A Fitness Tracker for Izzi

Screen capture from Izzi’s FitBark.

Screen capture from Izzi’s FitBark.

Provided by TechSupport@DreamDogs & Izzi

This past June, my dog Izzi turned 2 years old. So what do you get the active dog that has everything?...a fitness tracker of course! This little, 48 pound Boxer girl is very active and also my running partner. We primarily run on the beach where she is doing figure eights, chasing birds, and long sprinted rings around my run the entire time. I wanted to know how many miles this little athlete is logging on every run. Sure, I could tie my GPS watch to her collar for a couple runs to determine her miles, but what fun is that? So began the search for the fitness tracker that one, made sense for the price and two, provided the information I was looking for...less frills and good info. I soon found out there are several available, but there seemed to be seven that had decent Amazon ratings and reviews. 

Spoiler alert, we settled on the FitBark...for price and the basic mileage information. Again, not many frills and a good price point. Am I happy with the product? So far so good...I am learning that Izzi tracks between 10-15 miles on a run and between 3-8 miles on her off days, I know approximately how much she sleeps and her percentile for these two areas based on her age, breed and activity level. The FitBarkworks great for what I want to know about my training partner for now. Will we up-grade in the future? Perhaps as technology improves, new features become available and prices come down, but for now our fitness tracking needs are met. (Thumbs up emoji)

If you are in the market for a fitness tracker for your best fur-friend or interested in the GPS tracking for your wander-dog, here is the review of seven trackers that may fulfill some of your Fido-fitness informational needs. Good luck with your search. If you are currently using a fitness tracker for your BFF, please share on the FaceBook post from the newsletter. We'd love to hear about your choice!

7 Best-Reviewed Dog Fitness & Activity Trackers in 2019
Mark Braeden - 02.01.2019 20:09

Ways to Keep Dogs Safe During Fireworks

This is a great, to-the-point article by realsimple.com about keeping your dog safe during fireworks. One item they don’t touch on is keeping your pets microchips up to date. So many times, animals go missing only to be found with a microchip that doesn’t have their families’ updated address and phone numbers. Argh! Don’t let this be your pet. We hope you get some new tips from this article.

Some dogs are afraid of fireworks (and their loud noises) and suffer acute anxiety during shows, and some may even attempt to flee the noise. From the experts at BringFido, here’s how to calm your dog down and keep him or her safe during fireworks shows.

By Lauren Phillips Updated: June 29, 2018

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Celebrating the 4th of July can be a joyous occasion—but as fun as they are for American humans, 4th of July fireworks can be alarming, terrifying, and even dangerous for American pooches (and some cats, too).

The day after Independence Day, July 5, is often the busiest day of the year for many animal shelters, as they work to safely catch, identify, and return local pets spooked by annual fireworks displays. To help make the holiday a safe, happy one for all, pet travel and lifestyle resource BringFido shared tips for keeping pets—particularly dogs—calm and safe during the festivities, whether you’re planning to go to a large fireworks show and leave your pup at home or you’re celebrating in your backyard. 

1. Bring your dog inside for the whole day and night leading up to the 4th, or even a few days before, if you know people in your area plan to celebrate early. Your dog may not be a flight-risk, but if he or she is spooked by the fireworks, it could be all too easy for him or her to escape your yard and attempt to run away.

2. If you know your pet is afraid of loud noises, do not bring him or her to a fireworks show. Your pets will not suddenly overcome their fear, and the last thing you should do is introduce them to a situation where they will be stressed and panicked.

3. Be sure your pet is wearing a well-fitting collar with up-to-date ID tags.Should worse come to worst, you want to be able to easily identify Fido (or let whoever finds him find you) if he does manage to get out of the house.

4. Tire your dog out. Preempt any jitters by taking her on a long walk, run, or fetch session before the fireworks are set to start. If you’re lucky, she’ll sleep through the show or be too tired to pay attention to the sudden noise.

5. Surround your dog with comforting things, like a white noise machine (to muffle noises), a Thundershirt (proven to comfort anxious dogs), or a distracting treat, like a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or a new bone. If your dog is distracted and happy, she may not even notice the fireworks outside.

If your dog suffers from severe anxiety or presents extremely erratic behavior during fireworks or other surprising events, consider talking to your vet about options for more long-term treatment or working on behavior modification techniques in advance of next year’s show.

Top 10 Summer Safety Tips for Dogs

Original post from: Pet Health Network Contributors

Our pets love summer just as much as we do! For many, it’s the best time of year to be out, about, and enjoying all that the season has to offer. 

