10 More Indoor Activities for Dogs

27 Jan

indoor-dog-activities

If you live anywhere along the east coast, you might be continuing to deal with some of the fallout from winter storm Jonas. While we were nowhere near snowed in, the sudden drop in temperatures sent our little family into hibernation mode. Topher included! Considering how quickly a few days without walks can turn even our couch-potato of a dog into a whirling dervish, we’re quite lucky not to be trapped in our house or digging our yard out of a mountain of snow. For those of you who are stuck, or waiting for your dog to end their next poop strike, today we’re bringing you a bunch more indoor activities for dogs to ease your boredom.

1. Tug of War

While the game of tug of war is a hotly debated one, when played safely it can still act as a fun game for you and your dog. Playing safely means only you get to initiate tug of war: it should never begin because your dog is refusing to release a toy. The game should also be ended at your own discretion, by telling your dog to drop the toy. Use a toy designed for pulling: one that keeps your hand far away from your dog’s mouth.

A final note: don’t let your dog take over the game. If they start growling or become agitated, the game ends and they don’t get to play anymore. Dogs that already have issues with resource guarding are also not great candidates for playing tug.

2. Tag or “Go Touch”

Our most recent indoor pastime: playing games of tag! It’s a great way to encourage quick recall while tiring out your dog. To play, you’ll need a partner and a pocketful of treats for each of you. Start at opposite ends of a room or at opposite ends of a hallway. One person calls the dog then rewards them with a treat, then the other calls and rewards, rinse and repeat. Eventually, you and your partner can move farther apart, until your dog is traveling the entire length of the house to get to the other person. The more distance your dog covers, the better! The game of tag also works great outdoors for strengthening recall, so keep it in mind the next time you’re at a park where you can (legally) let your dog run free.

We use the game of tag to strengthen Topher’s greeting cue, “go touch.” His goal: to go and touch the other person’s open palm. This is a great command to teach any dog—it requires control on the dog’s part (they must only go to the person when told) and teaches calm greeting behavior.

3. Clean Up

Ever get jealous of the amazing dogs on YouTube that seem to know one hundred commands all geared towards making their humans’ lives easier? Us too. So, why not try teaching just one of those tricks at home? Teaching a dog to put their own toys away is a challenge both of you can sink your teeth into. Start by teaching your dog to “pick up” and “hold” toys. Once they have these two commands and the “drop it” command learned, you can start linking them together to teach your dog to “put it away.” Considering the number of dog toys we have, this little game could keep our dog occupied for hours!

4. Shell Game

Feeling lucky? Teach your dog to play a simple shell game, and within a few minutes you’ll either be heartily impressed at their powers of deduction, or perhaps wondering if they are just a simple dog. Place a treat under three cups, shuffle them around, and have your dog choose the correct one.

5. Dog Massage

Ahh, who doesn’t like a good massage? Even a short five minute rubdown will relax your pet, and even reduce their stress and anxiety. A daily massage can also help senior dogs or pets with arthritis by soothing those achy joints and sore legs. Here is a primer to get you started, along with a few specific massage techniques you can try at home.

6. Shape Training

Free shaping, or shape training, is a dog training technique geared towards promoting our dog’s innate problem-solving abilities. They get to make their own decisions, without direct verbal or physical input, to learn new tricks or investigate new things. Here’s a great video introduction to free shaping. Pick out a command you think you can shape with your dog, and get started!

7. Blow Bubbles

We learned very quickly that Topher is fascinated by bubbles. Your dog might be too! Don’t worry too much about going out and buying dog-safe bubbles—the bubbles currently on the market for children are also nontoxic and safe for your pet. Spend a few minutes blowing bubbles through your house and you’ll end up with one tired pup.

8. Rotate Toys

Like toddlers, dogs that have access to all their toys are less likely to pick them up and play with them. When you rotate their toys, you create a little more of a scarcity effect, and older toys feel new again after your dog hasn’t seen or interacted with them for a time. Rotating dog toys is also a great way to inspect toys, throwing away any that are too worn, and can help keep your toys cleaner, giving your more opportunities to wash them and put them away.

