A Water Purifier

A Water Purifier

Have you ever bought something that you really thought you needed and could not wait for it to arrive, and then over five years later, you have still not taken it out of the box? That is how it is with my water purifier.  I was so proud of myself for doing something about my drinking water and could not wait to get the purifier delivered. However, there were more steps than putting tap water into it and pushing a button and Wa-La out would come great, healthy water.

Water is the universal elixir of life. It makes up more than 70 percent of our total body mass and covers about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. We can live without food for a month or more, but we will perish in a matter of days without water.  It’s widely known that drinking enough water each day is an essential key to health. The quality of the water we drink, however, often gets overlooked.

We are blessed with remarkable convenience in obtaining the water we drink. While some people still hike for miles to find fresh water, we simply turn on a faucet or run to the nearest store. But do we know the qualit5y of water we drink?

Basic chemistry tells us that water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and a single oxygen atom. Unfortunately, this does not mean that all water is created equally.


Most of the global water supply is no longer the pure substance that cultures have cherished for millennia. Water is now widely tainted with chemicals and inorganic materials. According to many sources I have read, pollutants from farming, industrial dumping and decaying pipes are among the biggest threats. Despite extensive water treatment methods, trace amounts of chemical substances often remain in drinking water.

In the U.S. the fluoridation of water has been another controversial topic. Fluoride is added to water as a type of medicine for the masses, with the stated objective of creating stronger teeth and bones. Opponents of fluoridation make the following distinction: chemically derived sodium fluoride, a by-product of the aluminum industry is added to drinking water, not the naturally occurring calcium fluoride. Studies have shown small amounts of calcium fluoride strengthen teeth and bones. From what I have read there have been no studies to prove the same for sodium fluoride.

So what was I going to do with this knowledge? (It was a popular topic in the county I live for several years.) Buy a water purifier of course. Now I need to make the counter space and the commitment to use it.  Ask me in a few months how that is coming along!

What do you use for drinking water for yourself and your pets? Anyone have suggestions about not being bothered about how much counter space my purifier takes? I would love to learn from your experiences.

Kong Toy Filler Recipes

Kong Toy Filler Recipes

My dog has separation issues. He does not understand why he cannot be with me at all times.  I would love to have him with me at all times, but that is not the way my real world works. Five mornings a week, I need to leave to go to an office. My dog needs to stay at home and be a dog. I have no idea what that means, but I tell each morning that I need him to watch the house and yard for me while I am away. And he gets several “I love you” and “you be a good dog” before I leave. AND he gets his stuffed Kong or stuffed marrow bones.

I do not freeze these because I do not want to have them melt on my carpet. Instead, it has become our morning ritual that I fill 4 bones and he gets them as I walk out the door. I am not so foolish to think he spaces them throughout the day. But I do believe he goes back to them several times during the day to see if by chance he missed something.

While many dogs eat the same kibble throughout their lives, I cannot bring myself to give the same bone treat every day. I was so excited when I found these suggestions; I want to share them with you. The website address is at the bottom of the picture.

Do you offer Kongs or other food-filled containers? What do you use? What do you fill them with? I would love to learn from you.


It Use to Discuss Me

It Use to Discuss Me

Does your dog burp?

Mine does!

What is a burp? According to Wikipedia, a burp (also known as a belch, rectus or eructation) is the release of gas from the digestive tract. It most commonly comes from the esophagus (the tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach) or from the stomach. It is accompanied by a typical sound and occasionally that sound (air) can be accompanied by an odor.

According to Wikipedia, “burping” is significantly quieter and much more subtle than “belching.”

Burping occurs when there is swallowed air in the esophagus or stomach. It is common for some dogs to swallow air when eating or drinking – especially when they eat too quickly.

I have known people that had a Boston Terrier that drove them crazy. After every meal, the dog would come over to sit right in front of them ….. and burp!

My dog has done it occasionally, but it is not a common occurrence, maybe twice a year.

Dogs are funny, aren’t they?

So, what can you do about your dog’s burping?

