10 Tips for New Puppy Owners

  1. Puppy GearHannah R Puppy Apr 2017

There are some basic supplies that all new puppy owners should have on hand: quality puppy food, a 6-foot cotton leash, an adjustable collar, food and water bowls, easily washable towels or blankets for bedding, poop bags, and some dog toys. Traditional Kong toys are great for stuffing with peanut butter and keeping a little one busy. A crate is also recommended as a safe place for the puppy to be when they can’t be attended, as well as a great housebreaking training tool.

  1. Clear your Calendar

When you first bring home the puppy, it’s great if you can plan to be home, spending time getting the puppy use to his or her new environment and bonding with you. Ideally you work up to leaving the puppy for short periods of time, gradually extending the time up to 3-4 hours over the course of a new days or a week. Remember, puppies can’t hold it very long in the beginning, so having someone available to let the puppy out regularly is important. A general rule of thumb is to not expect puppies to be able to hold it more than 1 hour per month in age, so at 8 weeks, the maximum a puppy should have to wait is 2 hours.

  1. Puppy Proof your Home

Look around and move or pick up anything that could be a potential danger for curious puppies; things such as electrical cords, poisonous plants and small items that could be easily swallowed. Now is also the time to put away shoes, socks and children’s toys. Put them in a closet with a door, or up out of puppy’s reach.

  1. Make Rules

Both puppies and dogs in general, thrive on consistency and pattern. Think about the dog your puppy will become and what you want that dog to do or not do. For example, will you allow your dog to get on the furniture. It’s much easier to prevent a bad habit than to break one that has already taken hold. This is also a good time to have a family meeting and make sure everyone knows the rules for the puppy and is in agreement. It’s very hard on the puppy if one family member allows something and another family member doesn’t.

  1. Be Patient

It’s easy to get frustrated when you think your puppy should understand more quickly than they seem to be. Like people, puppies learn at different rates, but a keep in mind that it can take 30-50 consistent repetitions before a dog understands a command.

  1. Introduce Other Family Pets in a Neutral Area

If you already have a dog, it’s best if the new puppy and existing dog can first meet outside, ideally in a neutral area such as a park. Go for a walk together and then go inside the house. This will allow the dogs to get to know each other a bit and reduce territorial concerns for the existing dog. When introducing an existing family cat to a new puppy, let the cat investigate, while keeping the puppy on leash or behind a gate. Both older dogs and cats need to be able to have a place they can go to get away from the puppy when they need a break or a little down time.

  1. Go to the Vet

Ask around to get input on the veterinarians in your area and visit them in advance to find one you are comfortable with. Soon after getting your puppy, take them to be looked at by the vet to make sure they are healthy and up to date on their vaccinations. Take cookies and make the experience as positive as possible for your puppy. If the vet you choose does not offer 24 hour emergency service, find out who to call in case of emergency and where the nearest 24 hour clinic is located.

  1. Identification and Registration

All puppies and dogs should have your contact information on their collar – include the dog’s name, your name, and a phone number or two. In addition to your own phone number, consider putting that of your veterinarian, or a trusted friend. Microchipping can be a good option as well. Some towns require a dog to be licensed, so make sure you know the regulations in your community.

  1. Enroll in a Puppy Class

Look for a puppy kindergarten or socialization class in your area. This is a good way to learn some basic training skills, as well as to give your puppy the opportunity to experience being in the company of different kinds of dogs and people during the puppy’s key developmental phase.

  1. Ask for Help

Having a new puppy can be overwhelming at times, even if you’ve had dogs before, so don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. Talking to other people who are either going through a similar experience, or have done it in the past, can be both helpful and comforting. Here are some resources to consider: Seek out other puppy parents to share stories and ideas. Visit your local owner-operated pet supply store; usually these store owners are in the business because they care about pets and are happy to lend an ear, as well as offer advice. Talk to an area dog trainer or to your veterinarian.

