Monday, May 31, 2010

Just A Dog Podcast

Sometimes people can't understand why dog lovers have such a strong bond with their dog or what the big deal about a dog is.

I found a short composition that explains this fact very well. The author is unknown but the message is clear. Hope you enjoy it.

Just A Dog Download

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mulch! It's menacing!

Mulch is used as an insulator for plants in gardens and backyards everywhere. It helps keep weeds from forming and gives the area more texture. It can be very harmful for some dogs. The two most dangerous types for dogs are wood chip mulch and cocoa mulch.

Wood Chip Mulch

This is one of the most common type of mulch available. It's known for giving great insulation to plants and is reasonably priced. The main problem with this for dogs is that if you have a dog who will eat just about anything, there's a good chance they'll ingest this and get wood splinters in their system. This can slice a dog's esophagus or even worse cause an obstruction in their stomach that may require surgery.

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa Mulch is getting popular because it gives the planted area a pretty look and smells just like chocolate. The smell will last for two to three weeks. It's also great for those who want an organic substance for their gardening.

Made from cacao bean shells, it contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs. Fifty percent of dogs who ingest this will suffer from vomiting. If it's not caught in time and depending how much your dog has ingested, death can occur.

What If My Dog Ingests It?

In most cases, activated charcoal will counteract the effects. However, it's always a good idea to contact your vet if you suspect your dog has ingested anything at all.

Summing It All Up.

The majority of dogs will just notice mulch as decor. Many of them will not ingest it. If your yard has mulch and your dog is always picking up something when he's out in the yard, it's a good idea to be aware. Of the two, cocoa mulch is the one that can be very toxic to your pet.

More Resources
Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs
Dangers to Dogs from AVMA
Cedar Mulch and Dogs

Let's Discuss!

Has your dog or any dog you know had any mulch mishaps? What did you do in this situation? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Related Posts

Toxic Foods for Dogs
Quite A Scare!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Memory Of Gabe

Some of you may remember Gabriel from my previous post about Gabriel's Angels. Last week, Gabriel crossed the rainbow bridge after a longtime battle against cancer.

He was a true inspiration for many children in Arizona working up till his retirement in late January. Not only was he the spokesperson for Gabriel's Angels, he also had a twitter account on Twitter and made many public appearances for his organization.

He lived eleven years yet touched many by his kindness and patience. Thank you all.


Interview with Pam Gaber

Good Dogs = Live Long

Photo by C Jessen
The American Naturalist recently published a journal article where dogs who are more obedient tend to live longer than dogs who are more difficult to train. Dogs that tend to be more obedient tend to be dogs such as German Shepherds and Poodles. Dogs that have more of a stubborn streak are breeds like the Beagle and the Pomeranian.

Dogs that have a higher energy level and more aggressive tendencies are more likely to live shorter lives. Also, dogs affected by separation anxiety fall into this category as well. While breeds have typical characteristics no dog is ever typical, as there are exceptions to every rule.

If you would like to read more about this you can view the full article at USA Today.

Let's Discuss!

Have you had similar experiences with your dog? What is the toughest breed you've ever cared for?

Thanks for stopping in. Have a great day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Greenies Healthy Smile Contest

Greenies Treats for Dogs Monster Treat-Pak 27 Regular, 27 oz

Show Us Your Smile!

Does your dog have a natural smile every time you shoot his picture? Well, Greenies is having a special contest to capture that perfect smile from your pet. The 1st prize is having your dog's photo on the September 2010 cover of "The Bark" magazine and a year's supply of Greenies. The 2nd place prize is three months of Greenies products. Lastly, the other winners who round out the top ten will win a free 27 ounce tub of Greenies.

I've tried these myself and they make the time between brushings much smoother. If you would like to learn more about the contest, you should check out their website. The contest ends June 18, 2010

Hope you all have enjoyed the weekend. Thanks for stopping by.



Friday, May 21, 2010

Kayaking With Your Dog

Photo by P. Bryley

Last year, I went kayaking for the first time. I was in a tandem kayak with a more skilled partner. It was one of the most relaxing activities I did, yet gave me a great workout. I then wondered if dogs did this activity with their owners and sure enough, there are quite a few kayakers out there who have been able to train their dogs to enjoy the ride.