The best thing you can do is to encourage your dog to eat slower (easier said than done if your dog is one of those that “inhales” his food). Giving your pet smaller amounts of water to drink may help solve the problem. Another method to stop dog burping is to buy a slow-feed dog bowl so he will have to eat his kibble from around built-in knobs, thus slowing down those eat-fast instincts. Both measures will prevent him from swallowing air. The key lesson is to simply make him eat and drink slowly.

If your dog doesn’t typically burp too much and now you are noticing a significant increase, there are chances that your dog may be developing an upset stomach. Figuring out why your dog’s stomach may be upset can be a challenge. If you recently changed dog food, changes are notorious for causing digestive problems in dogs. New dog food should be switched gradually over the course of several days.

Be alert to any significant changes in your dog’s burping habits. If you notice signs of discomfort, call your veterinarian.

Does your dog burp? Is it often in your face? This use to discuss me, now I make a mental note to myself to make sure it does not become a pattern.

What experiences have you had with burping dogs? I would love to learn from you.


CPR For Your Dog

CPR For Your Dog

For those of you who know me and those of you who have read my writings, you know that my lifeblood comes from my dog.

I get great pleasure from just sitting and watching my dog. Often during these times, my dog is sleeping. Conversely, there have been times when watching my dog almost causes me to panic. I hate to omit it, but I have intentionally tapped my dog with my foot or called his name loudly or even went to him and picked his head up simply because I was not sure he was breathing.

One of the most awful experiences any of us dog parents could face would be if your dog stops breathing and has no heartbeat.

A dog that goes without breathing for longer than 3 to 5 minutes can suffer permanent brain damage.  After 10 minutes there is essentially no hope of survival.

What would you do if this happened to your dog?  I have these instructions close by in my dog’s cabinet. I wish I could cite where I got them, but they are old and now on just a sheet of paper that is occasionally looked at when searching for something else.

Make sure the dog is in cardiopulmonary arrest (the cessation of breathing and heartbeat) before starting CPR – if he is not in arrest, you could be injured. Watch for the dog’s chest to rise and fall to determine if he is breathing.  If there are no breaths for 10 seconds, stay calm and begin CPR.

The ABCs of CPR:

  • Airway – First, check your pet’s mouth and throat to make sure the airway is open and clean. Lay the dog on his side, extend the head, open the mouth, pull out his tongue and check for obstructions. If you are uncertain, you may need to perform a finger sweep, running your index finger around the dog’s mouth, along the cheek and across the back of the throat.

Try to dislodge whatever is blocking the airway by performing 5 to 10 abdominal thrusts (like the Heimlich maneuver).  If this works, your dog may regain consciousness, or you may still need to perform CPR.

Swelling could also be blocking the airway.  If this is the case, your dog needs to be treated by a veterinarian immediately.


  • Breathing – Once the airway is clear and the dog is still not breathing, begin artificial respirations. Hold the mouth closed tightly and place your mouth around the dog’s nose or nose and mouth (depending on the dog’s size). Create a seal with your lips and/or hand. Give two breaths, watching for the chest to rise and the lungs to expand.  (Be careful not to overinflate, especially in small dogs.) Wait for the air to be released before breathing again.  After giving two breaths, watch for the dog to start breathing on his own.  If not, continue artificial respirations. (For large dogs, administer 12 to 20 breaths per minute, and 20 to 25 breaths for small dogs.)


  • Circulation – While watching for breaths, feel your dog’s chest near the left elbow to check for a heartbeat. If you did not feel a heartbeat, begin cardiac compressions. The process is a little different depending on the dog’s size.
  • For small dogs weighing less than 10 pounds, hold the pet around his chest using your dominant hand. (The thumb should be on one side and four fingers on the other side.) Squeeze 100 to 150 times a minute.
  • For small dogs weighing more than 10 pounds, use the ball of your dominant hand to compress the chest while using the non-dominant hand to support the dog’s back and keep him from sliding. Compress the chest by about 25 to 33 percent of its diameter.
  • In medium and large dogs, use one or two hands to compress the widest part of the chest by 25 to 33 percent of its diameter. Do this 80 to 120 times a minute. To deliver optimal force, lean over the dog and compress his chest with your elbow(s) locked. Compressions can also be delivered over the sternum (breastbone) with the dog on his back.

