to tackle house training, teething, exercise needs, nutrition and more all at once. Taping your local vet’s emergency telephone number to the fridge isn’t a bad idea either — just in case.

2) PUPPY PROOF
Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-2Puppies like to put anything and everything in their mouths, so be sure to put anything that is potentially harmful out of puppy’s reach. Tape down wires and cover electrical sockets. Put baby gates across stairs so your puppy cannot fall down and injure themselves, and put away any rugs or valuable items in your home that might get broken.

3) HAVE A CRATE
Your puppy is going to need a place to call their own, a safe place to hideaway and sleep when they want to. Introducing your puppy to a crate at an early age is a good idea so that they are comfortable and can be left in it when you have to go out. This will help keep them safe and out of mischief when you’re not around to supervise.

4) PUPPY CHOW
Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-4Yes, puppies need a special form of dog food. Visit your local pet shop ahead of time and choose a kibble that suits your puppy’s age. Talk to the sales clerk if you are unsure.

5) AGE APPROPRIATE TOYS
Puppies have little mouths with little teeth that need to be worked, so be sure to have a few toys in the house for them to play with. It is important to get toys that are designated as ‘suitable for puppies’ because these will be designed specifically for little ones who are just growing into their chompers. Puppy chew toys especially will help them when it comes time for teething.

6) BABYSITTER AT THE READY
Pet-Safety-Puppy-Checklist-Pawsh-Magazine-3Just like babies, puppies are a lot of work and demand a lot of attention. Sometimes, as the doting parent, you’ll need an afternoon or an evening out to clear your head and recharge your batteries. Or sometimes you have to travel for work and run out to unexpected meetings. Thus it’s a good idea to have a reliable puppy babysitter on speed-dial for those hectic times, somebody who can lend a hand and help you ensure that puppy is getting only the best.

7) OBEDIENCE CLASS
As a first time puppy owner there is a lot to take in. Enrolling in a puppy obedience class never hurts, because you will have access to an expert trainer who will teach you how to train your puppy and communicate effectively with them. Plus, it is an opportunity to socialize your puppy with other dogs their age and provides them with a new exciting experience.

*** For any concerns regarding proper puppy care, be sure to consult a qualified veterinarian.***

Bringing home a puppy to a well-prepared home is a magical experience like none other. What was your first day home with your puppy like? We’re dying to know and relive some precious puppy moments!

{Photography by Pawsh Studio}

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Pawsh-Studio-EZ-X-Harness-Mockup-1-web-readyThis article was made possible by EZ X Harness, a revolutionary new harness that is ideal for leash training and will help keep your dog safe when out on their walks! The EZ X Harness takes safety, comfort and control to a new level! Avoid neck injuries and eliminate pulling! Just Easy On and Easy Off. Great for sport, about town or riding in the car! Available in all sorts of colours — a safe style for everyone! Follow them on Facebook!

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MARCH GIVEAWAY: ERIN REA DOG-INSPIRED THROW PILLOWS

Dog-pillow-giveawayGood morning ladies and gentlemen! I’m afraid the Pawsh blog is going to be a little quiet this week as we finish up the new edition of Pawsh Magazine. However, to keep things fun I’m delighted to announce March’s giveaway! A pair of beautiful dog-inspired throw pillows from the wonderful Erin Rea Design!

These pillows are a classy and comfortable way to add some design pizz-azz to your favourite couch or reading nook.  Guest will ooh and ahh at these little beauties and your dog may even try to snooze on them!

One lucky reader will win TWO of these pillows. To enter, all you need to do is….

1) Leave a comment on this blog post saying which colour pillow you would choose if you win.

2) Share this Facebook post (hit the little button underneath the status update that says ‘Share’).

That’s it! The winner will be announced on Friday at noon, so you have until then to enter! I am personally a fan of the grey pillows — which ones do you like best?

DOG TRAINING: HOW TO TEACH A DOG TO BALANCE THINGS ON ITS NOSE

Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-1Today we have a special treat! Jess Bell, a Toronto-based dog trick trainer, and her adorable Aussie friend, Cohen, are here to tell us all how to train a dog to balance objects on its nose. Keep reading to master this impressive trick in a simple step-by-step manner! Take it away Jess!

This trick requires a fair amount of impulse control on behalf of the dog, so mastering ‘stays’ and ‘leave-its’ prior to starting work on this trick is a good idea and highly recommended.

