July 1, 2013

We got a new dog! Some tips to keep dogs safe and a new dog gift basket with healthy dog treats

Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  I was recently asked to check out some healthy dog treats made in the USA.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. #NudgesMoments #cbias

Unless you follow me on Instagram I have to admit, I've been holding out on you.  Mostly because I was nervous, but also because OMG I've been busy!  By now you've met Charger a bunch of times.  He's our lovable, floppy eared dog who has the best permanent eyeliner I've ever seen on man or beast. No really, he does.  Lately I've been feeling guilty.  As you know, guilt is a specialty of mine.  Charger has been doing a lot of this:

I look over and see that face and feel super guilty.  Because the poor guy is bored.  And as much as I wrestle around with him at random points throughout the day and throw a tennis ball for him it's just not the same as having a real buddy.  Since we've recently reached a place I'm going to cringe and refer to as "easy" in this home between a relatively obedient dog and a not-so-over-the-top-needy 4 year old I had to go and mix things up.  Therefore I'm happy to introduce Stella!

Do you notice any similarities here?  Yes, they have both mastered the sad puppy eyes look and have won my heart despite their similar taste in eating socks and Tory Burch flip flops.  Not the Old Navy ones mind you, these dogs have refined shoe eating taste buds.  Bringing home Stella who is only about 7 months old reminded me that getting a new dog, especially a younger one calls for a little preparation and a LOT of patience.  

I started by purging our house of all extra clutter like a crazy pregnant woman in nesting mode.  I was determined to make our home safe for Stella.  Which is easy when your child has a penchant for toys with millions of small pieces.  Not.  As I was shopping for some new dog essentials I realized that put together they would make a great little gift for a friend who had just brought home a dog and so I figured I'd share this new dog gift basket with you along with some tips.  What I like is that it really works for dogs most sizes and everything in it is safe.

new dog gift basket made with Nudges dog treats made in the USA #NudgesMoments #cbias

Buy toys that can stand up to power chewers
Having large dogs (put them together and they are bigger than I am!) that are powerful chewers quickly teaches you that most toys for dogs can be ripped apart in a second and therefore are dangerous.  The two things that have worked for us are durable Nylabones and rope toys.  It's next to impossible to destroy them or break off little pieces that would pose a choking hazard.

Skip toys that resemble stuffed animals
I quickly realized that introducing stuffed toys is just plain silly if you have kids.  Trying to teach Fido to comprehend the difference between a stuffed animal that's meant for dogs and your child's treasured teddy is sure to be a losing battle.  Also, most stuffed toys really aren't safe for dogs and can land you at the animal ER which is an awful and expensive place to be.  Even the ones that are supposedly durable like the "indestructible" fire hose toys can be ripped apart in minutes by many dogs...like Charger.

Get yourself a stain and odor remover, stat!
Oh the joys of bringing home a dog that isn't housebroken.  I may as well put Kayla back in diapers!  On day number one Stella was kind enough to pee in 3 different spots around the house despite my taking her outside CONSTANTLY.  It's important to get the stain and odor out of whatever surface they go on so they don't decide it's  a fun place to pee repeatedly and you don't wind up in the looney bin.  Check labels to make sure whatever you buy is both kid and pet friendly and you'll sleep better at night.

Make sure your treats are grain free or at least wheat free
It's crazy how many dog treats on the market contain wheat or other grain fillers.  Meanwhile wheat is one of the most common allergens for dogs...so you'd think companies that make food for dogs would keep that in mind, right?

I've always had a hard time finding good grain free treats because I cannot stand the way those jerky dog treats smell.  It's a total gagfest.  However I recently tried out these Nudges dog treats while trying to find something particularly enticing to train Stella with and was surprised at the lack of overpowering odor and love the fact that they are made in the USA and can easily be torn into small pieces for training.

Nudges dog treats made in the USA #NudgesMoments #cbias

Because our family loves to spend time outdoors and Kayla's young age it's really important that we lay down the law for Stella (jumping and peeing on rugs = unacceptable) from the get go and reward her for good behavior to positively enforce it.  So I've been using these Nudges to teach Stella to sit and stay.  She's caught on pretty quickly and the timing couldn't be better since we're now in the midst of fireworks season here in San Diego.

We live close enough to Sea World to hear the fireworks going off each night and if you've ever had a dog you know that a lot of them FREAK OUT when they hear fireworks.  Stella definitely did the first couple of nights.  This is where training really comes into play.  As much fun as it is for us, 4th of July is a bad night for dogs since many have the aforementioned reaction and their instinct is to run.   Now she and Charger just snooze right through them on the couch each night.

Nudges dog treats made in the USA #NudgesMoments #cbias

And yes, Charger is totally reaping the benefits of Stella's training.  One last tip, spoil dog #1 a bit when you bring the new dog home.  Charger got a few Nudges just for being a good host to the new puppy.  Now if I could get the two of them to stop running circles around our living room at ridiculously high speeds everything would be under control.  Sort of.  Want some ideas for your own summer fun?  Check out the magazine below.

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