5 Safety Rules to Protect Your Pup This Holiday Season

A lot changes in your household during the holiday season…

  • Visitors come and go
  • New decor is placed around your home
  • Different food dishes are often prepared

…and while all these things might be normal to you, they can be really confusing (and stressful!) to your pup!

As we are just days away from celebrating the holidays, it’s more important than ever to set safety rules in your home regarding you dog!

What rules do you need to put in place to keep your pup safe? Keep reading to find out…

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Rule #1 – Set Boundaries on How People Interact With Your Dog

Some dogs want nothing more than to be surrounded by people who will pet and play with them. For other dogs, the thought of being in a room full of strange people is overwhelming and unnerving.

You know your dog best, so it’s your job as a pet parent to set boundaries around how your dog is interacted with.

If you have a dog who becomes nervous, cranky, or scared around people, it’s vital that you take precautions to protect your pet. Sadly, unnecessary fear and stress can cause your pup to lash out, and possibly even hurt someone as your dog is simply trying to protect himself.

Here are a few ways you can do this…

  1. Tell houseguests to ignore your pup. This works well if you have a dog who isn’t very reactive but who still needs to be left alone. Adults are better at following this rule, so if you have a houseful of kids coming to stay with you setting this rule might not be an option.
  2. Provide a safe, quiet place for your dog. I believe it’s best to never risk an accident occurring with a nervous dog, so this option is my favorite. If you’re having people over, set your pet up in a safe place (like a bedroom) where no one will bother him.

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Rule #2 – Set Guidelines on What Your Pet is Allowed to Eat

Most people have the best intentions when they go to throw your pup a treat from the dinner table. But there are many reasons why you should clearly communicate what your dog can/can’t eat to everyone who gathers around your table.

First and foremost, there are a lot of dangerous foods that can make dogs really sick. For example, chocolate can kill dogs—something that someone who is not a dog owner might not know! Or if someone throws your dog a chicken leg with the bone in it, your pup can end up with a punctured stomach or intestinal blockage.

If you’re going to allow people to give your dog treats, make a list of the foods your dog is allowed to have, such as sweet potatoes, green beans, or turkey off the bone.

Second, you may not want your dog eating people food at all—and that’s totally ok. It’s possible that your dog is overweight or has a food sensitivity. In these types of scenarios it’s important to make sure everyone knows it’s NOT ok to feed your dog and that he is on a strict diet.

Finally, you might be in the midst of training your dog and allow him to eat scraps from people at the table could be disruptive to learning proper meal time manners. After all, bad habits (such as putting a nose on the table or begging for food) can be hard to break.

Once again, in this type of situation, it’s ok to make an announcement to ensure everyone knows NOT to feed your dog.

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Rule #3 – Say No to Guests Bringing Pets if Your Dog Doesn’t Like Other Animals

Most hosts try to be as accommodating as possible when friends and family travel for the holidays. Sometimes this means saying yes to a family bringing their cat/dog with them as they travel.

If your dog is friendly with animals, then by all means it’s ok to bring new animals into your home—as long as you introduce your pets safely and keep a watchful eye on how they interact.

However, if your dog doesn’t do well with other animals, it’s important to just say no to four legged house visitors.

The reason is simple: Your pets safety and wellness needs to be your first priority. Noone wants to deal with an injury (or even death) of a pet that could have been prevented.

Not to mention…it’s very stressful having to constantly separate animals and keep a watchful eye on them. It’s just not worth the risk and hassle.

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Rule #4 – Set Up Safety Precautions Around Home Decor

Twinkling lights and traditional poinsettia plants are beautiful household decorations. However, these decor items (and many others in your home) can put your pet at risk.

It’s important to set rules in your home about what types of decor you believe are safe according to your pups personality.

For example…

If you have a dog that chews things, poisonous plants and strings of Christmas lights would not be safe options. Instead, consider decorating areas of your home that are not accessible to your pet, such as your counter spaces of mantle place.

(Be aware: amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the most poisonous holiday house plants!)

If you do set out decor, always remember to unplug your lights, secure your Christmas tree, and remove breakable objects from where you pup can reach them in order to avoid an accident.

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Rule #5 – It’s Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

Yes…this may sound like a very vague rule. But I truly believe that when it comes to traveling, friends/family, food, decor, and everything else, it’s ALWAYS better to be safe than to be sorry.

In fact, I applaud all dog owners who go above and beyond to ensure their pets stay happy and healthy during the holidays—and all year long!

So what do I mean by this rule?

I simply mean that you should go with your gut instincts and do whatever it is that you need to do to ensure your pup is protected—whether it be limiting your decor or setting strict boundaries with friends and family members.

Much like a new parent of a baby would set rules for their child, you have every right to set rules for your furbaby—so don’t feel guilty about it! Even if you feel like you’re being a little over protective.

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Going the Extra Mile for Your Pet this Season

There’s a lot you can do to set your pup up for success during the holiday season. By far, the best thing you can do is to put a solid training foundation in place for your dog.

Doing so can help your pup safe in a variety of ways…such as mastering self-control so your dog doesn’t jump on the counter to eat your cookies or ensuring your dog stays relaxed and calm when new people enter your home.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your pooch this season, I want to recommend my program, The Dog Calming Code.

This program has helped me train over 37,000 dogs, and I guarantee it will help teach your pup how to calm down, relax, and listen when it matters most.

Check it out here!

Or, if you currently have a puppy, I suggest my Puppy Coach training program that is geared towards younger dogs.

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Here’s to a safe and happy season,

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan 🙂

Food Aggression: Why Some Dogs Feel the Need to Aggressively Protect Their Dinner

Food aggression is a dangerous behavioral issue that often results in accidental injuries to both humans and other household pets.

The worst part…

While this type of behavioral issue is often found in dogs who have been rescued from neglectful situations, the behavior also pops up frequently in dogs who don’t have a proper training foundation.

So, what causes food aggression and what can you do to ensure your pup doesn’t develop this dangerous behavior?

Keep reading to find out…

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What Is Food Aggression?

Food aggression is simply the act of a dog aggressively lashing out toward a human or another animal when food is present.

The behavioral aspects of food aggression may include…

  • Growling if you/an animal gets too close to your dog’s food bowl.
  • Stalking you for food.
  • Biting, attacking, or lashing out at humans/other animals who come between your dog and his food.
  • Guarding food even when they are not eating it.

There are varying levels of food aggression behavioral issues—from growling to biting—but all should be taken seriously.

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Why Dogs Have Food Aggression

Often serious food aggression is found in dogs who have been rescued from neglectful situations.

The reason: dogs who have been neglected have to fight to survive.

Sadly, when a “fight or die” instinct has been triggered, a dog will do almost anything to ensure he doesn’t lose out on his next meal.

You can’t blame the dog for this.

If you and your family were starving and a loaf of bread was to suddenly appear on the street in the midst of several other hungry families, I’m sure you’d do your best to grab the bread and fight off others who were trying to take it from you.

However, another very common but least understood reason a dog might be aggressive towards food is that he believes he is the boss and in charge.

The more your dog thinks that he is in charge, the more he will feel like he controls the food. Often eating before everyone else, including you!

This behavior comes from nature when dogs were wilder in packs and still exists in the wolf pack to this day. The wolves that are the strongest determine who eats what and when—usually eating first and or feeding their young.

