Friday, October 4, 2013

"Weigh in" with your answer and win!

We have a new foster dog at Happy Healthy Pup. Many of you probably know that we like to volunteer at Dekalb County Animal Services in Decatur, GA. They are a fabulous shelter that does so much for the dogs in their custody. We love working with them and even teach a class for shelter dogs there called C.H.A.R.M. School (shameless plug: if you're local, we'd love to have you)!
So, when DCAS got a Neapolitan Mastiff in as a stray, they knew just who to call. Me! Many of you know that I've had Neos for close to 14yrs now, and while I absolutely LOVE all dogs, Neos hold a very special place in my heart. 

So, this big guy is here to stay for awhile and we'll be nursing him back to health. He seems to have a bit of a cough and he's heartworm positive. But, since he's obviously underweight, I thought it would be fun to guess how much he will weigh when he's healthy again. And, if you weigh in, you could win an awesome prize package!

The big guy now, his current weight is 109lbs. How much do you think he will weigh all happy & healthy?

Even though he's underweight. He acts all puppy...wants to play and jump and bark and well, just be a dog. We're happy to let him do just that while he gets better. He's already on a large regimen on holistic and herbal remedies to help boost his immune system, strengthen his heart, detox his body and help him feel fabulous. So, give us your best guess in the comments below on what his weight will eventually be. One lucky commenter will be chosen at random and will win a basket containing some of our favorite, all-natural supplements including an immune booster and overall wellness blend (valued at over $100)! 

Thanks for "weighing in"!

  Anna Bettina

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Three great uses for Rescue Remedy!

You've probably heard of Rescue Remedy. You may even have some in your arsenal of doggie stuff right now. Have you tried it, and does it work for your pup? 

I often hear people remark that is hasn't worked for their dog, or that it didn't calm them. What many people don't realize is that, RR is not actually a calming supplement. It was developed for use during physical or mental emergencies. We love RR and always keep it on hand. So, what exactly does it help with? Let me share some uses for Rescue Remedy (RR) that you may not know about!


Pup has an injury? This is what Rescue Remedy was created for! Before heading to the vet, give a few drops of rescue remedy. It can help keep your dog out of shock and promote a feeling of well-being until you can get help. Bonus: Rescue remedy will not interact with any medication that your vet might have to administer upon your arrival.

Post Dog Fight (or post any major upset)

No one wants to get in a scuffle, but it can happen. Carry RR with you in a pocket or purse. If your pup happens to have a bad experience with another dog, give a few drops right away to help them bounce back more quickly as well as helping them move forward from the incident. It's not a bad idea to give this essence every day for a few days to help your pup as adrenaline from a fight can last many days!

Extreme Behaviors*

Flower Essences (including RR) compliment behavior modification plans wonderfully! Use in conjunction with your training to help with OCD behaviors or serious anxiety behaviors. Can be given every day and/or acutely. Owners often report that it stopped these behaviors immediately after it was given! 


Flower essences (such as RR) are best given in a bit of water. But, you can also:

- Place a couple drops on your finger and rub the liquid on your pup's gums.

- Drop a couple drops on a treat and feed to them.

- Place a couple drops on your fingertips and rub on the underside of the ear flap. 
We have also heard stories of RR being given during a seizure to stop it and even during times of dis-orientation to bring the dog back around. How cool is that? We hope that gives you a few other ideas for Rescue Remedy that you may have not considered. This essence can be extremely helpful when used correctly, although we hope you never really have an emergency big enough to find out! 

Happy Training!

Anna Bettina

*Please seek the professional help of a positive reinforcement trainer if your dog suffers from any type of behavior that includes panic and/or extreme stress.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

But...I've tried everything!

You're exhausted, over-whelmed, and often, frustrated. You may have been through several trainers, or just one trainer and a bunch of training to no avail. 

It can feel as if you've tried everything to change your dog's behavior. But, in reality, we know that's not the case. There are other trainers and other ideas out there that you simply haven't had access too. So, if you're feeling frazzled, here's some ideas to help you get on the road to better behavior!

If you have enlisted the help of a professional - call them! That's what we're here for. Explain your frustration and any problems you're having, Be ready (and open) to honest feedback and perhaps even the need for another training session. Good behavior is constantly a work in progress!