Kayaking is a great way to be at one with nature. When you are out on calm waters, there's nothing more tranquil. Depending on your dog's personality, you can train them to ride in the kayak with you. The most important fact is that your dog has to enjoy being around water and can sit still. Here are some tips for this:

  • Get the right size kayak.
  • In kayaks, dogs can ride in the seating area or if the kayak is large enough, they can ride on top. It's important to make sure that the surface the dogs will be sitting on is secured. One person, put their chihuahua on a boogie board that was strapped to the front of the kayak so the dog wouldn't slip.
  • Start out slow.
  • The best way is to build up. Start out at five minutes the first time, then build up to ten. Many dogs, depending on the breed will be out there as long as a half-hour.
  • Make sure your dog knows how to swim.
  • It's essential that your dog is able to swim in case the kayak capsizes. Also, an effective way to get your dog acclimated to the activity is to have them follow behind while you are paddling. Although it sounds mean, it helps because you are the pack leader and the dog will want to follow you.
  • Have them wear a life jacket.
  • Even the best swimmers can run into difficulties. A life jacket (or PSD) is a must for the safety of your pooch.
  • Bring a leash!
  • You want a five or six foot (two meters) leash attached to your dog. Do not attach the leash to the kayak! It's a surefire way for the dog to drown if you tip over. Instead use a specially made leash that attaches to your waist or keep the leash hanging free.

Also, it's good to have these supplies on hand:
  1. Treats
  2. Collapsible Water Bowl
  3. Leash
  4. PSD or Dog Life Jacket
  5. First Aid Kit
  6. Dog Friendly Sunscreen (Zinc Oxide can be used for this)
  7. Ziploc Poop Bags

Let's Discuss!

Do you go kayaking with your dog? What do you like best about it?

Learn More About Kayaking With Your Dog

Dog Channel
Dog Paddling: A Guide to Canoeing with your Dog (From Amazon)

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Take A Hike
Dock Diving

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Q & A With Go Pet Portraits

Melissa McElroy is the artist behind Go Pet Portraits. The idea started when she was looking for a frame for a dog portrait that she had painted. People took notice of the dog portrait and asked her where she had gotten that painting. An artist who has painted all of her life, she launched her website last year.

Melissa was able to take a few minutes out of her schedule to come and talk to us. Here is our interview:

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: Welcome Melissa! You have quite an assortment of unique pet portraits on your website. How do people learn about your website and artwork?
Melissa: Thank you very much. It's great to be here. Word of mouth, online and through the phone are ways my customers learn about Go Pet Portraits.

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: Do you have any pets of your own?
Melissa: I have a miniature pinscher named Pierre. He likes art too. Occasionally, he'll help me pick a background color when I'm stuck on two choices. I'll tell him to pick a color and he points to one of them with his paw.
That's amazing! It's astounding what dogs can do.

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: Do you do any other types of painting?
Melissa: Before I started Go Pet Portraits last year, I had been doing abstracts for many years.

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: What other things do you do to keep your artistic skills sharp?
Melissa: I love listening to music and will switch up between the different art mediums. While I love doing abstracts, I will create sculptures as well.

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: What do you like best about having an online business?
Melissa: Everything is one place. People can order prints, view my artwork and contact me with any questions. Everything is simplified and easily accessible.

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: What is the most unusual request that you've received?
Melissa: Well, this really isn't too unusual but I will get request to do humans which I will do.

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: What do you like best about painting pets?
Melissa: It's great to see the reactions of my customers. There's nothing more satisfying than capturing the spirit of their pet.

TOO KOOL DOGGIES: What advice would you give to artists entering the field?
Melissa: Be brave! Don't be afraid to take a commission. Giving your portraits as a gift is a great way to start out. It's memorable for the person receiving it and it will help the artist fine tune their style.

If you would like to learn more about Go Pet Portraits, you can:

Special Offer

Also, just for Too Kool Doggies readers, Go Pet Portraits will be offering free shipping. Just let her know the code TKD FREE and that you learned about her through our blog.

Thank you all for joining us on this interview. A special thanks to Melissa for making this interview possible. Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Related Posts
Interview with AimeƩ Hoover
Interview with Anthony Holloway

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lawn Lovers vs. Dog Owners

University Park, Illinois

Lately it seems, there has been an increase in confrontations between homeowners who love their lawns and dog owners who exercise their dogs. The most serious of these incidents happened last week in the south suburbs of Chicago, when Charles Clements, a 69 year-old man shot and killed Joshua Funches, who was 23 years-old. What did Mr. Funches do? He walked his dog on his lawn and let the dog urinate on it.

Mr. Clements was a man who took great pride in his lawn. He didn't have a huge lawn but won neighborhood beautification awards for what he was able to accomplish. He used Kentucky Bluegrass which is one of the highest quality grasses available. This man also put up a sign telling the mailman to walk on the sidewalk and not his lawn.

This man had never had a previous encounter with the homeowner. In fact, the homeowner grabbed his gun and chased him down the block to shoot him. It's sad that a man who took great pleasure in keeping his lawn beautiful will have nothing but jail time to show for it. Equally sad is the fact that a young man who was being a responsible dog owner, had his life cruelly taken from him.

Copenhagen, Denmark

A 68-year-old man retaliated against a 41-year-old woman for not picking up after her dog. She had forgotten to bring a bag with her. When the homeowner approached her, she offered to go back home and get a bag and come back to pick up the mess. How did he retaliate? He rubbed her face into the feces. This guy wound up getting a suspended sentence of 30 days.

