Awesome article on puppy exercise by breed.


Posted by Dr. Susan O’Dell DVM on January 28, 2016

A tired dog is a good dog. No matter the size of the dog, every pup needs a physical outlet to expend extra energy and maintain health and fitness. Regular exercise can improve your dog’s mental health and reduce unwanted behaviors done out of anxiety or boredom. It is important to note that each animal is an individual and you need to modify your program. We must make adjustments for age, injury and be mindful of environmental conditions too, such as extreme weather.

For a general guideline to exercise, we can divide dogs up by their breeds and what they were originally bred to do for their owners. However, remember to tailor your program to your dog’s needs.

Herding group

These dogs include shepherds, sheepdogs and collies. They are the equivalent to a canine bouncy ball. They have very high exercise needs and should get at least 60-90 minutes of higher intensity exercise daily. Herding dogs were also bred to have above average intelligence, so make them work their brains! Intersperse training sessions with physical workouts to keep the routine fresh and interesting for both you and your herder. These dogs are at higher risk for behavioral problems if you are not careful to channel their physical and mental energies into appropriate activities!

Sporting group

This group is comprised of retrievers, spaniels, setters and pointers. They were bred for a long day of work, and should get at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity daily exercise.

Terrier group

From the little Cairn to the larger Airedale, these dogs are generally bouncy and charismatic pooches. Although they have significant exercise requirements, these dogs are smaller than the herding and sporting members, and will often get a fair amount of daily exercise around the house. They should still get a 30-60 minute moderate intensity walk daily.

Hound group

This is a very diverse group that encompasses two types of dogs – the sight hounds and scent hounds. Sight hounds like Greyhounds, wolfhounds, and deerhounds have lower exercise needs. Although they have very muscular builds, they are sprinters that release energy in quick bursts. A 20-30 minute daily walk will suffice, but allow them a couple of harder sprint workouts per week. Scent hounds like Beagles, Bloodhounds and Coonhounds have higher exercise needs, similar to the sporting group.

Toy group

Many breeds fit into this category, including Poodles, Chihuahuas and Maltese. Even though these cuties are smaller than the rest, they still need exercise! They have a propensity toward obesity and often do not get the level of daily activity that they require. They can, however, get a significant amount of exercise in a much smaller area. A good game of fetch in the living room can be a great aerobic workout for the wee pups.

Brachycephalic Dogs

These squash-faced dogs, like the Pug and bulldogs, were not created for marathon running. A shortened muzzle and wrinkly face might be irresistible, but they impede airflow and put these dogs at risk for overheating and oxygen deprivation. Avoid exercising these noisy breathers during mid-day heat or humid weather, and allow frequent breaks for cooling down.

About Weather

Weather conditions are an important consideration for all dogs, not just the Brachycephalics. Pets can be victims of frostbite or heat stroke just like their people. If you live in the snowy, icy north, make sure you clean your dogs’ paws after an outing to remove snow and salt buildup that can be damaging to the pads. Dogs with thin hair coats may benefit from a nice dog coat or hoodie in the colder months. In the summertime, paws can also be damaged on hot asphalt or abrasive surfaces like the sandy shore. During any weather, it’s important to keep your dog hydrated. Bring along a compact dog travel bowl and fill it from your own water bottle.


Physical activities

There are a variety of different ways to wear out the over-energized dog in your life. Good old fetch is a fabulous method to exhaust Fido with minimal output of your own energy. Along those lines, you can employ a tennis racket to get even greater canine wear down. Swimming is a fantastic way to reap the benefits of exercise without the dangers of repetitive impact. Water workouts are extremely taxing, so increase swim times very gradually, starting with 1-2 minutes. You may also want to start out with a dog life vest, especially if you are far from shore. This is one of the best ways to maintain muscle mass in older dogs with joint disease and arthritis.