9. Change the View

Just like people, dogs can get stuck in routines, day in and day out. Maybe they’re used to looking out the same windows, or going out to do the same activities at the same times of day. Change up your dog’s routine or the locations of their favorite pillows, and see if that boosts your dog’s energy or mood. Or if you’re feeling really bold, change the view for the both of you by rearranging some furniture or changing up your decor!

10. Take A Nap

Topher can never resist a good snuggle and a nap on the couch. And sometimes when you’re snowed in, that’s the best kind of activity to pursue.

Photo Tips to Make Your Pup an Instagram Star

25 Jan

instagramstar

Unless you’ve decided to quit your day job and put all your eggs in one basket—that is, the my-dog-is-totally-gonna-be-an-Instagram-celebrity lottery—you probably don’t have the time to take pictures daily of your beloved pooch. Who has the time? More than that, who wants to put in all that effort in keeping a dog clean and camera-ready for some comments and likes online? It all sounds like a chore, but luckily it doesn’t have to be.

Can we guarantee your pup becomes an Instagram star overnight? Well, no. But there are some simple rules to follow to make sure you’re getting the most out of your photorgraphs, whether you’re using your phone’s camera or a real camera. Best of all, you can commit as much or as little time as you want and, with these simple pointers, can achieve some beautiful results.

The Basics

Ready to Go: If you’ve decided you want to snap some great shots of your pup, be sure they look their best. For us, that usually means a “drool towel” on hand for Archer. If we’re on a trail for a shoot, I usually also have to keep an eye out for mud and water on her, but for the most part it’s a matter of keeping her nose clean from her own drool. Make sure you have the tools you need to keep your pup clean during the shoot, and that they’re 100% ready to go before you even start.

Lighting is Everything: Whether you have the impossible-to-photograph black dog (welcome to my nightmare!) or you plan on using a lot of different props, keep in mind that clarity and lighting is everything for a good photo. In our old house, we had limited natural light and really had to be aware of when our best times were to take photos. For the casual photographer, natural lighting is your friend.

Thou Shalt Not Zoom: Whether it’s on a point-and-shoot camera or on your phone, make a mental note to absolutely never use the zoom. Get closer to your subject if you want a close-up shot, and avoid using that zoom at all costs! Why? Typically, the zoom will result in reduced quality—mainly, it’ll be grainy or even out of focus.

Change Your View: A downward angle from your point-of-view down to your dog can be boring. It’s what we see every day with our own pups. Change your view. Get really low (lay on your belly, even) and take a worm’s eye view shot! Or stand on a chair, get high, and go for the bird’s eye view. Change your angles, and play around! You’ll get some really interesting shots by simply changing your point of view.

Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds is a big thing in photography, and it’s pretty easy to understand. Actually, Instagram already has this feature built into their app! Ever wonder why, when editing a photo, the screen has two vertical and two horizontal lines? It breaks the image up into 9 squares. The idea is to place your point of interest along one of these intersecting points, or levelling your horizon line along one of the horizontal lines. Using the rule of thirds is a way to enhance the visual interest in your photo by leading the eye.

More Advanced

If you have the luxury of using a more robust camera, like a DSLR (Lucy and I both use different models of Canon DSLR cameras), you have a little more wiggle room to take some really unique, fancy shots.

Depth of Field: It’s a fancy photography term, but in a nutshell, when talking about “depth of field” we mean there is a variation between your subject and the background. The picture doesn’t look flat. You know those nice blurred backgrounds or even “bokeh” style backgrounds? That’s the result of a good lens and some great focus on the subject.

Focus: With your pup, you typically want to ensure the focus is around their nose/eyes. If it’s a close-up, the focus becomes more important and you have to be careful to make sure the clearest piece of the photo is to their eyes—it’s where the most expression comes through.

Plan Ahead

Collections: It’s time for big-picture thinking. Consider taking a few hours to do a collection of photos. These photos should have the same feel or theme, whether that means use of one or a few props (bandanas, toys, treats, etc.) or lighting (bright or white or dark or colourful!) or just mood (happy, excited, relaxed, etc.). The more you can do at once, and spread out over a set period of time, the more organized and thoughtful your feed will look to visitors.