While there is certainly nothing wrong with taking your pet out for picnics, hikes, swimming, or running, keep in mind that warm weather can be dangerous. It’s hard for pets to keep cool when the sun is beating down, and animals don’t sweat like people do. Dogs do sweat, but not very much, and it does little to cool them off. As you probably know, dogs more commonly cool themselves down through panting. When there is only hot air for a dog to breathe, it’s a lot harder for that dog to keep cool. Read on to learn some important summer safety tips for dogs.:

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1. Never, ever, EVER leave your dog in a hot car 

Okay, you’ve probably heard this one before, but it’s so important that we still decided to list it first. It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. Most people don’t realize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 78 degree day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 90 degrees in the shade and top 160 degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your dog home on warm days. If you’re driving around with your dog in the car, bring water and a water dish and take your dog with you when you leave the car.

2. Make sure your dog is protected from parasites like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes

If not protected, your dog is at risk for heartworm, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other nasty and dangerous conditions. And don’t forget, many of these diseases can be caught by people too!

3. Keep your dog's paws cool 

When the sun is cooking, surfaces like asphalt or metal can get really hot! Try to keep your pet off of hot asphalt; not only can it burn paws, but it can also increase body temperature and lead to overheating. It’s also not a good idea to drive around with your dog in the bed of a truck – the hot metal can burn paws quickly (and they can fall out to be injured or killed in an accident).

4. Your dog should always have access to fresh drinking water and shade 

Our dogs get much thirstier than we do when they get hot, and other than panting and drinking, they really have no way to cool themselves down. Keep your pet in the shade as often as possible. While dogs and cats like to sunbathe, direct sunlight can overheat them (especially dogs) and cause heat stroke.

Find out how much you know about heat stroke with this quick quiz

5. Give your dog his very own "kiddy pool”

Dogs who love the water, naturally love it even more during the hot months, and getting wet keeps them cool. Providing a small, kid-sized pool will go over big.

6. Don’t assume your dog can swim well

Just because dogs instinctively know how to swim, doesn’t mean they’re good swimmers. And if your dog jumps in your swimming pool, he might not be able to get out without help and could easily drown. Make sure your dog can’t get into your swimming pool without you around.

Read more about water safety here

7. Dogs get sunburns too! 

Believe it or not, dogs can sunburn, especially those with short or light-colored coats. And just like with people, sunburns can be painful for a dog and overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your dog (don’t assume a sunscreen for people is appropriate for your dog). 

8. If there’s no fence, keep your dog on a leash

Summertime means all sorts of exciting sights, scents, critters running around, and new and exciting places to explore. You never want to lose your dog because he became distracted in an unfamiliar environment. And remember, not every dog is meant to be off-leash; some dogs just can never be fully trusted to come when called. Make sure you understand your dog’s tendencies and err on the side of being overly-cautious. 

9. Watch your dog’s weight 

After a long winter, many dogs put on a few extra pounds. Summer is the perfect time to increase his level of exercise and get in tip-top shape. A pet that maintains a healthy weight throughout his lifetime will live, on average, 2-3 years longer than an overweight pet! Just make sure not to over-exert your dog. Talk to your veterinarian, give him adequate rest and if your dog is especially overweight, make sure you ease him into physical activity.

10. Keep your windows screened!

You may want your house to be ventilated, but you definitely do not want your dog jumping out!

Perhaps the most important tip is to pay attention to your dog – you’ll know when he seems uncomfortable. Summer can be a great time to spend with your dog, but it’s important to keep these tips in mind! Be sure to check out our tips for firework safety too.

And as always, make sure you talk with your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you have about your pets in warm summer weather.

A Tired Dog is a Good Dog!

Hiking is a great option for both of you getting out and about.

Hiking is a great option for both of you getting out and about.

Exercise, we all know, is fundamental to good health. For dogs and humans alike, slothful ways lead to, at best, diminished well-being and poor muscle tone, at worst obesity, heart ailments, and joint problems. In dogs a couch potato existence can also prompt behavior problems. Sometimes just quirks, sometimes full-on neuroses similar to those seen in caged dogs.

Almost all dogs were bred with a working purpose in mind. The seemingly sedate Basset Hound? Bred for rabbit hunting. The Corgi? A herder. It makes sense, then, that all dogs need to run their engine, whatever its size, frequently and vigorously to function well. (And contrary to popular belief, dogs rarely self-exercise if left alone outside. They stalk birds, bark at strangers, and lie around in the shade.)

Exercise earns you a happier, better-behaved dog. Tired dogs bark less, chew less, sleep more, and rest easier when left home alone. And exercise has profound effects on a dog’s personality. The same dog can either tear through the trash and disembowel the couch cushions or snooze peacefully, depending on the quality of the workouts he gets.

