Whether To Buy Pet Insurance or Not

I get many emails from new GSP owners asking whether or not they should buy petGypsy insurance. Pet insurance is a personal choice that should be made after researching the subject well.  There are many questions you should ask not only about the pet insurance but yourself as well.  Sometimes the difference between having pet insurance and not is whether or not you would be able to afford a surgery or emergency visit on your own.  This could mean whether your pup gets to continue living or not.  I personally have always purchased pet insurance with a new young pup.  It makes sense financially because the pet insurance covers wellness checks and vaccines.  We all know that puppies get many vaccines in the first couple of years.  The cost of vaccines and wellness visits definitely outweigh the premium cost for those couple of years.

I was very glad I had the pet insurance when Gypsy almost died at 5 months old.  I woke up at 5am to find her lifeless in her crate. She had been scratching herself raw and now was barely breathing.  My first thought was that she was having an allergic reaction to something.  I put her in the sink to wash off anything that she had gotten into.  She was absolutely limp in my arms.  I rushed her to the emergency vet where they ran her to the back and worked on her several hours.  They put her on an IV and put her on oxygen among running a bunch of test trying to figure out what caused this reaction.  An added bonus was that the x-ray of her stomach had a zipper on it.  Now this did not cause the allergic reaction but could tear her intestines if she passed it.  It needed to come out.  After spending the entire day in the ER and vomiting a zipper, Gypsy was alert and breathing normally.

They could not tell me Continue reading

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How Much Sleep Does Your Dog Need?

How Much Sleep Does Your Dog Need?

The average human adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep, but what about dogs? Sleep is as important for your canine companion as it is for you. Sleep performs many of the same functions for dogs as it does for people although the structure of a dog’s sleep is a little different.

Sleeping Their Way Through the Day

Dogs actually need more sleep than people. Puppies, like babies, can sleep up to 20 hours per day. Their rapid growth rate and high energy needs mean their bodies need a lot of rest. Adult dogs typically spend 12 to 14 hours asleep, though large breeds and dogs that lead a sedentary lifestyle may sleep 16 to 18 hours. And, of course, dogs in their senior years sleep more, rivaling puppies in the amount of time spent with their eyes closed.

Dogs go through the same five sleep stages as humans. They even dream. If you’ve eversister dogs noticed your dog whining, barking, Continue reading

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Happy Birthday Simba; My Promise

Today, Simba, my best friend turns 11. She has been by my side every second my life’s greatest and the worst moments since she entered it. Always loving me unconditionally. It doesn’t matter my mood, she is always there full of love and patience.  If all humans had a heart like hers, what a wonderful world this would be.  I don’t mind the dirty paw-prints on the floor and on me, hair everywhere, the wet kisses on my face, destruction of furniture, walls, and carpet, because they have been outweighed by all the good companionship, laughs and giggles she has brought me.  I want to take this opportunity to share the promise I made to this exceptional creature of nature.


I will never hurt you or let anyone else hurt you

I will never let you starve before I starve

I will never drop you off in a shelter and leave

I will never move and not take you with me

I will never leave you tied up outside because you’re family

I will never desert you when you are old

I will never lose patience when you’re trying to communicate through unwanted behavior

I will never stop loving you even when you get all gray and slow down.

I promise to hold you and love you as long as our lives allow.


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posted by TheDogTrainingSecret.com

This game will help train you pup to stop getting overly excited and jumping. A fun game you can use to teach your dog to control their impulse to jump on you and/or
guests coming into your home. This game will help teach your dog that it’s ok to be happy and excited when you or new people come into the house, but they’re to keep all four paws on the ground at all times. With this game, you will learn that you don’t have to tone down your excitement when you see your dog, and your dog will learn that they don’t need to jump on you to get your attention.

TOOLS: 4ft-6ft leash, a place to tie the dog, Space around the tie so the dog can move freely.

The goal of this game is to be able to walk up to your dog while they are contained and start to show them that its ok to be happy and excited when greeting your and/or new people, but they’re not allowed to jump up for any reason.

Don’t get so close that if your dog jumps they can touch you. If your dog is not excited at the moment you are training, get a toy and entice them to jump. Do not pat your chest or say “up, up” just used an excited voice and a squeak toy. If your dog is a jumper, it won’t be too hard to put him in the position where he normally jumps.  It may be a leash, a word, the door bell, etc.

  1.  Tie your dog to something that they cannot pull over and or move, like to a closet door, or a heavy table, maybe even put the leash under couch leg. Depending on the size of
    your dog pick something that weighs more than them.
  2. If your dog does not stop jumping after you have stepped back, you must wait calmly with no excitement and or emotion until they have all four feet on the ground for 2 seconds.
  3. If your dog comes to the end of the leash, quietly grab leash and walk them back enough that there is some slack, if you need to have them sit while you do this technique that is ok too.
  4. Take a step toward your dog, with a toy, while being excited and happy just as you would if you just got home from work. If your dog takes any of their four feet of the ground, take a step back from your dog, go completely silent and show no emotion. That is how you correct the behavior. It’s ok for them to be happy, they just can’t jump up. Once your dog has all four feet on the ground, take a step back toward your dog, acting happy and excited and shaking their toy again. Continue going back and forth until you can walk all the way up to your dog and shake the toy above their head without them jumping up.