For us, Collections usually mean props. When we review products, we typically have dozens of Instagram photos (and only a fraction of them are ever seen!). It’s nice to give yourself options.

Style: The Good Dogs & Co. Instagram feed is a little mish-mash of everything—we need it to be, because we cover so much and feature so many other pups! But many dog-specific accounts will veer in one stylistic direction. Check out accounts like Emily Wang’s or A Pup Named Loki for some great inspiration. Once you’ved eked out your own personal style, it’s easy to keep with it.

More than anything, it’s important to have fun. Let your creativity roam, and discover new ways to take great, visually interesting photos. Be true to yourself, and the number of followers you have will continue to grow!

6 Tips for Winter Dog Grooming

20 Jan

winter-dog-grooming

Just as winter can be harsh on our own skin, hair, and nails, the same can be true for our pets! In many ways, grooming during the winter months can be more important to the overall health of your dog than at any other time of the year. An improperly groomed dog can make for an infection-susceptible dog. Winter hazards to your dog’s coat and skin include:

  • Cold weather, snow, and ice
  • Dry, forced-air heat indoors
  • Salt and sand on sidewalks
  • Dampness and wind

Grooming isn’t just for keeping your dog pretty and smelling nice, it can also be crucial for your dog’s good health. here are six winter dog grooming tips to help you and your pup combat winter blues while ensuring your dog stays comfortable, dry, and healthy!

Bath Time in Moderation

Between snowy or wet walks, salt and sandy sidewalks, and more time spent indoors, that dirty dog smell can really intensify during the winter months. It’s perfectly fine to bathe your dog in the wintertime, but keep it in moderation, and make sure your dog is completely dry before they go outside. A wet dog is at higher risk for a chill and illness, especially if they’re a smaller breed or have shorter hair.

Try “Dry Cleaning”

If bath time is problematic and you’re looking to reduce trips to the groomer in winter, try a dry bath for your dog! Dry shampoos are available at most pet stores, or you can sprinkle a bit of cornstarch into your dog’s fur and give them a thorough brushing. Make sure all excess powder gets brushed out, and then your dog will be feeling fresh and clean!

Continue Regular Grooming Schedules

While dogs need to keep warm, most of our pets live indoors and spend shorter amounts of time outside; they’re usually snuggled up us in a centrally heated house. House dogs don’t need to rely on long fur and a thick undercoat for warmth as wild animals or sled dogs do, meaning you can keep up their regular grooming schedules in the winter.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s being cold on outings, consider a longer trim. Always make sure your groomer knows the proper way to trim your dog’s coat, especially in cases where you have a breed with a double coat that’s meant to be trimmed a certain way, and never shaved.

Pay Extra Attention to Paws and Noses

As we’ve mentioned before, winter can wreak havoc on your dog’s paws and nose. The change between dry cold outdoor air and forced indoor heat can dry out and crack their skin, not to mention the damage that can be done by salt and sand and snow outside. Regularly check your dog’s paws for cracks or sensitivity, and try using a paw cream to keep the pads from drying out.

During warmer months, your dog’s nails also naturally wear down from regular time outside. In winter, we tend to reduce outdoor activities. Even if you’re diligent about taking your dog for walks in winter, they’re likely shorter, and your dog’s nails won’t wear down as much.

It’s important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed, because if the nails grow long enough for you to hear “click click click” on the floor, your dog’s nails are long enough to make it difficult for them to keep their balance on ice and snow. Dogs can fall on the ice too!

Keep Up with Flea and Heartworm Preventatives

While cold weather brings the end of flea season outdoors, any fleas already in your home can survive and lead to a full blown infestation indoors, even in the coldest months. Winter is no reason to let your flea defenses down, especially so if you live in a milder climate like Topher and I. Keep your dog up to date on their flea and heartworm preventatives to stay parasite free all year round.

Use Sweaters and Coats Only When Necessary

While your dog may be spending more time in their favorite sweater or coat, they shouldn’t be living in it. The continuous rubbing from a coat or sweater can create matting in long-haired dogs, or hair loss in short-haired dogs. Try to keep sweater and coat usage to only when your dog is going outside. If it’s cold enough indoors that your dog needs a sweater, make sure you’re brushing your dog daily to keep any matting from occurring, and watch for any signs of further discomfort.