So, must you take up marathon running if you have a Border Collie or a terrier mix? Of course not. But a stroll around the block is not enough. Train your dog to fetch or play Frisbee. Sign up for a dog sport or activity like tracking, flyball, or agility. Let your dog play with other dogs regularly. And if life is too busy, consider hiring a dog walker, or, if your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, send him to doggie day care.

Knowing you’ve upheld your end of the bargain as a loving guardian, that’s healthy, too.

WHY SHOULD I TRAIN MY DOG?

This is a great article from Victoria Stilwell’s positively.com that help answer the basic question, “Why should I train my dog?”. We hope the ideals presented resonate and you enjoy the article.

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People used to think that dog training was only about teaching dogs obedience commands, usually through the use of heavy-handed punishment-based techniques. It was viewed as somewhat of a luxury for pet parents and was often wrongly considered to be something so straightforward and simple to achieve that anyone could do it on their own without the help of a professional.

That sentiment does still exist to a degree, but increasingly, dog owners are beginning to recognize that although the profession of dog training is not regulated, there is sometimes life-saving value in finding the perfect trainer to help point them and their dogs in the right direction and provide much-needed guidance.

Science has evolved, and with it the profession of dog training has exploded, but not without controversy. Many traditional trainers that continue to promote outdated dominance and punishment-based philosophies have seen their livelihoods threatened by the ever-growing army of enlightened positive trainers like Victoria's global VSPDT dog trainer network. As a result, dog owners face an increasingly difficult choice when it comes to choosing the right dog trainer.

What is no longer up for debate, however, is that provided you hire a qualified truly positive trainer, any money spent on training will be returned to both you and your dog exponentially in terms of a healthy relationship and a harmonious household.

The fact is that the majority of owned dogs have had no formal training – positive or otherwise. Since dogs are now sharing our homes and our lives in ever closer ways, it is more important than ever that every dog be given a good canine education. Doing so will prevent thousands of dogs being surrendered to shelters due to behavioral issues that could have been prevented. Investing the time to teach your dog will make living with her easier and that investment could also save her life.


5 Reasons Why You Should Train Your Dog

  1. To Build a Positive Relationship
    One of the best ways to build a healthier relationship with your dog is to understand how your dog learns and use the principles of positive training to make learning as rewarding, successful and easy as possible. Punitive trainers believe that in order to achieve so-called ‘balance’ with your dog, you must first teach her who is boss by becoming her ‘alpha’ or ‘pack leader'. This approach is doomed to fail from the start because the methods used to establish this dominant status are physically and psychologically damaging to your dog and dangerous for you.Positive training, which rewards and motivates a dog for good behavior, allows you to foster a relationship with your dog based on mutual trust and respect instead of fear and intimidation. The most effective teachers are those who can influence behavior in their dogs without the use of force and work through any problems in a humane manner. Dogs that are taught using positive reinforcement methods are more tolerant, self-controlled and behave much more predictably in different situations.

  1. To Teach Life Skills
    Every dog needs to learn how to live successfully in a home environment. Domestic dogs might seem to have an easy life compared to their wild counterparts, but living in a human world comes with certain unique pressures. Teaching your dog basic manner skills and providing her with enough mental enrichment and physical exercise will prevent her from developing anxiety and other stress related behaviors such as destructive chewinginappropriate barking and aggressive display.An important part of the learning process is to set your dog up for success by managing her environment and making it easy for her to do well. This begins with understanding how your dog copes in certain situations. For example, if your dog is highly social and loves new people coming into your home, teach her to greet without jumping or overwhelming your guest as they enter. This helps inhibit excitable behavior while still allowing her to enjoy the new person’s arrival.If your dog is wary or fearful of new people, take pressure off her by putting her behind a baby gate or in her own room as they enter. This will help keep stress at bay and your dog emotionally stable. Space is vitally important for dogs that are socially inexperienced or fearful, and managing your environment to reduce pressure keeps everyone happy and safe.

