An Easy Halloween Costume With Dog Safe Paint


Skeleton Dog With Dog Safe PaintI admit it. I shamelessly copied Bryn Anderson and her dog Nixe’s incredible Halloween costume idea. And since Haley already has the triangular shapes around her eyes from her naturally graying face, it just seems like it was meant to be. She’s going to be a skeleton dog for Halloween this year! But don’t let my lack of creatively stop you. Design your own canine creation for Halloween (or any occasion) with this dog safe paint from Dollipop Cosmetics on Etsy.

Dog Safe Paint From Dollipop Cosmetics

Dog Safe Paint From Dollipop Cosmetics

The paint is a non-toxic mineral powder that you mix with water, coconut oil or pet-safe gel. Just mix it up and paint any design on your dog’s fur. It’s perfect for pups that don’t like wearing traditional Halloween costumes. I mixed the white mineral color with a gel, then used a large paint brush to spread on the color. Haley’s not quite as patient as Nixe with the whole process, so my design was anatomically and artistically flawed, but the gel dried nicely and the color stayed in place well. The mineral paint comes in different colors and you can also request a custom order made specifically for your pet.

Halloween DogThanks again to Bryn and Dollipop Cosmetics for creative inspiration and dog safe paint products and be sure to check out these 10 Halloween tips for your pup.

Do you plan on dressing up your pet this Halloween? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Skeleton Dog With Dog Safe Paint

Dog Drive Types – An Outdated Theory?


Dog Drive Types - An Outdated Theory?Have you ever heard someone say their dog has a strong prey drive and wondered what they meant? After reading a lot about dog drive types, I understand why some dog trainers and behaviorists rely on them to motivate their client’s dogs. But just how useful are they? Can they really help you better understand and train your dog? First, let me explain what drive types are.

There are three basic canine drive types that make up a dog’s personality, character or temperament, so to speak. Although some theories further break down the three types, they are the motivators that cause a dog to respond instinctively in different situations.

Dogs inherit all three drive types and act on them at different times, but one or two drives may be stronger or more dominant, depending on the dog and breed. Here’s a breakdown of the three drive types.

The 3 Basic Dog Drive Types

1. Prey Drive
This drive is associated with tracking, stalking or hunting prey and also the killing and eating of prey. Along with using their sense of smell, vision and hearing, chasing moving objects is a big trigger for dogs with high prey drives. Some other behaviors related to prey drive are: pouncing, jumping, shaking, tearing or ripping things apart, digging, burying objects, stealing food, enjoying chasing games (and tug-of-war) and high-pitched barking.

2. Pack Drive
Dogs with a strong pack drive are very social and enjoy interacting with humans and other dogs. They like playing, being petted and being groomed. They’re typically easier to train because they enjoy working with people and they easily interpret our body language and cues. They’re good at following the rules and they also follow you around the house. The pack drive is also related to mating and reproductive behaviors.

3. Defense Drive
The defense drive is all about survival. It’s broken down into two self-preservation types, fight and flight.

  • Fight Drive – This drive is observed in dogs that some people might call dominant, but most of these characteristics show up after a dog reaches sexual maturity. Dogs with a high fight drive are confident, standing erect and often staring down people and other dogs. They may guard their food, toys, family or territory. They enjoy challenging games such as tug-of-war more than being petted or groomed. A dog with raised hackles from the shoulders and up the neck are displaying this type of drive.

  • Flight Drive – The flight drive is seen in dogs that are often characterized as submissive or fearful and it’s a common trait seen in younger dogs. They display a lack of confidence with their body language and actions. Dogs with high flight drives may freeze, cower, rollover to expose their belly, run away, tuck their tail between their legs or even urinate when stressed or when greeting strangers or new dogs. A dog in flight drive may also have raised hackles, but from the shoulder area going back towards the tail. It’s interesting that many dog bite injuries come from fearful or insecure dogs with high flight drives.
Dog Personalities

Are Drive Types Really That Useful?

Some trainers and behaviorists base their training methods on drive types and they tailor the training to the particular drive of a dog. That makes sense. After all, if you understand what motivates a dog, it’s easier to work with their nature or personality. Trainers will also attempt to decrease a particular drive that might be counterproductive in certain types of training or situations.

Others argue that the theory of drive types is outdated and understanding dog behavior is much more complicated than breaking down their personality or instinctual tendencies into a few simple groups. That also makes sense. Most dogs display strength in all three of these drives depending on the circumstances. Dog behavior can also evolve over time and can change depending on the environment, as well as the people and dogs they spend time with.

What’s Your Dog’s Drive Type?

You can probably guess your dog’s drive type from the descriptions above, but if you need a little help, try taking this Canine Psychometric Test from K9 Magazine. I took the test and it confirmed my thoughts about Haley. She has a strong pack drive, medium-high prey drive and low flight defense drive. When she was younger though, she had a much higher flight defense drive.

I think it’s interesting to learn about dog drive types and they help explain a lot about dog behavior, but I do feel they’re probably overly simplistic and outdated. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my fellow bloggers, it’s the fact that every dog is different and you can’t train or explain dog behavior with a single theory or method. What do you think? Leave a comment below! Dog Drive Types - An Outdated Theory?

14 Things Your Dog Hates


14 Things Your Dog HatesWe all know that most dogs hate fireworks, baths, vet visits, and dressing up for Halloween. But here are some other things your dog hates that might not be as obvious to you. Could you be irritating your dog and not even know it? How many of these things do you do?

14 Things Your Dog Hates

1. Hugs
Child Hugging a Dog

Photo by GlitterandFrills / CC BY 2.0

Even though we humans like hugs, most dogs don’t. They may tolerant them if they trust you, but many dogs feel threatened when hugged. They might turn their heads away, lick their lips, struggle to get away or even lash out aggressively. Stick to belly rubs if you want to show affection. It’s especially important to teach young children not to hug dogs.

2. Yelling
Dogs don’t understand why you’re raising your voice and will only feel intimidated by loud vocal reprimands. Instead of yelling, put that energy into training your pup and you’ll both be much happier. Another good reason not to yell at your dog is, they’ll eventually ignore you and if you need to yell at them one day to get their attention in an emergency situation, it won’t be effective. I shouldn’t need to say this, but you should also never hit or be physically abusive to your dog. Sadly, we’ve all seen it happen.

3. Face or Head Touching
Touching a Dog's Face

Photo by Eli Christman / CC BY 2.0

I’m not sure why we humans tend to pet or pat dogs on the head or get right in their faces, but they really don’t like it. Just imagine how you would feel if someone approached you and started touching your face or bonking you on top of your head. Yep, that’s pretty much how dogs feel too. They prefer to be petted on their chests or backs instead.

4. Inconsistency
Dogs like routine and they also like to know what the rules are and what’s expected of them. They’re big on the concept of fairness and can get confused or frustrated when a behavior is allowed one day and chastised the next. If you’re not consistent in how you treat your dog, they may lose trust in you or ignore you completely. Be fair and consistent with the rules and ask all family members to do the same.

5. Boredom
If you put yourself in your dog’s paws, you might realize just how boring their day might be. Are you providing enough exercise, mental stimulation and playtime? A bored dog with excess energy may become a destructive dog as they create their own form of entertainment. Make sure daily walks don’t become boring by ensuring your pooch has time to sniff around and explore interesting scents. Don’t always follow the same route on daily walks; switch things up by walking in different locations or try some hiking trails. Challenge your dog by training new commands or find interesting activities for them.
Bored Dog

Photo by Markus / CC BY-ND 2.0

6. Too Much Talk
We all talk to our dogs, but rambling and baby talk can be irritating to them. Maybe it’s similar to how we feel when listening to someone speaking in a foreign language or when a dog barks endlessly for no apparent reason. Dogs prefer clear hand signals, gestures or reading our body language over trying to decipher our words. I’ve actually seen a few people try to logically reason with their dogs verbally, as if they could possibly understand complex sentences and concepts. Too much talk or repeatedly shouting commands will cause your dog to ignore you.

7. Being Alone
Dogs are social animals, so being alone can be stressful for them. Whether they’re left alone in the home all day or isolated from the family by being kept outside, they’re sure to get lonely. There’s a reason dogs go a little nuts when you ask “Do you want to go for a ride?”. They want to be with us and they love exploring new environments. Take your pup along with you when you can!

8. Intense Eye Contact
Dog With a Hard Stare

Photo by Ty Konzak / CC BY 2.0

We find it intimidating or threatening when someone stares at us too long or gets in our face. Dogs feel the same way. If you use direct eye contact or stare at a dog when greeting them for the first time, it could be perceived as a threat and may provoke an aggressive response. Avert your gaze and turn your body slightly sideways (away from the dog) for a less threatening posture.

9. Being Pressured
If your pup is uncomfortable in any situation, look for ways to reduce the pressure. Don’t force your dog to play with other dogs when they’re resistant and never force a dog to face their fears, which will likely be counterproductive. If a dog doesn’t seem receptive to meet you, give them some space to approach if and when they’re ready.
Pressuring a Dog

Photo by kellinahandbasket / CC BY 2.0

10. Bad Moods
It’s stressful being around someone when they’re upset or angry, right? Our dogs feel the same way. They sense the tension and it generates a certain level of stress within them too. We obviously can’t avoid getting annoyed or agitated once in a while, but if it causes a noticeable negative effect on your dog, it’s time to work on relaxation or de-stressing techniques. You and your dog will both be healthier!

11. Tight Leashes
Tension on the leash creates tension in the dog. Tight leashes can definitely have an adverse effect on our dog’s behavior. It can cause frustration and anxiety, especially if you’re constantly pulling back or sideways in attempt to get your dog under control. I absolutely know how frustrating it is to train your dog to walk on a loose leash (I’m talking about you Haley!) but it’s an important technique to keep working on, since it can prevent your dog from becoming defensive or reactive when on leash. Remember to keep the leash slack when your pup’s meeting another dog so they don’t feel tense or trapped.
Dogs Greeting With Tight Leashes

Photo by State Farm / CC BY 2.0

12. Offensive Aromas
Since a dog’s sense of smell is so much stronger than ours, certain aromas can be overwhelming to them. Unfortunately those nasty things they discover in the yard and like to roll around in aren’t offensive to dogs, but strong fragrances, cleaning products and other household sprays do irritate them. Avoid spraying anything directly on your dog, especially around their face.
13. Teasing
Child Teasing a Dog

Photo by Donnie Ray Jones / CC BY 2.0

Light teasing during playtime is fine, as long as it’s not excessive or too frustrating for your pooch. Mean-spirited teasing for human amusement isn’t fine or funny. This is usually more of an issue with kids that might not realize that pulling a dog’s tail, ears, or poking them could provoke a dog to react aggressively.

14. Being Woken Up
We like to wake up gradually and dogs feel the same way. Remember the adage “Let sleeping dogs lie”? Suddenly jolting a dog from their sleep is like being startled by an obnoxious, blaring alarm clock. A common dog bite scenario happens when a young child suddenly touches or grabs a sleeping dog, especially if the dog is a little older. Keep an eye on the little ones and teach older children to respect sleeping dogs and allow them to wake up on their own.

Sometimes it’s not all that obvious to us humans when our pups are annoyed. They may tolerate some of these things, but they might not be happy about it. I’m guilty of giving Haley hugs and sometimes I balance a treat on her nose, even though I know she doesn’t like it. It’s a good thing that most dogs are pretty tolerant of our antics!

Did I miss any of the things your dog hates? Share them in the comments below! 14 Things Your Dog Hates

How to Train Your Door-Dashing Dog


How to Train Your Door-Dashing DogIf you have a Houdini dog that manages to slip out anytime a door is opened or your pup practically knocks you over while trying to squeeze past you to get outside, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to train your door-dashing dog! Just make sure your pooch knows the Sit command and is fully housebroken before you get started. Ready? Just follow these simple steps!

How to Train Your Door-Dashing Dog

When your dog wants to go outside, give the Sit command while he’s near the door.
After he sits, say “Wait” then slowly open the door just an inch, making sure he doesn’t push his way through.
If his butt leaves the ground, close the door and wait for him to sit again.
Repeat opening the door just an inch until he stays in the sitting position while it’s open.
Give your dog a release command, such as “Okay!”, then fully open the door and allow him to proceed outside.

Continue practicing the steps above while opening the door an inch more each time until he remains sitting when the door is fully open.

Need Some Tips?

  • Don’t grab your dog’s collar to hold them back. The goal is for your dog to learn self control in order to get what they want.
  • If you live in an area where it could be dangerous for your dog if they slip out unexpectedly, use a long leash while training.
  • Combine the Wait command with a hand signal, like using your open palm as a stop sign gesture.
  • You can also use the Stay command when asking your dog to wait, but I tend to use Stay when I want Haley to remain in place for longer periods of time.
  • For determined door dashers, you may need to step into the space between them and the door opening in order to help them settle into a sitting position.
  • Make sure all family members participate in the training and reinforce good door manners.
  • Some doors might be more exciting than others and may require extra training time for your pooch.
  • Be patient. The more times a dog has experienced the self-rewarding behavior of escaping through an open door, the longer it may take to train new door manners.

Next, Build on Your Dog’s Good Door Manners!

  • Once your dog masters sitting before being released through an open door, wait until he looks at you before giving the release command.
  • Have your pup wait to be released once you open his crate door.
  • Train your dog to wait before exiting from an open car door.
  • Practice on all types of doors and in different locations, such as at other people’s houses, stores or the gates at dog parks.
  • Once your dog understands the Wait command and hand gesture, try using them in other situations when you want your dog to pause momentarily before moving forward.

Most dogs will learn these manners quickly because they’re motivated to figure out how to get what they want. The freedom and adventure to explore what awaits on the other side of the door is a powerful enticement. Intact dogs and certain breeds of dogs may be more tenacious about wanting to explore the outside world, but for any dog that struggles with developing the self control to wait patiently, try to ensure they have plenty of other mental stimulation and physical exercise during the day.

Dog Door MannersEven if your dog is not inclined to slip out and engage you in a game of Catch Me if You Can, training proper door manners will ensure your pup stays safe. Roaming dogs can get into all kinds of trouble, from getting lost or stolen to getting injured or ingesting harmful substances. But wait! There’s one last bonus to training doggie door manners; you’ll actually enjoy having your next house full of guests instead of worrying the entire time about someone accidentally letting your dog slip outside.

Have you had success in training a door-dashing dog? Leave a comment and share your tips and tricks!

How to Train Your Door-Dashing Dog

The Coolest Dogs Are San Francisco Dogs!


The Coolest Dogs Are San Francisco DogsI know, I know — there are cool canines all over the United States and across the globe, but there’s something quite unique about San Francisco dogs. Maybe it’s the vibe of the city itself or the sheer number of dog lovers and their pooches that reside there, but it’s true — the coolest dogs live in San Francisco!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since my very first blog post, Keeping San Francisco Dog Friendly, which I wrote after visiting my son and daughter-in-law in the City by the Bay. I LOVE it when they send new SF pup pics my way, so I thought I would share these gems from Brandon and Colleen.

Check Out These Cool San Francisco Dogs

Bulldog in San Francisco

This is my kind of store greeter!

Dog Riding Motorcycle

Could this little guy be heading home from a day at the office?

Dog With a Great Smile

You just gotta love this sweet face and smile!

Dog in Motorcycle Sidecar

Here’s one cool, crusin’ canine!

Even the Street-Art Dogs are Cool

I’m pretty sure all of these works of art were adapted or created by street artist, fnnch. The original pavement signage had a lab-type dog to remind people to keep their dogs on a leash.

Dog Street Art

Street artist fnnch created these fun signage adaptations

Dog Street Art

The balloon dog is your favorite. Am I right?

Dog Street Art

Snoopy wins as my favorite between these four

I Love My Dog

There’s no doubt about it, San Francisco people love their dogs!

Want More?

In case you missed the slideshow from my very first post (lets face it, everyone missed my very first post, lol), here you go. Enjoy!

What do you think? Are San Francisco dogs the coolest? Prove me wrong by uploading your pup’s hip pic in the comment section below and I’ll display it here.

Your Cool Pup Pics!

Barbara, Buzz and Missy

Barbara, Buzz and Missy from K9s Over Coffee – All looking cool in DC!