Young Kids and Dogs Together in Peace

How dogs and young kids should interact with each other

*Young kids and dogs should always be actively supervised

Young kids and dogs need to know how to communicate with each other


Understanding what a calm dog looks like

A calm dog is one that will welcome what is going on around them and do not startle or become too anxious around young kids and noises.

What you should be looking for is a loose face with eyes calm (not wide eyed or eyes darting around). Calm dogs are usually laying down or sitting with their mouth open with no or some panting (if they are hot). Ears are relaxed (not laid back or very alert). Tail may be wagging, but don’t let this fool you!

Bulldog puppy relaxing alone on a human bed.
Above: Eyes are calm, ears are relaxed, head is on its paws signaling they are content.

Stress signs that dogs give

These signs are telling you that they are nervous and unsure. May lead into biting if not caught soon enough.

A dog shows a lot of signs before they even think of biting. It is very important to understand what these signs are and what you should do before the scenario escalates.


The #1 rule is to never go by their tail.
Anxious dog with head down and tail tucked.

Dogs wag their tail telling others what they are feeling. People usually don’t pick up on how to perceive the way the dog is wagging its tail. Stress tail wags are usually stiff and very slow. The tail may have a low sweeping look.

Signs Dogs Give

Scared german Shepard mix with ears flat against head and head is lowered. Dog is trying to look as little as possible.

When you look at the dog, is its eyes wide and darting around? They are trying to figure out what is going on and if they should “Fight” (bite) or “Flight” (run away from the scene).

They may be licking their lips and nose signaling that they are feeling stressed. Yawning is also a way that a dog shows they are stressed. If they haven’t been exercising or caught up on their sleep (so you know they aren’t just sleepy), this is showing signs that they don’t like what is going on around them.

Some calming signals (dog is trying to calm themselves down) that dogs give out that you should be watching for are:

  • When they turn their body sideways or turn their head away from what is going on around them
  • They may stand still like they are frozen. This is their “Freeze” that means they don’t know how to react and may be scared.
  • They may have slow movements like walking with their head down very slowly and the tail may be sifting low and slow.
  • They may sit or lay down trying to make themselves as small as possible. (Be sure to see how their eyes and ears are. Are they very alert and wide eyed?)
  • If you approach them, they may lick your face signaling for YOU to look away. This is not a kiss. It’s the way a dog is telling you to turn your head away because they are scared and they don’t feel comfortable.

Adults and young kids should learn a dog’s growl, meaning they are close to biting.

When hearing this, there should be a way to distract the dog away from the scenario. They may also growl with a snarled face. This is when their lip rises up enough to show their teeth and they scrunch up their face with their tongue inside away from their teeth. (They wouldn’t want to bite their own tongue!)


A DOG SHOULD NEVER BE PUNISHED FOR GROWLING

Punishing a dog for growling only makes them more anxious and they may go right into biting before giving a warning.


Here is a video showing when a dog has had enough. (The dog in the video is resource guarding his toy, but the same goes for if kids are aggravating a dog or the dog doesn’t want to be in a particular situation.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb2qyZCFNU0

This video is done by a trained professional. The owner gives a command at the beginning for the dog to guard its toy.


Expecting A Baby?

Set your dog up for success when you are expecting and bringing a baby into the house.


What should you do to get your dog ready for a new baby?

The best thing you can do to get your dog ready is to “Scent Mark” areas and things that the baby will have a connection to so your dog can associate these things to the baby. One item you can use for scent is baby lotion that you will be using on your baby. This means you are marking things that will smell like a baby. Putting baby lotion on:

  • Baby toys
  • Stroller
  • Rocker
  • Baby bed
  • Baby blankets
  • Swing
  • Etc.

This will trigger the dog to welcome this smell, so when you bring the baby home, the dog associates the baby smell is something that is ok and not get anxious.


Dog Reactions

Reactive to Motion

Some dogs are very active to the motion of toys and when kids are playing. For example, if the kids are playing with a remote car and the dog wants to chase after it, it is best to put the dog in an area away from the commotion with something for them to be occupied like a treat or dog toy.

Bikes, skateboards, and scooters may also trigger the dog to run after it. For these occurrences, the best way to help your dog is to train them to focus on you or something else. You can have them play with one of their toys they love or toss treats AWAY from the distraction.

Never use a training collar (pinch collar, choker, or shock collar) when training to avoid a distraction. They will associate the pain to the distraction and they will be more frustrated and may start biting.

I would suggest using a head gentle leader (Think like with horses, you have control of their head) or their regular collar. Just a quick little tug to get the dog to look at you and away from distraction.