Coordinate artificial respirations and chest compressions. If you are alone, give two breaths after every 15 compressions.  If you have help, give one breath during every second or third compression.

Get the dog to a veterinarian or emergency clinic as soon as possible. If possible, transport the dog during CPR. (Even if he recovers from CPR a veterinarian should examine him.)

I have never had to use CPR on a dog. And as I mentioned earlier, these instructions are quite old. The American Red Cross has changed their CPR practices for humans. I am not sure if the CPR method for dogs has changed or not. Do you?

Let me know if you have experience giving CPR to a dog or even if you have seen a veterinarian do it. I would love to learn from you.


It Won’t Happen To Me

It Won’t Happen To Me

I see sad dog stories on television and on social media often. However, this past weekend a story hit me harder than usual. There was a house fire and one person died, another was injured and the dog was missing. The ending was happy as the survivor and the dog was reunited and the community helped to pay the veterinarian bills.

What if something horrific happened to me or you? Have we planned appropriately for this?

No one wants to imagine the worst. We often think that if we imagine something bad, we tempt fate and the bad thing really could happen.

No, we don’t necessarily want to concentrate on the negative. But if we don’t consider all the bad things that could happen to our dogs, how can we be prepared to help save their lives?

You can’t always control everything that your dog does, but you can be prepared for the unexpected. You can’t explain the dangers of the world to your dog, but you can keep them in mind and learn how to deal with them so that your dog will be more likely to survive them.

Here’s a list of a few things to do to keep your dog safe:

  1. Keep a collar on to identify your dog. Every dog should have a collar. This is the best way to be reunited with your dog quickly if he is ever lost or injured. You’d be surprised how often this happens. **I will write more about keeping collars on/off dogs in the future. This topic can be controversial.
  2. ID your dog. Please use an ID tag and microchip in case your dog gets lost or gets out and loses his collar. Many people are never reunited with their pets because the pets don’t have any form of identification.
  3. Keep a leash or harness by the door in case you need to get out of the house quickly with your dog or dogs – especially in case of a fire or other critical emergency. Keep multiple leashes if you have multiple dogs.
  4. Keep fire safety stickers on the house so firemen will know how many of each kind of pet are inside.
  5. Observe your dog for problems and know the common signs of illness. Call your vet when you detect a problem.
  6. Keep emergency phone numbers handy e.g. vet, emergency clinic, humane society, animal rescue, poison control. Print and keep this list of emergency phone numbers in some place easy to find.

I think I do a good job of being prepared, but I know there is always room for improvement. Do you have a plan in place? What recommendations do you have? I would love to learn from you.

Do I Need To Start A Bee Hive?

Do I Need To Start A Bee Hive?

I love honey and I have been doctoring lately and have been told by several of the nurses about the wonderful properties of honey. But today I want to write about another product of the bee, the pollen!

The science behind the benefits of bee pollen is that it is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, and live enzymes. Because of its dense nutrition bee pollen uses included supporting energy needs, muscle strength, healthy digestion, immune support, and allergy relief. Bee pollen is taken as a supplement in its naturally occurring granule form and ground into a fine powder and put in the form of a pill or chewable tablet.

Pollen contains greater concentrations of living enzymes than any other part of the plant. Scientists state that enzymes are absolutely essential for every biochemical function of the body. Enzymes are the essential triggers for the metabolic system of every living thing from the grass in your yard to the cute baby hippopotamus.

Bee pollen has a well-deserved reputation as an allergy relief supplement. It is a natural antihistamine, and it provides immune system support that is believed to help reduce immune responses (such as sneezing, coughing, and itching) to non-threatening external stimuli. Typically it is not necessary to consume local bee pollen to achieve the allergy relief benefits. (But I try to buy locally for many reasons, and I still think local pollen and honey somehow help any symptoms I experience.)

Benefits of bee pollen:

  • Pollen helps build and improve muscle conditioning for strength and endurance
  • Live enzymes support better digestion
  • Natural antihistamine fights allergies
  • Immune system booster
  • Supports healthy hormonal balance
  • Contains whole food antioxidants, vitamins and minerals

If you live near a Health Food Store that happens to have well trained employees, stop in some time and ask about bee pollen. If your experience is anything like mine, you will hope the store has some chairs!

