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Dog Days of Summer FUN and Tips for Your Keeshond or Other Cold-Weather Breeds

1 Aug Clancy keeping cool by being wet, laying in a ventilated beach tent with a portable fan.
Clancy is looking forward to cooling off in the lake.

Clancy is looking forward to cooling off in the lake.

Okay, it’s hot for us 98 degree F blooded humans this time of year…  now imagine being a 101 degree F blooded canine and having a fur coat…  and if you’re a Keeshond, having a double fur coat on!

For many dogs, including the Kees, it’s not a favorite time of year (nor mine…  I much prefer the cold over the heat.)  Clancy hardly even wants to go outside to do his business…  Funny how many times he barks to go out when it’s below 60 degrees outside and how little he seems to need to relieve himself when it’s above 85 degrees out.

A dog shouldn’t be cooped up inside all summer long though…  (and they certainly shouldn’t live their lives outdoors either!)  There are some things you can do to make life more enjoyable for your furry friend during these dog days of summer and have a little fun together.

Clancy is always first in the water.

Clancy is always first in the water.

Clancy entices a Keesie friend to jump in to cool off, too!

Clancy entices a Keesie friend to jump in to cool off, too!

  • Fill a baby pool up in the backyard and go splashing around with your pup.  C’mon, make-believe that you’re 5 years old again and sit in the center of the pool…  pat the water and encourage your dog to hop in.  If they’re hesitant or don’t seem to like water, start off with an empty pool and let them get used to it.  Make it a game to hop in and out of the empty pool.  Eventually add just a little bit of water and gradually work your way to a full pool.  Make up fun games such as bobbing for hot dog pieces.  Be sure to empty it when you’re through and not leave a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • Don’t have a baby pool?  How about just laying out a tarp and have a running hose on it for your dog to roll around or a soaked towel just to stand on?  Dogs sweat through the pads of their feet so it feels good for them to stand in/on something cool.  I know Clancy is hot when he digs in the water dish splashing water all around…  then he just stands in it.

    Clancy in a dock diving competition.

    Clancy in a dock diving competition.

  • Our fun summer dog sport is dock diving (many of you know this already)!  As I mentioned in a previous post on dock diving (I hope to add a second post about the topic in the near future), practically ANY dog can learn how to participate.
    Clancy loves jumping off docks for fun!  Try it yourself at the amazing 24 acre Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion, Michigan, which offers a large dock with ramps into a lake for the dogs.

    Clancy loves jumping off docks for fun! Try it yourself at the amazing 24 acre Orion Oaks Dog Park in Lake Orion, Michigan, which offers a large dock with ramps into a lake for the dogs.

    There’s even a new offering of various water sports games for your dog.

    One of Clancy's first swims at 9 weeks old

    One of Clancy’s first swims at 9 weeks old

    Many dock diving facilities offer lessons and it’s a great way to have summer fun with your dog.

    6 month old Clancy retrieving a stick

    6 month old Clancy retrieving a stick

    If there is a dock diving competition happening near you, they usually allow you to give it a try during their practice hours.  Usually mornings and Sundays have less competitors trying to practice, so you may end up getting extra pool time. Of course all you really need is a body of water and a dock.

  • Look for fun dog water activities in your area or just enjoy a game of fetch at a dog friendly pool or the beach.
    Clancy cooling off with other dogs at a pet fundraiser.

    Clancy cooling off with other dogs at a pet fundraiser.

    There are often fun dog events and fundraisers that non-profit organizations or clubs put on throughout the summer.  For example, Clancy looks forward to the SPCA Puppy Plunge each August, a fun and wet dog fundraiser event at a local YMCA summer camp on the river.   Below is a video of Clancy enjoying the event last year where we helped to raise over $200 in pledges for that local SPCA. 

Search online for events in your area or check with your local humane society. 675 There are also often “end of summer dog pool days” or “dog waterpark days”

Doggie pool party!

Doggie pool party!

at many local community pools and waterparks on their final days before closing for the season.

Clancy enjoying the dog days of summer in style.

Clancy enjoying the dog days of summer in style.

Be sure to rinse out the chlorine or river water off of your dog when you’re finished.

Little puppy Clancy keeping cool at his first hockey game.

Little puppy Clancy keeping cool at his first hockey game.

  • Take your dog to a summer ice hockey game at the local ice rink (if allowed.)  Often there are recreational late night games and many ice rinks don’t mind you bringing your well-behaved dog in with you to watch the game.  Dogs will likely enjoy climbing the mountains of snow the Zamboni dumps behind the building, too.
    Young Clancy trying to be like his goalie

    Young Clancy trying to be like his goalie “dad”.

    Clancy became the “unofficial mascot” for my husband’s hockey team since he never missed a chance tagging along to the cool confines of the ice rink.