← Here is a gentle leader
This kind of leader controls their head and when you pull on the leash, their head will turn in that direction.

← This is a pinch collar 🚫
This kind of collar pinches when pulled on. Dogs associate this with pain and what the distraction is causing them do get more frustrated.

← This is a shock collar 🚫

With this collar, the prongs are placed on the throat and the owner has a remote that can emit a noise and/or a shock. There are different levels of shock frequency. If turned too high, it can hurt the dog and lead to a burn on their neck. Plus it makes the dog more fearful.

Reactive to Noise

The best way to get a dog comfortable with noises associated with babies and kids is to have recordings of a baby crying, children playing and screaming, and loud toys.

Play these recordings while the dog is relaxed. Or you may play these recordings and have the dog pay attention to you while you hold and give treats.


Herding breeds

Most herding dogs would like to herd the children if they are running around. (The dog wants to herd the children all together in a central location. That’s why they are called herding dogs because they were bred to herd sheep, cattle, or other animals! To them, kids are just another kind of animal!!)


Quite Place Away From Noise

Dogs need to have a place to themselves where they feel safe. Somewhere quiet would be idle where they can rest and relax.

Crates are a great place! It is a place where only they can go and get away from everything and relax.

Never use the crate for punishment. They will associate being punished if they are put in the crate and will stop entering to relax.

More to come tomorrow with young kids and dogs. . . . . .

Aging Dog: When Your Pup Turns Grey

Physical and Mental Signs that Your Dog is Aging

Irish Setter aging with a sad face.
When pets start to get a grey muzzle.

Everybody ages, including your aging dog. That adorable little pup that grew into your constant companion may be showing signs of aging, both physical and mental.

Different breeds and sizes of dogs age at different rates. A large breed like a Great Dane is considered senior at around six years old. A small dog, like a Chihuahua, for example, may not be considered old until it is seven to ten years old.

The more tuned-in you are to the typical signs, the sooner you can help your dog age gracefully.

Physical signs of aging dog

Cloudiness in eyes or difficulty seeing

Cloudiness in the eyes of an aging dog.
Thin layer of cloudiness.

Eye cloudiness (nuclear sclerosis) can happen so gradually that you might not notice it right away. While it’s a fairly common occurrence in senior dogs and doesn’t affect vision, it may also be a sign of cataracts or other eye diseases, most of which are easily treatable.

Your dog may also start bumping into things or have trouble locating a toy on the floor or other familiar objects. You may notice it is more difficult for them to find their way around in dimmed light and the dark. This could signal vision loss.

Horrible breath

Frankie yelling with his horrible breath.

While doggie breath isn’t uncommon at any age, if your dog seems to suddenly have awful breath, it could indicate gum disease, tooth decay, or infection.

The immune system weakens as dogs age and they are not able to fight off infections as easily as they did when they were younger. Along with a good dental cleaning, your vet may decide to do blood work to rule out infection.

Slowing down or difficulty getting around

Aging Beagle slowly walking stiffly
Dogs start to get more ache in their joints.

An older dog may have trouble with stairs, jumping into the car, or just getting up after a nap. You might notice weakness in their back legs.

While we all slow down as we age, your dog’s mobility issues could be caused by arthritis or another degenerative disease.

Along with any medication or supplements your vet recommends, you will have to adjust your dog’s exercise regimen to slower and shorter walks or a new exercise routine. Swimming, for example, is gentle on the body and many dogs love it.

New lumps and bumps

Lypomas on an aging dog.
Lipomas are squishy.

Some dogs are prone to harmless fatty lipomas, but these lumps under the skin are more common as dogs age. However, any new lump should be checked by a veterinarian to rule out a malignant tumor.

A change in weight

Dog looking concerned.
“I haven’t been feeling great lately.”

It’s not surprising that older, less active dogs sometimes gain weight and you may have to adjust your dog’s diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. However, you should also pay attention if your senior dog loses weight.

This could be the result of reduced muscle mass, which is common in older dogs, or it might be caused by reduced appetite, poor absorption of nutrients, or a digestive illness. If your dog loses more than 10 percent of their body weight in a few months, or even in a year, consult your vet.

Incontinence or difficulty “going:”

Aging Cocker Spaniel that has urinated on the carpet.
May need to go out to potty more often.

If your dog suddenly seems to forget their houset raining or seems to strain when urinating, these could be signs of a urinary tract infection or kidney disease.

However, incontinence is not unusual in elderly dogs and there are medications that can help.


Behavioral and mental signs of aging dog

Aging Frankie laying around.
Frankie at the age of 14.

