June is National Microchipping Month. I am a huge believer in microchips. All of my pets, including every single kitten that comes through rescue, are microchipped. While I’m thankful they have never been necessary, you can never be too safe. Even with the utmost care and vigilance, our beloved pets can sometimes go missing or get lost. That’s why microchipping is crucial in safeguarding their safety and well-being. Here’s how this simple procedure can be a lifesaver in reuniting lost pets with their owners.[Read more…] about June is National Microchipping Month
Last night, I had to do something that no pet parent wants to do. I had to take Mauja to the emergency vet.
On Wednesday, Mauja was having bouts of panting that seemed slightly abnormal but nothing too concerning. The heat and humidity, combined with Mauja’s above-average anxiety level, often lead to a bit more panting. I got her calmed down and relaxed relatively easily, so I didn’t think much of it.
The next morning, she seemed fine, so I took her and Atka to their standard grooming appointment. She was panting a lot when I picked her up, but that’s nothing out of the norm. Grooms are stressful and exhausting for many dogs, especially her.
As the day progressed, I became increasingly concerned. She’d open mouth pant in situations where I couldn’t find a cause, but I was always able to get her relaxed and breathing normally.
While I knew this wasn’t normal, I wasn’t overly concerned since she was mostly acting like herself and ate her dinner just fine. After dinner, she crawled onto the couch with me, which she usually does when stressed. I decided to monitor for the evening and call the vet in the morning for an appointment.
Later in the evening, she started full-body panting and let out a few painful cries, so at 9:30 pm, I called the emergency vet, who suggested I bring her in immediately.
The vet could see her as soon as we arrived, and I felt every possible emotion. I needed answers, so I did what many of us do in these situations: run to Google (never a bright idea).
Google is a dangerous place when you’re already expecting the worst. Did her lung collapse? Was it heart failure? Maybe a terrible infection?
Mauja was my first Great Pyrenees and the girl who truly taught me to love and learn to understand the breed. She also turns 10 in two months, making me worry even more. I absolutely could not fathom anything happening to my girl.
The vet did the standard exam and found her pain point almost immediately. Mauja would not let the vet turn her head and cried in pain whenever she touched her neck or the top of the spine. Just remembering the noises she made is breaking my heart.
The vet suggested bloodwork and x-rays, and a financial woman came to the room to discuss costs. I’m incredibly thankful we purchased a pet insurance policy for Mauja when she was a puppy. Knowing I had pet insurance to back up this visit allowed me to focus on Mauja rather than worry about the financial obligation I was about to undertake. I didn’t have to choose which tests to prioritize. Making those decisions at midnight in my mental state at the time would have been impossible.
I authorized whatever was necessary to get to a diagnosis.
We decided to give Mauja a bit of anesthesia so they could manipulate her to get the best possible x-rays while causing the least amount of pain. I ensured the vet understood the specific anesthesia needs for Great Pyrenees, and they took her into the back.
I paced the room, repeating, “Whatever she has is treatable. She’s fine. It’s treatable. She’s fine.” I couldn’t imagine anything happening to her with Nick 7,000 miles away.
After what seemed like an eternity, the vet returned to the room to let me know she was stable and waking up from anesthesia. She had a chance to review her bloodwork and x-rays, and out of all the outcomes I had in my mind, we received a pretty good one.
The most plausible cause is Intervertebral Disc Disease, or IVDD.
“IVDD is a disease that affects the disc-shaped cushions of tissue between the bones on the back (vertebrae). These cushions (called intervertebral discs) have a thick, tough covering on the outside, with a softer, gel-like interior. Not only do these cushions keep backbones from rubbing against each other when your pooch moves, but they also protect the spinal cord from damage as the cord travels down the middle of the spine.
As your dog ages, the tough, outer portion of the disc may start to break down. At the same time, the inner portion of the disc may begin to harden. If the exterior breaks down enough, it can cause the interior to bulge out and press against the spinal cord. This can also be referred to as herniation or rupture. The pressure caused by the bulging disc can cause serious damage to the spinal cord. This is commonly called a “slipped disc.””ASPCA
Mauja was sent home with a few medications and is on strict crate rest for a minimum of two weeks.
We had an extremely rough night. Between her pain level and the after-effects of the anesthesia, she really struggled to relax. Thankfully, this afternoon she’s doing a lot better. It seems the medications have fully kicked in, and she’s been able to get some sleep.