  1. To Increase Sociability
    Increasing your dog’s enjoyment of social interaction will give her the confidence to deal with the pressures of domestic life. Training your dog to have good manners and behave well in different situations requires effort, but consistent commitment ensures success.We have high expectations for our dogs, encouraging them to be friendly with everyone they meet, even if they are uncomfortable in certain situations. It is therefore vital to socialize your dog by giving her good experiences in the presence of all kinds of people, animals and environments. Doing so at a young age will give her confidence and lessen the chance of her experiencing anxiety and discomfort in adulthood.Socialization does not mean your dog has to always physically touch another dog or a person. Humans ‘socialize’ all the time without physically touching each other. Exposing your dog to different situations where she can observe and ‘converse’ at a distance is as important as teaching her to accept physical touch. People are naturally drawn to interact with a cute pup and when dogs greet each other some physical touching is likely to take place.Socialization is all about keeping your dog comfortable in these social situations while taking care not to force her into a situation she might find uncomfortable. If you have the kind of dog that does not interact well with others, do not feel you need to force her. Not all dogs, like people, are social.Understanding how your dog copes will determine how far you can go and even though having a social dog is preferable in our society, it is not a failure to keep your dog out of a situation she finds uncomfortable. Observing how she copes will help you respect and understand her limitations.

  1. To Avoid Problem Behaviors
    Training your dog builds up a language of communication between you that promotes security and comfort. The more time you invest teaching your dog to live successfully in a human world the more you will avoid problem behaviors that come from lack of understanding. Unfortunately, many dogs end up being punished for negative behavior that could have been avoided if time was taken to help them learn.Many dogs respond well to cues such as sit and stay in the classroom, but remain unprepared to deal with life’s pressures in the real world. Make sure that every cue or action has a purpose behind it. Sit is a valuable cue because it can be used before the front door is opened or before crossing a road, while come is a cue that allows your dog to be off leash but teaches her to return to you when you need.Hand targeting or the touch cue, for example, not only helps your dog get used to hands being extended towards her, a scenario she is likely to experience many times in her life, but is also good for teaching a recall.

  1. For Loyalty and Companionship
    Positive reinforcement does not mean you do not mark your dog’s misbehaviors, just that the ‘discipline’ should be used as constructive guidance rather than as an intimidation technique. Discipline in the form of time outs, removal, vocal interrupters or simply ignoring behavior that you do not like, are far more effective than harshly suppressing negative behavior.Guiding your dog into making the right choices and understanding what she needs to be happy will help increase the bond between you.

There seems to be a great misconception that positive trainers never like to say no to their dogs and allow them to get away with negative behavior. There is also a misguided belief that positive trainers only teach by stuffing food into dogs’ faces and that they lack the skills to truly rehabilitate severe problem behaviors such as aggression.

Positive training helps people foster relationships with even problem dogs by understanding, and turning around the problem behavior without the use of force or fear. This changes behavior without damaging trust between dog and owner. Anyone can use rewards to teach dogs to learn but it takes advanced knowledge and skill to turn around negative behavior without the use of force.

People who make time to teach their dogs lead more fulfilling lives with their canine companions. A healthy balance of learning manners, encouraging sociability and providing your dog with the right kind of outlets will ensure her success. People who fail to give their dogs the education they need are doing them a great disservice and will have problems in the future. The learning process does not have to be costly or intense, and the more enjoyable it is for the both of you, the better the results will be.

Understanding Motivation

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Understanding Motivation Motivation is what makes your dog tick. It’s what drives him to do things, like respond to your cues and find doing so worthwhile ... even the second and third times you ask. Common canine motivators include: Car rides, a ball tossed, a walk, a leash clipped on or off , playing with toys, access to other dogs, access to smells, and ... the biggie ... food.

Why should you know what motivates your dog? 
Because you can give him reason to pay attention to you. It’s the equivalent of saying to your dog, “I’ll tell you what: If you sit, I’ll throw your ball” or “If you stop pulling on the leash, I’ll let you go smell that fire hydrant.” You use what naturally motivates your dog to get the behaviors you want most. 

So how do you go about it?
First, limit your dog’s access to the things he finds most motivating. Have a ball-crazy dog? Instead of leaving balls around the house at all times, carry them with you so you can whip one out as a way to reward your dog when he is getting something right.

Second, make an item more exciting by bringing it to life for your dog. Simply handing him a toy isn’t nearly as fun for a dog as shaking it about, playing peek-a-boo with it, and then, at the height of excitement, asking for a behavior and rewarding it with a toss of the toy. Food sitting around in a bowl can’t equal the fun of kibble dished out during a lively training session.

Have trouble getting your dog’s attention?
Be sure you’re using the right motivators for the challenge. Dry cookies can’t compete with a treed squirrel. Always have an ultimate trump card—something your dog just can’t resist.

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.

Dog Events for October
October is Adopt-A-Dog Month®. By American Humane Association.

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Please consider adopting before buying...there are SO MANY great dogs in need of loving homes. If you are looking to add a new furry member to your family or know of someone that is, please look to the Humane Society of the Desert - Orphan Pet Oasis. They currently have over 12 dogs from Hurricane Harvey that are looking for homes, not to mention several other dogs from our local area that are in need of someone like you. Visit their website to find out more or check out just a few of them on our Adopt Me! page. 