Valentine’s Day & Pets Can be a Bad Mix

I bet from the headline you thought I was going to say don’t give a puppy or a kitten as a gift for Valentine’s Day. While that’s sound advice, this column is really about how common Valentine’s Day gifts or activities can be dangerous for dogs or cats.

Who doesn’t like chocolate on Valentine’s Day? But don’t share chocolates with your dog! All kinds of chocolates are dangerous for dogs. The darker the chocolate or the greater the quantity, the more dangerous it is. Chocolate can cause pancreatitis in dogs, a painful abdominal condition with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

Staying on the topic of sweets, a number of sugar-free candies and baked goods now contain xylitol as a sugar substitute. This ingredient can lead to liver failure in dogs.

A beautiful bouquet of roses is almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but keep them up high and away from a curious dog or cat. Eating roses can cause constipation and an upset stomach, and thorns can cause injuries to the mouth or paws.

Gift Wrapping
An artfully wrapped gift is always a pleasure to receive, but after you open it be mindful of what you do with the ribbons and wrapping paper, especially metallic wrapping paper. Curious dogs or cats that ingest gift wrapping risk having blockages in the intestines.

Turning down the lights and basking in the glow of lit candles can be very romantic, but be cautious about where you put them. Tails, noses and whiskers run the risk of getting singed, or in a worse case scenario, accidentally tipping over the candles could start a fire.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these substances, please contact your veterinarian.

Food Toy Fun

Sometimes we can’t always meet the exercise needs of our dogs, so when you can’t exercise the body, try exercising the mind instead. There’s all kinds of ways to do this, including good old obedience training in the house, but another thing that most dogs likeKibble Nibble is interacting with a food toy.

There are some great commercially available food toys, such as the Kong Wobbler, the Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble from PetSafe, or a number of puzzle toys and slow feeders. all of which make the dogs work for their dinner.

If you’re not ready to invest in these options, there are also a number of ways that you can make your own food toy to give the idea a try. All of these ideas should be used under your supervision, since not all the hand-made toys are as durable as the commercial versions.

One of mBaxter-w-muffin-tin-smy dog’s favorite food toys is the muffin tin game. Simply take an old muffin tin, put a few pieces of kibble in the bottom of each muffin well and then cover each well with a tennis ball or other kind of ball. The dog has to lift the ball out of the well in order to get to the kibble. Once they clear all the balls, refill the muffin tin and start again.

Another idea is to cut some holes in a sour cream or yogurt container. Be sure to file down any sharp edges. Put the dog’s dinner in the container, replace the lid, and then stand back as the dog rolls the container around in order to get the kibble to come out.

A similar idea is to cut holes in a cardboard shipping box, interlace the flaps shut and let your dog move the box around to get to the kibble. If this is too challenging for your dog, make the holes bigger and along the bottom of the box. Vary the size of the box and the placement of the holes to increase the challenge.

For an even greater challenge, you’ll need a used, clean peanut butter jar and a cardboard tube from a finished roll of paper towels. Drill roughly a dime sized hole in the lid of the jar and cut the cardboard tube to length so that two or three pieces fit in the jar. Fill each cardboard tube with kibble, screw the jar lid back on and then let your dog have at it. As your dog rolls around the jar, the kibble will dispense out of the top. If the kibble isn’t coming out easily enough, make the hole a bit bigger. Here’s a short video that demonstrates how to create this toy: dogfooddispenser.

As with anything new, introduce your dog to the game slowly and with encouragement. They may need your help in the beginning to figure out what they are suppose to do.

Why We Offer Doggie Daycare

Some people think that Doggie Daycare is over the top, but when you see how happy the dogs are having the chance to just be dogs and play with each other, communicating in doggie language, you understand.
Bowser Pippi
Seeing the dogs play is great, but when you can see their personalities bloom and grow, it’s really wonderful. Last week we were so proud of these three females, Bailey the Rottie, Kumba the Ridgeback and Lucy the Cattle Dog, all strong, take-charge females who didn’t like each other too much when they first started coming to daycare. With encouragement and time spent together playing, expending energy and learning to communicate with each other, now they can all nap in the same space close to each other with no problems!
Lucy Kumba Bailey Friends

Well socialized and exercised dogs are happy dogs!