The plan is to keep her comfortable and quiet until her recheck in two weeks. Hopefully, we get good news then, and she can work her way back up to her normal daily activity and get back to enjoying her life <3
Stay tuned to learn more about IVDD and our pet insurance recommendation.
There’s just something special about Great Pyrenees puppies. They’re adorable little fluffballs that delight everyone around them.
I don’t know about you, but I have never had two identical Great Pyrenees puppies—they all have their own quirks and behaviors. Some are more confident, some are more eager to learn, and some are just downright mischievous (*cough Kiska). But no matter what personality your pyr puppy has, there are a few things every owner should purchase before bringing the puppy home. Ahead, our top 10 Great Pyrenees puppy essentials and recommendations.
With puppies comes house training, and with house training comes accidents. Thoroughly cleaning potty accidents helps prevent your puppy from going in the same place twice.
Crates are non-negotiable when it comes to puppies. Not only does crate training have numerous benefits, but your puppy is going to need to be crated at some point in his life. Whether at the vet’s after surgery, for travel, or at the groomer, preparing your puppy now will lead to much less stress later in life.
3. Collar and ID tag
Accidents happen, so it’s essential to prepare. Putting your name and phone number on your puppy’s ID tag significantly increases the likelihood of your beloved friend making it back home. Even if your dog is microchipped (and every dog should be), your puppy should still wear an ID tag to make it easier to return home.
If you can’t stand the jingling tags make or need to prevent extra noise, there are tags that fit the dog’s collar. I got Kiska this pet tag holder/silencer to keep her from being disruptive when out working.
4. Food and water bowls
It can be tempting to buy small bowls for your puppy, but they truly grow faster than weeds. If you’re trying to get the most out of your Great Pyrenees puppy essentials spending, I highly recommend getting bowls that will transition into adulthood.
My crew prefers stainless steel bowls with an anti-skid bottom, but there are endless options these days. There’s an option to suit every need, from insulated water bowls to slow feeders to bowls for messy eaters/drinkers.
5. Leash and poop bags
All puppies need a quality leash—and don’t forget the poop bags for when you go out on walks! Earth Rated dog poop bags are strong, thick, and leak-proof. And of course, we can’t forget a bag holder. This dog poop bag holder easily attaches to the leash and even has a built-in flashlight for those late evening/early morning walks.
6. High-value treats
Dog treats are a valuable tool whilte training and socializing your puppy. Try out some homemade dehydrated dog treats if you’re a DIYer (and have a dehydrator). Two floof-approved, store-bought treats in my house are Orijen’s freeze-dried treats and Vital Essential freeze-dried mini nibs.
7. Puzzle toys
Most people understand the importance of physical exercise for dogs, but many forget that mental stimulation is just as important. Basic dog obedience training and trick training are excellent ways for you to bond with your dog while challenging her brain, but sometimes you need to keep your puppy entertained while you get things done.
Snuffle mats are great for dogs and puppies and can provide hours of entertainment. Simply toss in some treats and let your puppy’s nose get to work! These mats can even be used to feed dinner to dogs with a high food drive.
8. Grooming supplies
At the very least, you should start your puppy with a basic brush and nail trimmer. Desensitizing your puppy to these tasks will make your life easier when he gets older (and bigger).
Check out these posts with our favorite grooming supplies:
9. Puppy/baby gate
Trust me—even with a crate, baby gates are a life-saver for training Great Pyrenees puppies, especially while house-breaking. It won’t take long for your puppy to learn how to scale a gate, so be sure to keep that in mind when you’re purchasing one. We’ve had success with this baby gate, which is difficult to climb and tall enough to last through the house-breaking process.
10. Teething toys
Puppies explore the world with their mouths, meaning they will bite—but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to bite. Set your puppy up for success by offering appropriate teething toys for them to redirect this completely natural behavior. Atka adored his “pacifier” chew toy, and this Nylabone puppy chew has been a hit for everyone.
What are your Great Pyrenees puppy essentials?
This story is sponsored by CUDDLY. Don’t worry—we only share information about products and services we truly love and support.
Rescue is kind of my thing.
When I was younger, I’d help any animal I came across. I can vividly remember riding my bike around our small neighborhood and finding an injured baby bird. I ran to my friend’s house, grabbed some gloves, and put him into our mailbox until I could get an adult (because my kid brain felt that was the safest place for him).