  • Take field trips to air conditioned places…  dogs love to go anywhere with you, so just load them up and take them to a pet supplies store or a family member’s home just because…
  • Physically and mentally exercise your dog inside in the air conditioning.  Teach your dog a new trick or build on manners and obedience skills by requiring them to wait longer to be released, etc.  Use interactive toys, a treat dispensing toy, puzzle toys, drag toys on a rope or use a laser to get them moving.  Buy a dog treadmill.  You can sometimes find a deal on Craigslist.  Clancy walks on his treadmill indoors in the AC and with a fan blowing on him.  He definitely prefers this over taking walks in the 90+ degree summer heat.  Watch the video below of Clancy and his treadmill tips.

Some Summer Common-sense:

I likely don’t have to tell you these known facts because you probably already know, but just in case: IMG_3800_1

  • Be sure to bring plenty of cool water for your dog when you are spending time outside in hot weather and offer it to your dog often.
  • Be aware of the pavement temperatures…  if it is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot on your dog’s feet, too! dogs-hot-asphalt-chart Walk them early in the morning, choose the shady side of the street, walk them in the grass, carry them over hot asphalt if possible or have them wear doggie booties if they will be walking on hot pavement.
  • NEVER leave your dog in a car, even with the windows open.  Try sitting in a car on a summer day with the windows just cracked and see how long you last before you can’t take it anymore…  it’s literally just seconds. IMG_5114
  • Provide shade with a canopy, umbrella, or something that your dog can use to get out of the sun when you’re at a picnic or other event.  Dogs can get sunburnt too, not to mention how much hotter it is to be in the sun versus the shade.
  • Bring a couple of powerful battery operated fans to blow on your dog.

    Clancy keeping cool by being wet, laying in a ventilated beach tent with a portable fan.

    Clancy keeping cool by being wet, laying in a ventilated beach tent with a portable fan and his water.

  • You may want to try cooling mats/beds and or cooling jackets.  I personally haven’t had success with these on my Keeshond, but they may be good for other dogs.
  • Know the signs of heat stress.

    Clancy, like all Kees, have a beautiful double coat.  When it's hot, should you shave a Keeshond?  No. No. No.  Use the tips in this blog post to make your dog comfortable.

    Clancy, like all Kees, have a beautiful double coat. When it’s hot, should you shave a Keeshond? No. No. No. Use the tips in this blog post to make your dog comfortable.

  • Keep your dog properly groomed, especially if it is a double-coated breed, such as the Keeshond.  Line-brushing your Kees to ensure the fur is combed through all the way to the skin will allow air to circulate keeping your Kees comfortable.  Please see my comments below about shaving Keeshonden.

Finally, I know this may be a controversial subject for some, but as much as you think you are doing a favor by shaving them, please do not shave your double-coated breed, particularly the Keeshond.

During the summer, the 2nd most common question I’m asked when I’m out with Clancy (first most common is always “What kind of dog IS that?!”) is “aren’t you going to shave him?”  Well, I’m sure the inquirer is expecting a yes or no answer, most likely a yes answer.  However, I feel I have to accompany an explanation with my answer of “no”.

Clancy prefers the air conditioning vent over his bed during the summer...  the cat is happy about that!

Clancy prefers the air conditioning vent over his bed during the summer… the cat is happy about that!

I explain how the double coat insulates him from the cold AND the heat, how fair their skin is and how easily they would get sun-burnt and their coat would not grow back the same way it’s meant to be.   Just brush your Kees a little more regularly during the hot months to encourage air flow and your Kees will be fine, especially with the tips I listed above.

This has always been Clancy's favorite way to cool down.  What's your dog's fave way to beat the heat?

This has always been Clancy’s favorite way to cool down. What’s your dog’s fave way to beat the heat?

Please feel free to share your own suggestions on having fun with your dog when it’s hot and enjoy the rest of summer with your pup!

“Be your dog’s best friend!” ~ SSB

Today is Bring Your Dog to Work Day! Friday, June 26, 2015!

26 Jun

Clancy helping me at work

In honor of today being “Bring Your Dog To Work Day”, I am reposting my blog from last year on the topic.  Though my office building will no longer allow dogs to come in (my company does, but the big office building we’re in doesn’t), I did get to “bring my dog to work” yesterday during my dog walking appointment for my pet services business.  I do have a picture of my dog with me though and I encourage all dog owners to remember to ask next year if they could participate in National Bring Your Dog to Work Day!  If not, at least bring a picture of your furbaby to work to show off.  Just looking at a picture and talking about your dog offers many therapeutic results.  Enjoy!

Bring Your Dog to Work Day! Friday, June 20th.

Dog Trick of the Day – Clancy Wants To Go For a Walk (and remember others can’t)

10 Jun Clancy leash

We’re only a few days away from the Keeshond Karnival and Symposium at the Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, New Jersey and today’s Dog Trick video of the Day is Clancy doing a useful trick in order to just go out and do a common dog thing.   Please watch his video below.