Mental exercises

A good brain game can be almost as tiring as a long hike. Some dogs enjoy a food toy, which can be purchased at most pet stores. These toys require the dog to knock the toy around to make food fall out of small holes. It can be filled with small, low calorie treats or even a portion of his regular meal. If your dog is scent driven, he may enjoy searching for bits of food or treats hidden throughout the house. Another option is to drag a delicious smelly morsel, like tripe, meandering through the yard so he can sniff out your path.

After exercising your furball, spend some calm time with your dog before leaving him alone or confining him in a crate. It isn’t easy for them to suddenly shift out of high gear, particularly if they are left alone. Give him some time to transition, and it should become faster and easier for him to relax over time.

New Puppy Checklist

Getting a new puppy is one of the best experiences in the world, but it’s also a lot of work. You can make the transition a lot smoother for both you and the pup by being prepared. Here’s a simple, printable checklist that covers recommended puppy gear, emergency contact numbers, and other essentials. Good luck!

5 mistakes you may be making with your puppy.


Posted by Kurgo on January 07, 2016

So you got a puppy for Christmas or New Years. Congratulations! We know you’re excited to start playing with the little fuzzball, but there’s that whole training thing to take care of first. You know to teach the basics like “sit” and “stay”, but that’s just scratching the surface. To make sure your puppy grows up into a well behaved member of dog society (pawsociety?), be sure you aren’t making any of these puppy training mistakes.

1. Not Following Through

Dogs need consistency to learn. If you are trying to teach your puppy that they aren’t allowed on the couch, it’s not okay to let them up for a sporadic cuddle sesh. Even if your okay with your puppy being on the couch, how will you feel when they’re a year older and 50 lbs heavier? Whatever the command or behavior you’re trying to install, make sure you approach it consistently and follow through every time.

2. Not Acting Immediately

The proper time to correct a behavior is when the behavior is happening. Dogs have pretty decent memories, but to puppies everything is so new they aren’t really capable of correlation unless it’s immediate. If your puppy has an accident or jumps or does whatever bad behavior you’re trying to fix, make sure you get up and fix it then and there. Yes, even if you have to pause the movie or hang up the phone. Alternatively, when they perform an action you want to encourage, make sure you have the treats handy so that they understand that behavior equals snacks.

3. Not Pacing Commands

Puppies need silence around their words to truly process them (this isn’t a bad idea for an adult dog either). When you’re trying to teach a new command, make sure you speak slowly, clearly, and give the word a breath on either side. When you say a command as part of a sentence, puppies have a tendency to lose the meaning in the noise.

4. Over-Reliance on Treats

Look, treats are the great motivator. This is true for puppies, dogs, men, women, children, and even cats. When you’re trying to train your puppy, treats WILL work. That’s why it’s so easy to get hooked on them.

Ideally, you want your dog to respond to YOU, not to the treats. To help with this, occasionally reward them with affection, attention, and even their favorite toy. If your dog loves going outside (or inside) make opening the door a reward. This works particularly well with sitting or laying down (so you can strap on their harness and leash).

5. Not Training YOUR Dog

If you’re reading this, you’re probably reading a lot of training advice. That’s great, and you’re a good dog parent. With all the information you’re absorbing though, don’t forget that just like a child, every puppy is an individual. What works for some or even most dogs may not work for yours. Watch your puppy closely (as if you could look away) and make sure you’re working together and doing what seems to be working for YOUR pup.


It breaks my heart every time I see these collars being used. I just can’t understand why people want to take the easy way out. Like Victoria says this is not solving the problem it’s just a quick fix that can cause serious issues later down the road. Our new puppy class that started Monday has a family that is currently using a prong collar on their 4-month-old puppy. WHY this poor baby has not learned how to walk nicely on a leash. THANK GOD they signed up for our class and if I can change this one families mind about prong collars then I will feel AMAZING and have saved a sweet baby from future issues. Read the article from Victoria Stilwell for more information.

Choke and prong collars are still extremely popular with many dog owners. They are generally made of metal chain material which tightens around a dog’s neck when the handler pulls or jerks back on the leash. Aversive trainers will often use choke and prong collars to perform ‘corrections’, essentially causing the dog pain any time he pulls on the leash or misbehaves.

