Are You Committed To Keep Your Dog In Shape?

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Keeping Your Dog In Shape

We just had a nice hike at Kelso Conservation Area which is where Glen Eden Ski Resort is in Milton, Ontario.  Since this conservation features a ski area, we always choose to hike up one of the ski slopes as part of the hike.  This of course is great exercise in to keep our dogs in shape too.

In fact, the initial part of this Kelso hike is going up one of the ski slopes since most of the hiking trails are at the top of the escarpment.  This is a good thing too for both people and dogs as the toughest part of the hike is right at the beginning with this slope climb.

Then the rest of the hike is through the woods with some nice lookout points at the top of the escarpment showing great views of Glen Eden and Kelso north side.  We can also see the highway 401 from the top as well.

After the hiking trails at the top of the escarpment, we hike back down another ski slope back to the parking lot at the bottom.  This hike took us two hours and my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie had no problems doing the full two hours it took to do it.  We took several water breaks of course since it was getting a bit hot but fortunately most of the hike is in the woods shaded from the sun.

Commitment To Keep Your Dog Fit

I am very proud of my dogs Chester and Roxie as they are both 11 years old now but had no problems with this Kelso hike including the intial ascent up the ski slope.  We made it up faster than most of the other hikers in our group.  Sometimes other dogs who are younger than Chester and Roxie, need to be carried part way through these hikes as they don’t have the stamina and fitness that my dogs have, even at their age.

It has always been a major commitment of mine to keep my dogs fit for as long as possible.  This includes maintaining a healthy diet without overfeeding them, especially with junk food as well as plenty of exercise.  We go out as much as we can when the weather is good and we do stairs inside when the weather is not good out there.

With our Small Dogs Outings Meetup group, we keep our dogs in shape with others on our dog walks too.  So in addition to the physical fitness aspect, our dogs also benefit from the social and mental fitness elements as well when they are on group dog walks.

Our dogs give so much to us.  So it is my belief that in addition to providing a safe and happy home for them, we should also be totally committed to keeping our dogs in shape.  Ask yourself honestly if you are doing everything you can to keep your dog in shape.   If not, determine what you can do whether it’s to get out there more often with your dog or to hire somebody else to help you.

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Midweek Group Dog Walks Are Great Ideas

small dogs walks group outings

Midweek Group Dog Walks

Our Small Dogs Outings Meetup group runs outings both on weekends and during midweek as well.  Our midweek group dog walks have turned out to be great ideas since they represent nice breaks in the middle of the week for all involved.

Not only do the humans get to use these midweek outings as a nice break from their usual work week schedules, our small dogs also get out for some nice exercise and dog socialization with their friends.   They no longer have to wait for an entire week in order to see some of their doggie friends.

Of course our midweek dog outings are a bit shorter with durations of 45 minutes to an hour at most while our weekend outings can be a few hours long.  But people and dogs still like coming out to our midweek dog walks.

The midweek outings tend to draw the local crowd since GTA is busy during the week with traffic which prevents our members from outside our local area to attend.  And we have to shift the hours a bit depending on how hot the temperatures are outside – the hotter the temps, the later in the evening we start our midweek walks.

For the spring, we can do our usual variety of nature trails in Mississauga during the early evenings but as we start them later during the hotter summer nights, we will have to shift from the mosquitoe populated nature trails to more residential areas.  This is okay since the residential areas we use are relatively quiet in terms of traffic and they are well lit.  We started some of these later night residential areas last summer and they worked out quite well.

My Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie (shown above with two of their friends during a recent midweek dog walk) just love being out with their doggie friends during the middle of the week as it represents something different from their usual week at home away from other dogs.

So consider getting together with some other dog owners in your area to organize midweek dog walks of your own.  You will find that they are quite welcomed by both dog owners and their dogs.


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How Small Dogs Group Adjusts For Hot Weather

group dog walks

Small Dogs Group In Hot Weather

As we head into the warmer part of spring, our small dogs group will have to make some adjustments on how we do our outings.  The temperatures get higher during the day so for both our leash free dog park outings as well as our weekend hikes partnered up with our general social Meetup group, we will start these events earlier in the day.

So instead of our usual start time between 10:30 am and 11 am, we will start most of our events at 9:30 am in order to catch the cooler temperatures in the morning.  This will make our walks and hikes more comfortable for both our dogs as well as ourselves.

Our dog park outings will be only 30 minutes in duration since most dog parks have little or no shade.  While our hikes at conservation areas usually have tree covered trails, they will usually end by midday when we can make on site decisions on whether to continue socializing or not depending on what the temperatures are.

If the temperatures are okay for the dogs to sleep in the cars without heating up, then we can extend our socializing but if they are too high, then the events will end for the day so we can bring our dogs home.