Thought of the day:  Please remember how the Keeshonden and other dogs stuck in puppy mills like Marjorie’s Kennel in Harpursville, New York never have the chance to take a walk (as well as never getting the chance of being petted and loved, not getting vet care, proper nutrition, etc. etc.).  Learn how you can help #FreeTheKees at www.KeesRescue.com Do NOT support puppy mills…  ALWAYS find out where your puppy/dog is coming from and make sure their parents are being well cared for (and health tested, conform to breed standards, etc.) or rescue.  Here is good advice to help you make sure you are not inadvertently supporting a puppy mill (which is likely the case if you buy from a pet store or the Internet) –  Finding a Good Dog Breeder

P.S.  Sorry that the video isn’t the best quality, I’m still suffering technical difficulties and am resorting to using my cell phone to record new videos.

Clancy leash

Clancy does do normal dog activities like going for a walk too! He just gets his own leash and harness for you!

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow! (with caution)

31 Jan
Many dogs love the snow, the Keeshond adores it!

Many dogs love the snow, the Keeshond adores it!  Clancy looks up as if to say, “C’mon out!  The snow is great!”

While most dogs would want to be indoors (and should be!) cuddling with their human friends in front of the fireplace during the extreme cold spells and snow that have been blanketing much of North America this winter season, there are a few breeds that would actually want to spend more time outdoors.  As you may guess from their fur coat, the Keeshond would be one of them!

Clancy enjoys the companionship of the snow  when he can.

Clancy enjoys the companionship of the snow when he can.

The Keeshond is known as a “Velcro Dog”, always wanting to be by your side.  It doesn’t matter how deep asleep my Kees, Clancy, is or how quietly I try to exit a room…  he pops right up and trots to my side to escort me WHEREEVER I go, and he will plop right back down at my feet when we reach our new destination.  I have found that the only thing that can detach us is snow.  That freezing fluffy white stuff trumps me!

Clancy wishing that the weather was like this everyday.

Clancy wishing that the weather was like this everyday.

As much fun as a Kees may have in the snow, there are some precautions that all dog owners should take to ensure that it remains all fun and games in the snow.

As we struggle to keep our footing in the slippery conditions that winter brings, keep in mind that salts, de-icers and other chemicals are dangerous for your pets. Try to use kitty litter or sand for traction instead. If you must use a chemical, supervise your pet in those areas to make sure they don’t drink from puddles and remove the slush and dissolved product as soon as possible. Wash paws after exposure.  Being a fuzz-butt mom, I keep baby wipes at the door at all times anyway.

Clancy loves to bury his face in the snow.

Clancy loves to bury his face in the snow.

 Staying warm uses up more energy. Pets that spend a lot of time outside need more food, especially protein. Ask your vet if you should vary your pet’s diet for the winter if your dog spends a lot of time outside in the cold.  Dehydration is often a forgotten danger of the bitter cold, for water sources freeze outside. Also avoid using metal bowls this time of year (if you don’t know already from watching “A Christmas Story”, yes, tongues will stick to metal in below freezing temperatures.) 

My snow angel, Clancy.

My snow angel, Clancy.

Check paws to pull out any snowballs that have gathered in between pads which are not only uncomfortable, but also could lead to frostbite!   Snowballs accrue quickly around the furry pads of the Keeshond’s feet.

Be aware that frigid weather lessens the sense of smell, causing more cases of lost dogs than any other time of the year.  Keep your pet leashed or fenced in as they frolic in the snow with an ID tag.

Young Clancy with his best feline friend, "Mr. D".

Young Clancy with his best feline friend, “Mr. D”.

One of the reasons I chose to get a Keeshond was for their love of all living things, especially because they are known to get along well with cats.

So Clancy would appreciate if I gave a public service announcement on behalf of his feline friends.  To protect your vehicle’s engine and to save an animal’s life, remember to knock on the hood of your car or honk your horn before starting your car. Engines can stay warm for hours after being shut off, offering an enticing warm shelter for cats. Before using the remote start feature, give a quick press of the “panic” button on your car key first to scare away any unsuspecting sleeping felines. Clancy sitting in snow 2014

Another vehicle-related danger of winter is exposure to anti-freeze. Ingesting as little as a teaspoon of the harmful chemical of ethylene glycol can kill. It’s sweet taste unfortunately attracts pets, so be sure to promptly clean up any spills and keep it out of pet’s reach.

Clancy ready to play hockey!

Clancy ready to play hockey!

Okay, so now that we’re more aware of things that could harm our beloved pets, let’s discuss fun things you can do in the snow with your dog! 

Many dogs enjoy “snowball toss”…  Clancy will jump up in the air to catch and eat snowballs tossed his way.  He also enjoys snow drift bouncing…  where I encourage him to hop up on snow drifts and hills as I run alongside him.  Clancy enthusiastically bounces from mound to mound, and if it’s soft and powdery, he will burrow into the snow drifts.

Clancy loves snow mounds!

Clancy loves snow mounds!