Being a dog person, I always find it amusing when I see humans at the dinner table serving any ‘visitors’ first. This is because they are the ‘important people’ and so the person in charge of the food decides to feed them first!

If your dog has this mentality that ‘they are in charge’ there’s a good chance that he won’t take kindly toward someone potentially taking some of his food away or getting in the way of his eating!

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How to Put an End to Dangerous Food Aggression Behaviors

Food aggression is a very serious issue that must be addressed in your home—especially if you have small children or other pets.

Here are a few ways you can help your dog relax when it comes to food so he doesn’t feel the need to vigorously protect his meals

Technique #1- Stick to a Feeding Schedule

Believe it or not, a routine is important for dogs.

This is especially true if you have a dog that’s recently come out of a neglectful situation.

Dogs are incredibly smart, so they are able to key in on patterns.

For example, most dogs have a general idea of when it’s time to go out in the morning, when it’s walk time, and when their owners will be coming home from work every day.

It’s almost like a sixth sense.

For that reason, it’s no surprise that your dog will also key into breakfast and dinner time routines if you keep them on schedule.

Pick a time every day to feed your pup and stay consistent.

Doing so and sticking to a routine will help your pup get rid of some anxiety toward mealtimes.

I once worked at a doggy daycare with a huge pack of dogs. One day a dog named ‘Demo’ whom I loved very much turned up out of sorts and I couldn’t work out why. He had no energy and seemed very grumpy, in the afternoon he got into a fight. When his owners picked him up I asked them if anything different had happened to him. They replied… ‘Oh, we forgot to feed him this morning!’

I am sure this was a contributing factor! In our family, when we are hungry and become angry we call it “hangry.” And I believe it’s the same with dogs…A dog with a full belly is a happy dog!

Technique #2 – Supplement Your Dog’s Diet throughout the Day

It’s very important to monitor how much your dog eats every day so he doesn’t gain too much weight.

That being said, if your dog has stress-or anxiety-related food aggression issues, supplementing his meals so he knows he will be continually fed might help.

The logic behind this is simple…

You keep your dog’s belly full so he doesn’t stress about food. At the same time, your dog will learn to look to you for food and will associate you with food in a positive way.

In order to do this in a healthy way, I recommend you break your dog’s normal-sized breakfast and dinner into 4-6 smaller meals. The other trick you can use if you use dry food is to soak it overnight so it swells to a much larger volume. This gives your dog the perception that there is a lot more food being offered and they feel fuller.

Doing this will ensure you are able to feed your pup multiple times a day without overfeeding him. The food you give your dog or puppy could also simply be rewards that you give them during training throughout the day.

Once your dog gets comfortable and understands you’ll provide food for him every day, you can cut back on the number of mini meals you give him and get back on to a normal feeding schedule.

Technique #3 – Training the sit and wait command

Training your dog or puppy to sit and wait for their food calms their mind and their body.

Here’s a short video showing you how you can do this with younger puppies. It’s taken from inside ‘Project Moses’ the video diary of my puppy Moses when he was 14 weeks of age.

Technique #4 – Avoid leaving food down

One of the biggest mistakes that I see is people leaving dogs food down. There are a number of reasons that this is not a good idea.

First, leaving food down attracts flies and other unwanted animals and pests, never mind the smell that can be produced in warmer weather!

Second, dogs digestive systems are not designed like grazing animals such as cows who eat slowly all day long. Rather they are animals who eat much larger meals quickly a couple of times each day. (Pups can often eat up to 4 or 5 times a day when very young)

Third, by leaving food down, which your dog is not eating, you give your dog the wrong message. You tell your dog that they are in charge. This produces a dog who is far more likely to make their own decisions, ignore you and even tell you off if they don’t agree with you…so watch out!

If your dog is not eating the food, pick it up.

Technique #5 – Establish yourself as the provider

This final technique is the most important—establishing yourself as the one in charge and the provider. This part is crucial as dogs who think they are in charge are always going to try to control the food in unpredictable ways…

As we talked about earlier, many dogs have food aggression issues simply because they believe they are the “pack leaders” or put another way, the ones in charge.

If a dog has this mindset, it’s more likely they’ll get cranky and lash out if they think someone is trying to steal his meal.

The good news…

It’s easy to establish yourself as the leader in a kind, gentle way. It simply just takes a little time and patience.

One of the easiest ways to reassure your dog that you are the provider is to always eat your meals first before you feed your dog.

You can even eat a little bit of your food over your dog’s food bowl to show him you’re the one that gets to eat first—you’re the one in charge.

It might feel silly, but your dog will understand the point you are making.

Making sure your dog understands that you are the provider isn’t usually that hard. It just takes some understanding and patience. Once you get this bit in place, everything else falls into place…

It’s something I’ve helped tens of thousands of people establish with their dogs and it’s what I am totally passionate about because it changes the whole relationship you have with your dog for the better.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out The Dog Calming Code.

In this program, I’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to establish yourself as the one in charge or the decision maker. The knock on effect of this is that your dog will relax and focus on you so much more resulting in a more responsive dog who is easier to train!

Or, if you currently have a puppy, you can begin setting a solid foundation with my Puppy Coach training program.

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Next Steps to Helping Resolve Your Dog’s Food Aggression Issues

Food aggression is a very serious issue that can result in serious injury to other dogs and people.

If your dog exhibits any signs of food aggression, be sure to…

1. Put a comprehensive training program in place—like The Dog Calming Code.
2. Keep kids and other pets away from your dog while he eats.
3. Ensure your dog feels safe while eating meals.

How do you help your dog feel safe while eating?

I’ve put together a [thrive_2step id=’11938′]FREE guide[/thrive_2step] on 3 ways you can help your dog feel safe during mealtimes.

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↓Download the FREE guide here!↓

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Best wishes as you work with your pup.

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Cheers,

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan 🙂

Should I Get Rid of My Dog? What to Do If Your Dog Bites

Dogs—while they are amazing, beautiful, wonderful creatures—are animals.

And, anytime you’re spending time with an animal, there’s the potential for something to go wrong.

Thankfully, over decades and decades of breeding and training, our pups have become so domesticated that they are mostly lovers, not fighters.

However, there are many factors such as…

  • Age
  • Training level
  • Anxiety
  • Past experiences
  • DNA
  • Health and well-being
  • Fears and triggers

…that might cause a dog to break character, lash out, and bite.

That leads us to the age-old question—what do you do if your dog bites you or someone else?

I’m going to answer that question. However, before I give my full opinion, it’s important that we talk about why dogs bite and dog safety.

Let’s jump in…

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Why Do Dogs Bite People?

Dogs are supposed to be delightful family members. In fact, for years. most of them have been bred to exhibit family-friendly personality traits.

That being said, there are several factors that can contribute to a dog taking on unusually aggressive traits. Here’s an overview of a few of the main ones…

#1 Poor Socialization

Sadly, one of the biggest reasons dogs become aggressive is due to poor socialization.

While I know you would never abuse your dog, it’s possible that, if you’ve rescued a pup, he may have had a difficult past.

In fact, a lot of rescue animals have had a tough start to life…

  • Some have been beaten.
  • Many have gone hungry.
  • Some may have even been used as fighting or guard dogs.