What's The Solution?

These are just two of many incidents that reflect on the tensions between people who love their lawns and those who love their dogs. The irony is that dog waste in small amounts actually contains nitrogen, the key ingredient in many lawn fertilizers. The problems arise when there is an overabundance of this element which causes yellow spots. If not treated in time, the lawn will not come back.

I think that both homeowners and dog owners need to have mutual respect for one another. Acting out in the heat of the moment never resolves anything but guarantees more problems.

Read Up On It!

Sun-Times Article by Mark Brown
The Copenhagen Post
Oh Mi Dog
Dog Gone It Lawn Problems
Yard Health

Let's Discuss!

Have you had a similar situation in your neighborhood? What ways were you able to find a suitable compromise?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Pug Dog And His Shadow

Hello Everyone!

I'm sorry to have been away for a while. I had been finishing up with finals at school. It was tough because there were two programming classes that I had to do. Anyhow, now that that's over, I have a new podcast for you all. It's called "The Pug Dog And His Shadow". It's a fable written by Lida Brown McMurray.

Download Podcast

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dog Bite Prevention Week

I remember when I was five years-old. I adored my aunt's dog. He was small, white and fluffy. I always loved dogs at a young age. Once when he was sleeping, I decided to pet him and wanted to keep doing it. He was not wanting the attention and gave me a tiny bite on my left hand. I didn't cry but was surprised instead. My dad wound up admonishing me for not leaving the dog alone when I should have. Although one can barely see it, I have a tiny scar from that day and when I glance at it, I remember.

Bite Prevention Week will be from May 16th to May 22nd. In the United States, the Center for Disease Control website states that there are 4.5 million dog bites in a year. Children are the majority of these.

How To Prevent A Child From Being Bitten

Children do not realize fully of how cause a dog to bite. They just love the dogs and enjoy their company. Here are some precautions that you can take:

  • Know How To Approach
  • So many times, a kid will run up to a dog and want to pet them. Dogs can easily misconstrue this as an attack and will bite as a defense mechanism. Whenever I encounter a child when I'm walking my dogs and they ask to pet my dogs, I always tell them to put their hand in front of them so the dog can sniff them. It is a gentle, non-confrontational way to meet.
  • Don't Hug A Dog
  • Some dogs do not mind a hug from children but for most, it's too much of an invasion of their personal space. When dogs feel crowded they will feel the need to fight back to regain that personal space. Instead, a child should rub the side of their neck or glide their hand lightly along their stomach.
  • Never Wake A Sleeping Dog
  • Ever been startled out of a deep sleep? Whenever that happens to me, I feel a little grouchy at the very least. One can only imagine what a dog feels if that were to happen. Let sleeping dogs lie is a well-known phrase that definitely applies when kids are considering doing this.
  • Stand Like A Tree
  • If a dog starts chasing children or growling at them, the best way for a child to avoid an attack is to stand still with their feet together and their hands at their side. Also, don't make eye contact. It's an invitation for a dog to fight.
  • Know The Right Games
  • Dogs love to play just as much as many children do. Games like Tug Of War or Chasing A Dog, actually encourage aggressiveness, which can lead to biting. Instead, have the child play games like Hide and Seek or Fetch. Those are games that are based on teamwork and the dog will not feel as threatened.

Learn More About Bite Prevention

Dog Gone Safe is an excellent website that specializes in dog bite prevention. They are a great resource for this topic. If you would like to see their website, you can find it here.

Let's Discuss!

What are your dog bite prevention tips?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How To Stop Your Dog From Pulling

Hello Everyone! Today is Mother's Day and I'd like to wish all of the lovely moms out there a Happy Mothers Day. I hope you all are treated like queens and enjoy the holiday.

This weekend, I was watching a dog with bundles of energy. Not only did he have bountiful energy around me, but he was quite energetic around my dogs as well and not releasing the energy in the healthiest way. He was crazy about Gigi but tried to get her to play by nipping at her hind legs. When I would take this beagle out with the other dogs, he would pull on my arm like there was no tomorrow. I had a strained shoulder but after thinking about it, I'm not sure what caused it.

Yesterday, I was watching It's Me Or The Dog on Animal Planet. In this show, Victoria Stilwell works with many dogs who have developed bad behavior habits and trains them to be better family pets. It takes time and patience to work with the dogs and their owners to change these patterns. On the show I was watching, she showed how to properly walk your dog and getting the dog to not pull.

Trying The Method For Myself

Last night, I took Homer on along with Cookie and Gigi on a walk. Instead of walking the usual way, I tried the Victoria's method. I would take a couple of steps and as soon as Homer would pull, I would stop walking and then say heel. I would not continue until there was slack in the leash. At first, Homer was barking up a storm and in disillusion about why I was doing this. I just told him that he was a good dog when he wasn't pulling, and would stay quiet when he was. The girls seemed to understand this really well.