While this type of training may stop the pulling or suppress a certain behavior at that particular moment, it does nothing to address the root of the dog’s issue. Leash corrections that are given on these collars exacerbate behavioral issues such as fear and aggression.
Bottom Line
Choke, pinch and prong collars should be avoided in all cases.
Choke and Prong Collar FAQ’s:

Are choke collars safe?
What kind of injuries do choke collars cause?
How do prong collars work?
Why should prong collars be avoided?
If these collars cause pain, why does my dog still pull?
Are choke and prong collars humane if used properly?
What other options do I have to stop my dog pulling?
Are choke collars safe?
Even if used without corrections, choke collars can still cause pain, discomfort, and injury to a dog’s neck, head and spinal cord.

If you feel your dog’s neck with your hands followed by your own neck, you will see how similar they are.
The trachea, esophagus, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, jugular vein, muscles and spinal column are all located in similar places.
The only difference between a dog and a human neck is that under the fur, a dog’s skin layer is only 3-5 cells thick, while the top layer of human skin is denser, 10-15 cells thick.
What kind of injuries do choke collars cause?
The thyroid gland lies at the base of the neck just below the larynx close to where any collar sits. Just one yank can cause injury to a gland that controls many of the body’s vital functions.

Studies show that the gland gets severely traumatized whenever a dog pulls on the leash and becomes inflamed.
When this happens it is ‘destroyed’ by the body’s own immune system which tries to remove the inflamed thyroid cells.
The destruction of these cells leads to hypothyroidism, which causes loss of energy, weight gain, skin problems, hair loss, ear infections and organ failure.
Choke collars also affect other areas of the body including the eyes.

Another study reveals that when force is applied to the neck via a leash and a choke collar, pressure in the eyes is significantly increased.
This type of pressure can cause serious injury to dogs already suffering thin corneas, glaucoma, or eye injuries.
The same study was done with dogs that were wearing harnesses, which had no impact on eye pressure when force was applied.
How do prong collars work?
Prong collars function similarly to choke collars, except they contain metal spikes on the inside that dig into and ‘pinch’ a dog’s neck if he pulls on the leash. Prong collar advocates believe that the ‘pinch’ action mimics the teeth of a mother dog grabbing a puppy’s neck during a correction.

There is no scientific evidence to back up this claim however, and it’s unlikely that dogs make a connection between the pinch of a collar and a correction given by a mother’s mouth, especially as no canine ‘mother’ is physically present.

Why should prong collars be avoided?
Dogs walked on prongs are also constantly subjected to pain and discomfort, which creates fear, anxiety and aggression on walks. Dogs that are already reactive on leash can become even more reactive due to frustration from collar discomfort.

A 1992 study of 400 dogs concluded that pulling and jerking on the leash (with any collar) is harmful to a dog’s neck and throat.1
One of the clearest correlations was between cervical (neck) damages and ‘jerk and pull’.
91% of the dogs who had neck injuries had also been exposed to jerking on the lead by the owner or been allowed to pull hard on the lead for long periods of time.
If these collars cause pain, why does my dog still pull?
Dogs cannot tell us when they are in pain. They put up with near strangulation because the drive to pull forward overrides the pain at that moment, but the after effects are serious and long lasting.

Are choke and prong collars humane if used properly?
Even though it is proven that choke and prong collars contribute to neck, back, and spinal injuries as well as other issues in dogs, there are many who still believe that if used correctly, these collars are humane and effective tools that cause no pain or harm.

Depending on what your personal definition of humane is, it is hard to argue that if something has the potential to cause such damage it should not be considered humane or safe.
Any device that constricts around a neck, be it the neck of a human or canine, is dangerous and has the potential to do real harm.
Try applying a small amount of pressure to your neck and experience what a dog goes through when force is applied to any collar.
What other options do I have to stop my dog pulling?
There are more effective and humane alternatives to using a choke or prong collar on your dog.