However, many more have simply been neglected and have not been provided with the socialization they need with people.

I don’t say this to scare you away from adopting a rescue.

Most rescue pups are delightful animals who become wonderful family members. But, some dogs will need patience and time to build confidence.

That being said, it’s important to see if you can get info on a dog’s history to make sure he will be a good fit for your family.

These pups who need socialization need time and patience to familiarize themselves with all of the strange things that we understand…

Things such as umbrellas, big loud voices, funny looks hats, little kids who run around all day, and everything else that we take for granted!

Given that time to adjust, they can become the most loyal of dogs, just like any other.

#2 Old Age

The older people get, the less nonsense they seem to tolerate. The same can be true with dogs.

It’s possible that you’ve owned a dog for a really long time—a dog who has been tolerant of loud noises, busy households, and kids. Then, suddenly, your dog snaps without warning.

As dogs get older, some naturally tend to become grumpier.

If you want to build in tolerance so your dog remains a more chilled-out dog and less stressed, then check out my program The Dog Calming Code — which will do just that.

(Or, if you have a puppy you can start building a solid foundation now to prevent these issues from occurring in the first place with my Puppy Coach training program.)

And, if you already have an older, grumpy dog, it’s essential that you keep an eye on kids or strangers who spend time around your pup to make sure they don’t try to wind him up.

#3 Sickness

When dogs are sick or in pain, they often want to be left alone.

And, if they are bothered, they may resort to biting as an attempt to protect themselves.

If your friendly dog suddenly becomes aggressive, a trip to the vet might be in order.

#4 Poor Training

If a dog has never been trained NOT to bite as a puppy, there’s a good chance that he will continue to bite as an adult.

This is why investing in dog training is so important.

Finding a comprehensive training program that helps you put an end to any mouthing of you or your clothing at an early age is very important. My suggestion is that all mouthing should stop around 16 weeks of age.

If you currently have a puppy at home, I encourage you to get started with my Puppy Coach training program right away!

#5 Human Error

While all 4 reasons we’ve discussed so far are true reasons why dogs bite, the biggest reason has to be human error.

You see, most dogs have no desire to bite until they are provoked.

Sometimes dogs give us warning signs that they are annoyed. For example, if a little kid is pulling on a dog’s tail, a dog may snarl as a warning.

Other times, it’s not as easy to tell.

For example, a mama dog might be protecting puppies that you’re not aware of.

This is one of those tricky examples of a time when a dog might bite in regards to fear, rather than aggression.

Anytime you’re around a dog, it’s important to pay attention to body language.

Understanding what a dog is communicating with his tail, heckles, teeth, and body stance is a good way to prevent being bitten by accident.

#6 Overexcited

Dogs, like people, can easily become overexcited.

Maybe your dog gets over excited when he is chasing a ball, barking at the fence, or when food is about to be served.

Sometimes, when people get excited and when our adrenaline is pumping, we do or say things that we regret.

Dogs are no different!

So, the calmer your dog can remain, the less of a chance there is of your dog accidentally snapping!

If you are struggling with an overexcited dog, then again my program The Dog Calming Code is undoubtedly going to help.

#7 Protecting and Fear

The biggest reason of all that dogs bite is that they are protecting something or they are fearful of something.

Our world can be a strange place for dogs and much of what goes on they do NOT understand.

Is the UPS guy delivering flowers welcome or not? How can your dog know…

So, a lot of what will help your dog is showing him that you have got it all under control and are in fact in charge.

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My Dog Bit Someone…Now What?

Now that we’ve covered the reasons that dogs bite, it’s time to answer the age-old question…what do I do now?

Before I begin, I want to make it clear that every dog and every situation that led up to a dog biting is different.

As a dog owner, it’s your job to determine the best course of action as to what needs to happen to keep yourself and your friends/family safe.

That being said, here are my thoughts…

“Inside every dog is a Good Dog”

First and foremost, I believe that almost all dogs—regardless of their history—have the potential to be good dogs. They may never be the most friendly and interactive dogs. However, they certainly can be trained not to be seriously aggressive to people without provocation.

And so, while biting is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly, there are things you can do to correct the behavior.

If your dog has bitten someone, your first step should be to hire a professional dog trainer or find some appropriate training.

An experienced dog handler may be able to help you uncover the reason behind why your dog became aggressive and can help you put training in place to ensure it never happens again.

Without training, the issue will not get better. So please take things seriously and get help sooner rather than later for the sake of both you and your dog.

At the same time, I would fully recommend you check out The Dog Calming Code because this is what I share with every single client that I work with and it’s been remarkably successful.

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Always Err on the Side of Caution and Safety

No matter how great your dog is, biting should always be taken seriously.

After all, if your dog has bitten once, he has the potential to do it again.

While you’re getting the help you need in terms of training, there are a few safety precautions I advise you put in place to keep everyone safe—especially if you have kids or other people who come in and out of your home.

This is what I recommend…

  1. Use a humane muzzle: Muzzles are a great tool that can be used to keep people and other pets safe from a dog who bites. To see what humane muzzles I recommend, click here to check out my guide to muzzles.
  2. Use a short leash: When taking your dog for a walk or anywhere in public, ensure he is kept on a short leash so he can’t get too close to people. If in doubt simply turn and walk away.
  3. Use a crate: If you have people coming to your home to visit, crate your pup. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. There is no need to have your pup or dog running around just because there are friends over.

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Be Prepared to Put Your Dog’s Needs before Your Own

After a dog bites someone, it’s possible that tough decisions may have to be made about your pup.

While I believe it’s important to try to keep training your dog in your own home, you may also feel the need to consider the following…

I personally am a huge fan of ‘No Kill Shelters’, shelters that are based on the belief that all dogs can be saved with the correct set up in place such as https://bestfriends.org/

  1. Rehoming your dog: I hate the idea of having to rehome dogs. However, there are some circumstances in which it might be necessary—and even beneficial—for your dog. For example, if your dog hates noise and you have 3 screaming kids under the age of 5, then it may not be the ideal match. If you must consider rehoming your dog, do your best to find a close friend or family member who can help instead of dumping your dog at a shelter. That way, you can always visit and lend a hand.
  2. Putting Your Dog Down: Before putting your dog down, I can’t encourage you enough to give my Dog Calming Code program a try. With a 60-day money-back guarantee, I really don’t mind if you check it out and then decide it was not for you if it doesn’t work out. That said, if your dog really has become aggressive due to illness or old age, biting might be a sign that he can no longer deal with the pain and stress of life anymore. Although this is very rare, I personally would only consider this to be the situation if a vet believes it to be the right thing to do due to a physical issue. While it’s never easy to say goodbye, we have the ability to give our dogs the gift of a peaceful passing.

If you’re struggling with a challenging dog, it’s important to know you’re not alone.

Dogs are amazing animals, but they require a lot of love, training, and patience to reach their full potential.

If you’re considering giving your dog away, I want to encourage you to put that thought on hold and, instead, download a FREE copy of my guide [thrive_2step id=’11661′]5 Things You Can Do Today to Make Dog Ownership Easier. [/thrive_2step]

[thrive_2step id=’11661′]Get your FREE guide here![/thrive_2step]

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Follow through on the recommendations I provide in my guide, and I assure you things with your dog will get better.