As I got older, I fell in love with the Great Pyrenees breed and became obsessed. Once I brought my first pyr home, Mauja, I was hooked. I started getting involved in rescue and trying to help as many as I could.
And now, I run my own kitten rescue focusing on orphan neonatal kittens and special needs.
Like I said, rescue is kind of my thing.
Mauja and Atka came from an amazing, reputable breeder, so I knew their backstory. I knew how they were treated, who their parents are, where they lived, and more. Even though I wasn’t there to witness it, I trusted what I was told about them—the breeder had a great reputation.
But Kiska is a different story.
I was on a trip and heard about a litter in poor shape. I banded together with local pyr rescue people, and we headed out to check out the situation.
Even though I’ve had her since she was about 7 weeks old (and she’s 3 now), I don’t know her whole story. Here’s her story as I imagine it—told by her.
Kiska’s unspoken story
I don’t remember much from before coming to my forever home, but I remember being cold and scared.
Oh, and itchy—extremely itchy.
I lived outside with my brothers and sisters (I think there were eight of us, it’s hard to remember at this point). The floor was really hard and cold, and at nighttime, we’d shiver and huddle together.
We also didn’t get to spend time with our mama. We were with her to start, but one day, my siblings and I were on the porch, and she was out in the field.
She was whining because she couldn’t get to us, but the human wouldn’t let her in. We would run up and down the fence together which was fun, but I really just wanted to snuggle my mom. We watched her and learned how to bark. If there was a shadow or a weird noise, she’d bark, bark, bark, and we’d do the same.
The humans didn’t like that. They’d yell at us to stop, and we were scared so we hid. My mama didn’t hide though. She was strong and she’d keep barking. She said she had to protect the chickens and the black cat.
I liked that cat. Occasionally, he’d jump over the fence and snuggle with us. It was nice because he always smelled like mama—it was comforting.
I never really got to see humans though. The person that lived in the house didn’t come visit us much. She’d come out and give us food and water, but the buckets were huge, so she didn’t have to do it very often.
Did I mention I was itchy? I’d scratch and scratch, but I couldn’t make the feeling go away.
Then one night, some other humans came to visit. My siblings were a bit nervous, but I was absolutely terrified. I tried to crawl into a shelf, but I knocked things over, scaring myself even more. I eventually hid behind a rake and hoped the humans would leave.
But they wouldn’t.
Eventually, one came over and picked me up. I was so scared and couldn’t stop shaking, but it felt… good. I let her keep holding me, and I felt so calm. When she put me down, all I wanted was to be held again. I stayed close by her so she knew, and touched her leg over and over to remind her I was there.
But then she left.
I don’t know why she left. I was so sad, and so scared. I finally felt warm and comfortable, and then she left me. I couldn’t believe she left.
But when the sun came up, I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was back! I was so happy my tail wouldn’t stop wiggling. She came onto the patio, picked me up, kissed my face, and we walked out together.
She took me to a new place, and while I knew I was safe with her, I had never left my patio, I had never left my siblings, and now I couldn’t see my mom. I couldn’t make the drools stop, and I threw up on her a few times on the drive.
I had baths—a lot of them—but they removed the itchies! I think they said it was fleas? I quickly became a new girl and couldn’t wait for our adventures.
I got a new collar, a new leash, and a new raincoat. Mom said, “Puppies in Seattle need raincoats.” Whatever that means. I didn’t like it, but it made all the humans ooh and ahh. I liked the attention. I learned that humans can actually be pretty good. And you know what? My new life is pretty awesome.
CUDDLY: Help for shelters and rescues
Kiska and her littermates were lucky enough to have the support of many people to get healthy and find amazing new homes, but having resources is always difficult for rescues to come by.
That’s where CUDDLY comes in.
CUDDLY enables rescues to create fundraisers and wishlists to support animals in their care. Their mission is to help save as many animals globally through community, innovation, and creativity, and they currently have over 2,000 animal welfare organizations on board.
My heart broke as I browsed through all the animals in need on CUDDLY, but at the same time, I was overcome with emotion seeing all the support. There’s so much negativity in the world right now, but seeing strangers come together to save animals warms my heart.
I was especially touched by the work Angels Journey Home Animal Rescue is doing for these puppy mill puppies. Kiska was in better shape than these babies, but I can understand the blood, sweat, and tears that are going into getting them healthy (and flea-free).
