Loving the RAW!

Odin and Nessa playing out in the field.

Odin and Nessa playing out in the field.

Hello! We have been feeding ‘raw’ to the dogs for over a month now and we are very pleased with the results we are getting. The dogs LOVE their food, they are noticeably less fidgety and irritable and they settle down faster in the evenings than they have in the past. I really believe it has to do with the food they are now consuming…or rather, the food they are not consuming, (dry kibble.)

Since the last post I have added in some pork , some beef liver and raw eggs into their diet. I also give them a dollop of pumpkin over the evening meal to help regulate the digestion. They were getting some yogurt for a bit but I think Nessa is sensitive to dairy products so I have stopped all dairy at this time. The morning staple is still chicken necks, backs and/or thighs and the evening meal varies from eggs to liver to ground meat or chicken.

On another note…the dogs have done their job quite well this spring. They have destroyed several mouse nests, caught a rat and 2 squirrels that were invading the woodshed area and even managed to dig up a grass snake yesterday…(which we promptly put back into its hole and fenced the area off.) This year should be a good year for gardening with way less damage from the varmints who tend to eat our beans and beets right out of the garden. I am very please with the work that our dogs do around the property keeping marauders away.



As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

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What to feed? We’re trying RAW!

Odin and Nessa waiting for their food!

Odin and Nessa waiting for their food!

Hello ALL!

Well, I have taken the leap for my dogs and I’ve started feeding them “raw”. This is something that I have thought about and reading about for some time. I’ve checked out a LOT of websites, Facebook pages and opinions about feeding raw and  decided it is at the very least worth a try. Species specific food information is being found more and more in my life. With all the recalls of pet foods and the extra “ingredients” that are being added by the manufacturers, either by choice or not, I’ve decided to give raw food a try…at least for a few months to see what happens.

We have started out with chicken. Chicken is a staple of a lot of raw feeders because it is a relatively cheap source of good protein and it is easily consumed and used by the dogs. There are a few dogs who will have allergies to chicken but it seems to be a very small number. When hunting for suppliers you may want to check out wholesale supply places. That is where I found my supplier of chicken backs and necks. I buy them in boxes of 40 lbs. of fresh chicken and then I pack them in smaller bags for freezing. Sometimes chicken quarters or legs go on sale at the grocery stores and I will by them there also. I also keep an eye out for sales on liver & heart because the dogs need some of the richer foods for their systems to work properly. You really don’t have to worry too much about getting everything your dog needs into every meal though. Over the week or the month is fine.

On a few sites where I researched they recommend keeping “carcass” in your mind when feeding. In the wild state and for full nutritional needs you will want to mimic a whole bird, squirrel or rabbit in the percentages of nutrients. This means about 70 – 80% meat, 10 – 15% bone and 10 – 15% organs. And…dogs need fat…so don’t be afraid to feed out the skin and fat of the chickens, etc. You have to be observant though in your feeding practices. If your dog is gaining weight on the raw diet you will want to cut back on some of the richer foods like the meaty bones and fattier cuts of meat.

I have only been feeding this way for a few weeks so far. It is not as convenient as pouring kibble out of a bag but the dogs are REALLY liking it! They love their feeding times now and they are looking sleek and healthy so far. I will be weighing them on a regular basis to keep a close eye on them for the next few months.  That way we’ll be able to see what happens and what I may need to adjust as we go along. I also feed ground meat with  blanched or processed veggies to my dogs in the evening along with a dab of pumpkin and a dollop of plain yoghurt.

My plan, if I keep liking this way of feeding, is to buy a grinder so I can make up my own dog food grind when I find things on sale. I think that will be one key to keeping the prices down to a level that is comparable to the mid to high-end kibble prices. For two dogs this is going to be a pretty easy switch over for the trial period…but I’m already liking the way the dogs are responding to the food. It just seems so natural for them when they eat their food now. Instead of eating little kibble bits out of a bowl they are chewing real meat and bones just like they do when they catch a mouse or squirrel out in the field. It just looks and feels ‘right’ to me.



As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

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Westminster Kennel Dog Show is over and they have a new winner for this year!

   GCH Afterall Painting The Sky ~ a.k.a. “Sky,” a Wire Fox Terrier.

