Category Archives: Crofton, MD

Abby’s Vet Visit: She Did Great!

Abby, “Mom, please let me sleep and stop taking pictures of me!”

Taking Abby to the vet is-I know a lot of pet parents will no believe me-wonderful. She is calm, friendly, curious, and cooperative. When she was younger, she was hyperactive so I had to take her for a long walk before her vet’s appointment, and although I no longer have to do that, I still walk her.

If you have a dog like Abby, going to the vet should be a walk in the park, but if you have one like Charlie, well, that is another post for another day. Enjoy your week and stay safe.

Is Your Anxiety Affecting Your Dog?

Remy, Abby, and Charlie, “Man! Are we lost again?”

Yes, your anxiety is affecting your dog. Before I start a session with a client and her dog, I make sure that the pet parent is relaxed and ready to work. Dogs are able to figure out when you are sad, stressed out, angry, etc. How do they do that? I believe they do it by looking at our body language, tone of voice, and smell.

A couple of months ago, I had to get a quote for some home repairs, and I just didn’t feel like doing that that particular day, but I’ve already made the appointment, and I did not want to waste this person’s time so I started to get ready, 30 minutes prior to the appointment, while Charlie and Abby slept. Now, once I started to get ready, both Abby and Charlie, woke up and started to pace, followed me around, and tried to make eye contact. I stopped for a minute and looked at both of them, and asked myself, “What is going on with these two?” I realized that I was stressed out, and that I was stressing out my dogs without realizing it. What did I do? I sat down, started touching their ears and neck, and after a couple of minutes Charlie, Abby and yours truly relaxed. And with that being said, yes, we do stress out our dogs, and if we pay attention to them, we’d be able to modify our behavior-human behavior that is-and learn to live a balanced life. Have a great week!

Treating Dog Anxiety

Abby, Charlie and Remy after a nice morning walk. If they were guard dogs, they would all be fired!

Anxiety in dogs is something that pet parents have a hard time dealing with or recognizing for that matter. These are some of the signs a dog will exhibit when anxious: pacing, drooling, barking, destroying things, nipping, etc. I always recommend for pet parents to have a vet do a physical exam to rule out any medical condition their dog may be experiencing, and once they get a clean bill of health we could start addressing the anxiety in their dogs.

Charlie, a GSD mix, had a lot of anxiety when we got him from the SPCA in Annapolis, MD. By the way, most dogs from shelters are very anxious, it’s rare to find one that is not. Our Charlie went from screaming murder at the top of his lungs any time: we left the room; we exited the car; we went to a new place, etc. How is he doing now? Way better and still working with him, but understand this, your dog’s anxiety will disappear with time if you are consistent with the following:

  1. Walk him! Yes, this gets a lot of that anxiety and pent up energy out of them
  2. Don’t talk too much to your dog. Use your body language, energy and intention instead
  3. Start working with a trainer on basic training and behavior modification
  4. When you are overwhelm, walk away, take a deep breath and work with your dog once you are on a relaxed state of mind. No, you cannot drink wine. Sorry!

The above is just a few of the things you could do to start dealing with your dog’s anxiety. Charlie is super smart, he is a GSD mix after all, but I am still working with him and I have seen amazing results. Don’t despair, be consistent and your dog will one day bring you joy rather than stress. Enjoy your week!

Managing A Multi-Dog Household

Abby, a Beagle/Bulldog mix, and Remy, a handsome Pit bull napping while I write this post.

A few pet parents have asked me how do I manage a multi-dog household and this is what I tell them:

  1. Exercise is the #1 ingredient and the most important of all. If your dog is tired, chances that he will have the energy to get in trouble highly decreases. He can run, walk, hike, etc.
  2. Each dog needs to have his own area for eating. If you use a crate, great!
  3. Never leave your dogs loose in the house while you are out running errands
  4. Manners! Dogs have manners so there will be no pushing, pawing, steeping over one another, etc.
  5. Do your best to spend a few minutes with each individual dog

I have Abby and Charlie as my dogs and demo dogs, but I also get my clients’ dogs that stay with us for short and extended times so I make sure that my pack gets along with each other. Now, aside from what I listed above, you, the pet parent, have to practice being a zen person. What is that? A zen person lives peacefully and has a sense of bliss. Yes, this may be the hardest part for most of us to do, but this is good for our dogs, and for us as well. Any questions? Stay safe.

Kibble Or Fresh Food?