STEP 1: HANDLING
Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-2 The first step is getting the dog used to being handled. Get your treats ready, set the dog up so she’s comfortable in a ‘sit’ or a ‘down’ on a rug and then extend your hand to touch her muzzle. Mark with a “yes” or a click and then reward with food.

Repeat this until your dog understands that handling her muzzle means a treat is coming, and she even looks forward to it! This may take a few days or more. Go at the pace your dog sets and don’t rush it.

STEP 2: INTRODUCE AN OBJECT
Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-3 The next step is introducing the object. It helps if you have a jackpot (aka super yummy!) treat visible to the dog on a coffee table so they can see it. Steady their muzzle with your hand and place the object on their nose for a split second. Mark with a “yes!” or a click, remove the object while saying “okay!” then give your dog the jackpot treat she was probably staring at the whole time.

STEP 3: BE SHORT AND SWEET
Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-4Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-6It’s important that in the early stages you have the object on the dog’s nose for tiny, tiny increments of time because this can be HARD for your pup. Gradually ask for the dog to hold the object for longer and without your hand to support her nose.

It’s best to keep the number of repetitions low — no more than 1-3 practices at a time. If you’re having trouble, back up a step or two. The most common mistake I see people make is asking for too much too fast. Split seconds can feel like a dog’s age to your pup — so keep it brief. Short and sweet is best!

To start with you probably don’t want to ask for more than 0.25 seconds. That’s, like, really short. Then move up to 0.5 seconds, then 0.75 seconds. It will probably take you a few sessions before you can ask for her to balance something for longer than a second.

Once she knows the trick, you can ask the dog to balance something for quite a while. Use your best judgement. Normally 5-10 seconds is all you’ll need to impress your friends and snap a quick photo.

WHAT ARE SOME GOOD OBJECTS TO BALANCE?Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-5Take an object and try to balance it on the tip of your finger. If it’s easy for you, it’ll be easy for your dog. Stuffed toys or other small objects that won’t roll about are a good thing to start on.

A lot of people start with treats. Just remember that if you want your dog to balance a treat on her nose, reward with something BETTER or else your dog may opt to cut out the middleman and eat the treat at her leisure.

WHAT COMMANDS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS TRICK?  Pawsh-dog-training-how-to-balance-on-nose-7Generally this trick is just a fancy ‘stay’ command; when you say, your dog should, ideally, not move a muscle. You can also create a new cue like “hold it” if it’s easier for you and your dog to work with.

Always remember your release cue! Say “okay” to let your dog know she can move again. You don’t want her releasing herself — you want her waiting for your say-so.

KEEP IN MIND…
Sometimes dogs find this trick unpleasant to learn. If your dog is exhibiting any stress signs, stop! Tricks are meant to be fun for both of you! If you have to stop, don’t worry. Give the trick a rest for a few weeks then come back to it.

Sometimes you need to shelve things like this and come back to it later. If your dog can’t do this now it doesn’t mean she’ll never do it. Try teaching another trick in the meantime. Remember, the goal is to have fun, fun, fun!

PAWSH PERK: Be sure to visit on Monday for our dog-friendly ‘Timbit’ recipe!

{Photography by Pawsh Studio}

{Special thanks to Jess Bell for her wonderful insights, to Cohen for being such a good model and to my fantastic photo assistant Sondra! xo}

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This fun Training & Play column was made possible by Paw Couture!
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PET WELLNESS: HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG

Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-4We humans are very lucky, because dogs love us unconditionally. It’s in their DNA to give affection, which is a truly incredible quality. Of course, however, as with any relationship, there are two sides to the dog and human bond and there are a few things we can do to continually strengthen the bonds we have with our dogs.

While it is sometimes easy to get caught up with our hectic work schedules and social lives, here are some simple ways to improve your bond with your dog.

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #1:  THE FIVE MINUTE SNUGGLE
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-1Mornings are sometimes the most chaotic part of the day. The whole family is up and groggy, people are trying to make breakfast and shower (not at the same time!), do their hair, pack the kiddos off to school and shovel the driveway before work.

Don’t let your dog get lost in the hustle and bustle — take time for a quiet five minute snuggle. Snuggle in bed, on the couch with coffee or even in the backyard after their morning outing. This serene ritual will soon become something your dog looks forward to, especially if they are left home alone during the 9-5 hours. Plus it will help to calm your morning craziness.

(TIP: Employ the five minute snuggle at the end of the day as well, when you walk through the door. Before you check the mail, change into comfy clothes, make a snack or throw the tv on, take five and snuggle with your dog. After all, they’ve been waiting all day for you!)