Midweek Walks To Start Later

For our popular Midweek walks, it’s just the opposite.  We will likely start them later in the evening at about 8 pm rather than 7 pm.  This means that much of the sunshine will have disappeared resulting in cooler temperatures.

We’ll stay on well lit areas like residential streets and any trails that we know are well lit too.  But since it’s during the summer evenings, we’ll avoid areas where the mosquitoes will be out in full force.  We tried several of these evening walks last August and those who came out really liked them.

Potty Training With Litterbox Great For Summer

Since our summers are quite hot, my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie usually don’t want to come outside until the temperatures are cooler.  And since they were both indoor litterbox trained, they don’t need to go out during the daytime at all.

Potty training with a litterbox is great for the summer since our dogs can stay comfortable inside with AC all day long no matter how hot it is outside.  So this type of potty training is great for all year round, not just during cold winters.  For more details, just click on the last link.

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Keep High Resolution Images Of Your Best Dog Photos


Best Dog Photos

It’s weird but due to digital photography, I have yet to actually print out any hard copies of photos of Chester and Roxie even though they are now 11 years old.  I thought that it’s about time to do so.  Therefore I spent a few hours going through all the digital photos I took of them over the years (and I’ve taken quite a lot).

Fortunately, we have a nice number of photos taken when Chester and Roxie were just puppies and have been doing so over the years. And with our Small Dogs Outings Meetup group, we have also taken a lot of shots featuring them with their doggie friends too.

However, one of the things I usually do after taking dog photos is to retouch them with  lighting and colour adjustments in Photoshop.  I have also converted the vast majority of our dog photos to smaller file size versions in order to save hard drive space in my computer.

Keep High Resolution Versions Of Dog Photos

The big downside of converting all my dog photos to small file versions is that they are way too low resolution to print out.  For most of our dog photos, this is not an issue as I don’t plan on having hard copies anyway.  But for some choice images that I would like to have enlargements made so I can display them on my wall, I suddenly realized that I now face some pretty big limitations on what I can do.

As of today, none of the dog photos we have are of adequate resolution to enlarge to poster size.  A few shots might have enough resolution between 200 and 300 dpi.  Standard requirement for printing is 300 dpi but some shots will be okay at 200.  Below 200 and images will be too blury or too small in dimensions for a hard copy.

The top photo above is one of my favourites of Chester and Roxie when they were puppies.  This is one that I would love to have made a poster size enlargement.  But the best that I could do was a 6×6 print which is certainly better than nothing.  So now I have this photo in a tabletop display which I’m pretty happy with.

My overall favourite shot so far of Chester and Roxie grown up is below.  It is a shot where I’m happy with the facial expressions of both Chester and Roxie as they show their true personalities.

This image is used to create the banner from our Small Dogs Outings Meetup group.  It is great for webpages but unfortunately for us, we can only print out a 4×6 as the biggest hard copy possible.

dog photos

By the way, the original version of this shot does have me in it but I looked like crap so it’s not worth having me in the shot!

So the big lesson here is for all of your best photos of your dogs, make sure that you keep high resolution versions, usually the original version file sizes, even though they will take up space in your hard drive.  All other photos you are sure that you will never make hard copies of can be converted to smaller file size versions.

From now on, I will be more attentive to this as any image of Chester and Roxie that I feel has the potential of an enlargement, I will most definitely retain a high resolution version.  This means ideally at 300 dpi, I can make a print of decent dimensions of at least 11×14 or even 20×30 if possible.  I would love to have a poster size shot of Chester and Roxie in the future that is worthy of being on my wall.

Interestingly enough, I do have a few enlargements on my wall of my previous Lhasa Apso dogs Pepper and Max but those were possible because they were made from photo negatives as they were way before the digital age.

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Why Some Men Have Dogs Rather Than Wives

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Some Dog Humour

Here’s some funny dog humour I found. Of course the stuff below could equally apply to why some women have dogs and no husbands too!

Why Some Men Have Dogs And Not Wives:

1. The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.

2. Dogs don’t notice if you call them by another dog’s name.

3. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.

4. A dog’s parents never visit.

5. Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.

6. You never have to wait for a dog; they’re ready to go 24 hours a day.

7. Dogs find you amusing when you’re drunk..

8. Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.

9. A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, “If I died, would you get another dog?”

10. If a dog has babies, you can put an ad in the paper and give them away.

11. A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.

12. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don’t get mad. They just think it’s interesting.

13. Dogs like to ride in the back of a pickup truck.

And last, but certainly not least:

14. If a dog leaves, it won’t take half of your stuff.

Ultimate True Test: Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car for an hour. Then open the trunk and see who’s the happiest to see you.