Beef, rice, and veggies.

Are you just as confused as other pet parents when it comes to deciding what to feed your canine companion? Don’t feel bad, you are not alone. Alex, our first dog, ate mostly kibble til she got to be about 10 years old or so. Because I saw how much her mobility was declining, after doing some research I ended up mixing kibble and fresh food. Result: within days she was moving around without a problem. Seeing this made me, depending on the dog, mix fresh food and kibble and so this is what Abby and Charlie usually get:

  • Abby gets, depending on the level of activity planned for that day, about 1/2 cup of kibble and 2 cups of fresh food for the day. Once every blue moon, she gets a little bit of wet food. She weighs about 30lbs.
  • Charlie gets about 1 cup of kibble and 2 1/2 of fresh food for the day. He weighs about 70lbs.

When I fed them only kibble, Abby’s tush stunk and she did #2 often-more than twice a day-and her mouth smelled, while Charlie’s #2 was too soft and he licked his butt like crazy.

Through trial and error, I figured out what worked best for my dogs and that is a mix of fresh food and kibble. I’d suggest you do some research-books, nutritionist, other pet parents-and slowly see what works for your dog. Just like humans, what works for one person may not work for another. Feed what’s best for your canine companion and don’t forget to take her out for a walk. Stay safe.

Happy Birthday Abby!

Abby, “Yay, I could go and explore, right?”

Abby turns 7 years old today. Could you believe how time goes by so fast? We are so happy to have her in our lives and so this is what we’ve planned for her: Yummy brunch, she had some fried rice and eggs this morning; napping in front of the fireplace which she seems to enjoy very much; and dinner, later on, chicken, rice, veggies, and for dessert-wait for it- a small cake that she’ll have to share with Charlie.

I am usually really bad about birthdays. I end up posting and celebrating well after the actual birthday took place, so this year I decided to change things and do it the day of the birthday itself.

Is Abby going to get any presents? Yes, we’ll be going to do some shopping for her next week. As you could see I am far from perfect, so if you forget your doggie’s birthday don’t feel bad just make up for it later on. Happy birthday my beautiful Abby!

Spring Is Here!

Abby and Charlie, “It may be Spring already, but we still need our blankets and sweaters mom.”

Yes, Spring arrived in Maryland last month, but we’re still wearing sweaters and light jackets on certain days. By the way, we are starting to see some wonderful changes on Charlie which I’ll talk about on another post.

Well, enjoy your weekend. Weather permitting, we’ll probably BBQ, take some walks, naps, and just enjoy the weekend. Stay safe!

A Rainy Day In Annapolis, MD

Abby and Charlie napping on this rainy day.

Yes, it’s raining in Annapolis, MD and to be frank I truly don’t care for rainy days, but if you look at Abby and Charlie I’d say that they are taking advantage of this weather. Don’t you think so?

On the plus side, we did get to have a nice morning walk today so I guess I shouldn’t complain, but let’s get real, I am human and so I will complain regardless. Stay safe!

Happy Valentine’s Day 2022

Bella and Dexter, “Could we have some privacy please mom! Aren’t we adorable?”

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you pet parents and your canine kids! Although the day started cloudy with some flurries, as time went by it turned out to be sunny and nice enough to take a long walk. Aside from celebrating this day about love, we also celebrate it because Charlie, yesterday, has been with us for one year. Could you believe that? Time goes by so fast.

Enjoy this beautiful day with your family, give them extra hugs and kisses, and don’t forget to walk. Stay safe!

Confessions Of A Pet Parent And Dog Trainer

Marcela, “Don’t they look like angels? You’ll think different after reading this post.”

To say that Abby and Charlie were given lots of food, treats, naps, and freedom since November of last year would be an understatement. Let me start from the beginning. Once November came around, my body went into holiday mode so the kids, Abby and Charlie, for the most part did what they wanted. And after 3 months of that, we were about to pull our hair out, and so Cynthia and I decided that they needed to go back to having exercise, structure, a job, etc., in order to keep our sanity.

How are they doing? I’ll tell you in a future post. For now, what I’d like to convey is that whether you are a pet parent, or a pet parent and dog trainer, like me, we all-at one point or another-end up relaxing the rules we should have for our dogs, and as a result they drive us up the wall. Now, rather than feeling frustrated, angry, and discouraged-all these are negative feelings-we could instead look at how we remedy this situation and get to work. So with that in mind, let’s get to work. Stay safe!