Don't have a trainer? *clears throat* Eh-hem...time to find someone. Professionals do this day in and day out, good trainers study behavior and are constantly learning. They will be able to help you troubleshoot problems and teach you exactly how to get the behavior you want! Need help finding a qualified professional? Search Here.
Tried a bunch of trainers? Take a deep breath, and sit down with your notes from all those sessions. Go back through them and look for key points that perhaps more than one trainer has mentioned. Also, look for any suggestions that you may have forgotten about. Then, start working through some of those again. It's easy to get overwhelmed or confused, but re-reading through your notes can often spark an idea or re-fuel your training plan.

Have a neighbor/friend/co-worker who told you what to do? If this person is not a qualified professional, I'd be weary of any advice. Once you have a dog with problematic behavior, it seems everyone around you becomes a dog expert! While well-meaning, the feedback I hear being given is often inappropriate or even harmful. This can make behavior much worse! There are many places online with science-backed information & articles to help you, one resource we love is the training library at 4Paws University. Ultimately, be prepared to call in a professional if you need one (see suggestion above about not having a trainer)!

Still frustrated? Make sure your calm and/or happy when working your dog. Dogs are very conscious of human body language and behavior, if you're frustrated and acting on, pretty soon your dog will be too! Have a cup of tea, or a glass of wine, or do something silly with your dog and laugh! You'll both have a much better training session.
So, go ahead, give a few of these a try before you throw in the towel. Dog training can be labor and time intensive, but the rewards are so worth it in the end! 
Happy Training!
Anna Bettina

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pay Attention!

Do you know how many times you call your dog's name during the course of a day? A lot! And often, we are only addressing them by their names when we mean business! When we're loving them up, it's a sweet doggy nickname. When it's time to leave the park, it's the serious full-name!

No wonder dogs pick and choose when to listen to their names or simply don't listen at all! Change that response with a fun, simple game. Instead of ignoring you, we want your dog to whip around quickly and look right at you when you call their name. Name should = Pay Attention to me!

What you'll need:- A smile - A really, really yummy treat - A dog who pretends to not know his name

Keep the treat out of view of your dog. While you're doing dishes or watching TV or some other routine task, randomly call your dog's name, once. As soon as your dog looks at you, say "YES!" with a big smile and toss the yummy treat to them. Then, go back to what you were doing. A little while later, try it again. If you call your dog once and they don't respond, make a little noise to get their attention. Make sure to say "YES!" and offer the treat as soon as your dog looks your direction! 

Sounds simple, right? You'd be surprised how powerful a random reward is just for listening to their name! Go ahead...try it with your pup.

Happy Training!- Anna Bettina

Monday, November 19, 2012

Turkeys, Tennis Balls & Tinctures

Your holistic guide to surviving Thanksgiving with dogs!

Thanksgiving tends to be a holiday filled with family, friends and food. Along with this comes, crazy schedules, additional stress and, sometimes, doggy emergencies. Here's our favorite Holistic tips to help keep your Thanksgiving calm and Fido happy**!

Don't rock the routine
If possible, try to keep your dog's routine. Dogs thrive on structure. Sometimes, making drastic changes in this can lead to stress colitis (diarrhea) and anxious behavior. A walk, even if it's shorter than normal, can lower this stress in both you and your dog! So, don't forget to take Fido for that jaunt around the block and try to keep meals and playtime close to their normal times as well.

Flower Essences for Fido
Flower Essences are fabulous holistic remedies that can help with all sorts of emotional upsets during the holidays (and during daily life as well). Incorporating these essences are easy as you can add them to your pets water daily and they are safe to give with other remedies or prescriptions as well! These are some of our favorites for Thanksgiving:
- Bach Flower Aspen. This flower essence helps provide a sense of security for pets. Great if the pet has been ‘put out’ of their spot or regular routine by staying company.
- Bach Flower Vervain. This flower essence helps animals to calm, and allows them to relax even in stressful environments.
- Bach Flower Rescue Remedy. Every home should have this remedy on hand! This five flower essence is also called the emergency essence. It is PERFECT for any emergency situation. Whether your pet is injured, upset, or panicked this essence will help them pull through it (interesting note: this flower essence is not for calming as most people believe and is best used for distress in animals).