As I said, these comments above can equally apply to why dogs are easier to manage for women compared to dealing with their husbands! No matter which side you are looking from, I think we must all agree that dogs are easier to train than our human partners.

If you have not already, you can access our free dog obedience training video to see just how true this is.

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Another Success Story With Indoor Dog Potty Training With Litterbox

indoor dog potty training litterbox

Indoor Dog Potty Training Success Story

It’s always great to read about another success story with indoor dog potty training using a litterbox.  Our program has helped many dog owners successfully potty train their puppies indoors thus eliminating the need to go outside all the time just for their pets to do their business.

Here’s a great success story from Jana Blanco in Utah, USA;

Hi Clint, I had to write an email to thank you for your ebook on litter training my puppy.  I was spending all of my time trying to keep messes out of the house by taking my puppy out to potty 10-15 times a day, and had to be watching him like a hawk any time he was out of his crate.   It was all getting pretty overwhelming.

Then the other day we had a big wind storm (it gets very windy sometimes where I live), and going outside became impossible with him. I had heard of the possibility of training your dog to use a litter box, and in desperation I did a search for information and came across your book. I bought, and I am so glad I did!

Our little Koda came from the breeder paper trained, so it was a very easy transition to the litter box.  I set up our puppy place yesterday, and he only had two accidents outside of the litter box.  I caught him in the act both times, and was able to tell him “no” and redirect him to the litter box.

He took to it almost immediately.  I think he was as relieved to not have to constantly go outside as I was!  I was a bit nervous to leave him overnight, but I got up this morning and all of his elimination was in the litter box where it belong.

I was stunned and super excited!!  I feel like I have my life back, and little Koda is so happy to not be dragged outside every hour.  I honestly didn’t think we would be having this much success this quickly.  Your ebook was the best money I’ve spent in a long time. Thank you so much!

Jana Blanco

Indoor Dog Litterbox Makes Sense

Of course nobody nor most dogs want to go outside when it’s terrible weather.  My two Lhasa Apsos Chester and Roxie certainly don’t as they usually stop at the doorway without venturing outside when it’s raining, really windy or really cold.  So I’m not surprised with Koda’s response as it’s so much better to use his indoor dog litterbox than get whipped around in high winds or freezing temperatures outside.  So the indoor option makes perfect sense.

And Jana makes a great point about the easy transition from newspapers to dog litterbox.  Most puppies do start on newspapers and in our indoor dog potty training program, we take advantage of this by continuing the use of papers in conjunction with a dog litterbox at the beginner of the training progression.

You can see in the photo above that Koda is already at the stage where papers are not even needed anymore as his puppy area has just his eating and water bowls as well as his indoor dog litterbox.  Pretty soon his puppy area can be left open as he will know how to return to it where the litterbox is from wherever he is in the house.

Congratulations to Jana and Koda!

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Spring Brings Out The Small Dogs Again

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Small Dogs Coming Out Again For Spring

Although our winter here in Ontario was relatively short since December was pretty dry, January and February did turn out to be too cold for most of our members in our Small Dogs Outings Meetup group to come out.   We tried to run a few outings to keep the dogs together during the winter but we ended up doing just 2-3 outings when there was a break in the temperatures and not many dogs came out anyway.

But now in mid March when it looks like winter is over, our small dogs are starting to come out again.  It’s great for both the owners and their dogs to see each other again.

Start With Easier Trails For Our Small Dogs

This year, our small dogs group will be invited to attend all of the walks and hikes my flagship general social group GTA Free Spirits run.  During the spring and fall seasons, we are especially active in hiking as we visit the conservation areas as well as local trails.

small dogs meetups group

But for now since the grounds are still wet from both recent rain and the winter melt, we will start with easier trails that are more flat.  This will be less messy and less hazardous for both dogs and their owners to walk through until the grounds get drier later on in the spring.  We also want to steer clear of any pavements or roads that have accumulated too much winter salt since our dogs have sensitive paws towards salt.

Small Dogs Could Have Used Indoor Dog Litterbox Training

One thing I did notice during the winter is an increase in sales of our indoor dog litterbox training program.  This is not surprising as I’m sure many owners of small dogs living in winter areas got tired of taking their pets outside in the cold every day.  Even a few members of our small dogs group admitted that during the winter, they don’t go out much as they just do short five minute breaks just outside home for their dogs to do their thing.

My two Lhasa Apsos Chester and Roxie went out in the back only when the outside temperatures were kind of bearable and only for fun in the snow.  Otherwise, they were quite content to stay inside and use their indoor dog litterbox whenever they needed to.  My pet sitters told me that the dog litterbox was all they used when I was in Banff for a ski vacation this winter.