Heat Safety this Summer

If you missed our email on June 27, here are the top 14 tips we sent out since summer is here and so is the heat! 

I think we have all felt like this at some point during the summer months. :)

I think we have all felt like this at some point during the summer months. :)

14 Safety Tips For Being Safe This Summer

1- Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup. Make sure your pet is healthy and ready for any summer fun planned.

2 - Fresh Water. Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. If you live in an extremely hot climate (aka. Coachella Valley), ALWAYS carry waterwith you or in your car with a water bowl. This may help you, your dog or someone else in need.

3 - Shade. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

4 - Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.

5 - Flat faced breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

6 - Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states!

7 - Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool — not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.

8 - Open unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

9 - Never shave your dog, but trim longer hair on your dog. The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

10 - Sunscreen and insect repellent, be sure that any products you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

11 - Don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum, and consider doggie booties.

12 - Remember that food and drink commonly found at BBQ's can be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol. 

13 - Please leave in a quiet, sheltered, escape-proof area of your home during Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma, and even unused fireworks can contain hazardous materials. Many pets are also fearful of loud noises and can become lost, scared or disoriented, so it’s best to keep your little guys safe from the noise. 

14 - Keep Fido from getting the summer time blues by enrolling them in classes at Dream Dogs where they are indoors and have an opportunity to work off some of their pent-up energy in a safe and fun environment. No sunscreen required.

Positively,
Dream Dogs

Tricks to Beat the Summer Heat!

Tricks are a great way to keep Fido busy when it is too hot to go for a walk. Working your dog’s brain is just as important as exercise. Engage their attention by training a trick. Here are a few ...

Paws Up

  1. Hold a treat slightly above a sturdy piece of furniture and cue your dog “paws up”. Pat the item too coax your dog’s front feet onto it. Hold the treat only slightly behind the edge, so as not to encourage your dog to jump on top or over it.
  2. The instant both of your dogs paws come up on the item, give your dog the treat.
  3. Once your dog gets the hang of this, try keeping the treat in your treat bag and give the cue without the food lure. If your dog puts his paws on the box, immediately give him a reward.

Take a Bow

  1. Have your dog stand facing you. Hold a treat in your fist at nose height.
  2. Cue “bow” and gently press your hand with the treat from your dog’s nose towards his back paws.
  3. The instant your dogs elbows touch the floor release the treat. Be sure to release the treat only when your is in the correct bow position, and not after he has returned to a stand or laid down.
  4. As your dog improves, try to get him to stay in the bow position for a second before you release the treat.
  5. Your physical cur is your legs crossed left leg behind the right.

Shake

  1. With your dog sitting in front of you, hide a treat in your hand, low to the ground. Encourage him to “get it” and “shake”. Reward your dog with the treat the moment his paw comes off the ground.
  2. Once he is able to due this 8 put of 10 times, up the ante and raise the height of your hand.
  3. Transition using the hand signal. Stand up and hold the treat behind your back and extend your other hand out while cueing “shake”. When your dogs paw is in your extended hand give him the treat.

Wave Bye Bye

  1. With your dog sitting in front of you have him “shake”.
  2. Give him hints in progressively greater amounts by saying “bye-bye shake” and then extending your hand a little higher than you would normally due for the “shake” Your dog won’t be able to hold his paw up that high so his motion will look like he is pawing your hand.
  3. Draw your hand slightly away from your dog so he can barely reach your fingers.
  4. Pull your hand back at the last second so he is not touching you at all, but merely pawing the air. Mark the instant he performs it correctly by saying “GOOD!” so he understands the desired behavior is the waving action.

This is a great way to beat the heat and humidity this summer, depending on where you live. Let us know any new tricks that your loyal companion learns. We'd love to see them in action! Please drop us a photo at TrainAnyDog@dreamdogs.com.

Positively, 
Dream Dogs

Welcome to the Dream Dogs Blog!

Welcome All! We are excited to em-bark (pun intended) on this conversation about all things dogs. These amazing creatures are our friends, family members, confidants, protectors at times, workout buddies that never flake out, best listeners ever, and in some cases, the best-dog at our ceremonies. Trying to understand them is a lifelong search for some of us, delving into breed history and behavior... others, we just want to know why the $@#%! they did that and how to make them stop! Where ever you are on this spectrum, we hope that some of your questions will be answered and perhaps, maybe raise some new ones... either way, we are excited you are joining us and look forward to sharing whatever dog insight we discover. Please join us in the conversation and share your comments below. We look forward to seeing you in the Dream Dog Blog!