I LOVE to watch the show and it was particularly fun to see a terrier win again. There are all different types of dogs represented in the Westminster Show but I have a special place in my heart for the terriers and especially one of the new breeds in AKC, the Rat Terrier. The Rat Terrier breed was very well represented this year in the show boasting 20 entries and a great group of dogs they were!

What is your favorite breed of dog represented in the Westminster Kennel Show? Do you know how often your fav has won in the 138 years they have had it?



As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

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Westminster is upon us! GO RAT TERRIERS!!!


Decker Rat Terrier, Nessa

NOT the Westminster…but still proud of my Rat Terrier girl Nessa for her showing in the United German Shepherd Dog Alliance Show in 2010.

This week is THE dog show week for some of the best of the best in the world of showing canines. The Westminster Kennel Club 138th Annual Dog Show in New York is going on this week and has actually already started with a new venue in the form of Agility. The first Agility event was run on Saturday and was the opening event for this year’s Westminster Show.

Kelso, a 7-year-old Border Collie, won the first Masters Agility Championship at Westminster Saturday night before a full house at Pier 94 in New York City. Kelso is owned and handled by Delaney Ratner of Cape Elizabeth, ME.

The show will continue on Monday and Tuesday with Benching, Breed Judging, Junior Showmanship, Group Judging and Best in Show. Tuesday evening will be the Finals and Best in Show. The Monday and Tuesday shows are being offered live from 8:00 to 11:00 on CNBC and USA channels respectively. You can also live stream a lot of the show rings and shows off the official website. Check out more info on The Westminster Kennel Club website here:


I will be rooting for ALL the Rat Terriers this week! GO RATTIES!!!!!
This is the debut of the RAT TERRIER in the Westminster Show this week along with two other first time breeds; the Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, and Chinook.

In our house we will be watching the Westminstershows in-between the Sochi Winter Olympics which happen to be going on this week also. So much to see…so little time!



As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com


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Is Your Pup Driving You CrAZy This Winter?

Clan Clarks Lady Vanessa

This is Nessa on her first outside balance beam. You can build an inside one that is only a couple of inches off the ground and much shorter for use in the house.

Just the other day I was taking with someone who had a young puppy that was getting into a LOT of mischief on a daily basis…all day long. What in the world can you do in a case like that? What can you do when the weather is so cold you can’t take them outside for very long…you can’t take them for the LONG walks that they need to drain off their high energy…you can’t give them a ‘job’ to do outside because of the extreme cold temperatures?


Yes! Agility! You can set up an abbreviated indoor agility course inside your home to play with and train your pup.

There are many household items you can use for a fun indoor agility course for you and your pup. Some ottomans, footstools or sturdy chairs are good platforms to teach your pup to get up on something on command. For very young pups you can just use a large book or something similar that is only a few inches high. Use your imagination to come up with fun items to play with and on. You can use a small table to teach him to go under an object. You can set up an indoor balance beam for the little guy by using two or more large books and a board. If your pup is a little older you can use your stairs if you have them. Train your pup to go up one step then wait or go up two steps then wait or go all the way up and wait for your command to come back down. (Or vice versa) The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination and common household and garage items. Your main concern when building your props is to make sure they are sturdy and safe for your pup. You want to build confidence so go slow and help by encouraging with treats and your best “happy voice.”

When my pups were small we found some scrap pieces of large size PVC pipe, (culvert) and we used them as tunnels. Our pups LOVED their tunnels and would play in them on their own if allowed access. We also used two concrete blocks and a 2×4 for our balance beam. You could use a 2×6 if your pup was quite large or his coordination was lacking a bit. (The 2×4 was large enough for our pups to walk on but Rat Terriers are a relatively small breed.)

You can set up short jumps in the house using a broom handle, curtain rod or something similar. For very young pups you can put something right on the floor and have him go “over” it on command. Teach your pup to ‘go’ in the direction that you point by throwing a treat out as you point or alternatively set yourself up ahead of time by putting a treat down where you will point at a later time. (This one may backfire if you have a pup with a very keen nose and a high food drive.)

Keep it fun! Keep it positive! Give your puppy something to ‘think’ about and the energy drain will be much greater and he will be more relaxed while staying in the house when the weather is very cold.