Here’s to many safe, happy, and healthy years with your dog.

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Cheers,

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan 🙂

7 Winter Safety Myths about Dogs You Shouldn’t Believe

During the summer months, there’s a lot of talk about the dangers of leaving your dogs out in the summer heat.

However, once winter rolls around, people don’t seem to be as concerned about the temperatures.

Of course, it’s common for people to remind dog owners to bring their pups indoors overnight when the weather drops below freezing. But, other than that, there’s not much to worry about, right?

Wrong.

Sadly, there are a lot of myths about winter weather and dog safety, so today I want to talk about 7 things you simply shouldn’t believe in order to keep your dog safe.

Have you mistakenly believed any of the following myths?

Find out now…

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Myth #1 – Fur Protects All Dogs from Cold Weather

All dogs originate from wild dogs. And wild dogs don’t have homes to keep warm in during the winter.

Therefore, all dogs have good enough fur coats to safely stay warm in the winter, right?

The answer is no.

Our dogs’ ancestors were equipped to live in cold-weather climates. And some dogs (such as huskies) are still genetically designed to have fur coats that will keep them warm in harsh climates.

That being said, a large majority of the pet dogs we have now have been bred to have less hair and simply can’t thrive in cold weather anymore.

Some dogs, such as Brittany Spaniels or Chihuahuas, don’t even have a double coat anymore. This puts them at high risk for getting ill or even dying if they are left out in the cold for too long.

If you have a dog that you plan on leaving outside full-time during the winter, you better make sure he is a breed that is designed for cold weather.

Furthermore, even if your dog has the right fur type to live outside in the cold, it’s vital that you provide your pup with a doghouse or some form of shelter he can use to get out of the rain, snow, and wind.

In the wild, a warm den protects wild dogs from freezing to death. Your pup needs the same setup to ensure his safety.

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Myth #2 – Dogs Can’t Get Fleas/Ticks in the Winter

A shocking number of people stop using flea and tick meds in the winter to save some money.

After all, it makes sense as most bugs die in the winter, right?

Sadly, this is a very common misconception. In fact, as the temperatures start to drop, bugs often seek refuge in your home to stay warm. And, whether you realize it or not, they can still be lurking around your home, looking for a food source—a.k.a. your dog.

Yes, the likelihood that your dog will get fleas or ticks certainly drops during the winter.

But cold temperatures don’t automatically protect your pet.

To ensure your dog doesn’t end up sick due to ticks and fleas, I recommend you keep an eye on your dog year-round.

If you have reservations about the treatment and want to minimize the usage or save money, then I understand. That’s why I fully recommend you consider using a flea bomb. These bombs will actually kill the flea eggs that are not on your dog and will break the cycle, meaning that you are safe from fleas for longer.

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Myth #3 – Dogs Don’t Need Paw Protection for Walks in the Snow

Before we leave the house, we put on shoes. The reason: We need to protect our feet.

However, we don’t often give much thought to our pups’ feet when we take our dogs out of the house because their paws are designed to go barefoot.

For this reason, the idea of putting boots on your dog when it snows might not ever cross your mind.

And, honestly, is it really even necessary?

The answer is yes and no.

Think of it like this…

In the winter, people wear gloves to keep their fingers from getting cold. So if you’re out for a long walk or to play in the snow, you’d put your gloves on to keep your hands warm and safe.

On the flip side, if you’re simply running out for a minute to grab the mail, you probably wouldn’t put gloves on because your hands won’t be exposed to the cold for long.

The same logic applies to dog breeds that aren’t designed to go out in the snow.

If you’re letting your dog out to go pee, it’s probably not necessary for you to protect his feet.

However, if you’re taking your dog on a long walk through the woods and the ground is snowy and cold, doggy boots are important.

While dogs have tough paw pads, some are susceptible to frostbite and should be protected just like you’d wear gloves to protect your fingers.

If your dog spends a lot of time outside in the snow but isn’t built for cold weather, it might be a good idea to invest in a pair of dog booties. You can find them in any pet store!

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Myth #4 – It’s Safe for Dogs to Eat Snow

Snow is just solidified rain water, so it’s totally safe for your dog to eat it, right?

The answer to this question really depends on where you live.

If you live in the suburbs or city, it can actually be very dangerous for your dog to eat snow.

The reason: Snow plows and ice trucks often dump dangerous chemicals on the roads to keep them from icing over. These chemicals can then spill over into the snow and make your dog extremely sick if he ingests it.

If you live out in the country where the roads aren’t treated with chemicals, then it’s typically safe for your dog to eat the snow. Just ensure it’s clean snow and there’s no trash hidden in it!

And don’t forget…moderation is key!

In a nutshell…be aware of your surroundings, and use your best judgment. A bowl of clean water is always the best and safest option for your pup.

If your dog really loves eating frozen treats, spoil him with one of these popsicle recipes.

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Myth #5 – You Can Leave Your Dog in a Car during the Winter Because It’s Not Hot

Last but not least, a lot of people think it’s okay to leave a dog in a car during the winter months because it’s no longer hot outside.

There are a few flaws in that logic.

First, just because it’s not hot out doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t hot.

All cars are like little mini-greenhouses. As the day goes on, the sun has the power to warm your car up. And depending on the outside temperature, the solar heat in your car can definitely reach temps that aren’t safe for your pup.

Second, it’s possible that it could get too cold in your car—especially on a cloudy day.

If your heat is not running and you leave your dog out in your car for too long, he might get dangerously cold.

Finally, cars aren’t always the safest places for dogs, regardless of the temperature. For example, someone could easily steal your pup from your car, or your dog could get into something that could hurt him when left alone.

If you’re running a quick errand like dropping a check off at the bank, then your pup should be fine in your car. However, if you’re going to be away from your dog for more than 15 minutes or if you are going to be parked in the full sunshine, it’s best to just leave your dog at home.

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Myth #6 – Dogs Can Be Left Outdoors As Long As They Are in a Kennel

Leaving your dog outside without protection is bad. But leaving a dog outside in freezing weather with access to a kennel is okay, right?

Well…the answer is sort of yes and no.

There are some thick-coated dogs, such as huskies, that can be left outside as long as they have a place where they can get out of the rain/wind/snow.

However, there are also tons of other breeds—like Chihuahuas or Labs—that just don’t have the right coat types for staying warm in freezing temperatures.

Also, do your research, and talk to your vet before leaving your dog outside overnight—even if you have a kennel.

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Myth #7 – Dogs Only Need a Blanket on the Floor to Stay Warm and Comfortable

Yes, there are some dogs that have thick coats and prefer sleeping on hard, cold surfaces such as hardwood floors or tile.

However, many—if not most—dogs would prefer a comfy, cozy dog bed.

Why?

First, a thick dog bed can help keep a dog warm and cozy on freezing days.

Second, much like humans, cold weather can cause a dog’s joint pain to flare up or make a dog more stiff. For this reason, it’s nice to give a dog the option to lay somewhere soft and warm up.

Personally, my dogs love cozying up with a warm alpaca blanket.

Take a peek below at where my dogs sleep!

