My goal with this blog is for you to enjoy your time here. Most of the posts talk about my experiences raising my two yellow Labrador Retrievers, some are just for fun, and others share the best dog related information and products I have found.

Use the tabs above for quick navigation. I have imbedded links for as much as possible so that you can find the resources easily from this blog. The links in the side bar are for websites that have been helpful to me. I hope that you find them useful for you and your canine "family member"

Sunday, September 03, 2006

"Family Member" or "Home Accessory"

Have you really stopped to think about how much energy you have put towards the well being of your pets. Whether you have dog(s) or cat(s), or even perhaps both consider the following for a second. When it comes to our well being we pay very close attention to some or all of the following: what we eat - organic perhaps, only the best restaurants, no processed foods, maybe no hydrogenated oils; our hair - the style, products to care for it, the people we pay to cut it; our comfort - top of the line mattress, nice comfy arm chair for the end of the day; our personal recreation - golfing, working out at home or the gym, going to a movie, going out to dinner with friends, romantic evenings with a spouse. Now stop and consider that all these things are also of vital importance to the most selfless often overlooked members of our family - our pets.

That's why I feed my dogs Flint River Ranch dog food. No, it's not the only premium, human grade quality meat, no filler, all stage food out there. But for my Labradors, who need the omega 3 oils more than most dogs, and absolutely do not need the cheep hard to digest grain fillers, they have a great trout and sweet potato formula called "Fish & Chips". My dogs love it and I can even use it as a training treat reward. I also feed them fruits and veggies especially when I'm in the in the kitchen preparing a meal and there are extra cuttings or special cuttings just for them. Some people have told me that they don't want there dogs begging in the kitchen. My answer is simple, there is no free lunch in my house, my dogs have to work for any and all treats. It's a fun training opportunity that they love. Most of the time I send them to their bed before they get the treat. This has taught them the ideal place to be when we're in the kitchen together and I'm cooking. This beats tripping over them when they quietly lay down behind me, or stepping on a stray tail in my rush to get to the pot that's boiling. Of course they in turn get great fresh wholesome vitamins and minerals. It's why we eat these things, right?

Next on my list of favorites are the grooming products by Cloud Star - Buddy Wash. They also have great dog treats that my dogs have loved over the past year. Because Buddy Wash is (what is called) soap free it can be used as often as once a week even on puppies and does not remove such things as Front-line or Advantage. They smell great and if you cuddle with your dog(s) like we do then you'll love the feel of their coat and the clean smell as well. They also have an after bath or between bath coat conditioner that is really nice. One use in a pinch is for those times you have company coming and haven't had a chance to bathe the dogs and they need it. Although not it's intended use it sure does the trick nicely.

We have a soft place for them to lie down in every room where we spend time in our house. Shelby sometimes chooses the floor instead of the bed but Nutmeg heads for the bed right away. There are many good reasons for them to have their own place in the room. If you need them out from under foot you have a place to send them. It also saves the carpet. Now if they have a bone they are working on and we're in the carpeted office they take it right to there bed and all that extra drool can be washed in the next load of laundry.

Dogs need their exercise and to learn good socialization skills not just with other humans but with other sizes and breeds of dogs. Learn more with this article: "The Puppy and the Young Dog - About Growing Up" by Turid Rugaas. Every breed of dog has their own twist on "dog talk" (Calming Signals - The Art of Survival) and even dogs in the same breed can communicate differently. Our dogs need to understand this early in their life and throughout their life. Then there's just the simple fact that I picked dogs that need to run. Retrieving is their life and the bond it creates between me and my dogs is worth every minute I give to them. In our house that means every day we're out at least once doing hard running at the park. Sometimes we out there alone sometimes we're out there with 4 - 8 other neighborhood dogs. It's really neat to see the dogs "talking", figuring out how to play well together. Can you tell when your dog is "laughing"?

Hopefully I've made you think about things a little differently. What ever your choices are in the care of your dogs, just be sure you've given them as much thought as you've given to yourself. You can own "home accessories" or have a rich life with "family members".

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