Another fun game is having him wait where he is, then walking a good distance away, kneel down, stick your hand in the snow and wave it back and forth just under the surface making the snow ripple.  I then tell Clancy to “come and get it get it get it!” and he runs as fast as he can to come and pounce on my hand under the snow.  It’s great exercise for the dog and also gives you a chance to reinforce the “come” command.  Another fun game is to toss a smelly treat into the snow or bury a favorite toy and telling your dog to “find it!”  Clancy enjoys running along the snow with his nose to the ground.  Sometimes he does need hints, but the excitement when he finds the item has to make you smile.

Clancy playing goalie

Clancy playing goalie

If you have a safe opportunity to do so, playing hockey with a soft item with your dog is fun and exercise for all.  Chasing the “puck” or letting your dog play “goalie” or just carefully stick handling with a puck around your dogs legs are some fun ways to interact with your pup in the cold.  Run around in cleats if you’re not experienced wearing ice skates so you don’t risk hurting your dog with the sharp blades of skates!  Also, limit your time on ice with your pup to give his/her paws a break.  If the ice is choppy or has lots of cuts in it from ice skates, be aware that it is sharp and could cut the pads of your pup’s feet, so use caution or buy booties for your pup.IMG_7360

We’d love to hear what your dog thinks of the snow and any outdoor snow games that you enjoy together!

Please share in the comments!

They are your best friend…  Be your dog’s best friend! ~ SSB

IMG_7418

Tips on Dealing With The Morning Rush

9 Dec

Remember… though the dog is IN your life, you ARE the dog’s life.
Everyday a dog needs to be fed, given fresh water, exercise, companionship, playtime, and mental stimulation. Some days you’ll have less time to devote those things to your dog, but they still must be done in fairness to your fur-pal. Here are some tips for those days:

Be your dog’s best friend. ~ SSB

AKC Dog Lovers

Mornings are a chaotic time in any household, and one family member that can get lost in the shuffle is Fido.  Your dog still needs attention, even though you are in a rush to get out of the house.  The American Kennel Club offers the following tips to help you prepare the night before to make sure your dog gets what he needs and you get to work on time.

  • Put your dog’s breakfast in his dish and cover it.  Don’t forget to put it on the counter out of his reach!  If his food is canned or perishable, make sure to refrigerate it.
  • Prepare for your morning walk in advance by leaving the leash and pickup bags by the door.  You can also leave extra bags by the door for your evening walk to save time when you get home.
  • Check the weather forecast each evening and get together…

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Keep it a Happy Thanksgiving with these pet safety tips

28 Nov

Keep it a Happy Thanksgiving with these pet safety tips

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

While much of America is enjoying their feast with the family and fur-family, Clancy and I hope you keep these tips in mind to make sure the rest of your day and evening stays happy!  (This is from an article I wrote earlier this month. 🙂  )

Make Your Dog an Ambassador for all of Dog-Kind!

29 May Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate.  Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind!  Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience.  If at first you don't succeed, try...  try again!

Clancy enjoying an outing at a family gathering and hanging out with a friend's dog. A well-behaved dog is often welcomed into friends and family's homes.

Clancy enjoying an outing at a family gathering and hanging out with a friend’s dog. A well behaved dog is often welcomed into friends and family’s homes.

Dogs are man’s best friend. So are you being your dog’s best friend? Best friends do everything together. Do you and your furry bff go to parks together, go to stores together, go to friends houses together, do activities together such as going for a swim, participating in dog sports such as agility, tracking, obedience or the like? While you have work, family, TV, and other entertainment to occupy your time, you have to remember that all that your dog has… is you! So, you don’t think your dog is capable of joining you in activities outside of your home? It’s true that in order to go out and about with your dog, your dog must know how to behave in public (and wouldn’t it be nice if they knew how to behave at home, too?) With some time and patience, any dog can learn to behave.

Clancy (about 5 months here) enjoys going to watch hockey games! Since he's well-behaved, I can get away with bringing him to places that most dogs would not be welcomed at.

Clancy (about 5 months here) enjoys going to watch hockey games! Since he’s well-behaved, I can get away with bringing him to places that most dogs would not be welcomed at.

Dogs are always learning… it’s up to you if they learn good habits or bad habits by your level of enforcement. Dogs learn mainly by repetition. They pick up on routines rather quickly (you know they know when it’s dinner time!) By introducing and enforcing some basic rules, your dog can become an ambassador for dog-kind. If every dog was well cared for, sat politely to be petted and posed no threat of danger to people, there would be a lot less fear of dogs and less red-tape in public places. So how do you get your dog to that point?

Clancy earning his Basic Obedience graduation certificate at just 4 months old. Especially for puppies, you have to use positive training techniques and make learning fun! While it's best to start training your dog while they're young, every dog benefits from training, no matter the age!

Clancy earning his Basic Obedience graduation certificate at just 4 months old. Especially for puppies, you have to use positive training techniques and make learning fun! While it’s best to start training your dog while they’re young, every dog benefits from training, no matter the age!

