Friday, July 29, 2011


The weekend is almost here! In the dog days of summer, every weekend either entails a trip to the beach or a summer barbecue gathering with friends and family. Cold glasses of lemonade, juicy burgers, and bowls of cole-slaw are enjoyed in the backyard. Nobody wants to miss these delectable warm summer get-togethers but when you have a fuzzy friend at home it can be hard to leave them alone. Here are some tips for deciding whether or not to bring your furball to the barbecue and what to keep in mind if you do.

To Bring or Not to Bring Fido

Determine how your dog acts with groups of people and crowds. If your dog is fearful or aggressive, you should leave your canine at home to guard the house while you are away. If your dog is a jumper or a barker they can cause party mishaps like spilled drinks and guests screaming to be heard above the yaps or howls of Fido. Furthermore, if your dog has a tendency to beg for food or even steal food out of people’s hands, a barbecue is the last place you want to bring your pal. With all that juicy meat around, it’s hard to resist!

Food to Stay Away From

If your darling dog does not have any of the attributes listed above and you already checked with the barbecue host about bringing your pooch, there are some small things to be aware of before affixing Fido’s bib and setting a place for him/her at the picnic table. Beware of the fruit salad if it contains grapes! Grapes are highly toxic to dogs even in small doses. They can cause vomiting and diarrhea and even kidney failure if a significant amount of grapes (or raisins) are ingested. Make sure that alcoholic beverages are not lying on the ground or the edges of picnic tables within easy reach of your curious canine. Any type of alcoholic beverage is potentially poisonous to pets. Other foods you should never let your canine ingest are chocolate, and onions which can be poisonous to dogs. Since the grill will be fired up and an abundance of meat will be around, protect the food from prying wet noses with mesh food tents that open up like an umbrella to fit over wide platters of food. Tell guests to keep food scrap feeding to a minimum so that your dog does not get sick from too much grub and indulgent food that he or she is not accustomed to eating on a regular basis.
Photo Courtesy of Florin Gorgan

Mind the Garden

Though Lilies are absolutely beautiful to look at, for dogs they are an unlikely threat. According to Stephanie Rogers from Mother Nature Network, “The peace lily, calla lily, amaryllis, lily of the valley, autumn crocus and the common houseplant, giant Dracaena or palm lily, are all deemed dangerous to dogs by the ASPCA. Ingestion of lilies can cause gastrointestinal upset, depression, loss of appetite and tremors.” Check with your host to see what plants and flowers they grow in their garden and around their property.


If their is a pool, make sure there is always a lifeguard on duty to watch youngsters and water-loving dogs. Some dogs can be excellent swimmers but can have trouble finding their way out of the pool or may wear themselves out. Investing in doggie life jackets is always a safe and excellent idea. Also, make sure to bring a water bowl for your dog and keep your pup well hydrated.

Do you bring your dog to summer barbecues? What tips can you give us?

Friday, July 22, 2011


It turns out your teenager may not be the only insecure one in the household. That moody wallflower sitting in a corner with apprehensive eyes could just as well be Fido! Though your dog does not have to worry about the perfect outfit to wear to the dance, your canine has his or her own reasons for adopting this shy attitude. How can you help your pooch break out of their shell and meet the world with confidence and vigor? We’ve got some tips to eradicate this behavior.

Signs of an Insecure Pooch
Does your dog roll over as soon as you, or other people approach, exposing his or her little dog belly? Does your dog pee when you touch him or her? If your precious pup exhibits signs of this behavior, chances are you have a passive dog on your hands. Other signs of a shy dog are wide fearful eyes or squinted eyes, ears pressed flat against the head, and/or lowering its body to the ground to be as small as possible.

Why is Your Dog Shy?
There are many reasons why a dog might be shy and it can be difficult to pinpoint the root of the cause unless you watched your dog age from a puppy to adulthood. Chances are, if you adopted your dog they might have some fear issues and this probably stems from their upbringing, their former owners, or the way they were treated previously by both humans and/or other animals. This behavior is also inherited from canine parents as well, so if doggie Mom was insecure, it is possible your dog might be too.

Boost Your Dog’s Confidence
Since you can’t give your dog a shot of confidence you will have to slowly work through the issue. Do not make your dog feel more insecure by engaging in what a pooch can interpret as assertive behavior. This can include towering over your pup, staring them in the eyes, or for some, petting them on the head or back. Stick to a neutral zone like stroking your dog’s chest, and kneel down to their level without looking them in the eye. Encourage guests that come to your house to treat your dog in the same manner and to keep greetings and interactions calm and low-key. It is not a good idea to over-excite an anxious dog. It is important to remember that whatever you do, do not reprimand or scold an insecure dog; it will only make them believe they are not showing you or your guests enough respect and might result in your dog feeling more unconfident. Teach your dog basic training skills and simple commands. Your dog will gain confidence as his or her world expands and your pooch learns new skills.

Agility to the Rescue!
Another wonderful way for your canine to increase their doggie self-esteem is by partaking in agility. Agility is a great dog sport and a powerful way to increase the bond between you and your dog. Canines love having a job to do and agility not only encourages your dog to learn new skills but it allows your dog to be active and have fun while doing it. Morris K9 Campus offers a range of agility classes starting with a beginner level where no prior experience is necessary.