Regardless of where you live, we hope you keep these winter dog grooming tips handy for a healthy and cozy season with your dog.

Fire Safety Tips for Pet Owners

18 Jan

fire_preparedness

Baby, it’s cold outside! So cold that we’ve finally fired up the beautiful wood-burning fireplace in our new house (oh yeah, we moved over Christmas because that’s what sane, responsible adults do!) and have given up our fight with Mother Nature. Winter is a time for cozy blanket mountain, a warm crackling fire, and candles. It’s about ambiance, man.

But, you know, be careful about that. Especially with pets. It’s estimated that nearly a half million pets are affected by fires in the United States, with over a thousand being caused by the pets themselves. Yikes! So what do you need to know, and what can you do? Read on!

Fire Prevention

As always, be smart. Don’t overcrowd outlets, remember to extinguish all fires (fireplace, cigarettes, candles) when unattended, don’t forget to turn off your hair curler/straightener, remember to regularly clean the lint trap on your dryer… these things should be common sense, right?

Well, throw a pet in the mix, and everything just got more complicated. How do I know? Because when Ace was just a kitten, she singed her tail while walking by a candle. She was fine, but the “What smells like burnt hair?” conversation should never end with “Oh crap, it’s the cat!”—learn from my mistakes. Always be aware of where your pets are in relation to anything that might burn them or catch fire. This includes the elements on the stovetop, too!

In Case of Emergency

What do you do in case of emergency?

  • Ensure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order. At minimum, you need one on each floor of your home.
  • Have two plans in place: one if you’re home at the time, and one if you’re not. If you are home, know which pet you’re responsible for, but remember safety first! If you’re not home, be sure you can notify first responders that pets may be inside the house.
  • Be sure you have a first aid kit for you and your pet(s). Lucy put together a great list to make your own Dog First Aid Kit.
  • A good idea is to regularly limit where your pets can go when you’re not home. Close bedroom doors and limit your pets to the main arteries of the house—that way, in case of a fire, they are already funnelled toward the exits.
  • If you have shy pets, make a mental note of where they may hide in case of emergency. Under your daughter’s bed? In the closet? This information can help for a quick rescue.
  • If you live in an apartment, part of your plan (in the event you are not home at the time) should include already notifying your landlord that you have pets. If needed, they can notify first responders on your behalf.
  • Always keep your dog’s collar/leash accessible by an exit. If you have to leave in a hurry, you need to be able to grab these and get out. If possible (and if you have a cat), leave your cat carrier close to an exit as well.
  • Keep a photo of your pets on your phone (or in your wallet) along with their medical information in case they get loose during the evacuation.
  • Keep your vet’s contact information with you, and know which offices offer emergency visits and after-hours.

Rescue Alert Sticker

Did you know you can order a free Pet Safety Pack from the ASPCA to notify others at the door that you have pets inside? The rescue alert sticker gets placed on your front door to notify firefighters that pets may still be inside should you not be there to tell them when they arrive.

Obedience is Key

Never stop training your dog with regards to critical commands, most importantly recall and stay. Whether it’s a fire or something else, these two commands can be the difference between life and death. If you feel your training isn’t up to snuff, consider our article on basic commands (and another with hand signals!), or seek the help of a professional. More than anything, good recall is crucial.

For more information on fire safety, consider reading the ASPCA’s Disaster Preparedness information.

Vegan Dog Treats: Homemade Greenies

13 Jan

vegan-dog-treats

It’s our first treat of the new year! I can never go without baking for very long, but I’ve been a little bit gun shy about baking in general, since the first weekend of the new year. Our oven experienced a runaway heating event and turned what were supposed to be delicious bacon cheddar muffins into…well, very crispy, way over baked bacon cheddar muffins. I wasn’t as concerned about the muffins at the time, considering my oven was raucously beeping at me like it might be counting down to a bomb explosion.

We’re hoping that the oven error was nothing more than a rogue, one-time mishap; in the meantime, I thought I’d foray back into my baking habits with a dog treat recipe. After all, Topher would likely still drool uncontrollably for even the crispiest of dog treats, all oven mishaps be damned. Enter: these delightful vegan dog treats!