Physical changes aren’t the only differences you may notice in your dog as they age. Changes in behavior can signal an underlying physical problem or may be a normal sign of aging.

If your pup has suddenly turned into a grump, they may be in pain caused by arthritis or be experiencing some other physical discomfort. Or your high-energy companion may be sleeping hours a day.

Older dogs need more sleep, just let him nap.

Signs of canine cognitive disorder.

However, changes in behavior may also be the result of canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CCDS). According to a study at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, CCDS affects 14-35 percent of dogs over eight years old. A dementia similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, CCDS can bring about pronounced changes in your dog’s everyday behavior:

  • Fear of familiar people or objects.
  • Changes in the sleeping-waking cycle, including restlessness or pacing at night.
  • Increased barking and vocalization.
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviors.
  • Forgetting commands and cues that they once knew.
  • House soiling.
  • Increased anxiety.
  • Confusion and disorientation.
  • Marked change in activity level.

Your vet will be able to make a diagnosis by asking you simple questions during the appointment. While there is no cure for CCDS, there are some new medications and therapeutic options your vet can discuss with you.

How can you help your aging dog?

The single most important thing you can do is check with your vet if you see any of these physical or mental changes. The vet can determine the underlying medical causes and prescribe treatments.

He can also help you make some decisions about your dog’s care going forward: changes in diet and exercise, changes you can make around the house, or in the daily routine.


Aging Irish Setter Sleeping.

Quality of Life

Pet owners’ greatest fear is having to make a decision about their pets’ end of life, and that fear may make an owner unwilling to visit the vet. They may also not be educated about the signs of aging and take a “wait-and-see” attitude.

I have seen this first hand and it is heart wrenching. One visit to the vet, the dog is fine, alert, and knows its owner. A month later, the dog is snapping at the owner and family. The owner could barely bring his dog into the vet office because of it snapping at everybody. They decided to euthanize him that day. It really got to me how fast CCDS happened in such a short time.

The cost of care is also an issue for many pet owners. If they are prescribed medication, therapy, or both, it is for the remainder of the dog’s life.


Our dogs give us many years of love and loyalty and it’s only natural to want to make their senior years as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Aging is a normal part of life and with some vigilance and attention to your dog’s health, these can truly be “golden years.”

Aging dog wincing at the camera.

” My face may be white, but my heart is pure gold. There is no shame in growing old.”


My Chloe laying outside soaking up the sun.

My baby Chloe is 11 1/2 years old. I have seen her slowing down the past couple years. In her young age, she could walk 5 miles in any weather. (Between 400 – 800 F) Now she can only make it 2 1/2 miles and the weather can’t be over 700 .

She takes more naps than usual. (I love when she is snoring and dreaming.) She still has a great body shape because I have decreased her feeding since she’s less active.

She has been getting a couple lumps (lipomas) and moles around her body. I keep these in check to make sure they are not rapidly growing (sign of cancer). She is still a happy girl that loves her walks and treats. She hasn’t had any accidents in the house and knows when she needs to go. All we can do is keep our pup healthy physically and mentally.

“Puppy Mill” the REAL Scoop of What They Are

What is a puppy mill?

A puppy mill is an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility that churns out puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of the pups and their mothers. Dogs from puppy mills are often sick and unsocialized.

Puppy mills commonly sell through internet sales, online classified ads, flea markets and pet stores. In fact, the majority of puppies sold in pet stores and online are from puppy mills.

Responsible breeders will be happy to meet you in person and show you where the puppy was born and raised—and where their mom lives too.

Mom of puppies at puppy mill

Mother dogs spend their entire lives in cramped cages with little to no personal attention. When the mother and father dogs can no longer breed, they are abandoned or killed.

Due to poor sanitation, overbreeding and a lack of preventive veterinary care, the puppies from puppy mills frequently suffer from a variety of health issues, creating heartbreaking challenges for families who should be enjoying the delights of adopting a new family member.

Cruel Commercial Breeders of Puppy Mill

Cruel commercial breeders want to maximize profit by producing the highest number of puppies at the lowest possible cost. Here’s how they do it.

Cramped Spaces

Pomarianian in a small cage for the rest of her life at a puppy mill.
Most puppy mill dogs don’t get a chance to feel grass at all.

More breeding dogs equals more puppies, which equals more money, so cruel breeders maximize space by keeping dogs tightly contained. Dogs are commonly kept in small, stacked, wire-floored crates or in outdoor pens exposed to heat, cold and rain. They eat, sleep and give birth in confinement.