There are so many options when it comes to training your dog these days. There are a variety of dog training classes out there you could sign up for, or have a dog trainer come to your house for private lessons, or there’s a large variety of dog training books and free advice on the Internet. In order to pick the appropriate type of training for you and your pup, you should be aware of the learning traits of your specific breed of dog (it’s as easy as doing an Internet search!) The most important aspect of teaching your dog, is consistency! For example, if you tell a dog to stay and it moves before you release it, you must place your dog back in the original position and tell them to stay again. No matter how many times it takes! You will need to start off with very short sessions (always give them a chance to succeed at a smaller goal before trying a bigger goal) and work your way up to longer sessions over time. If you ask your dog to come and it doesn’t, then you have to go get your dog and make it come. If you are not 100% consistent, then your dog will not be either. This goes for all that interact with your dog.

Clancy and I in our first Rally Obedience trial. You must start with basic training as a foundation to start to train for other dog sports. Participating in dog sports creates a stronger bond with your furry best friend and is a lot of fun!

Clancy and I in our first Rally Obedience trial. You must start with basic training as a foundation to start to train for other dog sports. Participating in dog sports creates a stronger bond with your furry best friend and is a lot of fun!

Before signing up for a dog training class, ask if you could observe a class to see if it would be right for you. Some trainers are all about positive teaching (my personal favorite) where you quickly reward for the correct behavior with a quick word of praise or a click (see clicker training: http://www.clickertrain.com/whatis.html) along with a taste of an irresistible treat. Incorrect behaviors are corrected with a distinct sound such as “aaap!” and an immediate repeat of the exercise until they get it right to deserve their reward. Dogs like to be rewarded! They want to please you and will eventually learn to do what you want with this type of training. It may take longer for some breeds to get it. See on average how quickly your dog learns here (from Stanley Cohen’s “The Intelligence of Dogs”): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs

Other dog trainers rely on combinations of techniques that may include corrections with a quick jerk on a choke collar to regain the dog’s focus. The collar used in training or “working your dog” at a dog sport can make a big difference in the dog’s behavior. Some very stubborn out-of-control dogs may only initially respond to a prong collar or the even harsher electric shock collar (this should only be used as a last resort when other training methods have been unsuccessful, please consult a dog trainer before using.)

Clancy doing his "stick 'em up" trick, one of Clancy's many tricks under his Advanced Trick Dog Title. Keeshonden love to learn and perform tricks! All dogs love to learn new things and with even just 10 minutes of daily training sessions, it won't be long before your dog can show off what it knows!

Clancy doing his “stick ’em up” trick, one of Clancy’s many tricks under his Advanced Trick Dog Title. Keeshonden love to learn and perform tricks! All dogs love to learn new things and with even just 10 minutes of daily training sessions, it won’t be long before your dog can show off what it knows!

The keeshond is an emotional dog that does not respond well to harsh corrections, punishments or raised voices. They are smart dogs that enjoy being trained (as long as you keep it fun!) Clancy enjoys doing “Tricks for Treats” everyday and also understands when I get his leather buckle collar out to put on him, it’s time to “work”. I only place it on him when we are doing training or doing an obedience trial. (Other times when we are out and about for fun, he wears his harness.) When I place his show lead on him, he knows that it means it’s time to be a “show dog” and his behavior changes appropriately.

Though Clancy and I will likely never be classified as "athletes", we do enjoy having fun participating in all kinds of dog sports! Here Clancy and I are doing lure coursing. As long as you and your dog have a good bond and basic training, you two can learn to participate in all kinds of dog sports and activities together!

Though Clancy and I will likely never be classified as “athletes”, we do enjoy having fun participating in all kinds of dog sports! Here Clancy and I are doing lure coursing. As long as you and your dog have a good bond and basic training, you two can learn to participate in all kinds of dog sports and activities together!

After some basic manners training, you will be able to bring your dog out and about and start exploring the large variety of dog sports available in your area (you and your dog do not need to be an athlete, it’s just an opportunity to have fun with your dog!) The American Kennel Club offers a “Canine Good Citizen” test that every dog owner should strive to complete with their dog. Here are the test items: http://classic.akc.org/events/cgc/training_testing.cfm Many dog trainers offer prep classes and then give you the opportunity to take the test at during the last training class. If your dog can complete all ten items on the test, they are indeed an ambassador of dog-kind and you should be proud to bring your dog out in public! If every dog was a “Canine Good Citizen”, then there would be less fear of dogs and we would have more opportunities to have man’s best friend with us everywhere we go, making us a better friend to our canine companion.
Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate. Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind! Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience. If at first you don't succeed, try... try again!

Clancy proudly sits next to his AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate and course graduation certificate. Every dog and owner should aspire to achieve this to be a confident ambassador of dog-kind! Training to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (any dog, mixed or pure-bred can achieve this) takes a lot of practice and patience. If at first you don’t succeed, try… try again!

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Get a Caricature of your Dog! Great Gift Idea ALERT!