While these treats may not have the plaque-fighting capabilities as your dog might get from chewing on a Greenies dental stick, the parsley-filled morsels will certainly freshen up your pup’s breath! The dough mixes up delightfully fast and is really easy to work with, which makes it a great beginner treat to try on the weekend if you’re new to our recipes or the homemade treat game in general.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ to 2 cups spinach
  • ½ cup parsley
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Makes approximately two dozen 1 ½ inch dog treats.

Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F
  2. Combine your spinach, parsley, and water in a food processor. Process until you have the consistency of what I can only describe as very watery pesto. Tip: Wanting a little more breath freshening power? Try adding fresh mint to the food processor along with your parsley and spinach.
  3. Transfer your blended greens into a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Like I mentioned earlier, the dough will come together almost as soon as everything is incorporated.
  4. Roll your dough out to ¼” thick and use a your favorite cookie cutter (or your dog’s favorite) to cut out your treat shapes.
  5. Place your treats on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for twenty minutes, flipping halfway through.
  6. These treats contain a fair amount of water, so the way towards a drier, crunchier treat is in further dehydration. After the initial baking period, turn your oven down as low as it will go, and leave the treats to dry out for up to three hours.

While the dough was a fabulous bright green, the color sadly fades during baking. The longer your treats dry, the longer they’ll remain shelf stable. Expect your treats to last about two weeks when stored in an airtight container, or up to a month when placed in the fridge. Because this dough doesn’t contain any dairy or egg, it also makes a great Kong stuffer—you can try leaving out a quarter cup of the flour for a stickier dough that will stay in place in your dog’s toys.

Paw Cream Roundup

11 Jan

Paw Cream

Despite an unusually mild start to winter, we’re officially in the thick of it in my corner of the world. With the cold comes snow, and with the snow comes sand and salt. While that sand and salt is great for vehicle traction on the roads, it’s absolutely awful on our dogs’ paws—not to mention my poor floors when it all gets tracked in, daily.

So what are we to do? For the most part, nothing. It’s good to let dogs paws get warn because it naturally helps protect them. But when salt becomes an issue, it can begin really damaging a dog’s paws, and that means we have to gear up to counter the effects of salt.

Alternatively, you could also turn to putting booties on your dog’s paws to avoid the salt altogether, but most dogs aren’t fond of having boots on their feet. If your dog can tolerate them, that’s great! If not, paw creams may be in your future, so let’s have a look at what’s out there.

  1. Musher’s Secret ($20)
  2. Burt’s Bees Paw & Nose Lotion ($22)
  3. Pet Head Oatmeal Natural Paw Butter
  4. Natural Dog Company Paw Soother ($20)
  5. Natural Dog Company Pawtector ($6)

Of course, when choosing a paw cream for dogs, it’s important to note that your dog may inevitably lick the cream off their paws. For this reason, you have to be sure the cream is natural and safe (and you could always make your own!), but also be vigilant that your dog doesn’t become obsessive with cleaning their paws from the cream. If that becomes an issue, you may need to stop using the cream if you cannot prevent licking, or consult your veterinarian.

Lucy & Topher’s Winter Dog Training Goals

5 Jan

winter-dog-training-goals

Winter might be my least favorite thing about owning a dog. It’s too cold, it gets too dark too early, and there’s less time and the same amount of training to be done, when it comes to Topher. With our active pup, there’s no hiding under a blanket and just waiting until the seasons change. Over the last six months, we’ve kept our training routine pretty standard: Topher goes to day camp at our trainer’s house twice a month, and once a week we attend group reactive classes to work on loose leash walking, people approach, and dog approach.

However, in winter, the classes are less effective because of the earlier sunsets, if they’re not cancelled altogether due to holidays or bad weather. As we brace for the coldest months ahead, it’s more important than ever to set some reasonable winter dog training goals, to keep us honest and moving in the right direction.

While Topher has made great strides forward in day camp, in group classes his progress continues to be slow or non-existent. There are great class days and there are terrible class days—it’s hard to tell which type of day it will be until we arrive. The likely reason for this: class is simply still too stressful for Topher—too many dogs and too much happening all at once—and there’s no way for him to get comfortable enough to work or change his usual behaviors in that scenario.