As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

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Baby It’s COLD Out There!


Odin & Nessa in jackets

Nessa and Odin ready for their walk in the cold. They say, “Really Mom? You want us to go out THERE? REALLY?”

It is STILL SO cold outside that my pups don’t want to go out for even a short walk. Well, they WANT to go out but they get cramps from the super cold and it just isn’t fun for them. This morning Roger had to carry Nessa in to the house from the front yard because she was cramping so bad she could barely walk. Now THAT’S COLD!!! Poor girl. We do put jackets on the dogs since they have very short coats and being Rat Terriers they are definitely NOT a northern breed. That being said…when the temps moderate they LOVE to play out in the snow chasing squirrels, rabbits and snowballs.

So what is your dog’s favorite game to play in the snow? I play what I call “Side-to-Side” with mine. It goes like this: I make a few snowballs up ahead of time. I then throw one snowball off in the distance. When they reach that one and pounce on it, I throw another snowball off in a different direction and they race to that one and so on. They love the chaos of the game and it gives them some fast and furious run time in the snow…and I have a blast watching them!

Here in Minnesota we are expecting more below zero cold this week and next.

Me? I’m dreaming of spring and walks in green fields & woods.



As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

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Stay WARM Out There!

Rat Terriers in sweatshirts

Odin and Nessa are in their sweatshirts and ready to go outside.

Winter is here!

It’s downright COLD up here in Minnesota!

When the temps drop to zero and the wind is howling my dogs are a bit reluctant to go outside to take their walks and do their business. I have heard the same from others who have dogs with the shorter coats. When the weather is too cold for you to be out there without being all bundled up it is probably to cold for your dog to be out there for long without some type of help in the form of a sweater, jacket or blanket.

Now, I must admit…I am not one to ‘dress up’ my dogs. I have never been into putting sweaters and things on dogs but…there are times and there are dogs where doing just that make sense. During the colder weather of the winter here in Minnesota is one of those times and the dogs that I have now are ‘those short haired’ dogs. The dogs we have now are Rat Terriers with relatively short smooth coats and they do get cold when they stay outside for any length of time. I have chosen to put sweat shirts on them when the temps fall too low and they seem to like the extra help in staying warm. Sometimes we even need to put jackets on them that are warmer than the sweatshirts.

When the weather is as cold as it is has been this winter you should really bring all dogs in from the cold so they are not in danger of frostbite or freezing. Some of the Nordic breeds can be left out but they will need to have a structure so they can get out of the wind and stay dry. It is better to bring them into a cool area of the house or into a garage/shed so they can stay out of the dangerous wind-chill until the temps moderate.

Another concern for outside dogs is water. You must make sure that they have adequate water during the cold times. If the water freezes it is hard for them to get as much as they need to drink to stay healthy. Take fresh water out a couple of times a day in the cold temps to make sure your dogs are staying well hydrated.

Inside a simple shelter you can provide blankets or straw or hay for them to burrow in when it gets cold but please bring them into a more substantial building when the temps dip down into the sub-zero digits.



As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com



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Worried About The Recalls? Make Your Own Dog Treats!

Nessa Sits Pretty

Nessa Sits Pretty
“Cookie Please!!!”

With all the recalls out there on dog food and dog treats, I thought I would post today about how easy it is to make your own treats for your dog. There are a lot of flavors and ways to make good healthy treats for your dog that don’t take up too much of your time and will save ‘big time’ on health/vet bills, (if you happen to feed one of the recall treats that are out there.)

It is a sad reality that some of the companies who are making the foods for our four legged companions are not careful with the ingredient and cleanliness of their facilities. And sometimes the raw products themselves are tainted so the company is also a victim in the money game. The best thing we can do for our pets is to do our research and feed good quality products from a highly rated company.

Other options are to feed a raw diet using less processed products. There are many websites and books on how to feed a raw diet and there is more than one guide to follow. It is the same as training or picking the breed of dog you want to get…do your research and pick the one that works the best for YOUR situation and lifestyle. No one way fits all situations in life…feeding you dog in your household is the same…do what works but do what is good for your best buddy too. Feed good quality foods and treats so he stays healthy!