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCR3L1VVBrs&feature=youtu.be[/responsive_video][blank_space height=’1em’]

While a blanket is better than nothing, a dog bed is always a nice treat for dogs who want to stay warm and cozy in the winter—especially if you don’t let your dog on the furniture.

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Not sure if your dog is having a hard time with the cold or not?

I put together a FREE guide to help dog owners out this winter and to keep dogs safe.

[thrive_2step id=’11523′]↓Download my FREE guide “3 Signs Your Dog Is Too Cold” here↓

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So, how did you do? Have you ever fallen for one of the common winter myths above?

Let me know in the comments below!

Oh, and if you know any other myths that we didn’t talk about in this blog, I’d love to hear about them. Leave your myth for me to read in the comments below as well.

Well…I hope you learned a thing or two today that will help keep your dog safe and warm this season.

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Enjoy the snow,

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan 🙂

Dog Safety: What to Do If You Encounter an Aggressive Dog

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year.

Out of those 4.7 million bites, 800,000 of them result in the need for medical care.

According to these statistics, 1 out of every 69 people in the US has been bitten by a dog at least once in his or her life.

It’s likely that these statistics are shocking to you—especially if you own a laid-back, family-friendly dog who likes nothing more than to have his belly rubbed by strangers.

Yet, any time you’re around an animal—whether it be your happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever or your neighbor’s yappy Chihuahua—there’s the potential for an unexpected accident to happen.

As humans, we tend to blame the animal for any bite or scratch we may encounter. And sometimes—due to age, illness, or instinct—a dog may be completely at fault for an injury.

However, it usually takes two to tango.

And as a dog trainer, I know that there are hundreds, probably thousands, of dog attacks that never would have taken place if the humans involved in the accident knew how to handle the situation or read the warning signs sooner.

For that reason, I want to discuss a few safety tips specifically regarding what you should do if you ever find yourself in the path of an aggressive dog.

It’s my hope that you can use these skills to keep both yourself, and the dog at play, safe.

Here’s what you need to know…

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Tip #1 – Avoid Confrontation at All Costs

Imagine you’re walking down the street and, just down the road, you see a gang of rough-and-tumble men looking for a fight.

Unless you’re Chuck Norris, it’s unlikely you’re going to continue to walk down the street and put yourself in the middle of an unwanted situation.

Instead, you might…

  • Turn around and go home until it’s safe to try again.
  • Cross over to the other side of the street, away from trouble.
  • Pick an alternative route that steers you clear from harm’s path.

The same logic should be applied if you come across an aggressive dog or a dog that intimidates you.

If you are far enough away from the animal, reconsider your route, and do your best to put as much distance between yourself and the dog as possible.

If you’re close to the dog, avoid eye contact, and mind your own business.

Eye contact can be seen as a threat and can often cause a dog to become aggressive as he feels the need to prove his dominance.

And, of course, it’s important to refocus your energy.

If you’re not looking for a fight and don’t put that kind of energy out there, you generally won’t get a fight.

Remember, dogs are very keen on picking up on your energy.

Remain claim, avoid eye contact, and make it clear that you have no desire to intrude on the dog’s territory; and he will likely leave you alone.

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Tip #2 – Be Smart about Confrontation If You Have No Other Choice

While not being confrontational is the best choice, you may find yourself in a situation where you have no other option but to stand your ground.

If you are certain that a dog coming toward you is going to keep moving near you and if this is the only choice you have, remember that confidence is key.

You need to do whatever you can to make the dog you’ve encountered think that you are bigger, stronger, and fiercer than he is.

For instance, clapping and making a lot of noise while staring at the dog might actually scare him.

To illustrate this point, check out this cool video below on how 3 men are able to scare off a pack of lions and steal their meat.

(Of course, I NEVER advise you to try anything like this. However, it’s amazing to watch how 3 guys can use body language to take nearly an entire antelope off a pack of lions.)

BBC – Men stealing meat from lions

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBpu4DAvwI8&feature=youtu.be[/responsive_video][blank_space height=’1em’]

Note: If you fast forward to 2 minutes and 45 seconds, the narrator will discuss the importance of confidence in situations like this.

The bottom line is that if you have no other choice, you’ve got to do everything in your power to prove you are not intimidated and are the more powerful “animal” in the situation.

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Tip #3 – Use Things around You for Protection

If you feel a dog is about to lunge at you, use objects around you for protection.

For example, if you are wearing a backpack, take it off, and use it as a “shield.” A dog is way more likely to bite a bag you hold out to block with than you.

If you’re outside, grab a big stick. More than likely the dog will choose to latch on to the stick instead of your arm or leg.

Climb a playset…

Use a metal trash can as a barricade…

Or climb a tree.

Use everything you can at your disposal to redirect a dog’s bite.

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Tip #4 – Think Like a Dog

Most dogs aren’t aggressive for the sake of being mean or nasty.

In fact, an aggressive dog typically has an obvious reason as to why he’s acting in a defensive manner.

For example, the dog you come in contact with might be scared.

Think for a moment…are you trespassing on that dog’s property? Or might you be near something he’s trying to protect, such as a bone or puppies?

If this is the case, backing away from the dog slowly and picking a new path to take might be the solution to avoiding a dog attack.

Or maybe the dog you’ve come across is hungry.

Once again, this is a very logical reason a dog might be aggressive toward you.

If you have any snacks in your backpack or purse, it might make sense to throw them for the dog in order to put space between the both of you.

If this is the reason the dog is being aggressive, he will be much more likely to go after the food than you.

It’s not always easy to approach this type of situation in a calm manner. But if you’re able to take a minute to think about the reason behind why a dog might be aggressively approaching you, you might be able to find a solution to the problem that doesn’t end in violence.

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Tip #5 – Be Prepared to Fight for Your Life

As a dog lover, I would never recommend that hurting an animal is the solution to any problem.

That being said, there are incredibly rare circumstances where you need to be prepared to fight back in order to save your life or a child’s life.

If you’re being attacked by a dog, it’s vital that you fight back.

You can do this in several ways.

The first option is to physically fight back by holding the dog’s mouth away from you.

Do your best to use your body weight to secure the dog so he is unable to harm you until you’re able to get yourself to safety.

A dog’s ears and nose are very sensitive. If you’ve been bitten or a dog has bitten down on you (or a child) and won’t let go, pinch the dog’s nose. This will usually elicit a response for the dog to let go.

Second, if you live in an area where there are a lot of stray dogs roaming around, it’s a good idea to carry some form of pepper spray when you are out. The same type can be used on both humans and animals.

I prefer this option because it’s a more humane way to ensure the dog you come in contact with doesn’t get seriously injured.

Because dogs have such sensitive noses, I can almost guarantee that an aggressive dog would be turned off by the use of such a spray.

Last but not least, carry a high-pitched whistle that dogs don’t care for.

If you’ve got a dog moving toward you, a few blows into your dog whistle is often enough to discourage a dog from continuing to attack. Problem solved!

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The Bottom Line on Encountering Aggressive Dogs

At the end of the day, it’s important to understand that dogs can be unpredictable and that it’s always vital to exercise caution when encountering a dog you don’t know.

While I hope these few tips I’ve shared would be useful in the event of an emergency, I can’t guarantee that they will always be 100% effective all the time.