The goal of this phase is to be able to walk up to your contained dog while being happy and
excited, but there should be some slack in the leash. In this phase, you’re going to start
teaching your dog how to control coming forward to jump on you.

Walk up to your dog while being happy and excited just as you would when you get home from work. Have a toy in your hand to get them excited and entice them to jump up.
Be sure that there is slack in the leash so they have a little bit freedom to move around.
Practice this repeatedly until you can walk up to your dog excited and happy with a toy and they don’t jump for 10 times in a row. If they can only do it correctly 3 times out of 10 attempts, give your dog a break and let them release some energy by playing fetch or taking them for a long walk. Once they are tired come back and try again.

When you walk toward your dog, if they jump take a step back, stop being excited and wait till they stop jumping. Once all four feet have been on the ground for 2 seconds you can try again.

In this next phase, you are going to have your dog completely off leash. Have them close by to wherever you had them tied just in case you need to tie them up again. Your dog will learn that they can be loose and still enjoy the fact that you’re home or that new people have arrived, yet they’re not allowed to jump up.

Walk toward your dog in an excited and happy manner, bring a toy, and put your dog in a situation where he would normally jump.  Practice when dog is tired and you have already been home for an hour or so. You want to set them up for success. And if you
do this right, when you get home your dog’s mind will not be in the right place for training.

If you approach and your dog jumps take a step back, stop being excited and drop the toy to your side. If they continue to jump simply just turn your back and count to 5. If the jumping has not stopped after you turned around, go back to to leashing the dog.

If dog stops jumping, go back to being excited and happy, try with different family members and do it repeatedly until you can approach your dog 10 times while being excited and your dog doesn’t jump even if you pet them. Continue this exercise every day until your dog can do it 10 times in a row, perfectly. If they can only do 3 out of 10 tries give your dog a break and take them for a long walk.

Go check out our Impulse Control Course for more information on jumping up and all the other
techniques you can use that will make coming home a lot more relaxing.

©2017 The Dog Training Secret // thedogtrainingsecret.com

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dana M. for allowing the re-print of their training.  They have many more tips and also include videos that make it easy to follow.  For more tips check out TheDogTrainingSecret.com.

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Easy Healthy Dog Treats

Easy Dog Treats

Easy Dog Treats

2 Cups of rolled oats or whole wheat flour

2 (4 oz) jars of puree baby food

Pre-heat oven 350′

Mix flour and baby food thoroughly

You can roll out to 1/4″ on a floured surface if you want cute shaped treats.  My two don’t have a preference.  If I’m going to give them out as gifts to dog loving friends, then I use cute cookie cutters.  Otherwise, I rolled out into a ball and press them down with the spatula.

Lay out on parchment paper

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until no longer soft.

I also use different flavors of puree baby food like chicken & rice, sweet potato & apple, etc.





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A Dog’s Separation Anxiety and Boredom Buster

A Dog’s Separation Anxiety and Boredom Buster

Simba and I have written many times about the separation anxiety that Simba suffers especially when she was younger and Gypsy’s boredom issues.  Simba has exhibited separation anxiety through numerous different symptoms.  These included IBS, hives, destruction, uncontrollable licking the air, etc.

These are just a few pictures of my life with my GSPs.  Now we all know that GSP’s need lots and lots of exercise or they become destructive but I assure you that these guys were getting their exercise.  The destruction on Simba’s part was due to separation anxiety and for Gypsy it was and still is at times due to boredom. I am so excited about having found an item that has pretty much eliminated the destruction by these two beauties.  It is the Interactive Treat Dispensing Pet Toy.  Before I came across this magical ball, Simba would follow me to the door whining and barking.  They would both try to squeeze of the door as I tried leaving for work in the morning.  I would come back after a long day at work to find some of the above sights.  Augh!  Now, right before I head to the door I fill their Interactive Treat Dispensers.  Gypsy waits sitting up tall in the living room and Simba whines next to me because she believes it’s taking me long.  They each get their own Interactive Treat Dispensing toy.  Sometimes, Simba’s ball ends up under furniture and she impatiently leads me to it by sitting their making little yelping sounds.  I’ll walk up to her and she squats down to show me where it is.  They look forward to this time so much.  It has made leaving so much easier for me.  Yesterday I was so surprised.  I gave them their Interactive Treat Dispenser, ran out and forgot my coffee.  I cringed since I had to go back in and worried it would throw them off.  Well, it was like they didn’t even notice I had ran back in, passing right next to them.  They didn’t stop rolling around and chasing the treat dispenser around the kitchen and family room.  I have tried other treat dispensers in the past, however, after the treats were gone they would move on to chewing up the dispensing toy to pieces.  This was has lasted two years now.  It has worked so well for me that I have decided to start selling it myself and spread the word.