There are treats that you mix and bake and there are even easier ones that you can just mix up, shape and feed. I’ll give you two recipes here and a couple of good links too find out more.

Bon Appetit!


Peanut Butter Oat Balls

1/2 cup milk, low or fat free
1 cup peanut butter, natural or organic
3 cups rolled oats

Stir vigorously to combine the first two ingredients in a large bowl.
Slowly stir (and mash) in the oats, about a 1/2 cup at a time. The mixture will be very thick.
Scoop out the peanut butter balls with a cookie scooper. Then roll with damp hands until you create a uniform ball shape.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Storing & Yield:
These peanut butter dog treats will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You can freeze them for up to 4 months. The yield is approximately 32, 1″ balls.

Regular peanut butter does not have as much moisture as the natural and organic varieties. So, if you choose to use a regular peanut butter, you may need to add more milk to help the mixture hold together.
If your dog is sensitive to dairy products, you can use soy or other nut milks in place of the cows milk.
You will need to fit these homemade dog treats in the refrigerator, so be sure to use a sheet pan, or other flat pan with a ridge, to cool these treats.


Soft homemade dog treats for SENIOR DOGS

Pumpkin Puurfection

One 15 oz. can organic pumpkin puree (NOT the spiced pie filling)
3/4 cup cream of wheat (or rice cereal if wheat-sensitive)
1/2 cup dry powdered milk

You can mix the cream of wheat dry; no need to cook it first.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

Adapted from All Natural Dog Treat




Links for feeding or ‘making’:

Natural Organic Raw Pet Food for Dogs & Cats at Only Natural Pet Store

NEW Arrivals on Dog Food PLUS Get $4.99 Flat Shipping on dog.com!

Save 15-25% off All PetFoodDirect.com Orders When You Enroll in Auto Ship! Convenient, Reliable and Worry-Free. Start Saving Today!

All Natural Dog Treat, Dog Treat Recipes

Turtlewoman, Top 10 Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

The Kitchn.com, Homemade Cookies for Canines


As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

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Talk On Communicating with Animals…


These pups are waiting for instructions. They’re ‘All Ears’!
What would you tell them? And how would you convey your request? Words and Sound aren’t the only ways to communicate with our furred and feathered friends.

This last fall I went to a Women’s Spirituality Conference at the Minnesota State University, Mankato. There were four different classes offered that were geared toward animals/pets. I was fortunate to attend two of the four classes that were offered and I really enjoyed them both.

The first class was called: ENLIGHTENED K9’S

It was all about how animals and pets communicate. We were shown how they communicate through body language and through energetic levels. We also covered how we, as humans, can become better at communicating with our pets and animals by using energetic means. We actually communicate in this way all the time but most people are unaware of the communication because we are not looking for it or we have not opened our minds up to the possibility. The fact that our dogs and cats can “feel” what we are communicating and that they communicate with us through energetic means is a stretch for some people to grasp. If you think about it though, we all communicate every day in many ways and in many different circumstances without “saying” a word.

When it comes to communicating with dogs, using non-verbal communication is a GREAT benefit for training and teaching your dog what you want him to learn. By using the body and the energy around your body, (your energy body), you can control where your dog goes or doesn’t go in and around the house, near the doors and next to the food bowls. Any time you can “connect” with your dog on an energetic level your lines of communication open up just a bit more and your spirits become more in tune with each other.

In the classroom of ENLIGHTENED K9’S we did an exercise where we paired up with another participant in the class. We then took turns trying to “project” an emotion or “feeling” to the other person just with our minds. We were instructed to keep our facial expressions as non emotional as we possible could but just think very hard about a specific emotion that we wanted to convey to the partner. It was very surprising that every person of every pair was either right on with the projected emotion/ feeling or they were very close to what was being projected. There was not even one instance where the emotion involved was totally missed or misconstrued. I am a believer in energy and energetic communication and I still found that amazing!

In this same class we looked at an array of pictures of dogs in different situations. We were then supposed to interpret the meaning of the “look” that was being displayed by the dogs. We did pretty well as a group, some being more knowledgeable than others but I think all of us came away learning something from the class.