29 Apr Clancy's Caricature

During a recent humane society fundraiser event, I got this caricature done of Clancy! They had hired a professional caricature artist and it was well worth the $30 donation to the local humane society to have this adorable piece of art forever in my life.

Clancy was a superb model, sitting still for the 15 minutes it took for the artist to create it. I had no idea what he was drawing, for I was sitting in front of the easel with Clancy… I just mentioned a little about the history of the keeshond breed and how Clancy enjoys “dock diving”.

Get a Caricature of your Dog!

He captured the keesie smile quite well along with his mischieveous “sideways glance” that he often gives.

With the convenience of the Internet, you can easily do a search for a caricature artist in your area to have a portrait of your dog to cherish forever!

There’s lots of events going on with Spring in full swing! Clancy and I’s weekends are full of activities for the foreseeable future and we hope that you are on the lookout for fun outings to enjoy with your dog!

We’ll be back soon!

Let Your Dog Enjoy the World!

3 Apr Dogs can enjoy going with you to parties, too!  If you're planning on attending an outdoor event at a friend's house, just ask to see if it's okay if you bring your dog...  you may be pleasantly surprised!

There are so many things to do with your dog happening every week around town!  Here Clancy is enjoying "Playtime" at a local pet store.

There are so many things to do with your dog happening every week around town! Here Clancy is enjoying “Playtime” at a local pet store.


Clancy and friends having a great time at "Playtime" which is held weekly at a local pet store.

Clancy and friends having a great time at “Playtime” which is held weekly at a local pet store.


Depending on where you live, there are many opportunities to go out and about with your dog! You and your dog may enjoy a visit to a pet-friendly store, or could participate in a pet-related fundraiser, or go to one of the various functions designed for an outing with your pup such as a Pet Expo or “Yappy Hour” at a dog-friendly cafè. Or you could just go to a sporting event or ask your family or friends if it’s okay to bring your pooch over with you. One way or another, just let your dog enjoy the world outside of your home.

Dogs can enjoy going with you to parties, too!  If you're planning on attending an outdoor event at a friend's house, just ask to see if it's okay if you bring your dog...  you may be pleasantly surprised!

Dogs can enjoy going with you to parties, too! If you’re planning on attending an outdoor event at a friend’s house, just ask to see if it’s okay if you bring your dog… you may be pleasantly surprised!


Most weekends beginning in the Spring offer some kind of event that you can bring your dog to. Next week I should have more time to share Clancy and I’s experiences and offer some more insight on how to enjoy outings with your furry best friend.
Clancy loves the water, loves other dogs and loves people.  He couldn't be happier that I took him to the SPCA's "Puppy Plunge" fundraiser!

Clancy loves the water, loves other dogs and loves people. He couldn’t be happier that I took him to the SPCA’s “Puppy Plunge” fundraiser!


In the meantime, to find an event to enjoy with your dog, try visiting http://www.bringfido.com/event/ or just doing a web search for your city’s dog events. Visit your local humane society’s website or your local pet store and ask them if they know of anything fun to bring your dog to. Clancy and I will be going to one this weekend and will share our experience next time!

Dogs showing off in a costume contest at a local dog rescue fundraiser.

Dogs showing off in a costume contest at a local dog rescue fundraiser.

Lots of dog lovers watch a disc dog demo at an SPCA fundraiser event.

Lots of dog lovers watch a disc dog demo at an SPCA fundraiser event.

Take Me Out… to the Dog Park! A Guide for all to have a ball at the Dog Park.

4 Mar Spending time outside with your dog is good for both of you!  Most dog parks are open rain or shine.

Everyone knows that a tired dog is a good dog, and nothing tires a dog out more than another dog! All the romping, wrestling, playing tag, playing keep away and the good ol’ just run with the pack in an open field is sure to give you a peaceful evening, if you take about an hour out of your day to stop by the dog park. Now the dog park isn’t a place for every dog. Your dog must tolerate other dog’s presence at the very least, but you both would get much more out of the experience if they enjoyed being in the company of other dogs. Your dog must also be sociable with people and tolerate children… for you will often find kids running up to pet your dog or trying to initiate play with them.

Clancy enjoying canine companionship at the dog park.

Clancy enjoying canine companionship at the dog park.



Most dog parks are divided into a “Large Dog” park and a “Small Dog” park. If you are nervous that your Maltese may get stepped on by a Mastiff, you have your own dedicated fenced in area separate from the big dogs. However, if your lap pup plays like a big dog, feel free to join in the fun on the big dog side! Before entering, it’s always a good idea to ask the larger dogs’ owners if it’s okay for you to bring your small dog into the large dog side, because some big dogs may not play well with small dogs.
The keeshond plays with the big dogs, so Clancy can only look on and bark "hi" to his smaller cousins.

The keeshond plays with the big dogs, so Clancy can only look on and bark “hi” to his smaller cousins.