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #2: PLAY OUTSIDE WITH YOUR DOG
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-6While dogs are very content indoors with their toys, beds and blankets, almost all pooches get extremely excited by the prospect of going outside! But don’t let your dog have all the fun running around — join in! Not only will joining in on their great outdoor antics be a lot of fun for you, but it will further associate you as a highly joyful presence in their lives and further bond you together through a happy state.

(Suggested outdoor dog activities: fetch, chase, rough house, throwing snowballs, playing with the garden hose spray.)

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #3: COOK WITH YOUR DOG
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-5We all have to make something for dinner, but did you know this daily chore can be a great way to spend extra time with your pupster? As you slice and dice away, being the culinary genius that you are, have a few dog-friendly fresh goodies on hand, such as tomatoes, carrots or other dog-friendly human foods.

Between stirring and sauteing, ask your dog to do tricks in return for pieces of chopped green pepper, carrots etc. Suddenly cooking supper is an extra hour your dog can look forward to spending with you!

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #4:  ENROLL IN AN OBEDIENCE CLASS
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-3Obedience classes aren’t just for puppies! Dogs of all ages can enroll at various dog training schools, providing a wonderful and educational opportunity to spend more time together.

Training a puppy is a classic way to create a bond, so why not repeat it once in a while as your dog matures? A brush up on basic obedience skills is never a bad thing — or, if you’re feeling ambitious, progress to advanced obedience classes!

HOW TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG #5: CREATE YOUR OWN DOG GAMES
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bond-with-your-dog-2Every dog has a different personality and as you know their sweet disposition the best, take some time to create a dog-friendly game that they will love! Make your own DIY dog toys, invent a game for when tv commercials are on, combine training with play — in other words use your imagination to invent a new stimulating activity that your dog will go bananas for!

PAWSH PERK: Been extra busy lately? Here are 5 more ways to reconnect with your dog!

{Huge thanks to my incredible friend and talented artist Tonya Pet Photography for photographing this vibrant installment of the “Pet Wellness” column. Be sure to visit her fantastic website for all sorts of other fun pet shoots!}

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This article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills — the ideal solution if your dog doesn’t love dog parks.
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WIN A CUPCAKE PARTY KIT FOR NATIONAL CUPCAKE DAY!

National-Cupcake-Day-giveawayCanadians are invited to “bake a difference” through the second annual National Cupcake Day™ to benefit SPCAs and Humane Societies across Canada. Everyone is encouraged to register for free online NOW at http://www.nationalcupcakeday.ca, collect donations through their “Online Bakery”, bake cupcakes and host a National Cupcake Day™ party for their friends, family or colleagues on National Cupcake Day, taking place February 24th, 2014.

“It’s amazing the power a cupcake can hold,” says Alison Cross, Director, Marketing and Communications for Ontario SPCA, Provincial Office.

“The response to last year’s launch event was phenomenal and this year we encourage bakers and animal lovers across the country to get involved in National Cupcake Day™.

It’s a fun event that makes a life-saving difference in the lives of animals who desperately need our help, and it’s a sweet way to show your support.”

HOW DO I PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL CUPCAKE DAY?
1. Beginning January 6th, register for FREE at http://www.nationalcupcakeday.ca
2. You will receive a FREE Cupcake Host Welcome Package in the mail, which includes a poster, sticker, balloons, fundraising guide and recipes to get you started
3. Personalize your National Cupcake Day™ Online Bakery page and send it out to everyone you know
4. Encourage friends and family to support you by donating online
5. Plan your National Cupcake Day™ Party for home, work, school or wherever you think people would love to eat your cupcakes
6. Bake, decorate, eat and share delicious cupcakes to raise funds for Canada’s SPCAs and Humane Societies
7. Collect and forward funds to SPCAs and Humane Societies in your community (visit http://www.nationalcupcakeday.ca for a list of who’s participating)

WIN A CUPCAKE PARTY KIT!
To help kick off your own sweet National Cupcake Day, we’re giving away a cupcake party kit this week! This beauty has everything you could possibly need; cupcake decorations, cupcake skirts, spatulas, oven mitts, muffin tins, measuring cups and all sorts of other sweet treats so you can make the best cupcakes possible to raise money for our furry friends!

TO ENTER…
1.  Leave a comment on this blog post sharing your all-time favourite cupcake flavour!

A winner will be selected at random tomorrow afternoon! Good luck everyone and help spread the word about this wonderful initiative to raise funds for animals in need. After all, who doesn’t love a cupcake?