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So you are thinking of getting a dog?

Puppy on ottoman 000012496670 Large copy

To date you’ve bought your kids countless stuffed animals, a goldfish (well several actually but the kids don’t know that) and you have even tried promising a kitten – but it’s just not cutting it.  YOUR KIDS WANT A DOG!

As a life-long dog lover, life with a dog is a blast – if you do it right! But is it right for you? So here is the naked truth. It all comes down to one question – the same one you’d tell your friend to ask herself if she was thinking of having a baby ... Am I ready for my life to change?

Just like having a child, you have to factor your dog into EVERY part of your day. If you’re cool with this list of scary stuff, keep reading. But if the answers are no, a dog is clearly not on your horizon. NO guilt. In fact, feel good that you’re making a responsible choice now. Celebrate with a latte and secretly smile as you watch other people walking their dogs in the rain.

Are you ready for the reality check?

1. Puppies take a lot of time. Think: house training, puppy classes, proper socialization and constant supervision.  Is this the year you’ll be happy to schedule your life around your dog?

2. Dogs aren't cheap. Bills will come from the vet, the groomer, the dog walker, the boarding kennel, and the pet store! Are you ready for them?

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The Great Porcupine Fiasco of 2013

porcupine1 copyThey’re back.  After the much-publicized porcupine fiasco of 2013, 2014 and 2015 proved to be quiet years on the rodent front.  The 'one that got away', we had assumed, had learned his lesson and was on the lam.  After the confrontation and very expensive lesson inflicted on my dogs, we had assumed that he had gone on to easier pickings.  With age comes wisdom or maybe courage and the allure of the vegetable garden once again beckoned.

For those who aren’t familiar with the ‘Great Porcupine Incident of 2013’ let me recap.  We have lived for over a decade in a quiet suburban area.  Our neighbourhood is surrounded by a wooded area and borders the Bow River valley.  A lovely area to live. Every now and again a moose or bear will get itself lost and find itself in someone’s backyard, but otherwise, we remain off the wildlife track except by the occasional coyote and deer and the gazillion squirrels and chipmunks that call my backyard home. Following the floods of 2013, things changed.  The river valley was flooded and the wildlife found themselves without a home and ventured forth into parts unknown.  Most fortunately for the porcupines who found themselves in this same predicament, the new found homes come with some added bounty, namely my vegetable garden.  And so began the ‘Great Porcupine Incident of 2013’. 

The first clue that we had visitors was the evidenced by my vegetable garden.  Not the kale, or the beets or the beans.  Just the lettuces.  I called the City.  Nothing they could do.  I called a wildlife agency.  Not their remit in the city.  Hmmm.  I called a commercial trapper who specializes in trapping porcupines.  They promptly came out and set their traps assuring me that it would only take a day or two.  Armed them with tasty apple and other porcupine ‘crack’.  And we waited.  Well, the porcupine returned. They used the conveniently placed traps to more easily navigate around the booby traps I had placed to make access to my vegetable garden more difficult.  The ‘porcupine crack’ ignored in favour of the lettuce.  I called the trapping company and the owner, a wizened old guy, who had been trapping for years came out to attend to my problem.  He walked into the back garden, stood silently for about 5 minutes, scratched his head and told me that he would be giving my money back.  It was porcupine nirvana back there he said and there wasn’t any way they would be able to trap them.  Great!


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Did you know that massage is considered to be one of the oldest forms of healing.

12938072 10153978983836145 1859811226112180098 nThe first known documentation of massage was in 2700 B.C. by the Chinese. The first detailed records of massage, preserved by the British Museum, date back to the year 300 B.C. and contain descriptions of movements that are identical to those practiced at the present time. There is mention of massage in the early writings of the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Turks, as well as the Persians, all having practiced a primitive form of massage.

Hippocrates, the “Father of Modern Medicine”, learned massage from Herodicus in 1800 B.C.
Records of application of massage by the Japanese, dating back to 1000 B.C. are still in existence; indeed, massage is recognized in Japan 
today as one of the foremost forms of healing.

While canine massage may be a relatively new occurrence in the grand scheme of time, it is none the less a powerful tool in healing that we can provide for our animals to help ensure that they live long and healthy lives.

Bringing in the New Year! Five resolutions to keep the relationship with your dog fresh!

New Years large copySince the New Year is rocking around quickly I thought it might be fun to create some New Year resolutions for the dogs in our lives. So here are five ideas for you to consider:

1) No New Year would be complete without a resolution for losing weight. If your pup needs to lose a few, try reducing their food portion by just a little bit at each meal. Over the course of the year this will add up to a big difference. Also be careful with the between meal snacks even through those big brown eyes plead for a treat, the calories can quickly add up.

2) Exercise is such an important part of our dog’s wellbeing. So many behaviour challenges can be improved with an increase in exercise. Resolve to make sure you get out twice a day for a long walk. Explore different places. Your dog will enjoy the variety as much as you do. Try a new sport. There are so many things we can do with our dogs. Give agility a try or experiment with Wag It games. Too much? Try nose work. There are so many options available now there really isn’t an excuse to not to try something fun and new with your canine pal.

3) Commit to brushing your dog's teeth at least twice a week. Just like people, dental health is very important for our dogs. Unhealthy gums can lead to other health issues. Regular teeth brushing will also reduce the need for expensive dental cleaning that requires your pup to undergo anesthetic. Start slowly and in no time your pup will be lining up to get their teeth brushed. Remember to use toothpaste for designed especially for dogs.

4) Teach your dog a new trick each month. Not only is it fun when we learn something new, learning and continuing with training through your dog’s life is a great way to work their brain. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise in keeping our dogs healthy into their senior years. A new trick once a month will mean a repertoire of twelve new tricks by the end of 2016. Just think how you will be able to WOW your friends and family with all the great tricks your dog can do.

5) Treat your dog to canine massage. Not only will it be an incredibly relaxing for your pooch, it is a terrific way to keep muscles supple and flexible. Since you will be busy trying all those new sports and learning tricks, a massage will keep your dog relaxed and flexible. For our aging pups, it will help keeps the aches and pains at bay. Check out canine massage options at

Not only will these activities help to build and enhance your relationship with your dog, you may just find yourself fitter and healthier at the end of 2017 as well. Don’t forget to treat yourself to a massage. Happy New Year from ‘Hanging With Hounds’.

Top 3 things you need to know when training your dog.

Calgary dog training Hanging With Hounds

To be successful in training your dog there are many things to take into consideration.  There are the things under your control such as your handling skills, your body language and understanding your dog's body language.  There are also things out of our control such as the environment.  No matter if you are new to training or you have been training for years, you need to be aware of the following three things to set you and your dog up for success.

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