Aromatherapy for Family & Fido
Essential oils can provide everything from a sense of peace and calming, to soothing upset tummies and even killing germs! Here are some of our favorite oils and their uses for the Thanksgiving weekend:
- Peppermint is a great ‘pick me up’. Try it in a diffuser so everyone gets the benefits. For stressed out humans, it can also be used to treat headaches; massage a drop or two onto the temples (follow with a cool rag if needed). For canines with tummy troubles, it can be used to aid digestion! If your pup has gotten into something and has an upset tummy, put 2-3 drops peppermint oil in a teaspoon of olive oil (or coconut oil) and massage onto their tummy (don't worry, it's okay if they ingest some of it through licking)!
- Sweet Orange is great for anxiety. Try diffusing it into the air, or even putting a drop or two on a cotton ball and placing around the car or home. You can also place 10-20 drops of both sweet orange and lavender in 8oz. distilled water and spritz around the room for an instant calm. Great for spraying in or on a crate for a dog that needs to be away from the action for a bit or gets left home more than usual. 
- Cinnamon is also great for promoting happiness. Just smelling this oil can lift sad thoughts. Try 1-2 drops on a cotton ball in areas with lots of traffic. Can also be placed in the car or diffused into a room. This oil mixes very well, try blending with orange oil for a warm, uplifting Thanksgiving scent! Yum!

Herbal Remedies for Fido
Herbal remedies & tinctures can be lifesavers in certain situations and have a wide variety of uses**. These are some of our favorites:
- Slippery Elm Bark is known far and wide for it's use in helping to calm upset GI tracts. Great for diarrhea brought on by stress or other holiday induced tummy troubles.
- Calendula is the perfect herb to have on for everyday boo boos. Whether it's a cut, scrape or burn calendula with help calm and soothe the area (until you can get your pup proper medical care). You can also blend it with distilled water to flush eyes out or clean ears without causing irritation!
- Chamomile Flower is commonly used to help calm stressed animals. It can be given in a tincture form or even made into a fresh tea and served to your dog. This herb does not have the sedative properties of some meds and other herbs which makes it great for helping your dog feel calm without causing them further confusion or stress. A must have in any home!

Remember to Breathe
Holidays can be stressful for everyone. Try to take a moment everyday and breathe, nice deep breaths. Take some time to massage your dog for a few moments and focus on helping your dog to relax. These short, but thoughtful sessions will lower both your heart rates and help ensure you can handle the stress of the days ahead! 

Here's to a happy & calm Thanksgiving Holiday!

Anna Bettina
Certified Training & Nutrition Solutions

(*Remember, before trying something new with your dog, it's best to check with a practitioner or holistic vet in your area to make sure they are safe for your specific dog and his or her needs).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Woof Wednesday

Briscoe the Bullmastiff & Buddy the Havenese play-bow to each other & initiate a game of puppy zoomies. 

- Anna Bettina
Certified Training & Nutrition Solutions

Thursday, November 1, 2012

There's no such thing as Spoiled

As a professional trainer, I hear this word a lot...spoiled. Generally it's in context to a dog's undesirable behavior.
"She's doing ______. I guess she's just spoiled."
"She's allowed on the furniture. I've spoiled her, huh?"
"She doesn't listen to me, she's totally spoiled!"

Somehow, giving dogs access to furniture, offering plenty of treats and/or toys and allowing them more of your time has been labeled as "spoiled". Usually this happens when the dog doesn't listen to the owner. Well, I've got something important to tell you. 

There's no such thing as a spoiled dog, just a dog who needs a bigger vocabulary and better reinforcement! 

Dogs are incredibly smart and can learn hundreds of cues. Use that to your advantage! Teach your dog a variety of behaviors that are useful for you...teach them to get off furniture when you ask or to leave things on the counters or tables alone and to greet people nicely. Now, here's the most important part - reinforce those behaviors! Dogs need consistent practice with behaviors before they learn them reliably (and sleeping in your bed will not affect that)!

You can't "ruin" a dog by snuggling in bed with them or sharing your salmon dinner. If anything, some of these indulgences can help build a bond with your dog and teach them to pay better attention to you (the person with access to all things awesome). 

So, go ahead, spoil your dog! Buy that new toy or invite your dog up on the couch.  Just be sure to reinforce the cues that are most important you so your dog has a solid vocabulary and listens every time! You'll both be happy with the results!

- Anna Bettina
Certified Training & Nutrition Solutions