Diseases in Puppy Mill

Adult lab in a cage with the floor all feces at a puppy mill.
Dogs are kept in disgusting cages.

The conditions of these facilities encourage the spread of diseases, especially among puppies with undeveloped immune systems. Puppies often arrive in pet stores with health issues ranging from parasites to parvo to pneumonia.


No Vet Care

Adult Westie covered in blood that the puppy mill owners don't care about.
These dogs are just meant to breed. When that’s over, their life is over.

Dogs, like people, need regular health care. However, because it can be costly and time-consuming, veterinary care is limited. Breeding dogs and puppies don’t get to see a veterinarian often—not for regular checkups, vaccines, teeth cleanings or even when they’re sick.


No Grooming

Adult dog with overgrown, matted fur at puppy mill
Pushing dogs to their limits.

Puppy mill dogs aren’t bathed, their hair is not brushed and their nails are not cut. This can lead to painful matting and nails so long it hurts to stand or walk.


No Emotional Care

Adult beagle laying down in cage all worn out.
They have hundreds of dogs.

Since puppy mills only plan on selling puppies, there is little incentive to provide much physical or emotional care to the adult breeding dogs. Lack of normal human interaction hurts social animals like dogs. They may pace back and forth in their cages, bark nonstop, cower or appear entirely shut down.


Non-stop Breeding

Mother dog with pups in a small caged area at a puppy mill.
To them, it’s all good as long as the puppy is alive.

Female dogs are bred at every opportunity, even if they are sick, injured, exhausted or have genetic traits that could be damaging to their puppies.


Sudden Separation

Puppy mill puppy all alone in a small cage getting frustrated and biting cage bars.
They don’t care about health or behavior issues.

Puppies aren’t given time to gradually separate from their mother and litter-mates. Once there’s a buyer, puppies are immediately removed. This kind of sudden separation can lead to fear, anxiety and other lasting behavioral problems that may be difficult or impossible to treat.


Shipped Off

Puppy mill puppies in small cages on back of a truck bed all packed in
As long as the puppies live, they get their money.

Puppies are often shipped long distances by truck or plane to brokers and pet stores. The transport may be noisy, crowded, filthy, and too hot or cold. Puppies may also be exposed to illness and disease.


No Homes for Moms

Lab adult in a cage full of waste at a puppy mill.
Most dogs will never know the comfort of a home.

To a commercial breeder, the profits are in the puppies. No effort is made to find homes for adult dogs who can no longer breed. When their bodies are so depleted or sick that they can no longer produce puppies, they’re often abandoned or killed.


Pet Stores:

BE WARNED: WHERE DO THEIR PUPPIES COME FROM?

Pet stores are the primary sales outlet for puppy mills and are essential for keeping puppy mills in business. Both licensed and unlicensed mills sell to pet stores (many mills sell to pet stores without the required license and are not held accountable). Puppies are bred in mills and then shipped all over the country.

For example, puppies bred in the Midwest may be shipped on trucks to southern California or Florida. So these kind of mills can ship all over United States.


My personal story:

Poor Frankie in our nice house. He was probably from a puppy mill.

I wanted a pug so bad and begged my parents. We would stroll through pet shops and look at all the puppies.

One day my mother and I walked into a pet shop that was in the mall. There was one pug that had just been brought in. Of coarse we asked if we could play with him. We played and I begged to get him.

Finally they said yes!

We asked all about where he came from and the shop owner said he came from a nice Amish breeder with last name Yoder. I thought, “Wow, he must have had a nice family.” On the papers, it said his mom was China Doll. I thought this all sounded like a reputable breeder.

My parents and I were the perfect owners. We took him to the vet as soon as we got him to make sure he was healthy. Everything checked out great.

Then as I was training him, he LOVED to eat his own poop and everything he could get into his mouth. I thought this was just puppy behavior. But he never grew out of it. Thank god that everything he did ingest, came out without surgery!

This was all before I educated myself about puppy mills.

Turns out that a lot of Amish do puppy mills as a source of income. It broke my heart to learn this. At first I thought that I had saved a puppy. But that should not have been my mentality.

That’s what puppy mills are hoping for in today’s world. That you “SAVE” a puppy. That just means that you fell for “PURCHASING” a puppy from them. So as the saying goes:

Pit Bull Love Sticker by Sophie Gamand for iOS & Android | GIPHY

Microchip: No, not the edible kind of chips!

Microchip Your Dog. It’s a Life Saver

Illustration of dog and where the microchip goes between the shoulder blades.

What is a Microchip?