The more I focused on this technique, he started to take more and more steps without me having to stop. A walk that was normally twenty minutes long took forty but the difference in pulling was worth it.

Continuing The Process

I kept this up as I had more walks to do. The hardest part was adjusting to other animals and people we encountered on our walk. Since I was taking baby steps in this training process and considering that this wasn't my dog, I chose to focus on the walking part when there weren't other distractions around.

Many times, when dogs pull excessively, it's about dominance. Calmness and consistency in this situation make all the difference. Sometimes, it's just about laying down the groundwork, which was my primary objective. The one thing I wish I would have done was bring my clicker with the mark the good behavior but being new, I didn't think about this.

When the owner arrived today I told him of what I had tried and suggested the same since his dog was just exiting the puppy stage. He seemed to appreciate this and would try it when he takes Homer on his next walk.

Let's Discuss!

Do you have a dog who loves to pull? What steps did you take to make your walks more comfortable?

Related Posts
When Your Dogs Go From Having A Ball To Having A Brawl
Obedience Training with Gigi
Last Day of Dog Obedience
Full Moon
Premier Collars

Friday, May 7, 2010

Beach Bums

I came across this video where a bunch of dogs are entertaining themselves on the beach. This is a video from Hungary and the eleven dogs used in this remind me of what a fun day at the beach is like. It really captures the spirit of the season.

An interesting tidbit about this video is the dogs were trained using the Mirror Method. This type of training uses positive reinforcement and basically teaches dogs certain commands by mirroring their human counterparts. You can find out more about this method at this website.

Let's Discuss!

What do you think of the Mirror Method? What are methods you have used to train your dog?

Well thanks for stopping in. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

One Step Closer To A Home

Tomorrow, Ike the Eisenhower dog will be heading to a foster home as the newest adoptable dog of Precious Pets Almost Home Rescue Group. This unforgettable dog is waiting for the all clear from the veterinarian. No one stepped forward to claim him. If you would like more information, please contact

Personally, I love this story because it's been unreal. It's brought attention to how fostering is becoming more of a norm to help prepare dogs for a forever home as well as shown how unpredictable and determined dogs can be.
Here is the video from ABC7 news.
Hope you are all enjoying the week.

Let's Discuss!
Do you have a popular foster program in your home town? Do you foster dogs yourselves?

Related Posts

Monday, May 3, 2010

Too Kool Doggies Photo Gallery

Hello Everyone!

As you can tell, I've been making changes here and there to this blog. I recently put up a photo gallery. The purpose is to showcase dogs--and for those of you who have both--cats as well?

If you would like to have your pet added to the Photo Gallery, please e-mail me at  Hope you have a wonderful day.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Two Week Experiment

Gigi, my Lhasa Apso mix was scratching up a storm a few weeks ago. As it turns out, Lhasas which tend to be great dogs for allergy sufferers, also have allergies themselves. To truly understand what is the cause of most allergies, I did some internet research on Lhasas. Many of them are known for having dry skin. Sometimes, it's caused by food, or it could be an environmental allergy such as being allergic to grass.

Since Gigi isn't fond of grass at all, I thought it would be a good idea try extra Omega 3. Originally, I was giving her Vitamin E in the smallest dosage possible. It helped a little but not enough to stop the scratching.

Omega 3 Daily

After reading about the different things that could possibly affect Gigi's system, I decided to try these treats that I saw on They had a significant amount of fish oil and since most Lhasas dryness is caused by vitamin deficiencies, I figured I had nothing to lose.

I was hesitant to give her fish oil in pill form, because giving dogs pills can be difficult. I went to my local Petsmart and found them there. There were thirty treats in the bag, so I gave one to each dog.

Week #1

It turned out that both dogs loved the treats. The first day the itchiness was still there, but it then decreased. When Gigi woke up the second morning, she was itching much less. By day 5, any itching was minimal.

Week #2

Well, not too much changed from the first week. She was doing beautifully and her bare spots had new hair growing in. These treats have been an overwhelming success because they are tasty and I don't have to worry about the dogs not eating them. They also don't have any wheat flour which is known as a trigger for many food allergies.

After I finished the bag, I went back to the store and picked up some more today. There I found more of what I had needed. I noticed the bag was smaller and the treats were smoother and smaller. Since they've been reformulated, they may not work the same way. It will be interesting to see if Gigi's allergies are kept at bay. If not, I may try some other product.

Let's Discuss!

Do you have dogs who itch constantly? How do you treat their allergies?


For all of you who have been wondering about Ike, the expressway dog, there's been a Facebook Fan Page to keep everyone updated.

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