Getting a Puppy at Christmas: Making Life Easy


Welcome to Pumpkin Spice season.  Now that we’ve welcomed fall, most of us are probably thinking past Halloween and into Christmas.  Getting a puppy for Christmas is a huge decision that many families make this time of year.

Many families choose to surprise the kids or significant others for Christmas.  One of the most adorable and longest standing traditions is the puppy under the tree, with a big bow around his neck.

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What To Do When You Don’t Want a Puppy Anymore

When You Don't Want a Puppy Anymore

Many families choose to add a new puppy to the family on, or around, Christmas.  They are so cute, and tiny, and the kids promise to take great care of her.  And then, it happens.  School starts again, and all the help goes out the window.  The kids don’t play with her, she needs housebreaking, and she’s starting to chew up everything you own.  You’re starting to think you don’t want a puppy anymore.

Before giving up and finding a new home for your puppy, try these 5 steps to reconnect with why you purchased your puppy.

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The Novice Guide to Dog Shows (Or, How to Not Be Rude.)

I remember my first dog show.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  Frankly, I don’t even remember how I heard about it.  Needless to say, I was floored.  Looking back, I wish I read some sort of novice guide to dog shows, because I cringe when I think about the early years.

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How to Keep Chocolate Toxicity from Killing Your Dog

Last week, we talked about things that can hurt your dog during the holidays.  With the holidays fast approaching, your home probably has much more chocolate in the cupboards than normal, with more coming in just a few weeks.  Chocolate toxicity is a real danger to dogs, especially small breeds who don’t have enough body mass to metabolize the chocolate before it kills them.

Luckily, most times a dog eats chocolate, it’s both large enough to metabolize the chocolate safely (since it’s harder for small dogs to get on the counters or in the cupboard), and it’s diluted as milk chocolate.  I’m going to walk you through the steps to take if your dog does eat chocolate, and how serious the situation may become.

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9 Things That Can Kill Your Dog This Holiday Season

9 Things that Can Kill Your Dog This Holiday Season

The holidays are, in my opinion, the best time of year.  You get to see your family, even those from far away.  The food is amazing.  I have a cousin who bakes the most amazing cookies, and dozens of kinds.  She uses my grandmother’s recipes as well as her own, and it’s amazing.  And everyone else makes their own specialty, so it’s all the family favorites at the table.  I also work in retail, and love that the store is crazy-busy, and the customers are stressed but perfectly happy to stand in long lines.

But this season is dangerous for your pets.  Many foods that we enjoy can kill dogs.  Guests inadvertently leave the door open, and dogs escape.  Hot kitchens lead to spills, and winter weather approaches.  Use these tips to keep your dog safe this holiday season.

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A Step-by-Step Guide for Picking a Puppy

Guide for picking a puppy

I love writing about puppies.  I started writing to help families have great relationships with their pets, and a new puppy is always the beginning of a fantastic relationship.  Picking a puppy, the right puppy, gives the relationship the best foundation possible.  This guide for picking a puppy walks through the steps to pick the best puppy for your family out of a litter.

Some families choose a rescue puppy, and gamble a bit more than families that choose a breeder puppy.  My advice differs depending on where you find your puppy, but should lead your family true.

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Why You Should Discover Your Dog’s Genetic Heritage

Genetic testing isn’t just for breeders.  Pet owners–even those with mixed-bred dogs–can learn valuable information with a simple DNA test.  While responsible breeders are often early adopters of genetic testing, pet owners should participate in the process as well.  Genetic tests tell everyone more about the health of their pets–and knowledge is power.

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Why Kids Need Pets

Many families choose to get a pet to teach the kids “responsibility.”  In the end, the “responsibility” for the pet falls on Mom or Dad, with a bit of resentment on the parents’ part.

Kids need pets for many reasons, not just to teach responsibility.  Pets provide huge emotional outlets, improve the health of the family, and might even help your child earn better grades in school.  Barring allergies, most kids do better with a well-cared for pet in the house than without.