ANIMAL COMMUNICATION EXPERIENCE was the second class I attended that was geared toward animals. In this class we had a discussion about communicating with animals directly and over distance. This class was about all types of animals…not just our pets. We heard stories from each other and from our teacher about communications that have happened with animals that were nothing short of amazing!

After the discussion part of the class we did a couple of experiments where we did a kind of meditation. The first one was that each of us was to get comfortable and think about ‘looking’ into our home….what was going on in the home right at that moment in time. After an initial time of relaxing and trying to empty my mind, what I saw was my bedroom, bathed in sunlight. It was either a very vivid memory or it was an actual vision of what the room looked like at that moment…I don’t know which…but it was more vivid than my ordinary ‘memory’ usually produces.

Next, the instructor had us relax into attempting to communicate with an animal. It could be one of our pets or it could be a wild animal or an animal at a zoo…the choice was ours. We sat in a comfortable position and the instructor talked us into a guided meditation until we were ready to ‘meet’ our animal. At that time we were to pay attention to anything that came up into our minds…especially if it was an animal, because that meant that we were making contact.

In my meditation I saw a Red Tailed Hawk. The Red Tail has appeared to me in several instances when I have been in meditative states so I was not surprised to see her. In my mind we sat up in a tree together looking over a field just outside of the back door of my house. We flew over the country-side searching for mice and I could feel the warmth of the sunlight on my face as we flew. Then it was gone. We were being instructed to come back into ourselves and the classroom.

The meditation was a wonderful experience in communicating with the Hawk…Not through “words” to or toward the bird, but more toward my understanding of who she is and how it feels to be her.

The conference definitely gave me a few insights into new ways that are available for communicating with my dogs and other animals in general. I have used some of the techniques very successfully with my dogs. I have seen reactions to thoughts and emotions when I have projected them towards my dogs in various settings and situations. They are very sensitive to my energy and my mindset.

If we use our thoughts with ‘intent’ we can communicate on a basic level with our pets, and animals in general, easier than we think.

Try it! I’ll bet you will be surprised.


As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

Posted in Communicating with Animals, Dog and Puppy Training, Just The Way It Is, Odds & Ends, Philosophical Thoughts | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Back From Being “Just Too Busy…..”

Odin and Frigga, Decker Rat Terrier pups.

Odin and Frigga are a couple of cute Decker Rat Terrier pups.

Hey All!

It’s been awhile since I have written a post here so I thought I’d better get my typing fingers in gear and let you know about some of the things I’ve been doing.

I attended a talk with Patricia McConnell in September. Patricia is a well known animal behaviorist, consultant and author of many books on dogs and dog training. On occasion she helps people who are having problems with their dogs with private consultations and some of her stories are very humorous and educational as to a dog’s behaviors and actions.

The talk was about emotions…ours and our dogs/animals and how similar they are. It was a very interesting talk as she went through each of the major emotions and talked about how we express them and then how animals, specifically dogs, express them. Her observations and the studies she cited were great! It is amazing to see the same expressions coming from the dogs as what we as humans display. We had fun with Patricia leading us with pictures of different dogs expressing emotions and guessing what each one was…then realizing that we express them in the same manner.

For example; Happiness or Joy.

Happiness has a universal ‘look’ that can be identified even by very young babies. In expressing the emotion of happiness the jaw is relaxed and lose, the corners of the mouth tend to curl upward (smile), many times the eyes are kind of squinty (half moonish) and the eyebrows may raise with a relaxed forehead. These things are true whether you are a human, a dog or another animal.

The talk was amazing. To see and hear Patricia McConnell on stage is well worth the small price that is asked to attend one of her talks. The one I went to was sponsored by the local Coulee Region Humane Society, Inc. Much of the profits earned were donated back to them from Patricia. We even had a fun auction for one of her own dogs toys that sold for hundreds of dollars which were all donated back to the sponsor. If you get a chance to see her in person, DO IT! If you find one of her books with a title that appeals to you or that looks like it might help you with your own dog, BUY IT! You will not be disappointed!


As always…if you have a new puppy…or if you know someone who does…or if you want to learn more about puppies…check out my new website! Go to: www.trainyournewpuppy.com

Posted in Decker Rat Terrier, Dog and Puppy Training, Dog Health, Odds & Ends | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment