Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bell Training a Puppy

I was amazed when I met my in-laws dog for the first time and realized that she was trained to ring a bell when she needed to go outside!  We trained our other Lab this way and are now teaching Poca the same.  Its absolutely genius!  The dogs learn this so quickly and it prevents them from whining or scratching or barking because they are easily able to communicate what they need.

We used a plain silver bell on a piece of yarn in the past.  As you can see, it got rusty and the yarn was not the most attractive looking.  This time we got to review a nice set of PoochieBells.  I'm impressed with the quality - the bells are thick and have an adorable paw print stamped on them.  There are several prints and colors to choose from.  We chose bamboo webbing in bark brown.  At first I put it up along with the old bell so that Poca wouldn't be too confused.

The rules of the bell are simple- push the dog's nose up against the bell each time before she goes outside.  Always take her out when she rings the bell.  Even if you think the puppy is just playing, she needs to learn that ringing the bell = going outside.  If you are certain the puppy doesn't need to go out, distract her with a toy or play elsewhere, but if she rings the bell, she goes out.  Using this method, Poca started ringing the bell on her own almost immediately.

One thing to note is that the bamboo bells do not snap around the door handle, while the other styles do.  I ended up slipping the bells through the door handle and kind of tying them on that way.  You can also purchase a super cute little hook to hang PoochieBells on.  The hook would also allow you to hang the bells at just the right height for smaller dogs.

I love this concept and think that every dog should be bell trained!  PoochieBells are a great way to do this.  Poca uses hers regularly.  Another benefit to the bells is that we can take them along when we visit Grandma's house or travel.  Poca then instantly knows where she needs to go out to potty.

Check out the PoochieBells website here; they also offer a variety of other fun products.
Use the code "BlogSpot" for free USPS standard shipping!

Disclosure: I received PoochieBells in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fall Felt Wreath

This fall wreath was inexpensive and easy to put together while the kids were napping today.  Actually it was so easy I made one for Grandma's house as well.  :)

I used these tutorials: big lumpy flower, two colored flower, and this, and the rolled up flowers.  I love them!  Lucy and I are already thinking up plans for a spring wreath with pinks, purples, blues, and greens.

(Grandma's door is actually black.  This second wreath looked really sharp on the darker door, it was too dark for a photo though.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wellness Dog Food Review and Giveaway

I strongly believe that what we eat is the most important factor in maintaining health.  In fact, I'm kind of a "real foodie"  ...a term that means: borderline obsessive about what my family puts in their mouths.  Given a new puppy to feed, of course I did some research.  Combing the internet, reading message boards, and looking at various brands, Wellness Dog Food stood out to me.  I saw them recommended many times over and they have a solid reputation.

Lets take a closer look at their website:

Wellness® Recipes are formulated with wholesome and natural ingredients plus a boost of super nutrients including antioxidants, omega fatty acids, prebiotics and probiotics. And we never use any artificial ingredients, colors, flavors or inexpensive poultry by-product meals.

Wellness foods contain:

  • No Meat By-Products
  • No Rendered Animal Fats
  • No Corn
  • No Dairy or Egg
  • No Soy
  • No Artificial Preservatives
  • No Wheat
  • No Added Sugar
  • No Artificial Flavors, Colors or Dyes

Many of the Wellness brand products are GMO free, and they are working on extending that further.

Reading a dog food label is similar in some ways to reading a human food label, only the decision is really important because this one food is going to be your dog's main source of nutrition!  The first ingredient or two tells a lot, this is what most of the food is made up of.  Meat by-products can be pretty disgusting, depending on where they come from.  As with people food, artificial preservatives, food dyes, and flavors are never a good idea.  Wellness scores well on all these points.

I've not really talked about it on the blog, but our ten year old Chocolate Lab, Leia recently died of some type of cancer.  She had allergies and had to be on prednisone long term, which was terrible for her health.  When we got Poca I commented to my husband that the main thing I could do to keep her healthy was to choose a good food for her.  Spending money on premium food is totally worth it to ensure a healthy dog!

Amazon carries Wellness dog food at a great price.  We've had a large bag of food for four weeks now and I'm sure its going to last us four to five more weeks, even with Poca eating more as she grows.  (Another plus of feeding good food is less bulky stools, as there is less waste for their bodies to process and eliminate.)  We are using the Large Breed Puppy formula which is perfect for Poca's needs.

Wellness also makes some really great dog treats.  Poca has tried the Just for Puppies soft treats and was so excited that she could hardly contain herself to do her tricks.  (sit, stand, down, chase your tail)  They will be great for training sessions when we really want her to work hard.

Poca loves her food and is thriving on it.  I'm happy that we've found such a good choice for her and am impressed at all the thought and care that goes into making Wellness brand foods.  I only wish that feeding my kids were this simple.  ;)

See how Wellness dog food compares to other brands here (and get a $5 coupon).

Wellness is offering one of you coupons (they can be combined) for a total of $50 in Wellness product. They will be shipped to you along with some pet treats.  Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: We received some coupons and puppy treats in exchange for my honest review.  Thanks, Wellness!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Puppy Training Books

We have been enjoying reading though a couple of puppy training books.  Training a dog is so important, and so easy and fun at this young age.  Poca already knows how to sit, stand, lay down (sometimes), ring a bell to go outside, and she's working on coming when called.  I'm excited to teach her more as she grows.

The Puppy Primer came highly recommended on Amazon.  Since it was ten years ago the last time we had a puppy, I needed to brush up on my skills.  I had forgotten how much fun it was to train them!  The Puppy Primer is very well written and covers the basics.  Lucy asked me if she could read this one and while there are no pictures, I think it is easy enough for her to understand.  The Puppy Primer includes information on all of the major topics - socialization, crate training, teaching commands, and more.  I really like the way that it is laid out.  You can work through the book week by week, applying what you have just read before moving on.  Tricks and training topics are taught in order, building on what is covered in previous chapters.  I've read through the book, but am going back to the beginning to work through it step by step with Poca.  Definitely a good resource!

I was happy that my library had this book and grabbed it hoping the girls would read through it.  I needn't have wondered - Lucy was reading it constantly, even while eating her breakfast!  Puppy Training for Kids is an engaging book with plenty of photos.  It covers quite a bit.  Lucy was able to read and understand most of it herself.  I like that it talks about how to read a dog's body language and gives tips for successful interaction with dogs.  This book is a great starter book for kids, but I'm also going to have Lucy read The Puppy Primer for more complete information.  This one is more to get her interested in the topic and learn some basics while The Puppy Primer covers more.  

Is there a good dog training book you recommend?  I'm having fun reading up on this!  :)

Disclaimer: We received The Puppy Primer in exchange for review.  All opinions are my own.