Not only is the dog park a great place for your dog to socialize, but for you, as well! You are in a place where you have at least one thing in common with everyone around you… you all love your dogs and most people love to talk about them. Before you know it, you and your dog will make new friends. It often begins with knowing the dog’s name and referring to their owner as “Rocky’s Dad” or “Diesel’s Mom”. You can learn about all kinds of walks of life or there’s plenty of space to keep to yourself if that’s what you prefer.
Dog parks offer fun socialization for both dogs and humans!

Dog parks offer fun socialization for both dogs and humans!



While a dog park is a great place for your dog to socialize and play with other dogs, it’s also a great place for you to bond with your dog and practice training. The large open space is a great place to legally have your dog off leash to play fetch or take a walk together without the tether. It can also be a test for your dog to obey your commands with the distractions of other people, dogs and oh, all the smells! For those that are ready to practice more advanced training (it’s highly recommended that your dog has mastered his commands in a controlled environment first), just be sure you are in a position to enforce your dog listening to you. Also keep the training sessions short, for you don’t want to set up your dog to fail and this should be a place for your dog to look forward to for fun!
Dogs are natural pack animals and most enjoy the company of other dogs.

“Follow the leader!” Dogs are natural pack animals and most enjoy the company of other dogs.

Before heading to the dog park, please know your specific dog park rules and ALSO be aware of these lesser known guidelines for an enjoyable time:

The double-gated entrance to the dog park

The double-gated entrance to the dog park

This Afghan Hound feels a little nervous being on his leash at the dog park.

This Afghan Hound feels a little nervous being on his leash at the dog park.



* Unleash your dog before entering the park – Dog parks have a double gated entrance, not only as a safety measure, but also to allow you to remove the leash in the enclosed area before opening the second gate to the dog park. This will allow your dog to escape from the crowd that usually is at the gate to greet the new dog. Your dog behaves differently on a leash versus off the leash. Dogs may feel trapped being on the leash while other dogs are free around it, which could cause defensive aggression.

*Do not coddle your dog if it’s scared – If you do, you are just reinforcing it’s scared behavior. Be confident, but do not force him into uncomfortable situations. Dogs with their tail between their legs, have the hair along their spine raised or are crouching may need some space and time to get acclimated.

Hi!   Who, or should I say, what, are you?

“Hi! Who, or should I say, what, are you?”

Hi!  Hello!  Who are you?  Aren't you glad that we don't greet each other like this?

“Hi! Hello! Who are you?” Aren’t you glad that we don’t greet each other like this?


* Let your dog be a dog – Dogs jump up on each other, knock each other down, wrestle, growl, snap at each other, and yes, they hump and will sniff each other’s genitals. It is all part of the dog communication world that most humans don’t comprehend, but the dogs are just doing what is natural to them.

Some dogs try to initiate play by wrapping their arm around another dog’s back, which may trigger humping. This is a natural behavior to establish dominance. Most of the time, the dogs will work it out themselves with the humpee warning the humper to stop with a growl or a snap. Let dogs be dogs and they’ll learn from each other what’s acceptable or not much quicker from each other. However, do be ready step in and remove the offending dog if tempers start to flare or it’s going on for more than a few seconds. Excessive humping can cause aggression not only with the participating parties, but trigger aggressive responses from other nearby dogs. Other behaviors, such as growling or snapping should not be interfered with. By yelling and stopping this natural behavior because you don’t like it, it may create waves in their communications with each other. By stopping your dog from growling, you may be teaching him to skip that warning sign he’s giving and he’ll go straight to biting the next time. Dogs have a way of working everything out themselves. However, if things are getting too intense, try distracting your dog with another activity, or create a loud noise, but avoid yelling.
"Whoa!"  Clancy literally runs into an Aussie.

“Whoa!” Clancy literally runs into an Aussie.


If a dog fight does break out (a rare occurrence which rarely lasts for more than a few seconds), encourage everyone to not scream or yell (which hypes up the dogs more). DO NOT try to separate the dogs by putting your hands/body in the middle of them or try to grab their collars, for you will likely get nipped or bitten. The quickest way to separate the fighting dogs, is for each owner to grab their dog’s hind legs (preferably where the hips connect to the body to avoid injury to the dog), lift and drag him straight back (like a wheelbarrow) then turn him 180 degrees to face away from the other dog. If you are by yourself, do the above method to the attacking dog, and tie him to something, then repeat with the other dog if necessary. There are also citronella sprays on the market to aide in stopping dog fights as well. For more information on how to prevent and stop dog fights, please visit http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-articles/breaking-up-a-dogfight.

Clancy can't resist being tempted by a child wanting a doggy kiss.

Clancy can’t resist being tempted by a child wanting a doggy kiss.

* Do not let your dog jump on people – Though dog park patrons should be prepared for muddy paw prints on their outfit, this is a basic rule that should be enforced with all dogs all the time. Not being consistent with the “no jumping on people rule” will make your dog inconsistent in obeying elsewhere.