With that in mind, and a new year beginning, I have new “resolutions” for Topher’s training. Here’s what we’ll be working on this winter, come rain, sleet, or snow!

More Manners & Less Fear

Weighing in at ninety pounds now, Topher is a big dog—bigger than we’d expected him to be. It’s important to us that he not excitedly charge people when they enter our house, or bark incessantly until they give him attention—two bad habits he’s developed over time. This is especially important now that some of our close friends have children; Topher’s house manners still leave a lot to be desired and we don’t want that to prevent our friends from being able to visit our house.

To add another wrinkle, Topher’s become more fearful towards new visitors and friends we don’t see often. We’re still working out how to address these two issues, but it will certainly be accomplished by degrees—through working on our dog’s ability to calm himself down, and by working on more socialization in these safe, comfortable environments, so he’s less fearful overall.

Keep Walking & Start Running

If winter is hard on training, it’s even harder on daily walking. Winter in georgia is rainy and cold, but not cold enough for snow. Instead of the adventures in Narnia, we get adventures in frosty mud—not especially appealing when it comes to early morning walks. But spending all day on the couch turns Topher into a pushy, bad-mannered, whiny velcro dog. Daily exercise keeps us all sane and happy, even though I might moan and groan about the weather right until we cross that threshold to the outside world.

What’s working for us is to create multiple opportunities to get a walk into our day. If I don’t get out from under the covers to walk Topher in the mornings, I make a point of going out at lunch.

This year I’m also going to be training for a 5k and then a 10k. I’ll be doing some of that running with Topher—as a big energetic dog, alternating running and walking for our daily outings will help him burn off a little extra energy, since walking every day doesn’t guarantee the same stimulation all on its own. After a few runs here and there with Topher, I’m convinced he can grow into a good running partner over the next few months. However, I definitely need to invest in the right gear if we’re going to run regularly.

As you can see, our goals are a little less concrete this season. Much as I love a good to-do list, over the last few years I’ve come to learn that working with Topher is a give and take process. Instead of items to check off, I’m working on creating a shift in our daily life that will make Topher, and the rest of our family, a little healthier, happier, and hopefully less fearful in the new year.

Are there any training goals you’re working on? Let us know what you’re planning to tackle in the new year.

Life Lessons from Your Dog for the New Year

4 Jan

new-year-lessons

Hello 2016!

Despite all the clichés associated with a new year, you can’t deny that it gives us all a clearly-marked line in the sand to start anew. Or maybe just to improve on things we already love. Whatever your new year’s resolutions may be, let’s also take this time to learn a little from our pups. We taught them so much—and man, did that training pay off!—but there are tons of things they can teach us simply in the way they are.

Express Yourself

Never be afraid of expressing yourself—your pup certainly isn’t! Happiness is an emotion to be shared, and you see that in your dog every time you walk through the front door. They’re ecstatic to see you, and they show it! So when you feel that big emotion bubbling up to the surface, embrace it and share it! Whether it’s a good emotion or a bad one, we strengthen our bonds with others through sharing what means the most.

Go Play!

Your busy schedule can be put on pause for an hour a day to go out and play! Whether that means hitting the gym, going for a run in the neighbourhood, or hitting a scenic trail with your pup, just go out and do it! Get your legs moving, and get your heart beating just a little faster. There’s a trickle-down effect when you take care of yourself, and you’ll see those changes in your everyday life. It’s about chipping away what causes you stress and anxiety with something that frees you.

Your pup has never needed an excuse to get excited and be active, and neither should you. Quite simply, it’s good for the body and for your soul—you need it.

Remember to Stretch

Dogs are some of the best teachers of the basics. As much as they live an open, exuberant life, they also never forget to slow down and stretch. Maybe they’re secretly yoga enthusiasts, but I’ve never seen Archer get up from a nap without a good stretch first. Take care of those muscles, and more importantly, your whole body. Take time to stretch, but more than that, be mindful of when your body needs a break. Take days off to rest, or take a weekend to binge watch a series on Netflix. Just remember to take care.