Help your dog tackle their insecurities and approach the world with self-assurance!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Photo Courtesy of Andreaplanet
For a dog owner, there is nothing more embarrassing than calling out your dog's name only to have them find everything else more worthy of their attention than your urgently rising voice. A bushy-tailed squirrel, your neighbor in their backyard, a wispy cloud floating softly by in the sky, a tiny blade of grass. Sometimes it feels like you could wear a necklace of bacon and a pot roast for a hat before your dog even decides to glance in your direction.

A Hairy Situation
But besides the embarrassment of screaming yourself hoarse while your pooch calmly ignores you, there is a real danger to this misbehavior. A friend was recently reminded of this fact while she was pet sitting. The dog managed to get loose and ran onto a busy road. This dog was adopted, fearful, and had never been properly trained which only made this unfortunate incident worse. Not responding to her name or any recall words like "come" made it extremely difficult for the dog to be safely caught. This story has a happy ending because the dog was eventually caught and returned unharmed back to her home. Yet, had this dog been taught the importance of recall by responding to her name or a word like come or here, she never would have run as far as she did and led the pet sitter and her friends on a wild, heart pounding goose chase. And of course the story could have had a very different and more upsetting outcome.

Human Error
Humans are bound to make mistakes. As they say, that's why there are erasers on pencils. You may forget to close the gate to your yard when taking out the trash, leave the garage door open, your dog may jump out of the car before you have him or her properly harnessed, or your leash may snap and break at the most inopportune time. No eraser on a pencil is going to correct this situation, only time spent training and teaching your dog recall until it is so perfected that you can take your dog off leash at any time and know that he or she will return to you. We never recommend allowing your dog off leash, but in a properly contained space it is crucial to train your dog up to this level on the off chance that you are faced with this situation someday.

Practice Makes Perfect
Recall is the most important step in basic training, more important than sit or lie down. If you as a dog owner do not have this skill nailed down, you will never have the confidence and assurance of knowing that no matter what unfortunate cirsumstance arises, your precious pooch will return to you safely and out of harm's way. You owe it to yourself and to your dog.

Morris K9 Campus is passionate about this topic and commited to the importance of recall. As a result, we offer varying programs to perfect this skill from daycare and play, to pet level training classes, Adult Socialization and Play, to agility and even whole workshops devoted to this subject.

Would you like to see another Off-Leash Workshop offered at Morris K9 Campus?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Photo Courtesy of Soggydan
There are many joys to summer; the warm weather, more hours of sunlight, watermelon, lemonade, and days spent on sandy beaches. But unfortunately, there are also some drawbacks to these summer months as well. The humidity is so sticky you suddenly start sporting a new, not so nice hairstyle that consists of frizz and then some. Only being outside for 10 minutes can result in peeling sunburn and the heat can become so hot and oppressive you have trouble moving faster than a slug’s pace. All of a sudden, that house you wanted so desperately to escape in the winter months has become a cool refuge. Your dog agrees, but has started rummaging through the bathroom garbage as a source of entertainment. You however, may not find this quite as entertaining. Don’t worry, the following indoor games will amuse both you and your pooch while keeping you both comfortable and cool.

Hide and Seek
Have your dog locate his or her favorite toy by letting your fuzzbucket first sniff the toy and then hide it in another room. When your dog finds the toy reward him or her with a treat or praise and kisses. If your dog does not have a special toy and is more treat motivated, command your dog to sit and stay. Hide small bits of food around the room and have your dog use his or her nose and memory to find all of the delicious surprises. Reward with praise.

Magical Cups
Entertain your pup with your own magic show. On a carpeted floor for extra traction, line up three plastic cups and hide a treat under one of the cups. Have your pooch utilize their amazing olfactory senses to determine which of the three cups the tasty treat is hiding under. If your dog has a tendency to knock over the cups in a greedy haste to get at the goods, use something sturdier like mugs or small bowls.

Retrieve and Receive
It seems that every canine commercial or movie shows a dog triumphantly trotting with the morning newspaper clutched in his mouth to bring to the family as they enjoy breakfast, while birds chirp melodically outside in the background to herald the new day. Though we rarely see this in real life, it is absolutely possible to get your dog to retrieve things for you and will make your life a little easier. While allowing your dog to go out the front door without your supervision is risky and not recommended, you can always have your dog take the paper out to recycling or empty cardboard paper towel rods which are easy to grip in their doggie mouths as long as your recycling is indoors. Use praise, treats, and repetition.

Doggy Dancing
Throw on some tunes and get moving! Teach your dog some basic doggy dancing tricks at Morris K9 Campus’s Doggy Dancing Workshop on Sunday 7/10 from 11AM-1PM and practice them at home for some fun bonding time that is great for your dog’s mental stimulation and will impress all your friends.

If you are still looking for engrossing ways to keep your dog occupied in the steamy months ahead, don’t hesitate to stop by Morris K9 Campus where our line-up of interesting classes, fun weeks of daycare, and agility work will both physically and mentally engage your canine.