The best way to ensure your safety is to always be prepared for an emergency and take practical steps to protect yourself, such as…

  • Carrying pepper spray.
  • Walking in groups when in an unfamiliar territory.
  • Avoiding stray dogs, no matter how inviting they seem.

Most important, if you have a dog that has aggressive tendencies, it’s your responsibility to…

  • Invest in proper training—check out my new program The Dog Calming Code, which will take the bite out of your dog’s behavior.If you have a puppy, my Puppy Coach training program is also a great way to set a solid foundation for your pup.
  • Provide a secure, fenced-in living space for him where he’s contained and can’t get loose.
  • Place a safe and humane muzzle on him if you have people visiting your home.

While the chances of you encountering an aggressive dog are pretty slim, I want you to be prepared for any situation you might come across.

For that reason, I’ve developed a FREE guide that will help you identify whether a dog you’re around is aggressive or not.

To learn more about a dog’s body language and how you can ensure you don’t provoke a grumpy dog,…

[thrive_2step id=’10893′]↓ Download the Guide here for FREE! ↓[blank_space height=’1em’]

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Cheers,
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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan

Doggy Dan’s Dog Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

The holiday season has officially arrived!

And while it’s often a joyous and fun season for us humans, it can also be a stressful and dangerous time of year for our canine companions.

This year, I wanted to ensure that both you and your dog are able to enjoy the holidays. So, I’ve decided to put together a post for you that covers a variety of different struggles or dangers your dog might encounter this season, along with the solutions of how to keep your dog safe.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the meat and potatoes of how to keep your dog safe during the holiday season…

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #1 – Manage Dog Anxiety

A lot of craziness happens during the holidays. Families travel, people have house-guests over for parties, and normal routines are often changed.

Unfortunately, all this change, excitement, and exposure to new people can really stress your dog out, making him unusually anxious.

And when dogs are anxious, they may exhibit signs of…

  • Illness (vomiting, excessive scratching, stomach pain)
  • Aggression
  • Fearful behavior

To help keep your dog calm amongst the chaos, I recommend using my Calm Freeze technique as soon as your dog starts showing signs of anxiety.

Here’s a video that explains how to use the technique…

Dogs scared of fireworks

[responsive_video type=’youtube’ hide_related=’1′ hide_logo=’1′ hide_controls=’0′ hide_title=’1′ hide_fullscreen=’0′ autoplay=’0′]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKjhzffab1A&feature=youtu.be[/responsive_video]

Of course, there are also going to be times when you’re in the middle of holiday festivities and can’t stop to perform the Calm Freeze.

For instance, if you’re hosting a holiday party and entertaining guests, you may not be able to stop what you are doing to help your dog settle down. During times like these, I recommend…

  1. Setting your dog up in a safe space—Sometimes the best way to help your dog relax is by taking him out of the situation that’s causing him stress and putting him in a safe, comfortable space. For some dogs, this might mean being locked in a crate with a soft blanket and a toy. For other dogs, shutting them in a quiet room with a cozy place to sleep is also a good option. That’s right−there is nothing wrong with letting them sit the whole thing out!
  2. Exercising your dog more frequently—Occasionally anxiety pops up due to a dog having too much energy. If you know you’ll be traveling or having people over at your house, be sure to get your dog out on a long walk or a take him to run at the park. This will help lower his anxiety levels.
  3. Monitoring your own energy—Dogs are fantastic at picking up on our energy. If you’re stressed out and anxious, it’s likely that your dog will also become stressed out and anxious. Relax, do some deep breathing exercises, and see how that helps settle your anxious dog down.

If your dog gets really wound up, I invite you to check out my program called The Dog Calming Code. This program will provide you with all the training tools you need to get your dog to relax and listen when it matters most!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #2 – Protect Your Dog from Dangerous Holiday Food

One of the best parts of the holidays is the food. And I bet your dog would agree!

That being said, there are so many things that we eat during the holidays that are incredibly dangerous for dogs. Not only could many holiday foods make your dog very sick, but certain foods are lethal.

Here’s a list of some very dangerous foods that people traditionally cook or bake with that you need to watch out for this year…

  1. Chocolate
  2. Grapes
  3. Raisins
  4. Turkey/Chicken Bones (these are a choking hazard)
  5. Onions
  6. Alcoholic Beverages
  7. Nutmeg
  8. Peanut Butter Made with Xylitol
  9. Walnuts
  10. Garlic

Avoid these ingredients, and feed your dog this instead!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #3 – Protect Your Dog from Dangerous Holiday Plants

There’s nothing more beautiful than a display of poinsettias or boughs of holly over the mantelpiece. However, for a dog, these decorations can be deadly.

If you have a dog in your home, I strongly advise against setting up any decorations this year that include the following plants…

  1. Poinsettias—The chemicals in a poinsettia plant cause mouth and throat irritation, along with upset stomach and vomiting. When consumed in large quantities, these plants are lethal to dogs.
  2. Holly Plants—Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
  3. Mistletoe—Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. There are also varieties of mistletoe that can cause kidney failure if ingested.
  4. Christmas Trees (Pine Trees)—Christmas trees themselves are perfectly safe for pets. However, if you water your tree, this is where they get dangerous. Tree water often collects bacteria and can cause your dog to have an upset stomach and diarrhoea. If you have a tree, just make sure your dog can’t reach the water the tree sits in.

Note: If you must have one—or all—of these plants in your home this time of year, make sure they are high and out of reach from your pets. Or better yet, go for fake plants that are safe and can be used every year!

Don’t Forget: If you have a dog that is a chewer, the easiest approach to get him to stop that unwanted behavior is to redirect him onto something he is allowed to chew rather than trying to stop the chewing completely!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #4 – Choose Your Holiday Decor Wisely

Twinkling lights, cinnamon-scented candles, and sparkly tinsel are all lovely and festive decor options for the holiday season. That being said, I want to urge you to use caution when putting out your decor.

Here’s why…

Candles:
If you have high-energy dogs that love to run around and occasionally knock things over, I’d forgo setting out burning candles. One accident and your pup could accidently set your house in flames.

For those of you that love candles and don’t want to go without them, be sure to place them on high places, like a kitchen table or mantelpiece where they can’t get knocked over.

You can also purchase flameless candles at the store which are a safe option.

Tinsel:
As for tinsel, if you have a dog who likes to taste test your decor, I suggest you stay far away from this shiny decoration. Tinsel comes in long, plasticky strands. And when ingested, it can easily get caught going through your dog’s digestive tract. This can cause internal blockages, organ damage, and death.

Strands of Lights:
Most dogs won’t bother a strand of lights—especially if they are wound around a Christmas tree or are used to decorate the exterior of your home.

That being said, some dogs—especially puppies—have been known to chew on strands of lights that plug into the wall. If you have a new puppy, or a dog that loves to chew cords, make sure your light strands are off the ground where they can’t be reached.

(Struggling with naughty puppy behavior? Check out my Puppy Coach training program here!

Dog Holiday Safety Tip #5 – Be Cautious of What People Gift Your Dog

Many dogs receive gifts during the holidays. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!

However, it is important that you monitor what people are giving your dog.

It’s the same as having a small child. You wouldn’t want Uncle Bob to give Little Timmy a blow torch for fun, much like you wouldn’t want Aunt Jane to give your dog a cookie filled with dangerous ingredients.