We’ve Moved!

Last Sunday was the big move day and thanks to a bunch of friends it went smoothly. A long, but successful day. This week we settle into the new space and next week the Doggie Day Care opens!
Stop by, say hi and check it out!

Moving Out

Moving out of Maple Ridge Plaza

Grooming Room

First stop for many of the items moved as the new Grooming room.

Setting up the new store

The new store is starting to look like a real store.

Approved for Occupancy

Yesterday we received the official notification that we were approved for occupancy in the new store building! The last couple months have been filled with getting the details finished. Here are some pictures of the progress.

Work on the check out counter continues. Ray created a nice design detail for the corner ledge.

Work on the check out counter continues. Ray created a nice design detail for the corner ledge.

The back door from the second floor now has both stairs and a ramp.

The back door from the second floor now has both stairs and a ramp.

The interior staircase gets the first coat of poly.

The interior staircase gets the first coat of poly.

The Dog Wild sign goes on the front of the building.

The Dog Wild sign goes on the front of the building.

Getting Closer…

Now that the weather has been getting better, we’ve been able to move some things along that had been on hold over the winter. Tallman’s Tree Service was brought in to remove a few more trees around the front of the property to allow us to widen the driveway and increase the sight lines.


Some nice warm days have allowed the exterior of the building to receive the second coat of paint that was needed. And at the end of April the tar pits opened up, which allowed Gifford’s Paving to come in and lay the asphalt down for the driveway and alongside the buildings. Now things are really starting to look good on the outside of the building.


On the inside there is still more finishing work to be done, but quite a bit of progress has been made in the last six weeks. The interior is fully painted, the finish electric has been done, the plumbing is in, the floors are down (thanks Crazy Tom’s) and Ray has been working on the cherry bead board that dresses the checkout counter.


Still on the to do list:

A railing along the side of the building for handicap access.


Interior doors

Checkout countertop

Sealing the floors

Trimming out doors and windows

Baseboard tiling in the front half of the store


And about a dozen other things, but we’re getting there. No move date has been selected yet, but we’re hoping to be able to relocated the store sometime in June. Stay tuned for specifics.

Painting Begins

Drywall, mud and sanding complete, it’s on to the painting. Image

Our friend and neighbor Brett Hernandez of Suburban Painting is bringing his professional skills to the job.


Of Siding and Dry Wall

Siding-in-FrontThe siding on the new store building was finished in February. As you all know, there was a number of days the crew couldn’t work outside due to the extreme cold, but they got it done!

I’m so glad Ray put the first coat of paint on the siding before it went up. It still needs another coat of paint, but even with just one coat it makes it look closer to being finished.

While the outside is starting to look complete, there is still a lot of work to do inside the store. Ray’s been working hard on all the dry wall work. First putting it up, and then mudding and taping and mudding and taping, three coats and then it will be ready for sanding. Ray hates sanding.

Dry-Wall-in-StoreHere’s a couple pictures of the dry wall going into place in the new store. The first photo is of the left side of the store if you are standing at the front door. This is where the dog food section will be. The opening at the back is for the storage room.


The second picture was taken from the front right corner of the store. In this view you can see the register area that will be under the stairs that go up to the upper level.


Siding Goes On

Bill Lamb Construction has been on the job since late December installing the siding on the new store building. This time of year the conditions aren’t always favorable for working outside, so when there’s a good day, they’re out there making the most of it.



Over the last couple days, Ray installed a new, weatherized door for the overnight care entrance. It still needs framed out and finished, but it will be preserving a lot more inside heat than the old, single pane slider door that use to be there.