Find a great positive trainer to help you teach your dog to walk on a loose leash.
Even large, strong dogs can be walked without the use of a choke or prong collar.
Consider a regular harness or a chest-led, no-pull harness such as the Positively No-Pull Harness to stop pulling without causing your dog pain or fear.

Food Allergies in Dogs

Nothing to sneeze at: food allergies and your dog—signs, symptoms and what to do

Is your dog itching and scratching? Does she have frequent ear infections or poor coat quality? You could be contributing to your dog’s distress without knowing it if she’s allergic to what you’re feeding her. Food allergies are a rising concern with dog owners and it seems like more and more dogs are suffering from them.

But what exactly is a food allergy?

Food allergies are different from food intolerance. Food intolerance is the result of poor digestion, such as lactose intolerance. People and dogs with lactose intolerance are either missing or have low levels of the milk digesting enzyme lactase.

Food allergies are the over-response of your dog’s immune system to an invading protein. In the case of a food allergy, this protein is contained in your dog’s food. Proteins are present in most of the foods your dog eats. While most people recognize that meats are a source of proteins, there are also proteins present in grains and vegetables. Any one of these proteins has the potential to cause a food allergy.

Your dog’s gastrointestinal system (mouth, stomach, intestines) protects her from potential allergens each day. Approximately 70 percent of the body’s entire immune system is centered in the gastrointestinal tract. When your dog eats a meal, the food is first digested in the stomach. The large pieces of food are broken down into smaller pieces by stomach acid and then enzymes and stomach acid work together to break the complex protein structures down into smaller structures. The partially digested food then moves into the small intestine. The food is further digested until the proteins are broken down into their smallest parts, amino acids, which can then be absorbed into the body through special cells called enterocytes. Enterocytes act as both a welcoming hostess to amino acids that they like and want, and as bouncers (door guards) for amino acids they don’t like. When a whole protein is absorbed in the intestines instead of being broken down first, the immune system reacts and your dog shows symptoms of a food allergy.

When the System Works

The intestinal tract’s ability to prevent the absorption of whole protein is dependant on the health and integrity of the mucosal barrier. It is the proverbial guardian of the body at the gastrointestinal gate. The mucosal barrier (lining of the gut) is comprised of both structural components and immune system components. The structural components physically prevent the absorption of large proteins. The immune system component is responsible for recognizing potentially harmful contents of the gastrointestinal tract. The health and integrity of the gastrointestinal tract is dependant on the normal structure and function of the enterocytes, effective protein digestion, and the presence of the dog’s immune cells (called IgA cells) in the gastrointestinal tract.

The Gut and Immune System Together
Prevent Food Allergies

IgA cells are a type of immune cell secreted in the intestine. Some of the IgA will float freely in the contents of the intestine while other IgA attaches to the wall of the intestine to prevent whole protein from coming in contact with the enterocytes. Just like volleyball players they bounce whole proteins back into the contents of the intestine for more digestion. The more effective protein digestion in the stomach and intestine is, the smaller the proteins are when they come in contact with the IgA. Small proteins and single amino acids do not get bound to the IgA and are allowed to pass by the IgA and be absorbed into the body as nutrients.

At a Glance

Some of the breeds most prone to food allergies include: Boxer, Cocker Spaniel, Springer Spaniel, Collie, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Miniature Schnauzer, Retriever, Shar Pei, Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, Dachshund, and West Highland White Terrier

Most common food allergens include:beef, dairy, and wheat.

Least common food allergens are fish and rabbit.

General signs and symptoms of allergies include: dry itchy skin, excessive scratching or licking, bald patches, a high frequency of hot spots, ear infections, skin infections, diarrhea, and vomiting.

When the System Fails

Malnutrition can affect enterocyte structure and function. A poorly functioning or damaged enterocyte can let whole proteins into the body. Once a whole protein has managed to breach all of the gut’s defenses, gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) takes over. GALT can prevent the body’s natural immune response to a foreign protein. Most of the time this is what happens, but in the case of food allergies, GALT does not prevent the immune response and an allergic response (immune hypersensitivity) is formed.