I know that for many new puppy owners, this was the first winter with their dogs.  Maybe this first winter experience will motivate them to add indoor potty training so that they don’t have to go through another winter freezing outside waiting for their dogs to poop again.

small dog meetup groups toronto mississauga

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New 2016 Dog Calendars Are Available

2016 Dog Calendars

The new 2016 dog calendars are available at our partner now.  To browse through what they have for both dog calendars and other nice dog related items, just click on the big graphic below.

Have fun browsing!

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Keep Your Dogs Safe During Holiday Season

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Keep Dogs Safe During Holiday Season

As we approach the holiday season, I first want to thank all our readers for spending time with us this past year.  It’s been another great year with our dogs and their friends.

Here are some quick pointers to help keep your dogs safe during holiday season.

  1. Keep chocolate items out of reach (advise guests too)
  2. Limit treats to prevent weight gain during holidays (advise guests not to give treats to our dogs too)
  3. Make sure holiday season lighting wires are secured
  4. Keep poinsettas and other plants (Christmas trees) toxic to dogs out of reach
  5. Know where the emergency vet clinic is in your area
  6. Don’t leave small items like small Christmas toys that can be swallowed which kids might leave lying around
  7. Protect your dog’s paws from road salt – see our article/video on dog boots
  8. Resist temptation to give puppies as Christmas gifts unless the potential recipient and person with primary pet responsibility gets the required education and training.  We don’t want anymore dogs abandoned to the pet shelters because new owners underestimated what it takes to train a dog.

These of course are all things we should do all year round but during the holiday season, certain things might come out (like Christmas lights, trees and poinsettas) which may draw curiosity from our dogs since they don’t see them during other times.  And we might be so focused on entertaining guests during the holiday season that we overlook extra safety precautions we should take with our pets.

The last thing we need during the holiday season or at any time of the year for that matter, is to take a sudden trip to the emergency vet clinic.  So let’s keep our dogs safe so we can all enjoy the times together with them during the holiday season.

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Best Moments Of Small Dogs Group 2014-2015 Video Shows Dog Friends

small dogs meetup group video toronto mississauga brampton dog friends

Dog Friends On New Video

I put together a new video which was really fun to do.  It’s a compilation of the best moments on photos from our Mississauga GTA Small Dogs Outings Meetup group from its beginning in fall of 2014 to present day near the end of 2015.  I added some captions to reflect the nature of many of the photos.

As I watch the entire video showing photo after photo, I can certainly see that the various shots really show the essence of what our small dogs group is really all about.  The group was formed to help my Lhasa Apso dogs Chester and Roxie make some new dog friends.

As you can see from the video below, the group is about helping our pets make friends and you can see the various dog friendships that have been formed throughout the year.  It’s interesting that the puppies find each other and the older, more mature dog members also do the same with each other with good friendships being made especially over time.

Like human friendships, dog friendships seem to develop stronger over time.  This is why we always stress that new dogs to our group attend our outings on a regular basis.  The more times our dogs see each other, the more they will get use to each other and enjoy each other’s company.

You can sense that the dogs in our photos are happy during these outings we run.  The photos were taken on various types of outings including visits to leash free dog parks as well as nature trail walks of different durations.  Some trails were local while some were out of town in conservation areas.

Emmy, a white Shih Tzu member of our group, was our first besides Chester and Roxie to attend an outing with us in 2014.  You can see in the photos that the friendship bond between Emmy and my Lhasa Apsos are quite strong now.  My dogs are only a year younger than her but they have similar styles of dog socializing, ie., they prefer to casually chill out.

The member dogs who are just past puppyhood to a few years old tend to like to run around more and this group includes Spartan, Nitro and Anan.  The even younger ones still puppies like to wrestle.  This would be the case with our puppy members Bentley, Harlow and Lisa.  So each member dog can usually find another with similar socializing styles.

It’s actually quite interesting how the older dogs like my Lhasa Apsos Chester and Roxie would teach the younger ones some manners by snapping at them if they get in their faces or try to jump on them.  Since the older dogs are past the wrestling stage, they teach the puppies what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to socializing across age groups.

Wide Range In Age With Small Dogs Group

For the longest time, Emmy was the oldest member of our small dogs group (11 years old as of this post).  But a 14 year old American Eskimo has since joined our group.  The youngest are some puppies who are just several months old.  Our member dogs come from mostly from Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville and Milton but we do have a few like Zoe and Broker who come to our longer weekend outings all the way from Toronto.

Anyway, here is the video.  I would definitely encourage all dog owners to try and get involved with a similar dog group in their area since dogs who are socialized and have dog friends are just happier.  Enjoy the video!

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