Be Curious

Dogs are the ultimate investigators. If they see something new or interesting, they just have to go in for a closer look. For you, maybe that’s a hobby that you want to explore further (and maybe even make into a career!) or maybe it means travel is in your future. If there is something that sparks your interest, do yourself a favour and indulge in it.

Embrace Simplicity

Dogs require such few components to live a happy, healthy life. Honestly, all the little extras we fill our lives with are just that—filler. We need so little to be happy. For me, having a roof over my head, being able to cook an awesome meal, and having the love and support of my family is just about all I really need to be happy—oh, and regular trail walks with Archer, of course!

So what’s your bare-minimum list for being happy? I bet it doesn’t include those new shoes, or that bigger TV. What’s the basics that keep you truly alive, body and soul?

So let’s start 2016 with a little more focus on what truly makes us tick, and most of all, what makes us happy. Most things in life can be boiled down to one or two simple facts, so take some time to reflect as we ease into the new year and focus on what brightens your life, and share that with the ones you love.

Good Dogs & Co.’s Best of 2015

17 Dec

best-of-2015

It’s that time again: we’re about to settle in for our short winter nap for the holidays. We hope you have all enjoyed this past year with us, as we grew into a thriving community of dogs and their people. Our reader survey is also still going: we’d really love your feedback as we start planning our content for next year!

We have lots in store for everyone in the new year, and it’s sure to be another wonderful 365 days! Until then, we hope you enjoy the best this past year had to offer, all packed into one post.

Treat Recipes

  • Sweet Potato Fries with Coconut and Turmeric
  • 3 Kong Filler Recipes

DIYs

  • Make Your Own Paw Wax & Snout Conditioner
  • How to Sew Your Own Dog Collar

Reader Stories

  • Meet Pippin, the Rescue Dog Who Climbs Mountains
  • Gentle Giants: Meet Moses the Great Dane

Health

  • Growing Your Own Dog Friendly Herb Garden
  • How to Exercise with Your Dog

Reviews

  • Dog + Bone Martingale Collars and Leashes
  • Review: The Odin Treat Puzzle Toy

Training

  • Do’s & Don’ts When Training A New Puppy
  • Training Hand Signals for Teaching Deaf Dogs

Just For Fun

  • 6 Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding
  • Watercolor Tattoo Ideas for Dog Lovers

2015 Ornament Roundup for Dog Lovers

12 Dec

ornament

When you have a big dog, there isn’t really a need to litter your house with reminders that you’ve got a dog. The dog itself is one hefty (130 lb) reminder to all guests that, indeed, you have a dog and that dog is a big part of your family—and I mean that figuratively and quite literally.

So when it comes to the holidays, some gifts can just get too big. For me, it’s not about loudly shouting from the rooftops that we are indeed “Great Dane people” but including subtle reminders that Archer is a big part of our family, our lives, and is right there with us to celebrate!

That’s right. It’s time to roundup some lovely ornaments for dog lovers!

  1. Handcrafted Wire Dog Bone from DeighanDesign ($16)
  2. We actually reviewed this product earlier in the year under a different Etsy name, but it’s the same maker under a new shop that’s bringing these beautiful little ornaments to you.
  3. Dog Christmas Ornament from Puffin Patchwork ($12.50)
  4. Don’t worry, they have more than just Scotties! And they are all equally as adorable!
  5. Personalized Dog Bone Glass Ornament from Frontgate ($19.50)
  6. I’m absolutely in love with this elegant ornament. I think it would look lovely on any tree, no matter what your style!
  7. Snow Beagle Round Ceramic Ornament from Zazzle (18.50)
  8. The artwork from this artist is absolutely darling. Artwork by Jenn’s Doodle World, and she offers much more adorable things with these designs.
  9. Dachshund Christmas Tree Ornament from Red Barn Australia ($10.40)
  10. Cats and dachshunds and pugs, oh my! Some lovely woodcut ornaments available to decorate your tree.
  11. Starlight Starbright Ornament Plush Toy from BarkBox ($9)
  12. And of course, something for your pup to enjoy! No gift guide would be complete without a little something for the dog you love!