Unfortunately, every time the food is eaten, this over-response of the immune response becomes greater. So continuing to consume the diet that caused the allergic response results in a greater and greater response every time. After this hypersensitivity is formed, each time the dog eats the food, mast cells in the body’s immune system release hertamine. If this hertamine release is large enough, it may manifest as diarrhea, itchy skin, chronic skin infections etc.

Isolating the Problem

The first thing you need to do is work with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog’s symptoms truly indicate a food allergy. If that’s the case, your vet will likely recommend that you try an elimination diet— feeding a food that has a different protein (meat) source and a different carbohydrate (grain) source than what your dog has had before. Common anti-allergy foods (novel protein sources) include kangaroo and oatmeal or venison and potato. This prevents the immune response from continuing to be triggered.

Your vet may also suggest that you try a hypoallergenic diet. These foods are made with hydrolyzed proteins. That means that the proteins are already broken down into pieces that are small enough that IgA won’t bind to them and they won’t trigger an immune response.

Lamb and rice foods used to be considered “hypoallergenic” when most commercial dog foods were made with chicken or beef and corn or wheat. Since most dogs had never had lamb or rice before, it was a good option for dogs that experienced allergies while eating a regular food. Now, however, many dogs are showing allergies to lamb and rice diets. This is to be expected since an allergy can develop to any diet. If your dog is allergic to lamb and rice you may need to find a food with different ingredients such as fish and oatmeal, or venison and sweet potato.

While your dog is on any special diet, it’s very important that she doesn’t get any other food such as cookies, treats, rawhides, people foods, etc. Since you don’t know yet exactly what she is allergic to, you don’t want to give her something other than her food and trigger the allergic reaction. Once you’ve got her on a food that she is not reacting to, you can start to reintroduce other foods. If your dog reacts, you’ll know exactly which food (or foods) causes the problem.

Preventing Food Allergies

Is there anything we, as owners, can do to avoid food allergies from developing? This is one of the toughest questions in dog nutrition today. While we still don’t really know how to prevent allergies entirely, there are things you can do that may help your dog fight off numerous allergies.

Promote a healthy mucosal barrier. This can be done by ensuring that our dogs, and especially puppies, have adequate nutrition and health care.

Watch out for gastroenteritis. There have been some theories that early gastroenteritis or severe gastroenteritis, especially in puppies or young dogs, can result in an adult dog that is more likely to develop food allergies. Preventing gastroenteritis, in theory, is easy— just don’t let your dog eat anything but dog food and treats. In actuality, this is much harder to deal with. Dogs eat a variety of things, some that are not harmful—grass, dirt, bark, wild berries (i.e., raspberries, strawberries), sometimes a little cow or horse dung—and some that are not good for them (rotten garbage or dead animals). It can be very hard to police what goes in your dog’s mouth.

If you suspect that your dog has gotten into garbage or eaten something that may cause tummy upset, it may be best to feed your dog a low-protein diet (boiled white rice or potato) until the suspected tummy upset passes or you consult your vet. In general, if diarrhea lasts more than 72 hours without signs of getting better or if the diarrhea seems especially severe or malodorous, you should consult your vet. In these cases, do not attempt to treat the dog yourself with over-the-counter medications because diarrhea is the body getting rid of bad things in the gut. To give something that stops the diarrhea can result in keeping the bad things in the gut and causing a serious illness.

Promote effective protein digestion. In general, your dog should have no problem digesting protein. If you are feeding a homemade cooked or raw diet, grinding or blending your protein source in a food processor can be helpful in improving protein digestion. In kibble-fed dogs, the protein is already ground before it is kibbled so there is no need to grind it.