I encourage you to take some time to explore CUDDLY and see if there is an animal that speaks to you. Some organizations are in need of supplies, while some are requesting monetary donations for veterinary bills.
If you work with a rescue, I’d also encourage you to look into how the platform can help you save more animals. I know I’ll be registering my kitten rescue soon. CUDDLY is an invaluable tool for any animal welfare organization.
Share your pet’s story
What’s your pet’s unspoken story? What do you think your pet would say about his/her life before being adopted? Share their story on any social media platform using the hashtag #MyUnspokenPet. I can’t wait to read your stories!
It’s hard to believe Tikaani has been with us for four months!
I really wish I knew what happened earlier in his life, but we’re just going to push forward regardless. He’s living the good life and learning a lot.
Once he trusts you, he’s extremely eager to please—he always wants to make his people happy.
- Kaani trusted me after spending 48 hours straight together.
- It took about 76 hours for him to start to trust Nick. Nick wasn’t with him full-time, but Kaani knew I thought he was okay, which helped.
- If Kaani could see a person—no matter how far away—he lunged and barked like crazy. He wanted people to know he meant business.
- He had very similar reactivity to dogs.
- He would pick fights with the floofs (usually Atka) about once per day.
- We couldn’t have all four dogs inside at the same time without the risk of a fight. We would rotate: Kiska and Kaani inside, Mauja and Atka outside, the switch.
- When it was time for everyone to come inside in the evening, he had to go upstairs to his crate.
Check out this quick video of Tikaani’s progress over the first few days with us!
Tikaani and the floofs
Things were a little rocky between all four dogs at first, but that was to be expected with all of the changes Kaani was going through. Although Kaani was a bit nervous, the first intros went great. Mauja, Atka, and Kiska were pretty respectful with his space to not freak him out too much.
Kiska and Kaani bonded almost instantly. I think a lot of it is because they’re so close in age. They seem to have a similar relationship to Mauja and Atka, who are also just a year apart.
Everyone was able to be outside together without an issue. We struggled when we brought them inside. Kaani would lunge at Mauja in the evening, causing Kiska to jump in as well. Then we had three dogs going at it.
So, we did a version of crate and rotate. Two inside, two outside. It definitely helped everyone relax. After a few weeks, I was able to have all four inside without an issue during the day. Dinner time seemed to be the tipping point. Kaani would get tired and snippy.
Thankfully, he absolutely loves his crate, so he was happy to go hang out in the evenings.
Because of this, I was definitely worried about all the hotel stays during our move from WA to VA, and our next home being an 800 sq foot apartment.
They continued to improve over the weeks. We had a few hiccups, but overall, things were great.
Once we moved into the apartment, everyone got a little feisty again (definitely can’t blame them!). There were a few scuffles, but nothing as bad as it used to be.
It only took a few weeks for everyone to settle in—I couldn’t tell you the last time we had a fight here. Everyone is being very respectful of space, and they can even enjoy bully sticks within a few feet of each other without any issues.
Related: How to Muzzle Train Your Dog
Tikaani and strangers
When I first got Kaani, he would bark and lunge at every stranger he saw. It seemed he wasn’t the dog to actually bite based on my experiences with him. He’d grab your arm, but never clench down. He wanted you to know he meant business.
Can’t say I blame the guy.
I’d want them to know I’m not messing around if someone smacked me with a baseball bat (or something similar since we don’t know exactly what happened).
We’ve been working on a few things to help with this: the check-in, confidence, leave it, and general comfort around strangers.
The check-in and leave it are a very similar concept—although one is prompted and the other isn’t.
Kaani is learning the check-in, so he can recognize his own level of discomfort. He looks to me if he sees another person and is feeling uncomfortable. Then he gets all the praise and treats for being able to make that decision on his own.
But sometimes, it’s too much and he can’t think to check-in. That’s where leave it is important.
If Kaani starts to show signs of stress and forgets to look to me, I instruct to leave it. We’re still perfecting this skill, but he’s doing really well. I teach my dogs that when they leave it, they should look up to me (rather than just ignore the item/person).
Kaani looks to me and the treats start flowing.
He’s made a lot of progress, and he can now walk calmly past people 90% of the time. We’ve had strangers within 10 feet of us, and he handled it extremely well.
We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m extremely optimistic.
Tikaani and friends/family
Tikaani is slowly warming up to people he sees more frequently. In fact, just a few weeks ago, my best friend was able to watch the dogs for the evening so we could enjoy a soccer game.
Not only did Kaani want to take treats from her, but he adored her affection! I couldn’t get over the videos of him running up to her for attention.
I thought my heart was going to burst.
He’s also doing really well with my mom and sister. He doesn’t want to be pet by them, but he’ll gladly take treats! String cheese is the key to becoming his friend.
So now, Kaani is completely comfortable with myself and Nick. He’s 98% comfortable with my bestest, Jess. He can handle being around my mom and sister for a bit until he gets overstimulated. I think with another visit or two, he’ll be loving them as well.
The next step is getting Kaani comfortable with another male. This is definitely going to be challenging because he is much more fearful of men. It took a long time for him to completely warm up to Nick, so introducing another male figure is going to be challenging.
He’s been making great progress with my dad, so we’re going to keep working on building that relationship.
Every day, Tikaani learns that the world is just a little less scary, and it makes my heart happy.
How oh how is Miss Kiska two already? It feels like yesterday that we were giving her bath after bath to remove the fleas from her. I still remember my stomach churning when I saw the massive amount of them by her eyes.
I never thought this little fluff nugget would become my service dog. She amazes me every day with her skills. Between gluten detection and blood pressure alerts, she helps me in numerous ways.
So, let’s take a look back at some puppy pictures! You can never go wrong there, right?
The first picture I got with this nugget. I fell in love with her instantly. I think a part of me always knew I wasn’t going to let her go.
She adored this Kong toy, but mostly used it as a headrest.
She was seriously one of the cutest nappers, ever.
Always with the blep!
I worked in a dog-friendly office, so she got to go to work with me. Hard to believe she ever fit on the front seat of my car!
She didn’t do the frog pose often, but she did, I couldn’t handle the cuteness.
The best trio photo I got in Kiska’s early days.
Yes, I put her in pajamas. What’s cuter than a puppy in pajamas?
Her favorite place to sleep was in the coffee table.
Sometimes, she forgot to climb all the way in the coffee table though.
She didn’t always nap in the most comfortable positions.
But she did always choose the most comfortable places. My pillow was her favorite place to sleep at night.
Anyone else obsessed with puppy paws?!
She definitely had quite the sass from day one.
Mauja and Atka warmed up to her fairly quickly!
She was always grumpy post-bath. But come on, how cute?
And she gravitated toward the warmest areas when she was little.
Happy 2nd birthday, Kiska!
It’s summer and it is hot. We’ve been living in the Seattle area for the past three years, so the switch to Virginia weather has been quite the shock for the floofs. Between a/c, baby pools, and frozen treats, we’ve been able to keep everyone fairly cool. Here are some ways other pyrs are beating the summer heat.
Mauja also likes to go into the shower on a hot day (or when she’s trying to hide from fireworks).
“Just dippin’ my paws in the water. Nothing to see here.”
I’m sure a day at the beach was more than necessary!
Ahh, what a happy face!
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Thomas and Theodore got to go to camp today at @jumpingjackdogranch and had the most fun EVER! #thefloofcrew #floofcrew #greatpyrenees #pyrenees #greatpyreneesofthehour #akbash #akbashofinstagram #adoptdontshop #rescuedogsofinstagram #buzzfeedanimals #thedodo #caninesofaustin #dog #dogsofinstagram #dogs #doglover #hundefoto #dogoftheday #travel #doglovers #dogstagram #hundeliebe #instadog #awkbash #wackbash #thomassullivanmagnumthepyr #theodoretheakbash #texasgreatpyreneesrescue #tgpr
Atka wants to join the party.
“It’s like, really hot outside, guys.”
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Putta putta putta beep beep, I’m a motorboat! I like blowing bubbles and Trina to fit my big lanky body in this wee lil kiddie pool. #motorboat #bubbles #bathtime #kiddiepool #pool #pooltime #summer #summertime #summervibes #swimmingdog #dog #dogsofinstagram #doggo #greatpyrenees #goldenretriever #juniper #junipergypsydog
Another pyr enjoying the cool, tile floor!
Looking so unamused, but I love the face!
What a view!
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Would you look at that mountain?! #greatpyrenees #greatpyreneespuppy #greatpyreneesmix #mountaindog #wolfdog #malamute #malamutepuppy #pyr #greatpyreneesmalamute #mix #pup #dog #mansbestfriend #puppies #adventure #pnw #pnwonderland #pnwhiking #pnwhikers #pnwroamers #oregon #oregonian #oregonhikes #getlost #mtjeffereson #mountjefferson #coyotelake
Pyr pups in baby pools—not much cuter!
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?? collar by bandedpines. Check the link in my profile for more! #sheepdog #fluffy #puppylove #greatpyrenees #greatpyreneesofthehour #greatpyreneespuppy #pyreneanmountaindog #bestwoof #pupsofinstagram #ilovemydog #petsagram #doglover #bandedpines #enjoytheadventure #pinespack
Okay, how many people have taught their pyrs to do this? I’d love to try with Kiska!
Ranch dogs have to keep cool, too!
Waterfall pyr love.
Want to see some more floofs trying to beat the heat? Check out Mauja, Atka, Kiska, and Kaani enjoying some pool time!
Dogs have two ways to deal with fear: fight or flight. When I first met Kaani, he was leashed—he chose fight because he couldn’t get away. He never hurt me, but wanted me to know he meant business.
Once I got him into a larger area, he chose flight. He would run away and cower in a corner somewhere. His favorite place was his crate—his safe place.
When I opened his crate to take him on potty breaks, he varied between the two. Sometimes, he would squish to the back of the crate, and other times he’d lunge toward the door.
Interestingly, he always let me hold his leash without a problem. I just had to leave the crate door open for 5–10 minutes while I waited for him to come out into the room. I think that once we got outside, I was less terrifying than his surroundings.
How to identify a scared dog
There are a lot of very obvious signs that a dog is uncomfortable—like tail tucking or flat ears and ducking away. But then there are some less obvious signs:
- whale eyes (the whites of their eyes shows)
- stiffened or tense posture
- raised hackles
- large pupils
- exaggerated yawning
Tips for gaining trust
I can’t say this enough—take it slow. Everything needs to be done on the dog’s time. Assume everything is new to the dog. Something so simple, like a large hat, could spook the dog because he wasn’t socialized to it. We’re always eager to show the dog we’re safe, and sometimes the best way to do that is by giving them plenty of space.
Related: How to Muzzle Train Your Dog
Give the dog a safe place
I’m a big fan of crates, especially for nervous dogs (check out my favorite giant breed crate here). Before bringing Kaani home, I put a crate in the corner of our bedroom. This way, he was away from the bed and had his own area.
Then, I put some towels over the crate to block out stimuli so that he could get as relaxed as possible. I left the front of the crate uncovered because I still wanted him to see me at times. I wasn’t in his normal view, but if I walked in or out of the room he could see me, and I wouldn’t surprise him.
After potty breaks, he’d sprint back upstairs and crawl into his crate to relax.
Ignore the dog
This is so, so important. Eye contact can be seen as threatening for any dog, but especially a fearful one. Pretend like he’s not around and let him come to you.
Even when we took potty breaks, I wouldn’t look at or acknowledge Kaani for the first few days. He would occasionally sniff my leg or rub against me, but I let him figure me out on his own.
Remember, the crate is a no touch, no eye contact place for your fearful dog. You don’t want him to feel threatened in any way while he’s crated.
At this point, Kaani doesn’t mind me reaching into his crate when he’s in there (to refill his water bowl or something similar), but he cowers if Nick tries to. So Nick makes sure to give him plenty of space.
Keep things positive
Never, ever punish a dog for growling. Growling is a dog’s warning sign before a more serious warning or potential bite. If you punish growling, the dog will eventually skip that step and go straight to a more severe fear response.
Talk in soft, happy tones—this is typically easier for women than men—and try to keep the environment as relaxed as possible.
Treats, treats, and more treats
To gain Kaani’s trust, I started by casually walking by Kaani’s crate a tossing a few treats in. Every time I was going to be near his crate, he got a treat. Don’t stick your fingers in (especially if you’re worried about a fight fear response). With slow, swift movements, gently toss the treat and keep walking.
After a day, he would come out of his crate to check me out while I was sitting on the bed.
Same thing. Toss treats his way without making eye contact. The next day, he was taking treats from my hand, again without eye contact (I may have lured him with cheesy fries and bacon).
Obviously, I couldn’t make cheesy fries and bacon the main treat I offered Kaani to work on trust. But no regular treat was going to do the trick. He snubbed his nose at every training treat I had in the house.
Dr. Marty Nature’s Blend
Dr. Marty’s Nature’s Blend is technically a balanced meal, but I prefer to use it as a topper or high-value treat. The floofs go absolutely crazy for this freeze-dried raw food! I love that it can go either way, depending on your dog’s needs and your budget.