Why Your Kid Needs a Pet

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Why Neutering Your Dog Makes Him Happier

After being involved in animals for over twenty years, I recognize that in the United States, we have a huge problem with unneutered pets.  The problem isn’t just that they aren’t neutered–it’s that their owners don’t understand the consequences of having an intact dog.

I’m not talking about the pet overpopulation problem.  Neutering all male dogs would affect the overpopulation problem, but many other valid reasons exist to neuter.

Most pet owners I’ve talked to about neutering feel that their dog “deserves love” or “should get some” or, if male, unconsciously reach in the general direction of their crotch, thinking about having things cut off.  The fact that a product called Neuticles even exist tells us a lot about the human element.

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Best Dog Breeds for Families with Kids

Today I want to talk about the very best dog breeds for families with kids.  It’s pretty easy to decide to get a dog–but a lot harder to pick the perfect breed for your family.

I took several factors into account on this list.  Each breed’s temperament will shine in a family setting.  Most of these breeds would be thrilled to join someone on a morning jog.

I also looked at trainability.  While not every breed on the list tops the charts, all five breeds work for food, praise, or play.  Most members of all these breeds easily graduate basic obedience courses.

I also list pros and cons for each breed.  While they all make great family pets, each breed’s unique characteristics require consideration.

Ready to see them?  Here we go!

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How to Find a Reputable Dog Breeder

When I first started wanting to show dogs, I had absolutely no idea where to start. I had the Internet, and the Internet said “find a reputable breeder and a mentor,” but that’s like a mechanic telling you to “just change the flux capacitator” as though you have a clue where to find it.

Lots of puppy-buying articles tell you the same thing: find a reputable breeder. What is a reputable breeder, and where do you find one? Let’s go over the basics, and after following these steps, it should be easy to identify a good breeder.

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Why Your Pet Needs a Microchip

why your pet needs a microchip

The first time I read about microchips, I thought the ethical implications were … questionable.  However, I luckily learned about the more widespread use of the microchip:  to identify animals.

All pets need a microchip.  Microchips identify which pet belongs to who at a shelter, and help locate your lost pet.  Even if your pets aren’t lost, knowing that all strays should be scanned can help you find the owner of that cute little stray that just appeared in your yard.

Read on to learn more about microchips, and how they help keep your pets safe.

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Ultimate New Puppy Shopping List

I remember the very first day I brought Rusty home.  Rusty, my second Labrador, was the first dog I’d acquired as a puppy.  Bridget, my older, very naughty girl, was seven months old when I bought her with my life savings.  So Rusty was an incredibly different experience.  I was lucky–his breeder, my good friend, gave me a master list of things that I’d need on-hand when he came home.  This is my personal new puppy shopping list, with a few changes.

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Disaster Planning: The Dog Bug-Out Bag

This past week, I’ve spent a bunch of time watching the weather channel.  For some reason, they kept predicting thunderstorms in the afternoon.  I think, overall, it rained for about five minutes, and I didn’t see any thunder or lightening.

While I watched, I noticed several areas of the country with major weather incidents.  Tornadoes.  Tropical storm-like things that weren’t going to turn into hurricanes, but would cause bigger thunderstorms than we see here in Michigan.  And I thought about disaster planning.

What would I take for my pets, and what would I leave behind?  If I built a bug out bag, what would I put in it?  Here’s my list of things I would take for my pets if I had to evacuate.

Disaster Planning:  Dog Bug Out Bag Essentials

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Puppy Training: Teaching a Puppy to Come

You’ve got a new puppy, and you know that it’s super important that he comes to you when you call him, no matter what.  You’ve had dogs before, but none of them had a rock-solid recall, and you want this puppy to be different.  Puppy training is actually really easy! Here’s my top tips and tricks for getting that perfect recall.

The Recall - Teaching Your Dog to Come Every Single Time

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