A lot of times, people—especially people who don’t own dogs—think they are doing something nice by bringing your pet a gift. But, unfortunately, the gifts dogs receive aren’t always healthy or safe.

What is a good, safe gift to give your dog this year? I’m so glad you asked!

I’ve put together a sheet I like to call “Doggy Dan’s Ultimate Gift-Giving Guide for Dog’s.”

In this guide, I share my recommendations for gifts I know your dog will love. Best of all, the guide is completely FREE! All you have to do is download it below.

[blank_space height=’0em’][thrive_2step id=’8187′][thrive_link color=’red’ link=” target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Download Doggy Dan’s Ultimate Gift Giving Guide for Dogs here![/thrive_link][/thrive_2step]

I wish both you and your dog a wonderful holiday season.

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan

The Big Fix Uganda: Amazing Dog Names Inspired by Real Stories

Jack, Molly, Bella, Max…we all know these common dog names. In the western world, it turns out that a lot of the time we are not that original when it comes to naming our dogs! (I have a dog named Jack!)

But, it’s not the same way everywhere in the world.

In fact, in Africa, the majority of all dog names have huge meanings and they tell a story. It’s amazing!

I first discovered the importance of naming a dog when I was looking for a charity in Uganda to support. I came across a rescue called The Big Fix Uganda and instantly noticed that all of the dogs on their website have stories associated with their very unique names.

So today, I want to dive deeper into how all these dogs are named because I think you too will find it fascinating—as well as share some photos and stories about several dogs at the rescue. But first I want to talk a little bit about The Big Fix Uganda that we are supporting.

The Big Fix Uganda

Since 2012,The Big Fix Uganda has been devoted to improving the lives of people and animals in the economically impoverished region of Northern Uganda.

Because animals and people live in close proximity, diseases such as rabies and conditions such as parasite infestation are a threat to both animals and people. And the health and well-being of people are directly linked to the health and well-being of their animals. ​

In order to protect communities, and keep both people and animals healthy, The Big Fix Uganda provides the following services…

  • Animal Birth Control: The organization will spay/neuter dogs and cats. They also trap, neuter, and return feral cats to the wild.
  • Animal Health and Wellness: The Big Fix Uganda provides vaccinations against rabies and parvovirus, deworming, tick and flea treatment, treatment of wounds and injuries, and removal of cancerous tumors.
  • Education and Engagement: Through radio broadcasts, school visits, and one-on-one training with animal guardians, The Big Fix Uganda teaches people about the importance of being kind to animals, how to prevent diseases, and how to groom and care for animals.
  • Cruelty Investigations: Education and intervention are provided when needed to ensure people are in compliance with Uganda’s anti-cruelty laws.
  • Animal Assisted Interventions: The Big Fix Uganda provides dog companionship programs as part of psycho-social rehabilitation for war survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Everything The Big Fix Uganda does is all about dogs and people who need help both connecting and coming together in a beautiful way.

The people of Uganda have often gone through a lot of trauma—men and women who have been the victims of war and been both physically and psychologically damaged. The lack of trust, respect, and love has left them wondering where any hope can come from, and there’s a difficulty to trust other humans.

At the same time, the dogs in Uganda have been found on the streets, usually in bad condition, but still have a strong will to live. Once taken into the program, the dogs are given medical care, attention, and lots of love.

From here they put on a training program and then matched up with a suitable guardian. These men and women, the victims of war, are then given the opportunity of creating that amazing relationship with these dogs.

The people of Uganda who are partnered with these dogs are now given a sense of purpose. They learn to connect and discover the true meaning of trust, respect, and love through these amazing dogs.

The Big Fix Uganda

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This project is run by Sarah Schmidt, and it’s done on a tiny budget in the middle of Africa. So, I decided that this is the charity that we’re going to be sponsoring with the new intake of students into The Dog Trainer Academy.

If you have any interest in supporting The Big Fix Uganda, while also getting the tools, resources, and knowledge you need to become a successful dog trainer, I encourage you to check out The Dog Trainer Academy now.

A portion of the tuition from every student who joins will go toward sponsoring the rescue of a dog and providing medical care, training, and rehoming of the dog the student is matched with for a year. It’s an honor to be able to help out.

Now onto the super fun part! Let’s meet some dogs and take a look at their names…

Meet the Dogs from The Big Fix Uganda

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Iroba Nono (You aggress me for nothing)

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In January 2017, we placed this big, hairy but healthy dog (pictured above) with a man named Owit John. John named the dog “Iroba Nono” which means “You aggress me for nothing.”

It was a sentiment that both John and Iroba could share. Since returning from forced service in the rebel army after abduction, John was stigmatized by his community and fell into a deep depression that is common of war trauma survivors.

Shortly after training began, we all wondered if we had made a mistake selecting Iroba Nono for the program. He was a handful–very energetic and strong–and more interested in doing what he wanted than taking training classes.

After life on a chain, the last thing Iroba Nono wanted to do was stand still.

We asked John if we should pair him with another dog, but John quickly said no—he was already committed to Iroba Nono and would not give up on him.

In June, John and Iroba Nono left everyone speechless as they completed all 10 obedience tests flawlessly.

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Watmon (Relatives cannot forgive)

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Watmon lived under harsh conditions in Rom Village where his caretaker had 4 other dogs–all bigger than Watmon. When small amounts of food were offered to the dogs, the larger dogs would attack Watmon, and he would have nothing to eat. Our CDP Dog Recruitment Officer reported, “Watmon felt out of place.” The caretaker requested that we take Watmon because he was suffering living with all the other dogs at the place. He now gets all the food (and love!) he needs and, as you can see, is a very happy boy!

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Bitum (Nothing is permanent)

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In November 2016, the Comfort Dog Project guardians rescued the dog pictured above who was found nearly dead. Sometime before they found her, she had been clubbed in the hips by thieves during the night, and she was left unable to walk. Her open wounds were literally rotting, and she was covered with maggots.

Her guardians no longer wanted her.

At The BIG FIX Dog Hospital, this poor dog wasn’t expected to live. Fortunately, she did live, earning the name “Survivor” from the hospital staff.
Survivor was just a lovely dog, and as soon as she was healthy, she became part of the CDP Program and was adopted by Paul, a war trauma survivor. She helped her new owner, Paul, recover from his disabling PTSD symptoms.

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Agonya II (Take Comfort)

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Agonya II is named after the first Agonya who was tragically killed in February 2017. Poisoning was suspected, but investigation by the police and an autopsy confirmed Agonya had been kicked by a cow during the night and died from internal injuries.
Agonya II was a stray dog living near the police barracks in Gulu who had befriended police officers who tried to feed her. They contacted The BIG FIX to request help for her.

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Petaga (I am not shaken by whatever you do)

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Petaga had lived in a home with 5 dogs, all of whom had been used for hunting.

After getting her muzzle caught in a snare trap, she was thought to be a poor hunting dog and no longer worthy of feeding. She was relinquished by the family after our CDP heard about her situation and requested that she be donated to our program.

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Gifty (given this name because she was considered a gift from God)

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Gifty was abandoned as a puppy at the BIG FIX Dog Hospital. She was so weak she could not stand up and had mixed infections.