Clancy claiming a water bucket at the dog park on a hot summer day

Clancy claiming a water bucket at the dog park on a hot summer day

* Bring water for your dog – There’s many travel water devices for dogs out there that make it easy to bring water along for your pooch wherever you two go. Your dog will get thirsty quickly and frequently with all the exercise he’ll be getting at the dog park. While some dog parks supply water, don’t assume it will be there or assume others will let your dog drink their dog’s water. Try to offer your dog water in private, for dogs may get possessive of a water bowl.

* Do not bring treats, dog food, or people food into the dog park – Not only will you have a pack of dogs following your every move, but it could cause tension/fights among the dogs. Also, PLEASE know what foods are toxic to dogs such as grapes and keep them away from the dog park. If you must bring treats as a reward for training your dog, try your best to contain their smell, conceal them and give them to your pup in secret.

* PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!!! – Not only is it a health hazard to people and pets for doggie doo-doo to be lying around, but no one wants themselves or their dog to step or roll in it then track it perhaps along with roundworm eggs, into their car or homes. Doggy bags are usually supplied at the parks, but it doesn’t hurt to have a couple grocery or newspaper bags in your pocket in case they’re out. We don’t want to ruin our opportunity to enjoy dog parks, so everyone just needs to do their dooty!

Clancy sneaking in a sniff while the brown dog bows down to play with the dog with the tennis ball.

Clancy sneaking in a sniff while the brown dog bows down to play with the dog with the tennis ball.

*Be cautious of bringing toys to the park – Before engaging in play with a toy with your dog or another dog, sit back and observe all the dogs there. Some dogs are toy aggressive, once a toy is introduced to the environment, it could start fights for dogs getting possessive of a toy. Take away the toy if it negatively affects the dog pack behavior.
dogs hanging out Spreading out at the dog park
* SPREAD OUT! – Dogs love their owners and tend to hang out near them. When the owners congregate together, so do all the dogs… which can lead to aggression from too many dogs being too close together. Often dogs like to just play with one or two playmates at a time, and aggression can occur if they feel like they’re being ganged up on. Also, if everyone congregates in the same place on a daily basis, the ground gets worn and muddy in that spot resulting in dirty dogs and ruined grass.

*Know your dog! – Know your dog’s behavior and signals. Watch for signs that your dog has had enough. Dogs can become over stimulated which can cause anxiety and aggressiveness. Also, when your dog becomes tired, they may get cranky. I know when Clancy has had enough when he suddenly becomes barky.

*Always keep an eye on your dog (and any around you)! – Don’t let him crowd the gate making it difficult for others to leave or enter. Don’t let him dig which creates safety hazards. Always be on the look-out for your dog squatting to be quick to pick up any doggie doo. Be mindful of standing near playing dogs so you’re not knocked down. You even need to be aware of dogs lifting their leg to mark you. (Now don’t you really want to hang out a dog park now?)

Watching your dog have fun, meeting so many different kinds of dogs and chatting with other dog lovers makes it fun to visit the dog park.

Watching your dog have fun, meeting so many different kinds of dogs and chatting with other dog lovers makes it fun to visit the dog park.


While I can appreciate the concerns of those that avoid dog parks due to fear of dog diseases or dog bites, please keep in mind that the vast majority of dog park patrons are responsible dog owners. They have their dogs up to date on their vaccinations, have them on flea/tick prevention and have socialized their dogs. Be sure to do the same and follow the suggestions in this article and you, too, can become a respected dog park patron.

Letting your dog play with other dogs and getting fresh air together is another way to bond together.

Letting your dog play with other dogs and getting fresh air together is another way to bond together.

Though it’s best to consult with your veterinarian, until your puppy has completed all the series of vaccinations, it’s advisable to avoid all places where many dogs go until your pup is fully protected. As soon as they are finished, get them out to the dog park to build the necessary socialization skills to grow up to be a great dog!

To find a dog park near you or near your travel destination, ask other dog owners or anyone in a dog related business. Other good resources include your local Parks and Recreation or doing a search online.

Best friends do everything together! Be your dog’s best friend! -SSB

Please share with us! What and where is your favorite dog park and why??

With many acres of land, a lake with a doggie dock and walking trails throughout the fenced in dog parks, this is Clancy and I's favorite dog park!  Located in Michigan.

With many acres of land, a lake with a doggie dock and walking trails throughout the fenced in dog parks, this is Clancy and I’s favorite dog park! Located in Michigan.

Blog site in development… please visit again soon!

14 Jan Just one of many fun things you can do with your dog.

Welcome to my blog, “Kees of Dog’s Delight”… where my keeshond, “Clancy”, and I are hoping to inspire others to enhance their dog’s life which in turn enhances their own.

Please come back soon to learn how easy it is to have fun with your dog, strengthen your bond and meet new friends (both furry and human.) I also hope to hear about new ideas from you!

Just one of many fun things you can do with your dog.

Just one of many fun things you can do with your dog.