Choose a dog food with exclusive protein sources. A food that only has one or two protein sources can be helpful in giving you more choices later on should your dog develop an allergy. For example, if you use a food with five protein sources (i.e., turkey, chicken, duck, salmon, and tuna) and your dog develops an allergy to it, you now have to find a food that doesn’t contain any of these protein sources. This can be challenging. Conversely, if you feed a diet with chicken as its sole protein source and your dog develops an allergy to it, you can easily find a diet that doesn’t contain chicken.

Preventing food allergies may be impossible in dogs that are prone to developing food allergies. Some breeds are becoming noted for food allergies (see sidebar p.82). As a result, it is possible that a propensity for developing food allergies may be genetic, in which case, we should avoid breeding dogs that have food allergies.

Don’t Give Up

Dealing with a dog with food allergies can be challenging and disheartening. Proper diagnosis of food allergies can make it easier and understanding why food allergies start can help us prevent future allergies from starting. On a personal note, my Labrador has had food allergies all his 12.5 years. It has been a long road and often a difficult one. It is so much easier to find novel protein sources now than it was 12 years ago. If you have a dog with allergies, take heart, it will get better.


Looking for some alternatives or extras to feed to your dog? Check out our list of 10 “People” Foods for Dogs.

– See more at:

Why Does My Dog… Always Lick Me?

Puppy licking woman


It’s not much of a conundrum, really. The bottom line is that most of the time, dogs will lick their people as a sign of affection. “You are the sun and the moon,” their silky tongue would have you know. “And guess what? You taste good, too!”

But much as barking can be, licking is also a multi-faceted tool that seems to play many roles in canine behavior and, consequently, tends towards many different interpretations. Here’s a list of the many ways in which we homo sapiens have come to understand this culturally alien mode of communication: Licking is a natural instinct in canids. When a mother licks her pups and her pups lick each other during the course of grooming and other social interactions, we’re observing quintessential licking behavior in dogs. Indeed, this behavior is held up as one that may serve as the basis for all other licking decisions a dog makes. (“Mom licked me now I lick you …”)

  • Licking can play a role in the solicitation of resources, as when pups lick their mothers as a precursor to feeding or when lower-ranking pack members lick their superiors in the hopes of an invitation to dine on communal prey.
  • It’s just another sensory tool, say some researchers. Licking (and tasting) is like reaching out and touching something –– a sort of slobbery exploration.
  • Canine attention-seeking behavior often incorporates the tongue. Dogs often lick you to get your attention or as a simple greeting. As in, “Hey, I’m here. I’m cute. Pet me.”
  • Licking may be a way of playing. Many dogs who’s owners report as engaging in excessive licking behavior may be substituting their tongue for their teeth in the reserved dog’s version of a raucous play-fight.
  • In many cases, licking is a learned behavior. Dogs learn that when they lick their owners they get more attention, so they come to incorporate licking into more and more of their daily behaviors.

But what happens when extreme licking happens?

Extreme licking tends to be defined not so much by the dog as it is by the human beholder of the behavior. As such, any unwanted display of lingual attention –– even just a couple of polite laps every so often –– could be construed as excessive. In these cases it’s considered more of a human problem than an animal problem. After all, dogs will lick. It’s in their nature.

Nevertheless, dogs can be trained to turn the tap off, so to speak. Finding a veterinary behaviorist or certified dog trainer to aid in this process is strongly recommended.

Of course there are those times when licking may take on abnormal tones. Dogs who suffer certain types of obsessive-compulsive behaviors may manifest these as excessive licking. Typically, however, dogs affected by these behavioral disorders will turn to objects –– or more often, themselves –– by way of displaying their outsized penchant for licking.

All dog owners observing this behavior are encouraged to seek out the assistance of a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist for assistance. Many of these patients can be treated successfully so that their life might include more than what they might find at the end of their tongue.


To my current and future clients as well as friends and family, I am working on adding more classes and pricing to my site so please bare with me. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email or text me. Also, let me know what kind of info you guys are looking for. I will do my best to keep with the trends in this industry as well as fun stuff for you and your pets 🙂

With Love,