One of my favorite dog resources is the Whole Dog Journal. The article on bee pollen in the Whole Dog Journal is so good that I know I would do it in justice by trying to paraphrase what it says. Here is the link to the bee pollen article. I hope you find is as good of a dog health read as anything you have read lately. I know I did.

Do you have any experience with honey or bee pollen? I would love to hear about it.

Three of My Favorite Supplements

Three of My Favorite Supplements

Dogs might not use words, but they do “talk” to us and let us know when they are happy, depressed, in pain or feeling good. There are many articles and papers dedicated to evaluating which are the best dog foods available. I follow these and have learned to read labels and understand what I am reading. However, dog food is meant to meet the requirements for substance, but not nutrient needs for peak health. Therefore, more than 10 years ago I found a veterinarian who understood the need for supplements. It was slightly less than a 6 hour drive one way to see her, but I believe she helped me keep a dog at least an extra 4 years with supplements.

My dog had a runny nose this morning. So the first thing I did was go to his cabinet and look at the supplements I had available. With the internet’s help, I researched each bottle and chose two to add to my dog’s food. Remember I have had vet instruction on how to add these plus I have attended several seminars and do as much research as I can. This weekend, I will pay for a telephone consultation to inquire about what I think I would like to add and see if there is something I do not know about. Sometimes I just need to hear that they need to be added gradually while others can be given 6 tablets at a time.

As of this morning, had about 10 bottles in my dog’s cabinet. Here are three of my favorites.


Boswellia (also known as frankincense) is an herbal medicine made from the resin of the boswellia serrata tree. For thousands of years, boswellia has been regarded as a potent anti-inflammatory nutrient. Modern studies have shown that boswellia is effective for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Gamma Oryzanol is a mixture of antioxidant compounds that occurs naturally in rice bran oil. Gamma oryzanol is believed to improve muscle tone and performance, which has made rice bran oil a popular supplement among athletes and animal breeders. Gamma oryzanol is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, which are known to protect against heart disease, cancer and other illnesses. Gamma oryzanol was first extracted from rice bran oil in Japan in 1953, and rice bran oil has since gained a reputation as the world’s healthiest seed oil.

Spirulina is a microscopic blue-green vegetable algae that nourishes the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems, and can promote tissue repair and reduce inflammation. Spirulina is a source of highly absorbable protein, mixed carotenoids and other phytonutrients, B-Vitamins, GLA and essential amino acids. Of all the algae, Spirulina has emerged as an especially potent and healthy food source for humans and animals alike.

Do you supplement your dog’s food? What do you use and why? I would love to learn from you.


Canine Good Citizen

Canine Good Citizen

Among companion animals, dogs are unmatched in their devotion, loyalty, and friendship to humankind. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can attest to its hundred-fold return. The excitement your dog shows when you come home, the wagging tail at the sound of the leash being taken from its hook, the delight in the tossing of a tennis ball, and the head nestled in your lap-those are only some of the rewards of being a dog owner.

Owning a dog is not just a privilege-it’s a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. Responsible Owners, Well-Mannered Dogs. The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program is recognized as the gold standard for dog behavior. In CGC, dogs who pass the 10 step CGC test can earn a certificate and/or the official AKC CGC title. Dogs with the CGC title have the suffix, “CGC” after their names.


This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.


This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler’s side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.


This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner’s care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.


This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog’s position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler’s movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired. Read More: How To Train a Puppy to Walk on a Leash


This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.


This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler’s commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog’s leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler’s commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.


This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to “stay” or “wait” or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.


This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.


This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.


This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, “there, there, it’s alright”).