A microchip is a little chip with a number on it that is implanted underneath the dog’s skin with a needle. The needle is inserted under the skin and there is a plunger that pushes the chip in. The needle comes out and leaves the chip under the skin. (There may be slight bleeding since this is a big needle.)

The microchip stays in the dog for its’ lifetime.

Sometimes the chip may relocate to another area on the body. That’s why it is important to scan a dog all over to make sure they aren’t microchipped.

After Implantation of Microchip

Microchip gun is like a big needle.

After getting the microchipped, you then register the number associated with the microchip number online or the company’s phone number.

Many veterinarians and rescues do this for you so when your dog gets lost, you now have a way to distinguish your dog. Veterinarians and rescues keep the microchip number sticker in their system so when the dog is scanned, the number will come back to your profile.

So hopefully if a person finds a dog, they will take it to a veterinary clinic and see if it has a microchip.

Boston Terrier at the vet office getting their microchip scanned by a veterinarian.
Scanner checking for microchip

Company Membership

There are some companies that keep your information for free with unlimited updates and some companies that you pay a yearly membership to keep your records on file.

Here are the top 5 microchip companies. I like PetWatch and HomeAgain personally.

Keep Your Information Up-To-Date

Golden Retriever with leash in his mouth looking around for his owner.
“Hello, where did you go?”

Always keep your information up-to-date when moving, giving someone else custody, and if you change your phone number. Too many times I have seen a lost dog come in the veterinary clinic that the owners did not update their information.

Chloe Getting Hers

“As long as you hold me, I don’t care what happens.”

My dog Chloe came from a rescue so they did the implant of the microchip before we got custody. (Most rescues will go ahead and microchip so if the dog gets lost or sold to someone else, they have records that you were the person that got them.) I was there when they did it and she didn’t even flinch. (She is a pretty tough girl!)

When Frankie Got His

“That was a huge needle!!”

Then I talked my parents into getting Frankie (my pug that my parents got custody of) microchipped. He screamed his little head off when they inserted the needle and of coarse he bled. (He was pretty wimpy!!)

How to Greet and Say “Hi” to Dogs

A hand petting a golden retriever on the head and saying "Hi".
Be gentle with me

Who doesn’t want to greet and say hi to all the smooshie dog faces?

Dog loving people love to greet and say hi to all the dogs they pass. But what is the proper way of greeting a dog that doesn’t know you?

There are many things you should consider and do before approaching a dog whether they are on a walk with their owner or running around loose. 

#1 rule is to always ask the owner if you can pet their dog. This gives the owner time to tell you yes or no.

Most owners will probably tell you yes, but there are owners that will tell you to please not pet their dog because of behavior issues or if they are a medical dog (dogs that signal to their owners if there is a medical problem about to happen to their owner). These dogs have a jog and can’t have disruption from monitoring the owner.

If allowed to pet the dog, please do so in a calming manner. Many dogs get riled up and will start behaving badly.

Here is an example of saying “Hi” and petting an unknown dog:

  • You may hold out your hand in a fist with the back of your hand facing the dog. This gives the dog time to get your scent.
  • With smaller dogs, you can crouch down to their level so it’s less threatening to the dog.
  • While most people pet dogs on the top of the head, the best place to pet them is on the chest. This is a less threatening way because they can see where your hand is going.
  • It’s alright to talk to the dog in a normal or “baby talk” voice. 

Finding A Lost Dog

If a dog comes to you without an owner around, stay calm and talk to the dog in a low comforting voice. Let the dog approach you. If you try to approach first, it may scare the dog away.

Let them sniff you and you may try to put your hand out with the back of it facing the dog to let them sniff your hand. If the dog seems comfortable, you may crouch to show that you are not a threat. You may pet on the chest if the dog seems calm. *DO NOT PET A DOG THAT IS GROWLING OR BARING ITS TEETH AT YOU*

A dachshund in a mailbox. Say hi to the lost dog and send them home!
“Please send me back to my family!”

You check the collar (if there’s one) to see if they belong to somebody. Call the number on their tags to tell the owner that you have their dog right then.

If there is no collar, the next step is take them to a veterinary clinic or shelter nearby to see if the dog has a microchip (This is a little chip that gets implanted in the back that will have information on the owner.)

If the dog has neither collar tags or microchip, post found dog signs and posts on any social media.

Many laws state that when you find a dog loose, you should take it to a shelter where they will hold onto the dog for 7 days for claiming. Be sure to read on the laws in your state. 

Dog standing in the middle of a neighborhood in the fall with leaves falling looking around for a human to greet and say hi to.
“Not all that wonder are lost. BUT, I think I’m lost!”