Buy it HERE!


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Train Dog Not To Pull

Train Dog Not To Pull

You know those dogs that pull hard, all the time no matter what lead or technique is used to train her to slow down.  Meet my sister, Gypsy.  She has actually pulled my mum off her feet Gypsy pulls on a leadlanding down on the payment with a thump.  The lead goes flying out of mum’s hand and only then does Gypsy stop, turns around to look at why mum isn’t playing pull anymore.  Mum has tried all kinds of harnesses and even tried a choke chain really scared her but not Gypsy.  Mum found this video and tried following the trainer’s advice for training a dog not to pull on a lead.  She took us out for a walk.  Every time Gypsy would Continue reading

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Simba has always had a very sensitive stomach.  I have to read labels making sure that there is no corn products ( a common filler in most dog foods) or peanut butter.  She absolutely loves peanut butter but her tummy hates it and so do I when I have to clean it up.  Like her mom, she also loves treats.  Buying healthy treats that don’t have a bunch of fillers that sound like scientific alien ingredients can be quite expensive.  I found this recipe on http://www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.com/chicken-wild-rice-dog-biscuits/  and wanted to share it with other mom’s that need to watch what their pups eat.  Simba loves the Chicken & Wild Rice Treats!

Chicken & Wild Rice Dog Biscuits for recipe go to: http://www.carriesexperimentalkitchen.com/chicken-wild-rice-dog-biscuits/


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Blaming The Wrong Dog

Blaming The Wrong Dog

Mum has been finding destruction in the house Sister GSP dogs when she gets home from work.  However, she is blaming the wrong dog, me!  My sister, Gypsy, is real good at being sneaky.  Mum never sees her digging at the furniture.  She doesn’t do it in front of mum.

I, on the other hand, do enjoy fluffing up my dog bed and my pillow but I don’t really scratch at it.  The trick is to carefully hook my paws into it and with an awkward jump up pull it up at the same time. Mum shouts out “Simba stop it, just lay down” and then I do.   Gypsy, on the other hand, goes at it like the pooch is digging to China.  I don’t hide my need for a fluffy bed; why would I. But mum keeps blaming the wrong dog, me!

A week ago, mum got real mad. Gypsy tore open the new couch, oooooo.  Mum pointed to the Continue reading

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Training Not To Pull

trusting paws

by Naomi Heck, M.Ed., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Although the reason for pulling and what rules you must teach is the same for all dogs, some dogs are more of a challenge. My own GSP was one of those “super crazy pullers”. The thing to keep in mind is that law of learning applies to all dogs: Dogs Do What Works. In other words, whatever behavior the dog does that results in getting what he wants, even just a tiny bit of it, will be repeated. The more value the dog sees in the desired outcome, the stronger the behavior, even over-riding any equipment that might cause discomfort.

So for training not to pull, the answer is two-fold. First, use equipment that will mechanically and humanely reduce the force of pulling. I prefer something that controls the head like the Halti for strong pullers. Actually a few years ago I switched over to a Newtrix head halter for my dog because he seemed to be more comfortable in it. The mechanics of how it works is different from the Halti. You can find an explanation here: http://www.newtrix.ca/index.cfm?page=ourProducts It’s a little confusing at first learning how to put it on, but once you practice and follow the directions carefully, it’s not hard.

The second and more important point is to recognize how you are inadvertently reinforcing your dog for pulling. If you take even a single step forward while your dog pulls, he learns that pulling works. Going forward to explore the environment is the most powerful reinforcer there is. It was sure more powerful to my GSP than grilled steak when we were outside.

In training not to pull, the key is to teach your dog that the fastest and ONLY way to move forward is to turn toward you to make the leash loosen so that he feels absolutely no tension whatsoever on his collar, halter or harness. Then and only then will you allow him to continue forward. As soon as the leash tightens again stop and plant your feet so he is unable to take another step forward. This rule has to be black and white, not fuzzy where sometimes pulling works and sometimes it doesn’t. You will have to suspend your walks to really entrench this new rule into your dog’s brain. (Think about how hard it can be for us humans to break a bad habit.)

I used a clicker to mark (click) the precise moment my dog turned toward me to loosen the leash. Then I said “Let’s Go” and took a few fast steps forward until the leash tightened again. (Be very careful if using a Halti or Gentle Leader that can turn the dog’s head. Don’t let the head whip around if the dog suddenly hits the end of the leash. Use a short leash and soften the impact to prevent injury to the neck. It’s another reason why I like the Newtrix design better.) I like using a clicker because it is a much clearer form of communication. It means only one thing and the click sound is like nothing else. Black and white! This training takes a lot of discipline on the part of the human because the slightest inconsistency will impede progress. If pulling works occasionally, the dog becomes a gambler because the payoff is huge!

I highly recommend having someone take a video of you walking your dog so you can observe how you might be reinforcing pulling. Even extending your arm slightly after you stop walking so your dog can stretch his neck forward an inch can be enough to keep the pulling habit strong.

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