Quick facts about Nature’s Blend:
- made with 77% raw beef, raw turkey, raw game, and raw organ meats
- free of artificial preservatives and fillers
- supports higher energy levels, easier digestion, joint and coat support, and strong brain health
- contains high levels of EPA/DHA for optimum canine health
Try Nature’s Blend for a pretty great discount here!
Don’t forget gut health
Kaani had a lot of stomach issues when we first got him. There were two nights that he suddenly pooped all over his crate and needed a backyard hose down. Poor guy just started softly whimpering after it happened.
Dr. Marty sent us some ProPower Plus—a blend of 14 different health and digestive ingredients designed to optimize your dog’s body.
This instantly made a difference in his gut health (no more runny poops!), and I’ve started using it for Atka as well—who also has tummy issues sometimes.
Remember to snag this great deal on Nature’s Blend!
I spent a lot of time living at home while I was in college. It was mostly because I was always sick, but I also struggled with social anxiety. Being at home gave me more time to hang out with our family dog, Rascal.
Rascal was a Samoyed, and the start of my love for white, fluffy dogs. He was getting older and then suddenly took a turn for the worse. I was making him homemade meals to try and convince him to eat, and we’d have to carry him outside to go to the bathroom.
He wasn’t living a quality life.
My parents made the difficult decision to help him to the rainbow bridge, and our hearts were all shattered. We all thought it was going to be awhile before we could open our hearts to another dog.
I worked at Gold’s Gym at the time and was working a shift one Saturday morning. After a long morning, I came home to relax. My mom asked me to go to the porch to grab her drink, and I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Two Bernese Mountain Dog puppies.
“DO WE GET TO KEEP THEM?!” I shrieked.
Not only did we get to keep them, but my brother and I got to name them. I named the girl Mallie, and he named the boy Kai. My brother, sister, and I were so excited to have these new babies in our lives.
They became our world. I was on summer break, so I was able to be home to care for them while my parents worked. I can vividly remember sitting outside watching them frolic and play.
And get into trouble.
They continued to grow, and I got married and moved across the country. The best part about taking trips back home was seeing Mallie and Kai. Mallie was a goofy, bouncy girl, and Kai was a goof—and a true mama’s boy.
With all the kids leaving the house, Kai and Mallie became my parents’ world. Everything was for them, and they were spoiled in the best ways possible.
One day, I got a call from my mom. “Kai has cancer.” My heart dropped.
I’d be lying if I said we were completely shocked. We were well aware of the occurrence of cancer in Berners. But we always hoped that day would never come.
My mom immediately set out to do everything she possibly could for him. He met with some of the best vets and went through very promising clinical trials.
He received all of the best care possible, which included hours upon hours of travel every week (and thousands of dollars) for treatments and therapy.
He was doing really well with treatment, and we were all very optimistic. Even though I was across the country, I loved getting the video updates of his progress.
One morning, I got a call from my mom—who never calls early in the morning. A part of me just knew what she was going to say.
I didn’t answer.
She called again.
I didn’t answer.
Eventually, Nick texted me saying she was trying to get ahold of me, and I was even more certain what she was going to say. I finally got the courage to call back.
He was gone. Kai passed just days before his 9th birthday.
I wanted to do something special for my parents. They had invested so much in him and losing him was extremely difficult. I remembered an email I had received a while back about pet memorial jewelry, and I reached out to the company.
Flowers Forever & Bellabeads
Cristina specializes in creating one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces using mementos like wedding flowers, honeymoon sand, pet fur, and ashes. She is truly a creative artist with an eye for unique detail.
I wanted to get a necklace for my mom and a tie tack for my dad. That way they could always have a piece of him when they wanted. Kai was cremated, but unfortunately we didn’t have any fur to include in the jewelry.
Cristina was able to work her magic anyway.
I wanted the base color to be red because red was Kai’s color. His collar, leash, and his harness were red.
We sent her some of his ashes, and in just a few days, I got the notification that the jewelry was shipped.
The jewelry arrived beautifully packaged. She even sent back the ashes/fur she didn’t need to make the jewelry, so you never lose a piece of your loved one.
I’m blown away by her work and attention to detail, and I’m so happy she could give my parents this priceless gift.
*We received the product mentioned above in exchange for our honest feedback.