Relative Deprivation

Relative Deprivation

Relative deprivation refers to the idea that rewards always exist within a context of available alternatives. For example, the value of a hot dog cannot be considered unless we know what the alternative options are, such as a piece of kibble or a pound of ground beef. For dog trainers, the important consideration is whether we are overpaying, underpaying, or correctly paying our performance dogs. Motivators should be sufficient to develop the desired behavior without being excessive (and therefore difficult to reduce at a later time.) This is the definition given by Denise Fenzi and Deborah Jones in their book, Dog Sports Skills, Book 2 Motivation. (p. 151)

Relative deprivation was (and still is to a great extent) a new concept to me. Fenzi says (p. 29) that trainers who struggle the most to get past the initial learning phases and to finished, ring-ready behaviors are the ones who have over-motivated their dogs, often with little or no thought to developing alternative motivators.  Food is used to mark every positive interaction while developing a warm and intrinsically valuable relationship unintentionally falls by the wayside.

Dogs highly susceptible to relative deprivation find it difficult for them to accept alternative (lesser) motivators within a training session. This happened to me. My dog likes food! He likes to be rewarded. He will offer behaviors just because there might be a good treat coming for such offerings. Is my dog prone to relative deprivation? No, he is not that type of dog. I have TAUGHT that type of behavior. I have taught it so well, that high-value training treats have added more than 5 pounds to my dog!

In fact, I have taught the reward of a high value treat so well, that he wonders off when he knows I do not have any treats on me.  I have been working hard to have a nice off-leash heeling pattern, so have been popping a lot of treats in his mouth. When I am ready to practice a real show experience where I cannot offer any treats the entire time we are in the ring, I lose my dog! He wonders off and creates his own patterns.

In many ways we are so much alike, what’s in it for me? Is it a high enough value to do something when there appear to be better options? I also see this in kids, especially teens. Yes, they intend to take out the garbage, but the Play Station Game right now is so much more rewarding and gets the attention.

Unless you and I are conscious about what we are doing, it is unlikely we will consciously and systematically reduce the schedule of reinforcement. There are many things we need to do: vary high value treats with low value treats, lengthen time between treats, string together behaviors before any treats are offered, and sometimes reward with pats instead of treats or toys.

My dog and I have started playing hide and seek. The reward is just attention from me. I will let you know how it works.

What do you do to wean off treats or toys for 7-10 minutes of performance time while you are training. I would love to hear your recommendations.

Is He Friendly?

Is He/She Friendly?

How many times are you out with your dog and someone asks, “is he friendly?” I always give them a big smile and thank them for asking before I reply. My reply is that he enjoys being pet under his chin and on his shoulder, but he does not like to be hugged.

With my last dog who was extremely social and enjoyed meeting new people as much as he enjoyed meeting new dogs, I never gave this question a second thought. I proudly answered, he loves to meet new people and if they had kids with them, I made sure I added that he is great with kids.

That is what it was like for me for 10.5 years. Then I got a dog who was 2.5 years old and did not spend those 2.5 years being hugged and touched and played with all throughout his puppyhood. He was by no means fearful, but he was uncomfortable with new people and new situations. He simply was not use to people coming into his personal space.

For the dog owners that have a dog that does not love attention from new people, it can be hard to know how to reply. You want to say that he is friendly, because, well he is. After all, he probably greets you each day with enthusiasm and joy. He is a happy, friendly and adjusted dog. That is as long as his routine is not broken he is a friendly dog.

It feels awful to say, “he prefers not to be pet,” and to feel like you have just replied that your dog is mean or not social or even that it is poorly trained. Notice I did not reply that “No, he’s not friendly,” because I try to temper my feelings more than the person asking. Most people take that answer and are okay not petting your dog. However, there are those few that are sure that they have special dog whisperer powers and insist on touching. Be your dog’s advocate and be firm in your stance that you and your dog prefer the stranger not pet him.

With you being the one who now seems unfriendly, you put your dog in a situation where he does not have to demonstrate that he does not like to be touched by those he does not know. You may even want to go on to educate the person by pointing out signs your dog is giving that he is uncomfortable. Say things like, do you see how he ducks or turns his head or moves away. Or if you can read your dog well, you may want to point out his baseline posture, changes in his eyes, ears, mouth and tail carriage.

Remember we all need to follow the signals the dog is giving us. If an owner says, “he would rather not be pet today,” then smile and say “okay, no problem!” and move along.  Just be genuinely happy that this very lucky dog has an owner who is advocating for his comfort and wellbeing.