After she recovered and regained her health, she was fostered by one of our CDP guardians until she was ready for placement with her permanent guardian. She is presently in training.

So, there you go… it’s amazing how many lives (both human and animal) that The Big Fix Uganda has been able to save on a shoestring budget. Every single dollar certainly counts.

If you have a heart for helping dogs in need and are looking for somewhere to donate to, I urge you to visit The Big Fix Uganda to see how you can help!

Visit The Big Fix Uganda website here.

Thanks for reading, and today let’s be grateful for all that we do have.

And just for fun, I thought you might get a kick out of seeing some of the most popular dog names from around the world. Was your dog’s name inspired by another culture? Find out by downloading the FREE list of names now!

[thrive_2step id=’7855′][thrive_link color=’orange’ link=” target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]Click here to get a FREE list of popular dog names from all over the world.[/thrive_link][/thrive_2step]

Take care, and love to you and your pack 🙂

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan

P.S. If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it so that it may find its way into the hands of people able to contribute to this amazing cause.

Is it Cruel to Dress Up Your Dog for Halloween?

Halloween is just around the corner, and pet shops are full of adorable doggy costumes.

From the traditional hot dog costume to monsters, superheroes, and everything in between, it’s hard to resist picking up an outfit for your dog to wear.

You might get a kick out of taking pics (and posting them) of your beloved pup dressed as a ladybug. Or can’t wait to parade Fido around the neighborhood in a Batman costume…

But, here’s the age-old question…is it cruel to dress up your dog for Halloween?

Here are my thoughts…

First of all, every dog is different.

Out of my four dogs, a couple of them would probably enjoy getting dressed up in a costume.

For instance, my dog Inka really loves any attention. Put a little bow in her hair or put a jacket on her and she gets all excited when you smile and fuss over her. She jumps around, is silly, and she really loves it.

That being said, I know some of my other dogs wouldn’t like it so much and would probably try and chew the outfit off as soon as you got them dressed.

It all comes down to preference. Some people love ballet while some people are more into rough and tumble sports like football.

There’s nothing wrong with either activity or person, they are just very different.

When you’re deciding whether to dress your dog in a costume, keep the above analogy in mind.

If you put your dog in an outfit and his tail goes between his legs and he looks fearful, he clearly doesn’t enjoy it, so you should remove the costume.

Just like if you put a kid in a ballet class and she hated it, you would take her out of the class.

So, how do you know for sure if your dog is stressed out and not happy to be in a costume? Here’s some easy-to-spot warning signs…

Warning Signs that Your Dog is Stressed Out Due to Being in a Costume

  1. Tail Between Legs—A tail between a dog’s legs is a definite sign that he is unhappy and stressed out.
  2. Panting—Heavy panting is a sign of anxiety and feeling stressed and is similar to having a panic attack. If your dog is panting and it’s not hot weather and your dog is not running around then think twice about if they are relaxed.
  3. Biting or Snapping—Even the friendliest, most well-behaved dog can quickly go from gentle and sweet to biting and snapping if he feels uncomfortable and stressed out.
  4. Being Unable to Move—Most dogs aren’t used to wearing clothes, which means a full body outfit can make them feel as if they are paralyzed. If your dog refuses to move while in a costume, he is stressed out.
  5. Chewing Costume/Rubbing on the Floor—Trying to take off a costume by chewing on it or running it off is a definite sign that your dog is not happy.
  6. Whining/Whimpering—Whining and whimpering is a dog’s equivalent to crying. If your dog is crying only while in a costume, clearly he is upset or distressed.

If you dog shows ANY of the signs listed above while in a costume, I advise that you remove him from the costume immediately.

He is not happy, and the stress of being in a costume can quickly lead him to turn to unusual behaviors like biting and becoming aggressive.

However, if your dog doesn’t show any of the signs above, there’s a good chance that she really doesn’t mind being in a costume. If this is the case, there’s certainly nothing cruel about keeping her dressed up.

Just be sure to keep an eye on her behavior throughout the night.

If at any point the costume does become too much for her, please do the responsible thing and take it off immediately.

Now that you know the signs of whether it’s ok to dress your dog in a costume or not, I think it’s important that we talk about costume safety. Check out these tips…

Safety Tips for Dog Halloween Costumes

  1. Pay Attention to the Costume Material—There’s no way that you’d want to wear an itchy sweater all day long. And the same applies to your dog. It’s important to think about the types of materials your dog’s costume is made out of. If the material isn’t comfortable and you wouldn’t wear it, don’t put it on your dog.
  2. Make Sure the Costume Fits Appropriately—A costume that is too snug will not only be uncomfortable, but can also cut of your dogs circulation. On the flip side, a costume that is too big puts your dog as risk for getting tangled up and slipping and falling. Make sure the costume you pick fits your pet comfortably.
  3. Beware of beads, pom poms, and plastic—It’s natural that a dog will want to chew things off his costume if something is dangling off of it. Details like beads, googly eyes, and pom poms are cute, but can put your dog at a serious risk for choking if eaten. Give your dogs costume a once over for any choking hazards before you put it on your dog.
  4. Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Body Temperature—Costumes add an extra layer on to dogs that already are covered with a layer of warm fur. It’s important to keep an eye on your dog to make sure he isn’t overheating. If you notice him panting heavily, remove the costume for a while to let him cool off.
  5. Never Leave Your Dog Alone in a Costume—Getting tangled, choking, overheating…there’s a lot of things that can go wrong if you leave your dog unattended in a costume. If your dog doesn’t mind being dressed up, that’s great! But, just because he’s comfortable in a costume doesn’t mean you should ever leave him unattended in one.
  6. Make Sure Your Dogs Eyes, Nose, and Mouth are Uncovered—The last thing you want to do is obstruct your dog’s airways or prevent him from being able to see where he’s going. Choose a costume that covers his body, not his face.
  7. Less is More—Some costumes cover a dog from head to tail. They might be cute, but they are probably also heavy, restrictive, and uncomfortable. I personally think less is more, and I think your dog will agree with me! Pick up a cute bandana,put a bow tie on your pup, or grab a halloween themed dog t-shirt that fits your pet.

[thrive_2step id=’7790′]DOWNLOAD Doggy Dan’s Halloween Safety Tip Sheet HERE![/thrive_2step]

Be Safe, Have Fun, and Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Needs

Halloween is meant to be a fun time for everyone—including your dog!

And there’s no harm in dressing up your dog and getting him involved in the festivities… as long as he doesn’t mind participating.

That being said, Halloween can be a stressful and dangerous night for your dog.

Strangers constantly knocking on your door may stress your dog out.

Chocolate and other Halloween candy and make your dog very sick.

And the chaos of Halloween parties and having guests over can easily overwhelm your dog.

This is why it’s so important to be mindful of your dog during this fun and exciting holiday.

I’ve got some additional tips for keeping your dog safe, calm, and happy during Halloween. The tip sheet is totally free and you can download it below:

[thrive_2step id=’7790′][thrive_link color=’orange’ link=” target=’_self’ size=’medium’ align=”]DOWNLOAD Doggy Dan’s Halloween safety Tip Sheet here![/thrive_link][/thrive_2step]

I wish you and your dog a very Happy Halloween. Have fun and stay safe!

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Doggy Dan Signature
~Doggy Dan